Seducer of Josef in Kafka's Trial / FRI 2-10-17 / Librettist for Verdi's Otello Falstaff / Navy enlistee informally / Comedian with 2016 memoir Born a Crime / Director's cry that's said with pause

Friday, February 10, 2017

Constructor: Kyle Mahowald

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: BOITO (28D: Librettist for Verdi's "Otello" and "Falstaff") —
Arrigo Boito (Italian: [arˈriːɡo ˈbɔito]; 24 February 1842 – 10 June 1918) (whose original name was Enrico Giuseppe Giovanni Boito and who wrote essays under the anagrammatic pseudonym of Tobia Gorrio), was an Italian poet, journalist, novelist, librettist and composer, best known today for his libretti, especially those for Giuseppe Verdi's operas Otello and Falstaff, and his own opera Mefistofele. Along with Emilio Praga, and his own brother Camillo Boito he is regarded as one of the prominent representatives of the Scapigliatura artistic movement. (wikipedia)
• • •

Very nice longer answers. A very (almost aggressively) current puzzle, very much in the tech-boy universe. Feels like it was made by/for math-science boys who went to college in the '00s. It's got DATA SCIENTISTs and MINECRAFT and the actor who played Mark Zuckerberg in "The Social Network" and the host of "The Daily Show. There are only two women in the puzzle and they're huddling together in the SW corner. Oh, sorry, forgot about LENI (whoever that is). Anyway, the few female answers all TINY four-letter names. Very MALE, is what I'm saying. But well made, I think. MENA is ick and BOITO is obscuroito (to me), but there's not a lot of other junk, and the skeleton on this one is solid—good, strong longer answers holding this thing together.

I did this in fits and starts, racing at times, dead-stopped at others, getting JESSE EISENBERG from *that* clue wasn't easy for me, and the first bit of his name I got was the "EEI" string, which looks wrong / insane (5D: Oscar-nominated actor who has written several humor pieces for The New Yorker). And then DATA SCIENTIST didn't (and still doesn't) sound like a thing. I wanted ANALYST. Bah. But the worst problem came at the end, with my last corner—the SE. And it was all MINECRAFT's fault. I have a 12yo nephew who is ObSessed—goes to conventions and everything. But I just don't think of MINECRAFT as a "video game." That's a label I associate with stand-up console games like "Donkey Kong" or home console games like "Mario Kart" (which fits). And maybe "Myst," I guess. But you play a video game—like, there are clear objectives. It's relatively finite and goal-oriented. I think of "MINECRAFT" as more like a virtual world in which you explore and build ... I don't know. Are there points? Can you score? Win? It's obviously technically right, the clue, but ugh, again, the vagueness. So I had MINIKARTS at some point (and JOE KOOL!). And then TRIBES for 42A: Concerns for sociologists (TRENDS).  Gulf of RIGA? Never heard of it. Got rescued by a blind guess at TARS (after I'd pulled MINECRAFT). Not so fun down there. TRUST ME. But fun overall.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:05 AM  
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jae 12:07 AM  

Easy-medium for me. Knowing LEMMON, EISENBERG, JOE COOL, MINE CRAFT, and TREVOR NOAH was off set by @Rex TRibeS before TRENDS, odOr before SMOG, and obie before EMMY.

The clue for AYE could also have been 9a.

Data crunching was part of my job, apparently I retired in the century before it became sexy. So SPSS is the new aphrodisiac?

Fine clues, fine answers, fine Fri., liked it a lot!

razerx 12:25 AM  

I just subscribed to the New Yorker and received my first issue this week. Yesterday I read an amusing piece by Jesse Eisenberg and wondered if he was that actor. That was a tough puzzle and took me 26 minute but I would have been stuck if I had not read that article.

Charles Flaster 12:27 AM  

Easy as the proper names were in my wheelhouse. I would have clued LEMMON as "Star of The Apartment". It was his best role and also directed by Billy Wilder.
Favorite cluing was for WAR GAMES and ALLEY CAT.
ECOLI and ELBA are good CROSSWORDease examples.
JOE COOL crossing JEANS is nice.
Thanks KM

Ellen S 12:51 AM  

I got BOITO with no crosses, and only a few for EISENBERG, and TREVOR NOAH was a gimme. Only. MINECRAFT needed a lot of crosses, and I kept filling in different kinds of dirty air -well, Soot, before SMOG.

ACMES - nah - there is only one. Two days in a row -- I think the gods are asking you to give us another puzzle ACM. (And Will, pay attention, ACME two days in a row, it's destiny, don't fight it.)

Nice puzzle, KM. Thanks.

Churlish Nabob 12:51 AM  

Dies anyone remember laughter?

Velvet Underground 12:53 AM  

Died pretty?

Moly Shu 1:10 AM  

Mostly easy except for BOITO and TREVORneverheardofhim. Gimmies of MENA MINECRAFT SMALLWORLD JAMA and JOECOOL really aided the solve. Liked it.
@CharlesFlaster, I would have gone with Shelley "The Machine" Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross. Like Al Pacino says "F&@$ the Machine???"

Robin 1:11 AM  

Had trouble getting started on this. Trying to work out of the NW but all the three stars of Some Like It Hot all had 6-letter last names. TOUPEES eliminated one of them, then got ON_SALE and figured out it was LEMMON.

So had the _EEI_ bit early but it meant nothing to me. Worked down to the SW and then into the SC and got there BERG to end the long one and realized it was JESSE_EISENBERG.

From there it was some grunt-work to finish. Got held up just a tad by entering OMAN rather than ADEN, but could tell something was not going to work down there.

Would not have guessed DATA_SCIENTIST without a bunch of crosses. I figured DATA_MINER would be the sexy DATA_ job, but that plainly didn't fit.

Marty Van B 1:34 AM  

Enjoyable puzzle with the right crunch for Friday and lots of fun answers: PITY PARTY, WAR GAMES, AND SCENE!, I'LL DRINK TO THAT. If a puzzle is going to trend to one era or another, I'll always take one that's current in its feel and cluing.

