Female hip-hop fan / FRII 12-9-16 / Sender of billet-doux / Song sung to Lilo in Lilo Stitch / Virginia Woolf's given name at birth

Friday, December 9, 2016

Constructor: David Phillips

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Mont Cervin (31A: Mont Cervin and others=>ALPES) —
The Matterhorn (German: Matterhorn, [ˈmatərˌhɔrn]; Italian: Monte Cervino, [ˈmonte tʃerˈviːno]; French: Mont Cervin, [mɔ̃ sɛʁvɛ̃]), is a mountain of the Alps, straddling the main watershed and border between Switzerland and Italy. It is a huge and near-symmetrical pyramidal peak in the extended Monte Rosa area of the Pennine Alps, whose summit is 4,478 metres (14,692 ft) high, making it one of the highest summits in the Alps and Europe. The four steep faces, rising above the surrounding glaciers, face the four compass points and are split by the Hörnli, Furggen, Leone and Zmutt ridges. The mountain overlooks the Swiss town of Zermatt in the canton of Valais to the north-east and the Italian town of Breuil-Cervinia in the Aosta Valley to the south. Just east of the Matterhorn is Theodul Pass, the main passage between the two valleys on its north and south sides and a trade route since the Roman Era. (wikipedia)
• • •

Barely there. Nothing horrible here, but nothing interesting either. I mean ... nothing. Not knocking MELISSA MCCARTHY at all (she is Peak Answer here, for sure), but one actress's name just isn't much, pizzazz-wise. Fill is pretty clean for a 64-worder, but it's also phenomenally dull. Also, I'm somewhat surprised this *is* a 64-worder. Feels like 70, possibly because there are so many black squares, esp. toward the middle, chopping the grid up and resulting in a good number of short answers (not as common in low word-count puzzles). But 70-worders actually tend to be cleaner and more interesting than this. I guess the best that can be said is that those rather wide-open corners are not filled poorly. Still, I don't understand the entertainment value of a lower word-count puzzle like this, where the fill is so ... by the book. In a themed puzzle, I'd be satisfied with this fill, because the main interest of the puzzle would lie elsewhere (i.e. in the damn theme). But with themelesses ... you just gotta do better than this. You need some smashing marquee answers. Something.

DENTAL / PICK?? (53A: With 39-Across, teeth-cleaning aid). What on god's green is that? I know what a tooth pick is, and a water pick (pik?), but a DENTAL PICK? Is that just one of them plastic hooks you pick your teeth with? Why are you doing that? If you're out, toothpicks. If you're home, brush/floss. Crossing MARISSA (4D: ___ Mayer, Yahoo C.E.O. beginning in 2012) and MELISSA seems inelegant—not teeth-picking inelegant, but ... those names are 5/7 identical, come on. The only real groany thing in the grid is GOTAS (ugh ... see, groany) (25A: Received high marks). Oh well, at least IT'S OVER, and I got a sub-5 time I can feel good about (before I go to sleep and forget about it entirely).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Unknown 12:09 AM  

So, it's a FRIDAY and what an interesting experience it was to PICK and PECK away at @David Phillips' puzzle until suddenly realizing, IT'S_OVER.

I would bet that I'm not the only man of SCIENCE to just instinctively fill in NAoh as the compound that reacts with H2SO4 ... but here is a video (3 minutes) demonstrating the production of HCl gas from concentrated sulfuric acid with table salt. It doesn't say so explicitly, but you may want to use PYREX glassware (and don't try it at home). How many of you GOT_A'S in chemistry, anyhow?

I would have clued ANTHRAX for the scourge first investigated by chemist-turned-microbiologist Louis Pasteur. I did a double-take at ALOHA_OE -- inferred the Hawaiian greeting from the name of the movie -- so thanks, @Rex, for sharing the @Johnny Cash rendition. I did enjoy "Bridesmaids" a few years ago ... so that was MELISSA_MCCARTHY who stole the film (didn't connect with her earlier TV show, which I've never seen).

I am not a robot 1:20 AM  

How a liberal arts major got NaCL:

Just a little atom of chlorine
Valence minus one
Swimming through the sea, digging the scene just having fun
She's not worried about the shape or size of her outside shell
It's fun to ionize
Just a little atom of cl
With an unfilled shell

But somewhere in that sea lurks handsome sodium
With enough electrons on his outside shell plus that extra one
Somewhere in this deep blue sea
There's a negative for my extra energy Yes
Somewhere in this foam my positive will find a home

Then unsuspecting chlorine felt a magnetic pull
She looked down and her outside shell was full
Sodium cried "What a gas be my bride, and I'll change your name from chlorine to chloride!"

Now the sea evaporates to make the clouds form the rain and snow
Leaving her chemical compounds in the absence of H2O
But the crystals that wash upon the shore are happy ones

So if you never thought before,
think of the love that you eat
When you salt your meat

Read more: Kate & Anna McGarrigle - Nacl Lyrics | MetroLyrics

puzzle hoarder 2:24 AM  

Solving this took only 45 seconds longer than this week's Wednesday puzzle. The constructor notes that this was one of his early puzzles. His inexperience combined with the limitations that the easy to get gridspanners put on the choices for those sevens most likely accounts for the easy solve. I probably would have beaten that Wednesday day time if I hadn't tried so hard to recall what a billet-doux was. This puzzle had plenty of easier clues. I admire the workmanship of those corners but they weren't edgy enough. A late week should have some unknowns in it that force you to work around them and do some real puzzling.

Alohaoe Chicago Marlins 2:32 AM  

Did the puzzle in under ten minutes and thought that was either smoothest Friday puzzle ever or the easiest... But now I see I put in YEaYEa... 12D "All Right ALREADY!" I wondered why he had GOT A A
(And I guess I thought INSECTA was a web/internet term I didn't know!!!)

So I think I GOT A F on this in the end!

Otherwise I GOT A gree with Rex word for word.

Synchronicity: tonight houseguests ate at LILO LILO (Hawaiian hotspot here in SF)

And I miss Roger Ebert ...most articulate film reviewer and true fan and put his money where his mouth was and wrote films himself.

Oh! I know something I also liked about this puzzle! Thinking of all the things that could go after MAN _____.
Man overboard! Man alive! Man of La Mancha! Man, that sucks!

jae 2:37 AM  

Easy for me too. NW might have been tougher with MARISSA and ADELINE as WOEs but Ms. MCCARTHY opened it up. The rest was cake! Liked it about the same as @Rex did...he makes some good points. Again, if you want some tough late week NYT puzzles visit the archives circa mid '90s.

Larry Gilstrap 2:43 AM  

OFL's commentary is mostly stuff like word #'s and black squares, a bit of word study, and a speed solver blurb. Priorities! Just a reminder to whom it may concern.

