Old RR watchdog / FRI 4-28-17 / Ollie's friend on old TV / Oenophile's pride / Communication service since 2004 / Literally highest city / Highway through Yukon / Hundu aphorisms

Friday, April 28, 2017

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: AMARYLLIS (59A: Producer of re-and-white blooms) —
Amaryllis (/ˌæməˈrɪls/) is the only genus in the subtribe Amaryllidinae (tribe Amaryllideae). It is a small genus of flowering bulbs, with two species. The better known of the two, Amaryllis belladonna, is a native of the Western Cape region of South Africa, particularly the rocky southwest area between the Olifants River Valley to Knysna.[2] For many years there was confusion among botanists over the generic names Amaryllis and Hippeastrum, one result of which is that the common name "amaryllis" is mainly used for cultivars of the genus Hippeastrum, widely sold in the winter months for their ability to bloom indoors. Plants of the genus Amaryllis are known as belladonna lily, Jersey lily, naked lady, amarillo, Easter lily in Southern Australia or, in South Africa, March lily due to its propensity to flower around March. This is one of numerous genera with the common name "lily" due to their flower shape and growth habit. However, they are only distantly related to the true lily, Lilium. (wikipedia)
• • •

Very fast for a Friday. Not record-setting (I'm never at peak speed when I solve first in the morning), but fast. I've largely given up trying to go fast on themeless puzzles. These puzzles tend to be more interesting and enjoyable than the themed puzzles (not true for all puzzles, but definitely true for NYT puzzles), and I don't like the feeling of frustration that can come about from trying to blaze through a puzzle that's designed to be tough. Ironically, or predictably, I still end up solving fast, perhaps faster than if I got into "speed" mode. It's like a lot of things—if you just relax and let the [whatever] come to you, see the [whatever] clearly, don't get ahead of yourself, etc., you'll do very well. Anyway, this puzzle was just plain easy. Only thing I can imagine really holding back a regular solver are (as usual) some proper nouns ("SEXY AND I KNOW IT," e.g.) or specialized terms (I suck at flower names less common than, say, "rose," so AMARYLLIS required a lot of patching from the crosses). Everything else–zoom.

[Phife DAWG]

I enjoyed this one. Solid, if not scintillating, with only the odd ZAK or ENTR' or ALCAN or ANI or ICC gumming up the works. Seriously, wtf is ICC? I'm honestly just seeing it for the first time right now, as I type this... Hmm, google tells me it's the "International Cricket Council," and since I hope nevvvvver to see this answer in a puzzle again, I'm just gonna take google at google's word and move on. Here are the (very few) trouble spots for this puzzle:

In the NW, that was just the usual getting-started issues. Wanted LOCO at 1A: Cuckoo and then really really really badly please-God wanted COZY at 1D: Homey. But no. It was the "Homey" I thought it was. After that, I tore through the grid, with a slight "wha?" at ENTR' (32A: Intermission starter?) (from "ENTR'acte" ...) and from wanting only RIMS OUT at 25D: Doesn't stay in the hole, as a ball (BOUNCES OUT). "In the hole" is colloquial, as is RIMS OUT. BOUNCES OUT is not. BOUNCES OUT is a common enough phrase, but the part of my brain that likes clues to be good / consistent just jammed there for a second. I worked it out.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. there's no way that was the original clue for GENTLEMAN'S CLUB (19A: Site where top hats and canes might be checked at the door). No way. None. A simple google search will tell you what a GENTLEMAN'S CLUB really is. The ones nearest you will be right at the top. Pretending you're not talking about strip clubs somehow makes the clue even bro-ier, even more snickering-boy immature. You like tits in your puzzle. Great. At least own it.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Unknown 6:38 AM  

In golf, 25 Down: "Doesn't stay in the hole, as a ball" -- the term is generally "lipped out."

Moly Shu 6:38 AM  

I'm gonna go all @Rex and say if your puzzle has ENTR in it, then no, don't do it. WHATAmess before DUMP, oreoS before CHIPS (you can stack oreos can't you?), and CAyMAN also. If a ball rimsOUT, it was never really in the hole, so I'm not buying OFL's explanation. The GENTLEMENSCLUB's I frequent don't have a lot of top hat and cane kind of patrons. I'll own it, I like tits in my puzzle.

Forsythia 6:38 AM  

Enjoyed this solve mostly.

