Heraldic wreath / FRI 12-2-16 / Ceremonial basin / best or nothing sloganeer informally / Emulate popinjay / athletic wear named for anagram of what it does

Friday, December 2, 2016

Constructor: Andrew Kingsley

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Paul DANO (29A: Paul of "There Will Be Blood") —
Paul Franklin Dano (/ˈdn/) (born June 19, 1984) is an American actor, producer, singer, and musician. // Dano started his career on Broadway before making his film debut in The Newcomers (2000). He won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance for his role in L.I.E. (2002) and received accolades for his role as Dwayne Hoover in Little Miss Sunshine (2006). For his dual roles as Paul & Eli Sunday in There Will Be Blood (2007), he was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor. // Dano has also received accolades for roles such as John Tibeats in 12 Years a Slave (2013) and Alex Jones in Prisoners (2013). His acting portrayal of musician Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy (2014), earned him a Golden Globe nomination in the category of Best Supporting Actor. (wikipedia)
• • •

Too much grinding fill here. There are definitely some nice moments, but it was so bad out of the gate that I stopped to take a picture (at first audible 'ugh'):

And as you can see, that was *before* I uncovered LAVABO (1A: Ceremonial basin) crossing ORLE (6D: Heraldic wreath).  I mean ORLE? ORLE? Please take that answer out back and bury it. Then, if you must, dig it up once a year but ONLY in otherwise brilliant puzzles that need it desperately, not in an ordinary, fairly high word-count Friday. The puzzle just couldn't recover from this early mess. CIAOS? Plural? Stop no stop no. No. Start over. Later fill (outside of the broad N / NW) wasn't quite so disturbing, but the few nice longer answers couldn't make up for the unpleasantness of too much of the rest of it.

Favorite clue/answer today, by far, was 28D: Front ends? (CEASE FIRES). That's exactly what a "?" clue should be. Nothing forced about it, very clever. "Front ends" is an ordinary phrase with its own distinct, everyday meaning, and then the "?" comes along and reorients in a way that makes perfect sense ... if you think of both "front" and "ends" having meanings different from those they have in the ordinary phrase. Often clue writers torture "?" clues, using clue phrases that aren't on the money, phrasing-wise, or forcing words to have meanings they barely have. This one: bullseye.

SW corner was the hardest for me by far. Could not get 27D: Presumptive (A PRIORI) from its front end (APR- ... APROPOS? No...) and then couldn't get 49A: Bound (DELIMIT) from its back end (too many possible meanings for "bound"). I know the story of Phaëthon well, but I kept thinking "his dad is ... PHOEBUS? APOLLO? What the hell are they calling him here!?!?!" But even though Apollo is, in fact, the sun god, it's HELIOS who drives the sun chariot across the sky (Phaëthon steals it and wrecks it—kids these days...—creating the Sahara Desert in the process, if I'm remembering my mythology correctly) (37A: Phaëthon's father, in myth). Anyway, with no way in there (Some sloganeer? Some Pixar dinosaur??), I had to dive into the short stuff. First results:

I love ice cream, but Jerry's partner will always be TOM to me. At this point I was pretty stuck, but I knew enough to know TOM was the weakest length there, so I let it go and HAS DIBS slid in and I was done not long after.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Loren Muse Smith 6:12 AM  

Best part for me – PRIZE INSIDE over HERE'S HOPING. Man oh man was I a sucker for cereal that had a toy inside the box. It was so rare that we had cereal back in the sixties. So if Mom gave in and bought that box with that sexy little toy inside, it was thrilling to find it, especially if I had dibs. Thrilling. I might be more likely to buy quinoa or brown rice if I thought there were a little treasure buried inside.

And that product on the shelf with a little sample of some other product stuck to it? I'm powerless not to buy it.

I loved the clue for SAW. "Eaten" is one-stop shopping for its verb forms: eaten eaten eaten. Your day is now complete.

That popinjay – hmm. Widen? Waken? Ripen? PREEN took a while to get. I had to cover for a 7th grade math class yesterday, and they were getting more and more, well, 7th-gradish. So I asked a few kids at the front, "Doesn't it make you mad when you see women farding in their cars? I mean, ok, I farded once while driving, but it was at a red light, so it was safe." I had their attention. You can really run with this one.

You won't catch me farding without a mirror because I have to see what I'm doing.
When I travel, the most important thing I pack is my farding bag.
I have a student who's going to school to become a professional farding artist.
Mom didn’t allow farding, so I secretly, expertly farded at the bus stop before school.
I farded once by candlelight when there was no power.
I won't go grocery shopping without farding first - at least just a little.

I had no idea that SPANDEX was an anagram. Cool. I guess I see it as actually helping to squeeze in, well, expanded regions. Goodbyyyye, muffin top…

With M_ _ C _ DES I kept trying to make "Mickey Dees" or some iteration fit. I loved those Happy Meal toys. I still love Big Macs. Hellooo, muffin top…

@Tita from yesterday – I know, right? I should have a full set of snow tires. Go figure!

Anonymous 6:33 AM  

I expected more complaints about the e-prefixed, misspelt, unnecessarily gendered "HER E-SHOPING

Glimmerglass 7:02 AM  

Tough for me. I found myself jumping around the grid, finding one answer here or there, but not getting any real traction for quite a while. CajolES, which was wrong, gave me PRIZE INSIDE and HERE'S HOPING, and then things began to fall into place. I didn't like the clue for SEE. "combine" suggested a compound verb, not a noun to me. A seesaw has more to do with sawing than seeing.

Passing Shot 7:06 AM  

Knew MERCEDES off the bat (I guess I watch too much tv) and guessed PREEN pretty quickly, but "Alda" for FARR really screwed up my middle section. "MGM" before MCA, "tom" before BEN, "assert" before ALLEGE; this one was tough for me, but I put on my GAMEFACE and eventually got it done.

kitshef 7:21 AM  

Definitely challenging for me.

NW - tough when 1A is a complete WoE. Was convinced I had something wrong up there, but it turned out LAVABO is a thing. Having SNOT near the end of 13A was amusing, but made it hard to parse correctly.