I like this thing. Help me here! I'm I missing the three letter answers in this grid? Sure, there are some needless plurals, but the fact the puzzle is sans 3's is not mentioned.

Gonna quote 52A here because it is so important: "The great antidote of enthusiasm and superstition," per Adam Smith. Not really feeling enthusiastic, at the moment. SCIENCE is a dirty word?

Now about me. I have a great story that begins in an '83 El Camino listening to the first ever MARLINS game as I drove up to Ghost Mountain in Blair Valley. It involved Vin Scully.

Solving a crossword involves a fun challenge. The clue says "Where Roger Ebert's reviews appeared for 47 years." Duh? Well, I knew Chicago....just because. But, I'm CA Guy. Then I throw in something that looks like CHIgAGO and hilarity ensues.

Finally, "The moon was a ghostly galleon,TOSSED upon cloudy seas."

chefwen 2:43 AM  

Between MELISSA MC CARTHY and The CHICAGO SUN TIMES you can pretty much say IT'S OVER.

Chalk up another one for "easy week".

I associate a DETAL PICK with one of those evil instruments you have to endure at the dentists office. Just thinking of that long, pointy metal thing they use to scrape your enamel makes my head hurt.

NOONERS made me chuckle, seeing 49A over it made me blush.

Unknown 3:16 AM  


I noticed two other points where the same four-letter strings cross each other. ALIEN and LIEN. SCIENCE and ESSENCE.

What Rex said: not bad, but not lively. ESSENCE and EASES IN and IN ERROR. HAD AT IT and IT'S OVER and ITERATE. ADELINE and LEONINE and REALIGN.

Count me with those who hold Roger Ebert in high esteem. I learned a lot about movies and criticism from watching and reading him.

I liked the clues for RARE (Like tritium and triplets), ITERATE (Say, say, say?), and PECK (Hit with the bill?).

jae 3:19 AM  

re: DENTAL PICK - My dentist gave me some sort of pointed hard rubber thingy to use on my gums, but the package says gum stimulator...so, technically it might not be a PICK?

Dolgo 3:20 AM  

For me, the Sun Times was the first clue I got right off, since the original conceit of the review show was that Ebert and Siskel came from the last remaining rival dailies in Chicago. That opened the bottom up right away. The rest was a little slower, but the two C's in a row gave away McCarthy, even though I didn't know the movie. You'd think a Friday puzzle would be harder, especially with some abstruse clues, the French spelling of Alps, etc.

Charles Flaster 3:45 AM  

Very easy with CHICAGO SUN TIMES leading the way.
Favorite clues were for CATERER and TEA BAGS.
Guessed on ALOHA OE crossing NOONERS.
Maybe GOT A'S should be clued:
"Bought a baseball team from Oakland"
or GO TAS can be clued as "Professorial cheer to their helpers".
Thanks DP.

jae 3:45 AM  

@Dolgo - "Mike & Molly" was TV series, if you want to see a terrific MCCARTHY movie try "The Heat" with Sandra Bullock.

Loren Muse Smith 4:30 AM  

I noticed GOT AS, too, and figured the entry would take some flak. I like it. It's in the language.

Weren't you a good student in high school?
Yea, I got A's and all that, but I didn't really enjoy it.

You can replace GOT A'S with excelled, succeeded or rocked, and I guess people wouldn't find these entries so objectionable? I don't get it.

@chefwen – good catch on the NOONER cross. This chaste solver just noticed that it crosses LIAISON.

I wanted "waded in" for 13A HAD AT IT. And then I wanted "wades in" for 49A EASES IN.

"Testify" before DICTATE (10D).

The ANTRHAX clue made me laugh. I guess in retrospect, I do know Iron Maiden and AC/DC. Still… How 'bout "one of the "Big Four" in Tibetan Tuvan throat singing groups" - Huun-Huur-Tu. There you go, @M&A.

Martin A – your introduction was funny. I can imagine you meeting MARLIN Perkins. Hah! To steal from you…

Mr. Perkins, have you met Martin? Marlin, Martin. Martin, Marlin. Martin is one of your Big Four fans.

I noticed the RARE LEONINE INSECT LICKS… there was this one time? In Chattanooga?...

MELISSA MCCARTHY. I had never heard of her when I saw Bridesmaids. This scene had me belly laughing and looking up her name. She is bust-a-gut funny.

David – some clever cluing on this one. Thanks!

Jofried 6:20 AM  

Chemistry teacher here enjoyed the puzzle very much. @GeorgeBarany, I GOT AS in Chemistry!

Elle54 6:22 AM  

Fastest Friday ever

Hartley70 6:34 AM  

This is a Wednesday puzzle that's tiptoed into a Friday party. It's welcomed politely, but it's too young for Friday's "7 minutes in Heaven" devotees.

I do think it's a nicely constructed puzzle and well-clued, but, of course, over way too fast. Using Rex's difficulty predictor, I sensed a problem at the first square when SCAMP and SHIMMY were my first and last thoughts. The two long crosses were gimmes as was MAGNOLIAS from my state quarter collecting period. I lost steam before I got the last few coins, and wondered why I ever began the quest. And those territories?! Who's idea was it to sneak those spaces into the cute little album? Coins are so last century anyway.

LACOSTE was very easy, but it was my favorite entry, anyway. Despite his popularity, I've never given that crocodile a moment's thought before this morning's solve. I'm sure Google (or @Nancy) can tell us why and how Rene got that nickname on the court.

Robso 6:37 AM  

"Steeped IN tradition?" No, actually, the phrase is "Steeped BY tradition." I hope this answers your question.

John Child 6:42 AM  

Easy says OFL! Not easy here. The app tells me I was just a little over normal time, but I spent precious macroseconds floundering and looking for a toehold anywhere.

VACUUM. Excellent double U. Should make both M&A and Lewis happy.

Glimmerglass 7:28 AM  

Everyone says this is easy, so I guess it is, but I couldn't find more than random word or two untill the SE. I essentially solved the puzzle backwards. Thanks, Rex, for the Johnny Cash version of Aloha Oe. It's probably the worst I've ever heard (I lived in Hawaii for three years and heard some awful renditions). I love Johnny Cash, but this may be the worst thing he ever recorded. You gave me a laugh this morning.

Passing Shot 7:29 AM  

Easy peasy lemon squeezy for a 7-across.

K9doc 7:30 AM  

Re: dental pick. Most patients call the explorer-- the sharp pointy instrument used to check for decay as to assess the integrity of restorations--"the pick". The instruments used to clean teeth are scalers and curettes.

