Heady stuff / FRI 3-3-17 / Mortal sister of the immortal Stheno and Euryale / Jumpsuit-wearing music group / Champagne grape / "Jaws" locale / "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?" / "Only little people pay taxes" / Dachshund, colloquially

Friday, March 3, 2017

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: An averagely challenging themeless to finish out the week

THEME: Themeless

Word of the Day: DEVO (15A: Jumpsuit-wearing music group) —
Devo (/ˈdv/, originally /dˈv/)[8] is an American rock band that formed in 1973, consisting of members from Kent and Akron, Ohio. Their classic line-up consisted of two sets of brothers, the Mothersbaughs (Mark and Bob) and the Casales (Gerald and Bob), along with Alan Myers. The band had a No. 14 Billboard chart hit in 1980 with the single "Whip It" and has maintained a cult following throughout its existence.
Devo's music and stage shows mingle kitsch science fiction themes, deadpan surrealist humor and mordantly satirical social commentary. Their often discordant pop songs feature unusual synthetic instrumentation and time signatures that have proven influential on subsequent popular music, particularly new wave, industrial, and alternative rock artists. Devo was also a pioneer of the music video, creating many memorable clips for the LaserDisc format, with "Whip It" getting heavy airplay in the early days of MTV. (Wikipedia)

• • •
Rex is still sick, so you get Laura again. Hi! This was a nice themeless from Patrick Berry (if you are at all interested in how puzzles are constructed, I highly recommend his Crossword Constructor's Handbook). Word of the Day DEVO is, like ASTEROID BELTS, one my favorite 33A: Rock groups that are far out. Lots to like in this grid, including my neighbor BERNIE (3D: First name in 2016 presidential politics), my 90s role model ELAINE (2D: Jerry's ex on TV [and for the record I would like Julia Louis-Dreyfus to play me in a movie]), and the song that will be going through my head for the next week, SUMMERTIME BLUES (7D: 1958 hit song that begins "I'm a-gonna raise a fuss, I'm a-gonna raise a holler").

As with many themelesses (themelessi? themelesstrixes? themelesstropodes?), the solved grid looks way easier than the solving experience was. All three of the middle stack just fell into place right away: the aforementioned ASTEROID BELTS, the MAD TEA PARTY (31A: Where Alice is asked "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?" -- you might recall that Andrew Kingsley used this as the seed for a riddle puzzle last fall), and QUEEN OF MEAN (36A: Sobriquet for the woman who said "Only the little people pay taxes"). In the early 90s I used to walk to work in Manhattan, taking a shortcut through the Midcentury Modern masterpiece PanAm Building (I refuse to call it the MetLife Building), which led into the Beaux-Arts masterpiece Helmsley Building (née New York Central Building), where there was a huge (yuge!) portrait in the lobby of Leona Helmsley, the Queen of Mean herself (in those pre-9/11 days when you could just stroll through office buildings with impunity). She and that era (and tax evasion) are forever linked in my mind with our current president. The north and south of the grid presented a few stumbling blocks -- I had NOAH for ESAU (8D: Biblical polygamist [though weren't they all?]), and could not recall the idiom IN STIR (59A: Doing time).

  • ABASES (4A: Brings down) and ABATE (32D: Lose intensity) — As my solving buddy Austin pointed out, having both in the same puzzle seems like an editorial oversight.
  • UNICYCLE (22A: Take the wheel?) — Loved the clue for this; very clever misdirection to clue it as a verb instead of a noun. 
  • AMITY (4D: ___ Island ("Jaws" locale)) — Had trouble remembering this; I blame the dominance of the Sharknado oeuvre in the current crop of shark movies.
  • EEL (48A: Ocean floor burrower) — What's a grid without an EEL?
And let's wind up the evening with ...
  • CHARO (23D: Her albums include "Cuchi-Cuchi" and "Olé, Olé")
Signed, Laura Braunstein, Sorceress of CrossWorld

[Follow Laura on Twitter]

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Patrickkellogg 12:11 AM  

I don't get "Take the wheel"... it's a noun? Instead of a verb? What's a noun? Take? Or wheel?

Unknown 12:46 AM  

I think UNICYCLE is intended as verb with "Take the wheel" meaning "Travel by wheel".

jae 12:53 AM  

Very easy and very smooth. A ho-hum grid off set by lively clueing. Liked it, but more crunch would have been nice.

chefwen 1:46 AM  

CHARO is getting pretty popular here, now I see she is going to be on Dancing With the Stars. Quit watching that two seasons ago, but might be worth a look.

Wanted wiener DOG at 52A, not enough letters, French at 56A and in jail at 59A. Didn't work out too well for me.

MAD TEA PARTY didn't seem right without Hatters in there.

Lee Coller 1:55 AM  

@chefwen - sounds like you made the same mistakes I did.

@Patrick Kellog - Take the wheel (singular) Unicycle has one wheel.

Graham 2:09 AM  

SAUSAGE DOG? Never heard of that...

Dolgo 2:28 AM  

I agree with @jae. Pretty dull, overall. You can easily Natick anything that isn't pretty obvious. Hey, was The Who's version of "Summertime Blues" a cover for the 50's song? I can't remember who sang it, or if the words were the same. I guess I'm dating myself here, but it might surprise y'all that I've been dated before!

Dolgo 2:36 AM  

Just Googled the answer to my question. The Rockabilly version (1958) was by Eddie Cochran and The Who's version WAS a cover. Maybe Rockabilly is not in your pasts, being NYT readers and all. But hey, I may live in California, but I'll always be from Mizzurrah!

Unknown 3:07 AM  

Late night of drinking and was able to solve before I went to bed. Summertime Blues by Eddie Cochran is one of the great songs of early rock n roll. Those lyrics rang right out to me.

Rock n Roll Pedant 3:51 AM  

For the record, there was no such thing as "Rockabilly" in 1958.

