Ship part spelled with two apostrophes / WED 11-23-16 / Nathan Hale for colonies / Noneditorial magazine worker informally / Princess Peach's savior in video games

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: add -STER — ... for wackiness

Theme answers:
  • HIPSTER FLASK (20A: Something carried surreptitiously into an alt-rock concert?)
  • DREAM TEAMSTER (27A: Perfect truck driver for the job?)
  • DRAGSTER QUEEN (44A: Female street-racing champion?)
  • FLASH MOBSTER (52A: Ostentatious member of the Mafia?)
Word of the Day: FO'C'SLE (6D: Ship part spelled with two apostrophes) —
Forecastle (pron. fowk-sul; commonly abbreviated "fo'c's'le") refers to the upper deck of a sailing ship forward of the foremast, or the forward part of a ship with the sailors' living quarters. Related to the latter meaning is the phrase "before the mast" which denotes anything related to ordinary sailors, as opposed to a ship's officers. (wikipedia)
• • •

As "+ X = Wackiness" themes go, this was OK. -STER changes the meaning of the word it's added to each time. I can't believe HAM-to-HAMSTER wasn't somehow involved, since the potential for primo wackiness there seems quite high. Also, the clues were either tepid of slightly off-seeming. "Ostentatious" is "flash-y" more than it's FLASH. Why FLASH wasn't imagined as a verb in that clue, I will never, ever, know, since that's the much funnier way of imagining the phrase FLASH MOBSTER. Also, there is nothing about "alt-rock concert" that makes me think HIPSTER. Zero. I barely know what "alt-rock" means anymore. *Maybe* "indie rock" would've got you there. This "Definitive Guide to Hipster Music Genres," while tongue-in-cheek, is pretty wide-ranging, and while alt-folk and alt-rap make appearances, alt-rock, no. Be accurate. Shoegaze. Twee. Those are ... closer, anyway.

This puzzle should've been very, very easy, he said to himself, looking back over the grid. So why was my time average, even slightly above. Well, in a ... word? I guess it counts as a word. In a word: FO'C'SLE (6D: Ship part spelled with two apostrophes). That is the horrid outcome of someone's wanting CHASE SCENE so bad that he's willing to completely ignore the nightmarish -CS- consequences in the cross. English doesn't want to do that. So we get this ship part I've literally never heard of or seen in this form, which, btw, may be spelled with two apostrophes but is also spelled with three apostrophes (in fact, the 3-apostrophe spelling seems much more apt, since that's how many you need to account for all elisions). If you had asked me what FO'C'SLE was short for, I would not have been able to tell you. Even on a guess. I looked it up, saw "Forecastle," and went "... huh. OK." Also, FIND as 6A: Edit menu option??? I can't think of a duller, more horrible terrible boring and unthoughtful clue for FIND. Infinite clues, and we get this beige, office-manager nonsense. Ugh. So, yeah, I was held up a lot right in the north.

[43D: Tight hug]

Turns out I really hate the word AGLET (48A: Tip on a sweatshirt string). Just ... hate it. It looks stupid, and it doesn't look like it's pronounced, and it can also be spelled AIGLET, and I would never use it. AD REP exists only in crosswords, so I'm not fond of it either. It has all the excitement of [Edit menu option]. How is TOOT a [Palindromic blast]? I get the palindromic part, but ... is it "blast," like "good time.?" Because it sure as hell isn't "blast" like "blast your horn." TOOT is to "blast" what "whisper" is to "yell." Had the D- and thought 35D: One of a Disney septet was (duh) DWARF. Completely and utterly forgot who Nathan Hale was (?!) (SPY). Had ZESTY for ZIPPY (64A: Full of oomph). I think that's all the trouble spots. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


chefwen 2:50 AM  

Rex, I think "going on a TOOT" involves excessive drinking. I have a friend who refers to a night out drinking with her buddies as going on a toot. She also loves really old movies, I think she picked up that saying from one of them.

No problems with this one other than spelling FOCSLE and changing dwarf to DOPEY. Oh yeah, DIrt before DISH at 4D.

Cute puzzle, enjoyed it!

Charles Flaster 3:39 AM  

Easyish with a fun theme.
Liked cluing for WOE IS ME, FETA, and CELL.
Write overs--ZIPPY for pePPY and PER for rEd.
CrosswordEASE-- ELOI, AHI, and AGLET( unlike Rex , I like it.)
Thanks DS.

jae 4:32 AM  

Easy for me.

@Rex ZestY before ZIPPY was my only erasure.

Agree with @Rex on FLASH MOBSTER.

@Rex - I also hesitated briefly at spelling FOCSLE, but as a Navy vet It was familiar, and you are exactly right about FIND!

