One of renters in Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat / FRI 1-13-17 / Family name in Sir Walter Scott's Bride of Lammermoor / First one was modified Ford D-Series truck / Author with restaurant at Eiffel Tower named for him

Friday, January 13, 2017

Constructor: Andrew J. Ries

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: WES Montgomery (13D: Jazzman Montgomery) —
John Leslie "Wes" Montgomery (March 6, 1923 – June 15, 1968) was an American jazz guitarist. He is widely considered one of the major jazz guitarists, emerging after such seminal figures as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian and influencing countless others. Montgomery was known for an unusual technique of stroking the strings with the side of his thumb which granted him a distinctive sound.
He often worked with organist Jimmy Smith, and with his brothers Buddy (piano and vibes) and Monk (bass guitar). His recordings up to 1965 were generally oriented towards hard bop, soul jazz and post bop, while circa 1965 he began recording more pop-oriented instrumental albums that featured less improvisation but found mainstream success and could be classified as crossover jazz or early smooth jazz. (wikipedia)
• • •
SPECIAL MESSAGE for the week of January 8-January 15, 2017

Hello, solvers. A new year has begun, and that means it's time for my week-long, once-a-year pitch for financial contributions to the blog. The idea is very simple: if you read the blog regularly (or even semi-regularly), please consider what it's worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. In making this pitch, I'm pledging that the blog will continue to be here for you to read / enjoy / grimace at for at least another calendar year, with a new post up by 9:00am (usually by 12:01am) every day, as usual. Despite my regular grumbling about puzzle quality, constructor pay, and other things that should be better in the world of crosswords, I still love solving, I still love writing about puzzles, and I love love love the people I meet and interact with because of this blog. Well, most of them. Some I mute on Twitter, but mostly: there is love. The blog turned 10 in September, and despite the day-in, day-out nature of the job, I can't foresee stopping any time soon. The community of friends and fellow enthusiasts are all just too dear to me. You can expect me to be here every day, praising / yelling at the puzzle—independent and ad-free. Some people refuse to pay for what they can get for free. Others just don't have money to spare. All are welcome to read the blog—the site will always be open and free. But if you are able to express your appreciation monetarily, here are two options. First, a Paypal button (which you can also find in the blog sidebar):

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All Paypal contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by email. All snail mail contributions (I. Love. Snail mail!) will be gratefully acknowledged with hand-written postcards. This year's cards are "Cookery Postcards from Penguin"—beautifully designed covers of vintage cookbooks, with provocative titles like "Cookery For Men Only " (!) or "Good Meals from Tinned Foods" (!?). Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just say NO CARD.  As I say in every thank-you card (and email), I'm so grateful for your readership and support.

Now on to the puzzle!

Wow, this was a treat. Clean, wide-ranging, current. Entertaining, or at least interesting, at every turn. I solved at 3am, having fallen asleep on the couch at 8:30pm the night before (half a large pizza and two glasses of wine will do that to me ... now), so I was deliberate and methodical in my solving (that's fancy-talk for "slow"). And even Frankenstein-monstering my way through this grid, I was done in five minutes. It was right in wheelhouse, and I only hesitated writing in answers a handful of times. Normally stacks (like the one mid-grid) take some doing—some hacking at the Downs before the Across components become visible. Not today. Got BUYER'S REMORSE (35A: New homeowner's feeling, maybe) from the B-Y, and PARODY ACCOUNT (39A: @fakechucknorris, for one) and MUSEUM EXHIBIT (40A: Diorama, maybe) fell almost immediately thereafter. I actually own "BORN THIS WAY" (27D: Grammy-nominated 2011 Lady Gaga album), so that was weird. I will always remember which March girl dies because of the "Friends" episode where Joey and Rachel spoil "The Shining" and "Little Women" for each other, respectively. "Beth DIES!" "Nooooooo!" So I threw BETH up in the NE and took that section out no problem. Occasionally I had to stop and think about something, like when I wrote in OSCAR and sort of thought it referred to the Sylvester Stallone movie of the same name ... (?!) ... (I know it doesn't) ... (now) ... or when I did the thing where you (wrongly) assume [President...] means "US President..." (48A: President who said "If you want to see your plays performed the way you wrote them, become president" => HAVEL). But those were just minor hiccups.

There was, however, one genuinely tough (albeit tiny) patch in the NE that stands out less for toughness than for uneven editing. I'm talking about ASHTON-over-PABLO (22A: Family name in Sir Walter Scott's "The Bride of Lammermoor") (26A: One of the renters in Steinbeck's "Tortilla Flat"). Why would you stack literary obscurities like that? Virtually anyone solving this puzzle would put both those clues at the top of the list of either "things I didn't know" or "things I wouldn't expect others to know." Either clue on its own is OK, I guess, but stacked character names from not-terrifically-famous books?! Proper nouns are always dicey—if you're going to make them abut, at least draw from different spheres of knowledge. It's not like PABLO or ASHTON can't be clued other ways. PABLO, for instance, can go to rap (Kanye West's 2016 album "Life of Pablo"), art (good old what's-his-name), '70s pop music (Pablo Cruise), etc. Dollars to donuts at least one of the ASHTON / PABLO clues isn't the constructor's original clue. Oh well, very small, technical, editorial blemish on an otherwise really vibrant and pleasing puzzle.

  • 17A: Very much (A TON) — I really hate ATON and ALOT because ugh, right, I know it's one of you guys, why are you making me guess, I hate this game... I guessed wrong this time, but I guessed MME right somehow (23A: Fr. title), so I could see 2D: Fall had to be AUTUMN, and thus changed A LOT to A TON. Pivotal yet boring, this moment.
  • 54A: Ricoh rival (EPSON) — I actually did OK this time. Normally on a clue like this (as I've said), I just get an EPSOM EBSEN EPSON pile-up in my brain and don't know what to do. Terrible vowel trouble. See also EFR( )M (24A: Zimbalist of old TV).
  • 21D: "Toodles" ("SEE YOU SOON") — "SEE YA LATER!" also fits here. Perhaps you found that out yourself.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. like LEK, ADE has recurred (32A: Sweet pitcherful). Already. Clearly my "Let's Not" list is having no effect. Gonna be a long year.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Loren Muse Smith 5:01 AM  

Man oh man, was this hard for me. Good for you, Rex. Liked your Frankenstein image. It took me forever to find even a little toe-hold somewhere, and I can’t even remember where that was now.