Moly Shu 4:19 AM  

@Dolgo, much love from yesterday. Try the Blue Cheer version of SUMMERTIMEBLUES, a little heavy but still good. I could listen to any of the versions, all of them rock.
Hand up for ABASES/ABATES, and wienerDOG. Didnt seem to have the Berry sparkle, but still very smooth. Of course liked DEVO WAGER and WAMPUM. Didn't like BERNIE (more liberalism creeping into my puzzle, no thanks) and AUTORACE was a little green paintish
@M&A, invoking lifetime PB immunity on EELS? If so, don't tell @Ellen.
Only casco was aNyDAY before ONEDAY
Sometimes I wonder what I'm gonna do....

Loren Muse Smith 4:41 AM  

This was a pretty easy Friday for me. With no fill-in-the-blank gimme, I had to look elsewhere for a start, and, well, like last year, I started out with BERNIE. Sigh.

Remind me to never move to a place with AMITY in its name. I didn’t remember that AMITY Island was the Jaws place. Another Amityville horror. Yikes.

The southeast was by far the toughest for me. I just wasn’t seeing BLEW INTO. “Visit unexpectedly.” Hmm. Hi, Dorothy. What else can you blow into? A BEE HIVE? A MARRIED MAN’s ear? A mike. A shell. A bottle. Twelve pieces of Bazooka bubble gum. A campfire. A whistle. A breathalyzer. A Kleenex.

I took an aunt to dinner once and we had to wait at the bar for our table. After a little thought, she said to the bartender I think I’ll just have a STROBE Light.

Carrying over from the poetry feet deal yesterday, there’s TOE over ARCH and right next to ARCH, EEL.

If Qatar is pronounced “cutter,” how do you say QATARIS? cut TUR ees?

I grew up with standard dachshunds, and like @chefwen, I went straight to “wiener dog.” Took me forever to see SAUSAGE. Dumb. After a line of male dachshunds named Pompey, we had a female named Corvette. I’ve made the four-on-the-floor joke here before, so I won’t milk that again. Her fuel consumption was epic; she’d even eat Brussels sprouts passed carefully under the table. So, yeah, we had to keep a big box of sulphur matches in the den because of her emission problems.

Fast week – to steal from @Acme: M T W T F?!- TGIF.

puzzlehoarder 5:09 AM  

Even for PB this puzzle is a real soft ball. I think the fill just did this one in. With top row entries like ABASES and ROB you're just giving first letters away. Some of you may remember my scoring system based on the xwordinfo finder page lists. I figure out how many times each entry has appeared in the Shortz era add the scores up then divide that by the total number of entries and that number is a an objective measure of how original a puzzles' entries are which usually translates to it's difficulty. A challenging late week puzzle can score inn the middle teens. Today's puzzle came in at 40 which is more like a Wednesday. That's right about where this was in difficulty. As always with PB a good looking junk free puzzle just too much of a cake walk.

Dick Swart 6:16 AM  

This was perfect for me.

2am PST ... sleepless, legs aching, not going anywhere, not operating heavy machinery. The answer: a gabapentin and a Norco washed down with a cognac. And then a stroll through this very enjoyable xword.

Relaxed and now pain-free, I retire.

Anonymous 6:16 AM  


Z 6:40 AM  

Worst Berry ever. Is that praising with faint damning?

Bill Haley 6:52 AM  

Rockabilly used in Billboard in 1956.

Even Wiki mentions this:

One of the first written uses of the term "rockabilly" was in a June 23, 1956, Billboard review of Ruckus Tyler's "Rock Town Rock".[113] Three weeks earlier, "rockabilly" was used in a press release describing Gene Vincent's "Be-Bop-A-Lula".[114]

Forsythia 6:54 AM  

Got it without googling but a workout! Even with first guesses accurate I was too unsure to trust them with almost nothing to be "sure" of. Northeast was where I got in, but even with PARTY I wasn't sure of MADTEA since it should have hatter...or I thought perhaps garden.
And hands up for "weiner" dog! My dachshund Fritz' middle name was Wadsworth because he was a ....Longfellow! Made life bearable for me during middle school angst.
The clues didn't really help, just figuring a word that fit the spaces and seeing if that had anything to do with the clue.
Favorite was ASTEROID BELTs...nice chuckle when that appeared!

Marty Van B 7:15 AM  

I could very easily see Elaine and Bernie having an animated lunch at Monk's Diner. Is it saying something that I can easily imagine Bernie replacing Jason Alexander as George? Perhaps a cameo on "Veep" is order for our friend from Vermont? Kramer could make an appearance on a unicycle marveling at some facet of one wheeled travel. Jerry could be off put at a Manhattanite friend who recently discovered a great grandparent's tribal heritage and is now referring to everything with Indian terminology like wampum for money.

What a pleasant experience after yesterday's off the chart pretentious puzzle. That pretension went to 11. I'll have more of this please!

Marty Van B 7:16 AM  

Also for "Take the wheel" I was hoping for some witty clue about cheese thievery.

Dickie Peterson 7:19 AM  

This is not a Rockabilly version of Summertime Blues.

Sir Hillary 7:26 AM  

Not much to say about this one. Great grid, as always from the master. Wish it had put up more of a fight.

kitshef 7:26 AM  

Terrrifyingly easy. Other than the NW, where rupees before WAMPUM slowed me down a lot, just no resistance.

Hand up for AUTO RACE feeling green painty, and for wanting a hatter in my MAD TEA PARTY.

Haitian CREOLE is one of that country's official languages (along with French).

Glimmerglass 7:26 AM  

Unusual example of a biblical polygamist. Esau's brother was a much more famous one. The most famous of all was Abraham (Abram). I always love PB puzzles, and this is no exception, but I found some of the clues a bit soft. That is, hard to get but not quite right, a bit off: CARE, HERR, BLEW INTO, SEE, SAND, ROCK, SOT. I eventually got them all, but I thought about most of them, "Not quite up to Berry's usual standards." I'd like to learn that some of the clues were NYT edits to make the puzzle more Friday-difficult. The rest of the puzzle, however, was pure PB.

Unknown 7:38 AM  


Being IN STIR is slang for being in prison.