Pretty smooth grid, nice long downs, liked it.

Loren Muse Smith 4:33 AM  

Rex – I agree about using "ham" – I was looking for that one as I solved. I bet it would've been harder to use than we'd think; a lot of possibilities wouldn't pass the breakfast test. Maybe cured hamster, potted hamster, country hamster…

Hey – and Almira Gulch's bike in The Wizard of Oz is a SPINSTER CYCLE. And a peacock could be a FEATHER BOASTER. But that has a sound change.

Or I dunno – you're at the store buying a bajillion heavy-duty contractor garbage bags 'cause you're cleaning out your aunt's house, and there are 9 rooms. The clerk tells you it'd be better just to take a dumpster.

Aside from briefly at first thinking OPEN SEASON was part of the theme – no probs. I liked the non-themer long ones.

I guess today kinda opens the "season." Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Enjoy that spiced ham…

mathgent 6:12 AM  

Eighteen Terrible Threes (including AAH) is too many for a quality puzzle, but everything else (theme, cluing, entries) is fine. An unenthusiastic B minus.

Anonymous 6:35 AM  

Way back in the day, my mom used to do puzzles that always had aglet/aiglet ( and etui), so whenever it shows up, it makes me smile.

da kine 6:41 AM  

Focsle is a great answer.

Lewis 6:48 AM  

Clever theme -- I've never seen this before, obvious as it seems it should be. Truly, think about trying to come up with a theme that's never been done before -- credit to David here. Lovely clues for CELL and PATH, and I would have liked more like this, and David usually gives more. The solve was ZIPPY, with no stumbles on the PATH.

What's not to like about a puzzle with a little rhyming thing going on -- GLOBE/LOBE, SAG/DRAG, and FETA/BETA? An intersection of DOPEY and SAPPY? Plus a backward GAS and TOOT? This was a very enjoyable diversion -- props to you, David!

John Child 7:02 AM  

I agree with @da kine: FOCSLE is an excellent word for Wednesday. On paper and untimed, but it felt challenging. Quite fun. Thanks!

kitshef 7:20 AM  

Very straightforward, even bland, in the cluing, but I was tickled by the theme so thumb up here.

Played easy. Got HIPSTER FLASK off of the HI, and DRAGSTER QUEEN with no crosses.

Only overwrite was RAmp before RAIL. Didn’t know the filmmaker or the composer, but crosses were all good.

And what a clean grid. No cheater squares, no S-cheaters (squares with an S that pluralizes both the words it is part of). No phony –ER or –ED words. No xxx UP or xxx IN phrases. Only nit is that NE, with AANDW, AMC, AAH and NRA.

Dorothy Biggs 7:43 AM  

DS does much better on earlier week puzzles, IMO. I liked this one, but you could see some of his "later" week isms creeping in...ROCHE, AGLET, FIND (as clued), and FOCSLE. My criticisms of his later puzzles is that they try too hard and I always get the impression he's constructing a puzzle with a dictionary at hand always looking for weird words. Nothing wrong with that in small doses, and this puzzle only skirts that feeling for me...touches on it...and pulls back just in time for it not to get too too. A few more of those and we'd be off into the DS weeds with a puzzle that is excruciating. But, all's well that ends well, and this one was fine.

I agree with Rex about TOOT. I actually thought of TOOT as the only palindromic "blast-like" word I know, but I thought, "No, that can't be." But it was.

The rest of the crazy fill (FOCSLE, AGLET, ROCHE) was easily inferrable and fairly crossed.

I give the puzzle a solid B. Above average, only a few little quirks, but nothing fatal. I wouldn't go so far as to call it superior...but then I would be the kind of teacher that reserved an A only for really special standouts. This was good, great even...certainly above average...but not overwhelmingly so.

Just my 2 PER cent. (.02)

chefbea 7:49 AM  

Hand up for wanting hamster!! easyish puzzle but never heard of focsle!!! Liked vichyssoise, feta and Jif. Now to go make the cranberry sauce for tomorrow!!!

The Oxen of the Sun 7:55 AM  


File sharing for felines?

Unknown 7:57 AM  

Nice birthday present to @David Steinberg on his last day as a teenager--flashbacks to this puzzle (or a tamer variant) from 364 days ago.

The theme brought a smile to my face, and the cluing skewed tricky as is @David's signature. It took a while to work out RECORD_LABEL, which was the key to completing two of the theme entries in the southwest. To @Loren Muse Smith's HAMSTER suggestion, maybe still under the influence of yesterday's NON-KOSHER/HALAL offering?