I know George Dickel. So I was thinking RYE “bourbon.” Nope. Hmm. Rye “whiskey.” Nope. So I moved on.

My not-walking place first was “water” park. And, you called it, Rex, wrong “see ya later” kept GESSO impossible for a long time.

Oh, and this People/Us reading fiend had “rag” before MAG.

I knew EFREM. I remember almost every Sunday in Chattanooga. We would sit in the dining room with The FBI on in the living room, and dad would always turn to me and say “Loren, can you say EFREM Zimbalist, Jr?” I always gave it a shot, but that’s a mouthful for a little kid. Hah.

I almost wrote in “eel” for that parliament group of animals. If you’re on Facebook, you may have seen this. Now why didn’t I think of that?

I loved the clue for ARE. “Updated art?” Very nice. Funny how language just changes irregardless of how energetically pedants work to stop it. I just watched this yesterday. I’m not bragging or anything (right), but this is pretty much word-for-word what I’ve been telling my students for a long time.

I liked the little trio of TEN-K, GEN-X, and TYPE-A.

TGIF, right? I was out of town at a training. Which meant I sat in an uncomfortable chair and watched someone read, word for word, stuff on a screen. Sigh.

Hey, Andrew – this is the kind of themeless I love – seemingly impossible at first but then boom. Done.

John Child 6:21 AM  

Not easy here either. On paper because in winter the paper comes a couple of hours before it posts online, so I have no idea of the time. Plenty of writeovers and a couple of proper-noun cheats.

Surprised that Dickel's rye is WHISKY when almost all other American brown liquors are whiskeys.

No BUYER'S REMORSE though. I like my theme less puzzles, and I like them hard.

Passing Shot 6:44 AM  

Any Friday I'm able to do with a minimum of googling/duck-ducking is easy by definition. Didn't know ASHTON, PABLO, or BETH but thankfully got them from the crosses.

Anonymous 6:50 AM  

I understand that Dickel spells it WHISKY because they deem it "just as good as anything made in Scotland." Note RYE bourbon is an oxymoron. It's CORN bourbon by definition.

Anonymous 7:10 AM  

Where's the outrage over the normalizing of Lou Dobbs? Oh yeah, Rex-a-thon still ongoing. Dobbs was absolutely brilliant on election night by the way.

puzzle hoarder 7:16 AM  

Good puzzle. My phone once again just ate my comments. Hard to say if I'd call this easy. I had to do it on my tablet which delays everything. The solve was steady with A TON of somewhat obscure names. I never watched that show but I have heard the "Beth dies" line. Now I know what it means.

kitshef 7:29 AM  

Super puzzle!

As happened yesterday, a slow start. My runners do did a hash, not a TENK, and I went right to benin before GHANA (and flirted with niger), so the north was going nowhere. Had to move down and work back up.


GESSO has finally gone from WoE to 'I know this' status. Has not yet achieved 'not again' status.

Anonymous 7:43 AM  

I wrote in canON from the -ON, since I think of Ricoh being big copier/printers and EPSON being small.

Annette 7:47 AM  

It seemed difficult while I was doing it, so I was surprised that I was well under my average Friday time. Canon before EPSON held me up, and my brain jumped to Rawls before DOBBS (I was close! 5 letters, ends in "s"), but another sip of coffee took care of that. Ari before ARE, thinking Ari a form of Arthur. All my silly errors on a very fresh puzzle; loved it.


da kine 7:48 AM  

I usually solve Fridays much quicker than I did today. Looking at the finished puzzle I have no idea why it took me so long, but it sure did.

I am not a robot 7:52 AM  

Same solving experience as Rex but in slow motion. It was like my brain was an attic and I was up there rummaging for answers. Like, "president, hmmmm?mmm?mm, oh yeah, ohhhhhhh wait, that overly long article in the New Yorker, not an American, he was a playwright, Havel." Ooover and over again.

But that's my kind of fun.

Dorothy Biggs 8:00 AM  

So let's just say that by the time Rex finished, I wasn't quite done yet.

My potential natick moment was at HAVEL/VERNE...I had HAyEs at first, because you know, president. But POPEMOBILE destroyed that idea. I had to run the alphabet until I found an author I liked and landed on V...which got me the happy jingle to end it all.

I was surprised to get all three of the central crosses so quickly, BUYERSREMORSE was immediate and the other two were close behind with minimal crosses to help. In a puzzle like this getting those crosses pretty much opened up the entire thing and helped me get one of my better times.

As an aside, I notice that Rex usually uses round numbers when talking about his times, so he must be rounding off the numbers somewhat. You think he rounds up? Or down? Like today might have been 5:58...and he just, you know, rounded down some. It's like buying something for $'s just $5 right?

I had poutS before SULKS...I do like SULKS better.

Even though I was born early in 1960, which is the usual cut off year for the Baby Boomer generation, I really think I'm an early adopter Xer. Doesn't matter one way or the other, but it makes me feel just a little younger overall...

Marty Van B 8:22 AM  

Fun if somewhat on the easy side.

My first foray into the grid was plopping down STOLENBASES. That's straight from the two or three year window of my boyhood where I obsessively collected baseball cards and monitored their month-in-month-out values raise and fall with my subscription to Beckett magazine. I could probably get a job on the Antiques Roadshow appraising baseball cards at their early 90s valuations with the caveat that I'd have no idea what they'd go for at auction today, but if Bush 41 were President, I could help you determine appropriate insurance coverage. That's handy right?

