Jazz Trumpeter Hargrove with two Grammys / FRI 3-24-17 / Novelist Hammond / Bronx Zoo has 265 of them / Bad occasion for anchor to drag / Hybrid business entity / In Luxury Beware painter 1663

Friday, March 24, 2017

Constructor: Michael Hawkins and John Guzzetta

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Hammond INNES (61A: Novelist Hammond ___) —
Ralph Hammond Innes (15 July 1913 – 10 June 1998) was a British novelist who wrote over 30 novels, as well as children's and travel books. He was married to fellow author and actress Dorothy Mary Lang in 1937 who died before him, in 1989. He was awarded a C.B.E. (Commander, Order of the British Empire) in 1978. [...] The Doppelganger, his first novel, was published in 1937. In WWII he served in the Royal Artillery, eventually rising to the rank of Major. During the war, a number of his books were published, including Wreckers Must Breathe (1940), The Trojan Horse (1941) and Attack Alarm (1941), the last of which was based on his experiences as an anti-aircraft gunner during the Battle of Britain at RAF Kenley. After being demobilized in 1946, he worked full-time as a writer, achieving a number of early successes. His novels are notable for a fine attention to accurate detail in descriptions of places, such as in Air Bridge (1951), set partially at RAF Gatow, RAF Membury after its closure and RAF Wunstorf during the Berlin Airlift. // Innes went on to produce books in a regular sequence, with six months of travel and research followed by six months of writing. Many of his works featured events at sea. His output decreased in the 1960s, but was still substantial. He became interested in ecological themes. He continued writing until just before his death. His last novel was Delta Connection (1996).
• • •

Hey, solver solver. I have to be brief this morning because of early appointments, so I'll just say yes, I liked this. I've seen both constructor names before, but neither has left a very strong impression (ETCH!), so I had to go back to check out their earlier work, just to remind myself. I think it's fair to say that this is my favorite work from either of them. Solid grid, not much weak fill, and question-mark clues (which can be grating when off) really land. Often I just want to slap those punny little things ("Ooh, look at me, I'm a question-mark clue, aren't I just so coy and naughty?" [slap]). But if they land, then OK, question-mark clues, we're good. OK [Metal finish?] for WARE isn't much, but [Indications of one's qualifications?] for ASTERISKS is head-scratchingly wonderful (needed tons of crosses), as is [What'll give someone a bleeping chance?] for TAPE DELAY (same). For the latter, it came down to that last letter—my brain wanted it to be TAPED LAG (?). And then [Clip art?] for BONSAI? That's just good. Common phrase, completely (and validly) repurposed by the "?". This is definitely a puzzle where the fill, while good, isn't where the main entertainment value lies. Clue writing is crucial, and I'm told (... glares through the computer at someone ...) I don't talk about it enough. So I'm talking about it!

Daryl ISSA is gross, but his name is so crossword-friendly that I'll overrule my own objection and allow it (24D: California congressman Darrell). HEY, BATTER BATTER is glorious because it is baseball, and baseball is right around the corner, and I need something more than just TCM to take my mind off The World. The names might throw people a bit today, in that they all seem a bit old / obscure. I remembered there was a Judith besides Light somehow (IVEY), but I had no idea who this ROY was (5D: Jazz trumpeter Hargrove with two Grammys) (he's really good!), and while I know Sam RAIMI (I swear I just saw something about "Evil Dead" floating around Twitter in the last couple days), Hammond INNES seems like specialized knowledge. He was a mid-century thriller writer, and I know his name only because I have a massive vintage paperback collection in which his books appear a number of times. RAIMI over INNES might rough some people up, I don't know. Otherwise, while I thought the cluing kind of tricky, this played like a Friday. And look at that, it *is* Friday.

Good luck to all competing in this weekend's ACPT. I won't be there :( but I think I'm gonna "play from home," so ... we'll see how that goes.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 6:30 AM  

Darryl Issa is gross? That's it? C'mon, where's the old venomous, hateful Michael Sharp we know and love?

evil doug 6:31 AM  

The clues were better than the answers.

Anonymous 6:34 AM  

He was "pulled aside" by Binghamton admin and told to cool it if he likes working there.

Forsythia 6:46 AM  

Tough here. Loved BULB clue. Took forever to fill it in, and then the aha moment! DNF with PLEBe and ISeA. I don't know all the Latin endings. I knew none of the names so really tough to get a toe hold to dig into the puzzle. Scary when first words are TWERK and ICERS! Loved getting HEY BATTER BATTER. Reminded me of cold spring evenings watching our daughter play softball. Puzzle gave a real workout, whew!

zevonfan 6:50 AM  

Could someone please explain the answer "asterisks" to 1As "Indications of one's qualifications." I got the clue answer with a few crosses - but I'm clearly missing some wordplay with the clue here. Thanks.

Fun themeless puzzle. Great cluing.

Moly Shu 6:55 AM  

Edgy fill with FBOMB and TWERK. Had TimEDELAY for too long, so the CRINOLINE woe was invisible. Finally took TimE out and saw PUPIL , and that allowed me to finish. Never heard of INNES or ISSA, but RAIMI and IVEY were gimmies. PHIALS?

Casimir 6:56 AM  

An asterisk in a sentence often indicates a footnote wherein the author expresses one or more qualifications to the statement.

puzzle hoarder 7:00 AM  

As many times as ASTERISKS have been used in clue lists you'd think 1A would have been easy but like so many of this puzzle's clues I totally fell for it. The fill was easy enough to keep the solve moving but overall I really had to work for this. Luckily that's a good thing. The one set of clues that I "got", I managed to screw myself up on with an FWORD/FBOMB and a TIMEDELAY/TAPEDELAY write over. All was fixed in the end for an enjoyable solve on a first rate Friday.

mathgent 7:06 AM  

I liked it a lot. Mainly because I got it clean, making me feel smart, even though it took me a long time. And also because of some fresh entries (FBOMB, TAPEDELAY, HEYBATTERBATTER) and some neat clues ("Bad occasion for an anchor to drag").