Mike in Mountain View 1:35 AM  

Good puzzle. The Sunday vowel-less is a lot of fun, too. I recommend it, especially if you're the kind of person who likes Thursday puzzles.

chefwen 1:47 AM  

So many unknowns, BOITO, TREVOR NOAH, JESSE EISENBERG, but we got it done with no look ups. A sign of a good puzzle, at least in my book.

Favorites were 11D ALLEY CAT and 44D DOG EAR. I'm a little partial to the animals. JOE COOL fits right in there also. Loved it.

puzzle hoarder 1:55 AM  

The epiglottis, like anything else you'd see down someone's throat, is disgusting (I'm a paramedic so I have to do this.) However I was having a hard time thinking of the simple word to describe it so I started with JAMA and made steady work from there. BOITO and MENA were the two missing pieces I had to work around. My only mistake was COOL spelled with a K. I must have been picturing Joe Camel and Kool cigarettes. The video game clue really had me thinking it would be KRAFT. Maybe I was thinking of Kraftwerk and figured anyone who'd make a video game would want to spell it with a K just for effect. This was an entertaining puzzle.

Animus Cads nonMale 2:17 AM  

Thanks, @Ellen!!!!
Not only THAT, but EISENBERG is my birth name (the E in ACME) but no relation to the actor...
I had -BERG first so tried to think of an actor Greenberg or Steinberg!!!

Reminds me of Another (literal ) "punch" line.

Lest the old joke gets mangled, I guess it's up to me to relay the old chestnut from my MC days
(which I used to hear from my nonPC Uncle Lenny from time to time...whose last name was the unfortunate Fuhrer*):

Jewish Guy walks into a bar walks into a bar, goes up to an Asian man drinking and punches him in the nose.
Guy cries out "what was that for??!"
Jewish guy says " Pearl Harbor!"
Victim says "but that was the Japanese, I'm Chinese!"
Guy mutters, "Chinese, Japanese... It's all the same!"

Few minutes later, Chinese guy goes up and punches the Jewish guy in the nose who cries out "what the hell was that for?"

Chinese guy says "The Titanic"
Jewish guy says "But that was sunk by an iceberg!"

"Iceberg, Steinberg, Greenberg... It's all the same!"

ILLDRINKTOTHAT! Thanks, I'll be here all week (well at least on Thurs and Friday!)

Oh and @Ellen, don't hold your breath! Nothing in the pipeline... I think JESSIE will be published before I will be!

Lots to like in this puzzle DIAPERED, ANDSCENE, PITYPARTY (even tho we just had it... Not this puzzles fault!)

Agree with Rex tho... SLANTS MALE MALE MALE!

*At least LENI wasn't Riefenstahl!

ACMES 2:24 AM  

My guess is he chose that film bec it's a Friday so it has to not be LEMMON's most famous and, more importantly his costar CURTIS has same amount of letters so is a mini-trap. That's the deal...Some like it Not?

Lee Glickstein 2:39 AM  

32A "Lamb, e.g." as a clue for MEAT strikes a vegan/animal rights activist as pathetically and maddeningly tone deaf. The short, torturous life and painful death that turns innocent animals into meat (including most lambs, sweet and smart as puppies and kittens, that find their way onto a plate) is the baggage that comes along with that clue.

AliasZ 2:43 AM  

I consider any puzzle in which prime real estate is used up by proper names that people may or may not know a wasted effort. After finally getting the answer from 80% of crossing letters, the result is not an "Aha!" but a decisive "Meh..." leaving me empty and unsatisfied. Throw in a few gulfs, a seducer, a librettist, a few actors/actresses and other obscurities, and this one turns into a crosstrivia rather than a crossword. We deserve better on Friday.

Thank goodness for MINE CRAFT, SMALL WORLD, WAR GAMES, ALLEY CAT, PITY PARTY, DATA SCIENTIST and a few others, to save this one from being a total waste of my time. Fewer trivia make for better puzzles. I'LL DRINK TO THAT.

"TRUST ME" -- Said the spider to the fly caught in his web.

Arrigo BOITO is perhaps best known for his only opera Mefistofele based on Goethe's Faust. It is a testament to his dedication to the profound subject of the work. The libretto is essentially the Italian translation of Goethe's play. You may want to listen to its Prologue ("Prologo in cielo").

Happy Friday!

Dr. Colossus, PhD 2:56 AM  

Yesterday it was AZIZ ANSARI and today it's TREVOR NOAH.

I guess we're just plumbing the All Stars of supremely un-funny people. Let's add DANE COOK, SINBAD, JIMMY FALLON, and CARLOS MENCIA while we're at it, and of course let's not forget the MVP of un-funny CARROT TOP ("Carrot Top is for people who don't get Gallagher") and make a whole puzzle out of 'em. This un-funniness is not opinion but has been scientifically proven, which includes KATHY GRIFFIN and JAY LENO and even MILTON BERLE if you wanna go back some.

Except AZIZ ANSARI and TREVOR NOAH are not even in the All Stars of un-funny because no one gives a sh*t about either one of 'em.

Dolgo 3:03 AM  

At last! A gimme for opera fans besides "aria," "Eri tu," and "Ernani." The Boito/Verdi collaborstion is one of the most famous in all opera after Mozart/da Ponte.It's nice for those of us who have no idea in the world who David Ortiz is (but, of course, even I have heard of RBI, even though I'm not clear on what it stands for).
Yeah, Jesse Eisenberg and Trevor Noah were also gimmes (I don't spend all my time at the gramophone!). Though Aden is all over crossword-puzzles, it was nice to see it paired with Riga. AND I live in logger land (where we "fall" not "fell" trees and you would get laughed out of far Northern Calif if you called one of them a "tree feller").
The one I still don't get is the clue for "data scientist."
Wasn't " pity party" used within the last week or two,BWT?

Dolgo 3:10 AM  

Oh, I forgot the third most famous opera collaboration--Wagner and himself!

I skip M-W 3:49 AM  

Coming back for my piano lesson the other day in my rented car, while mine is being saved after immense rodent damage, I heard a disquieting and doubting disquisition on "Data Science" on Marketplace, so the main across was a gimme. Pleased that this old fogy got all the answers on this one. Also immensely pleased that @ACME is back on this list. I've missed you.