Hand up for SEEYalater. That momentarily had me second guessing the intersecting PARODYACCOUNT, but I've learned you can't be married to your answers in the grid. Sometimes you just have to let them go and update your social network relationship status.

wgh 8:32 AM  

Solid puz. Very nice

Nancy 8:37 AM  

Just wondering: How many of you had lAte before PAST at 1A? And how many of you had HAyes before HAVEL at 48 A? (This was really GNAWing at me because I couldn't think of a single play that Rutherford B. Hayes had written.) But despite these traps, this was still the easiest Friday I've done in ages. That is never a good thing, as far as I'm concerned. But I did like a lot of the long fill and found the puzzle pleasant to work on. A few thoughts:

On 35A -- I certainly hope not!
On 22A -- I bet not a single person here knew the answer off the top of their head.
On 18A -- Really? Do you have to skate everywhere? Even to the restaurant?
On 24A -- If you're GEN X, I bet you didn't know EFREM. I did, but I'm not a GEN Xer, and even so, I initially spelled it EFRaM.

Did I think the puzzle was too easy? Yes, I GESSO.

Pete 8:52 AM  

It's long past time to cease using the phrase "dollars to donuts". It originated so long a go that donuts were a nickel a dozen, so dollars to donuts meant very long odds. Now, it's pretty much even odds, or if you get your donuts at Starbuck's, short odds.

Z 8:59 AM  

Pretty much what Rex said (I don't own any Lady Gaga music, though) including a lot/a ton and SEE Ya later before SEE YOU SOON. Definitely in the Friday zone, medium.

@LMS - I'm imagining you having that discussion with your freshmen while wearing a bow tie, now. And frankly, for your college bound kids, the best thing you can do is make sure they know there is a distinction. Me, I resort to the rewording gambit rather run the risk of getting it right and having the reader think I'm wrong.
As to the presenter, OMFG. I'm so sorry. I used to help organize conferences and right at the top of the presenter packet in all caps were the words, DO NOT JUST READ YOUR POWERPOINT. Some of my favorite presenters would do things like randomly include pictures of their pets or leave in a typo and stop to play "find the typo." Of course, I quickly learned that I got the highest marks when I talked least and made the crowd do all the work (just like in class).

@kitshef - GESSO has moved into the "I have no idea what you are but I can put you right in" part of my crossword solving brain. The part where if someone asks "How do you know all this stuff" I just smile and gently nod my head and let the asker think I'm way way smarter than I actually art.

Unknown 9:05 AM  

Pressed for time so this will be quick. I appreciate @Rex's positive review of @Andrew Ries' themeless puzzle. Some of the traps mentioned by @Rex and a few of the early commentators applied to me too. I did fill in STOLEN_BASES right off the bat (Ricky Henderson also one of the great leadoff hitters in baseball history) and ASHTON came quickly from my familiarity with the Donizetti opera based on Scott's play. Ciao!

Hushpuppy212 9:19 AM  

You guys are making me feel smart today.

I don't time myself, but I start the puzzle when I get on the L train at 8th Ave and, depending on which stop we're at when I finish, I have a pretty good idea of how it went.

Today I finished before Myrtle Ave, unheard of for a Friday. Yesterday I went all the way to New Lots before I was done, which is more like it.

Hartley70 9:26 AM  

Thank goodness for BETHMARCH and BORNTHISWAY. They opened up the puzzle and I'm old enough to have known BETH in her salad days, long before her appearance on "Friends".

George Dickel was a big "huh?" to me, as was Ricky Henderson. Those two left a lot of empty space. PABLO and ASHTON were much easier to guess from the BLO and the ASH. The center stack helped me out. I do love a stack.

I had never heard of a "Ricoh". I wanted to add a "la" and yodel for a cough drop.

All this ignorance, and I still finished a half hour earlier than the toughest Friday. To add to the confusion, I really enjoyed the solve. I'd call this oxymoronic if it wasn't Friday the 13th! Cross your fingers; knock wood and be on your way.

Sir Hillary 9:27 AM  

Great Friday fun.
-- Love POLICE cozying up to COSANOSTRA. Captain McCluskey would be proud.
-- Something also fun about SIN abutting SPANX. I'll leave it there.
-- In a similar vein, let me RAVE about the symmetrical PURE/LUST. Also the almost-homophones OUR/ARE.
-- Only brief mistake was rAG. Good clue for an M/R Schrodinger.
-- No idea about ANNLEE, ASHTON or PABLO, but all easily inferable via crosses.
-- @Rex would have tempered his praise had he noticed the hidden word ladder: LUTE/LURE/PURE/PORE.

Cleared2Land 9:38 AM  

Many of the same hiccups that Rex noted:




ADE - Oh Friggin No

Also, for some reason confused Ricoh with Ricola and beat my brains trying to think of cough drop brands. Fixed all with crosses tho, so all ended well. Fun puzzle.

Cassieopia 9:45 AM  

@Nancy - I had lAst and HAyes too, and did not know 22A off the top of my head, as postulated.

Slow for me; BETHMARCH got me moving as did the parliament of OWLS, but I never caught fire on this one despite really really nice cluing:

- Updated art (my favorite)
- Key (thought first of, you know, a key)
- Bank deposit (I was looking for some variant of silt)

I liked the puzzle a lot and found it more medium/hard than the rest of you.

Nancy 9:46 AM  

@lms (5:01) -- As all of you know -- and perhaps some here wish they didn't -- I bow to no one in my devotion to the correct usage of "lie" and "lay". But after listening to the John McIntyre speech you embedded in your comment, I have determined that it is not humanly possible to speak as slowly as John McIntyre speaks. As a symbol of my utter exasperation while listening to it, I am determined to lay down on every bed, couch and beach I come across in the foreseeable future.

Hungry Mother 9:47 AM  

I didn't think I knew much of anything covered in this one, but made it through in about 10x OFL's time. Very satisfying solve for me and another reward for patience. I had just run a TENK with my 11 year-old granddaughter a week ago, but it took me a while to recognize the answer here.

Tita 9:56 AM  

What is it about this grid that made at least a few of us solve in a Frankenstein manner? I solved in fits and starts - a toehold in one area didn't help me break intol another. Is it really that segmented?

But finish I did (well, stupidly forgot to fix the E in EPHRaM when I realized it was BLASE).