But it's not perfect. I don't like the clue for ASTERISKS. Does it refer to a footnote? Footnotes are now indicated by a numerical superscript.

Also the clue for RARE seems off. "Like walk-off touchdowns"? Of a universe of rare things, why this one?

Anonymous 7:11 AM  

Had no trouble with "asterisks", and knew Innes but "peanuts" came out "by virtue of the crosses leaving me totally mystified. Can someone explain this clue for me.

Cameron Frye 7:13 AM  

Hey Batter, Batter !

Lobster11 7:19 AM  

I liked this a lot, mainly because of the cluing. Lots of fun little aha! moments.

I wouldn't complain too much about RAIMI, INNES, and IVEY appearing in the same puzzle, at least on a Friday, if they hadn't all been in the same neighborhood -- along with PLEBS, PHIAL, and the vague clue for THATS ("___ true"). That made SW really tough. I also struggled in the SE because I've never heard of CRINOLINE and needed every cross, and because -- and this one was admittedly my bad -- my initial reading of "Better with trickery" had me looking for a verb, which until the very end prevented me from seeing the simple SLYER.

Charles Flaster 7:31 AM  

Loved this one although I had a nit to pick with PEPSIS and HEY BATTER BATTER.
Tabs are diet sodas and the expression is Swing BATTER BATTER. However, I still enjoyed the overall solve.
Creative cluing for BULBS, RELAY RACE, and HELD WATER.
LEGISLATE abutting BIG TALKER= our current political rigamarole.
For the "Reading problem" clue, did anyone think of the Reading Railroad and they were boarding the EYES TRAIN?
Great work from MH and JG. Thanks.

kitshef 7:31 AM  

Second sterling puzzle this week. In my little notes to self, I have not a single negative and fourteen positives, which is unheard of. ALL of the 9+ answers soar. A themeless has to work a lot harder to impress, and this sure did.

First in was BULBS, of all things.

pLC before LLC made LEGISLATE really hard to see. I have absolutely no idea what the difference is.

TWERP and TWERK are fun words to say.

BarbieBarbie 7:32 AM  

Peanuts are those styrofoam packing bits, usually shaped like baked Cheetos. And speaking of this Administration, how 'BOUT that populism? Sorry, got distracted... just wanted to say I loved TWERP and TWERK together. Good puzzle.

Unknown 7:47 AM  

"For a long period of time there was much speculation and controversy about where the so-called 'missing matter' of the Universe had got to. All over the Galaxy the science departments of all the major universities were acquiring more and more elaborate equipment to probe and search the hearts of distant galaxies, and then the very centre and the very edges of the whole Universe, but when eventually it was tracked down it turned out in fact to be all the stuff which the equipment had been packed in."

Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

I think ASTERISKS is for qualified record holders (as in tarnished, or somehow less than others, perhaps because of an unfair advantage).

Chim cham 7:50 AM  

My favorite puzzle of the year so far. TAPE DELAY, PLEBS, CLIP ON TIE among others were great entries. Played hard and easy at the same time, and none of the proper names were really in my wheelhouse (except Sam RAIMI, only because so many of my fellow millennial/gen-xers never shut up about their precious zombie fare. I'll never get it). I love solving a proper name I don't know. More like this please!

r.alphbunker 7:50 AM  

I agree that the clues were great. Here are some that I liked:
{Blues group, in brief} NHL(50)
{Traveled in trunks, say} SWAM(50)
{Better with trickery} SLYER(50)
{It grows in the dark} PUPIL(50)
{It might be caught by a 56-Across} FBOMB(50)
{People with decorating tips?} ICERS(20)
{The Bronx Zoo has 265 of them} ACRES(50)
{They can be found in two different sections of home-improvement stores} BULBS(50)
{Turns off} VEERS(50)
{Clip art?} BONSAI(50)
{Hang (on)} DEPEND(50)
{Tizzy} LATHER(50) (wanted DITHER)
{Protectors sent packing?} PEANUTS(50)
{Through the roof} SKYHIGH(60)
{Bad occasion for an anchor to drag} RELAYRACE(60)
{Indications of one's qualifications?} ASTERISKS(50) (In the sense of adding a condition to something, e.g. Roger Maris's home run record)
{Men's fashion shortcut} CLIPONTIE(60)
{Take care of bills} LEGISLATE(50)
{What'll give someone a bleeping chance?} TAPEDELAY
{Diamond delivery} HEYBATTERBATTER(60)

Finished with a couple of careless errors. Details are here

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

Does anyone else print the puzzle?

The newest technical "improvement" by the NYTs is two copies print every time now.

Michael Hanko 8:22 AM  

CLIP was in both a clue and an answer. But I enjoyed this colorful puzzle a lot--especially the head-scratching clues.

jason 8:26 AM  

Strong puzzle with some nice traps here and there to add to the difficulty. Have to admit I was a little annoyed for a while seeing distasteful things like ASKS FOR IT, a Bush president, and Darrel ISSA all in the same vicinity. But my snowflake melted and I went on...

Z 8:30 AM  

@anon7:51 - Check your print dialog box. Sounds like a PICNIC* problem to me, although the NYTX has had some interesting software issues in the past, so maybe not.

*PICNIC - Tech Support term for "Problem In Chair Not In Computer." Sometimes seen with a follow up I.D. Ten T. notation, although surely not in this case. @zevonfan - see, "qualifications" in the explanatory sense.