Thanks, @Rex, for explaining FOCSLE, which I had to get from the crossings. As others have already noted, DIrt before DISH, ZestY before ZIPPY, and may I add several random cable networks ahead of AMC. No need for the classic ROCHE product after solving this.

Wishing all my friends here a Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

I assumed TOOT = fart.

Zwhatever 8:23 AM  

Did anyone fall into the PARATROuPER trap? No? Me neither.

FINDing an ampersandwich at 1A lowered my expectations for this puzzle, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.

AGLET, one of those words that makes you feel all learned until you realize knowing it makes you look all nerdy and snooty. Then you spend the rest of your life pretending not to know it. Definitely hate-worthy.

Alt-rock is a term right out of the 80's. R. E. M. would be the quintessential example. Most of their fans are closer to needing a hip replacement than carrying a FLASK.

AliasZ 8:24 AM  

As I start writing this, I look up at my TV and see the name Jule STYNE. The movie on TCM is Double Dynamite (1951) with Frank Sinatra, Jane Russell and Groucho Marx. What are the odds?

Funster themester today, I actually LOLed at DRAGSTER QUEEN. I liked the others as well, and immediately started thinking: grandmaster Moses, the rasta monster, hit the roadster with a minister Cooper, then went on to hire a gun shyster named huckster Finn, and drove to oyster vey.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve everyone.

M. David Hornbuckle 8:25 AM  

I took TOOT as referring to flatulence.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

Same here.

RooMonster 8:29 AM  

Hey All !
This was kind of a weird puz today. Normally I like DS puzs, but this one was tilted a sconch. The two long non-theme Acrosses seem superfluous. Could've added another black square where 18D starts/the S in OPENSEASON. Reworked those areas just a little bit. And adding -STER for no rhyme or reason. No revealer, just -STER. Hmm.

Natick alert! ROCHE/PROLE. Was never going to get ROCHE. And 1984 is not a story I'm up on. So, had to reveal ROCHE. :-(

Writeovers, dolE-METE, Dwarf-DOPEY, dAdA-PAPA.

Tosses a crustacean? THROWS A LOBSTER


Greg 8:48 AM  

Unlike Rex, I enjoyed seeing AGLET. One of those trivia words that I've been carrying around since childhood, and finally got to use!

Happy Pencil 9:01 AM  

Fifty-six puzzles published in the NYT before you're out of your teens is pretty impressive. Congrats on that, David!

I seem to be going against the grain the past few days, because I thought this puzzle was clever and funny, and I thought yesterday's was lame and tired. I do like LMS's suggestion of a CURED HAMSTER, though. That's all that was lacking for me.

Me too for DIrt before DISH and Dwarf before DOPEY. Me too for thinking FOCSLE is an excellent word.

@Kathy from late Sunday (sorry, just getting caught up on my blog reading), thanks for your note but you have no need to apologize to me. Tempers are running high these days on all sides, and we probably all need to take a breath!

QuasiMojo 9:03 AM  

Do hipsters even go to rock concerts? I thought their thing was sawdust covered bars with IPAs and folk music. I went to an open mic evening recently where the hipsters snapped their fingers instead of applauded. I would think most of them wouldn't be caught dead at an arena. Also I don't get the dragster answer. Drag queens are men, not women. I had Chary before Shady. Too many Y words. Zippy, Shady, Dopey, and Sappy. And was not thrilled being reminded of Michael Eisner. This was below David S's usual standard. I dislike these add-on forced themes. And I had hoped his would be seriously funny or clever but this one falls short and borders on sophomoric.

wgh 9:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
wgh 9:12 AM  

For my 2c, PRO(L)E and E(L)OI should never, never, ever, ever, ever ever ever cross.

Nancy 9:17 AM  

Do I really have an Edit Menu Option called FIND? Where is it? What does it do? Why can't I FIND it? Sigh.

This puzzle wasn't a DREAMster. This puzzle was a DRAGster. It wasn't ZIPPY. It didn't ELATE me. I thought it was pretty DOPEY, actually. I liked neither the fill nor the theme -- a theme that seemed a combination of forced and meh. (Morced? Feh?) DS has created some nifty puzzles of late, but this wasn't one of them. He must have pulled it out of his bottom drawer, on his way to Thanksgiving.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

Toot, blast from a horn?

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

I'm confused about how this puzzle got an OK review. I agree with the gripes, but I think you laid it on a little thin. In what world is it OK to have flash be the answer to ostentatious? Flashy isn't more correct than flash as suggested above. Flash is just flat-out wrong. Terrible fill, terrible pun-sters. Just bad.

ArtO 9:33 AM  

I think AIGLET is the preferred spelling. Hand up for Zesty before ZIPPY and Dirt before DISH.