Love the misdirect clue "Things to do after dinner." I am 8 and 6 years younger than my 2 siblings. I skated along for a good long time escaping household chores because I was "just the baby". I don't remember much from my childhood, but I sure remember the day when my brother said - "hey, why can't Tereza do the DISHES?"
(Did anyone else have a free-standing dishwasher that you would roll over to the sink and connect a giant black hose to the faucet? Our faucet had the most awesome little valve on the side so you could still pour water even when your new-fangled dishwasher was running.
Good times.

Just read how there are now only 2 Shakers in the world. Given their requirement of celibacy, things are not looking good for their survival. There had been a few enclaves in Connecticut. The New Britain Museum of American Art (a surprisingly wonderful museum) had a rotating exhibit about different aspects of Shaker life. Saw some beautiful and innovative furniture there.

Trombone Tom 9:59 AM  

This is a brilliant puzzle with lots of great answers: SKATE PARK, BUYER'S REMORSE, PARODY ACCOUNT (new to me), BORN THIS WAY, and STOLEN BASES.

I did wonder about TENK for a while. And ASHTON and PABLO came only with crosses, which made ____MOBILE slow to resolve itself. (My first thought was snowMOBILE.) So, even though it was generally in my wheelhouse, it ended up being not so easy for me.

We watched a lot of FBI episodes, so EFREM was no problem. I put in Thor before ODIN.

Thank you Andrew J. Ries and Will Shortz for this delightful puz.

Isandxan 10:01 AM  

Agree with Rex that this one was great fun. It's one of those "hard / easy" puzzles where it felt challenging as I went along, but then suddenly I was done in one my faster Friday times (but still somewhat - well, quite a bit - north of 5 mins). I have decided that is the type I enjoy the most.

I had more trouble than many with the stacks, and I can't ever remember the last name of the Little Women, but STOLEN BASES came fast, and the stacks went down once I had enough downs finished to see BUYERS REMORSE. My hand is up for SEE ya later. Spelling error with EFRaM before BLASÉ fixed it. Really liked SKATEPARK and COSA NOSTRA. Don't own BORN THIS WAY and was too busy with kids in 2011 to listen to much new music, but easily inferrable from BORN and, well, Lady Gaga.

Hartley70 10:07 AM  

John E. McIntyre and @Nancy, in the words of the immortal Elsa, "Let it go", just "Let it go". John is seriously adorable, and he can do his slow-talking to me any day.

QuasiMojo 10:13 AM  

I agree this puzzle was easy for a Friday. I finished it without a pause and without googling, "nor" feeling the need to google. Or having to yell over at the young guy at the table next to me in the cafe about that Lady Gaga junk. But five minutes? Really? I don't think I could copy in the letters from a completed grid in that short a time. I'm beginning to think that Rex uses a special watch, perhaps one made by Google.

So much good stuff in this puzzle. Kudos for "Plasma" clue. "Blase." "Sulks." "Cosa Nostra." Not crazy about "museum exhibit," though as that seems a bit too green-paintish to me. Dioramas are often not found in museums by the way.

I'm glad that we had one good puzzle this week. Can't wait for tomorrow's.

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! (Perhaps Rex should have been walking like Jason rather than Frankenstein in his honor.)

Stanley Hudson 10:20 AM  

A fine Friday (from the Norse goddess of love, Freya).

@NCA Prez, 1964 is usually the cutoff date for Boomers.

Paul Rippey 10:21 AM  

When I was ten ish I was reading Little Women and enjoying it a lot. My big sister saw me with the book and sweetly asked, "Has Beth died yet?" Sixty years have passed. Perhaps it's time to forgive her.

mathgent 10:25 AM  

I guess "sax and violins" is a pun for "sex and violence" but not a very pleasing one. Would someone who knows Twitter please give an example of a parody account? I'm guessing that one for Chuck Norris would have statements parodying the way he expresses himself. Does that make sense? I take him to be tight-lipped (based on his movies).

After I finish a puzzle, I go back and put a plus mark next to the clever clues and a minus next to the clunkers. The plusses won this one 9 to 2. Nine is a lot.

Not easy here. Ten mysteries (unknown entry or indecipherable clue), about all I can handle from the crosses.

Liked it a lot. A.

evil doug 10:28 AM  


In today's WSJ puzzle, 29D clue: "Runaway" singer....

Crane Poole 10:30 AM  

Niblets and giblets and misdirects, and though the entrees were slow in coming, they were tasty. The not-knows were gettable. 30 minutes with no assistance/cheating suits me fine. Very good Friday (the 13th).

GILL I. 10:40 AM  

@Hartley..."BETH in her salad days"......! Hah.
Not easy for me but I enjoyed the struggle. I began thinking I was going to hate this puzzle because I kept running into names I couldn't remember. I read Little Women about 90 years ago so I forgot about BETH MARCH and I read Tortilla Flat around the same time but PABLO was LOST on me because all I could think about was Steinbeck's stereotyping Mexicans (and not in a good way) and why Andrew didn't use Pilon's name because I remembered him and when did HAVEL become president? and it sounded like something Obama might say and why is VERNE a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower....So, I Googled most of these names. The rest I got on my own and I kept smiling and oohing and aahing and it made me happy so yes, I ended up loving it.
POPE MOBILE is crazy good and the clue Updated art? is the best so far this year. You ART/ARE? yes and I lay lie too.
Is STOCEN a word. I realize that my bad loser SUCKS..Yikes, I never even noticed it till now. Oh, that was another Huh...Don't know Rickey Henderson either or is it neither?

John V 10:45 AM  

A completed Friday with no errors. Good enough. Managed to suss out the Gaga item from the crosses. Good one.

Mohair Sam 10:48 AM  

Terrific Cluing. I thought 41A: Updated art? for ARE was a gem (hi @LMS). Puzzle played medium for us, although I see most of you found it on the easy side.

Anybody else hesitate for too long over Dickel's spelling of WHISKY? I see @Nancy had HAyEs before HAVEL, we had fidEL for a moment and were anxious to see @EVIL's reaction. I've read "Tortilla Flat" (Steinbeck freak here) and still needed the P-BL- to fill PABLO. Neat factoid on POPEMOBILE, which is the niftiest long down in quite a while. Rickey Henderson never played for a team I rooted for, man was he annoying on the base paths.