Irene 8:33 AM  

Slow but I did it all (or almost all) which, as one of the commenters said, made me feel smart.
Innes came swimming up from my pre-pre-pre-conscious. I've never read a thing by him but I knew his name.
And I actually wore crinolines--I went off to college with a couple in my trunk!--so that was a gimmee.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Played more like Saturday except the unnecessary "?" made BONSAI a gimme.

QuasiMojo 9:14 AM  

Strong puzzle but I DNF because by the time I got to "pupil" I had "eyestrain." I put in "Time Delay" and never thought twice about it. So I ended up with "Pumil" which I hoped and dreamed would be some kind of plant that grew in the dark. To show you how strained I actually was I had first put in "Tumor."

Loved "Clip On Tie." (Confession: I used to wear one in school. Easier to go from gym to dinner. Yes, we had to wear them.) Loved seeing the original "Tron." Used to have a Bonsai plant. I "clipped" it by overwatering it. Loved the clue for the Bronx Zoo (which I don't think is called that anymore, is it?) I had "Cages" first. Somehow I just popped in "Baboon" and "Sky High" as if this puzzle was on my wavelength, before I got "tripped up" in the SE.

Sometimes I wonder if any "Icers" actually do the NYT Puzzle? They sure get a lot of shout-outs here. Personally I've never met one, unless you ignore the Mafioso I once knew.

My only real quibble today is that "dirty dancing" and "twerking" are not really the same thing. I am pretty sure that "dirty dancing" requires a partner, otherwise it's just wishful thinking, not down and dirty.

Generic Solver 9:17 AM  

As someone who played a lot of baseball growing up, I think the more common expression is "Hum Batter Batter", not HEY BATTER BATTER. "Hum", possibly as a mumbled form of "Come on". The Mighty Ducks -- Hum Batter Batter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytTOemGzQ1Q

Ted 9:20 AM  

Timely commentary with EPA, LEGISLATE, BIGTALKER, ISSA

Given those un-subtle jabs, I choose to think some of the other fill is pretty relevant... BABOON, UTURN, DIE, TRIPPEDUP...

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

This was brutal plain and simple. Even with some Google help I could not finish the puzzle. There are some 8 obscure names besides ISSA.
The devilish cluing did not help. Wanted dyslexia for EYES STRAIN and spent for ATE IT.
I must admit that there were some wonderful answers

But what the hell is HEY BATTER BATTER?

Good puzzle but out of my league.

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

Al Franken is grosser

Hungry Mother 9:30 AM  

TRIPPEDUP on "timedelay". I never thought of "tape" because it's not a thing anymore is it? I should have gotten DARE because that's what I do, not because I'm brave, but because I'm foolhardy.

Lewis 9:34 AM  

This one gave me chuckles, ahas, intense battles, and somehow allowed me to conquer it, so there was self satisfaction piled on top of all that. Patrick Berry, in his book, says that what makes or breaks a puzzle is the cluing, and the cluing today was witty and devilish: SWAM, ASTERISKS, PUPIL, USS, BULB. There were many answers with spark: HEYBATTERBATTER, ASKSFORIT, SKYHIGH, FBOMB, TAPEDDELAY.

A couple of pairs stood out to me, TWERK with TWERP, and HIT_ME with ASKS_FOR_IT. And I loved the rhyme line, SKY HIGH BONSAI, with its supporting cast STY, DIE, and TRI.

The NYT puzzles usually elicit my gratitude, and this one certainly did that, and occasionally a puzzle also elicits love and a wow and leaves me SKY HIGH. Props for doing that and making this, Michael and John!

Unknown 9:40 AM  

Nice puzzle, @Michael Hawkins and @John Guzzetta, and kind review, @Rex. Good point re ISSA (who I originally spelled ISEA, being unsure how the Roman plural would be indicated). Second time this week for ETCH! We're currently in Georgia for a few days visiting our daughter, so I'll sadly miss my many friends from this community who are at the ACPT.

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

Excellent clues! I especially liked "traveled in trunks" and thought and thought and thought about what that would mean. I only got the answer after having most of the crosses. Let's see more puzzles like this!

Tom4 9:52 AM  

Excellent - thoroughly enjoyed except for "asks for it" (ugh)

Dolgo 9:52 AM  

Wow! I seem to have had a lot more trouble than usual and more than most people. I can partly blame my complete ignorance if sports for a lot of my head scratching.
Boswell tells the story of Dr. Johnson waking up one morning feeling that he'd lost it during the night--suspecting that he might have even had a stroke or something while he was sleeping. He tested his faculties by writing whole swaths of Milton or Shakespeare from memory to reassure himself that he was okay. I felt like that as I stumbled through this puzzle. But it turns out I think I'm all right. Speeches from "King Lear" are still in there. I LOVE hard puzzles, but this one turned out to be quite a slog for some reason.

noparking 10:00 AM  

Hit me is a request for a card. Deal me in would be a request for a hand. No?

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:04 AM  

Any puzzle with LEVIATHAN in it is OK in my book.

Teedmn 10:11 AM  

Wow, I was TRIPPED UP everywhere I looked on this puzzle - I haven't taken this long on a Friday puzzle since I started solving NYTimes crosswords. My brain just was not on the contructors' wavelength. I'm especially peeved at my inability to come up with 17A because I just saw "anchor" used that way in a puzzle last week and could not bring it to mind.

Solving online makes it all too easy to cheat so I used the "mark wrong letters" option several times, which revealed my errors at dWEeb (TWERP) and Horse (HUBBY). The SW had two complete WOES with 59A and 61A.

Looking back, I really enjoyed this puzzle, even though it made me feel like an idiot while solving. Thanks MH and JG.

QuasiMojo 10:28 AM  

@NoParking -- good point but a "hand" can also be a metaphor, I think, for a good hand. Getting that right card can make It a hand rather than a loser.

