Still / FRI 10-14-16 / Fit / Now / Lead / Ask / Flushed

Friday, October 14, 2016

Constructor: Natan Last

Relative difficulty: Medium


Word of the Day: GARI (23A: Wasabi go with in sushi meals)
Gari (ガリ?) is a type of tsukemono (pickled vegetables). It is sweet, thinly sliced young ginger that has been marinated in a solution of sugar and vinegar. Young ginger is generally preferred for gari because of its tender flesh and natural sweetness. Gari is often served and eaten after sushi, and is sometimes called sushi ginger. (Wikipedia)
• • •
Lena here, doing a Friday fill-in for Rex. I was happy to see Natan's name at the top of this puzzle-- I first saw his puzzles in BuzzFeed when they were putting out daily puzzles and, in line with the tone of the venue, they were always full of newer slang and pop culture references. Since BuzzFeed used to be a good place for encouraging younger crossword constructors to get their puzzles out and published, it's nice to see former regular contributors now strutting their stuff in the NYTimes.

Compared to those in the typical BuzzFeed puzzles, the clues here are HEMINGWAYESQUE (15D: Terse and unadorned, as writing). Nice one. And remember, you do not need to be a writer to be described as HEMINGWAYESQUE; simply surround yourself with cats and cocktails. It me:

I ended up solving diagonally from top right to bottom left, probably because that's the most wide open passage. The grid layout is a little wonky with those long Z-like things and the little staircases creating two tough mini-puzzles in the corners. I spent the longest in the SW with the tricky clues for LASHES (36D: Things that might be batted at a ball) and DOGPARK (35D: Place to play with some toys) taking some time. I didn't have DOMAIN NAMES (35A: Online addresses, in part) yet, so the little help I'd have gotten with the first letters of AOL RADIO (34D: App with over 200 free stations) wasn't fully in place yet. There are so many music apps and I forget that AOL is still... doing things.

I'm never a fan of seeing IDIOT (9D: Birdbrain) in puzzles, and the echo-clue for next door DAFT (8D: Birdbrained) doesn't appeal to me either. IDIOT is something I hear coming out of angry peoples' mouths-- it's not a word I throw around lightly. Sometimes something like that seems edgy during the constructing process but by the time you write the clue it might start to seem rude, tone-wise.
Echo-clues that force you to directly compare two answers are never as fun as finding your own connections between words in a puzzle, like TRANSGENDER (31A: Not identifying with one's assigned sex) sitting right over AINT I A WOMAN (34A: 1851 Sojourner Truth speech). The clue on TRANSGENDER is nicely straight-forward-- no trying to make cutesy cleverness out of something that is already so frequently misrepresented/misunderstood. Also you should take a minute to read or reread Sojourner's speech. That was 1851. This is 2016. DO THE MATH.

Overall a worthy Friday challenge, well-balanced and not skewed too "young" or "old." It was a chatty puzzle-- I enjoyed all the conversational answers/clues: YES YOU, OR NOT, I DID SO, NO FAIR!

Oh, and how can I forget EREADER (11D: Something you can control the volume with?). There is a lot of Crossword Twitter activity surrounding the wanton addition of "E-" to things-- and if I wasn't already running late in posting this I would cherry pick the threads and post tweets, but just trust me. In this case I was convinced that I was supposed to be thinking about hair volume so EREADER didn't cross my mind. And what a groan I let out when it was the last or second to last thing I filled in! Boo to E-things, but yay for tricky clues. But I will say that I don't think of myself as "controlling" the book when using my EREADER-- maybe someone accidentally EPURCHASED a "Choose Your Own Adventure" EBOOK.

Have a nice weekend!

Signed, Lena Webb, Court Jester of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Sir Hillary 8:57 AM  

Uh oh, was @Rex up late watching the Dodgers beat the Nats? He could have done five Friday puzzles in the 7th inning alone.

Wow, that’s about the wackiest-looking themeless grid I’ve ever seen – periscopes on top and bottom, stairways on each side, super segmented. Not sure I like it, but it’s definitely distinctive.

In terms of the entries, there’s lots and lots to like here. DOTHEMATH, HEMINGWAYESQUE, AOLRADIO, COLDOPEN, and that nifty sorta-themed central stack – all wonderful. And POUNDCAKE, a nice sh[out] to National Dessert Day. Great clues for EREADER, STEINS, and NYU.

I’m a sports nut, but nice to see HRS clued sans baseball.

Never knew it’s called GARI, but I sure do love to eat it.