Lee Glickstein 6:11 AM  

Dear Doc, you called 10 professional comedians who make/made a great living making people laugh "supremely unfunny." Well with a funny bone as small as yours no wonder you suffer from funnus envy.

mathgent 6:17 AM  

Rex is correct, MINECRAFT isn't a game in the traditional sense. It's certainly not at all like Tetris. It's a video activity without scoring. Not that I've played it, but I've seen my grandson immersed in it. Pretty amazing that it's only been out five years and it's the second biggest seller.

I'm still in awe of the Thursday WSJ puzzle. Something Patrick Berry might have constructed on one of his best days. Downloadable free from the website.

Very enjoyable Thursday offering. Seventeen red plusses in my sheet.

Anonymous 6:19 AM  

Another excellent Friday puzzle. A little something for everyone. I did think the video game was going to be a "Mario-something" when I got the first letter. I worked on a team that audited the books at Capcom back in the day. Their big game, Street Fighter, (and all its iterations) had to rank somewhere in the top 5 of "most popular of all time." But Mario was Nintendo's golden egg. Incredible how much revenue those games produced.

Glimmerglass 6:24 AM  

Got lucky on the triple Natick: TREVOR NOAH, MENA, EVAN, but drew a silly blank on DO_EAR, RI_A. At my age, you think I'd miss the current names (never heard of any of the three) and get the other two. Nice review today.

Anonymous 7:08 AM  

Can someone explain TARS. I am completely blanking on connection to AYE

Old Lady 7:09 AM  

Thought it odd that 41A and 41D were so similar - UNDO and UPDO. Dr. Colossus, PhD, isn't using your title and your degree a bit over the top? Just saying.

kitshef 7:23 AM  

Very difficult for me. No stopping points, just a long, slow solve with everything taking a while. The longs acrosses were quite irritating. Do not like the clue for SMALL WORLD, never heard of TREVOR NOAH, and DATA SCIENTIST as @Rex notes sounds green painty.

The long downs, conversely, were excellent.

kitshef 7:30 AM  

Anon@7:08 - TAR is a word used for sailors, who use AYE as a word for 'yes'.

Will there ever be an opera clue I can get without crosses? Unlikely. It's like car questions squared.

evil doug 7:39 AM  
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evil doug 7:49 AM  

Lemmon? Curtis? Monroe? None of 'em worked with Obie, but once I plugged in Emmy-->Lemmon and smooth sailing ensued....

DATA SCIENTIST is a boring way to fill a long cross, and how it could be a "sexy" job is beyond my imagination....

If that damn Disney "Small World" starts worming through my head today, I'm gonna let the constructor have it....

I can't imagine that a constructor actively attempts to shut women's names or interests out of the grid. I'd just be looking for whatever I could get to fit. But if there are essentially equal numbers of men and women submitting viable puzzles and it's believed Will is skewing the deck toward men, let's see the data. The men vs. women thing here is tiresome.

Z 8:45 AM  

DATA SCIENTIST must be what they call themselves when they were denied a class in Epistemology as undergrads. I have to wonder how many people look to the Harvard Business Review for insight on sexy.

After reading @AliasZ I had to double check to make sure that BOITO is still a WOE for me. I thought I might have written that first paragraph.

@Evil Doug - That isn't how systemic disadvantage works.

Regarding yesterday's WSJ puzzle - What the NYTX claims to be and ought to be.

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

Sailors: aye,aye

Seth 8:58 AM  

It's funny to read Rex's and others' comments on DATA SCIENTIST. As far as I'm concerned, it's an extremely relevant, booming field to be in nowadays. Everyone in Silicon Valley is a data scientist. Data scientists are the ones working at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Hulu, Instagram, [insert any other popular website or app here]. It's "sexy" because it's the new hot job to have.

Nancy 9:00 AM  

This was very easy -- too easy for a Friday, or so it seemed -- in the North, but got progressively harder as I traveled down. Interesting that LEMMON, Curtis and Monroe all have the same # of letters, but EMMY cleared that up quickly. A plethora of names, but other than the MENA/EVAN cross (EVAN is a woman's name???), where I happily guessed correctly, everything else came in from the crosses.

Is JOE COOL a character in "Peanuts"? I've read the strip over decades -- my all-time FAVE -- and I've never seen this character. Is he very new? Or is he in someone else's comic strip? My other nit is WORD (19D). Yes, you can clue it the way it's clued, though I plain don't like it, but you can't clue it with an exclamation point. No way! Very unfair. As I was writing it in from just the WO--, I was saying to myself: Please don't be WORD! Please don't be! And one early mistake that had to be changed: At 7D, I initially had MsAT. Isn't that what my high school math teacher used to call "the best wrong answer"? I'm quite pleased with it, actually.

Clues and answers I liked a lot: ALLEY CAT (11D); DOGEAR (44D); and I'LL DRINK TO THAT. A nice puzzle that provided a little (but not a lot of) "crunch."

Bob Kerfuffle 9:05 AM  

This puzzle was used as the final, on-stage solve for the three finalists at the Westport contest.

At the time, my only comment was re: 60 A, Enemy of ISIS, with "the" - WEST. I believe ISIS is in fact an enemy of most people everywhere, including the vast majority of the world's Muslims.

But Will Shortz mentioned before the puzzle was given out that some clues had been changed from the one you see published today.

Sorry, @ACME, but the first one I notice is that we got 13 A, Filmmaker Riefenstahl.

Others which were changed from what we got were:

9 A, Q-Tip, e.g.

17 A, Throw off, as light

20 A, Cousin of a Tony

23 A, Faux locks

25 A, Four-term prez

267 A, Sailor's assent

28 A, Old-fashioned poet

29 A, Hosts, informally

39 A, Family

51 A, Wager53 A, Host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show"

59 A, Biblical garden

61 A, Sailors, informally

2 D, Jack who co-starred in "Some Like It Hot"

6 D, Pinnacles

7 D, Protection for a castle24 D, Isle of exile for Napoleon

36 D, Exhaust

44 d, Folded corner

That's a lot of editing!