Mohair Sam 10:30 AM  

Cluing to DIE for! ASTERISKS as classic. FBOMB/TAPEDELAY pairing a beauty. How many of us were at sea with the anchor at 17A? Horse before HUBBY at 23D. Agree that the BONSAI clue was just awesome. And at 36A did you count out the 13 letters in "Sweet Caroline" like we did?

Played challenging in this house. RAIMI over INNES was as tough for us as OFL suggested. We pulled a Casco with "ghost" before THANE at 49D costing us a ton of time. Didn't know that H.W. already had a ship named after him, thought you had to be dead for that honor. One nit - Diet Pepsi is the Tab alternative, PEPSI is the alternative to Coke.

@Rex - Yes! You got your political anger out with wit, the medication is clearly effective.

Tough, challenging, delightful Friday puzzle.

Nancy 10:36 AM  

HEY, BATTER, BATTER? Does anyone say that? I kept resisting, as I saw that that had to be the answer, but I should have embraced it wholeheartedly. At least I got it. What I didn't get was the entire NE -- mostly because I had ALL IN instead of ATE IT at 16A. Much as I enjoyed this puzzle, ATE IT has to be the absolute worst answer of the last several months. That is not a synonym for "completely wiped out". It just isn't. And the N from ALL IN instead of the T from ATE IT gave me INK instead of STY for the housecleaner's challenge.

Not finishing on a Friday makes me a bit cross, but the cluing was inspired. I was completely fooled by the clue for LEGISLATE, which I never got. I never thought of BULBS at 10A and have no idea which two different sections of Home Depot they're found in. And if you have no idea what a beta program is, you won't know that they're BUGGY. As for BONSAI -- I thought it was what Japanese pilots yell when they jump out of a plane. Or something like that. The rest of the puzzle I did finish with great effort. I had HUSKY before HUBBY for "one of a hitched pair". Among the most inspired and fiendish clues: RELAY RACE; SWAM; ICERS; HELD WATER. I'm not wild about the clue for ASTERISKS, which I got, but only with great difficulty.

A very crunchy puzzle -- but will someone please explain the "protectors" part of the clue for PEANUTS (47A)? Thank you.

Nancy 10:41 AM  

No need to explain PEANUTS clue to me. BarbieBarbie explained it above. Thanks, BB!

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

Hey batter batter is a common variant of the preferred hum batter,batter.
But swing batter batter is not. The swing always comes at the end of the chatter regardless of the first word. Hum batter voter, swing. The word swing Coincides close enough to the pitch crossing the plate to distract the batter.

GILL I. 10:43 AM  

Oof. Like @Teedmn, I had a rough time. My first EPA entry gave me CLIP ON TIE and I thought "oh goodie, this should be easy."
Staring at a blank crossword puzzle is no fun. So I went shopping around and found Darrell ISSA who ISA clone of the Donald. Don't use the Climate Change word around him. I guess it's fitting that he's nestled with HUBBY which is a word that makes my teeth itch. Hubster comes in second. Do men say Wifey or Wifester?
That PHIAL/IVEY/PLEBS area gave me angst. My first Google, but HEY, at least it gave me BATTER BATTER and the SKY opened up.
I know y'all are singing the praises on the cluing but I seriously groaned at Traveled in trunks, say (34A) and Protectors sent packing? (47A). I got both answers and maybe did a little aha but I thought it was a bit too too.
Loved the BONSAI. Loved FBOMB which I'm known to drop on occasions.
Thought the clue for BULBS was Brutal and I don't think of uncivilized sorts as being BABOONS. Neanderthals yes, even though they do look a bit like BABOONS. (is that un PC?) I don't want to offend.
Now that I think about it, I didn't know TWERK was dirty dancing. I'll look that up.
@Quasi and his PUMIL made me laugh. Cluing for EEL gets more creative... sorta like cluing for an OREO cookie.
Have fun at ACPT and please keep the PEANUTs gallery informed.

Malsdemare 10:51 AM  

I broke down and googled for the trumpeter, the painter and the writer/director. No way were those three anywhere near where I live. I had Fonda for a long time at 3D, which led me to referrels, which made the NW a massive mess for a long time. I did get PUPIL instantly, and then CRINOLINE and that enabled me to finish off the SE quickly. But I needed STEEN to get the rest of the east.

Here in flyover land, it's HEYBATTERBATTER. I think at one point in my life, between coaching 8-year-old girls softball and going to a bazillion games with my three kids, I was probably yelling that in my sleep.

If the above leads you to think this went quickly, you'd be wrong. I thought it was hard. I'd get a few entries, feel smug, and then stare at the puzzle in total mystification. It came together when I finally succumbed, took out Fonda and inserted TILLY. I saw ASTERISKS, and I managed to finish. Whew.

Thanks for the workout, guys.

QuasiMojo 10:55 AM  

@Nancy -- they sell bulbs as in tulips at Home Depot too. My first answer there was Bolts. As in nuts and bolts and bolts of fabric, but I guess I'm dating myself again. :) --

RooMonster 11:01 AM  

Hey All !
Agree with the neat cluing, although a few seem to stretch the meanings. Hey Nitter Nitter. :-)

Had a four-letter DNF today, PLEBe/ISeA, and PUPaL, ElA, THAlE, making my CRINOLINE a CRaNOsIlE. Don't think I'd want either one under my dress.

Some nice words along with the crafty clues. We have a RARE TWERP TWERK PERK. Wash that down with some PEPSIS. Only thing I really TRIPPEDUP on was that darn CRINOLINE. THATS ATE IT, in slang. :-)

F BOMB U TURN (which would be saying "Rats")

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

Hey Rex,
Why the hate speech? Issa is Arab, isn't that a protected class? Oh yeah, he's a Republican... AND Catholic. Fire away.