I’m not sure TIM Gunn is really a “fashion mogul” per se – more like a well-known industry consultant. I would have preferred a clue referencing “make it work”, but that’s probably too wonky.

Finally, my major blunder of the day…the very first answer I wrote was for 17A. With “dance floor” and “ceiling” in the clue, what else could it be but WHITEROOM? Yeah, ORNOT. The only saving grace was that there was nary a correct letter, so no false-positive cross confirmations.

Unknown 9:01 AM  

Thanks, @Lena Webb, for your gracious review of @Natan Last's puzzle, which I did @Last night with a few hints on the pop culture stuff from @Chris Adams. Miss @Rex this morning, though.

Interesting dialogue all yesterday about the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. ICYMI, we were lucky enough to have a tribute puzzle all set to go (from earlier in the calendar year, when the subject celebrated a milestone birthday). See "The Answers My Friend ..." and hope you enjoy it.

Nancy 9:17 AM  

I had to go to Wordplay to find the solution, because 1) I couldn't finish the puzzle and 2) Rex's blog didn't hit the web until about a minute ago -- although, by the time I finish typing this, it will be at least 5 minutes ago. I sort of enjoyed the puzzle, which was quite colloquial and without much junk, but I feel I should have loved it -- and I didn't. I'm not quite sure why. Anyway, it defeated me. VIES instead of BIDS at 50D completely did me in, since I didn't know MARC Maron and didn't know there were dueling BANJOs in 1973. I had v-N-O at 50A; what the hell was that? Also, without the D of BIDS, I didn't see POUND CAKE, which means I didn't get IN JOKE (wonderful clue) either.

I almost didn't finish the NE as well, but I guessed right on everything I didn't know. Like FILES, which I didn't know could be "compressed." And COLD OPEN. What on earth is that? The openings of SNL are the best part of the show and they always seem very warm and well-rehearsed. Don't get it. And while I eat a lot of sushi and like it with a lot of wasabi, I never heard of GARI.

Answers I liked a lot include: DO THE MATH; YES YOU; DOGPARK; and HEMINGWAYESQUE. But still, a puzzle I admire more than love and I still don't know why.

Charles Flaster 9:23 AM  

I agree with Lena but I had a DNF at DICEY.
I tried DItsY and could not make a go of it.
COLD OPEN was my comeuppance.
My only write over was BIDS for vIeS.
Liked the creative cluing for LASHES and
Overall a fun , odd shaped, 98% easy puzzle.
BTW --just did George Barany's puzzle, mentioned above and it should make the Nobel winner very happy.
Thanks NL

Hungry Mother 9:24 AM  

A little easier than a usual Friday for me. Again, I found things that I didn't know that I knew.

Vincent Lima 9:31 AM  

I had EREADER from the crosses and couldn't parse it for the longest time. Was "treader" some sort of sliding volume control on an amp? "Creaser" some sort of conditioner for your hair?

Also, with the final ER in place, I popped in genderqueer before TRANSGENDER, thinking, hah, the clue is not terribly accurate, but Shortz is trying to keep up.

The puzzle was enjoyable and was (by my standards) a fast solve.

GILL I. 9:33 AM  

So HEMINGWAYESQUE refers to his terse and unadorned writing? Here's a quote of his: "Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk." Does that sound unadorned?
This took me a while but letter by letter I got her done. @Lena, me too for E READER....last one in. First one in was my favorite Babalu man ARNAZ. Speaking of Cuba and Hemingway, I guess he was quite the hoarder and now Havana is having a field day with all the goodies he left behind. So, not only did they keep his favorite bars La Bodequita del Medio and La Floridita intact, all the American tourists can now visit his museum and look at all the dead animals he had stuffed and mounted on a wall. It'll only cost 100 pesos.
I had to finish the puzzle before I could sit back and do an AAAH. Lots of little GEMs here. The cluing for LASHES was evil but I loved the one for DOG PARK.

Nancy 9:37 AM  

Re: Dylan, from yesterday. There's a wonderful front page appraisal of Dylan in the NYTimes today. It's called DYLAN THE WRITER; AN AUTHENTIC AMERICAN VOICE. I have the link, but it won't, I fear, come up in blue. It says what I was trying to say yesterday, but it says it much better and in much greater detail. I recommend it, if you haven't already seen it.

mathgent 9:38 AM  

I learned a lot doing it. How POUNDCAKE got its name. The Sojourner Truth speech. What COLDOPEN means.