Amie Devero 9:07 AM  

For some reason this one was a breeze for me. Knew every long cross off the bat. Only Boito stumped me to the end... thought something else was wrong and had to check. I fear this brands me an irredeemable geek. :-/

Unknown 9:07 AM  

Just did the yesterday's wsj puzzle on your recommendation. You're right - that was fantastic!

QuasiMojo 9:11 AM  

Boito was my first answer. He's hardly obscure, Rex, especially to a Literature Professor. He was perhaps the greatest librettist after DaPonte. Ever heard of the opera Falstaff, considered by some to be Verdi's greatest opera? (Plus he was Eleanora Duse's lover.)

Did anyone else have "poet" for "Lamb"?

I have never heard of Jesse Eisenberg, Trevor Noah, Minecraft, Joe Cool, Data Scientist, Mena whoever, PityParty (although we did have it here recently), etc etc, et cetera. But I still managed to complete this dog in 20 minutes with no cheating. Throughout the ordeal, however, I kept asking myself why?

Pampered is more like it these days since no one uses diapers anymore. At least from what I glean on the streets of the city where I live. People seem to think it's okay to toss Pampers or Snuggies or whatever they're called now, out of their cars when parking. Much more disgusting than an epiglottis.

I won't drink to this one. I need bedrest after it.

Stanley Hudson 9:13 AM  

@OFL, excellent review.


evil doug 9:17 AM  


evil doug 9:18 AM  


Nancy 9:18 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle (9:05) -- Oh bliss, that this puzzle wasn't left the way it first appeared, according to your blog post. (Take a look everyone, if you missed Bob's comment). All the "crunch" would have been removed and what remained would have been a complete insult to the intelligence. It would have made for a really boring exercise instead of one that was reasonably stimulating. Thanks, Will, for toughening it up for us today.

evil doug 9:19 AM  


Kim Scudera 9:19 AM  

I enjoyed this easy Friday, but lost valuable time gaping at the UPDO/UNDO cross. Came here looking for fireworks from Rex; not a peep. Thanks, @OldLady, for being in my corner.

And I'm delighted to hear ACME's voice again :D

evil doug 9:20 AM  


Aketi 9:25 AM  
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Consistency & Accuracy 9:27 AM  

@Alias Z - You really shouldn't go on a rant about how proper names are meh then cite Mine Craft as an excellent entry.

Aketi 9:29 AM  

Sadly, it's SMALL WORLD is now stuck in my head. I was going to enter my MINE CRAFT app to do a tribute to the game that was more of an addiction for me than Lode Runner but the same IOS upgrade that restored my NY Times puzzle app managed to mess up the MINECRAFT app which is probably a very good thing.

@ Mathgent, MiNE CRAFT has been around for well over five years. It, like Club Penguin, was originally a free computer game. I abruptly WEANed myself from that game after I constructed a huge railway system trying to find the edge of the world. There was no edge of the world, I could probably have gone on indefinitely. Thanks to my son who used to sneak into my world and redocorate it by using lava and TNT on my constructions I found out there was a bottom of the world when he blew a giant hole in my golden pavilion. If you fell in the hole you were sent to oblivion and died. I recotructed it into a multilayered giant swimming pool about 50 stories deep. I hadn't touched it in years until rediscovered it as an iPad app.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

Tars answer had to be about Jacktars back in the day.

Lewis 9:33 AM  

Sweet solve. Tricky cluing (EMMY, ALLEYCAT, i.e.), enjoyable answers (ILLDRINKTOTHAT, SMALLWORLD, i.e.), and Fridayish resistance. Guessed at the MENA/EVAN cross (correctly). Everything felt just in the right place in every respect (except that WEST in the South). Lovely from start to finish. I'll look for more from you, Kyle!

GILL I. 9:51 AM  

I started out with a smile. Got that FLAP PITY PARTY TOUPEES in no time and i liked all those answers. JAMA ECOLI (yikes) and SWAB didn't fool me. Was loving that whole northern section until I came upon the menagerie of names in the south. Went back up to try and figure out the middle section. Had DATA and thought "how in the world is anyone who is into DATA GONNA be sexy? JOE COOL it ain't me thinks. Had to UNDO oafs for CADS. Are boors really CADS? My FAVE BOITO gave me the SCIENTIST and so, I went back south. The law firm of TREVOR NOAH EVAN and MENA was a tossed salad. I guessed right so AYE me.
Why was Obama unfairly maligned for his JEANS? And why is "You said it!" WORD? (hi @Nancy)....

Maruchka 9:52 AM  

Nice mix of the new and old. LEMMON, as @Nancy pointed out, could easily have been Curtis or Monroe (feMALE par excellence). One quibble for EMMY, not Obie. Cousins? Not really.

Knew of MINE Sweeper game. Is a MINE CRAFT a real thing in the real world? Donkeys hauling ore boats?

Fav of the day - WAR GAMES. The movie, is 33 years old. Mainframes, dial up, floppies, un-sexy programmers,, were so cool then. A very SMALL percentage of population had home computers. I'll go back farther. Mid '70s, I knew computer engineers who worked on (I think) a space shuttle project at NASA Ames. Everyone had to commute to where the mainframes were. One superb engineer could not travel from his Santa Cruz mountains home. So, I'm told, a cable many miles long was used to plug him into Sunnyvale's database. How COOL was that?

It's a SMALL WORLD after ALL, solvers.

Mary Jean Babic 9:53 AM  

What is TARS? I got it right, but I have no idea what it is.

Steve M 9:54 AM  

Got hung up on tars but nice puzzle

DJG 9:54 AM  

What's wrong with MENA? Why is this answer "ick"? (The constructor also said he didn't like it in his XWordInfo notes.)

Mena Suvari had a feature role in "American Beauty" (which won the Best Picture Oscar) and she was also in "American Pie" and the TV show "Six Feet Under." She's well within the bounds of crossworthiness, no?