SW took forever. tom before BEN, SeAl before SCAR, and I had MICKY DES in, then out, then back in, then back out, before finally getting there.

Can’t say I particularly enjoyed the experience. LAVABO AGA GOT probably sums it up. That or SSE SEE ONSITE. OSSA CIAOS DANO. ARLO ESTEE DANA.


Has there been a worse clue for DANA? Or ARLO?

Dorothy Biggs 7:45 AM  

The SW, particularly "Jerry's partner," were my Waterloos (and yes I can plural that because evidently you can plural anything).

Speaking of, I took some Italian in college and I really don't think there is such a thing as a plural CIAOS in that language. It's bad enough to plural some random word that has no plurals in ordinary use, but it's another thing to co-opt a word from another language that would absolutely never plural it, and then pluralize it. MARIAS is...are(?)...bad enough.

I think the word "DELIMIT" is in the Anything Goes song, "It's Delovely."

DANA/DANO was terrible.

CANOED wasn't much better as clued (Sat in a dugout = CANOED?)...I get the dugout part and I get the past tense of sat and canoed...but sitting in a canoe does not equate to canoeing. You're just sitting there. That's sitting. In a canoe. I can sit in a kitchen but that doesn't mean I'm cooking. I am within proximity of doing something associated with a kitchen or a canoe, but being close by and actually doing it are not the same thing.

There were a lot of those groans for me all as clued: SHEBEAR, OSCARNOD, NEEDNT, and APRIORI. ACTIII...seriously? Now you're not even trying.

Too many groans for me in this. The hardest part was BEN, but that was fair. I can't argue with that misdirection...it was solid. But peppered in around the rest of the puzzle, ugh.

ciao, ciao. <--- Look! It's two ciaos!

Trombone Tom 7:47 AM  

Liked this one because of the clever and crunchy cluing.

DELIMIT came slowly and only with the crosses.

Liked PRIZE INSIDE (which brought back childhood memories), HERE'S HOPING and EDITOR'S NOTE.

For me the NW was the last to yield and only because I remembered the Latin declension in the future tense for LAVABO.

Unlike OFL I wan't bothered so much by hoary old ORLE from decades ago. I mean, it's not as if we see it very much these days.

And who knew SPANDEX was an anagram. The things I learn from xwords!

Thank you Andrew Kingsley and Will for a very enjoyable workout.

Suzy 8:14 AM  

@lms-- remember the little packages of cereal that were lined with foil so you could pour the milk in and eat
from the box?? Only allowed at the beach! Thanks for the new word-- I'm off to fard!!

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

I thought Jerry's partner was BOB (Garcia/Weir).

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

Although I too was put off by CIAOS, I think it interesting to note how our language (any language?) allows us to mess around with parts of speech. Consider analogues of CIAO - goodbye and aloha. They're all words of greeting or parting and I suppose are interjections. (Any other grammar police types want to weigh in?) But I have said, "I said my goodbyes before I left." Clearly a noun there, and the plural is not awkward or forced. I think it's a pretty common usage, in fact. I've been to Hawai'i a couple of times and have never used or heard the word alohas, but I can imagine a situation where I would be talking about how many times I was greeted and alohas would feel like an appropriate word just like goodbyes above. I never use CIAO at all - too pretentious for an English speaker not in Europe. However, it seems to me that CIAOS could be an appropriate word in some contexts just like goodbyes.

- Jim C in Maine

Tita 8:49 AM  

AGA, short for AGApito, was the best dog ever. Kind of a Collie/ Sheltie/Cocker mix.
One of his best traits was that when the family went ou, he would look for an article of clothing from one so if, and curl up on the velvet living room couch with it. We would come home to see a pile of scarves, socks, shorts, whatever was available.

My mom would always close all closet and bedroom doors before heading out... One of us kids would go back and open at least one of those doors behind her.

When AGA started getting deaf, we cam in one day after my mom had successfully done an end run around our efforts and locked down all access. We caught him in flagrante delicto.
He grabbed the only thing he found...my mom's pocketbook. We would have paid anything to see him walking down the stairs with her bag in his mouth.
Best. Dog. Ever.

@NCAPres...I made the same Italian plural observation at BAMBINOS recently.
Though, when my cousin and her two college friends stayed with my mom for 2 weeks, we quckly dubbed them "The three MARIAS". Fun fact...3 22 yearolds don't make great house guests for a 92 year old.

The Crackerjack PRIZEINSIDE is a literal mere shadow of its former shelf. A tiny envelope, with some random team logo sticker inside. What a ripoff.

Learning what SPANDEX means is almost as cool as learning how BOTA Box was named. What a great week for puzzleknowledge gains. Though I don't think of it as athletic wear by any stretch of the imagination.

Any Friday I finish on a Thursday gets dreck immunity based on the ego boost it brings. I liked it. Seeing ORLE was a throwback to my early solving, and what on earth is wrong with LAVABO? You see them all over churches and convents in Europe.

Junief 8:49 AM  

What is Stl (card initials, 22A)?

Sir Hillary 8:51 AM  

Generally solid Friday fare, but @Rex is right about the clunky POCs. Everything I have left to say seems to be related to films:
-- Interesting to see the good animated dino ARLO on top of the nasty animated lion SCAR.
-- Stared at _ARR for a bit, wondering if I had missed that Teri Garr was in Altman's film. Fortunately, my inner Mud Hen kicked in.
-- "Dr. Strangelove" was satire of the most wicked sort. "Borat", not so much.
-- Why does the OSCARNOD clue have a question mark?
-- I find the term ROMCOM demeaning to "Annie Hall" but appropriate for "Notting Hill". I think this means I'm old, or a snob, or both.