Dorothy Biggs 7:31 AM  

I didn't have nearly the giddy little romp that most of you claim to have had. The NW with its MARISSA/MELISSA/ADELINE triumvirate (or TRIO, for short) was a bit of a drag on my sails. First, the similarity between MARISSA and MELISSA had me doubting. Seriously? Where's a Vanessa when you need her? And then Adeline was thrown in there with a pretty obscure clue, you have to admit. I figured Virginia Woolf was a pseudonym (I was asleep in whatever English class we covered VW), so her "given" name could have been anything...I was looking for a last name.

As you can see, the hang up up there in the NW wasn't the names, it was that I was overthinking it. So, yeah...there's that.

Otherwise, if not for that little brush, everything else was a typical Friday. I agree with everyone that there is no such thing as a DENTAL PICK.

I was a "champion" speller in my grade school days...but VACUUM always messed me up (along with parallel and personnel). Two Us back to back...heh, when English gets drunk.

Say, say, say somehow equals ITERATE? Nope. Say = iterate; say, say, say = reiterate.

The clues for TEABAGS and INSECTS were a tad bit tortured.

I'm not going to say I didn't like this puzzle...but there were some groaners (see: GOTAS, BGIRL) and along with the snags I mentioned, it added up to a Wha?

Z 7:36 AM  

13A - Reached second base.

r.alphbunker 7:46 AM  

It took me a while to parse 16A {Say, say, say}. I assume that you have to rephrase it as {Say twice, say} to get ITERATE.

NACL did not get a A in Jeff Chen's word list; it got a 25 (highest grade is 60). What value does it have in your word list?

ALPES got a 20 and GOTAS was not in the word list so gave it a 30. I first assigned it a 25 but then I bumped it up because @LMS liked it.

Details are here.

kitshef 7:48 AM  

See, when you speed solve you miss little delights, like SCIENCE crossing NACL, and LIAISON crossing NOONER (and, blushingly, EASES IN – me too @chefwen).

My fun chem class memory was combining sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid to get salt water.

@Alohaoe Chicago Marlins - Well, INSECTa is the name of the scientific class for insects, so that part was reasonable. 'GOT A a' is a little less defensible, but we’ve seen worse grammar in puzzles…

chefbea 8:21 AM  

Usually don't do Fridays...but saw the northwest was easy, decided to give it a try. Googled a bit but finally ini shed it. Loved Marissa crossing lelissa

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

I'm shocked that Rex didn't mention HAD A TIT...

Jon Alexander 8:53 AM  

Puzzle schmuzzle...

With the death of John Glenn it seems we have lost one of the last vestigaes of Americans embrace of science and the bravery to lead.

Sean Connery 8:53 AM  

"I'll take HAD A TIT for $200."

Tita 8:56 AM  

I wanted tuGboatS or tuGshIps or some such things along the river. So MAGNOLIAS took forever.

@Hartley...I thought it was such a missed opportunity that the quarters were released across the states, rather than only in each state. We moved to Germany just before the Euro introduction. It was fun to check your change, watching each country's coins migrate from place to place.
Not sure what effect that had on the markets, with people taking many coins out of circulation, but it was kind of cool to see a fairly rare major currency change.
I do have 2 "starter packs"... the banks made them available early to get folks used to the new coins. Bet they'll be worth real money one day, after both the euro and actual coins become relics.

Puzzle was annoyingly pop-dependant. One redeeming clue/fill was the old-timey billet-doux sent by a BEAU. I just like the tenderness of that term...sweet note... also, my mom was recently given a trove of these spanning the time when their relationship went from friends to their second kid. My dad was traveling a lot, so there are lots of letters.
They go far beyond love letters, though...for example, he was in NY and Washington during the Roosevelt/Wilkerson campaign...his observations apply directly to modern times. Sigh.

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

Easy. BURN before BAKE. It's good to keep the French in line.

Tita 8:57 AM  

RIP John Glenn. A hero of mine. And last of the Mercury 7. A formative time in my life, pushing me towards a career in STEM.

evil doug 9:01 AM  

"Roger Ebert... put his money where his mouth was and wrote films himself."

Yes, ACME, Ebert's memorable contribution to the film-making industry as co-writer of the screenplay for the 1970 Russ Meyer epic "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" must never be forgotten.

Mohair Sam 9:08 AM  

Super easy Friday with both grid spanners being gimmes in this household. As were MARLINS, SCIENCE, and LACOSTE. Only write-over was LOgGED for LODGED. But the puzzle was super clean and cluing was neat, really liked it. Finished while Lady Mohair slept in - I'm gonna catch hell.

MELISSA MCCARTHY is everywhere lately, but she is damned funny. LIAISON crossing NOONERS was clever, and wasn't NOONERS a tad naughty for the Grey Lady? NOONERS offset HADATIT perfectly in the grid too, just sayin'.

Thankful that ADELINE changed her name to Virginia - "Who's Afraid of ADELINE Woolf?" just doesn't have that ring. Who knew there was a "Big Four" thrash metal bands? I didn't know there was a Big One, although I've heard ANTHRAX. Agree with @Rex's complaint on DENTAL PICK. But disagree on his complaint on the MARISSA/MELISSA cross, I thought it was clever.

Tita 9:08 AM  

Wilkie...not Wilkerson. Not that it matters.

kitshef 9:12 AM  

Was quite chuffed to remember enough Spanish to put in jOyA for my Valentine's gift ... and very sad to have to pull it out for ROSA.

evil doug 9:22 AM  

John Glenn in a debate with his U.S. Senate primary opponent, Howard Metzenbaum, after Metzenbaum attacked Glenn for his lack of work experience:

“Howard, I can’t believe you said I have never held a job. I served twenty-three years in the United States Marine Corps. I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions. I was in the space program. It wasn’t my checkbook; it was my life on the line. It was not a nine-to-five job where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank.

"I ask you to go with me, as I went the other day, to a veterans hospital and look those men, with their mangled bodies, in the eye and tell them they didn’t hold a job. You go with me to any gold-star mother and you look her in the eye and tell her that her son did not hold a job. …

"… You go with me on Memorial Day coming up and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends than I’d like to remember, and you watch those waving flags. You stand there, and you think about this nation, and you tell me that those people didn’t have a job.

"I’ll tell you, Howard Metzenbaum, you should be on your knees every day of your life thanking God that there were some men — some men — who held a job. And they required a dedication to purpose and a love of country and a dedication to duty that was more important than life itself. And their self-sacrifice is what made this country possible. I have held a job, Howard.”

I had the pleasure of meeting John Glenn at the Cincinnati airport. He reminisced about the problem-plagued rocket he sat atop, and chuckled about it being "a gasbag" with metal so thin that it depended on the pressure of its explosive fuel to have the strength to stand on the launch pad.

Godspeed, John Glenn....

Unknown 9:27 AM  

Thank you, @evil doug (9:22 am). That was beautiful!

