Half a ten-spot / FRI 1-27-17 / Loafer alternative / Romance novelist Tami / Bradley with many medals / Brand with the flavor French Silk / Loyalists American Revolution / Actress Saoirse / Bond girl Kissy Suzuki / Stray calf / Alto clef instrument

Friday, January 27, 2017

Constructor: John Guzzetta

Relative difficulty: Tougher than average

THEME: Themeless

Word of the Day: OMAR (1D: Bradley with many medals) —
General of the Army Omar Nelson Bradley (February 12, 1893 – April 8, 1981), nicknamed Brad, was a highly distinguished senior officer of the United States Army who saw distinguished service in North Africa and Western Europe during World War II, and later became General of the Army. From the Normandy landings of June 6, 1944 through to the end of the war in Europe, Bradley had command of all U.S. ground forces invading Germany from the west; he ultimately commanded forty-three divisions and 1.3 million men, the largest body of American soldiers ever to serve under a single U.S. field commander. After the war, Bradley headed the Veterans Administration and became Army Chief of Staff. In 1949, Bradley was appointed the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the following year oversaw the policy-making for the Korean War, before retiring from active service in 1953. (Wikipedia)
• • •
Laura here, filling in for Rex, whose computer MADE A BOOBOO (15A: Slipped), so he said GO FOR IT (41A: "Be my guest!"). This was somewhat of a TOSSED SALAD (55A: Course that offers mixed results?), but I hope this post AMELIORATE[s] (26D: Take[s] the edge off) your solving experience. Smooth sailing in the SE and the NE, then completely turned to GOO (39D: Too-sweet sentiment) in the SW -- I sat there NAVEL GAZ[ing] (being 25D: Way too introspective) and thought, I can't finish this, and I'm going to disappoint Rex and the teeming millions. But then, previous years of living in NYC brought to mind NATHAN (25A: First name in hot dogs), and vague impressions from reading too many bad fantasy novels in my adolescence gave me LIEGEMAN (38A: Vassal), and I finally got it all, SO THERE (11D: "Told ya!"). I originally had ONTARIO for BAHAMAS (5D: Where many Loyalists settled after the American Revolution), because it is also true. OMAR Bradley is the Word of the Day because he's one of those names I remember from endless WWII documentaries on basic cable; however, had I used it in a puzzle, I would've clued it differently (Character on "The Wire" who says, "You come at the king, you best not miss"). Fill was pretty clean in general, although there were some repeated letter strings in the NW (OMAR/OMAN/OBIWAN/RONAN) that bothered me.

  • MEGAN (28D: Actress Mullally with two Emmys) — Nice to see my girl MEGAN in a puzzle again. I've been told I look like her. She's a fantastic singer! (There the similarity ends.)
  • PIMIENTO (33D: Red stuffing?) — At first, had PIMENTO. Could not see that extra i
  • ARIOSE (43A: Melodious) — I wanted this to be OTIOSE ("Serving no practical purpose, like a crossword puzzle.")
  • OPEN BORDERS (1A: Feature of the European Union) — First appearance of this phrase. I can't help but wonder -- and hope -- that the puzzle is trolling the new administration. Something there is that doesn't love a wall.
Signed, Laura Braunstein, Sorceress of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Outside The Box 6:05 AM  

Oddly, I found this to be one of the easiest
Friday puzzles I can remember. Earlier this week, Wednesday's and Thursday''s gave me more problems.

Oh, well! Let's see what Saturday brings!

Charles Flaster 6:13 AM  

Wednesday easy with NAVEL GAZES the only slight bump.
Creative cluing for MISREADS, PUGET, and HERS.
Only write over was OPEN BORDERS for OPEN traDERS.
Nothing could beat a 15 cent hot dog from NATHAN's back in the fifties in Coney Island. Later in life I met some of the original family.
Thanks LB and JG

Unknown 6:22 AM  

Thanks, @Laura, for your delightful review of @John Guzzetta's Friday puzzle (and hope @Rex is able to get his computer issues back on track).

When solving on-line last night, I confidently put in ONE_CURRENCY at 1-Across, based on the first, third, and seventh letters, then backtracked when YO_THERE didn't quite make sense ... shades of yesterday's discussion of NOT_HERE vs. NO_THERE. Easily fixed, though. I did hold my breath on the PIMIENTO/LIEGEMAN crossing, but was rewarded by the chime for the correct solution.

The INTERRACIAL clue was very timely, since @Ruth Negga has just been nominated for an Academy Award for her lead role in "Loving." Didn't we just see OBIWAN (split across two lines) in the recent @CARRIE FISHER tribute puzzle?

Ray Greenberg 6:30 AM  

I don't understand ...goes from stem to stern ... The length of a boat as "misreads". What am I missing?

Anonymous 6:48 AM  

Excellent Friday puzzle. At first it looked like a DNF, but slowly the answers came.

Stem to stern? I think it means you might, at first glance, mis-read "stem" when what was actually written was "stern." In a small font, the "rn" can look like "rm." Plus, the added layer of both being boat related, and they are indeed "the length of a boat." Wickedly clever!


Anonymous 6:55 AM  

Extremely easy for a Friday puzzle. Did it in Wednesday time.

Glimmerglass 6:56 AM  

For me, tougher than usual, but I did prevail in the end. I got ELL completely from crosses and still can't parse it. Does this mean "shaped like an ell"? I've never seen (or even heard of) an L-shaped desk. If it just means the letter L (for "large"), "large" is in the clue -- not kosher. Anyone?

Greg 7:02 AM  

Caught up on NAVALGAZES/ZAG cross. I thought it could have been NAVALGAtES/tAG. Other than that, seemed like easy-average Friday fare to me. I liked it well enough.

kitshef 7:20 AM  

Just a really good, straightforward puzzle. Trio of PPPWOEs: RONAN, MEGAN and HOAG.

Not sold on LIEGEMAN or SOT HERE.

Kept getting bogged down on things like Britain crossing laos (for BAHAMAS and OMAN), and fin for ABE, which had the odd side effect of getting a lot of the longs off of no crosses: OPEN BORDERS, INTERRACIAL, TITLEFIGHT, NAVEL GAZES.