Nancy 8:54 AM  

Lively, colorful, enjoyable -- and not too hard, which for me today was a bonanza, given my epic fail yesterday. I was interested in seeing Rex's toeholds into the puzzle because they were so completely different from mine. I got in in the NW, right on schedule, with ADAPTS to STL (nice clue) and OSSA. SPANDEX came in a bit later. An important aside on SPANDEX (and I didn't just come up with this today, either):

SPANDEX is the third worst invention of my lifetime -- coming in only behind the Nuclear Bomb and the jackhammer. Without SPANDEX, I generally wear a size 10 or medium. With SPANDEX, I may need an Extra Large, and even that won't be good enough. Unless one is a 14-year-old girl with anorexia, SPANDEX is fiendishly designed to reveal every bulge and imperfection of the human body in the most unflattering way possible. Now, all of us have our various bulges and imperfections in different places, but wherever they are lurking, SPANDEX is sure to find them and gleefully display them to the world. I am always looking for clothes containing no SPANDEX at all, and I am almost never successful.

Back to the puzzle: Unlike Rex, I didn't like the CEASEFIRES clue and thought it tortured and unfair. I liked that it made a fairly easy puzzle harder, but wanted to cry "Foul!" when it finally came in. Other than that, though, I really liked this puzzle a lot.

Trombone Tom 8:59 AM  

I butchered my reference to Latin learning. You conjugate a verb and -abo sounds more like past tense than future. I blame it on the codeine I'm taking as a result of yesterday's dental surgery.

But as another Will said, "What's past is prologue."

evil doug 9:07 AM  

"Farding" was good, but "... sexy little toy inside, it was thrilling...." reeeeeealy got my attention.

crabsofsteel 9:07 AM  

Nice puzzle, but shouldn't the answer for BOUND be DELIMITED? Seems to be a tense problem.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

St. Louis Cardinals.

Nancy 9:18 AM  

@Loren (6:12) -- You must be one lively and engaging teacher -- that's all I can say! I bet no one has ever fallen asleep in your class.

mathgent 9:22 AM  

I'm with @Nancy, nothing clever about "Front ends?" for CEASEFIRES. I also didn't like "Verb that can combine with its past tense" for SEE. Does that mean that "see" is part of "seen"? Add all Rex's valid criticisms and what's left to like? It wasn't too easy. C plus.

ORLE belongs in the Crosswordese Hall of Fame for longevity alone. I learned it when I started doing crosswords sixty years ago and it still shows it's ugly face from time to time.

Charles Flaster 9:33 AM  

Very enjoyable solve. Medium due to upper left.
Struggled until I remembered MERCEDES.
My writeovers were many----EDITORS NOTE for wrITeRS NOTE, ZEE for ZEd, and SPANDEX for SinglEt which anagrams into "tingles". I liked that one but SPANDEX is even better.
Creative cluing for ESTEE and SEE( which I assume combines into SEEsaw).
Thanks AK.

Z 9:40 AM  

@Evil Doug - Hey, check out Muse and her new snow tires? Heh, heh, heh.*

LipASE? Okay, I guess I'll look it up....... "any enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of fat." WTF? I suppose @George Barany threw that right in and smiled. The rest of us, not so much.

Most athletes I know put on a bAg oF iCE. Hand up for Tom, crossing my eyes at the S stack at 1 down, CojolES, and thinking the dreck really brought down the overall quality. ORLE and OSSA and ESTEE. Yikes.

Nevertheless, I think Rex buried the lede: RIO was a hit before Paul DANO was born. Damn, I'm getting old.

*cf my previous "short answer" from earlier this week.

QuasiMojo 9:45 AM  

I tore through this one without any ceasefires. I thought that clue was pretty weak though since it doesn't really make sense. The front doesn't end just because of a ceasefire. It's still there as poor Aleppo has proven only too well. I agree with earlybird @Loren -- "see" "saw" was clever word play. I also liked "has dibs" and "chattel." Crunchy.

@Nancy, I prefer spandex to these ethereally stretching yoga pants that some full-figured girls are wearing nowadays. Not to mention the legions of seniors in their form-fitting bicycle outfits populating the cafes in my town. You'd think that after all those miles of cycling they'd have lost a few pounds or at least have the dignity not to flaunt their abundance in front of our faces.

Z 9:46 AM  

@mathgent - Repeating what's been said - combine see with saw to get seesaw. Yeah, I agree. Too twee by half.

Unknown 9:52 AM  

A: I have an idea for a themeless crossword!
B: What's your pitch?
A: It will 70 words.
B: Okay.
A: It will have four cheater squares.
B: Less than ideal for a themeless, but continue.
A: It will have 18 three-letter words.
B: Ouch. But at least you should have had no problem making a sparkling grid.
A: About that.
B: No.
A: It's not too bad.
B: What does that mean?
B: Six mediocre entries. Not good but not terr—
A: In the northwest.
B: What?
B: A DANO and a DANA?
A: Yes, a DANO and a DANA. Also LTR, HI-HO, ZEE, TSPS, and SSE.
B: I'm getting a headache.
A: And I threw in a few boring names like ARLO, BEN, IAN, FARR, and ESTEE.
B: You already had a DANO.
A: And a DANA. But get this, you'll love this.
B: Please stop.
B: Not one but *two* words that repeat the same letter three times in a row.
B: Why would I care about—
B: Who cares?
A: Three S's! Three I's! It's hilarious!
B: It is?
A: Can you believe the English language? It's so crazy!
B: Next thing you'll be telling me that we drive on parkways and park on driveways.
A: Whoa! That's incredible! Can I use that? I think you just gave me my next puzzle idea!
B: Knock yourself out, kid. Knock yourself out.

Maruchka 10:00 AM  

From the 'Just when you think you're out..' department: TTL for STL yielded LESS to (?) (great clue - wish I'd GOT it); RCA for MCA yielded goreFACE and lipASE. Argh. I blame it on last night's late night brandy.

LAVAbisme et miserere mei..

Fav of the day - DELIMIT. "It's delightful, it's delicious, It's delectable, it's delirious,
It's dilemma, it's DELIMIT, it's deluxe, It's de-lovely". Ah, Ella!

Re: 'bound' clue for DELIMIT. I question the tense, too. Or is this some maniacal math thing?

@LMS - Did ESTEE Lauder fard her face? I think so. Fun story - your kids are very lucky.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

@Martin, genius.