Unknown 9:54 AM  

As does MONROE

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

I know I've said before that I don't understand the obsession with speed in getting these done. I only bring this up because I found this to be relatively easy and had a fast time (for me, for a Friday) which I use as an indicator of the puzzles ease, again, for me. Rex seemed to mention being stuck on mostly down answers. Maybe it was easier to do across (?) or maybe this was just in my wheelhouse, but I finished in a record time for a Friday. (I won't reveal the time, I'm sure it is slow for most and can just hear the snickers in my vivid imagination).

Don McBrien 10:06 AM  

@Nancy -- Usually the championship puzzle at the Westport tournament is a Thursday, and the three puzzles that everyone does prior to that are a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. When Will was announcing the puzzles last weekend, he indicated that the championship puzzle this year would be a Friday, but that the clues were edited to make it closer to Thursday level for the championship solvers. So I think it's more a matter of the clues Bob posted were intentionally made easier for the tournament as opposed to Will making them harder for publication. Not that it's a distinction that matters...I just always find the editing process interesting and seeing how puzzles change from submission to publication.

AZPETE 10:06 AM  


r.alphbunker 10:12 AM  

Initially entered nAsA SCIENTIST for 33A {"Sexiest job of the 21st century," per Harvard Business Review} DATASCIENTIST probably because I just saw the movie Hidden Figures. When I was growing up good citizens consumed. Now they also have to tweet to generate data for DATA SCIENTISTs to analyze.

Detail of solution are here.

Maruchka 10:26 AM  

Errata - It wasn't a space shuttle project, I'm informed. It was for the fly-bys. M'excuse.

Jim 10:32 AM  

Fastest Friday ever. Expected Rex to diss it as too easy so shocked to see it as Medium. Guess hit my wheel house. Data Scientist is indeed a job (I interviewed one yesterday) and it is very much one of the hottest jobs out there (Google bought a company not for their technology but for their data scientists).

GILL I. 10:33 AM  

Not to take away from Kyle Mahowald's day of fame for his NYT puzzle (which I thought was pretty good) but I opened up Thursdays WSJ and I haven't enjoyed nor been so wowed by a puzzle in a long time. It's taken me this long to figure it out and I just started it...Folk, go download it after you've finished this one. It'll entertain you no end....

mathgent 10:36 AM  

@Aketi: According to Wikipedia, Minecraft was first released 11/18/2011.

@Nancy complained about WORD for 19D and I second the motion. Is it used to mean "You said it!" In some subculture?

RooMonster 10:37 AM  

Hey All !
Slow, but stady progress, until the NW corner. Had to Goog to see just what the hell an Epiglottis was. Then had to alphabet-run for the N in LENI. For some unexplainable reason, TOUPEES was not getting into the ole brain. Kept wanting TOpPEES (whatever those are). And guessed correctly at the B at BARD/BOITO. Initially wanted a C there.

Overall nice FriPuz. Got a glitch on NYT site today. Won't let me complete puz. No happy music. Leaves one square blank. But timer stops, even though puz incomplete. Not that I care, as I don't keep records of solves. Just wondering if happened to anyone else. Haven't read comments yet, so if already mentioned, sorry.

MENA Suvari is sexy! As is Mira Sorvino, although she can't really act! IMO. :-)


Anonymous 10:47 AM  

Never heard of a DATASCIENTIST. Nor ANDSCENE. But SOOOOOOOO.... relieved the puzzle worked in Obama's JEANS. Gosh I miss the guy. ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ MWAH!

kitshef 11:15 AM  

@Nancy - JOE COOL was an alter ego adopted by Snoopy on occasion.

@Gill I,@mathgent. Yes, WORD is used to mean "I am in accord with what you have just said". Just as you might say "amen" or "I hear that", you can say "word" - but only if you want to seem either hopelessly out of date or hip and ironic.

Malsdemare 11:19 AM  

I got the top very quickly and thought, "this is way too easy for a Friday." Then I hit roadblocks: waR before FDR, OVa before OVI. I put in and took out BARD so many times, if I'd been solving on paper, I'd have a huge hole in Illinois. I wanted ILLsecondTHAT, which wasn't going to work and had no idea who the librettist was. So I headed south and struggled mightily with the names. ANDaction didn't fit, so I meandered and finally saw MINECRAFT (my granddaughter is addicted to the game, so that was easy, though I thought Angry Birds would be in second place). Got JEANS, saw JOECOOL, and then Aha! ILLDRINKTOTHAT. That opened up that whole SE and also apparently woke up a few brain cells, so I saw DIAPERED, inferred JESSEEISENBERG, and then just plowed my way home.

Last night I did the WSJ "By the numbers," finished it (though not easily) and then stared at the solve in total confusion. Would someone like to give me a hint about the theme or is that an inappropriate question? I'm just not seeing it.

Carola 11:20 AM  

I guess I woke up on the disgruntled side of the bed - I thought it was way too easy for a Friday.

@QuasiMojo, perhaps a nod to "Falstaff" at BARD x BOITO.

To all who recommended yesterday's WSJ puzzle, thank you. So nicely constructed and such fun to solve.

Big Steve 46 11:24 AM  

I won't question of the worthiness of MENA and EVAN for the crossword puzzle (just because I - 70+ geezer- never heard of them) - but they shouldn't be crossing each other. My understanding of a NATICK is a crossing of 2 clues that are either obscure or both fall within a narrow area of knowledge.

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Just thinking about Obama's JEANS, like Chris Matthews, gives me a "thrill going up my leg".

Bob Kerfuffle 11:34 AM  

@Malsdemare - I have also done the WSJ contest puzz today, and have no idea about the meta. In the past I have gotten some slight hints, or maybe just pointing in the right direction, from the WSJ comments. Today, the best I have seen, but one which actually has helped on other metas, is simply, "As usual, pay attention to the title."

Karl 11:41 AM  

I liked this one and found it challenging. I did finish but it took me 23 minutes. I thought it was very clever that MONROE, CURTIS, and LEMMON were all valid answers for 2 Down.

Trombone Tom 11:47 AM  

This was NOT as easy for me as for many of you. Too many proper names.