Tony Hawk 11:02 AM  

@Nancy, I was riding my skateboard yesterday and completely wiped out. Skinned my knees, sprained my wrist, even lost a tooth. All my friends said " Geez Tony, you really ate it that time"
So yeah, it is a synonym, it just is.

mac 11:24 AM  

Very nice puzzle, a little confidence building for the ACPT starting this evening!

Sorry you won't be there Rex, will miss you and your wife.

GHarris 11:34 AM  

Weirdly, the easiest sections for me were those that gave Rex the hardest time namely the NW and SE. Unfortunately, the NE and SW sank me. Didn't know Innes or Raimi (at least not as clued). Agree with Nancy, "ate it" is a terrible answer to the clue and I couldn't get the bulb to turn on. "Hey, batter, batter" was the chatter in the Bronx where I played my ball. Maybe it's a regional thing.

David W 12:06 PM  

I have been avoiding Rex of late since I prefer not to suck the fun out of my puzzles, but I had to check in for this one since I loved it so much. Wow, even Rex sorta liked it!

Even with 4 names I didn't know, there were no NATICKs. Well done.
Very clever cluing for me. Without TILLY or ROY I spent a lot of time trying to fit LEESHORE or ..GALE ("bad time for an anchor to drag"), and what animal starts with A? APEES?

Considering how clever everything was I first put LATE TRAIN in for "Reading problem" (EYESTRAIN).

A great Friday. Hard, but not a slog. Not many Fridays make me laugh.

RooMonster 12:14 PM  

My interpretation of 1 Across clue,
the answer ASTERISKS is referring to "one's" in the clue, as in "Indications" of "one(')s" qualifications. As in "one's" is the qualifier with having an ASTERISK.

Yes, no, maybe? Mind blown?

Used to work in an in-store bakery, we called the ICER a cake decorator. Well, I called him something else, as he got on my nerves... :-)

Oh, and the whole UTURN! No UIE, UEY, UEE, HUEY, WHEE!


Aketi 12:16 PM  

A note from @Nancy. Her computer went black so she can't blog right now.
PS. She's thinking of pouring herself a drink.

I haven't done Friday's puzzle yet so I'm trying to avert my eyes.

old timer 12:21 PM  

If I hadn't Wiki'd for a few of the names I would still be trying to solve this sucker. Ramis I know. RAIMI I don't. Nor IVEY. Nor TRON, though I once did. I did not know Hammond INNES, but knew another INNES author, so it went in as a lucky guess.

I used to own a CLIPON bow TIE, for use with rental tuxedos. But really if you have to wear a tie to dinner, and to classes, as I once had to, you get pretty darn fast at tying your tie in a Windsor knot.

I'll join the chorus of praise for the clever cluing. I got TAPE DELAY at once and basically solved the puzzlle bottom up. So as often happens, I finished in the NW, and was rewarded by doing the best clues last, for ASTERISKS and RELAYRACE.

Joseph Michael 12:32 PM  

Congrats, boys. Great puzzle!

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Really? I thought this puzzle was a D+ effort with F- clues. I've done about 5,000 NYT puzzles in my life, and this is at the top of the list for the worst cluing I've ever seen.

I count 16 clues that range from bad ("Uncivilized sort" for BABOON...?!) to terrible ("like walk-off touchdowns" for RARE). This is a horrendous confluence of two constructors (one too many) trying to be cute with an editor who is either out-of-step or lazy.

Masked and Anonymous 12:46 PM  

Funny, feisty clues. Great fillins: HEYBATTERx2 (surely the seed entry). UTURN. BIGTALKER. PEANUTS. UTURN. TRIPPEDUP. HELDWATER. ASKSFORIT (kinda rhymes with ASTERISKS! hey -- at least close enough for haikus). LEVIATHAN. UTURN.

Wanted PEEPS where PLEBS went, at first.
staff weeject pick: USS. = {Us, in drag mode??}.

themelessthUmbsUp. Thanx for gangin up on us, MH and JG.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

[i.o.u. one ACPT warm-up-for-all-rounds-in-one puz]

OISK 12:48 PM  

Found it difficult, but liked it. My favorite experiences in solving are those where I start out completely befuddled, and eventually finish correctly. This was one of those. I agree with those who complained about the "TAB" clue; I dislike product clues in general, and younger people have probably never heard of Tab. My first thought was "PEPSI O." ( don't no if there IS a Pepsi zero, but there could be...) My choice, with opening day next week, would have been "They're no longer served at Citi Field." I also agree that "Hit me" calls for a card, not a hand.

We were required to wear ties in junior high school, so I have fond memories of clip-on bow ties that I could carry in my pocket. One last nit, I don't like the clue for "relay race." (Bad occasion for an anchor to drag).
Yes, an anchor is the last runner in a relay race. But using "anchor" in that sense, a relay race would be the ONLY occasion in which he would "drag."

Anonymous 12:56 PM  

Well, I think you can take it as a request for an addition to the hand that you have.

Anonymous 1:02 PM  

Oh yeah, he is also a fringe lunatic on virtually every issue of importance to this country. And he should be left alone because of his heritage and religious beliefs. That makes perfect sense?!!

Hartley70 1:04 PM  

HEYBATTERBATTER sounds so dopey I can't believe it's a thing. Clearly it is, since you all recognize it. I'm trying not to let my baseball ignorance here, ruin the one game a year that I enjoy.

On the bright side, I am familiar with Judith IVEY, Hammond INNES and Sam RAIMI. I don't know if ISSA is a first or last name, but I've read enough not to care.

I found this harder than the usual Saturday. In the bottom I was helped by familiar names, but the top half was a struggle. I kept picking the wrong fork in the road. I wanted a hurricane to drag that anchor. While I see ASTERISKS now, I was going for business success. EELS burrow? I was thinking of seafood you have to dig up, like RI quahogs.
I don't think of any humans as BABOONs. Ever. DEPEND kinda/sorta works for me but "endure" works better. It's not my favorite puzzle this year but I enjoy a challenge and I got one.