I also liked the two long down entries, BARGAININGCHIP and HEMINGWAYESQUE. Because the grid isn't symmetric, they don't balance each other.

I counted seven very nice clues. My only negatives were "Something you can control the volume with?" For EREADER and "Don't you doubt me!" For IDIDSO.

No real junk but too many Terrible Threes, 17.

Eleven mysteries (either I didn't know the entry or the clue didnt help identifying something I knew). That usually puts me into DNF territory, but I was able to finish it clean. Ego-boosting.

I'm giving it A minus.

In yesterday's discussion of Bob Dylan, someone named Leonard Cohen as another great poet/songwriter/performer. I didn't know much about him until I got the October 17 New Yorker in yesterday's mail. A wonderful article with samples of his beautiful poetry.

oldbizmark 9:38 AM  

this played extremely easy, although, i did have some erasures. BARGAINING CHIP was a gimme as were most of the long clues, other than maybe DOMAIN NAMES, which for some reason took a while to pull down. The only other hiccup was SKORT. Could not for the life of me figure that one out. Anyway, good puzzle, albeit not challenging enough for me for a Friday.

seanm 9:42 AM  

this took me slightly longer than an average friday. each section gave me a little trouble, but overall it was a pleasant solving experience. thinking that 46A had to be an abbreviation of Madison took me quite a while to figure out. i'm ashamed that i didn't know AintIAWoman, which made the middle section difficult. the crosses for GRATIA were tough, as i didn't know ARI or GARI (or the speech), and feel fortunate that i was able to guess them correctly

Hartley70 9:48 AM  

I loved this quick and easy Friday. Thanks, Natan! This was like chatting with a friend, one who eats sushi because I never touch the stuff. The G of GARI was the last space I filled. Does GARI come in one of those little squeeze packets?

So much of the puzzle felt fresh and new, both the cluing and the answers. I hope we see much more work of this constructor. And soon!

John Child 9:52 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Child 9:53 AM  

I liked this but balked for a long time at HEMINGWAYESQUE. That's worse than Faulkerian. Yuk. "Terse and unadorned" is infinitely preferable. Of course if I ever got an adjective named after me it would be Childish...

@mathgent, the grid looks symmetrical to me...

QuasiMojo 10:02 AM  

Hello, Lena! Thanks for filling in. "Hemingwayesque" is one of those phony-sounding words Ernest himself would have loathed and eschewed. Tim Gunn a "fashion mogul"? Maybe, but only when he's fallen on the slopes. This was a "dicey" puzzle with a lot of "injoke"s. Some of them tortured, the opposite of Hemingway's stripped-down style.

Tita 10:04 AM  

Me too, for learning cool stuff from this puzzle.

Though one of my gimmes was POUNDCAKE followed by DOMAINNAMES off the D in DOGPARK (you can't fool me with those toys anymore, constructors...!)

But AOLRADIO and AINTIAWOMAN did me in. Knew an alphabet run would do me no good for a random channel name, and just could not compute anything from _INTIA WOMAN... I'm going to go read that now. Or should I say TODAY.

I also wasn't fooled by things batted at balls, though fans are what came to mind..

Anyhow, good, clever Friday workout. Thanks Mr. Last.

John V 10:09 AM  

Yes. Buzzfeed. That would explain the look and feel.

puzzle hoarder 10:13 AM  

This was an excellent Friday. The long answers were easy but great. The puzzles challenge came in those tricky corners and the first rate cluing. GARI was the only entry I was unsure of. I like to order my sushi using the Japanese names and GARI was ringing no bells. As to using those Japanese words the wait staff has never winced. The Japanese are known for their manners. As for my manners here's my take on the Dylan Nobel Prize. BBNG. That's baby boomer navel gazing, and I own all of his early albums.

chefbea 10:29 AM  

Tough for me, as most Fridays are...but when I saw pound cake I had to tri. Never heard of Gari...ginger yes but it wouldn't fit

r.alphbunker 10:32 AM  

I spent a minute and a half lookiing at {Wasabi go-with in sushi meals} GARI before checking the puzzle because I had never heard of it and because it looked like some sushi-related thing that I had heard of but couldn't think of. I now realize it was NORI, the black seaweed wrappers.

Details are here.

kitshef 10:41 AM  

Tough here. Tougher than an average Saturday, I'd say. Five sections to the grid, and all except the SE were challenging.


I'm guessing that crossing of GARI (never heard of it), ARI (never heard of him) and GRATIA (had to pull from the dark corners of the brain) will lead to some cries of foul. Two obscure foreign words and an incredibly obscure name (our swimsuit model from earlier this week gets 6x the Google hits of Mr. Shavit).