Here's an example from Dylan's "Hurricane" with a typically odd way of rhyming:

"We want to put his ass in stir
We want to pin this triple mur-
der on him
He ain't no Gentleman Jim"

EdFromHackensack 7:46 AM  

The first time I saw Bruce Springsteen in concert - at Madison Sq Garden, in the 70s - he opened up with Summertime Blues. It was wild.

Anonymous 7:48 AM  

WTF to SOT and INSTIR. The first is just wrong. SOT does NOT mean "soak" unless - and this is a stretch - you're soaking up booze. And INSTIR makes zero sense unless you're about 150 yo.

Charles Flaster 7:53 AM  

Liked this especially the grid formation -especially the 11-13-11 in middle. Should have been a Wednesday placement.
Many write overs but easily fixed-- MAD TEA PARTY for hAtTEr PARTY, FEAT for lEAp for FEAr, and HOST for mOST.
Favorite cluing was for SAILED and WAGER.
9 Down does not need the "?". SANDS does take the edge off-- in fact it could be the name of a mild antidepressant.
Forgot --I loved the clue for UNICYCLE.
Thanks PB

Lobster11 8:00 AM  

Post of the Day: @Z's "Worst Berry ever. Is that praising with faint damning?"

mathgent 8:03 AM  

@puzzlehoarder: I admire your statistic and the work it takes to compute it. As a given word continues to appear in the puzzle, your stat will tend to increase over time even if the originality of the puzzles stays constant. But very gradually. I'd be interested to see how your stat varies by day of the week. Wednesday is around 40, you say.

Very cool and intelligent cluing from The Master. Lovely.

thursdaysd 8:10 AM  

Enjoyed this a lot more than yesterday. But I'd have to agree with easy - surprised to find I finished in 15 minutes (very good for me for Friday) despite not knowing stuff like DEVO and SUMMERTIMEBLUES and AMITY (never watched Jaws, don't intend to watch Jaws...)

I was pleased to see Bernie, alas that it is just in a puzzle. Needed a bunch of crosses before I accepted MADTEAPARTY, as it is, of course, the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. Have not heard of weiner dog instead of SAUSAGEDOG, must be another US-UK difference.

@Anon 7:48 - a SOT is indeed someone who has been soaking up booze.

Hartley70 8:21 AM  

This was very enjoyable and It wasn't too easy for me because I got held up in the SE corner. The key was ABU. I needed that B to get to STROBE and it took forever. Hand up for wienerDOG over SAUSAGE

My favorite answer was the QUEENOFMEAN. I wonder how familiar Leona is if you didn't live in NYC during her reign? She's unforgettable if you did.

kitshef 8:26 AM  

From Oxford online dictionary.
SOT: n - A habitual drunkard
SOAK: n A heavy drinker

Works for me.

Bill Feeney 8:40 AM  

Ah, Talledaga. I'll tell you just how green paintish the answer is. It's not just an auto race, it's a heart thumping spectacle. Track is 2.66 miles around and before restrictor plate racing, it was the fastest closed circuit race in the world. If you've ever been you know that the drivers used to pray they would escape the track with limbs intact. It was a hold your breath, flat out suicide mission.
Surely only P.B. Could stack those middle three answers.
@LMS- it was mashed potatoes for me. Didn't have a dog but the floor register was close enough.

Ted 8:40 AM  

Good puzzle... until the southeast.

Just got lost there. No help, too vague, too little to go on.

Sometime in the future?
Flickering light?
Cap holder?

These were very open ended clues.

Also, SAUSAGE DOG is not a thing. It's a WIENER DOG. I will brook no argument.

Ken 8:41 AM  

Easy peasy. Gotta love the Queen of Mean. Left her husband's fortune to her DOG bow wow

QuasiMojo 8:59 AM  

Funny to have Leona Helmsley in today's puzzle. She was as noticeable in NY back in the day as "the Donald." And lampooned as often in SPY magazine.

I love all Patrick Berry puzzles, so no complaints here. I fell for the "Rupees" vs "Wampum" trick. Love how he "ADD"ed some spice to typical crosswordese EEL and ESAU and EDEN. Even unkempt MEDUSA got a makeover.

My only quibble was that it was over too soon.

But great to see LAURA again today.

Jamie C 9:00 AM  

This was easy, for a Wednesday.

Nancy 9:03 AM  

I've been asking myself six ways to Sunday: Today isn't Friday, is it? It can't be. And then, halfway through my race from the top to the bottom, I saw the constructor's name. This can't be PB1, I thought. Can it?

It's the wrong day,
It's the wrong guy,
Puzzle's much too easy,
I don't know why...

Forgive me. Ever since yesterday, I've been in a poetry-writing mood. Now, yesterday, the puzzle was much too easy for a Thursday, but there was an explanation for it, even though I never saw that explanation while solving. Is there an explanation today, too? Even though I hit some snags in the SE, having HEAP before HOST at 39A leading to POP GUN before TOY GUN at 42D, I found the top half of the puzzle quite ridiculously easy. This despite not knowing SUMMERTIME BLUES. (I did know QUEEN OF MEAN; how could anyone forget the truly awful Leona, who was a New Yorker, after all.) Some of the clues were wonderful in typical PB fashion: best clue ever for EDEN; great clues for ATLAS and OVEREATS. But taken as a whole, I was quite disappointed with the lack of overall "crunch".

The Stony Lonesome 9:05 AM  

"I'd like to help you son but you're too young to vote"

Lewis 9:08 AM  

Clean and smooth. There is a mini-theme of double EE's (6). It is nice how that TOECAP extends just beyond the ARCH. There's an ADD up, and a nice cross of SANDS and MUD. Pop pop pop -- things opened quickly in this one, but as always with PB, care was taken with the clues and there were clever ones strewn about, such as those for ALE, OVEREATS, and MENSA.

Working a PB puzzle for me is as much a feeling as a doing, a zone I inhabit. It's as though I drop into this place where I'm sitting on velvet, the edges all around me are soft and muted, there is a visceral feeling of quality in the air, I'm alive and mellow in blissful quiet, and I don't want the feeling to end.

Maruchka 9:15 AM  

A SOT can also be called a 'soak'. Old-fashioned, but isn't that one of PBs delights? Thanks, Mr. Berry.