John Child 7:45 AM  
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John Child 7:47 AM  

I had to say "Help me OBI-WAN KENOBI" in the west. That whole stack in the California area cost me a lot of stare / GAZING time. The rest of the puzzle wasn't so hard for me, but I limped to the finish line with prize FIGHT finally converted to TITLE FIGHT so the rest of the answers could be filled in.

NATHANs was a WOE. Largely east coast in the US, but their web site shows Caribbean locations, Turkey, Russia, Malaysia, and more. Color me surprised.

Good 'n crunchy.

Anonymous 7:48 AM  

@ray: rn can look like m, so the idea is that you'd see stem and think it said stern

Autrement 7:57 AM  

A nice Friday puzzle and easy-ish. Not a ton of flair but the long answers generally revealed themselves with just a few crosses. VHF - HAMA is the only difficult cross, and I happened to guess right. The clue for GOO as a noun ("Too-sweet sentiment") seemed a bit .... off. You wouldn't say that someone is expressing GOO to their sweetheart.

It's hard for me not to see OPENBORDERS EBBing and GHOULS cutting into ECOSYSTEMS as symptoms of our political moment.

@kitschef - it's SO THERE (as in "Ha! Proved you wrong!"), not SOT HERE.

Unknown 8:16 AM  

You mean SO THERE??

Small Town Blogger 8:20 AM  

You misread the word stem as stern, I think

evil doug 8:31 AM  

So how are those open borders working out for Europe? Something there is that doesn't love terrorists easily strolling in....

Fun exercise today. I would've said easier than normal for Friday.

Susierah 8:38 AM  

Lots of new fun, long answers to work through, liked it!

I don't think of Tami Hoag as a "romance novelist".

Old SOT HERE 8:45 AM  

...speaking to you directly from the local pub

LOL, @kitshef, I just glanced back at the completed grid, and that's what I saw also


The Hermit Philosopher 8:46 AM  

How nice to read a straightforward review devoid of Rex's whining!

evil doug 8:47 AM  
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Mohair Sam 8:49 AM  

Nice job Laura - as one of Rex's "teeming Millions" I assure you I was not disappointed with your write-up.

Easy Friday for us. Very clean puzzle, just published two days late. Opened with HOAG and INTERRACIAL (the "Loving" movie is out there right now) and things filled at a Wednesday clip from there. A brief hesitation with the IE in the middle of PIMIENTO - Lady M checked our spices and the E alone sufficed on one of them.

Middle son lived with a young lady who gifted me a two volume Tami HOAG novel about 10 years back. The good news is they broke up when I was only about 100 pages into the thing.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

Also thought this was pretty easy for Friday and got everything except the "m" for "starterhome". What is this word? Have I even living in France (with open borders - thank goodness ) for too long? Help

evil doug 8:53 AM  

The current administration's closed border policies are completely un-American, and especially targeting sanctuary cities like NYC. IIRC, one of the arguments against the ACA was the federal government using funding as an incentive to participate, and (usually) red states were up in arms that they would lose money if they didn't participate. And yet here we are, threatening to defund promised grants if cities don't comply.

Color me a liberal, but that's crazy even for me.

Fun exercise today. I would have said easier than normal. <--- gratuitous comment on puzzle to legitimize my political statement.

BigMistake 8:55 AM  

Laura - I loved your write-up! I had a very similar experience, easy until the southwest and then a bit of a slog

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

Hi from France again. Cell phone typing gave "even" instead of "been". Also, wanted to say help please!

Eric 8:56 AM  

@Glimmerglass. Yes there are L shaped sofas and desks. Left and right handed. Never seen an ell shaped one but L seems to refer to building wings also so I guess it is accurate.

Nancy 8:59 AM  

One of the easiest Fridays I can remember, too. I zipped through it, pausing to note some lovely cluing and some interesting long fill. The clue for MISREADS was worth the price of admission; and I liked those for TOSSED SALAD, PUGET and HERS too. Liked the answers NAVEL GAZES, ANYTHING BUT and PERSIST. (I've certainly had colds like that; bet you have too.) But nothing here gave me any trouble at all and I ended up wishing there had been a real Friday challenge. Oh, well -- a nice, lively puzzle nonetheless.

Sir Hillary 9:01 AM  

I enjoyed this one. Excellent long entries, with not-so-great NE/SW corners and some other short dreck (RES, DOGY, TAS) a small price to pay.

Not sure the last time I laughed at a clue the way I did at the one for MISREADS. Hilarious.

HAMA is so incredibly random, but for a Bond dork like me, it was first in.

GHOstS for GHOULS -- surely I'm not the only one.

I will never...ever...remember how to spell PIMIENTO.

French Silk is a favorite in our house. My wife loved seeing that clue.

Eric 9:01 AM  

@ anonymous Yes first time home buyers often buy cheaper homes that require a lot of fixing up hence the term starter homes. Homes that they start out in.

JHC 9:01 AM  

I'm still trying to figure out how [Flat, e.g.: Abbr.] comes out as RES. I have no doubt I'll feel foolish once someone tells me, but can you help a guy out?

Eric 9:02 AM  

@EvilDoug LOL apology accepted

QuasiMojo 9:02 AM  

As someone with a cold that is indeed "persist"ing, I will give two thumbs up for this Friday frolic. No real groaners and little in the way of product placement other than Edy's (although "French Silk" sounds like a Red Shoes Diary episode.) I had Oscar before Nathan, and Title Match before Fight. Was expecting a bartending answer for "mixed results." But Tossed Salad was good. Nothing here to make me "Sea-red." Feeling no "pane." Thanks for filling in Laura!

Eric 9:04 AM  

@JHC Flat as in apartment or residence. Common British term.

JHC 9:05 AM  

@Eric Thanks. It just never occurred to me that RES stood for residence. It probably should have.

BallBoy 9:08 AM  

@JHC, "Res" is short for "residence," I presume.

Happy Pencil 9:11 AM  

@JHC, a flat is an apartment, or a residence (RES).

@Anon from France, a STARTER HOME is the first home you buy when you're young. It's usually small and in need of a lot of work. You live there a few years, put in some sweat equity fixing it up, and then sell it, using the money you've made to buy something nicer.