@Z and @Kitshef - The nice thing about solving as a team is that only Lady M. has had to memorize GESSO. GESSO made the SEEYOUSOON / SEEYalater decision for us - saved a ton of time.

Terrific Friday.

Joseph Michael 10:56 AM  

Too many proper nouns, but managed to finish it anyway with a couple of lucky guesses. The last area to fall was the ASHTON, EFREM (not Efram) and BLASE crossings.

A TON of great fill, especially POPEMOBILE, BORN THIS WAY, and STOLEN BASES.

Liked the shoutout to HAVEL who writes wonderful plays, the image of a parliament of OWLS, and the clue that turned ARE into an interesting answer.

However, TENK, GENX, and SPANX all look like words from a foreign language.

@Quasi, come to the Field MUSEUM in Chicago and you will see a lot of dioramas.

Z 11:06 AM  

@mathgent - @realDonaldTrump qualifies.*

@Stanley Hudson - Yes to 1964, but both my wife and I feel like 1959 would be better (1960 and 1964).

@Quasimojo - Rex ain't that fast.

*C'mon man. He put it right on a tee, I had to take a whack.

GHarris 11:11 AM  

Yeah easy if you own Ga Ga albums, drink rye whisky and squirm into Spanx. Otherwise not so.. Had Muse for lust, Thursday for Thor and never heard of a parody account.. Also fell into see ya later and oscar traps. So dnf without help but still did a creditable job. Just don't tell me it was easy. To quote Victor Borgia''s character, "easy for you, difficult for me ".

Unknown 11:14 AM  

This was a fun Friday solve, though I got tripped up because TWITTERHANDLE fits for PARODYACCOUNT. How handy! Easily fixed from the crosses, but I really wanted it to be right!

triggerfinger 11:38 AM  

Thanks Rex for the Gaga video...know the song well, but never before saw the video...truly amazing!
Loved the puzzle too, though a bit easy for a Friday.

QuasiMojo 11:40 AM  

@Joseph Michael. I love the Field Museum. All I was saying is that dioramas are not only found in museums. Sorry for my clumsy and confusing sentence.

Lewis 11:42 AM  

The puzzle felt bright and fresh and all the answers that were nowhere in my brain were fairly crossed. The puzzle had areas of resistance that were very satisfying to crack. I liked the clues for DISHES, OUR, and PLASMA. Two ironies stick out. One, the cross of BUYERSREMORSE and OUIS; and two, the word POPEMOBILE, so cartoony for someone taken so seriously by so many. I also liked the relative paucity of 3s.

I finished with an "aaaahhh". And those are the best.

RooMonster 11:50 AM  

Hey All !
Rex, 5 minutes. Holy frijole. I cant even read all the clues tht fast. Well, I usually Do get through all the clues in about 4 minutes. But that's when I start to go back through the puz to fill in the stuff I didn't get.

Thought today's puz was pretty tough. Lots of Names criss-crossing in the N. Stuff it seems you either know, or don't. Natick alert on BETHMARCH/ASHTON. More names, DOBBS, EFREM,PABLO, OSKAR. I knew EFREM, but always spell it EFRaM.

Rest of puz filled slowly here. Although my time (did online today...) says 47:10, which for me on a FriPuz is pretty good. Only 42 minutes longer than Rex. Watch out, speed solvers, creeping up on ya! :-)

Don't know ANN LEE, know GESSO from puzzledom. SPANX was fun to find. Better clue for FEEDME, "___ Seymore!"


Tita 11:56 AM  

No one else refused to let go of PseuDoACCOUNT?

Leapfinger 12:02 PM  

Yes, @Rex, I tried SEEYALATER, and usually I also hate ATON alot, but today it crossed AUTUMN, and you can't hardly say the French for Fall better than ATON, unless you say O_TON. Bienvenue, toute la gang. That corner probly cured @M&A of the SULKS, too.

Anyway, that's the kind of 'tickle my fancy' observation that will predispose me toward whatever follows, and there were only a couple of sticking points:
*PERK/PERQ? before LURE put me in a swit over a Shaker founder ANN Poe or Pye, could never be PEE
*For the Presidential quote, I had _AV__, and thought maybe Jefferson DAVIS qualified as President of the Confederacy. Then the playwright aspect S_UNK in, for the Václav HAVELvet Revolution. Yay.

Little nit about Little Women: 'at the end', Jo and Professor Baer finally figure out they're on the same page, love-wise. Just before that, Amy and Laurie do the same, and it's way earlier that Meg marries John Brooks and has a little Demijohn (note the wordplay per LMA). Even by elimination, you can work out that BETH dies, but it isn't at the end. I looked up SparkNotes, and confirmed it's Chapter 40 (out of 47). Again, bienvenue, and abject apologies for the macabre idea of a DETH MARCH.

FEED_ME was well-clued, but would have really been the cat's meow for Audrey/Little Shop of Horrors.

Central staggerstax were super, esp giving (no PARODY here) ACCOUNT of @MUSE, UM...erm...EXHIBIT, but the gold star goes to the new homeowner who deals with a loan shark and has BUYER'S REMORaS.


Good Friday, AJR

old timer 12:04 PM  

Great and Google free Friday here, My first word was AUTUMN, though it took a while to remember ANNLEE. GESSO took me out of the "See ya later" potential trap,

Two writeovers: "that WAY" before THISWAY and "Thor" before ODIN. Who was once Woden it seems. And who must therefore be the Norse equivalent of Mercury??

QuasiMojo 12:07 PM  

@Z -- Holy Wow!

r.alphbunker 12:23 PM  

21D. {"Toodles"} SEEYOUSOON from SEE_ _ _SO_ _

40A. {Diorama, maybe} MUSEUMEXHIBIT from MUSEUM_ _ _ _ _I_

28D. {Aphrodisia} LUST from _US_

54A. {Ricoh rival} EPSON from E_ _ON

50D. {Author with a restaurant at the Eiffel Tower named for him} VERNE from V_ _ _ _

Details are here.