("The Right Stuff" ... both the Tom Wolfe book and the Philip Kaufman film ... are favorites of mine ... I've even covered them in a freshman seminar that I taught at the University of Minnesota).

GILL I. 9:37 AM  

@kitshef...I too wanted a JOYA for dia de los enamorados.
It was easy, YES YES indeed. Probably my fastest FRIDAY ever.
MELISSA MCCARTHY was my first entry. I just love her. She is so fast with come-backs and never misses a beat.
I liked the clue for PECK. I guess Gregory might have been too Mondayish. I got a little stuck at LACOSTE and I just could not remember what newspaper Ebert worked for. THE NEW YORK TIMES fit.
I knew him from TV and I remember him talking about "Caligula." I wanted to see it because of the incredible cast. Peter OToole was a favorite of mine so I'd watch anything he was in. Gaaaa...what an awful movie. I told my husband it was probably the worst movie I had ever seen. The next day or so, I read or heard Ebert talking about how god-awful the film was. I think he used hated about 20 times. After that, I listened to his every word.
I have never seen a GYRO being sold by a street cart. Here in California we get lots of tacos and burritos and some hot dogs and they are always delicious.
Does the B in B GIRL stand for bawdy?

evil doug 9:38 AM  

George B,
Glenn said the book was okay, but not the movie. "I was neither the pious saint nor the other guys the hellions he made them into... Hollywood made a charade out of the story and caricatures out of the people in it."
(from the terrific obit in today's Times)

Nancy 9:39 AM  

@Martin Abresch -- Love your MELISSA/MARISSA riff! And speaking of both ladies, I didn't bleeping know either one of them. Nor ADELINE, for that matter. Making this puzzle bleeping hard for me -- and mostly not in a good way. I'm thankful for CHICAGO SUN TIMES and LACOSTE -- PPP that I actually did know. But there were just too many names in the top half.

And then take ANTHRAX, as in ANTHRAX, the "thrash metal" band. What genius decides to name his band after one of the deadliest substances in the world -- a substance that, btw, a lot of sickos have used to kill people? I will never understand the naming of rock bands. Never. And what on earth is ALOHAOE at 31D???? I didn't remember to look, but it has to be the answer, since I'm sure NOONERS and DENTAL are right. It is the answer, isn't it? (If it's not, then I DNF.)

I don't consider DICTATE to mean "to state for the record". I would use "pronounce" of "declare" or "aver".

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

@Sean Connery, You made my day! Used to watch the show before I gave up on tv. One evening the letters on the board were Charles __ickens. The ecstatic contestant yelled, "CHARLES PICKENS!" For years, it was code between my son and I that when someone asked a ridiculous question we'd look at each other and yell Charles Pickens!

@Evil, today you were worth it.

Mohair Sam 9:39 AM  

@Evil Doug - Thank you.

Nancy 9:56 AM  

@lms -- Hand up for having WADE IN before HAD AT IT -- making the NW even more of a WOE for me.

I just looked, and ALOHAOE is actually the right answer. So I did finish. Yay me. But what a ridiculous song title.

@evil --That's such a beautiful tribute to John Glenn. Thanks for sharing it with us.

@Hartley -- Wasn't he known as Le Crocodile because he wore a LACOSTE shirt with a crocodile logo on it? :)

Lewis 9:57 AM  

@evil -- Thank you for that!

This just fell in my wheelhouse, and, therefore, just fell quickly (for Friday). I started, and the next thing I knew, ITSOVER. Very rare for me for Friday, and gave me a SHIMMY of delight.

The grid design itself is cool. TERMING, on the other hand, just looks ugly to me. Does anyone say this? I liked NOONERS crossing LIAISON, and the PICK and PECK cross -- PICK 'N PECK: sounds like a store with nothing but notions, whatever they are (Does anyone remember when stores had "notion departments"?). I liked "Tritium" and "triplets" in the RARE clue, echoing TRIO in the grid. Then there was "drones" in the clue, and ASCEND, SOAR and ITSOVER in the grid.

The puzzle felt like a pretty little snowflake that landed on my nose -- melted quickly and made me smile.

Nancy 9:57 AM  


Sir Hillary 9:58 AM  

I guess we didn't get hapPY REX today.

Nothing wrong with this one -- anything involving MELISSAMCCARTHY makes me smile.

LEONINE was sandwiched between Damasus Two and Victor Two.

jberg 9:58 AM  

Yes, that was great. Metzenbaum must have felt really dumb.

jberg 10:01 AM  

This one started tough for me/-first entry was the S in YENS. But it all grew from that.

I wanted GOTAS to be giant boats.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:02 AM  

In general I didn't feel likje doing it, because most of the things I didn't know the answer to I profoundly did not care about. But I got an A in Chemistry and I knew Chicago Sun Times so I slogged on.
I've never heard of a MAN Friday. I know the original in RLS was a man, but I've only heard of Girl Friday in the modern world. Or, I guess I don't mean modern, I mean my youth. I suppose the world has changed. For the good, some ways.

Unknown 10:12 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trombone Tom 10:14 AM  

Thanks @evil and @Iamnotarobot for your contributions today. And it's a breath of fresh air to have ACME back.

Can 't say this played as easy for me, but that's normal. Last to fall was HAD A TIT, Hah! And running down we have the unattractive image of SITS ZITS BGIRL.

Otherwise, what @Rex said.

Unknown 10:15 AM  

We interrupt our tributes to the late great @John Glenn (linking to the wonderful New York Times obituary referred to by @Evil Doug to provide an experimental protocol for generation of dry HCl gas, provided by one of my students who did this as part of the work for this paper.

"Set up a 2 or 3-necked flask with solid CaCl2 in it, then an addition funnel above it with concentrated sulfuric acid. The other neck(s) are attached to tubing that goes to your reaction flasks (may want to have a trap flask between them in case of suck-back, but it is less important here because there's no lecture bottle to worry about).

Your reaction flask should also be a 2 or 3-necked flask that is attached to a quenching solution (aqueous base), so any HCl that escapes your reaction is captured. You will probably want a trap flask between your reaction and the quenching solution.

I use a pipette attached to tubing to direct the stream into the solution. In this case, I take one of the plastic yellow stoppers (make sure it is the proper size for your flask) and punch a hole in the middle for the pipette to go through. This way you can seal your reaction flask pretty well while still being able to direct the flow of HCl to where you want it. Be careful pushing your pipette through the stopper.

To start the reaction, very slowly drip the sulfuric acid into the CaCl2. Figure out the rate which gives you a steady stream of bubbles in your reaction solution.

If you get clogging in the pipette tip (from precipitation of product), you can break off the thin part so there's a larger hole for the gas to go through.