Enjoyed the puzzle. David usually entertains with some stuff out of my ken and such was the case with PROLE.

jberg 9:41 AM  

I really wanted a punny revealer --

"Just add watir and ___"

or some version of STER FRIED (need a clever clue for that one).

And -- this really happened -- for 66A I was wondering if Ella Fitzgerald had ever held a fundraiser to fight cancer or something, and called it "SCAt for life." I had to get Eisner to see SCAR.

On the other hand, in a sure sign of having done too many of these things, I knew AGLET right away. Btw, my dictionary says it's pronounced just the way it looks. Maybe there's regional variation.

I had to remember which letters to leave out o FOCSLE, but if you've spent as much time as I once did reading the Horation Hornblower series, the word is familiar enough!

Big Steve 46 9:44 AM  

Rex seems to be back into full-grumpy mode. I thought that this was a reasonable example of a maturing David Steinberg. If he's now approaching 20 years old, I hope he has a more ambitious life goal than as a crossword puzzle constructor, and thereby a full-time immersion into geek/nerd land.

Zwhatever 9:48 AM  

Ergo, @anon9:30, I don't know what you think is wrong.

Mohair Sam 10:05 AM  

When we came to 6D (FOCSLE) I told Lady M that the answer was forecastle, and that I thought it had about sixteen apostrophes, and I had no idea where they went. I also told her I was gonna love this puzzle - and I did. FOCSLE, what a great answer. Something totally different.

Like @Rex I forgot that Hale was a SPY. Neat seeing MAD next to SPY, MAD magazine so famous for its SPY vs. SPY series. Those of you arguing against the worthiness of "graphic arts" might want to take a look at those old "cartoons." I kinda liked seeing good old AGLET again, but it is super crosswordy. I'll bet half the kids working in those athletic shoe outlets have no idea what an AGLET is. Speaking of which . . . .

Is it just me or has the AGLET improved over the years? I remember those things splitting after a month or two and forever trying to force the laces through the tiny eyelet and finally pulling out the lace, measuring the damned thing, buying a new pair - only to have the sole rip out of the sneaks a week later. Nowadays those little AGLETs seem to hang in there forever. Always improving the product - is capitalism great or what?

QuasiMojo 10:08 AM  

@Nancy, the FIND option is usually under Edit and it allows you to search a document to find a certain word or phrase. Some have a Find and Replace option which is extremely helpful when editing a manuscript. For instance if you decide to change a character's name from Eloise to Hildegarde, all you have to do is click on Find and it will highlight all the times Eloise appears and then hit Replace and it will change them. One has to be careful not doing if the name is something like Ned since it will replace it in the middle of words as well. You could end up with "abandonhildegarde."

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

Agree, Big Steve. Despite the puzzle being "OK" (high praise from RP), the write-up is just a litany of gripes. I get that the standard here for crosswords is perfection, and I appreciate that, but I would also learn more about construction etc. if there were positives mentioned as well. Plus it would be more pleasant, but I guess that's why I read the comments. Like Ham to Hamster. Unforgettable linkster? = Indelible Inkster

Carola 10:28 AM  

For me, the FLASH MOBSTER and FOCSLE made the effort worthwhile.

@QuasiMojo - "abandonhildegarde" made me laugh. Grading students' essays, I'd occasionally encounter such train wrecks; it took me a while to figure out what had happened.

Famous NY Adman 10:32 AM  

Would have loved a play on the famous Bette Davis line, as in "What a dumpSTER."

Sir Hillary 11:07 AM  

Wow, now we're complaining about a supposedly boring clue for FIND? Must be time for a holiday.

Would have been cool to clue the last three themers as Jimmy Hoffa, Shirley Muldowney and John Gotti, respectively. There's no equivalent for the first themed, but still...

old timer 11:18 AM  

FLASH company me boys, like a great many more
If it hadn't have been for FLASH company, i'd never have been so poor.

A good old song from maybe the end of the 18th Century, still known and sung in England, after a pint or two of bitter. I have no doubt Mr. Steinberg has heard it, and had it in mind.

Puzzle was Wednesday level for me. Helped that I knew FOCSLE right off. What slowed me down was DOPEY instead of dwarf and OPEN SEASON where I wanted "deer" SEASON. And RESELL which I got only on crosses.

Anoa Bob 11:19 AM  

FLASH MOBSTER "Mafioso with a penchant for exposing himself"?

APART from FOCSLE, and maybe ZIPPY, not a lot of ZIPPY stuff in this one. I'm guessing it comes in with a very low scrabble score.

dramawritcomp 11:28 AM  

Because it's been in the news so much lately, I read 20A as an "alt-right concert" and couldn't figure out what a hipster would be doing there with or without a flask.