Easy here. Only hang up was in the SE, when impulsively wrote popGUN. Doh.

No problemo with SAUSAGE DOG. I grew up with Doggy Diner signs all around, and that iconic pup definitely looked like wurst to me. Cute little toque, too. But the dogs at Caspar's were better.

Fav of the day - MAD TEA PARTY. 'Nuff said.

@KenR - She did read mean, didn't she? Bizarre commercials - felt like I needed a fetish when she was on.. but the old Helmsley warehouse housed a terrific resource for NYC theatre artists and designers - free materials!

Speaking of evil eyes - nice story in the NYT last week about a Brooklyn store that specializes in talismans. Gotta get there, stat.

Mohair Sam 9:20 AM  

Another wonderful Berry. Unicycle and Asteroid clues alone worth the price of admission. Quiet @Z (clever post, however).

@Laura's tip about going online to buy PB's book on puzzle construction is a good one. If you never construct you'll learn a lot, appreciate puzzles the more, and get a kicker of 75 PB puzzles running from easy to murderous. Hell of a deal.

@Ted - You gotta brook argument on SAUSAGEDOG. Sausage dog was actually more common until that crazy beer ad imagined the "Wiener Dog Winternationals."

@Dolgo - Dating yourself? You want dating yourself? I didn't even know "The Who" covered the original. Great tune, btw.

@Laura - Another great write-up. Love how you hang on to the PanAm building, so do we. This insomniac has become a big Julia-Louis fan too. She's at her best in "New Adventures of Old Christine" which runs endlessly on a few cable channels in the wee hours (watched two last night).

Talk about a changing New York. Our middle son finally got himself married and we had planned to set the newlyweds up in the Waldorf for a few days. Not to be. The place is closed for a few years to become mostly condos with a relative handful of hotel rooms. Sacrilege. @Nancy - do something.

The Boss 9:24 AM  

Springsteen opened a lot of his shows on last year's tour with Summertime Blues:

Bruce Springsteen Summertime Blues

Unknown 9:24 AM  

You never know where a flashback will come from. You mentioned walking through the two buildings that sit (literally) on Park Avenue, in the 90's. I was fortunate to have worked in both of them, in the 80's-- and went from the Helmsley to the PanAm. As for the puz-- more fun than usual, and you're a lot less curmudgeonly than you-know-who.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

I wonder if, in Lawyerese, there is something called the "Leona Helmsley" defense. Her employees were providing testimony that would convict her, unless somehow their testimony could be debunked. The "Leona Helmsley" defense? *Her own lawyer* said that Leona was such an unpleasant woman that *of course* they would testify that way!

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

Never heard of IN STIR. Ran through the alphabet and could not come with the T. So technically DNF. Otherwise delightfully easy for me.
Second week in a row where I cracked the Friday. They used to be daunting but not anymore. That's fine with me.

RooMonster 9:54 AM  

Hey All !
Fairly easy *for a FriPuz*. Upset about SOT, though. Had SOp even though INSpIR looked totally wrong, really wanted to put a T there, but the ole brain flat-out refused to change SOp. So, add to the list of one-letter DNFs. If there was ever a tournament for one-wrong-letter puzs, I'd be a shoe-in for the win.

Had fLEWINTO first, giving me _____TIMEfLiES for 7D. And wanted INjaIl first, but the resulting J at the end of 7D didn't seem correct. So, had the I to U writeover in the DOG (@M&A, best kind of writeover, eh?), and one other, nOgGiN-TOYGUN. Liked mine better... :-)

Some decent clues, but agree with youse who said not up to PB1 standards. Hey, we get spoiled, PB. Just sayin.

MED USA would be a good Pharma Company name.

Wondering if PB1 was upset when he made this puz - ABASES, MUD, SMEAR, QUEENOFMEAN, REDALERT.


Carola 9:57 AM  

Challenging for me, and fun to figure out. Proper names slowed me down: I had no idea about Jerry's ex, the jumpsuit wearers, the "Jaws" island, the mean lady, De Niro's co-star. And I misinterpreted some clues, e.g., "Hold up" as "delay," as well as wanting French and wiener DOG. I thought the center stack was great and also liked RED ALERT, BONE DRY, MEDUSA, UNICYCLE, DECIMAL, BLEW INTO, WAMPUM. Perhaps I wasn't in the "sharp club" this morning, but this is all I want in a Friday puzzle.

Nancy 9:58 AM  

I wish I could do something, @Mohair (9:20 a.m.). And it seems that I, the New Yorker, am the last to know. I avoid Midtown these days whenever I can, now that I no longer have to be there for work, but I remember the Waldorf fondly, as I used to pass it every day on my way from the subway to my office. And, while a notably underpaid publishing editor could hardly have afforded to stay there (fortunately I didn't need to; I live here), I could afford to have lunch occasionally at Oscar's, their most affordable (though hardly cheap) restaurant. It was Oscar's that invented and perfected the Grilled Reuben sandwich -- my all-time favorite. Other restaurants have sandwiches that they call a Grilled Reuben, but it's ersatz -- more like a glorified hot corned beef or pastrami sandwich with swiss cheese -- piled high, and not grilled at all. A real Reuben is not piled high, heaven forbid -- it's flattened on both sides with a grill iron (I think a "grill iron"; asking all chefs on the blog, am I right?) with the cheese oozing out the sides. It has sauerkraut, very important, but the most important ingredient of all, left out by 9 out of 10 restaurants, is Russian dressing, the sweetness of which cuts the salt of the meat and the tartness of the sauerkraut and... Oh, I'm waxing too rhapsodic, aren't I? Anyway, I remember the Waldorf warmly and I agree that what's happening is indeed a "sacrilege." (Although keeping me far, far away from the Grilled Reuben is, healthwise, probably a very good thing.)

No. 1 Catarrhi 10:02 AM  

@Z, that was 'feinting with damn praise' and don't you forget it.

I'm keeping an eye on you.