Why does the DOG PARK clue not have a question mark?

Hand up for whiteroom before IFEELFREE.

Gave up watching the NLDS last night in that interminable 7th inning. Much that is wrong with baseball today was on display.

AliasZ 10:42 AM  

Very nice write-up, Lena. Thank you.

HEMINGWAYESQUE: back-formation from Kafkaesque? My spellchecker accepts the latter but rejects the former. Dickensian or Dickensesque? Mozartian or Mozartesque? What's next: Enescuesque?

An easy Friday, except the few unknowns that included GARI, ARI Shavit, TIM Gunn, SAN Marcos TX, and MARC Maron. Most of them were easy enough to get from crosses, but this is clear evidence of cluing junk fill on purpose as obscurely as possible to make it feel like a Friday puzzle. All it achieved however was, it made it less enjoyable for me.

Here are three very different MARCs separated by centuries.

MARC'Antonio Ingegneri (1535/6-1592)
MARC-Antoine Charpentier (1636-1704)
MARC-André Hamelin (b.1961)

Consider this my Friday music dump. TGIF!

mathgent 10:46 AM  

@John Child (9:53): You're right. It is symmetric across the central square. I was thinking that the Z at the bottom should have been facing the other way.

jae 10:53 AM  

Easy for me. Needed a few nanoseconds (hi M&A) to dredge up the MGM motto (add me to the list of those not knowing GARI) but that was the only hang up.

Fun and zippy, liked it a lot!

jberg 10:56 AM  

This is so embarrassing. I've eaten a lot of GARI, but never realized that it was called that, OR that it was ginger. Always figured it was some kind of pickled daikon radish. Is my face RED. Aside from that, a tough but fun puzzle. No idea about AOL RADIO, but once I had AO the only other choice would be AOL musIc, so AGRA solved that for me.

EREADER was my final entry, and it took me at least two minutes to parse, as I was pronouncing it to rhyme with 'aviator.'

And I loved the ridiculously obscure clue for UNE at 53D. LOL

dbud 10:58 AM  

EREADER was last to fall and I still don't quite understand the clue!

Crane Poole 11:00 AM  

Record Friday time after a Thursday struggle. A quarter of that time banging out the SW corner. A staggering number of correct initial entries, unusual! I was oddly and happily dialed in. Now I have to wonder if that phrase has flipped in its meaning.

jberg 11:01 AM  

@leapfinger from yesterday -- yeah, I think I was confused. I was thinking of artists like Andy Goldsworthy, who has created works consisting of flower petals floating downstream -- but he apparently calls that 'nature art' rather than EARTH ART.

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

Still not understanding the clue for LASHES. Help?

Greg 11:05 AM  

Another hand up for getting burned at GARI and GRATIA. I ran the alphabet and still couldn't knock it out.

dbud 11:11 AM  

@Anonymous 11:04

One would bat their eyelashes at a ball (dance) if they were making eyes at someone

Nancy 11:11 AM  

Anon 11:04. Belles have been known to bat their eyeLASHES at balls. It took me forever, btw, to get this, but I think it's a great clue.

G.Harris 11:24 AM  

This was not a medium puzzle for me, not when you have gari crossing gratia and cold open (what the hell does that mean?) Worked hard to get Sojourner quote and Hemingway and felt good about my progress only to be derailed by the above snags.

Joseph Michael 11:46 AM  

For those who asked, a "cold open" in television is a jump into the action before the titles appear. On SNL, the opening skit always precedes the titles.

Tough puzzle with some great answers. Really liked the long downs, especially HEMINGWAYESQUE. Also liked the pairing of TRANSGENDER and AINT I A WOMAN.

Many clues were clever, such as those for IN JOKE, DOG PARK, and STEINS.

Was less fond of the dialogue blips, such as I DID SO and YES, YOU.

All in all, an excellent Friday puzzle.

RooMonster 11:52 AM  

Hey All !
Kinda wild looking FriPuz. Some cool words and clues. Found it to be rather difficult for me. Did online today, so use of Check Puz feature high. Just a V and X from a pangram.

@Nancy, you know how you learned to italicize your text? (i) - (/i), using the brakets, of course, cause if one types the brackets in, it doesn't show up in the text. To embed, all you have to do is this, again with brackets - (a href ="http//www.whareverthe site") and on the closing end, (/a). Give it a shot. Don't forget the quotation marks.