Malsdemare 12:29 PM  

I'm feeling quite smug; I got it done in respectable time -- for me -- and had just one google, for neighbor of Burkina Faso. I had lES before WES which hid GNAW for a while (having and instead of NOR didn't help there). I have no idea who PABLO is but I had --BLO so who else could he be? I'm very proud of myself that I got BETH; I hated "Little Women" (seems to me I've mentioned that before) and Beth, in particular, rankled me. I know; turn in your girl card, Mare.

SO many other things that fell only after some thought and trials and that's the way I like a puzzle. It made me think, scrounge my memory for stuff that I once knew, turn clues over in my head, trying to determine just which way to look at them. BUYERSREMORSE, COSANOSTRA, BORNTHISWAY, were great and POPEMOBILE was awesome.

I really liked Rex's critique too. All in all, a nice Friday. AND!!! The ice storm appears to have been rerouted to the poor souls south of us.

Woo Woo!

AWS 12:37 PM  

Per Xwordinfo, SPANX has only been used once before, in the pre-Shortz era. It was in '76 and the clue was "does not spare the rod." How times have changed!

Fabulous puzzle. Thought the ocean of proper nouns would drown me, but plenty of life preservers kept me moving along at a tidy clip.

foxaroni 12:41 PM  

@George Barany--nice pun: you knew Rickey Henderson right off the bat.

The puzzle was quite difficult for me. George Dickel? Family name in "Bride of Lammermoor?" Shakers founder? Oh, please. And I cannot name any Lady Gaga song or album. At least, I know who she is.

On my plus side, I knew the Zimbalest answer (did you know his father, Efrem Sr., was a well-known violinist?), gesso from the Netflix series of old Bob Ross programs, I've read "Tortilla Flat," and the aforementioned Rickey Henderson. "Editorial reversal was a good, sneaky clue, I thought.

I have to go. My cat is meowing at me. I think she wants to be fed.

foxaroni 12:47 PM  

@Malsdemare--I don't know where you live, but dire ice storm warnings abound here in the Midwest (Kansas City). Glad you'll be spared!

Masked and Anonymous 12:59 PM  

Cool. A stack of 13's Across the grid middle on Friday the 13th. All containing U's. M&A suddenly feels awfUl lUcky, today. thUmbsUp, Mr. Ries.

Got started with 1-Across = PAST, offa nuthin. Always a good sign. Then PLASMA. Then LUTE. Then STOLENBASES. And off we went. In a handful of nanoseconds: All Mr. Ries were solved.

Well … did have a few extra nono seconds slip by, in that N-central nest of people names: DOBBS. OSKAR. ASHTON. BETHMARCH. EFREM. PABLO. But somehow, got em all, without knowin any of em personally. Was pretty sure, on EFREM. Was kinda sure of at least the MARCH part. Rest was uneducated guesswork. But, as I was just sayin … feelin awfUl lUcky, today. [Afterall, @muse is back.]

fave word: SKUNK. Honrable mention: most of the rest of the grid fillins.
fave grid feature: Weeject stacks, in the NE and the SW.
staff weeject pick: ADE. Cuz it is wee and evidently gets absolutely no respect. Poor baby was no doubt born this way…

@RP: U do some of yer best work, comin out of a skunkdrunk pizza stupor. Nice solvetime. Primo bullets. Kinda dangerous, fallin asleep with a whole fatass apple in yer rexmouth, tho. Worries the M&A.

Happy #13, y'all.
Thanx, Mr. Ries. Fun one. Yer NYTPuz debut was on the 13th, also, I see. lUcky lUcky.

Masked & Anonym8Us

a lil U on the side

Teedmn 1:06 PM  

This played relatively easy yet I walked away with a DNF. I'm pretty BLASE about the North Central section - DOBBS crossing ASHTON were total guesses based on word structure and I still managed to leave "key" = InsET, which becamse InLET after seeing BLASE, leaving OnKAR - yeah, not sounding like any awards I've heard of. Perhaps I will have to start awarding OnKARs to sections of puzzles I'm BLASE about.

My first thought of a 5 letter country in Africa starting with G was Gabon but I waited to enter it and was rewarded with a clean grid in the NE when HOSE gave me GHANA.

I wanted to SEE y'all later, as @Rex surmised would be a common error so don't SPANX me for the black tinge to my grid on that one.

And we can all guess who's in the backseat if the POPE is driving the POPEMOBILE, right?

Masked and Anonymous 1:06 PM  

@Mr. Ries: Ahar! I get it now! Yer first NYTPuz came out on the 13th! U was BORNTHISWAY!

M&Also & a little slow.

Malsdemare 1:10 PM  

@foxaroni. Of course the weather gods have changed their minds; I'm in central Illinois and ice is back in the forecast. Time to make sure the generator runs.

@Lindsey. Hand up for twitter handle plunked in with no crosses, taken out two minutes later (so depressing when an inspired answer is wrong).

Gonna take my beasts for a long walk before we're marooned.

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

If you're going to provide a link to Pablo Cruise in your blog, it should, no, MUST be to "Ocean Breeze," one of the more extraordinary compositions to come out of the rock-fusion movement of the Seventies.

Leapfinger 1:31 PM  

@Wolfman Jack, TENKs! :)

STOLEN BASES was a nice glance back at the ODIN's Day 'Double' Helix puzzle: STOLEN for Watson's sneaky peek at Photo 51, and BASES for @Rosalind Franklin's key/ISLET finding that the BASES were the rungs on the DNA ladder, instead of sticking out the sides, the way the Watson-Crick model had it at the time. And that's how Honor Fell.

@foxaroni, omg, Bob Ross! 'Let's just put some happy little clouds in here'... I used to watch him produce his 30 minute masterpieces with my mouth hanging open.

Teedmn 1:36 PM  

Ack, DOBBS didn't cross ASHTON - no wonder I had a DNF :-).

Larry Gilstrap 1:55 PM  

Writing pre-Rex so...Here goes! I like a big, old tough Friday puzzle with big, old compound nouns and phrases, BUYER'S REMORSE, for example. PARODY ACCOUNT was new to me, but MUSEUM EXHIBIT saved the day. A TON of smart people words that are in the language.