John Child 10:07 AM  

What @Martin Abresch said. Pretty fun overall, but the NW was too much when I finally had to go back and fill in the big white space up there. Cheat city. DNF and DNC.

Mohair Sam 10:08 AM  

Played tough for us, but we eventually struggled through. Lots of fun. Made a good guess at LAVABO/ORLE cross to finish. Totally agree with Rex that the CEASEFIRE clue was the perfect example what a "?" clue should be.

Ummm - I don't want to get technical here, but the clue said Jerry's "partner" - I'd like to point out the Tom and Jerry generally attempted to kill each other. "Partners" indeed! BEN was the only appropriate answer.

@SirHillary - Agree that "Annie Hall" was so much more than just a ROMCOM. I was bugged too by putting "Borat" and "Dr. Strangelove" in the same sentence.

@LMS - Have you thought of the ramifications of sending a bunch of seventh graders home with the farding joke? - "Hey Pop, Sis is farding in your car!" Not good. On the other hand - I love your idea of PRIZE INSIDE promotions for quinoa and brown rice. We've been trying to force ourselves to buy the damned foods for decades now and that might just do the trick.

CDilly52 10:08 AM  

Thank you Mrs. DeWeese, Columbus OH North High School Latin teacher, 1969! Without LAVABO AND APRIORI I would not have cracked this. Like many, TOM wanted to stick, but MERCEDES (saw the commercial for the first time late last night just before my solve) led me thankfully to BEN, and PRIZE INSIDE was a very fond childhood memory. Being old and educated has its upside. Slow time, way too much "clunk" and the good did not overshadow the "clunk" at least for me.

PhiskPhan 10:31 AM  

Glad to see I'm not the only one questioning the tense of "bound."

Wm. C. 10:33 AM  

Re: "the best or nothing" for Mercedes. I've seen that ad several times, and each time my reaction was "How Germanic!" No shades of gray for those folks!

mathgent 10:36 AM  

@Martin Abresch (9:52): Bravo!

Unknown 10:37 AM  

To be fair, I liked the longer entries and appreciated the effort put into the cluing. The clues for some of the throwaway entries were very nice: CEL [Picture frame?], STL [Card letters], and ESTEE [First name in foundations]. I enjoyed the trivia clues for ANT [Only creature besides humans to farm other animals] and SPANDEX [Athletic wear named for an anagram of what it does].

r.alphbunker 10:41 AM  

Got {Ceremonial basin} LAVABO from LA_ABO. The V seemed right because lave means to wash.

I bought Jeff Chen's word database over at xwordinfo.com and produced this analysis of the puzzle. The numbers in parentheses are a quantification of the goodness of the word. Words assigned 50 or above should generate no complaints, however notice that CIAOS was given a 50. Answers in red were assigned less than 50. There were 11 of them. Clues in red end in a "?."

Hartley70 10:51 AM  

Now I feel guilty for chiding Rex as to his ignorance of "perfidy". DELIMIT was my Waterloo today. No S needed, @NCA President. I must be wrong, but I could swear I've never seen or heard DELIMIT until today. I don't think I'll use it three times for remembrance. It sounds like bad slang to my ears and I plan to forget it by 10:45am.

@Tita, I love a good dog story to start my day. Thank you to you and AGA.

"Farding" is priceless, @Loren. Seriously, who made that up? A thirteen year old boy? Three minutes ago? I plan to use this more than three times today.

I wanted "font" for LAVABO. Multiple CIAOS don't annoy me. TITI is a new one. Does MERCEDES really have to advertise? I haven't seen any. I loved CEASEFIRE and LOTTO. As to SPANDEX, I hear your lament @Nancy, but you can always throw on a pair of chinos and a sweater. Without SPANDEX, there would be no "Spanx", the undergarment cure-all for the formal dress dilemma.

I thought this was Friday appropriate and good fun.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:56 AM  

First word I put in was ACTIII. Second was BEN.

But I really quite hated the puzzle. LOTTO clued as a ball game? Oz. sextet as TSPS? Would an Oz. trio be TSP? Does anybody cook that way? A teaspoon is a small handful, or the amount that fits in a spoon. Nobody weight it.

old timer 10:57 AM  


"I have a song to sing, O" is the only song with "popinjay" in it that I can remember.

I at first objected to CIAOS. Then I realized we have no trouble with "goodbyes" so no reason CIAOS can't be OK. There's a lot to like about this puzzle, especially GAMEFACE and HERESHOPING. And SPANDEX too. Brilliant, I thought. Of course OFL hated LAVABO. He hates it whenever he does not know something.

Hands up for confidently writing in "Tom" before realizing that it had to be BEN, because after all ALLALONE was a gimme.

Hartley70 11:12 AM  

@Greater Fall River, I think it refers to a liquid ounce equaling 6 measuring teaspoons of liquid.

jberg 11:15 AM  

@junief, StL are the initials of the Arizona Cardinals if you travel through a wormhole to another time. Weren't they in the puzzle yesterday as ARI?

@crabsofstell et al., bound=delimited if you are using the passive voice (my garden is DELIMITED by the railroad tracks behind the house), but =delimit in the active voice: If we are to have any hope of success, we much DELIMIT our goals."

Like many others, I was held up by Tom and Alda (and then bARR). (And, @Mohair Sam, that trying to kill each other was just their act -- off screen, T & J were great friends, and partners in a very successful act.)

Couldn't you say "he arrived to a chorus of CIAOS?"

What I learned from today's puzzle:

*that SPANDEX/EXPANDS thing. Neat!
*What ORLE means. I've seen it (one does encounter descriptions of coats of arms every year or so), but just assumed it was a variety of gold.
*that "let us hope so" has exactly the same number of letters as HERE'S HOPING--and that both have a hidden SHOP in exactly the same place!