QuasiMojo 10:06 AM  

@Nancy, "Russian dressing" is one of those things that has vanished from the face of the earth, at least outside of NYC. All I ever get nowadays when I ask for it is some ghastly 1000 Islands Dressing. Not the same thing at all. You are on a roll, pardon the pun.

GILL I. 10:10 AM  

I prefer going to Patrick's black-tie events. This felt like a SAUSAGE and biscuits stand-up buffet. Kinda like an eat & run affair.
Even so, I liked that it brought on some memories and I like puzzles that do that.
@Laura...Leona and Donald WERE linked - they both hated each other intensely. I remember the feud between them and The Empire State Building. I've never been so entertained. And, the PanAm building! Hand up for never changing the name. When I first came to New York in the 70's I had to find a job pronto. When I went to Kelly Girls, the receptionist said I should apply for a job as a stewardess because I was bi-lingual and could get by with a few other languages. I made an appointment with PanAm which wasn't easy to do. I had to wait about two weeks and during that time I didn't eat because I knew they liked their stews to be skinny minnies. I didn't get the job.
My favorite rendition of SUMMER TIME BLUES is by Alan Jackson. That man is so handsome...I could drink PINOT with him all night and listen to "Remember When" till I become BONE DRY. Alas, He's a MARRIED MAN... but who cares?
We have two Doxiepoos. Mommy was a weiner dog and daddy was a miniature poodle. They are the cutest things. I see SAUSAGE and I want to wrap them in a bun.
As usual, what makes me love PB's puzzles is his cluing. He can be so whimsical. Today, it felt like it needed a bit of oomph but I did like his clue for ROCK.
I'll go take the edge off for now.

Mohair Sam 10:18 AM  

@Nancy - Your reuben description is perfect in my book. I've spent a lifetime trying to get a decent Reuben outside of the City - can't be done. @Quasi is so right about people subbing 1000 Island for Russian - mortal sin.

Considering the diet on which I've been living for over two years a reuben a day for a week would probably be a death penalty. But a sweet suicide nonetheless.

leah712 10:32 AM  

I have also said that Julia Louis-Dreyfus should play me in the unlikely event that they make a movie of my life story. Russian dressing is supposed to have horseradish in it, which distinguishes it from Thousand Island, but I don't know that I've ever been able to taste it.

Nancy 10:57 AM  

@Mohair, Quasi, Leah -- While it won't help if you're eating in a restaurant that doesn't have Russian dressing, you can make your own at home in the event that you're cooking or eating takeout. I use Mayo mixed with Heinz's Chili Sauce -- in a ratio of more Chili Sauce than Mayo. The Russian dressing should be a deep pink, not a pale pink. Chili Sauce, in fact, is also my go-to substitute for ketchup; I don't keep ketchup in the house. On anything that one normally would put ketchup on, Chili Sauce tastes better. Try it -- it's not at all hot, but it has a lot more je ne sais quoi than ordinary ketchup.

John V 11:00 AM  

SW corner was a snag. Didn't quite spell QATARIS right; wanted an extra U.

Seth 11:05 AM  

Random question for Rexworld: The clue on UNICYCLE (Take the wheel?) made me think about "plagiarism" as it pertains to reusing great clues in different crosswords. Let's say I write a puzzle with UNICYCLE in it, and I love that clue so much that I want to use it in my puzzle. I know if I submit it to the NYTimes, technically they "own" the puzzles anyway, so it wouldn't be "plagiarism," though it sort of feels like I'm passing that bit of brilliant cluing off as my own. But what if I publish that puzzle somewhere else? Is there such a thing as "plagiarizing" clues? And if so, should it only pertain to "great" clues (whatever that means)? Cause there are plenty of really basic clues that are used all the time to which I think we can all agree the concept of plagiarism shouldn't apply in any circumstances.

Sherm Reinhardt 11:06 AM  

Moderately evil puzzle that I thought would be a DNF for a while there because of the SE (@Loren Muse Smith @Hartley70 @Ted et al).

For ONEDAY, I had INADAY, ONADAY, and ANYDAY at different times.
For HOST, I had MASS and HASH.
For HIVE, I had MINE.

I just couldn't think of AVERY, but AVYRP didn't look right, so I kept soldiering on.

Drat you, Patrick Berry. :)

GHarris 11:11 AM  

I never natick a PB puzzle but, today, alas I did. The SW is what did me in. I had atom for Atlas, that meant I had to peek to get selectee and teaches; also had to google Pesci. Everything else feel into place with relative ease.

r.alphbunker 11:27 AM  

The clues for the three letter answers added charm to the puzzle.
{100% aluminum coin} YEN(50)
{Appreciate SEE(50)}
{Attack ad accusations} MUD(50)
{Entanglement} WEB(50)
{Heady stuff} ALE(50)
{Hold up} ROB(50)
{Ocean floor burrower} EEL(50)
{Orthographic competition} BEE(50)
{Recipe instruction} ADD(50)
{Soak} SOT(50)
{___ Simbel (Egyptian landmark) ABU(50)

Details are here.

Mr. Fitch 11:43 AM  

I found this very easy for a Friday, but overall it was an enjoyable solve. I loved the "Indian bread" clue and answer. I had RUPEES there for the longest time before hitting on WAMPUM. Clever one.

Joe Bleaux 11:52 AM  

Hu hu, Roo! In a tournament based on one wrong letter, you'd be a "shoE-in"?

old timer 11:56 AM  

I called my congressman and he said"Whoa!I'd like to help you son but you're too young to vote."

Oh yeah. SUMMERTIMEBLUES went right in. I remember the Eddie Cochran version, and saw Blue Cheer perform the song at the Fillmore. The reason the puzzle was easy is that all the three letter words were easy if you are on PB's wavelength, which most of us are.

howardk 12:10 PM  

didn't anyone start with rupees for Indian bread?

Joe Bleaux 12:11 PM  

Surprising to me that the SE has been singled out for toughness. I got my start there. The obvious ELAINE set up PINOT, then BERNIE and WEB jumped up, and the W and P led quickly to wampum. (By the way, am I the only one who expected a PC citation re "wampum"? Happily, I've seen none yet.) As many have said, mighty easy for a Friday, but Berry-sweet as always.