Hey, shout out to all my fellow SULKerS out there. My natural response to an affront is passive aggressive behavior. I throw up a wall.

Too bad that the word EVOLVE has become politicized. If you are a native English speaker, think about how the language has changed during your lifetime.

I struggled again tonight, but this time in the Great Lakes area which was a white-out for too long. Nice, challenging puzzle.

Liz T. 2:28 PM  

Very annoyed about the BETH MARCH answer. As others have noted, she dies several chapters before the end...but AUNT MARCH dies in the very last chapter! Pitiful cluing.

Carola 2:38 PM  

I really enjoyed this "just tough enough" puzzle. I, too, had to skip around, searching for solid purchase: GNAW, STOLEN BASES (baseball-card-collecting son), ASHTON, EFREM (halcyon days of B&W TV), GESSO, OWLS, then chip chip chip away at it.

Loved getting almost SKUNKed by "ARE," couldn't remember BETH''s last name for the life of me, had to get PABLO and Lady GaGa's "BORN..." from crosses. So many pleasures, particularly for me the cross of SKATE PARKS and POPEMOBILE.

@Nancy, sorry to make you lose your bet, but Lucia di Lammermoor, which is based on Scott's novel, is one of my favorite operas. And having recently a production at the Lyric in Chicago, I had the ASHTON family in vivid memory.

jberg 3:08 PM  

I've never read Little Women, so I'm very annoyed about the spoiler in today's puzzler. There should have been a warning, so I could have gone out and read it before I finished solving.

EFREM and ODIN were the only proper nouns I actually knew from the clues (plus a few crosses, since-- as others nave noted -- practically all the weekdays are named for gods); I'd heard of Lou DOBBS, but not of the book, or whatever, mentioned in the clue. But the long acrosses were so appropriate that I shared @Rex's experience, getting each one from a letter or two. Same with STOLEN BASES -- never heard of the guy, but the B was in the wrong place for RBIs, so that had to be it. I did know BORN THIS WAY, and want to echo @triggerfiner's thanks for the video. Wow.

Helpful hint: you just remember that Burkina Faso used to be called Upper Volta, and that the Volta Dam was a huge boondoggle perpetrated by the first elected government of GHANA.

Welcome back, @Loren, and in top form!

chefwen 3:44 PM  

Confused the Ricoh printer with a camera and put Nikon in there, so with the P in first and an N in last at 19D I slapped down Paddy wagon and thought I was brilliant. Guess how far that got me? Not very! MUSEUM display didn't help matters either. Know Lady Gaga, couldn't name a tune of hers if I tripped over one. Said to husband "what the hell Is a George DIckel?

So, yeah, this one was a struggle, but I got through it without a cheat. I'm pretty happy about that.

GILL I. 3:50 PM  

@jberg....HahHee. Do you know who else died? GLEN in TWD.....!

I am not a robot 4:10 PM  

@jberg, I never read it as a girl because other girls told me it was sad. So now that I'm of a certain age and know, I'm going to read it anyway. My plan is, "Don't get attached to Beth!"

Numinous 4:26 PM  

Who can forget 77 Sunset Strip and the star with the name @Loren couldn't pronounce? I mighta wanted it spelt EFRaiM but I managed to give him his E in the end. My first in-laws were both painters so GESSO is solidly in my awareness. Especially since father-in-law used to paint on the textured side of Masonite.

@mathgent, I suspect Chuck Norris's taciturnity in films probably has to do with his ability, or lack thereof, to read lines. I think his prowess was in other areas.

@Quasi, I've been in several Museums of Natural History that all had dioramas. Haven't there been some movies set in Natural History Museums where characters from the dioramas come to life and do stuff?

WES Montgomery was a gimme. The Bride of Lammermoor? Lady GAGA albums? Little women? Residents of Tortilla Flat? I figured out PABLO at least. The only ASHTON I know is Kutcher. I haven't got round to reading it yet but I vaguely knew about the MARCH sisters. BETH dies? Really? Damn! now it's ruined for me. So I did a little bit of googling and finished this in just about average time which would also be @Rex X 10. Not a bad puzzzle at all.

Numinous 4:45 PM  

Ok, this may be apocryphal but I recall reading that Scotch whisky is spelled with no E. Irish whiskey gets spelled with an E to help distinguish them. In the Americas, Bourbon is spelled whiskey while Canadian RYEs are whiskys. I have to wonder because the difference between Scotch and Irish was supposedly decreed but to my mind that came before English spelling was becoming fixed.

When I taught Basic Faire Accent at Renaissance Faire workshops in Southern California I worked from a pamphlet based on scholarly works. I've no idea what they were. However, I did some reading in a book I found of sailors tales that was printed in the original random spellings of the age. What amazed me was that I could hear the voices in my head pronouncing in just the way I was teaching. So it would seem too me that spellings were based on the way the writer would say the words.

Nancy 5:24 PM  

A big, big thanks to the person who changed my Rexworld life by introducing me to the F3 key! I've been using it...and using it...and using it to track down unannotated references to previous comments. Just today alone, I tracked down Malsdemare's reference to Lindsay; Leapfinger's ref to foxeroni; GILL's ref to jberg; Quasi's ref to Z -- the list goes on. I might not have bothered in the past, but it's all so effortless now. And who, oh who, I wondered, told me about the F3 key? For the life of me, I couldn't remember. I never would have remembered. But I tracked it down. How did I track it down? I used the F3 key! And so I can now thank the person responsible. Thank you, @r.alphbunker!

jae 7:15 PM  

Yep, easy for me too. ste before MME was my only erasure and most of this was in my wheelhouse, e.g. Ricky finished his career with the Padres so his record was discussed a lot on the local sports page.

ASHTON was a WOE as clued, but @numinous, if the clue had been say "Mila's sitcom co-star" or "Demi's ex"....

Solid with plenty of zip, liked it!

Re: Just how hard was the Tues. puzzle: Neil Patrick Harris was on a morning show today and they cut to him waiting to come on doing the NYT puzzle. They said something about being smart and doing a Fri. puzzle and he said it was Tuesday's. They asked him how long he'd been working on it and he said since Tuesday.