Did like the puz overall. Funy grid design, SKORT fun. BANJO clue fun. Light dreck considering long crossing answers.


old timer 12:01 PM  

So like the New York Times to have a pre-prepared article all ready in case Dylan ever won a Nobel.

This puzzle was tough, but fair. NOFAIR and STEINS gave me I FEEL -- and the I wrote in "fine" but that was soon fixed to FREE. In the middle, the only thing I had at first was GRATIA. I certainly to the motto, ars gratia artis, which means "art for art's sake" though I never thought of MGM as producing arty movies.

The SE was Easy thanks to POUND CAKE. I thought the BANJO clue was fantastic. I suppose everyone saw Deliverance at some time and remembers the scene and the music. Anyhow, CHIP gave me BARGAINING and ESQUE gave me HEMINGWAY, and I suddenly realized that "queens" had to be replaced by YEOMEN.

The SW was a head scratcher for a while, but AGRA seemed a fair guess and therefore DOG PARK had to be right. The NE would have been tough, except for all those articles about SNL's take on the debates, where I had read that the common SNL way of opening the show is called a COLD OPEN. A hot open, with music and fanfare, is what you see on most shows -- the old Tonight show, for instance, ending with "Here's Johnny".

Masked and Anonymous 12:03 PM  

Too many people and things in this one that I'd never ever heard of. That's ok, not every puz can be
on every solver's wavelength. M&A'll get em, next time, maybe. But, yikes -- even the research I needed to finish this puppy up involved copious precious nanoseconds (yo, @jae).
Still think the puz is somehow more fun, when there's a theme, btw. De busta gut.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

RE: 31A: Not identifying with one's assigned sex...."The clue on TRANSGENDER is nicely straight-forward-- no trying to make cutesy cleverness" Bull. The PC dodge is in "assigned". No one "assigns" your sex, not you, not your parents, not society. It's genetically "assigned" as in XY vs XX. Blame the "assignment" on God, nature or the primordial ooze. And btw leave this crap out of my puzzles. I do them for a diversion. Not indoctrination.

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

Thanks for the link to Sojourner Truth's speech. I appreciated the chance to read it.

Alex 12:43 PM  

Re: Rant on 31A - I'd say you are out of line, Anonymous. But anyway - I had fun with this puzzle. I liked HEMINGWAYESQUE, AIN'T I A WOMAN, TRANSGENDER, DO THE MATH - lots of this puzzle.

Teedmn 1:23 PM  

Two correct written-right-in answers today gave me a brief ego boost: DO THE MATH and LASHES. On the other hand, I nearly GOOFED at GARI/GRATIA. Had oRATIA and oARI looked vaguely Japanese. Then I considered eRATIA ("Erato" fueled that one) but finally some Latin-esque writing saved me.

It was slightly DICEY whether I would DNF in the NE due to that cross with COLD OPEN and I had to get rid of cArbs in favor of DAIRY in the NW but I still finished this puzzle faster than yesterday's puzzle.

Thanks, Natan Last.

And @John Child, thanks for naming your writing style, LOL :-).

Amelia 1:39 PM  

Well, we're dong better with the AA clues, a real degree and not rap. But what a day (See Trump and Michelle Obama) to have a dumb clue about batting eyelashes at a ball.

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

Learned what the POUND was about. Never knew GARI. Isn't there a palate-cleansing aspect to its use? regarding IDIOT, yes, Virginia, some words are used in anger.

Pete 1:56 PM  

eReaders have volume control? I have a Kindle V1.0.00.0.A.NULL.Zero (proving that one can simultaneously be an early adopter of technology and a luddite), and there's no volume control - hell, there are no speakers. Do modern eReaders actually read to you, or are they just tablets which have some version of MOBI or EPUB reader/displays. If they're reading to you, why not just go with Audible and have it read to you be a professional narrator rather than Siri or Android's robot, whatever its name is? Getting the version from Audible has got to be cheaper than buying an ebook anyway, what with our soon-to-be-indicted Governor having subsidized Audible for existing and potential new jobs in Newark for $11,000+/year/job for 10 years just to stay there. That's got to show up in reduced pricing, no? Audible (a.k.a Amazon) is going to pass that windfall straight to the customers, no?

Anyway, I call BS on the clue due simply to tortured syntax in an effort to be cute. What's wrong with "Nook, e.g."?


@Anonymous 12:04, if you're that easily indoctrinated, may I suggest some pastime less fraught than xwps?... How do you feel about shuffleboard? Tiddly-winks?