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

1. Those who offer complaint about this puzzle are spoiled by Patrick Berry. This is a beautiful and fun effort, cleverly constructed and clued. If it had the name Reuben Waldorf on it, everyone would be tripping over themselves raving about it.

2. Those who believe a good Reuben can only be found in Manhattan should in fact dig up the old New Yorker cover and gaze wistfully at it for fifteen minutes. Hmm, was Mary Tyler Moore in Minneapolis or Milwaukee anyway? How about Fonzie? And after all, NYC gave us both our delightful Presidential candidates this year.

3. Why is converting the Waldorf from a place where people stay for one or two nights in tiny overpriced rooms better than a place where real New Yorkers live permanently a sacrilege? Oh, BTW, Pan Am is out of business...like the Waldorf (for now) the Carnegie Deli, Christ Cella ( now Patroon), and the QUEEN OF MEAN. The Regency recently did the same thing the Waldorf is now doing. Fortunately MetLife is still around although they dumped Snoopy.

Masked and Anonymous 12:33 PM  

There ain't no cure … for The Summertime U's.

Eddie Cochran definitely qualifies to sit comfortably under the Rockabilly umbrella. [Early Rockabilly inklings: song written by Paul Burlison and the Burnette boys in '53 and recorded in '57: "Rock Billy Boogie".]
fave M&A Cochran tune: "Twenty Flight Rock". Frantic.

M&A could go on for about twenty more flights of digression about Rockabilly … but, PB1 rocks pretty day-um good, so let's talk about his FriPuz.

Standard PB1 FriPuz fare. Looks hard, but it all sorts itself out in the end, cuz it's so smooth. Very nice U-count/desperation ratio, today, btw.
fave weeject: ABU. Better clue tho: {About to have the O.T. portion recused??}.

PB1 weak attempts at desperation, a la bullets:

* REDEAL. As in "Deal, or Redeal?" or "Art of Re: Deal".
* BLEWINTO. Latest semi-worthy recipient of the Patrick Berry NYTPuz Usage Immunity. Excellent & fairly desperate, as X-into entries go. All-time fave X-into selection, clued a la 9-D: {Take the edge off, industrial strength-style??} = SAN-JAC-INTO.
* SAUSAGEDOG. Seems to be an ok Brit term for these pups. Sooo … okey-britokey.
* ASTEROIDBELTS. Rockabelty groups! Eau de Plural of Convenience, @Anoa Bob?
* TOYGUN. Is this sorta kinda like TOY GREEN PAINT?
That's abu it. Mighty clean and fun fillins, really. Primo set of sneaky-ish clues, too boot.

And finally, please help save the earth, and remember to always uni-cycle.

Thanx, six times, Mr. Berry.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Unknown 12:39 PM  

No comments on 13A? Clever double meaning of Heady, which to an ALE aficionado, implies Heady Topper, the brilliant Vermont beer crossing the brilliant Vermonter BERNIE!

Masked and Anonymous 12:42 PM  

@RP: Get well, real soon.
@Laura darlin: Primo fill-in. Sure do like it, when the write-up does the bullets.

@PB1: Proposed grid-spanner in search of Immunity:


jberg 12:49 PM  

@howarek, don't let anyone kid you, we ALL started with rupees. Easy fix, though, since that heady stuff had to be ALE.

@Nancy, thanks for the recipe! Here's a more detailed version. I'd never thought of trying it before, but now I will. Also, "Summertime Blues" and that song you were imitating with your little poem are probably my most persistent earworms.

Puzzle was way too easy for a Friday, even with all the misdirections -- so I finished with lots and lots of writeovers, but still quickly.

puzzle hoarder 12:51 PM  

@mathgent, thanks for the interest. That 40 for a Wednesday is a guesstimate. When I take the time to score now I've become much pickier about adhering to the clues exact meaning for simple words like CARE, RATE, and ADD. That's why I only score Fridays and Saturdays now. They're the only ones I consider worth the effort. ADD was pretty tough out of the 147 appearances it's had in the Shortz era only 7 of them fit today's definition. With the exception of "Mix in " I only counted those with direct recipe references. I did this kind of parsing for all 68 entries and still I came up with 40 for an overall score. Even when Mr. Berry's puzzles score in the teens they only make average difficulty. He likes user friendly debuts and generally in much denser swathes than today's kind of skeletal layout. What often amazes is the uniqueness of the fill he can cross it with. It just didn't happen today. However you get a Diehl in the teens watch out. That FACEPLANT (at1A) Saturday puzzle he had a while ago was a 15. It took me an hour and a half. Pardon the TMI. This is all a slippery slope to dementia.

Andrew Heinegg 12:58 PM  

My personal theory about food preferences is that you tend to have your sensory memories from your youth 'set' your preferences for food sometimes for life. My wife got used to Hellmann's mayo as a child and will not have any other kind of mayonnaise ever. Which is my way of saying that what your earliest taste preferences guide you to ain't necessarily the best there are, except they are to you.

I had many corned beef and turkey sandwiches at Kosher delis in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn going back to the end of the Eisenhower administration and through the few years JFK was President. I remember them as the finest I ever tasted but, I wonder if I could travel back in time whether I wouldn't feel differently.

BTW, the numerous Republicans that resided in my neck of the woods were positively grief-stricken that Ike could no longer be President and that young whippersnapper Catholic from Massachusetts was going to be at the helm. His being Catholic was a huge deal at the time.

Oh, the puzzle! It's a Berry. Is it one of his very best? No. But, it is still a Berry and the tone of the criticism of it in the blog today is indicative of how high a standard he has set and that, even when it is not his best, it still is a much better solving experience than most.

CDilly52 1:16 PM  

Late to the party today. Thank you Laura for another enjoyable write-up and the walk down memory lane when we could wander through large buildings to enjoy the people watching, the art, the lovely atria and of course to walk "as the crow flies" to save time and shoe leather - wow, when was the last time I actually owned a pair of shoes with leather soles??
Regionalism note of interest (maybe): I never ever heard of a "weenie dog" being called a "sausage dog." Easy to suss out, but a new eponym for me. And a nice stroll down memory lane. Loved and continue to love Seinfeld-wanted Elaine!s hair and I always smile inside when I order my favorite "big salad" for lunch.
And I vote for "themelesstropodes," Laura. Rolls nicely off the tongue. Thanks or another enjoyable day.