The stem to stern clue was one of the best in recent memory. Good puzzle!

Dorothy Biggs 9:12 AM  

I really liked the puzzle, so much so that I was sad when it ended.

I had to look up HOAG, though.


GHOULS over SHELLEY, nice.

Didn't know LIEGEMAN. But now I do.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

Correct. Particularly with a san serif font, the "r" and the "n" close together look like an "m."

Ted 9:16 AM  

Bizarrely easy for me.

For some reason, I was able to get NAVEL GAZES, TITLE FIGHT, INTERRACIAL, STARTER HOME each off of just two letters and just one glance. INTERRACIAL's cluing is current with the movie Loving, but I haven't seen it... just tweaked my memory.

Good, fun puzzle. GHOULS and MISREADS were well clued. You don't see a lot of AMBULATORY and AMELIORATE these days!

Mr. Benson 9:16 AM  

Incredibly easy for me, quite possibly my fastest Friday ever, faster than most Wednesdays and even some Tuesdays.

Also, what Stuart Showalter said. I came here expecting to see Rex tick off all the worst entries and find a way to be offended by INTERRACIAL.

Ted 9:17 AM  

For MISREADS... it's a kerning joke. I love that.

Missy 9:18 AM  

Hi, Flat a British term for apartment; apartment is a residence.

Missy 9:19 AM  

Hi, Flat a British term for apartment; apartment is a residence.

i hate fake posters 9:21 AM  

There's a real evil doug and a fake evil doug on the blog today. The fake evil doug has gone so far as to put his name in blue. Though I agree with the political opinions of the fake evil doug and disagree with the opinions of the real evil doug, I am repelled by the stealing of other people's identity. For shame, fake evil. Stealing another person's identity makes you no better than a troll. Maybe worse.

evil doug 9:23 AM  

I guess that makes us all trolls, then?

Unknown 9:24 AM  

PIMIENTO was the only real problem for me. Always thought it was just PIMENTO. I think the other posts above re "stern to stern" are wrong. I think it is actually "stem to stern". That's a thing, right? Or am I losing my mind?

tkr 9:25 AM  

Just to be clear - open borders are a feature of the Schengen Area, which comprises those states within the EU that have signed onto the Schengen Agreement. They are not a feature of the EU as a whole.


GILL I. 9:27 AM  

I could not get my brain in gear this morning...at all.
Didn't know and could not even suss out RONAN HOAG MEGAN HAMA. I don't understand why SHELLEY created a monster.
The only sure thing I had was OMAR and OLE. Nothing else was coming to me.
I googled BAHAMAS and OBIWAN to get me started and it helped me finish the north. I googled all the names mentioned and that opened up the puzzle for me. After all these years of doing puzzles, I just hate it when I have to Google just to get started. That's what happened to me today.
MADE A BOO BOO is like GOO to my ears.
Having lunch with @Ellen S and @Deb in Sac. today. Maybe they can knock some sense in me....

evil doug 9:28 AM  
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Nancy 9:28 AM  

@GILL -- Mary SHELLEY wrote Frankenstein.

evil doug 9:29 AM  

@i hate fake posters: and yet your profile is not blue, so you're anonymously commenting on a "fake" evil doug. I'm all for it!

puzzlecrone 9:34 AM  

It has to L-shaped but there were better ways to clue that.

Tita 9:37 AM  

@Ted...I just love me a good kerning joke. Speaking of, I hope we see Bob Kerfuffle in Westport!

One of the easiest Fridays ever. I raced around the grid clockwise, tempted to grab screenshots of the every-square-filled-in quadrants. Till I got to the SW and choked. But PERSISTence paid off. Once I accepted that AMELIORATE means take the edge off.

I felt real smart plopping in OnEcurrency (hi @George), then backed out of it wondering what other single thing they agreed on... that and torS for FENS were my only writeovers.

I am bragging like this because it is so rare that I finish a Friday (that OFL rates hard) on Thursday, so I like to bask in the feeling of superiority I get until Saturday puzzle is published.

evil doug 9:43 AM  

Okay. We've played this game before. Now the fake evil has procured my avatar photo as well as my name. So if you care to figure out if it's me or him - - beyond the obvious superiority of my writing, which he obviously can't come close to mimicking - - you can click on my name and see the number of views. Mine are at 6970, his at 9.

evil doug 9:47 AM  

We can play this game for a while, "real" evil doug...if that is indeed you. How do we know that the "real" evil doug didn't leave a while ago and you're just as fake as me?

At a glance, we look - - indistinguishable. And my politics are 1000 times better than yours.

John V 9:53 AM  

Yep, easy here, too.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

Looking a little blue in the SE... Good puzzle. But I wish the NYT would stop calling five dollar bills "ABES". Who says that?

GILL I. 9:56 AM  

@Nancy...Good lord - of course.
Days like this scare me - I think I'm slowly slipping into too many dead cell zones. Maybe it was the PINAS with rum although I had LIMAS. And speaking of Puerto Rican drinks...try a Whisky and coconut water. That'll grow some whiskers on you.
Please, please, please @Fake - go away, please. You're pretty creepy. Do you stalk people on the street?

Mikey from El Prado 10:02 AM  

Note to Ray: Sometimes one misreads the letter couplet "rn" as an "m."

I found this Friday easy, and I seem to be finding that more often with both Fridays and Saturdays in the last year or so. Based on comments on Rex's site over the last few months others have, too. Are we all just getting better at this?

Stanley Hudson 10:05 AM  

@real evil Doug, the charlatan is up to 16 views.

@gill, will be thinking of you and the others in Sac while I'm lunching in Chico.

Laura, fine write-up for an enjoyable puzzle.

jrstocker 10:09 AM  

@Mikey, you just get better the more you do these. This might have been a Friday record for me if I'd ever heard of AMELIORATE. I was flying until I hit that corner.

oldbizmark 10:16 AM  

Navel gazes is a new one for me. Thought it was NAVEL GA[T]ES, which although I never heard before, seemed to make sense with the [T]AG cross. Otherwise, a bit tough to get started, but not too bad once I did. Had WWW and WEB before I finally came to NET so the NW was one of the last sections to be filled in. HOAG and LIEGEMAN hung me up for a while, as well. LIEGE I know. LIEGEMAN, seems a bit repetitive and unnecessary. Either way, I found it be fair for a Friday and much smoother sailing than yesterday, which featured some random birds in some random places.