I floundered around until finally getting some traction in the SE. As a longtime Peanuts reader, it was nice to see JOE COOL.

Held up for a long time by missteps: Obie before EMMY, ADam before EDEN, and OVo before OVI. TREVOR NOAH was a WOE, as was JESSE EISENBERG (even tho I read the New Yorker).

A fresh and (ultimately) doable puzzle. Thank you Mr. Mahowald.

Joseph Michael 11:57 AM  

My video game was "Mineshaft" which left me with "Joe Soul" and NO IDEA for what that fold or European gulf might be.

Otherwise this was fairly easy for a Friday and mucho enjoyable with lots of great fill, such as I'LL DRINK TO THAT and PITY PARTY.

Original clue for DO GEAR - barettes, hair clips, and bobby pins

GHarris 11:58 AM  

Flying along, working out answers I never knew until the SE was my UNDOing. Had no idea of mine craft , thought sociologists dealt with traits and so finally sank in the Gulf of Riga.

cwf 12:00 PM  

Well, Jack LEMMON dressed as a woman (and got engaged to a man) in that film so three and a half maybe.

AliasZ 12:03 PM  

@Consistency & whatever, thanks for setting me straight. Last I checked however, neither MINE nor CRAFT are proper names, unless you consider conductor Robert CRAFT (1923–2015), known for his close collaboration with Igor Stravinsky. But I am sure the game was not named after him.

FLEETO: ___-Lay, a PepsiCo subsidiary
DO GEAR: Equipment for an active lifestyle. Just Do It!
The UPS and downs: UPDO then UNDO.


Masked and Anonymous 12:07 PM  

Didn't know that there crossin EV?N either, but figured on "A" bein the meta-MENA answer.

themelessthUmbsUp. Soo … DATASCIENTIST was the seed entry? Term is news to m&e, but kinda interestin. Sounds like a lipstick-on-pig alias for RUSSIANHACKER.

staff weeject pick: O-VI. Better clue: {Lopsided score in Caesar's Gaully-ball game??}.

fave new non-data-sci term: {East coast gets hammered by snowstorm??} = FLAKENEWS. (yo, @Steven Colbert)

Thanx, Mr. Mahowald.
Pleasant writeup, @RP.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Anonymous 12:09 PM  

Only heard directors yell "And...action!"

Dick Swart 12:31 PM  

Boito not an unknown name in opera circles.

I am not a robot 12:46 PM  

Got Some Like it Hot mixed up with another Monroe movie and couldn't get to Lemmon. But aftet I Googled it, I crushed the rest. This is because I'm 61 years old and have a 26-year-old son . My brain stores info from Snoopy's alter ego of 40 years ago to Mine Craft (get off that computer and go to bed, school starts in 3 hours), and then on to Trevor Noah. This is also how I can fake a little bit of hipness with "crushed it."

Hit me with a little South Park. He was home recently and got me caught up on the latest season via Hulu (has that made an appearence yet?)

Mister Mxyzptlk 1:26 PM  

Extraordinarily easy for me, but instead of being disappointed, I am smugly self satisfied. I was especially pleased to encounter BOITO and JOECOOL. And I am happy for JESSEEISENBERG that he has some talent other than acting to rely upon.

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

Tween MALEs have converted MINECRAFT into WAR GAMES where they amass weapons and destroy each other's SMALL WORLD's. Our future DATA SCIENTISTs, I suppose.

Teedmn 1:29 PM  

Easy Friday except for the SE. I've read a few of JESSE EISENBERG's pieces in the New Yorker so when Woody Allen obviously didn't fit, that was the next answer that came to mind (though I don't find his humor to my taste - I prefer Ian Frazier as my "Shouts and Murmurs" writer).

So down to the SE where I had MINE, JOE, TIRE, ADEN and no idea (not the answer to 43D, but rather, a blank brain) about any of the rest. MINE kept me from considering TRibes, thank goodness. So I went up to the NE where I still had some openings and got the cross-referenced 26A, AYE so that gave me TARS. MINE __A_T, hmmm, MINE CoAsT? But that jumpstarted my brain to see JOE COOL. I had forgotten Snoopy took on that alter ego sometimes. And the rest fell into place.

DOGEAR was a DOOK for a moment, so that was a fun AHA to get when the clue sunk in.

I agree with @Nancy, that if we had gotten the clues @Bob Kerfuffle listed, this would have been a woefully easy puzzle, so thanks for the editing, WS. Nice puzzle, KM.

Dr.Anatomy 1:38 PM  

Hey, how about a little respect for the poor old epiglottis! Be ye man or women, I certainly hope you don't harbor such open disdain for all anatomical FLAPS? Remember, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.

As for DATA SCIENTIST being the sexist job, that answer should have been DATY SCIENTIST. Much more apropos to the cluing, and it would have been the perfect companion to the plural of 1A.

Lamb-The Other Red Meat 1:53 PM  

@Lee Glickstein:

So sorry that the simple act of viewing the word "MEAT" in a crossword puzzle has you screaming microaggression! I can't help but wonder what happens if you actually have to witness someone eating LAMB? Easter week must be hell for you, no?

BTW, I'm a card-carrying member of PETA:
People Eating Tasty Animals.

DF 1:58 PM  

Fairly close to record Friday time for me. A couple of stumbles (ebola instead of ECOLI, Adam instead of EDEN) slowed me down a tick but I managed to recover quickly from each. I guess I'm sorta in the target audience per Rex's assessment, though. JESSEEISENBERG and TREVORNOAH were gimmes. MINECRAFT is 100% indisputably a video game. Nothing vague about it at all. If it's not a video game, neither Sim City or Roller Coaster Tycoon or any number of other building/management sims. Took me a second to get it, however, because I knew it was popular but not *that* popular.