Bummed that @Rex is staying home.

Hartley70 1:10 PM  

What? No @George either? Rats.

Andrew Heinegg 1:13 PM  

Other than my agreement with the complaint of OISK about drag for relay race, which I was carping about as I filled it in from the crosses, I thought this was one of the better puzzles in recent memory.

It took me forever to get going and I spent the most of my time mulling over stuff in the NW. As Rex said, the ? clues were not too cute and the overall puzzle was interesting and fun. How about a shout-out for a u-turn answer without having to try to figure out what the constructor's version of the spelling out of the slang for the word is. Yeah.

Anoa Bob 1:37 PM  

Lots to like but I thought a few of the clues were trying too hard to be cute. After seeing "Bad occasion for an anchor to drag" (17A), I thought when would an anchoring dragging NOT be a bad occasion. When It became apparent that the anchor here was the final leg of a RELAY RACE, I wondered in what sense a runner in a track meet event would "drag". Don't believe I've ever heard "drag" used to describe any action of any participant in any track meet. A stretch too far.

The clue for 47D "It grows in the dark" also was way wide of the mark for me. The PUPIL responds to a drop in light level by dilating, by growing larger in diameter. I guess you could truncate that to say it "grows". But the PUPIL reaches its maximum dilation it very dim light such as shortly after sunset (away from any artificial light). "In the dark", in an UNLIT environment, the PUPIL doesn't do anything, it just sits there at its widest opening. A stretch too far.

The W & SW put a DNF on me. The pile-up of ISSA, PLEBS, PHIAL, IVEY, RAIMI & INNES in that area gave me a severe case of EYE STRAIN. Needed outside help.

Liked LEVIATHAN. Anyone else try LEVIATHON first?

Trombone Tom 2:01 PM  

@AnoaBob Hand up for trying leviathon! I guess we're thinking telethon.

Absolutely a great job of cluing. I've got little "+" marks all over the page to indicate ones that impressed me. DIAMOND DELIVERY was very slow to appear. And that NW was the last area to fall.

Age must help when it comes to knowing about things like CRINOLINE, as that's a word I've not hearD much in recent years.

I liked the lively and current entries like TWERK and F-BOMB.

Carola 2:21 PM  

Such a fine puzzle, so much fun to solve! Tough to get into though: my first two stabs - USS x ISSA and SAKE x STEEN - both led directly to dead ends. Finally, ETCH x CRINOLINE gave me the long-sought firm toehold for the pleasurable clamber back to the top of the grid. CRINOLINE! Worn not only under ball gowns but also poodle skirts. Ah, nostalgia. So much else to love - LEVIATHAN, BIG TALKER, HELD WATER, heck, even PHIAL (which I connect with more with philtres than pharmacies).

Thank you, constructors, for this wonderful Friday.

okanaganer 2:27 PM  

@AnoaBob, an anchor dragging might be a good thing if you're about to, say, crash into a marina?

Joe Bleaux 3:00 PM  

(I saw it differently, as an asterisk acts as a footnote "qualifying" or explaining a word, phrase, statement, etc.)

CDilly52 3:05 PM  

Pretty much what @Rex said except I thought that Clip Art was absolutely dynamite without the ?. Compare that with "Protectors sent packing?" (one of my favorite ? clues ever) and to me thise demonstrate the difference between those clue types. But I defer to you experts; 'all-y'all' (as we say out here in OK) know better than I in this biz. Fun, appropriately tough (certainly for me) and good clues.

Joe Bleaux 3:07 PM  

George et al -- Welcome to Jawjuh! It's lovely this time of year, even (some would say especially) in or around the ATL. Y'all have a fun visit!

Joe Bleaux 3:09 PM  

Yup ... unless you'd first penciled in GOLIATHAN 😊. Duh!

jberg 3:12 PM  

Yeah, really nice puzzle. My biggest problem was 15A, which I misread as "Men's fashion haircut." I figured it was some new fad I'd never heard of, so waited for the crosses -- starting with cagES at the Bronx Zoo. When I finally read it right, the whole NW fell into place.

As a recent retiree, I wasn't too happy about "stop working" as a clue for DIE! But any puzzle with PHIALS in it is OK with me.

@Anoa Bob, I actually started with rEadATHoN, figuring that would be a good way to use Moby Dick, but PLEBS fixed that. (And for @George and others, it's not a plural, it's a singular collective noun, to fit the clue. a PLEBe would be a single person).

I thought I'd never heard of STEEN, which I got entirely from crosses; but then I realized that I knew his first name was Jan, so I guess I had encountered him somewhere before.

@Nancy, I too had all in before ATE IT -- as someone pointed out already, you have to use a different meaning of Wipe Out

Joe Bleaux 3:16 PM  

Unless you're calling that apostrophe in "one's" an asterisk, you've lost me, Roo.

Joe Bleaux 3:27 PM  

I dont know about his Arab Catholic bona fides, but he's a shoo-in for the Fringe Lunatic Hall of Fame.

BarbieBarbie 3:40 PM  

My dad used to cuss out other drivers (with the windows rolled up) and, at least when we were in the car, one of his favorite epithets was "bladder-headed baboon." So, yeah.

Masked and Anonymous 4:03 PM  


@RP - Sorry U couldn't make it to the ACPT. M&A hardly ever makes it there -- too far and expensive, and not much of a big traveler or spender. Would be fun to see if @muse gets the hints on the second try, tho ...

@Anoa Bob - yep. LEVIATHON. Coulda sworn that was right. Big schlock flick a few years ago called that, btw.

@paulsfo - Yer yesterday's wish is M&A's command. [See ACPT practice puz, at bottom.]