Thought the theme was only OK, with the exception of DRAGSTER QUEEN which was classic. Would have liked a revealer to tie the four themers together, such as something related to "STER crazy" or "causing a STER."

My submission for a "ham" themer might be "A rodent from Richmond," or "Virginia hamster."

Other possibilities include:

Cassock - minister skirt

Dancing Hawaiian basketball player - hula hoopster

AZPETE 11:39 AM  

Didn't like clue for _____ cent as written.

cwf 11:39 AM  

Another yes vote for FOCSLE and AGLET (both crossless gimmes).

Steve Hardgrave 11:45 AM  

As another Navy guy, I absolutely think that focsle is perfectly fine. Agree on the three apostrophes, though. See also boatswain (pronounced bosun, abbreviated bos'n) and coxswain.

Ellen S 11:55 AM  

Even without being a navy guy, or a guy at all, fo'c'sle was a gimme. I told my brother the high-school dropout turned used car dealer that @Rex the English professor had never heard of a fo'c'sle, and he said, "huh? Moby Dick." Yeah, and Captains Courageous, and hundreds of lesser books, but those two, and I'm sure Two Years Before the Mast, but I got tired of scrolling through Google Books hits on the word. There were even some mysteries.

I enjoyed the puzzle. More than the other day when I couldn't remember PINOCHLE. I knew immediately what the answer was, knew it began with a "P", couldn't call the word up from the depths. My friend Hene's father used to spend one night a week with his "Pinochle cronies." We said that phrase a million times ...50 years ago. I had almost all of it filled from crosses before the word came back into my rotting (composting) brain.

Tim Pierce 11:56 AM  

Fun and relatively easy Wednesday. FO'C'SLE was no big problem -- only a brief delay as I made sure I remembered which letters had been left out of "forecastle." And I don't even sail!

I was very confused by the long Across runners at 17 and 58 which I assumed would be themers until I caught on to the -STER theme.

Kim Colley 12:07 PM  

Reading RP's review of today's puzzle made me think of these lines from Pride and Prejudice:

"Mr. Darcy is not so well worth listening to as his friend, is he? Poor Eliza! To be only just tolerable."

Never mind, Master Steinberg. As Mrs. Bennet says, "He is such a disagreeable man that it would be quite a misfortune to be liked by him."

I've seen fo'c'stle many times, but I've never heard it spoken. And just finished re-reading an Agatha Christie in which one of the characters is called "Flash Alf" within his family circle. I also enjoyed the theme answers, especially "dragster queen." Now I've got an image of RuPaul in flash street-racing gear indelibly painted in my head.

Wileyfex 12:24 PM  

Yes, like a tugboat horn

Wileyfex 12:28 PM  

You have made me wonder if eyelet and aglet are related

Uke Xensen 12:39 PM  

RP must not have read any pirate stories or maritime histories if he doesn't know the word "fo'c'sle," which is common in those contexts.

dick swart 12:41 PM  

RE: ADREP ... in the agencies and media for whom I worked for many years before the current social media, this was a common appellation.

RE: AGLET ... seems like years since I've seen this. I thought it went out with "Celebese Ox".

G.Harris 12:48 PM  

Why is it whenever Rex gets hung up he deems the clue or answer bad. Btw if you ever heard a tug boat toot you know it's a blast.

Teedmn 1:08 PM  

I agree with @Rex that today was a little harder than the average Wednesday, at least for me, but not due to FO'C'SLE, which I knew but realized I didn't know. With ships, I know most of the terms due to reading many, many books set at sea but I have never done the research to put an image with most of the terms so the FO'C'SLE might be next to the poop deck, or aft or contain the mizzenmast. I just don't know. I suppose I'm talking myself into becoming educated - maybe over this upcoming holiday weekend :-).

Criminal franchisee = CHAIN GANGSTER?

I can see an argument being made for TOOT equalling a blast. I know people who think it is proper etiquette to give cyclists a "courtesy TOOT" as they drive past said cyclist. Let me tell you that if you think that is a good idea, please re-think it. Having a horn blast next to me when I'm riding my bicycle usually scares the pants off me. After I recover from jerking the handlebars abruptly, I make nasty imprecations towards anyone being so "courteous". So just don't do it, unless the cyclist is veering into you.

Mr. Steinberg, I like the creative theme, thanks.

Mohel the Tipster 1:32 PM  

Ah,yes, FO'C'SLE. Myself, I was thinking of FO'ESK'N

chefbea 1:46 PM  

Bird/animal from down under....Kangarooster

Mr. Benson 2:18 PM  

AGLET has made me laugh ever since the term, and specifically its use in crossword puzzles, was lampooned in the kids' TV show Phineas and Ferb (featuring the book "A Child's Guide to Useless Shoelace Facts, Volume 8"). It was the basis of an entire episode.