Maruchka 10:18 AM  

Deceptively smooth, at first. Then - the evil mid and lower West challenge AR[i[OSE, dammit. How, as a longtime Brooklynite, could I not see NATHAN? Big BOO BOO. Hmm, makes me want to go to Coney Island, and stat!

Very clever cluing, Mr. Guzzetta. Thanks!

@the#realevildoug - Nice channeling of Sarah, LOL. Alas, I think we can all see Russia in our future, if not in our backyards.

@Ted, @Tita - Boy, 'kern' takes me back to desktop publishing days. Floppys, anyone?

GHarris 10:27 AM  

Put in bowled over for boiled over even though cross with press kit clue should have straightened me out. Just didn't pay enough attention. Otherwise a complete success and not so difficult.

CDilly52 10:30 AM  

Hubris will out. When I arrived at the SE through the center from the NW in half my normal Monday time (admittedly not nearly in league with most of you), I was well and truly chuffed to bits. Alas, slowed considerably through the SW until my favorite NATHAN('s) hotdog followed by decision to GO FOR IT and throw in the LIEGEMAN, finally saved me, but in deadly normal (for me) Friday time. As an avid calligrapher, loved the kerning clue and overall thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle. Thank you Laura for your review!

Malsdemare 11:09 AM  

I blew through this in 12 minutes. Tried common ????? For 1A but quickly changed to OPENBORDERS when General Bradley appeared. And it was downhill from there. I'm probably reaching here -- I just made my morning phone calls to congress -- but I caught a whiff of politics here, with GHOULS, SHELLEY's monster, and ANYTHING BUT OPEN BORDERS. Then we have BOILEDOVER, perhaps because of INTERRACIAL marriages. We even have a SATYR and a HAREM to sort of round out some of the craziness these past few days.

I'd say I really liked this -- honest, I DID -- but I would have liked something that took longer. Now I need to do something worthwhile, maybe walk the dogs or clean up the yard, even though it's once again cold and grey here.

Now to read all your wonderful comments and learn that I added absolutely nothing to the discussion. TGIF!

AZPETE 11:10 AM  

Must be easy for a Friday. Got er done with only a few erasures.

AZPETE 11:14 AM  

Like your avatar. Is that a husky? We have 2.5 huskies. Two 2 year olds and a new puppy. Great dogs. Puppy is a female and so loving. Older dogs are males and not so much.

RooMonster 11:16 AM  

Hey All !
First, oh boy, monitering, here we come.
Second, SW got me a big DNF. Left squares empty and waved the white flag. NAVEL GAZES an absolute WOE, never heard that expression. And AMELIORATE is way beyond my ken. Alao finished with tAG and noTO for the fail. Oh, and HAtbARS for HANGARS. Har.

Puz started out impossible, but then the ole brain started to chip away little by little, and ended up with a mostly correct grid. Had fin for ABE forever, finally got most Across in that NE and said it must be ABE. If you asked someone ti borrow an ABE, would they know what you were talking about? No.

Clever clue for SHELLEY.


jae 11:17 AM  

Another easy Fri. Some hesitation over spelling PIMIENTO and lad before TOT were my only pauses.

HAMA was a WOE.

A smattering of zip, mostly smooth, liked it, but I'm looking forward to Stan Newman's Newsday Saturday Stumper.

Laura 11:20 AM  

Hi Commentariat, and thanks for your OHSO kind words about my writeup.

One more thing I meant to point out: 37A: HAREM. Many of you will remember that it appeared in a puzzle last summer, clued as "Decidedly non-feminist women's group." This occasioned some, uh, feedback from Rex as well as an article in Slate. I can't help but see "An elephant seal will fight for one" as some kind of evolution. (Btw, elephant seals are super-cool to visit in their ECOSYSTEMS.)

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 11:27 AM  

I think 'melodious' should have been ARIOSo, but I never heard of a PIMIoNTO.

And I was prepared to get angry at anybody who thinks you saute tuna, until I realized it was SEARED. You don't do that out of the can, I guess it's a fancy restaurant thing. For my daily digression I will mention that a vegetarian once brought a half a can of tuna to a 'contributions to the spread welcome' party I gave; it seemed her daughter had been visiting and she had opened the can for her, but the daughter didn't finish it. If she had tried to sear it before bringing it it might have looked a little less silly.

Malsdemare 11:28 AM  

@AZpete. My guys are Malamutes. That particular one is a new sort-of rescue, not quite two and channeling some spiritual need to be a Golden. We're hoping he'll calm down once he realizes he has a permanent home. Meanwhile, it's non-stop wrestling here (I also have a five year old mal.)

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

OPENBORDERS is a "Feature WITHIN the European Union", not "of". You can't just pop in. And if true I'll leave my passport at home on my February trip to Italy. (or not)

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

@evil doug So OPENBORDERS is a terrorist dream in Europe and CLOSED borders in the US are un-American. Only a liberal can hold those two thoughts in the same head.

Regular Anonymouse 11:52 AM  

@evil doug 9:43am:

Thanks for confirming what I already knew doug. My first thought upon reading fake doug's initial post, was that you were drunk. I had never seen you write so poorly. I read that post three times, and still couldn't figure out WTF you were trying to say. Then I glanced at the time and knew you wouldn't be drunk at 8:53am.

Fake doug's first post was also missing your avatar, but I didn't notice at the time. Also, thanks for the heads up on how to distinguish between you and the douche bag vis-a-vis the views count. I doubt that I'll ever have to resort to confirming your identity by using said method. Fake doug would need at least four years of high school English grammar to approach the quality your usual posts. No worries!

Kudos to @ i hate fake posters. Very perspicacious of you. I knew something was up, but not certain until you corroborated my suspicions.

Oh, and BTW, to the identity stealing fake evil doug. Get a life dude!

Anoa Bob 11:52 AM  

My favorite kind of themeless grid, one with very OPEN BORDERS, so to speak. Once you get started, the solve can flow until its done. No closed-off corners, just one big puzzle. After it's filled in, you can step back and be amazed by the magic of all those words crossing one another.