What I learned from @Loren:
*That farding has nothing to do with fardels.

kitshe 11:21 AM  

@jberg - not sure if you are just kidding around, but:
MLB: St Louis Cardinals
NFL: Arizona Cardinals

evil doug 11:23 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
G.Harris 11:28 AM  

Any time I can finish a Friday puzzle ( and that's been happening more lately) is a good day and a good puzzle. I leave the dissecting and nitpicking to others.

Lewis 12:01 PM  

I liked what @martin liked and disliked what @martin disliked. Overall, though, unlike @martin, I liked it more than not. I always feel good about overcoming resistances in puzzles, and there were a fair number of these overcomings, and so it just felt good to complete -- persistence and patience paid off, and I was happy for the experience.

Regarding the clue for CEASEFIRES; I thought it was brilliant. It didn't give me the answer -- crosses did -- but it reminded me to look at tough clues from all angles. If I did that, I might have gotten the answer from the clue, and it would have been a simultaneous aha and wow. More clues like this, constructors and Will!

Z 12:08 PM  

@Mohair Sam - How many times have we seen "partner" in a clue to indicate that the answer is separated from the clue word by an "and" in a common phrase? While I agree that BEN is a better answer than Tom, don't be surprised when the answer is Tom.

@jberg - What @kitshe (did you lose something?) said, but it also is important to know that the football Cardinals started life in Chicago before moving to St. Louis before moving to Arizona. The football Cardinals were replaced by the Rams from Los Angeles before the St. Louis Rams moved back to L.A. this year. I'm betting one of these teams show up tomorrow.

Mohair Sam 12:08 PM  

@jberg - Thanks for straightening me out on Tom and Jerry. In hindsight I do recall seeing them dining together at Sardi's back in the '60s - my mistake.

@LMS - Yes, we wanted MickeyD's off the M too. But the slogan just didn't make a lot of sense for hamburgers, did it?

@DELIMIT tense questioners. To DELIMIT something is to determine its boundaries, or to bound it. You, like me, have done too much computer programming and think of delimiters in a somewhat different sense. When ferdorkeled as I was by the answer to 49A I always refer to @Rex's FAQ #16:

"16. The puzzle has an error! I am indignant!

99% of the time, you (the complainer) are wrong. Sometimes the clue is inelegant. Sometimes the clue is stretching the meaning of a certain word. Sometimes the clue is using a word in a way you aren't thinking of or haven't heard of. But flat-out errors are Rare. Very Rare. So reconsider your position."

Masked and Anonymous 12:24 PM  

It's a heartache,
Nuthin but a fard ache.
Hits yah when no U's late.
Hits yah at 57-Down …

PRIZEINSIDE, my foot. Second one in a week. snort.

Ok … this Kingsley dude is pretty new … only his third FriPuz … only been published since 2016 … must. be. encouraginly positive. [gulp]

Hi-lites and yo-lites:

* LAVA B.O. Cool, to start the puz out with one of them oxymoron dealies.
* SPANDEX anagram. SEX AND P? EX - S AND P? Don't quite get it. Extra fun metapuz, saved for later.
* Weeject stacks! In the NE and SW. Staff pick: ASE. Marvelously desperate. Especially with that lip-ASE clue; har. Like tryin to put lip-stick-ASE on a pig-ASE. [See 4-H doc on: pig farding. yo, @muse]
* GAMEFACE by OSCARNOD. Nice … almost makes one's ASE smell better.
* ATTHISRATE. Always fun, to figure out the long, multi-word ones. Ditto, on ALLALONE. [Better clue = {all} ? … thought not.]
* ANT & SEE. Had superb clues. And agree with @RP: CEASEFIRES clue was superbest [parsed either way].
* Puz clue and answer that never quite found each other: {Grumpy state} and CEL. [Think Snowy White out, maybe?]
* ACTIII. {Law on a stick??} [See: 5 Dec 2012 NYTPuz for details]
* APRIORI. Primo fardword. Wanted ASSUMED. Then ASEUMED. Was really desperate for that first U.

Thanx, Mr. Kingsley. Yer U-count progression [in 4 themeless puzs, where one can put in anyold-day-um-thing they want], from oldest to recentest, is now: 5 --> 5 --> 2 --> 0.
[M&A points at his own eyes; then points at the constructioneer.]

Masked & Anonymo s


GILL I. 12:38 PM  

This was DE LIghtful despite DE LIMIT with APRIORIA. @Tita, may I borrow your "dreck immunity?" and by the way I loved your AGA story. I remember you telling it and how it reminded me of our Raffles. She, however, preferred undies.
LAVABO...I got it early on but it was a hmmmmm moment. In Spanish it can mean the washbowl but also the privy and a toilet. Now I can see where it might become a ceremonial basin.
@Nancy...Hah! I actually like SPANDEX shorts but I wear a long shirt over them which tends to cover the PRIZE INSIDE.
I liked that ARLO wasn't clued as Guthrie and that a genteel establishment isn't a MAN CAVE.
She said her CIAOS...Adios amigos.

Master Melvin 12:43 PM  

Ever since my days as a young acolyte I've known the "basin" as a LAVABO BOWL, not just a LAVABO. The priest places his/her (I'm an Episcopalian) fingers Over the LAVABO BOWL, the acolyte pours water over the priest's fingers; the priest then dries his/her fingers on a LAVABO TOWEL.

The Latin word LAVABO means "I will wash" and represents the beginning of the portion of the Psalm recited by the priest during this little ceremony: "I will wash my hands in innocency and so will I go to Thine altar, O Lord."

On another subject, it seems to me the ST part of STL is an abbreviation, not initials. Or maybe I'm just being overly pedantic.

Numinous 12:46 PM  

Tom and Jerry were created by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera when they worked at MGM. They were pals of a sort but the only times I recall seeing them together were at the studio Christmas parties.

I knew a lady bar manager and bartender who only hired females. She reckoned the secret to getting tips was wearing SPANDEX and required it of all her employes. She got a lot of tips. She would not have got LESS SO without it. She was Hawt.