Larry Gilstrap 2:00 PM  

Wow! Referencing a song from Cream and a speech by Sojourner Truth and a recipe for POUND CAKE, that's some diverse fill, right there, which resulted in a challenging Friday puzzle. I enjoyed seeing HEMINGWAYESQUE materialize from the mist of seemingly odd letter combinations. All the crosses confirmed that it had to be GARI, and I anticipate encountering its usage in the real world.

Unknown 2:04 PM  

In the movie Deliverance, which made Dueling Banjos famous, there was only one banjo "dueling" with a guitar.

Masked and Anonymous 2:28 PM  

Now that I've had several cinnamon rolls and sips of the vodka, startin to get my nerve back a little. Enough strength now to relive this solvequest. Regional bullets:

* NW: IDIDSO clue was kinda lossey-goosey, so went with ITISSO. That meant that 13-A would probably start with TOTAL+stuff. Speakin of TOTAL, Cream's song was totally unknown to m&e. And I like the Cream; have some of their singles on ATCO. GARI is new to m&e, my dictionary, and the NYTimes. RELY clue was pretty shady. All in all, the NW produced mucho solvequest constipation.

* NE: YESYOU clue was fair but brutal. Had no earthly idea on COLDOPEN, EREADER, and PEU. Was hard to get started. If PEU is pronounced pee-yoo, it's apt in describin M&A's performance, in this corner.

* grid, mid-GrOPe: Got TRANSGENDER, off a few easy crosses (ARNAZ, UNMET, SAN and a guess of DAS). Ditto on DOMAINNAMES. Didn't know Gunn dude; figured on TOM, as in tommy-gun. AOLRADIO makes no sense and was a no-know. AINTAWOMAN is an interestin topic to learn about, but had no meanin to m&e, intra-solve. Thought HEMINGWAY had two M's in its HEMMs, so more false steps. COLDOPEN looked like it might end with -OPEN or -OPES or -OPER, which was vaguely helpful.

* SW: AOLRADIO was mighty rough to get all of, but did decide on the ?RADIO part, pretty early on. Guessed HADTO directly off nothin, to gain entry to this tightly-guarded corner. Not too much trouble, there.

* SE: BARGAININGCHIP helped m&e get in. Knew COEN, and rapidly sussed out lots of other entries. Growled audibly, when -ESQUE emerged at the end of HEMINGWAY-; scared the budgie. Never heard of MARC Maron, so … no thanx to him, survived the SE.

Admire folks that were able to solve all of it, and am in awe of anyone who thought this FriPuz was eazy-E. My head hurt.

fave weeject: Hard to decide. Guess I'll just admire rows #6 and #10, which contained all weejects.

Thanx, Mr. Last. First puz in a long time that M&A erased holes into. [Most of the desperation here was mine.]



Don McBrien 2:38 PM  

Pete, think of "volume" as in book. You use an EREADER to control the book (turn pages, leave bookmarks). I thought it was pretty clever.

Carola 2:51 PM  

A nice, slow Medium for me....sleepily recovering from last night's Wagner opera, reclining on a sunny window seat....zzzzz. Anyway, I really enjoyed my leisurely solve, from the easy BARGAINING CHIP to wha? EREADER and those coquettish LASHES. I liked learning GARI and COLD OPEN.
My volume control began as pomADEs, but that didn't last long.
@Nancy, some unseen hand stayed me from writing in "vies," which made that corner gettable for me. Never heard of those BANJOS.
@Roo Monster and @Nancy, if I can butt in....there needs to be a colon after the http, before the double slashes.

Pete 3:00 PM  

@Don McB - Well, if you're going to get all insightful and correct about things I guess OK, I was daft. I hope this doesn't carry over to my awaiting Christie's indictment.

Mohair Sam 3:52 PM  

This puzz was totally out of our ken, but we managed to finish, and liked it a lot. EREADER clue a classic - filled the little bastard before the joyous aha! - doesn't get any better than that. SKORT clue was super clever - where else would anyone want the damned things? Liked POUNDCAKE clue a lot too, felt full just reading it. Had to look back in the brain cells for AINTIAWOMAN - but it was there somewhere.

Someday I'll learn it's ARNAZ, not ARNeZ, someday.

Only complaint - I'm not qualified (took only required lit courses), although I have read every Hemingway novel, but I'm just not happy with "terse" as a descriptor. "Unadorned" of course, but terse has such a nasty feel. Or is "terse and unadorned" what academia has assigned to old Ernest and I'm just playing Karen Black in "Five Easy Pieces" at your tea?