Liked AMELIORATE & AMBULATORY but was a bit put off by the names-I-didn't-know RONAN, MEGAN, RUÑAT, & HAMA.

Trombone Tom 12:00 PM  

Thanks @laura for filling in so capably.

On the one hand I thought some of the cluing was really obscure, but on the other hand this was on the easy side for Friday.

I must have read (MISREADS!) the clue at 28A half a dozen times before picking up the difference.

48A and 52A could have been too many different things until the crosses cleared it up.

The stacked 11's at the top and bottom were good and chewy.

Enjoyed the puzzle.

old timer 12:00 PM  

Very Easy *for a Friday* though like many of you the SW seemed impossible at first. Fortunately I have been to New York and ridden the roller coaster. In fact, 40 or 50 years ago I used to have two of NATHAN'S delicious hot dogs.

I lived in San Francisco for a few years, and there, FLAT has a very precise meaning: an apartment that occupies the entire floor of a building. Typically, a building in Edwardian style, exactly 25 feet wide, with spacious rooms and built between 1907 (the year after the Fire) and about 1940.

And what a great write-up, @Laura. You are exactly at my level of solving, which is refreshing.

Z 12:03 PM  

The SW posed a bit of an issue for me, at least partly because I out-clevered the puzzle on punt and confidently wrote in "oar." The desk/sofa clue wasn't giving me anything and the long downs didn't click. AMISS and VETO finally came into view, giving me NAVEL GAZES and fixing my confident error.

ANYTHING BUT, MADE A BOO BOO, GO FOR IT, ROUGHS IT, SO THERE, that's a lot of conversational inarticulation for a puzzle. Fortunately we also get lots of actual words and phrases like AMELIORATE, TITLE FIGHT (also a favorite band of my youngest son) STARTER HOME, TOSSED SALAD, OPEN BORDERS. Overall, lots of good stuff.

@Zippy - You were correct first.

@Ted and @Tita A - Not just a kerning joke, but a self-referential kerning joke. The NYTX font is notorious (in my mind) for that "is it r n or an m?" problem. Seems like it gets mentioned here at least a half dozen times a year.

@I hate fake posters and @Evil Doug - Save your breath. He's been around before and will make the same specious arguments no matter what you do or say.

@Evil Doug - If people actually believed in capitalism they would have to support OPEN BORDERS. If the market is actually the best way to distribute wealth than we should allow the market decide where labor is needed and allow the free movement of labor just like we allow the free movement of capital. Would NAFTA had done even more good for our country if labor had been allowed to move freely between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico? Capitalism would argue, "yes" (which reminds me that the United States has an OPEN BORDERS clause in the constitution). As for the current hysteria over OPEN BORDERS in Europe, the IRA and Basque separatists managed to blow things up when borders weren't open, so that's not the real issue.

@tkr - Thanks. I didn't know the distinction between the Schengen Area and the EU. I always like it when I learn a little something while reading these comments.

Hartley70 12:11 PM  

@Malsdemare, oh he is beautiful! I love that face. And as far as channeling Goldens, I think we all should do it. A little more joyful goofyness is "what the world needs now". I feel a song coming on.

Joseph Michael 12:13 PM  

I usually enjoy John Guzzetta's puzzles and this was no exception. Great clues for ETH, ELL, PUGET, MISREADS, HERS, and more.

The stacks were ANYTHING BUT boring and NAVEL GAZES was a gem.

Funny to see SO THERE today after NOT HERE yesterday.

evil doug 12:18 PM  

It's like Swiss cheese, Z. Do all you can to cover every hole. No, you can't eliminate all the threats, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't cut off those you can. And capitalism--as in most of our valued tenets--must first have a foundation of safety and security. Without basic self-preservation, no economic system can operate....

Oh, the avatar will be changing soon to me standing in front of my dad's PBM Mariner at the Pima Air and Space Museum. Let's make fake evil work a little bit, shall we? My profile views are 6999.

Cassieopia 12:27 PM  

Absolutely adored this puzzle, @John Guzzetta, thank you! Was middlin' hard for me, as a semi-novice solver. However I managed to complete with only 2 googles (HAMA? RONAN?) which is unbelievable for me for a Friday. So got a huge sense of accomplishment and many aha moments. Super fun Friday, really did love this.

@therealevildoug: it's refreshing to hear people express their own, original positions rather than toe a strictly liberal or conservative line of thinking. And don't even get me started on when people argue lazily, using the standard talking points. When I get off line and IRL, I find that in-person humans' thinking is much more nuanced, original, interesting, and much less snarky and infuriating than the dreck I read online (looking at you, Twitter). So while the world would classify me as "liberal" and you as "conservative", I am confident that there are many areas of agreement in between that could be met with intelligence and compromise. To me, that nuance is what is missing from the current discussions. According to what I read online, we are either in the presence of the second coming, or we're all going to burn in an insane nuclear conflagration. My natural optimism hopes to God that reality lies somewhere in the middle.

TomAz 12:29 PM  

The OPENBORDERS error (noted by others above) stymied me for a bit. I kept wanting to put in OPENMARKETS because at least that's an EU thing, sort of.

That made it hard to get my toehold but once I did it went pretty smoothly. Never heard of LIEGEMAN though and it was the last thing to fall.

I solve this on my iPad using the NYT xword app and for the second time this month it made a significant timekeeping error. It claimed I solved in 4 minutes, when reality is probably closer to 15. Anyone else having a problem like this with the app?

Andrew Heinegg 12:35 PM  

Nice puzzle but, obviously misplaced for the day of the week that it ran; I filled it in like a Monday with almost no hesitation anywhere. When that happens, you can just figure with a shrug that you are on the constructor's wavelength.

The troll problem on this blog seems to be an open philosophical border one. They have mostly been an alt right group but now here comes the evil Doug aper.

Since any regular blogger here recognizes what the real Evil Doug would write, the best way to 'inspire' the fake Evil Doug to go away is to ignore his posts. So let's do it!

BTW, real Evil Doug, it is tempting to assess that open borders have caused a greater number of terrorist acts in Europe. The problem is we have had our share of terrorist attacks here and all committed by homegrown 'talent', i.e., persons who were either born here or residing in the country legally. And that is with the 2,000 mile border with Mexico being open.