Laura 1:19 PM  

Thanks all, once again, for the kind words. Rex is in better health and should be back tonight for Saturday's puzzle writeup. No doubt I'll see you all again soon.

@Unknown, 12:39pm: will make a toast tonight -- with a Heady Topper -- that I made it to Friday. Long week!

Chip Hilton 1:21 PM  

Am I the only one to notice that today's clues come in a variety of single syllable and multiple syllabic words, accented all over the place?

CDilly52 1:21 PM  

I did and it messed me over until the very end! Wampum was my very last entry!

Phil 1:28 PM  

Lot ot multi answers made it easy to blow an eraser hole into a paper grid.

Right off the get-go, rupees as Indian Bread made that the last corner to fill for me

CDilly52 1:28 PM  

It's the horseradish. My Gran made and bottled her own chili sauce along with her amazing sauerkraut that made wonderful "sausage dogs" (a homemade bratwurst on a bun, as opposed to a "weeniedog" which is a daschaund). Could create a new identity: #neverketchup.

Phil 1:40 PM  

The champagne taste is evident in the chardonnay whites, the one I always associate with it.

Wanted to repost to say thanks to patrick Berry for another pleasant solve.

Teedmn 1:40 PM  

An average Friday for me, not easy. The SE was the biggest hold up. I would normally say I BLEW through a place rather than INTO but I figured INTO was most likely since it fit. 42D, with the O, G, and N in place, became nOgGiN for a "cap place". I had to get the TOY GUN aha before I remembered AVERY and saw HOST.

9D garnered its own little collection of black ink with fileS first. After I got the N from MAN, I wondered if hoNeS was one of those words that could be used as its own antonym. Moses LED the SELECTEES "out" of Egypt rather than OFF and I was thinking Leona Helmsley was a *something* QUEEN and was trying to figure out how the Q was going to work at 24D.

My 1D "ruppees" meant "Take the wheel" was eNCirCLE but I got a heady feeling when I realized 13A was ALE and everything then fell into place.

ONE DAY, I WAGER that I'll be smart enough to join MENSA, but not at this RATE. Thanks, PB1. Love the clue for DECIMAL.

Old but not bold pilot 1:55 PM  

To Laura: absolutely loved themelesstropodes. Made my day

Phil 1:59 PM  

Sorry for another post but I was reviewing it with Rex in mind. Even his easy targets of 3-letter words are hard to ABASE. ALE ADD SEE and SOT may be common or over used, but hey, no abbreviations, no roman numerals. No partial phrases either. Would be nice if all were closer to this construct.

Doc Phoenix 2:50 PM  

As in stir crazy

Nancy 3:35 PM  

I read @puzzlehoarder's and @mathgent's comments to each other several times and I haven't the faintest idea what they're talking about. Isn't it wonderful that they understand each other! They're obviously both so smart. @Teedmn -- I guess we'll both be *not in* MENSA together.

Thanks to @jberg and @CDilly for the wonderfully complex, gourmet Russian dressing recipes and suggestions. It all sounds so incredibly delicious, but alas, two ingredients are just about all the energy I'm prepared to put into a dressing of any description. @Hartley70 is laughing her head off right now. You might consider forwarding the recipes to her.

The blog has been especially entertaining today. Great fun.

Mohair Sam 4:42 PM  

@puzzle hoarder - Not TMI at all. Fascinating stuff for this neophyte. Curious as to how you weigh clues, especially "?" clues.

RooMonster 6:51 PM  

@Chip Hilton 1:21


Anonymous 7:42 PM  


Yes! Eight arms up for themlessptropdes.

Two days in a row with a witty, worthwhile writemp.

Thank you.

Punctuated equilibrium 9:09 PM  

Beautiful puzzle. Smooth, easy fill, but with so many interesting words and phrases. Stopped midway to check the constructor's name, was unsurprised to see it was PB. Agree with others about MAD TEA PARTY being slightly off; having ABATES/ABASE in the same puzzle not great either, but these didn't spoil the experience for me at all.

Chim cham 9:52 PM  

Would have been a hard-earned, but flawless solve were it not for SOT/INSTIR. I did not find this as charmingly arcane as some others. Other than that, it was a very enjoyable puzzle.

OISK 10:12 PM  

It's late, but I'll throw in my two rupees - my only erasure. Started the puzzle at Avenue J, and finished by the time the Q train reached De Kalb - that's under 15 minutes, probably my fastest Friday. I love Berry puzzles. Even when he throws in a couple of completely unfamiliar pop culture references like Summertime Blues (?) and DEVO, the crosses make them discernible. I can't imagine that he would EVER cross SXSW with the "W" from NSFW. Love the clues for asteroid belts and unicycle.

Nancy, when I travel west of the Mississippi, I not only can't get Russian in a restaurant, I can't get Thousand Island either. I'll have to try your recipe!

Retired gigolo to Gotham mavens 10:28 PM  

Yass yass yass. . . Mahvelous luvee that your manhattan palatte is oh so evah ahch superior to the hoi polloi in fly over country. God it's simply ravishing that You ah superior to the cullerds and yahoos. And did you mention that you used to work for a Manhattan based publisher? Now go devour the New York Review as you douche.

Chapps 12:59 AM  

SAUSAGE DOG?? No, it's always weiner dog. I've never heard of Dachshunds referred to as sausage dogs.

Leapfinger 9:31 AM  

The only reason I didn't go with RUPEE is that [He's taken] just had to be MARRIED_MAN, my first and immediate entry. And no need for anyone to make anything out of that.

Don't think it was mentioned, but I thought SMEAR MUD a diverting combo. Also, having ABASE and ABATE both at the party, even though ABASH couldn't make it. Also ROCK so near ASTEROID BELT.