When you're done, you should blow N2 through your reaction flask before removing it from the hood. When doing this procedure in general, you should be very careful about any leakage of the HCl from the flasks."


Take home lessons: (1) CaCl2 preferred to NaCl. (2) Notice "suck" (see VACUUM) issues. (3) I polled a few colleagues with a combined total of over a century of experience teaching chemistry at the high school and college level ... none of them could recall a direct, simple reaction of NaCl with H2SO4 (and it is critical to use concentrated acid, not the standard aqueous solutions).

Wm. C. 10:27 AM  

@George -

Took a year of Chemistry in HS and again in College. Had a work like hell to avoid C's -- didn't always succeed.

@Evil, re Glenn, Astronaut hellions ... I worked at MIT's Insrumentation Lab in the '60's, where the inertial navigators, computer hardware and software for the Apollo missions were designed and tested, and initial astronaut training (before the software was sent to Houston) was done. The astronauts would fly up to Hanscom AFB just west of Boston in their personal T-38 jets, then drive to their Boston hotels. Several -- though not all -- would enjoy the Boston night scene after dinner.

Happy Pencil 10:31 AM  

I'm with @Martin today on the Melissa/Marissa thing. In fact, that cost me quite a bit of time because I was pretty convinced that the Yahoo CEO was also Melissa, even though I realized that couldn't possibly be right. Had to wait for a lot of crosses to reveal that it was MARISSA.

I also agree with @Martin on the great clues for ITERATE and PECK, and I would add to that the clue for INSECTS. So all in all, some clever cluing in a serviceable but not sparkly (and too easy) puzzle for me.

@evil, thanks for the John Glenn story. Wish we had more people like him in the world.

QuasiMojo 10:33 AM  

What's the point of singling out unremarkable CEOs in this puzzle? Yahoo is a joke. And using a relatively unknown actress's name as a centerpiece of the puzzle is just plain dull. Ebert's paper was sort of fun to recall but far too easy. Wouldn't say say say be Re-iterate? (And wasn't there a pop song by that name?) Why "Alpes" rather than "Alps"? Because it fits? Clumsy clueing. Rene Lacoste should have been in the "preppy" puzzle a few days back. Dental Pick was a drecky answer. Although I see them on the streets here all the time. Apparently homeless people rely on them. That's one good thing. I guess constructors are running out of clever ways to clue "tea bags." Or perhaps they just aren't "daring" enough. haha. Allow me to "lodge" a complaint. I honestly think this puzzle has lost any of its old panache and zip. It's embarrassing. I'm going to go out and buy a WSJ and get my puzzle fix.

Unknown 10:42 AM  

May be exceeding the usual limit, but today's discussion brings to mind a famous anecdote, which I now see has been attributed to both @Alan Shepard and @John Glenn.

Refer to: https://www.reddit.com/r/NoStupidQuestions/comments/4c6mqs/which_astronaut_actually_said_the_lowest_bidder/

According to Gene Kranz in his book "Failure Is Not an Option," "When reporters asked Shepard what he thought about as he sat atop the Redstone rocket, waiting for liftoff, he had replied, 'The fact that every part of this ship was built by the lowest bidder.'

versus this attribution to John Glenn:

"I guess the question I'm asked the most often is: "When you were sitting in that capsule listening to the count-down, how did you feel?" Well, the answer to that one is easy. I felt exactly how you would feel if you were getting ready to launch and knew you were sitting on top of two million parts -- all built by the lowest bidder on a government contract."

Any further insights? [@Wm C. (for Chemistry?), @Evil Doug, others?]

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

Quickest Friday ever even though I didn't know Melissa McCarthy. I wrote marlins immediately, though not knowing much of sports at all. I got "Chicago" but could not remember the paper. When finished, I kept parsing the phrase as "Chicago's UN Times--- a little known paper published in Chicago. Ha.

I think it is better to "iterate" instead of "reiterate" as they mean the same, but people like the commentator above will always wrongly correct you.

Wm. C. 11:01 AM  

@GeorgeB, re " ... Parts .. Built by the lowest bidder."

As it turns out, I had a college job as a test engineer for Raytheon, which built a lot of the Apollo electronics.

One of the items was the signal conditioning and electrical isolation modules that were used to connect external sensor readings to the flight computers. These were tightly packaged "cordwood stacks'" with discrete components (resistors, transistors, diodes, capacitors...) tightly packaged between Mylar sleeves on which the wire interconnects welded together the components to create the circuits. Even though moderate-scale Integrated Circuits were then available (more compact, reliable, and faster) all Apollo electronics were discrete, as required by the Mil-Spec testing lead times in effect then.

These modules were assembled and zap-welded together by smocked ladies on a production line. And let me tell you, they each had to go back for corrections (reversed polarity diodes, wrong value resistors...) several times before passing test. But by then they'd be ragged around the edges from all the rework.

Don't know as I would have liked to fly with these ...

Carola 11:01 AM  

Easy and likeable - SHIMMY sent me into the grid with a smile, and there were the pleasures of writing in MAGNOLIAS, LEONINE, LIAISON, and ADELINE and the nice story-of-a-romance combination of a billet-doux and a Dear John letter, with that NOONER in there that may have been the cause of the break-up. I'm even more chaste than @Loren in that I only noticed that the clue for EASES IN: "Gets one's feet wet" crosses SEA.

@Evil Doug, I didn't know Ebert was involved in "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls." Awesome. I don't usually remember where and when I saw a movie but I do this one: 1971 in London, in a sketchy cinema with quite a few shady looking denizens. Movie and setting both memorable.

Maruchka 11:09 AM  

Had to look up MELISSA and MARISSA - dunno. A few nice crosses - NOONER/LIAISON, SCIENCE/NACL/ESSENCE, ZITS/ZAGS. Pleasant and respectable, I deem.

Re: NACL 'Salt - A World History' by Mark Kurlansky. A very good read Did we know salt was an ESSENtial element for curing bamboo sewer conduits in ancient China?

@LarryG, @chefwen & @kitshef. Back in junior high, reading 'The Highwayman' aloud, teacher pointed out that the word 'breast' is in it, and advised the boys not to laugh. It was a 'don't eat that mushroom, Alice' moment I can still remember. Did we girls blush!

John Glenn. An honorable, conservative Dem. Yes, he had important jobs he never shirked. Thanks for the reminder, @evil doug.

CDilly52 11:24 AM  

By the time I take a break from the hectic life of being legal counsel to 27 elected officials to read all of your comments I am usually desperately in need of the wit and thoughtful commentary this blog has provided me since its inception. You all restore my faith in the value of education if nothing else but always provide a much-needed chuckle as well. I rate my experience on both the puzzle and the blog and rarely find myself wanting. So thanks!