Anonymous 2:24 PM  

So we agree then. The answer should be flashy. Flash mobster is in no way an answer to the clue. Flashy mobster would be, but then it wouldn't make sense. Ergo, the clue/answer relationship makes no sense. As your two links show, ostentatious and flashy are adjectives that mean "showy." On this planet, the word flash does not mean "showy. Ergo, on this planet either the clue or answer are wrong.

Larry Gilstrap 2:39 PM  

As noted earlier, lots of three letter answers in this respectable Wednesday effort. I'm no constructor, so I'm not sure what that means, but I notice that sort of thing. I can't see DRAGSTER QUEEN without thinking of the legendary Shirley "Cha Cha" Muldowney. Fast woman, indeed!

Also, I must express my admiration for Bill NYE who has courageously written on the subjects of Natural Evolution and Anthropogenic Climate Change, specifically for non-scientists and deniers. Be sure to drag along his Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation to your family Thanksgiving dinner. Well, maybe not.

I remember the A AND W Rootbeer drive-in on Route 66 in Azusa had car hops, frosty mugs, and crinkle-cut fries.

The forecastle is mentioned numerous times in Moby-Dick, but not the elision, which I see written as FOC'SLE, FO'C'SLE, and FO'C'S'LE in three reliable sources displayed before me. I'm sure the actual pronunciation used by nineteenth century whalers would have been the contraction or unintelligible. The Knights and Squires of a whaling ship were quartered in aft cabins while the members of the diverse crew were assigned bunks and hammocks in the forecastle, in front of the foremast. Dana titled his 1840 memoir Two Years Before the Mast, about his experiences as a young man on a merchant ship. Visit Mystic Seaport to explore the Charles W. Morgan, last of the Yankee whaling ships, if that floats your boat.

JB 2:42 PM  

How have you never heard fo'c'sle? Autocorrect has it, with apostrophes! Read Patrick O'Brian stat, sir!

JB 2:42 PM  

How have you never heard fo'c'sle? Autocorrect has it, with apostrophes! Read Patrick O'Brian stat, sir!

Fellow Human 2:54 PM  

Couldn't agree more with @Teedmn's plea to motorists about TOOTing their horns at bicyclists. Nothing like a blaring horn to send me from zen bliss to terror in a second. And while we're at it, turn off that damn horn signal that declares that you have successfully locked your vehicle using your remote. And another thing, don't hesitate to use your turn signals to indicate your intentions.

RnRghost 2:56 PM  

@Z, "Alt-rock is a term right out of the 80's. R. E. M. would be the quintessential example. Most of their fans are closer to needing a hip replacement than carrying a FLASK."

From an 80s college rock fan who recently had a knee replacement, genuine LOL.

Zwhatever 3:26 PM  

@Anon2:24 - Do I have to do everything for you? FLASH - Don't make me come over there and help you scroll down to noun definition 5.*

@RnRghost - Glad you got a chuckle rather than flipping me the bird.

*Seriously - do we not accept that humans adapt language to their own purposes all the time? Would a verb clue have been better? Perhaps. But is it so hard to imagine a FLASH MOBSTER, wearing an Armani suit with too much jewelry with expensive Italian shoes enjoying a nosh of Cheez-it Genoese? Or maybe FLASH MOBSTERs prefer Cheez-It Firenze? At any rate, FLASH and brash and Y are you looking at me?

kitshef 4:04 PM  

@Teedmn - I can see a nasty vicious circle developing here. Motorist toots his horn, thinking he is being a nice guy. Gets cursed out for it. Thinks "man, what a jerk! Next time I'll really lay on the horn".

dramawritcomp 4:46 PM  

Good one

Numinous 4:53 PM  

"I thought this puzzle was pretty FLASH," 'e said.

There was a time, in the days of Alt Rock, when one wantd to have a blast one would have a TOOT first.

Congratulations, @David, upon entering your third decade. I'm sure you will find room for cake and ice cream after the pumpkin pie. Good puzzle, man.

FO'C'SLE came easily because. " . . . there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” Just ask Ratty and Kenneth Grahame.

Jeff, at xwordinfo, added a picture of Danica Patrick to go along with DRAGSTER QUEEN. I had to look her up to discover if she ever drove DRAGSTERs (she didn't) and discovered that she was in an episode of CSI-NY in season 6. I'm going to watch that shortly on Netflix. Spent most of the afternoon help to prep for tomorrow's feast.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, y'all.