Unknown 8:29 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 12:56 AM  

It's a classic novel. Ltitle Women.

Z 8:26 AM  

@QuasiMojo - This

paulsfo 9:35 AM  

I've never seen another "title character" clue where the answer *wasn't* actually in the title. Does that clue seem illegitimate to antone else, for OSKAR?

Z 10:20 AM  

@paulsfo - The title includes the surname, the answer is the character's first name. Seems fine to me.

Burma Shave 11:43 AM  


Their SIN is LUST for the LURE
to ASK for SAX that’s SEW PURE,
they’ll say, ”SEEYOUSOON, we were just BORNTHISWAY.”


spacecraft 12:17 PM  

I asked the chief of POLICE what he was doing about the COSANOSTRA problem. He replied "We're right on top of it. See?" and showed me this grid.

ATON of this stuff I didn't know. Probably true of many--but different stuff for different folks. Those who do not follow sports might go "Ricky WHO??" For me that was a welcome gimme. OTOH, I never read "Little Women" (gasp!), but still knew the family name was MARCH, so that was, like, a half-gimme. Finally remembered Lou DOBBS to clear up the north.

Is PARODYACCOUNT a thing? Tech-savvy I am NOT. This looks like one of those "phrases" that Wheel of Fortune puts together: random words juxtaposed that don't at all yield a common phrase. But the down letters were insistent. The rest of the middle section made more sense and thus came quicker. Had SEEY______ but waited, saving myself a w/o. I too was thinking See ya later at first.

DOD Lady Gaga led me into the south. Didn't know the album (I know, maybe, five album titles in the entire history of music), but with __RNTH_____ to start I grokked the rest. The title explains a lot about her, I guess. Someone above actually LIKED those single-letter jobs? TENK, GENX, TYPEA? Wow, we really ARE different folks. If we absolutely must have ADE in our puzzle, bring back George. I know it's yet another PPP, but at least it's a WORD. Either that or clue it as a suffix. Please.

Despite the nits picked above, I thought there was much to admire here. Certainly the triumph factor is high. Maybe not OSKAR material, but a birdie.

rondo 12:40 PM  

IVE got one write-over today, smack dab in the middle, that A in SAX started out as an E. That long across coulda been a PARODY E-something at that point, but no. Just LUST causing that, I guess, but no yeah baby to confirm it, except Lady Gaga in the clue I spose.

STOLENBASES a real gimme. I woulda clued DOBBS as the F-Troop bugler, that’s Friday tough.

A rare happening that the POLICE are on top of the COSANOSTRA. And now I see @spacey beat me to the punch. Great minds.

I, too, was wondering about the E-less RYEWHISKY. Explained above.

A fine puz, this one. Thanks to OFL for the BORNTHISWAY video. Yeah baby.

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

Great puzzle. Second day in a row for fair, fun, and rewarding solves. Very satisfying to complete.

Easy? NOT!

Diana,LIW 1:44 PM  

Had it 95% done, so knew it would get an easy rating from Rex.

Had SKiresoRts up top, and checked for accuracy, so that brought on a dnf. But once SKATEPARKS was in I completed it. Not that I've heard of an entire park devoted to skating - rinks yes. "aramas" yes. Part of a park - yes. But I'm not bitter.

I love it when those long answers come to me and make the solve easier.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 3:07 PM  

Didn't find this easy. Keys to finishing:

POPEMOBILE (good one)
RYEWHISKY (unknown, spelling)
BORNTHISWAY (lost memory)
HAVEL (nice misdirect)
COSANOSTRA (another good one)

Actually, they all were good.

rain forest 4:00 PM  

Oh what the heck, I'll comment. I'm not a morning person, and yesterday I babysat my grandson for 8 hours. Spending that time with a 17-month old who doesn't sleep is a workout. So had some WHISKY last night and slept in. There. I know you all wanted to hear that.

Did yesterday's puzzle in the late afternoon - liked it a lot. SPLIT IN TWO, just like 3 themers.

Today's was also a treat. I think I am in the minority when I say that I remember EFREM Zimbalist Jr. from 77 Sunset Strip (Kookie, lend me your comb).
Don't know ANN LEE (what's a Shaker?), and my upper lip curls at the mention of Lou DOBBS. HAVEL was nice, and I didn't try to see it as a reference to an American Prez.

There was A LOT of good stuff in here and some great cluing. Really liked it.

Diana,LIW 8:02 PM  

@Rainy - The Shakers are a Christian sect located in New England states. They are well-known for their simple furniture, made by hand, and their chastity. No sex. Waiting in purity for the second coming.

They began in the early 1800's, but their numbers have greatly dwindled, as you can imagine. Last I heard there were a few "recent converts" left - a handful. I had an aunt who used to work at a Shaker museum.

Diana, Lady who knows about waiting

wcutler 9:58 PM  

I'm with @Passing Shot on this - I finished it, same day even, so it must be easy. I have no idea how you all do the Friday puzzle on a regular basis. I can almost never do it; mostly I give it a once-over, and if I can only get three or so entries, I just close the page. Today there was lots of stuff I didn't know: DOBBS, ASHTON, ANNLEE, BORNTHISWAY, PARODYACCOUNT, PABLO, but I always figure that's part of what crossword puzzles are about - puzzling out words you don't know, based in part on how letters can form words: DO_BS is probably going to be DOBBS.

I've only heard of GESSO used as filler on cars, was very unsure of that answer for a long time.

Don Byas 4:28 AM  

41a. ARE [Updated art?] does this clue fool anyone with any crossword experience?
Clues were too obvious for a Friday.
3d. STOLENBASES clue was rather verbose: [Record stat for major-leaguer Rickey Henderson]

Lou 5a.DOBBS is a hate spewing shitgibbon.

Smokin' at the Half Note, Wynton Kelly Trio with WES Montgomery is amazeballs!
Listen to it 100 times and one day you'll wake up with a whole new view of the world.
"Not surprisingly, Brad Mehldau and Pat. Metheny cite the same album — “Smokin’ at the Half Note,” with Wes Montgomery on guitar and Wynton Kelly on piano — as formative. "(April 8, 2007 NYT)

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