So, I guess if you think that building the wall and refusing all refugees and emigres from countries with predominantly Muslim populations as it appears we are about to do, you are about to get your wish and we will see if it helps or just wastes a lot of money and angers and inspires people who would otherwise not be a problem. Time will tell.

jberg 12:37 PM  

Easy for me --got NAVEL GAZES from the L, even though I've only ever seen "Navel gazer," and that saved me from trying to stretch out "Oscar" at 25A. (I grew up in Wisconsin, after all.) counting the squares helped me with PIMIENTO, as well. So my only real problem was getting rid of hUrry at 30D.

I'm with @Nancy on the misreads clue--best ever!

And I used to have an L-shaped desk. You look forward to talk to visitors, then swivel to the left or right to type.

Let's not feed the troll, folks.

And, thanks to Laura!

r.alphbunker 12:39 PM  

Politics-free details are here.

Masked and Anonymous 12:41 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon 12:45 PM  

I actually did the long ones without crosses, for a Friday felt it was pretty easy actually. Though the cluing for satyrs bothers me as they are mythological, they are not divine or demigods far as my knowledge of greek mythology.

Evil Doug 12:45 PM  

Vive le Quebec libre!

Nancy 12:47 PM  

@Cassieopia (12:27) -- I love your thoughtful and nuanced blog post today. You sound like someone I would enjoy having a discussion with on just about any subject. But I only have one question: Why on earth are you on Twitter when you already know it's full of snark and bile and incivility and all-around ugliness? Not everything unpleasant in life is nearly as easy to avoid. Sometimes awful tweets do make it into the mainstream media, and then I am forced to experience them. Mostly, though, this is something I don't have to think about for a moment. I strongly recommend getting off that horrible forum as fast as your little feet will carry you -- it sounds like you're much too civilized for it.

Masked and Anonymous 12:48 PM  

DOGY made me laugh. [As in: "Get a longer little DOGY"?]
HAMA, HOAG, and RONAN were no help whatwhoever. [HOAG, as in: "Get a long little HOAGy"?]
Overall the puz was nice and fairly easy.

staff weeject pick: ETH. Don't U just just flat-res-out hate it, when they give away book endings?
fave moo-cow-hybrid weeject: MOC.

fave whaddayahcallit spinoff:
{Whaddayah call an unknown number of Golden Globe nominations for actress Saoirse??} = RANDOM RONAN NUMERAL.

fave sneaky FriPuz clue: {Goes from stem to stern, maybe?} = MISREADS. The loosey-goosey "goes" part of the clue made this extra hard to see. Made me groan.

fave mis-writ word: ECOSYSTERNS.

Thanx, Mr. Guzzetta. Primo 10- and 11-stacks.
Thanx, Laura darlin. Primo write-up bullets.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

Malsdemare 12:52 PM  

@TomAz I too solve on my iPad with the app and of late, it appears to tick along in real time, but once I'm done, reverts to some preposterous two or three minute solve. Since I do not care about my times, it's a tiny nit, but it's nice to know I'm not the only one experiencing this.

Carola 1:08 PM  

ABE BOILED OVER, and AWAY I went. Easy, enjoyable Friday. HAREM atop SATYRS = pandemonium.

Teedmn 1:21 PM  

Fun Friday! I made it harder than it needed to be, starting in the NE. MOC, GHOULS, SHELLEY, no problem. But ignore the ? at the end of the clue at your peril. That will get you inSpEctS for "Goes from stem to stern, maybe?" MEGAN saved me but it took a moment to suss out the meaning of MISREADS.

I MADE A BOOBOO in the SW with INTEgRAtIon (I know, I know) at 49A and PIMenNTO resided at 33D briefly. I didn't know Tami HOAG had Romance in her past, I only knew her for the Thriller genre. But I OH SO slowly fixed all of this and it only took me 18:43, not that much over my Friday average.

All of my hot dog first names (Armor, Oscar) are five letters long so I needed crosses there. AMELIORATE is one of my go-to words but it still didn't splatz right in.

Thanks, M&A, for making me laughETH and Mr. Guzzetta for the non-DOdGY puzzle.

AliasZ 1:25 PM  

After NOT HERE in yesterday's puzzle (not here, no: there), we get SO THERE here. Neither here nor there. Ah, forget it...

-- DOGY lost, OBI WAN.
-- ROUGH SIT: What one must do to relieve her/himself when one ROUGHS IT.

Inspired by BOILEDOVER, I considered music by François-Adrien Boiledover (I mean Boieldieu) for a moment, but being that today is the 260th birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, we must celebrate it with the overture to his opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the HAREM). It starts out piano, then explodes into FORTE. Enjoy!

Friday cheers to all.

puzzle hoarder 1:54 PM  

Like a lot of people I found the puzzle on the easy side. Part of the problem lies in the design. When a constructor chooses 11s they're stuck with 3s and it's not easy to make a 3x3 block challenging. The NE was no exception. FIN was my first guess but MOC was so much stronger it was the first write in. AMBULATORY was now a gimmie. It was like starting a PB puzzle the entries started falling like dominoes. I had three different paths to follow and whenever I made a mistake in one direction I could just pick up as easily in another. Going counterclockwise around the NW and W was the most unbroken stretch. I had to back filled the SE from VHF but not a problem.

Masked and Anonymous 2:20 PM  

Almost forgot to re-live, discuss, and digress:

{Many a large desk or sofa} = ELL? At first, M&A had a sorta "Oh, ELL, no…" reaction to this puppy. But, upon further review, I realized that I had splatzed er in just off the ??L, so it couldn'ta been all that nginx-in' sneaky-hard.

Have never owned an ell. Which is probably becuz either they are too large or too ell-ish lookin. Which gives todays ELL-clue another point for aptness.
I think someone reeeally oughta found a special interest group of such owners, called "Ells Angels". M&A'd do it, but … regrettably … ain't an owner, as previously attested to.

Congratz to whoever wrote up that ELL clue. It's a primo debut ELL clue, and I sincerely admire it. Makes U practically bend yer cereb-ELL-um, to get it to fit.