Drivers are Different in NJ 5:11 PM  

@Larry G, keep it up, and folks'll talk

@Z, leave the gun; bring the Cheez-its Genovese.

foxaroni 5:35 PM  

ADREP is a very common phrase in broadcasting and newspaper circles.

@Z, I strongly agree with your comments directed at @Anon2:24. Looking at the other side of things: the wackification of today's phrases uses established word combinations. Hip flask, dream team, drag queen, flash mob. It's not "flashy mob." I suppose a case could be made for not using "flash mob," then, but as @Z notes, "flash mobster" certainly conveys what the clue is describing. To me, it all works just fine.

For some reason, "aglets" reminds me of Rich Hall's sniglets. Anyone remember those?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bill L. 5:51 PM  

Did the puzzle early this morning before work and if I can trust my memory I believe I liked it.

@Nancy - this isn't exactly on an edit menu but here's something you may find useful: while holding down the ctrl key press the f key. A little box will pop up into which you can enter a word or phrase you would like to search this page for. All occurrences of the word will be highlighted and you can use the little up/down arrows to jump to the next/previous occurrence. At the time I write this there are 11 occurrences of "find" in the comments.

foxaroni 5:52 PM  

@Numinous--Thanks for the "Wind in the Willows" reference--my second most favorite book of all time (after the "Alice in Wonderland" set). "Dulce Domum" is as good (or better) a Christmas Story as "A Christmas Carol." IMHO, of course.

Teedmn 6:16 PM  

@kitshef, not a problem. By the time I'm over the shock and get my best "you kids get off my lawn" fist pump going, they're safely past. Except for the person who used to hit the horn as soon as they saw me ahead on the shoulder, up to a block away. They would keep the horn down at full blast until they passed me. Since this was at around 6 AM, I always wondered what the neighborhood residents thought of the noise.

Alex 6:51 PM  

I started the puzzle with a bang, blowing through the North. I am familiar with FO'C'SCLE, which helped. I won't say that I didn't need crosses, but I only needed a couple. I slowed down in the middle and the South, but I was able to complete it without too much difficulty. Dwarf before DOPEY, peppy before ZIPPY, aflak before AFLAC, but nothing that I couldn't work out.
Fun for me.

Leapfinger 7:01 PM  

NB: I haven't had the chance to read all comments yet, sooo...

Hey, @AliasZ, that's odd: on the old movie channel I was watching, it was a flick with Bogart in the role of a plastic surgeon, called Keyster Largo. Loved your closing 'oyster vey', isn't that what you get in R-less months, orso I hear?

Had a connotation of consternation about 'spiced hamsters'; otoh,  I think 'cured hamsters' are definitely a line-item in a small-animal vet's resumé. Gareth? Anyone?

In non-theme news, I liked the CHASESCENE, though I never remember if it comes before or after the Eocene or the Pleistocene.

Then there was the doughty PARATROOPER: I once meta paratrooper who worked with the Ortho guys, kind of bonded with them. He was in the guise of a paratrooper from Paraguay but he was just a Regular Guay, though he'd once been part of a 6-Carbinieri ring.

And, oh yes, I wanted to mash-up the NW to get MARIO ANDretti, who would've matched well with the DRAGSTER QUEEN. I remember Danica being on Letterman, back when.

Was stumped by who makes Valium, and ran the gamut of drug REPs: Merck, Lilly, pFizer. Took a while to cut back from Hoffman-LaROCHE. They should've clued a fitb: de la _____ foucauld

Call me Mic, but what I love about this kind of theme is how it brings out the MiSTER Mimic in the solver. There was the guy who wanted to join a fraternity, but he didn't pass Sigma MuSTER. Then I thought of the Bond villain with a warm place at the table: Dr STERno.

After Dr No, I thought of Pater NoSTER, but that's been done.

Thanks to DS, for the clever fun, and to @chefbea, for one-upping AAMilne's KangaRooSTER.

And a joyful Erev Thanksgiving to all.

Happy Pencil 9:07 PM  

"He drives a flash car." "He drives a showy car." What's the problem?

Numinous 9:24 PM  

Thanks, @foxaroni, I happen to think that Kenneth Grahame is right even though I don't get the chance anymore. I'm sure Jack Aubrey, Horatio Hornblower, Francis Chichester, John Paul Jones, and some guy named Nimitz would agree with me. Had I been given the chance to sail around the world, or anywhere, even, I'd have jumped on it like a mongoose on a cobra.