Speaking of which. I missed yesterday (was in @Nancy territory at the Neue Galerie) and discovered that Bob Dylan had won the Noble in Literature when I came here late last night. I chuckled and didn't care much until I read this morning that Cormac McCarthy had been the favorite. I've read every McCarthy novel since and including "Suttree". I've heard and enjoyed most Bob Dylan songs too. I'll be honest, I didn't like McCarthy's "The Road", but beyond that his work, to me, is as good as it gets. I'm casting my vote with @Z, this is an awful mistake.

Cthruglass 4:29 PM  

Deliverance was released in 1972, not 1973.

Cthruglass 4:43 PM  

Not only that, but the film was released in 1972 not 1973

Suzy 4:54 PM  


chefwen 5:50 PM  

@Mohair Sam - Re. ARNEZ/ARNAZ, You will learn, but it will take years. Today was the first time I didn't have to wite out the E.

Didn't know GARI although I eat it right out of the jar. Looked it up in my Food Lovers Companion and it referred me to Beni Shoga. Ginger root that has been pickled in sweet vinegar and colored bright red. Beni shoga is used as a garnish for many Japanese dishes, especially SUSHI, and is eaten to refresh the palate. It's available in thin slices, shredded or in knobs and can be found in Asian markets.

A lot to like in this one, thank you Natan.

Anonymous 7:41 PM  

Great clues , tough but enjoyable Friday. Needed my sushi-loving husband's help with gari, though!

Z 8:36 PM  

Solved this this morning, but have had a busy day. I started in the NE, so I got TRANSGENDER from COLD OPEN/E-READER (the only legitimate E word in my book). The G was enough to slam down HEMINGWAYESQUE. The crossing was pretty amusing to me. Terse and unadorned and poster-child for cis-gender maleness. Yes, I am easily amused at times.

@dbud - @Don McBrien answered your question for @Pete but didn't seem to catch that you asked, too. Remember, "volume" early in the week will be sound, but later in the week one has to think about other meanings like a volume of Harry Potter.

@old timer - I thought I was cynical. I imagine there are enough Dylan experts around that it wasn't all that hard to come up with this paean to one of the "most authentic voices America has produced." Son #2 had the best observation, "I guess those Swedes like Bob Dylan better than Mos Def or Immortal Technique." I've a funny feeling that the NYT doesn't have many on staff who could generate that many column inches about Immortal Technique as quickly.

@Mohair Sam - And that's it exactly. The NYT article also cites Atwood, Roth, and DeLillo, all more worthy choices for a Literature Nobel.

Some Sam Cooke and A Song for Bob Dylan.

RooMonster 11:47 PM  

Ah yes, forgot the colon. Damn it.
(a href="") Go here, e.g. (/a)


spacecraft 10:59 AM  

Medium my ass! I managed to finish this thing, sans help, only by a series of wild guesses and DICEY inferences. I HADTO, there was so much I never heard of: GARI ARI* AGRA* UNE* MARC* (*: as clued). The MOST help was thinking of good old Papa for 15-down; it took a while longer to come up with the -ESQUE ending.

No, extra-challenging, so a "yuge" triumph factor. Sorry. They're gonna make that a new word, aren't they? I really don't want to help that along. DOD search didn't turn up much directly, so let's go with Lucy ARNAZ--or Ball. Timeless. I'll pass on the SKORT--on the course or ANYWHERE--but pick up some TEES and shoot YET another birdie.

rondo 11:44 AM  

Really liked this puz except I was a morOn before IDIOT. If I wouldn’t have seen COLDOPEN in the wild just last week, that NE woulda been even harder. Also had ItIsSO in the NW for a while and vIeS before BIDS. GRATIA was a gimme ‘cause I notice stuff like that.

Nit, ORNOT? “Dueling BANJOs” related. “Deliverance” was released in 1972, as was the tune, albeit “Dueling BANJOs” wasn’t released until December ‘72, so probably most of the record sales were in 1973, and it won a Grammy in 1974 (also see OFL’s FAQs). In the film and also on the recording the BANJO was dueling with a guitar. So only in the title of the song is either half of the duel a BANJO. So is the clue correct? Or correct enough?
On a side note, several years ago the missus and I had planned to go canoeing on one of the rivers coming out of the Ozarks. As she is not originally from this country, I had to show her the film which of course gave her second thoughts about all that. Turns out there were heavy rains causing flooding and no canoeing was allowed due to the high water (eerily reminiscent?). We went horseback riding and zip-lining instead.
Have to say “Deliverance” was a helluva film, but never ask me to squeal like a pig.