Other nice ELL clues, throughout Shortzmeister Era istory:
* {Certain large couch}. Ok … Also nice, except for it doesn't make U reconcile desks and sofas. Kinda one-D. Actually, one-C and no-D.
* {Letterhead?}. See that? First "letter" of "Letter". Mobius-striplike.
* {School closing?}. Sneakier, becuz the ELL-letter mcguffin ain't up front. Honrable mention.
* {July third?}. Clever, but desperate. I think I'da got this one almost immediately. Matter of nanoseconds. ELL yes.
* {Common desk shape}. Ahar! So all yer parts for today's breakthrough debut clue from ELL had already been completely laid out, ready for assembly.
* {Crooked joint}. SatPuz clue. Could be answered in lotsa ways, such as: TRU (Trump University). Tricky.
* {Come ___ or eye water??} M&A suggestion. Note the use of the wouldbe-ground-breakin double-?? clue, which duly informs the solver that the constructioneer ain't quite right in the head.


more about double-?? clues:

Hungry Mother 3:24 PM  

Yes, easy here too, but lots of writeovers; luckily I do it online.

Crane Poole 3:50 PM  

Let me list those which were Not write-overs. Nah, never mind. I envy you pros. Struggled for weeks in the southwest. ELL and ZAG and ETH and OH SO as clued, ARIOSE, LIEGEMAN, no wonder those downs took hours to fill. HAMA HOAG RONAN. Though there's much here to like.. I'd been on a good run but the last two puzzles have messed my mind up. I hope there's only one me.

evil doug 4:02 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
evil doug 4:11 PM  

Cassie: I fully agree. Thank you.

Anonymous 5:00 PM  

Thought the spelling PIMIENTO was PIMENTO an subconsciously entered two Ns so that it would fit. That slowed me down.

Unknown 5:21 PM  

Nice write-up with no whining. Easy Friday but fun puzzle. Wish the Dougs would take their views elsewhere.

Numinous 6:26 PM  

One of the things I would read at competitions as part of the Los Angeles City College Forensics Team was an edited down version of O Henry's The PIMIENTa Pancakes. I knew better to put an A on the end which gave me a good start toward a TOSSED SALAD and nixed ARIOSo.

I used to have an ELL sofa when I lived in Los Feliz. It was eight feet on one leg and six on the other. It surrounded a huge mirrored coffee table. Somehow those went by the wayside when I moved out to the desert in Canyon Country. I also had an ELL desk years later. The answer to the question, "What the ELL?" My couch or my workstation.

"From stem to stern" is one of the grooviest meta clues ever.

@Malsdemare, we just got a lab+something rescue puppy who is about six months old. She seems to be channeling a Golden too. @M&A we got along little DOGY who is now about ten months old. She's a chiweenie and she got longer since we got her. Anyway, she's working on training and being Alpha to this puppy who is almost twice as tall as she is. We have to keep them outdoors most of the day as otherwise they will wreck the house with thier romping.

Living with a compulsive reader and staring at the stacks of read books that tend to pile up, the name Tami HOAG has popped out at me often enough. @Susierah, thrillers fall into the category of Romance. There was a movie, Romancing The Stone which was not about bodice ripping over adventure. Love story would be the third or fourth entry for "Romance" in Merraim-Webster's. My compulsive reader has finally become accustomed to ebooks. Saving the trees and all that.

I'm not going to say I found this easy, in fact, I was stumped more than once but with persistance I managed to finish this in three quarters of an hour which is a good deal under my Friday average. Oddly enough, when I looked, I found that Thursdays seem to take me longer than Fridays which often seem to have me googling SIX WAYS TO SUNDAY. Today gave it up without a single search.

On the subject of googling; some days, I could easily be mistaken for a box of nails but even then, I have a threshold which before I've reached it i will not leave the NYTXW app to search. Even then, I will phrase my searches to avoid pulling up the hits on crossword answers. I have to feel that I'm at least figuring the answers out on my own.

chefwen 6:36 PM  

I sure did want "Have a Drink" for 26D, but it was not to be.

Struggled a wee bit in the SW but thought this was one of the easiest Friday puzzles of late. I like that in a Friday!

Cassieopia 7:49 PM  

@Nancy, thank you for the incredibly kind words! And you are so right about Twitter. I wonder how much of the current failures in discourse spring from the millions of people distilling their complex thoughts into 140 characters or fewer. Regardless, the app is now history, at least on my devices :)

Phil 8:03 PM  

Part of a punt return...hmm okay you either down it or run

With run i had TITLEFInal and thought, Rex is going to go coompletely ballistic.

Anyway needed my wife,s help to get NATHAN to complete the SW. We have a local herman's hotdogs so had a brain block there.

Larry Gilstrap 9:01 PM  

I know a little bit about the sea mammals and I knew that a large male elephant seal kept a good size HAREM, which he rules with an iron fist. Made myself laugh there. My phone tells me that he can be master of 30-100 cows. He can be very violent and sometimes can even seriously injure his paramours.

I was just reading about the story of Emitt Till, due to the latest revelations in the case from 62 years ago. I have to believe that the state of INTERRACIAL relations in our culture have improved in that time, but I also can empathize with those who had to witness injustice.

Nice Friday effort with solid fill.

Z 9:18 PM  

Hey - Quit picking on Twitter. I think it is far better than Facebook* if you use it correctly. I use it as a news feed and an Ultimate Feed. Rex is a funny read, and there are others (if you get the Dan LeBatard Show the show's tweets will provide lots of amusement). As with any social media, it is possible to create an echo chamber, but that's on you. And it has this really neat "block" feature. Run into some troll and you can just block them. It doesn't stop their spewing, but I don't have to be bothered with it. Again, if you aren't a conscious and critical reader you risk believing foolishness (do NOT use it for breaking news), but people have believed foolishness long before social media was created.

@Evil Doug - "must first have a foundation of safety and security" - So you're saying a free market place doesn't provide safety and security? With that I can agree. I'm not convinced that a "secure border" has anything to do with safety and security, though. No, that's just rhetoric politicians use to cause fear so we don't notice that they aren't addressing any real issues.

*I quit Facebook years ago.