As a very non-professional but reasonably proficient solver I enjoyed this, especially (as others have pointed out) the "easedin, liaison, nooner" crosses. Also the NOT-so-fond memory of high school chemistry. Kudos to spectacular teacher Ray McKinty who was the only reason I "got Bs" - Thank you teachers everywhere!!

Also enjoyed remembering John Glenn and watching in wonderment the grainy black and white tv coverage of his 3 orbits in my primary school classroom. Fun and informative today.

Tim Pierce 11:26 AM  

Overall this was certainly on the easy side, but that VACUUMS in the middle gave me fits for a while. Starting from ----UMS I confidently put in DUMDUMS, and when I eventually got the V from ITSOVER, I tried VICTIMS (which obviously wouldn't work because CHICAGOSUNTIMES was indisputable). Eventually I landed on VACUUMS. But so many wrong turns for this clue. I'm the sucker today, apparently.

G.Harris 11:28 AM  

Had to work hard because the only gimmes for me were La Coste and Marlins. Persistence paid off and eventually it all began to open up, aided by a few judicious guesses but hardly a romp. Felt real good about finishing in a reasonable time with no errors and no Googling.

Malsdemare 11:31 AM  

Okay, a chemistry story; I did not get As. I went to a hotshot private school for girls and so college was my first experience being around boys in class. Combine the libido with an excellent prep school and you get me having a really good time first semester and still getting good grades. Second semesters? Not so much. In fact, by the end of the semester I was failing Chemistry 2 and ended up sobbing in my professor's office. I was really cute and the good man took pity on me, promised me I'd pass, did not ask for favors in return. So I waltzed into the final, blew through it in ten minutes and strolled out, smug that I'd be fine. The prof died three days later and I lived in terror for the next two weeks, waiting for my grades to be sent to my mom who was NOT going to be happy. I have no idea how it happened but chemistry was one class I passed that semester, with a D. My GPA that term was a 1.2. One does not unring that bell. My college freshmen used to love that story, told as a cautionary tale.

I wandered all over this puzzle, filling in stuff I knew (MARISSA, CHICAGOSUNTIMES, MARLINS, some smaller stuff) and then fought my way through the rest. That ALOHAOE was the last to fall and I was sure it couldn't be right. I like the whole steamy SW -- excluding the DENTAL instrument -- but didn't see it until it was pointed out here. It may not be a world class puzzle, but it did the required job of keeping me company as I wake up, have my coffee, pet the dogs.

old timer 11:55 AM  

Way too Easy for a FRIDAY. Of course it helped that I knew which paper Ebert wrote for.

Some of the clues seemed off to me. PEONS are not drones, they are poor tenant farmers who must know all the different things farmers have to do. Or men held in servitude for debt. Either way their tasks are not necessarily DRONElike or repetitive.

BGIRL as clued is new to me. A B-GIRL used to be a young woman hired by a bar to chat up men and encourage them to drink more. They have been regulated out of existence, I think. No doubt some of them were up for the occasional NOONER.

ADELINE was one of Virginia Stephen's names, but Virginia was her given (middle) name too. And I doubt LACOSTE wore the shirts he invented when he was a tennis champion. In his day, didn't you have to wear white?

mathgent 11:55 AM  

One of us complained that there were no three-letter entries. What's to complain about? No Terrible Threes is a cause for celebration for me. None of those dark crevices where the vermin of the crosswordese species nest.

I usually count threes and I can't remember the last time there weren't any. Bravo, Mr. Phillips!

I enjoyed the solve, but I would have welcomed a little pizazz. An A minus.

Joseph Michael 12:02 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle and was surprised by how easily I was able to guess the names I didn't know, such as ADELINE. LACOSTE, MARISSA, ANTHRAX. and ALOHAOE (yikes).

Like the clues for INSECTS, CATERER, and RARE. Favorite word: NOONERS. Least favorite: TERMING (does anyone actually say that?)

In Chicago and in New York, ORSO is not an "Ish." It's an Italian restaurant and a rather good one at that.

@Z at 7:36. Others also reparsed 13A, but you were the first. Thanks for the laugh.

@evil at 9:22. Nice tribute to Glenn!

@Quasimojo at 10:30. ALPE is the French version just as MONT is.

QuasiMojo 12:26 PM  

To the anonymous poster above there actually is a difference between reiterate and iterate. The point is that the way the clue is written makes it sound more like a reiteration than an iteration. But who can tell? It's a crummy clue no matter how you parse it.

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

Like @Glimmer I found a toe-hold in the SE, and worked it backwards, finishing in the NW.

I knew from the Siskel/Ebert show that they were from the 2 major Chicago papers, and Tribune just was not long enough to span.

Only real trouble was mis-remembering Melissa McCarthy's first name as a form of 'Megan'; stretching it to MEaghan to fit. TEABAGS and the likely plural at 5D finally fixed that.

IIRC, Rene Lacoste had a familial tie to the company that was formally known as Izod-Lacoste that had the croc-logo on its polo shirts, although it could have just been that the name was the same.

Awesome reading of the "don't call me a hero" John Glenn, as well as all the personal experiences among the commenters.

Glad I was not drinking anything when the esteemed Mr Connery chimed in. Any of the SNL-Jeopardy spoofs are great, but the ones with 'Sean' are priceless.


Masked and Anonymous 12:52 PM  

@RP: So many black squares in the middle? 22 of the grid's 34 BS's are parked in them T's around the edges. Confuses the M&A.

Speakin of confusin the M&A … lost enumerable precious nanoseconds at 27-Down. Talk about rained-on parades … that non-vacuuous sucker ate my lunch. Had the LI?? part of {Home security measure}, so figured it had to surely be an easy get. Stuck with it forever, even tryin to run the alphabet for a third letter. M&A brain was fixated on home security alarm-type stuff. Finally walked away with nothin better than LION. Figured: "Shoot -- ain't no thief gonna mess with a house that has the king of beasts out there in the yard, huntin for small game and small cat burglars."

Overall, I'd hafta go with medium-level FriPuz difficulty. Slightly dull puz, becuz:
* No theme.
* No Christmas nods. [Hit up **gruntz**, to get yer fix for that]
* Only two U's. Sucked up lick-spit by one (nice) VACUUMS entry.
* No 3-letter weeject candidates. (!)
* The two grid-spanners were both gimmes, without any helper letters.
* Only minor bouts of fill desperation (yo, @ALPES and GOTAS and maybe TERMING).
* Edgiest entries: ANTHRAX and NOONER. Not bad, but next runner-up out of the 64 choices is probably VACUUMS, which --though I respect its vowel choices-- is still slightly a downer, as that is the main activity M&A is lookin forward to, today.