This was something of a googlefest for me. I've never seen the MERCEDES commercial and didn't know Montessori's name was MARIA, neither had I heard of the tennis player. Never heard of Paul DANO either. I couldn't remember DANA Point, all I could think of was Point Megu. DANA surfaced after I figured out NEEDNT. CIAOS didn't bother me. I heard a lot of CIAOS in coffee houses in the SIXTIES. I never farded except when I was in plays or films in the SIXTIES. That was around the time I learned my Zip Code was 94704.

Other than Tom, most of my wild guesses proved correct which surprised me. I figured out LAVABO, a word I've seen somewhere, after getting A TEN and BOLD and figuring out VITALS (I've had them read more times than I'd like to think). I used to visit a TEA ROOM in St Martin's Place in London when I was in film school so I liked that answer. Would you serve sausage rolls with the various punches at a party? That thinking completely obscured ADAPTS.

While @Rex already had his, I'm smelling my birthday cake as it cools. I'm practically drooling.

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

Actually, European chefs weigh everything as it is a much more reliable measuring methodology and it is gaining favor on this side of the Atlantic as well. The only thing holding it back is the long standing tradition of American kitchens to measure rather than weigh.

Masked and Anonymous 1:00 PM  


@Numinous: yo. Happy B-day, dude. And, re: SPANDEX: If it makes one appear more sexy-lookin, I'm thinkin spandex mask. Anyhoo … eat an extra piece of that cake, for m&e.

EX-PANDS? Gotta be it. Will now celebrate, via CINNAMON {Rolls with the punches}. What the hey. Fardy hardy, I always say.


Masked and Anonymous 1:13 PM  

@All SPANDEX mask contemplators -- two words: ZENTAI SUIT. Wiki-pedia it, at once.


Zoltania 1:24 PM  

Stephen Sondheim used "lavabo" in the lyrics to "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd":

"His needs were few, his room was bare.
A lavabo and a fancy chair..."

Earworm, anyone?

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

I know I'll be alone in this but she bears are found more frequently in Kipling than the woods. coincidentally, Pa is in the middle of bear season right this minute, and ask anyone in the Commonwealth what a female bear is called and to a man they'll all say sow.

One addendum to Z's Rams travelogue. It's true that the Rams did go to St. Louis via L.A. but they went to LA from Cleveland. Ewe can look it up. Or She sheep it, as Mr. Kinglsley would say.

Hartley70 1:39 PM  

@Anonymous 12:58pm. I think it is more than tradition. I would add economy of effort. I don't use my expensive kitchen scale often enough to keep it on the already crowded counter so I have to drag it from the back of the cupboard, worry about it's calibration from the jostling, line it with paper so I don't have to wash the tray, and dump the ingredient from the paper without spilling it. My other option is to pick up the inexpensive plastic measuring spoon or cup, fill it and then after emptying it, throw it in the dishwasher.

Teedmn 1:39 PM  

@Tita, your AGA story reminded me of a photo a friend showed me recently, of her dog, Jake, with all of the shoes he had pulled out of the closet while she was gone. Someone pointed out that they were all left-foot shoes. Coincidence?

This puzzle played much harder for me than I think it should have. I entered in SATELLITE TV right off the bat. But I had many subsequent errors such as lip-oma, comedy instead of ROM-COM (I can't associate Woody Allen with anything ROM, sorry), trex before ARLO, ZEd for ZEE, enl for LTR, etc. etc. I cleaned all of this up, thankfully. I think @Mohair Sam's observation re: "partners" vis-a-vis Tom and Jerry must have sublimally saved me from "tom" though staring at IBS at the end of 37D and not seeing DELIMIT for a while caused some squinting.

And while I found @Martin Abresch's puzzle pitch delightful, I enjoyed this very much. Thanks, Andrew Kingsley.

GILL I. 1:47 PM  

@Loren...Hah! I went to many schools before I graduated High School and all my teachers, with the exception of only one, were dull and had no sense of humor. My 12th grade drama teacher - lover of Shakespeare always had us laughing. She would write some of his words on the blackboard and make us use them in a sentence.
Try: Cockered, spur-galled or fen sucked in a poem.
Now is the Winter of our Discount Tent.
I would have loved you as a teacher...
@Numi. Hey, happy birthday or, as they say in Spain "Apy Verde."

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 2:41 PM  

Oh god, I thought I knew LAVABO from being an Episcopal organist, but it was Sweeney Todd. Played in the stage band one winter. The worst earworms imaginable.

There's a hole in the world like a great black pit
and the vermin of the world inhabit it
and its morals aren't worth what a pig can spit

Running through your head for months.

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

I too winced at first at ciaos. But I agree with a few comments that it is no worse than saying "hellos." The popular Italian partisan/communist song "Bella ciao," I believe, treats ciao as a noun, modified by the adjective "bella." Great song:

RooMonster 3:08 PM  

@M&A, you never fail to impress. SEX AND P, HAR AND P!
I feel your no U's pain, he even snuck in a Z! Sheesh. At
least he stuck in two F's....


kithe 3:40 PM  

Anon at 1:27 - also by Samuel Foote:

So she went into the garden
to cut a cabbage-leaf
to make an apple-pie;
and at the same time
a great she-bear, coming down the street,
pops its head into the shop.
What! no soap?
So he died,
and she very imprudently married the Barber:
and there were present
the Picninnies,
and the Joblillies,
and the Garyulies,
and the great Panjandrum himself,
with the little round button at top;
and they all fell to playing the game of catch-as-catch-can,
till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots

Joseph Michael 4:25 PM  

Have had politics on my mind a lot lately, so for 10 D imagined that an athlete losing a competition might have to put on a "Gore Face."

@Martin, enjoyed your crossword play.

Lots of drek in the puzzle, but some good stuff as well. Liked learning that ants can be a-holes,too.

Warren Howie Hughes 4:41 PM  


Leapfinger 4:51 PM  

Hamlet redux, eh?

...Quiet us make with a bear bodkin?
For who would fardels SHEBEAR?

Had the most trouble in the SW with 35D looking like AbandONE, and with Tom/BEN also. Nice bit of serendipity that Dr Strangelove is a SIXTIES SATIRE; too bad that Borat wasn't.