Nancy 9:46 PM  

@Z -- It's long been my understanding that Twitter was the snarky, nasty one and Facebook was the friendly, benign one where everyone "likes" everyone and "friends" everyone. But I could be wrong. I've never been a member of either site, so what could I possibly know? Sorry if I insulted Twitter unfairly. I only know what I see in the mainstream media -- that it's a place where people are mean to other people. But maybe they're not mean to you, @Z. Hope not.

Z 10:03 PM  

@Nancy - Mean people are everywhere and the anonymity of the internet makes it worse. Twitter can be just as nasty as Facebook, but it seems to me that I have a lot more control of what shows up on my screen on Twitter. Others swear by Facebook, so it may just be a matter of taste. Also, I hope it was obvious that I was just presenting the other side. Humans managed for millennia without social media, anyone choosing to stay away has history on their side. I wouldn't be at all surprised if a hundred years from now people looked back at us and wondered "what were they thinking?"

Anonymous 10:42 PM  

@Nancy, the snarky mean types show up on all the social media, even blogs as you have witnessed on this one. The sense of anonymity seems to encourage base behavior. The mainstream press seems to be fixated on Twitter right now because we have a tweeter in chief. It was not that long ago the big deal was cyber bullying on facebook, or pretty nasty stuff on Gawker. That is why it is important to learn how to use the various filters and controls to block them on one's personal account as suggested above.

Given your computer skills that you have mentioned in the past, these controls would be over your head to find and use. You are wise not to join the various media unless you have a particular need. I am on facebook to keep up on some organizations that do not have the resources (ie: skills or time) to maintain a web page.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

I say crap, is what it is. Also why the ? After Red Stuffing? It's a Red Stuffing inside an olive I get it but where's the pun/ mislead etc?

AZPETE 11:34 AM  

Thx for your reply. Beautiful dog. And you got him(?) from rescue? Lovely. Our 0.5 husky is from rescue. Don't know what his other half is. Get a lot of speculation from folks on his ancestry!

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

ell is also the phonetic spelling for the letter L

Unknown 9:07 PM  

Truly embarrassed to ask.. but can anyone here email the puzzle to me? I can no longer afford to keep up my subscription. The NYT has offered it to me at 1/2 price and with a free month.. but I'd rather eat. My email address is robrot1@gmail.com.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

Thanks Eric!

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

Thanks, happy pencil!

Erin Hollander 3:47 PM  

Yes, shaped like an L. Maybe it's regional? I'm in Southern California and L-shaped desks (and couches!) are fairly common parlance, I think.

spacecraft 10:24 AM  

This 70-worder looked typically daunting at first, but long stacks tend to yield a little faster than those wide-open 7x4s, etc. I bit into it with a bite of a NATHAN's hot dog; the final N inspired OBIWAN--and I actually conquered the NW! SOTHERE! ("Hey, officer, I'm standing next to a drunk!")

There were a lot of WOEs: RONAN sounds like a Japanese film monster, and HOAG looks tasty (the sandwich, not the woman). NAVELcontemplates is way too long, but the GAZE thing, that's new to me. In the NW, luckily I had ANYTHINGBUT in place before reading the 5-down clue, or I surely would have filled in Bermuda.

Pretty clean fill, despite ETH, and some really lovely 11-stacks. For DOD I'll have to go with SHELLEY Long. Cheers, honey! Honorable mention to Mie HAMA; any Bond girl deserves at least that. Birdie.

art mugalian 11:06 AM  

How does Puget sound to you?

Diana,LIW 11:29 AM  

Good Friday morning and good Friday puzzle.

Since I completed it, I thought folks would say it was easyish. Those long answers, as @Spacey said, are daunting to look at, but are generous when they fall.

One-letter dnf due to misspelling NAVaL - sheesh! Wadda BOOBOO. I thought those big sofas and desks filled ALL of the room, I guess.

Hey look - here comes the weekend.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 1:14 PM  


with MEGAN and SHELLEY - he'll pair 'em.
His FORTE is to GOFORIT. Why?


rain forest 1:18 PM  

After yesterday's DNF (in many places), this was surprisingly easy. My one write-over was first putting in PIMentos, but fixed almost immediately.

I think my brain has certain off days, as in yesterday. Normally, I think, rebi don't vex me, but yesterday's was just impenetrable even though I got two of the LITTLE BIRDIES. Also, I babysat my grandson for 9 hours (try that when you are a 70-year old) yesterday, and that might 'splain it, Lucy.

So, today, just easy, but a really nice puzzle with excellent stacks (vertical and horizontal), and little to no ughs. Good to get my groove back.

centralscrewtinizer 1:43 PM  

Well, after yesterday's unexpected success, I set off clockwise and proceeded again to succeed. Got to the SW and figured I was all SET and nothing was AMISS, but I was OHSO wrong. Was sure the desk and sofa were oak even though my father had an ell shaped desk in his office, which I have parted out usefully, and such sofas are legion in ads.
Still, the book was "The L-shaped Room", SO THERE.
Only first name of hot dogs I know is Oscar. Never heard of ARIOSE or ETH and was thinking of Asian forms of martial arts. Big fat DNF.
Laughing a bit that my handle could be seen as a form of navelgazing.

leftcoastTAM 2:11 PM  

Took a bit of time to get the crosses needed to see the long downs and acrosses, but after exposing a few of them, the puzzle soon yielded what I needed to finish.

The short ELL and RES were a bit harder to pry out, and NATHAN came only with crosses. Wanted Oscar Meyer's wieners, but not enough letters there. OMAR, on the other hand, helped with and early start in the usually resistant NW.

MISREADS was a clever one, and have done that with "rn" clues more than once.

Don't need note the positive political resonances of OPENBORDERS and INTERRACIAL, but I just did anyway. We're not getting enough of the politically ARIOSE these days.

rondo 5:15 PM  

Probably last one posting today. This puz practically filled itself in. Pretty much loved it that way since I was at an all day meeting.

Who made the SEA_RED? Not blue?

Yup. Any Bond girl gets the automatic yeah baby.

MADEABOOBOO? Not me. Not today, anyway.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

A 'starter home' is usually an older and/or smaller home for newlyweds or young families who either can't afford a bigger place, or have no current need for additional rooms for kids.

Blogger 1:55 AM  

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