A local appliance store uses IFEELFREE in their advertisements. Gimme there.

It seems that the requirements for a yeah baby went UNMET, and it was tough, but this puz was a GEM.

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

Unpleasant. Riddled with pisser clues/answers. Rejected.

Burma Shave 12:25 PM  


and ex GRATIA bat those LASHES MOST tender.


Anonymous 2:18 PM  

From Syndication Land:

I've eaten sushi a million times and love the pickled ginger. I've never heard it called gari, (which spellcheck is trying to autocorrect) I learned a new word today. Also had no idea that AOL has a radio app. So that gari, gratia, aintiawoman, aolradio area was a giant Natick for me!

centralscrewtinizer 2:49 PM  

Southwest was a disASTER. Only had LOL and I was not laughing.

Fantastic write up from Lena.

Diana,LIW 2:54 PM  

One of those days where a lot of great guesses and a lot of wheelhouse meet up to make a fairly easy solve (for a Friday). Just lucky today.

My mom used to make a killer POUNDCAKE for church lunches. With a little lemony drip icing.

Taught a course on HEMINGWAY for a senior honors project. He certainly had a distinctive voice.

Can't resist the GARI and wasabi garnishes, but sometimes I wish I had.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Papa 5:32 PM  


In the late summer of that year we lived in a condo in North Dallas that looked across the tollway to the discos and honky tonks of the Rue St. Bubba. We were young and our happiness dazzled us with its strength. But there was also a terrible betrayal that lay within me like a Merle Haggard song at a French restaurant.
We went that summer to many clubs. We went to the Longhorn Ballroom and to the Palm and to a honky tonk in Fort Worth that was what Harry's Bar would have been like if it had 85-cent Pearl Beer and a barmaid whose peroxide hair could damage your eyes as if you had watched an eclipse. That night we visited them all, but as we drove home I did not think of the Pearl Beer and I did not think of the peroxide. I did not think of the girl who sat beside me. I thought of the woman of the tollway, and I could feel my heart pounding in the heat of the summer night. 'Stop the car,' the girl said.
There was a look of great and terrible sadness in her eyes. She knew about the woman of the tollway. I knew not how. I started to speak, but she raised an arm and spoke with a quiet and peace I will never forget.
'I do not ask for whom's the tollway belle,' she said. 'The tollway belle's for thee.'
The next morning our youth was a memory, and our happiness was a lie. Life is like a bad margarita with good tequila, I thought as I poured some whiskey onto my granola and faced a new day.

leftcoastTAM 6:12 PM  

Took two sittings and too much time to break this one. But it was worth the struggle.

Moved through most of the long answers fairly early, thinking I was pretty smart. But the biggest hold up was one of them, Sojourner Truth's AINTIAWOMAN, in particular the AINT.

That blocked entry into the tricky SW along with the overlapping GRATIA, GARI, AOLRADIO and TIM.

Resisted the BANJO duel, aptly enough in the SE, until that great 1973 movie, "Deliverance", emerged for some dark recess. Some unforgettably frightful scenes there.

Deliverance may be a good theme tag for this puzzle.

leftcoastTAM 6:15 PM  

"...FROM some dark recess...."

leftcoastTAM 8:54 PM  

Very late PS--VERY good review by LENA.

Diana,LIW 9:35 PM  

PS - If anyone would like to hear a fantastic interpretation of Sojourner Truth's speech, Rory Block wrote a song based on it about 20 years ago. It's also the title of her album. Moving.

Diana, LIW

Diana,LIW 9:39 PM  

The one they called Papa wrote a story based on the old man. And it was good. The beer was good, the light was good, but the cats continued to only want laps. That is how they are.


Anonymous 7:50 PM  

Easy for a Friday puzzle, though the southwest corner took a little time. I would prefer that politics be left out of the NY Times crosswords; does this constructor include TRANSGENDER, GENDERFLUID, or the equivalent in all his/her puzzles?

It's good that some readers like the IDIDSO, YESYOU, trc. answers in all the puzzles nowadays. I find them as tedious as ADES and all the similar old-style crossword answers.

On the positive side, I loved HEMINGWAYESQUE and IFEELFREE, although like several others my first guess was WHITEROOM. I also liked the cluing for SAN. So often the NYTimes puzzles are full of obscure local references like NY subway lines that it's nice to see clues that are more familiar to those in other parts of the country.

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