JAMA is terrible and I don't really understand what TARS means. DIAPERED doesn't really seem like a word (and if it is, it shouldn't be. I wouldn't say shirted or sweatered or hatted if I put those things on). Otherwise I liked this one a lot. Clever cluing on ALLEYCAT, and I couldn't help but feel that TOUPEES (alternative to plugs) is a dig at Trump (the more the merrier, I say). And it's always nice to be reminded of Some Like it Hot!

tkincher 1:59 PM  

Rex apparently nails it with "made by/for math-science boys who went to college in the '00s". I'm on the older end of that demographic, having graduated in '02, but this still made for my fastest Friday time to date even with some distractions.

MINECRAFT stumped me for a good bit, though, as I was also expecting something a bit more video-game-y.

John 2:00 PM  

I agree with both of you. What an excellent puzzle!

Hungry Mother 2:58 PM  

Love Westworld, but somehow had "even" instead of EVAN for the star's name. DOH!

Missy 2:59 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 3:00 PM  

My daughter-in-law's official job title is 'Data Scientist' not 'Analyst'

Missy 3:04 PM  

Swab (9 across) is also another name for sailor who uses AYE. NE and SE corners.

Methuselah 3:15 PM  

This was a great puzzle, even though it was SLANTED toward younger solvers. I had NOIDEA about 5D or 53A, but with the possible exception of MENA/EVAN, those answers were crossed fairly.

For those of you who fear that you will forget both of those young thespians by tomorrow, (especially men) I suggest you catch MENA in American Beauty and EVAN in Mildred Pierce. Both names will show up in crosswords often, and both lady's ENTIRE BODY of work will be permanently etched in your memory after seeing them firsthand.

I always get Chet LEMON the baseball player confused with Jack LEMMON the actor, so that took a minute to sort out. BOITO was a WOE, but again fairly crossed.

@evil doug: On your last paragraph, WORD.

@DF: Yeah, you're age is pretty obvious. Its also obvious that you didn't read the comments before you posted. TAR was explained over 6 hours ago, and is common crosswordese. Likewise JAMA but less so the LANCET.

In closing, I guess you missed this ? Wanna try again?

oldbizmark 3:15 PM  

JOE COOL just didn't come to me. Otherwise, easy puzzle (because the cluing - almost too much information in them).

Anonymous 3:17 PM  

MINE CRAFT had me. Tried MINE shAFT and then MINEs RAFT. Simply could not see the correct answer. So it was technically a DNF. Other than that blip this was by far the easiest Friday ever for me. Coming on the heels of my fastest Thursday. The thing is I did not know any of the so called celebrities but they somehow came out from the crosses.
I am either getting better, more persistent or the puzzles are getting a bit easier.

Anoa Bob 3:24 PM  

Although I don't watch his TV show, I did know TREVOR NOAH from the title of his book, Born A Crime, in the clue, from hearing his interview on NPR's "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross. The title reflects his being a child of mixed-race parents, a black mother and white father, in then apartheid South Africa, where that was literally a crime. Click on the blue for a write-up of the interview and the option to listen to the entire program. Good stuff.

Nancy 3:29 PM  

@kitshef and @Teedmn --Can't believe that I didn't remember that Snoopy's alter ego was occasionally JOE COOL. All I could remember was The Red Baron. But then, to quote the late Nora Ephron: "I Remember Nothing."

Now here's a prediction about using "WORD" as a synonym for "Amen!" or "I heartily agree!" It won't last; it has no legs; and in fact it may be completely obsolete by this coming April. You heard it here first.

@Aketi (9:29 a.m.) -- No longer will I pooh-pooh video games as a mindless waste of time. Whatever it was that you built while playing MINE CRAFT -- a video game I know nothing about, btw -- sounds like it required the sort of brainpower necessary to put a man on Mars. I can't picture exactly what it is that you actually did, but it all sounds very impressive

Exubesq 5:05 PM  

I think it refers to Snoopy in his "cool" (not WWI flying ace) persona.

Aketi 5:16 PM  

@mathgent, I found a picture of my MINE CRAFT railroad switching stations that I took in October 2011. I built that switching station long after I built my first tree house with a lava pool on top that my son TNTed so it burnt up in the lava flow he unleashed, followed by its reconstruction with a sky bridge to a glass bottomed pool in the sky. It was before my son gave me the "too many items" app" that ramped up my building capacity by giving my immediate access to unlimited building material.. The hack allowed me to build the giant pink felt house that had a pig spawner that spawned so many pigs that they were leaping off the top of that four story structure and escaping into the wild. I guess I'm going to have to correct that particular Wikipedia entry,

@Nancy, I was a MineCraft lightweight. Some people built entire working mini computers within the game that would allow you to play tic taco toe.

@Mathgent, I found a tutorial for one of the versions of the tictactoe mini computer game assembly fragment November 2010. There are much better tutorials than this one but I didn't have the patience to build one.

Ps. @Nancy, I highly suggest you don't watch the tutorial because it makes even my head explode and I lloved building elaborate structures in that game.

Aketi 5:25 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Masked and Anonymous 5:27 PM  

Read the constructioneer's notes, at He submitted the puz with CAIRO at 28-D instead of BOITO. CAIRO got edited out, becuz havin EAR at 38-A woulda clashed with DOG-EAR at 44-D.

Kinda interestin choice, as I got to learn about the BOITO-meister. And I sure got entertained by O-VI.

Coulda maybe kept CAIRO, if 35-D was changed to CRTS, tho? (Hard to beat a nice, juicy plural abbr., after all.) Not a big dealy, either way.
Sooo … I won't be comin down there, over this one, Shortzmeister.


Aketi 5:28 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Babs of Hollywood 5:32 PM  

Well, when I started "clean" at the very beginning, I realized that all three of the co-stars of "Some Like it Hot"--Monroe, Lemmon and Curtis--had six-letter names, so I found that clever and fun...

Z 5:32 PM  

@Seth - If Tom Cruise, Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves, or Zoe Saldana hasn't played one in an action flick they ain't sexy yet. Harvard Business Review - waiting for the DATA SCIENTIST center folds.

Aketi 5:47 PM  

Aketi said...
Sigh, I guess some fleeing immigrants are hiding in my autocorrect and replaced tac with taco.