But, hey -- thanx for the effort, tho, Mr. Phillips. Did kinda like FRIDAY in a FriPuz, I'll grant. Try not to have so many black squares in the middle that are around the edges, next time …

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Nancy 12:57 PM  

So I made a :) notation at the end of my 9:56 facetious LACOSTE remark, but due to the vagaries of computer typing, the :) ended up on the next line -- completely separated from my LACOSTE comment. I meant the sentence as a wee joke -- but it's become apparent to me from both blog and off-blog comments that no one had the least idea that I was kidding. While I haven't a clue as to how LACOSTE got his nickname, I did realize that the nickname preceded the shirt and the logo. Really I did!

Numinous 12:58 PM  

I liked this puzzle well enough though I thought it was too easy. I spent about half my average time for a Friday on it. I had one nit. "Things steeped in tradition" TEABAGS. Like I said, this is a nit. The tradition is to boil water and pour it in the teapot, swirl it around to warm the pot then pour it out. Add a few teaspoons of loose leaf tea from the English Breakfast Tea canister (or Tetley''s or whatever). Pour water into the teapot and let the tea steep for, oh say, five minutes or so then pour. TEABAGS, IMO, are in no way traditional.

I tried doff before SOAR. A sail plane can't SOAR unless it's already taken off. I watch raptors SOAR whenever I can. Where I lived last year there were a lot of hawks and turkey buzzards. They flap thier wings like crazy when they take off. Only when they get high enough can they SOAR. But oh well.

LIAISON, it seems, would work well for the clue "Tryst".

By the way, @ACME, Roger Ebert also penned "Up" and "Beneath The Valley Of The Ultra-Vixens". What did he have going on with Russ Meyer? Was it just that he HADATIT?

Thanks @Evil Doug. That was touching.

I'd like to paraphrase a Walt Kelley Pogo quotation my father used to lay on me from time to time until I finally really understood it. This is for @Rex and @Commentariat as a whole.

Don't take life and crossword puzzles so serious, son, they ain't nohow permanent.

Anonymous 1:25 PM  

A terrific response to an absurd campaign attack; the one thing you need to remember is that John Glenn was virtually unassailable for how he led his life both in public and in private. And, even if he had been less than exemplary, there wasn't the blitz of media to expose it. So, Metzenbaum tried to say something to make Glenn look like less than a perfect candidate. I think it is fair to say that he made a bad choice of a line of attack.

Ellen S 1:27 PM  

Last chemistry course I took, or had anything to do with, was in about 1961, in college. Or... 1960 and then again in 1961 (blush). Got a B the second time. So I confidently filled in NAoh for 47D until it surprised me by not being the right answer. Glad to see @George Barany fell into the same trap. I guess 28A was a warning to use a PYREX flask when playing with these chemicals.

RooMonster 1:32 PM  

Hey All !
Agree with Rex on kinda blah puz today. Lots of trying-too-herd clues, like 21A, BAKE. Excessively tan is BAKED. Way better clue could be - Shake partner? Also 25A is just silly. GOT A'S? C'mon Man! And what is a Man FRIDAY? Is that a male secretary? Bad clue.

Odd grid also, 10, count 'em, 10 cheated squares. Eliminate all those, get a better seed entry than MELISSA MCCARTHY (although she is a good actress), and refill.

Not to sound like a broken record, but I sent in what I thought was a lively themeless where a very large chunk would've been debut words, and got rejected on the partial MY TRUST IN YOU. Will actually said he liked a bunch of the words in it. Oh, it also had VACUUM TUBE! Undaunted, I still send in submissions! That's right, I won't be daunted. :-)

To whoever asked about LACOSTE, I believe it was because the clothier with the same name had a Crocodile as their symbol.

Had some writeovers, joust-laNCE-FENCE, acne-ZITS, LOgGED-LODGED. And thought it was ALPS, but didn't fit, till I said let me throw an E in there. BGIRL is an Ugh, but I guess if BBOY is ok.... SITS on ZITS crossing a TIT with LICKS. SHIbbY!

Mr. T's cousin? - MRI'S.

Teedmn 1:38 PM  

Easy but a lot of fun - I circled 8 clues that I really liked. A couple of missteps helped with the hilarity: 21A's "Excessively tan" became Beat from the B of TEABAGS - I was thinking of the "PA's gonna tan your hide" usage. And 43A was briefly frAU at which I frowned due to the incorrect language combos. LIEN gave me pause, a la M&A but the ALPES saved me. But all fixable - I have not LODGED any complaints.

Nice Friday, easier than this Wednesday's puzzle for me. Thanks, DP.

Masked and Anonymous 1:48 PM  

John Glenn was one of the best. yo, @evil D: U are super-lucky to have met this historic man.

The Shortzmeister is a really great puz editor. NYTPuz is still the very best **365-daily** puz in existence bar none, imo. Season greetings and salutes, Mr. Will Shortz. Hope my latest submission tickles U enough. [Hint: contains absolutely no POOP.] May all yer 2017 pingpongballs go over the net.

The Rex Parker Blog is pretty good, too. Thanx for all the stuff U dish out and hafta take, on a 365-daily basis, Mr. Sharp.


RooMonster 1:59 PM  

@M&A, agree with your P.S. post! Well said, my good man.

Also wanted to SAY about the Say, say, say clue, if you took out the first comma, it would seem to make more sense. Say say, say. Better?

And speaking of better, I need to get better at looking for typos in my post! Cheated squares, har.


QuasiMojo 2:11 PM  

Before someone carps that I'm commenting too much on here (as some troll did unfairly to my favorite poster here, @Nancy) let me say that I do have other things to do but I'm forced to add another line or two because I'm curious why this Rene Lacoste and Crocodile thing is getting so confused on here. He was called the Crocodile apparently because he won a bet in which someone promised him a crocodile bag or some such man-purse. The name stuck. In 1933, he founded the Lacoste shirt company and then used the creature as his logo. The original Lacoste shirts had a longer flap in back that made it easier for tennis players to reach up high for balls and go for spikes etc without baring their backsides. The newer models got rid of this extra fabric, alas. In the 70s they became quite popular with preppies and were erroneously called "Alligator shirts." I promise this is no "croc."

Fred Romagnolo 2:34 PM  

Since I perceived crocodile to be an unflattering nickname, I entered Nastase, which fit; finally realized the proper answer; speaking of proper, wasn't LACOSTE the last of the greats to wear full-length pants? By clueing it as "Mont" Cervin, ALPES is fair. I agree that the clue for DICTATE was a little careless. Did anyone mention "My sister Kate" in conjunction with SHIMMY?