[all-rounds-in-one, ACPT sorta crucial practice puz]


Anoa Bob 4:16 PM  

@okanager, I don't think there's any anchor in the world that would have stopped that poor sucker! I'm guessing the ferry was doing its usual "let's impress onlookers with how close I can come before dropping it in reverse and stopping on a dime 6 inches from the dock" routine when there was an engine failure. Uh-oh.

I've seen this in my marina, just on a much smaller scale. I always tell new boat owners to never come into a marina slip or berth any faster than you would want to hit the concrete sea wall at the end.

JC66 4:41 PM  


Good one.

Ya got me at 59A.

Wm. C. 5:10 PM  

@Nancy --

Re: Bonsai, Japanese parachutist yelling.

You're close, It's Banzai, yelled by Japanese infantry in suicide attacks on enemy lines. It's a shortened form of a salute to the Emperor, wishing him long life.

Angel City Kid 5:22 PM  

In my circles a punk is a trouble making tough. A twerp is a nerd or geek.In little league we chattered hey batter batter followed by swing after the delivery.

Gerry Kelly 5:26 PM  

Also found it challenging and liked it overall but have to nitpick like red usually. HIT ME - request for a hand. When you say hit me you already have a hand and are asking for another card

Joe Bleaux 5:59 PM  

@jberg -- Welcome to the wonderful world of recent retirement! I took it early a couple of years ago. An encouraging word: You'll be warned that you'll DIE of boredom if you don't get a part-time gig, take up some dumbass hobby, or whatever it takes to keep busy. That's all a crock! Pour a cold one, get Netflix if you don't already have it, and kick back anytime you feel like it. You've earned it.

jae 5:59 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 6:04 PM  

Finally a Fri. with some crunch! Medium-tough for me with SW being the toughest section. I knew IVEY and RAIMI but not INNES and also*

ISSA was a gimme as he represents a portion of my county (he came extremely close to losing the last election).

*@Anoa - add me to the list of LEVIATHoN at first.

@no.parking et. al. - I'm with y'all on the HIT ME clue.

Great cluing, zippy grid, liked it a bunch! Nice Fri. guys!

Unknown 6:11 PM  

Great puzzle. Been a baseball nut forever and if you're a New Yorker, as I am, it's always "Hey Batta Batta," never "Hum." What's "Hum"? An invitation to go musical?

Alex 6:12 PM  

Whoa! I can feel satisfied because I didn't need many crosses for TAPE DELAY. Most of you are better solvers than I am, so woot woot for me! I didn't understand ASTERISKS until I came here to seek the explanation. A fun puzzle, made more fun because I solved it correctly. As I may have mentioned, woot woot!

Alex 6:14 PM  

Oh - another piece of smug. HEY BATTER BATTER is what I have heard.

Ian 7:27 PM  

As a Canadian fan of Michael's, I send you this:

Trump’s track record on health care.

The billionaire’s 2000 book The America We Deserve makes a strong pitch for universal health care.

"I’m a conservative on most issues but a liberal on this one," Trump wrote. "We should not hear so many stories of families ruined by health care expenses. We must not allow citizens with medical problems to go untreated because of financial problems or red tape."

When he turned to how the country might achieve universal coverage, Trump focused like a laser beam on a Canadian-style, single-payer plan. He said it would eliminate many billions of dollars of overhead.

"The Canadian plan also helps Canadians live longer and healthier than America," he wrote. "We need, as a nation, to reexamine the single-payer plan, as many individual states are doing."

Ever the pragmatist, Trump noted change would not happen overnight.

"While we work out details of a new single-payer plan, there are a number of ways to make the health care system now in place work more efficiently," Trump wrote.

So, it’s fair to say that in 2000, Trump supported a Canadian-style health care plan.

David W 7:39 PM  

Nope. I declare crossword puzzles a politics-free zone. Only the spelling of their names is of relevance to this blog.

And I always said Hey Batter Batter as a kid, too, though I've heard Hum as well (Ferris Bueller?)

David W 7:43 PM  

Ferris says "Hey", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZyTLYl6lJw
the Mighty Ducks say "Hum" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjQLPu77qm4

Anonymous 7:51 PM  

Check out any reference work for Mr. Isssa's background.
If you're too busyoung, I'll clue you in. His father was Lebanese. Heven as raise Masonite. That's a rite in Catholicism.
Go transpose your elsewhere idiocy....

RooMonster 8:37 PM  

@Joe Bleaux
Talk about a brain fart moment. Holy moly. This whole day was spent confusing ASTERISK with Apostrophe. That was what my "explanation" was about. Now I'm going to go bury my head in the sand. :-)

Blew my own brain on that one.


Anonymous 9:02 PM  

Probably the only thing in the puzzle I got... packing peanuts. As in styrofoam pieces.

Anonymous 9:03 PM  

Please get back on your medication.

Phil 9:16 PM  

Patted myself on the back for getting two toughies
And DYSLEXSIA with the spelling variation for 'reading problem'.

Oh well I have to take a back pat back...but it was a good guess no?

RooMonster 11:03 PM  

@Joe Bleaux
Talk about a brain fart moment. Holy moly. This whole day was spent confusing ASTERISK with Apostrophe. That was what my "explanation" was about. Now I'm going to go bury my head in the sand. :-)

Blew my own brain on that one.


Dan M 11:54 PM  

ASTERISKS was just a killer clue/answer pair... really enjoyed this puzzle.

Also: Apropos of nothing, I hadn't found my way to this blog before tonight, but figured it was about time for me to find my way into the puzzle-people community somehow or other, as I just (well, last month anyway) got my first puzzle accepted @ NYT (which I continue to freak out about whenever I think about it). So, since I'm going to be on the receiving end of one of these posts in the future, might as well jump in :)

(FWIW: took almost 3 years of trying, plus a lot of encouragement & advice from Will, Joel and also Jeff Chen and xword-info. Hopefully the second one won't take quite as long!!)