LOT TO love here with a healthy dose of interesting fill and peekant cluing to puzzle over. I could get used to an EXSPANDed diet of such. A definite uptick to have an AFRO clue that @Rex didn't spit up all over on.

@Numi, have a great Birthday celibration from the crown of your head to the ends of your ptosis.

Holidays looming, so from now till then I'll be right HERE SHOPpING.


Malsdemare 5:10 PM  

I don't know about y'all but the comments of late have been super. I agree with all of you, even when you disagree with one another, especially since I finished the puzzle with just one Google (for MARIAS) but got the rest after a fight. I find it fascinating that I can absolutely bomb 95% of the clues for the first twenty minutes, then get one answer, and suddenly everything lights up, like I finally figured out I needed the map for Springfield Ohio, not Illinois. Anyway, I felt really smug when I filled in the last letter, whatever it was.

@NCA Prez, I searched forever to find someone, anyone who made real jeans, the kind you can berry pick in, cut down a tree in, ride a horse in, nice solid, dense, 100% cotton jeans. Finally found them at LLbean, who then, fools, discontinued them. Lots of women screamed bloody murder, they brought them back. Last week I went to recorder and . . . Yup, discontinued again, with something like 800 complaints in their reviews. Who ARE these merchandisers?

Love the AGA story! I had a dachshund who adored women's unmentionables; he may have been the originator of crotchless panties. I have a quite gross story about him, Willie, which I will spare you all. TGIF all.

OISK 6:23 PM  

A tough struggle for me, but success! Perhaps I'll be defeated tomorrow, but my only error in the past month was JCOLE. "Bound" puzzled me too, I can't help but wonder.... and thanks @old timer for reminding me of the Peacock Popinjay ! I actually had Chantel before Chattel...where did that come from? I then had NSPS for "Oz. sextet." Well, maybe "OZ" is the appreciation for a variety of Norwegian rock ...( "Oslo Zappa") and NSPS is the name of the group. Why not? We just had NAS the other day. But I did catch the error!

I have decided to go over the list of top "hits" in the Times, to learn the names of music groups. They will appear in the puzzle sooner or later.

Tita 6:44 PM  

Must acknowledge shout out to me...I'm sometimes called TITI by the wains... Didn't know they were monkeys...should I be insulted?

@Numi... happy bIrthday!

@Mal...we'll have to share pet stories over a beer sometime..

jae 7:31 PM  

Just a tad on the easy side of medium for me. Lots of erasures: assErt before ALLEGE, rko before MCA, doEdeer before SHEBEAR, Ali before AGA...and then there is the phenomenon of knowing something but having to wait for it to surface (this may be age related) which is how MARIAS arrived (@Numinous seemed to have the same problem with DANA Point.)

WOE: LAVABO and I erred yesterday when I said I had no WOES, I did not know PELAGIC.

Reasonably solid Fri. (although @Rex @Martin et. al. have some valid issues) with more zip in the clueing than in the grid, mostly liked it.

Anonymous 8:14 PM  

Dang if this wasn't one of my fastest Fridays - if not my personal best. Made quick work of 4/5 of it then just bored my way through the rest with hacking and slashing the crosses. NW was last, but I didn't need to spend all that much time pondering... and none of the naticky stuff got in the way.

I felt sure Rex would rate it dirt simple and was chuffed to see he had it a full grade harder - those rare moments of triumph...

puzzle hoarder 8:42 PM  

I don't consider entries like STL and OSSA to be "glue" so much as "slag". Slag is what you get when you attempt to forge gold and the gold in this puzzle made up for it's considerable slag. The A of OSSA was the start of APRIORI. I'm a sucker for that kind of uneveness. It makes for lively solving. What disappoints me is seamless construction you can solve on autopilot. That SW section had a virtual firewall around it that was pure joy to break through.
@lms I don't know if you're familiar with "The Magic Schoolbus" series but you have to be Mz. Frizzle come to life. This old dart didn't know it but some anonymous constructor used FARD back in 1971. I couldn't tell you where they got this definition but the clue was "Variety of brown date." Oh well, what other color would it be.

Chronic dnfer 8:58 PM  

Just an awful little puzzle.

Numinous 9:19 PM  

I just finished a meal that I believe was worth waiting 71 years for. Tenderloin steaks seared in the cast iron skillet and finished in the oven, roasted artichoke hearts, potatos roasted with ranch seasoning and then the baby peas in butter. Even though we had some mid afternoon, I'm not going to be able to eat anyone else's portions of the devil's food cake for a few hours. I want to thank all y'all for the kind birthday wishes: M&A, obviously I won't be wearing SPANDEX for a while, GILL I, Leapy, Jae, Tita and all the rest. Thank you. I'm so pleased to be a part of this commentariat. It really is a groovy corner of the internet.

Anonymous 10:07 PM  

"Prize inside" reminds me of those wonderful days they put all sorts of things in cereal boxes. So, you would have to either deform the box while pawing through the cereal looking for the prize or else make a mess by pouring all the cereal out in a large bowl (and we never had a large enough bowl!).

thfenn 11:04 PM  

Am pretty late to this party - I just wanted to celebrate completing this one. I did climb back on the horse that tossed me yesterday, and, thanks, it was worth it.
Hard finding a toe hold - but SATELLITETV helped get me started. SE was the last to fall and left me just guessing whether it was LAVABA/ARLE LAVABE/ERLE, LAVABI/IRLE - LAVABO/ORLE got it, but that was impossible for me. Wanted to break EVEN before breaking ATEN, which was hard to give up for awhile. I couldn't get past thinking about a baseball dugout and wanted WARMED or WAITED. Had BOCCI before LOTTO for a long time, convinced BOCCI worked because of the 'O'. My lasting impression was a DENT for a long time, and I had TOM as well, at least until I went with MERCEDES. I thought we crossed our fingers when we weren't telling the truth, completely forgot it was for a hope, as in 'keep your fingers crossed' so that was tough. IDONTMEANIT fit...I thought STATE has a many possible ways to interpret the clue as BOUND, and it was a long time before ALLEGE came into view. Same trouble with front - too many ways to think of that, but got it when enough crosses came through.