Remembered that Johnny Cochrane was another who went too young, and it was a bonus to listen to him again later. Decided I stay DEVOted to his version; sorry, but DEVO's version was DE-VOted. Noticed that Square 45 was kind of a fork in the road, where SUMMERTIMEBLUES could hang a left and take the crooked path to SUMMERTIMEBLEWINTOYGUN.

More corners to turn yielded ARCHES (one of my favorite Utahan sites) and ROVER_EATS. Maybe the best bender is MADOFF, just because BERNIE is so close.

Bottom line: interesting fill and novel clues, even unto the 3s (as @r.alph etalii noted). Berryesque enough for me.

#Not MY gigolo 10:43 AM  

@Retired Gigolo: Like you, I live in what's sometimes referred to as "flyover country", but unlike you, I am not filled with hatred, resentment and bile about it. Maybe that's because I have friends IRL from every part of America, including the coasts. And because I went to a huge midwestern university where I met wonderful people from all over this wonderfully diverse country. But I'll tell you this, Mr. Gigolo: If I lived on either one of the coasts, I would make sure to "flyover" YOU -- ignorant, angry, hate-filled boob that you apparently are.

Leapfinger 1:00 PM  

Oh hey! That would be Eddie Cochrane, not Johnny.

Maybe the random reader just flew over that...

Torb 10:29 AM  

Easiest Friday puz ever. Blew right through it.

spacecraft 10:43 AM  

Jumped on that big 7-down gimme (favorite line: "I wrote my congressman but he said, quote: 'I'd like to help ya, son, but you're too young to vote.'") immediately followed by the rimshot. QUEENOFMEAN/QATARIS, and I thought, this is gonna be a cinch.

Not so fast, said the Great Northwest! While I did not actually write down RUPEES I visualized it and tried to make sense of the crosses; no go. I didn't know the sister of those two unpronounceable, unknowable god(desse?)s, or the plotline that ELAINE was actually Jerry's ex. It'd take some doing for DOD Julia Louis-Dreyfus to become MY ex. (Sorry, CHARO, but you just had the sash recently. But DO come back, Cuchi-cuchi!) Eventually I got it all after some thought. Ah, the curse of the NW strikes again!

Somewhat disappointing in a Berry grid was BLEWINTO, a truly awkward partial that really strains the immunity dep't. Friday clues helped hold this puzzle's place in the weekly lineup; I wonder how many were Patrick's. And one other thing threw me: MADTEAPARTY without HATTER'S?? Oh well...birdie, but this time he had to sink a 40-footer for it.

Burma Shave 11:33 AM  


You SEE, she BLEWINTO town then SAILED away,
leaving her HOST hard as ROCK and yet BONEDRY.


rondo 2:19 PM  

Dang near started with rupees at 1d, but ELAINE and BERNIE showed up next door and I practically SAILED through this puz until the SE slowed things down a little. And I don’t really buy into SAUSAGEDOG, that sounds like something to eat at the State Fair.

Agree that SMMERTIMEBLUES was a gimme. And MEDUSA is popular this week.

I LEDOFF the batting order for my high school baseball team for three years. Had at least one hit in every game sophomore year.

One of the best live albums ever: “Sinatra at the SANDS”. Frankie with count the Count Basie Orchestra directed by Quincy Jones and all introduced by Robert Conrad. Fantastic. I visited the SANDS before it was demolished.

I circled the clue for CHARO as a yeah baby candidate, but @spacey is on a better trail.

No need for write-overs today on a nice PB1 puz. Quite a FEAT for me.

rondo 2:22 PM  

Please excuse my typos, etc. Too rushed today.

Diana,LIW 3:01 PM  

Haven't yet read all comments, but a fairly easy tough Friday for me. Had nOgGiN and aNyDAY instead of TOYGUN & ONEDAY. And ENCIRCLE vs. UNICYCLE. Neither of those answers makes good sense to me

With a bit of help I finished it off. Good workout for my wee brain. Not yet ready for the "sharp club" I guess.

Haven't thought of the QUEENOFMEAN in some time. MADTEAPARTY was a bit off for my ear, but it sure fit in the puzzle.

Liked the SAUSAGE INSTIR with the CREOLE cooking. The EEL? Not so much... (However, it's a weinerDOG in my vocabulary.)

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Sailor 3:03 PM  

There were flashes of PB's usual brilliance here - the "rock groups" clue stands out - but those flashes were, sadly, overwhelmed by the sheer volume of mere trivia and banalities.

As I have said here before, I am a big fan of Mr. Berry, but I would not be if this puzzle were typical of his work.

centralscrewtinizer 3:49 PM  

Complaining about PB not being tough enough? Ennui much?
Typical PB for me, floundered, looked hopeless, something sparkled (BERNIE crossing PINOT), I looked to see who constructed and knew I would finish after some struggles.
Indian bread had me thinking along fry bread or naan lines, but not money, so a little slow there. PINOT saved me from rupee and gave me WAMPUM.
ESAU crossing MEDUSA, now there's a marriage.

leftcoastTAM 4:40 PM  

Didn't see Patrick Berry's name until done, eliciting an "aha". Had wondered where the clever, smooth, fun and fairness came from.

SE was toughest. Always called the dachshund a "wiener dog" but didn't fit, so SAUSAGE it was. AVERY was most obscure, but even WAGER, ABU, and YEN needed the crosses.

Liked DECIMAL and TOECAP clue-answers, but OVEREATS seemed a bit off for "has everything". Depends on size of the meal.

Berry much fun.

wcutler 10:36 PM  

I was sorry no-one responded to Seth's question about plagiarism. I don't write puzzles, but found the question interesting.

Wampum was my first write-in; I read the clue to see if I could use WEB for 1 across, so there it was.

I'd have done better if I'd ever heard the term "in stir". I'm amazed that people can actually hear lyrics.

Nightowl 9:09 AM  

Coming from Syndi land here. I had Parata,(paratha) for Indian bread first. Then switched to wampum, remembering my wampum pouch from long ago.

Nightowl 9:11 AM  

Coming from Syndi land here. I had Parata,(paratha) for Indian bread first. Then switched to wampum, remembering my wampum pouch from long ago.

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