Anonymous 12:04 AM  

If a statement requires further explanation or detail you add an asterisk and offer the explanation at the bottom of the page. Like Barry bonds hit the most homers*

*he was on steroids

Hartley70 1:41 AM  

Super Duper and Congratulationd @Dan! You join the ranks of some very talented regulars (George Barany and John Child most recently had a puzzle published). The less gifted among us make for a great cheering section. We'll start practicing now for your debut!

Dan M 5:59 AM  

Many thanks @Hartley70! You'll have plenty of time to practice as it looks like a publish time in Q1 of 2018 :) Anyway, it's definitely an honor. First time I've been published anywhere!

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

Well, I do the puzzles the day after they're posted, so I had the benefit of doing this one after yesterday's events.

When you look at the entire NE quadrant, you have to believe there is some kind of deity after all.

Aside from that, I enjoyed this puzzle more than any in a long, long time. The cluing was amusing, the answers were neat.

Space Is Deep 2:29 PM  

Very difficult for me. Played like a hard Saturday for me. Finished, but got burned by the tape/time delay.

spacecraft 10:51 AM  

As I wrote the last word in (ASTERISKS, of course--you know: the dreaded NW), I thought, OMG did I really just finish this; is it right? And I came here and, OMG, it WAS!

I couldn't begin to tell you how I did it; in fact, for a while I couldn't begin, period. The first entry was the super-awkward AIS (I may have to institute a new "random" category: the RSGT (random Sue Grafton title). BIS, CIS, etc. But that just languished out there by itself for a while. Yeah, this took me upwards of two hours.

Finally got a foothold in the center with TWERK, quirkily followed by one-letter-off TWERP. I don't think of the latter as a "punk," more of an a******, if you get my drift. Almost wrote in SCUppeRED at 51-across, but wisely held off. I did not know ANY of these PPPs, so that toughened my job all over.

Having just recently heard Moby Dick referred to as LEVIATHAN helped. (Where was that, Jeopardy!?) One clue completely mystifies me: "Completely wiped out" for ATEIT. That one makes NO sense to me at all. DOD will be TILLY--but as a poker player I have to go with sister Jennifer. Well, there ARE other reasons...

Obviously, triumph factor is unmeasurable. It's so SKYHIGH that even though there was some rough fill (see RSGT above), it still gets an eagle!

Unknown 11:11 AM  

Sue Grafton has a book series __ is for ____. I believe Y is for __ is due to be published this year. So you are correct with RSGT.

Burma Shave 12:16 PM  


Their STAR catcher cried, “HEY,BATTERBATTER!”, and tossed in an FBOMB,
that BABOON ISSA BIGTALKER, and I DEPEND on some calm.
He TRIPPEDUP my swing, so in a LATHER, I DAREd KICK UP some dirt,
then he SEES fit to HITME in the PUPIL, and now EYESTRAIN from the hurt.


centralscrewtinizer 1:25 PM  

@Anon 11:53....nice. I obviously do the puzzles a month later so you will probably miss this, but I took a closer look at the NE and had to laugh. LEGISLATE, BIG TALKER, STY, UTURNS, BABOON, ATE IT, all good. This will be a prezzyduncy that gets an ASTERISK for sure.
ISSA is not only gross, he is slimy.

rondo 3:16 PM  

Tougher than OFL’s medium. Again scattered inkfests with SKYward for SKYHIGH, diTHER for LATHER, and was packing some sort of ___gUnS instead of PEANUTS. Without crosses THAT’S tough in the SW with RAIMI topping INNES. And CRINOLINE? If you say so.

A small town nearby had a firearms dealer move in with their store name “FBOMB”. After the sign went up there was such a public outcry. City Hall stepped in to LEGISLATE what could be put on an outdoor sign on Main Street. I think the building now houses a restaurant.

Here’s my TRI:

I never (FBOMBing) wore a (FBOMBing) CLIPONTIE,
I never (FBOMBing) hope to (FBOMBing) CLIP one,
But I’ll (FBOMBing) tell you that I’d (FBOMBing) DIE
If I should (FBOMBing) WARE a (FBOMBing) zip one.

(FBOMBing) rondo

The NW has it right with SLEEK Meg TILLY. Yeah baby.

Tough but good puz. The clues were the STARs.

Diana,LIW 5:31 PM  

Altho I had a dnf in the long run, I thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle and the challenge. The challenges were from actual words and clues. Not a lot of useless trivia (IMHO). Just what a Friday ought to be.

Had TVcensors before TITMEDELAYS. But that obviously didn't work with CRINOLINE and PEANUTS (great clue). And curse before FBOMB.

Got the NW corner and HEYBATTERBATTER (thanks, Ferris and Cameron!) and ASTERISKS, but other areas eluded me.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 6:33 PM  

Yes, agreed, cleverly clued.

TRIPPED UP in the NW and NE with ASTERISKS (good one) and ATE IT (problem with "completely wiped out" clue). Both led to additional stumbles.

FBOMB was totally unexpected and WOD.


Don Byas 2:10 AM  

ROY Hargrove. First thing in the grid! Roy is a G@% D@#% genius! He can play ANY tune. (only a slight exaggeration) He's been on the scene for 30 years. Investigate some of the live recordings with Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker. If you're in NYC get to a club and HEAR ROY LIVE!!! His sound is as expressive as hell, he's got amazing facility, and he can play the s#$% out of a ballad —MOMENT TO MOMENT is a fine example. He's one of the most genuine musicians you'll ever hear.

monster Jazz musicians of Rex Parker's generation:
Christian McBride - bassist
Brad Mehldau - pianist
Chris Potter - saxophone
Brian Blade - drummer
Joey DeFrancesco - organ

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