@mathgent I must have been playing the test version that Wikipedia said was "first released to the public on 17 May 2009"

GR 6:08 PM  

I had thought of posting the differences between the clues at Westport and publication, but I see @Bob Kerfuffle (one of the many, along with @Tita, @John V, et al, to get certificates for perfect puzzles) beat me to it.
Andy Kravis shredded the puzzle on the board in 4:50(!!). Eric Maddy came all the way from California and also made the finals.
My understanding* (*possibly wrong) was that none of the finalists had heard of Boito but the crossings were fair.
LENI as clued at Westport was certainly much easier than as published.
For 32D I started with ____CRAFT and tried Starcraft at first; hey, it fit.
Finally, I wanted REDBARON instead of JOECOOL -- yes, despite that it wouldn't fit.

joebloggs 6:57 PM  

I actually really liked this puzzle. BUT. I'm actually in the Navy and never ever once in basic training did anyone ever get called a swab. I hope the author will rethink his cluing if he ever uses it in the future. It irked me to no end when I finally filled it in...

joebloggs 7:04 PM  

Again. I am in the Navy. We NEVER refer to each other as TARS. Stop the antiquated references. Maybe in the 1700s when there was tar in sailors' hair (that's why our dress uniforms have the neck flap on the back) but not anymore. Just stop it.

GILL I. 7:43 PM  

@joebloggs. Lots in my family served in various branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. I remember one particular reunion we had and sitting around a campsite everyone started in on favorite military terms. My uncle was a squid, dad was a grunt, my son a jarhead and Uncle Raymond was the flyboy. We asked the squid if he was also a Swabbie or a tar and he happily said YES! P.S. my father-in-law was a Penguin....nobody was offended - everybody was proud!

joe sh*t the ragman 9:21 PM  

@joebloggs I was in the US Navy long before you were born. Quit yer bitchin: you are a tar, a swab, a swabbie, a swabbo, a skimmer, and a whole lot else. And don't ever tell me what I can call you, kid. joebloggs is a TAR.

andrea carla michaels 9:24 PM  

Makings of a good puzzle

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Clip does not mean ATTACH. It means just the opposite, REMOVE. You have to add "on", or "onto", or "to" with CLIP to make it ATTACH

Anonymous 10:27 AM  


spacecraft 11:13 AM  

What? OFL has never heard of DOD MENA Suvari?? Get a load of the list of MY never-heard-ofs: LENI, RIGA (Gulf of), TREVORNOAH, JESSEEISENBERG, BOITO, and believe it or not, MINECRAFT. Mine sweeper I play all the time. (This is the point where you guys pat me on the shoulder and say, "Never mind, old fella, you'll be all right.")

Still I somehow managed to finish the thing. Intuition and guesswork helped a lot. CADS and boors, I'm sure, share the common area of a Venn diagram, but I'd never call them synonyms. One can be the epitome of culture and manners, and still be a CAD.

It was an interesting puzzle to do, Friday-tough for sure. Nice to see @ACME'S curtain call from yesterday. Birdie.

Burma Shave 11:36 AM  


is like a FLEETO an ALLEYCAT.



give this DOGEAR a BONE, I’ll BET we’re GONNA MEAT.


rondo 12:00 PM  

Well @spacey, don’t feel too bad, because off of the MIN__ I boldly put in MINEsweep, not recalling the “er” at the end of it, so I had a pretty good inkfest right there by the time all corrections were made. I must be at least semi-current because the only thing I didn’t know, or know of, was BOITO.

And to OFL: yeah baby MENA Suvari is not “ick”, TRUSTME – she’s the object of Kevin @Spacey’s desire in American Beauty which only won 5 Oscars, including best picture. My girlfriend at the time walked us right out of the Highland Theater about a half-hour in because she objected to the subject material, so I had to buy it to see how it ended. I have it on DVD right here.

Happy St. Pat’s to all syndies. Green beer? ILLDRINKTOTHAT!

Torb 12:24 PM  

Grow up.

centralscrewtinizer 2:46 PM  

DATA SCIENTIST centerfold? Googled it...

Wanted vulture before JOE COOL.
The corners are interesting with the FLAP in EDEN and SWABS and TARS on the MINECRAFT.
Could only remember Monroe, Curtis, and Joe E. Brown for the longest time. Sorry Jack.

Diana,LIW 3:40 PM  

Finally, finally did not have a dnf. First time in a week?

Slow and steady...

A few answers weren't complete woes, but were sitting in some darkened room in my mind. Lotsa ah moments, and finally success, made this a crowd pleaser for me.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 4:05 PM  

Quite the number of names in the puzzle, which I nonetheless liked. Monroe, Curtis, Lemmon: which 6-letter actor to decide upon? ON SALE gave me LEMMON which revealed FLAP, which I initially suspected anyway. Simply by being in the mix, though, Marilyn has to be the ultimate yeah baby by default.

Hmm. I guess constructors not only have to have both males and females in the puzzle, but their names must take up the same number of squares. Tough crowd. Next, we're going to go for a variety of LGBTQ personalities as well, I guess. No argument here.

The ultra-sensitivity of some commenters occasionally gets to me. MEAT was fine, even though I have been moderating my carnivorous tendencies, I have to say. I even occasionally eat tofu. Now, I must say I thought TOUPEES was very insensitive to the follicularly-challenged among us (as my hairline sprints in reverse).

No crap today, but I'm still completely confused by WORD as clued.

faktchekker 4:17 PM  

"Word" is the shortened form of the phrase: "my word is my bond" which was originated by inmates in U.S. prisons. The longer phrase was shortened to "word is bond" before becoming "word," which is most commonly used. It basically means "truth." Or "to speak the truth."

leftcoastTAM 6:39 PM  

Got it all up to the D_T_S__ENTIST/BO_TO cross, then several hours of other to-dos. Came back fresh and saw what was missing.

Better late than never.

Tristan 6:18 PM  

As a current DATA SCIENTIST working in Silicon Valley (you can imagine I sell snake oil if you'd like), I can confirm that this puzzle was really absurdly easy for me.

FWIW, though, I let out an audible "oh please no" when I saw that clue.

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