This took me forever, and I can't say there was much that I thought was fun, more like a long tedious slog, but i became obsessed with just finishing it. As all can tell from yesterday, that's a big deal for me - I don't have many completed Fridays, and my average is still over 45 minutes. But finishing has restored some hope.

Numinous 1:11 AM  

You hang in there, @thfenn, keep coming back. This will all get easier in time. Your world view will broaden too.
The horse that dumped you yesterday, dumped me today. It happens to most of us from time to time. Careful reading of all the comments will tell you that. You can see all the difficulties people encounter in solving. Almost all are different. The regulars here have good and bad days even though the old hands' bad days look like good days to a newbie.

Anyway congratulations on your finish today. HERES HOPING for many more in the future.

Aga CIAOS (Mai!) Mercedes 5:24 AM  

Reducing "Annie Hall" to "rom-com" on Woody Allen's bday no less!!!

Hand up for Tom even tho I once had a terrible quasi-date with the real BEN...

Has anyone mentioned "Tom and Jerry" was Simon and Garfunkel's original name? Yikes! Would they have even gotten "The Graduate" gig had they kept it???!

@Tita I thought of you when I put in TITI. Play it all the time in Scrabble but I thought it was a bird...glad to learn it's a monkey!
(Also a common nickname for Italian Christina) Keep those doggie tales coming!

Anonymous 7:05 AM  

Mohair Sam: SKEETS is just wrong, even informally.

Junief 9:41 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Junief 9:44 PM  

Thanks, Anonymous. Sports are my weak link, clearly.

spacecraft 11:01 AM  

Medium-challenging for me, on account of the brutal clues. Had to have my GAMEFACE on all the way through this one. In the end, it was a victory--though somewhat Pyrrhic. We have an RPA (random play act) and an RCD (" compass direction). These are violations: book 'im, DANO!

So, MERCEDES without the "Benz" is "informal?" Well, if you want to be a stickler about it. To me, "informal" is "Beamer" for BMW. The inference is that the spelling somehow changes. Yes, I know that the actual name of the brand is Mercedes-Benz. Must I also crook my pinkie when I say it?

Typical of the cluing was "Verge" for EVE. Yeah, I see it:

And ya don't believe we're on the EVE of destruction. Or...

And if we won't merge we're on the verge of destruction. Now I kinda like that version. Lots of ways to clue EVE; verge is far down the list. It was like that pretty much everywhere. I finished it, so there's some triumph points to award. In the DOD dep't. I'll honor my loving spouse; one of her favorite shows, back then, was "China Beach" starring DANA Delany. Junky fill pulls it down to a par.

Burma Shave 1:01 PM  


but on SATELLITETV she NEEDN’T care,
ATTHISRATE she’ll show a LOTTO TITI and pecs,
but ATEN so BOLD, what else might SHEBEAR?

--- ANON.

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

Really disliked this unfair, totally joyless puzzle. Dislike turned to hate after reading the answers. Rejected.

Diana,LIW 1:58 PM  

Dogged persistence and patience led to an AMF (almost finished), but DANO, HELIOS, RIO, ARLO, MARIAS were all woes, so the SW was impassible and impossible. Also, had Assumed for APRIORI before I checked - thus creating a certain dnf.

Still, I'll take my "almost" on a Friday. APRIORI and MARIAS allowed me to finish the SW, and DANO resolved the NE.

Haven't read other comments (other than Rex) so I'll stop here rather than repeat repeat repeat HIHO HIHO.

Rex review rating - 2 tequila shots - "@Rainy proceed with caution."

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Longbeachlee 2:12 PM  

Cracker Jack is not a cereal. It's a glazed popcorn concoction. Do they still make them?

rain forest 2:25 PM  

I agree with the "medium"rating, but I liked it more than most. I knew CIAOS would cause wincing, but not by me. I liked lot of the cluing here, especially for CEASE FIRES. I had thought that Banquo saw the dagger before him in ACT II - but of course that didn't fit - add an "I".


MERCEDES: I always call it that. Didn't know I was being informal. Interesting that one of my top five movies (Dr. Strangelove) and perhaps my least favourite ever (Borat) were in the same clue. Hard to call that last one a SATIRE. More of a farce, and a bad one at that.

I think I'll have to look up "farding".

rondo 2:26 PM  

I don’t SEE any w/os, but I SEE a lot of 3 letter answers for a Fri-puz. ATTHISRATE, well . . .

The RIO lyrics are by Duran Duran, BTW. Saw them in a small club in Mpls a few years back. Stood not FARR from the stage, 10 feet at most. Fantastic show.

@spacey – I also though EVE of destruction immediately.

MARIA’S gotta be today’s yeah baby. Sharipova that is, when she’s got her GAMEFACE on. I’d rate her ATEN. IDO think it’s too bad she GOT suspended. Wait. Hmm. MARIA suspended . . .

ACTIII is taking it to DELIMIT. SSE was in the wrong corner. Even those didn’t put me in a BADMOOD.

leftcoastTAM 2:46 PM  

Problems surprisingly similar to Rex's.

Biggest in the upper SW. Insisted on "assumed" for "Presumptive" clue. Saw that wasn't working, but only after a long struggle. Then, finally, aha!, APRIORI, which fit well with the names of the MARIAS, HELIOS, and ARLO that came fully into view.

The "O" in the ORLE/LAVABO cross was a latecomer, too.

This was a tough but ultimately satisfying Friday.

leftcoastTAM 7:26 PM  

Looking through realtimers' posts from time to time, like today, I appreciate their wide variety of views and lively exchanges. We syndilanders are at the end of the line, five weeks late; we miss out on a lot of fun, and much of what we might say has already been said. Still, I like being part of our more intimate group, and have come to prefer it.

A belated happy new year.

Diana,LIW 9:27 PM  

@Lefty - a few of the Futurelanders come and read the Syndie posts as well. Maybe they don't envy us, but they are very curious about our late-arriving wisdom!


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