Mitt Romney 2:36 PM  

@Evil Doug - Sorry, I've got to go with Metzenbaum here. Glenn was one of the 47%, those who live their entire life at the teat of the Government. Government job after government job, then Social Security. He never produced a product, started a business, created a job in his entire career, just waited for the check from the government to come in at the end of the month. It's truly a shame that he fell into that habit, having met him I felt that he could actually have achieved something truly great with his life had he not been so reliant on government handouts.

RooMonster 3:24 PM  

Wow, @Mitt Romney 2:36. Tsk, Tsk. Prepare to be @evil-ized.


Ron Drumph 3:53 PM  

@Mitt, "Mitt," I take it your comment is satire under the pseudonym of the real guy, who as a politician would never be stupid enough to blast John Glenn. It would be like blasting John McCai, oh wait, it's acceptable to be a clueless ass in politics now.

teevoz 4:04 PM  

Gilmore Girls before Bridesmaids!

Hungry Mother 4:19 PM  

Seemed Fridayish to me. I had more trouble with the newspaper than the actress. Eventually, it all came together, but I wouldn't call it easy.

thfenn 5:09 PM  

I remain a long way away from being able to call today's puzzle easy, but I finished, with a relatively modest amount of googling and checking, and that means it was fun and I'm celebrating.

Enjoyed both the solving and the commentary regarding nooners, easesin, liaison, and hadatit. Surely that could be extended to YES! YES! and ITSOVER, not to mention YENS, BEAU, SOAR, LICKS, PECK...and I thought there was no theme on FRIDAY.

WADESIN before EASESIN and TITLING before TERMING held me up forever, and I'm not good enough to know ALPES is just as OK as Alps, or to get ADELINE and MARISSA without looking them up, or to recognize that LEONINE is better that LIONISH but hey, I ultimately got this one done, in under 45 minutes, and that makes today great whether the puzzle was or wasn't.

Anonymous 5:17 PM  

@thfenn - IN case you don't know why it's ALPES not alps, the clue was the French name (ergo the French spelling of alps) rather than The Matterhorn.

Anonymous 5:43 PM  

I'm late to the party, so I presume others have noted this, but a DENTAL PICK is a dentist's (or hygienist's) tool--perfectly fine answer for the given clue.

Borschland Tourist Board 9:05 PM  

I had DEATHAX before ANTHRAX and I think that must be because of my memory of the old Bloom County metal band Deathtöngue.

spacecraft 11:19 AM  

I too noticed the ISSAs and the LIENs and the ENCEs and the P_CKs.This is a good puzzle that seems to have been put together in a hurry. At least those near repeats might have been REALIGNed so as not to FENCE (cross swords)!

When I hit on VACUUMS (he GOTAS for that one!) and forced BEAU into 43-across, I thought I'd solved INERROR because there sat the G of Ebert's paper--a gimme--right under the B. Of course, I haven't the foggiest what a female hip-hop fan might be called, so I solved around it and it came out BGIRL. Now, I know what a B-GIRL is--and it has NOTHING to do with hip-hop. Geez, everything old IS new again, if you wait long enough.

This puzzle has been brought to you by the number three: twice in the clue for RARE, plus TRIO--plus LEO3x3! What to do for the DOD? I know: Sigourney Weaver as she appeared in ALIEN. The woman exudes sexuality; fills me with YENS for NOONERS (if you've never taken part in one of those, you're missing something special).

All in all, a pretty easy one for a FRIDAY. @ACMe, lol for your Man___ list, especially that parting shot! Who knew about Woolf, with a first name usually associated with an eponymous drinking song? Sorta fun, but as OFL says, inelegant. Par.

Burma Shave 12:08 PM  


merely LICKS and some TEABAGS and, “How my DICTATE?”


Anonymous 12:52 PM  

Southeast was easy -very little else. Just not in my wavelength - never got it.

Diana,LIW 2:23 PM  

dnf 2 days in a row. Yesterday's puzzle still puzzles me. Haven't read all comments to understand it.

Big-time demo going on in the Waiting household. Total kitchen reno. Lost my computer place - lost my crossword solving space - lots of plastic and boom, boom, boom. Chaos is not helping my solving prowess. Did better with today's offering than yesterday's, but still, lack of pop culture wheelhouse does me in again.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 4:19 PM  

Pretty easy FRIDAY except for the short time I was INERROR and my “suckers” were ViCtiMS instead of VACUUMS which SPOILED a perfect grid.

I believe it’s the CHICAGOSUNTIMES that I pick up to do the puz when I’m in that area on vacation.

It’s been 30 plus years since NOONERS with Leah, but when ITSOVER, ITSOVER.

MELISSAMCCARTHY, funny but nope. MARISSA Mayer, yeah baby. Let me re-ITERATE, yeah baby.

No complaints LODGED by me either. Maybe just GOTAS.

rondo 4:35 PM  

BTW, I believe the lyrics to NACL (The Sodium Chloride Song) above were written by Micheal Cooney. That's the only version of it I've ever heard.

leftcoastTAM 4:38 PM  

Mired in the NE corner for as long as it took to do the rest of the puzzle.

Finally relented and asked for spouse's help to get GYRO, which was blocking an entrance to the corner, exposing ANTHRAX, PYREX, and the rest of it.

Thought early on that the double SS, CC, UU, and OO might signal some kind of theme, but finding no symmetry, was quickly disabused of that misguided notion.

BGIRL as a "hip-hop fan" was a new one on me, too, thinking the term was reserved to refer to a bar fly of dubious morals.

So goes FRIDAY.

Sailor 4:41 PM  

I think I set a personal worst for write-overs today. I'm shocked that so many people found this easy and fun. By my count, 83 of 191 squares were PPP, for 43%. I knew MARISSA Mayer and Ebert's newspaper, but had no clue about several of the others.

Also, like @George Barany, I confidently wrote in NAoh where NACL was wanted. Tons of things will react with H2SO4, so if the answer isn't sodium hydroxide it could be damn near anything.

I agree with @old timer and some others that there were several clues that seemed off. My particular gripes:

A "kind of yield" would be interest or dividends. PERCENT is a measurement of yield.

To DICTATE is to promulgate an edict, or to say out loud for recording. To "state for the record" is to testify (which fits!), be deposed, or aver.

And others, too, but you get the idea. I just wasn't on the constructor's wavelength at all today. Finished, eventually, but found it sloppy, and neither interesting nor entertaining.

Yesterday's puzzle was pretty weak for a Thursday, too, IMO. I'm hoping for a better Saturday.

BS2 4:46 PM  


The ALIEN’s a PEST as he PICKs and he PECKs,
in ESSENCE he’s best in SCIENCE and in INSECTS.


BS3 4:52 PM  


in ESSENCE he’s best in SCIENCE and INSECTS.

strayling 8:09 PM  

That was fascinating. Thanks.

Anonymous 9:39 PM  

If you want to know what a dental pick is, why don't you just google it.

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