Happy turkeys, hamSTERs, geese, legs o' lamb or whatever y'all are feasting on.

alt state 4:15 AM  

and don't forget to think of the many who aren't feasting

Burma Shave 10:48 AM  


That DREAMTEAMSTER seemed SHADY driving in the CHASESCENE,


spacecraft 11:27 AM  

I was totally surprised when I saw the byline on this one. Oh, David, I thought you cared! And here you hit me with an ampersandwich AT 1-ACROSS?? REALLY??? I'll admit I learned something: had no idea that A&W (NOTE HOW I TYPED THAT, PLEASE!!) ran actual restaurants.

Also surprising was the utter ease with which I did this. It belongs squarely in the Monday slot. No clue who ABEL Ferrara is, but I did that whole SW on the downs so it didn't matter. (LABEL crossing ABEL? LOBE crossing GLOBE? C'mon, man.) sold out, dude. This isn't a Steinberg; it's a pound of hamburger ground out to feed the PROLEs. I don't expect better from them asses--but I do from you.

Only glitch the popular ZestY. Theme and fill: more SAPPY than ZIPPY. Not even a good DOD, so we'll give the nod to DRAGSTERQUEEN Shirley least she's blonde. This would be a bogey over almost anyone else's byline; over this one: double-bogey.

centralscrewtinizer 12:04 PM  

Anoa Bob got there first, but I think a better clue for FLASH MOBSTER is 'Mafia guy naked under his trenchcoat'.

Also feel TOOT is more of a butt joke, than horn blowing.

'Standard feature of non-R-rated movies' CHASTE SCENE

rondo 12:29 PM  

HIS byline fell on the fold of the paper today, so I didn’t see it until after. Perhaps DS’ better work is going elsewhere these days? Sure seemed easy.

Picked up a MAD magazine last week. Usually about once a year. The back cover did not fold together to form a second message. When did they stop doing that? They do still have SPY vs. SPY.

To me ZIPPY is a pinhead and not full of oomph. Not having cable nor DISH, AMC to me is still the maker of that Hornet I drove for a while in the 80s. AMC also made the very ugly Pacer.

Last time I went to an AANDW it was a drive-in

Yeah, not a yeah baby as clued, NONE, so I’ll stretch a bit and take a pick from either Maggie, Terre, ORELSE Suzzy ROCHE, of – The ROCHEs. They used to get some airplay on the MPR Morning Show in the 80s and 90s. Not at all related to PAPA Roach.

I won’t RAIL against this puz, but it’s RARE to FIND a DS puz like it.

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Smooth, fair, clever and fun. A great puzzle!

Diana,LIW 1:42 PM  

send before FIND, tipster before HIPSTER. Never heard of an AGLET. dwarf before DOPEY.

Finally changed my errors, but still had a 2 or 3 space dnf. loved the clue for OPEC.

@Rondo - you might enjoy the LEMONS (pronounced LE MONS) car show during car week in Monterey. Basically a lot of Pacers, Gremlins, one-off oddities, all posing as a car show. A fun break from all the million-dollar autos running around. Worth a Google.

@Teedmn - always thought cars should have a "courtesy" horn - some non-threatening sound that says "I'm here" or "the light changed." I'm always careful around bikes, but some riders seem to have a suicide mentality, especially when they run thru red lights w/o looking - yikes!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 1:50 PM  

I have to remember that David Steinberg (not the funny Canadian) is still a teenager, so whatever he comes up with blows me away. I think you were a little hard on young DS, @Spacey.

For me, this was a good Wednesday effort. Loved FOCSLE. I have a friend who always, almost ad nauseam, quotes that line about messing about in boats. He's British too, so it fits. The thing about the FOCSLE is that it is the best place to be if you are getting a little queasy being on the briny.

I know that many people, including the Spacester, dislike so-called ampersandwiches, but that is how one says them. O'course, I usually have no pet nits anyway. I liked this.

leftcoastTAM 2:14 PM  

As a fan of David Steinberg, I expect something clever, fair, fun, and, as usual, smooth and solid. Today is no exception.

Some pauses : MARIO/AMC and spelling of FO'C'SLE, STYNE, and AGLET.

Amusing theme with a PAIR of pairs (STERS in middles and ends of the four theme words). RESELL clued as scalp was a bonus.

Was it too easy? No, it's a Wednesday.

SharonAK 2:25 PM  

Loved "flash mobster". Was very surprised at all the complaints, "explanations" of why it was wrong etc.
In my mind flash as an adjective meaning ostentatious was very current. Since I'm totally in the dark about all the recent rock groups,e tc that most seem to know, or at least don't complain about, couldn't believe the complaints.
After googling some definitions, I began to think I was familiar with the meaning from having British in-laws and friends.
But the Urban Dictionary lists the definition used in the puzzle.

"Cell for sentence structure took me a while, even tho the "prison" or "jail" idea was teasing my brain. Liked the clue. On the whole a very good puzzle

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