AMARYLLIS came easily, love how fast they grow and how showy in the midwinter. I am an ALUMNA from a small college for women (never call it a little girls' school!). TeeTERED before TOTTERED. Center north was my last area since didn't know ESPNZONE or ZAK, and the C in CODER/CAME was my last letter.

This did have a bit of an icky feel with DAFT, PEABRAINED, WHATA DUMP, TMI, SEXYANd..., GENTLEMENs..., CLOD, SUTRA,etc. A lot of name calling and other allusions.

Charles Flaster 6:40 AM  

Really liked this one.
DNF at the clue XXX as I never realized the tic-tac-toe implication.
My two favorite football expressions are GO DEEP and "you outkicked your coverage" (maybe a puzzle theme?),
Liked cluing for WONT and CITY MAP (might be a bit outdated).
Thanks DS

Anonymous 6:42 AM  

It's odd being the first commenter. Just the luck of timing.

ICC = Interstate Commerce Commission. I know that only because of my law school training. The ICC was a big deal in FDR's effort to wrest power from the states. "Interstate commerce" was expanded to cover every conceivable economic activity.

I had much less trouble than usual with a Friday puzzle. The most puzzling for me was how pit-a-pat led to RACED. I just guessed at the C.

-- Jim C. in Maine

Glimmerglass 6:48 AM  

Surely you're kdding about ICC (see Jim in Maine). You can't be that young.

Harcourt Fenton Mudd 6:49 AM  

I would have been a better clue for 34a.

Anonymous 7:05 AM  

Alt-left shut down parade in Portland. Nice legacy Obama.

Hungry Mother 7:10 AM  

DNF because the old brain wasn't working well this morning. I knew SARTRE, but think of him more as a philosopher. Had ZAK for a while, but couldn't come up with ZONE. Oh well, tomorrow will be harder.

Anonymous 7:12 AM  

I'm thankful to live in a wider world where it's actually possible not to be talking about strip clubs.

Anonymous 7:13 AM  

The brown shirts who shut down Coulter's speech call themselves anti-fascists. You can't make this stuff up.

CFXK 7:23 AM  

ICC = Interstate Commerce Commission.

Knew it well way back as a 16yo because of a wonderful little loophole in the law. The ICC regulated interstate train travel, and its rules superseded the ordinances of the states and municipalities through which the trains traveled. The same was true of interstate buses. Since there was nothing in the ICC rules about a drinking age, I could quite legally and easily stroll down to the bar car at age 16 and buy a drink - with no questions asked. Have had a passion for train travel ever since.

The same loophole existed in commercial airplane travel: it was regulated by the FAA, which also did not have a drinking age regulation. I still remember the champagne breakfast I had with my family when I was a 16yo on a morning flight on TWA to my brother's college graduation (those were the civilized days when they gave you free champagne before forcibly dragging you off the plane).

Sadly, with the abolition of the ICC in 1995 and the institution of a drinking age rule by the FAA, a boy has no where to go anymore to drink legally until he is 21.

Jeremy Mercer 7:30 AM  

Beyond the stature of the Interstate Commerce Commission, the rest of the world knows the ICC as the profoundly important International Criminal Court. Surely "ICC" is a worthy entry with either of these clues...

kitshef 7:33 AM  

Don’t know ZAK Starkey, FENDI, ICC or LMFAO from a hole in the wall, but was able to finish. I appreciate such fairness in a puzzle.

Trying to guess whether the popular Natick today will be FENDI/AFORE or FENDI/ENTR. Or maybe MSS/SUTRA? Do other people know FENDI?

MSS and SSN in opposing corners a bit messy, but overall a fun solve.

puzzlehoarder 7:35 AM  

I found ways to keep the southern tier from being as easy as the rest of the puzzle. AREAMAP before CITYMAP and RUSE before WILE. SKORT was just too obvious for a Friday so I hesitated until I'd figured out my other mistakes. Worse than the write overs were the misspellings . CAMIAN for CAIMAN wasn't so bad at least I just screwed up the order and it's not a word you see often. What was really bad was THEPOLES. It took me much too long to spot that one. Poor spelling is a major handicap in solving. It really wasn't hard to figure everything out just a little embarrassing.

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

HULL is not the bottom of a ship/boat, it refers to the entire structure. KEEL would have been correct.

Unknown 7:40 AM  

Nice and interesting information and informative too. Thanks for sharing.
Cheap Car Insurance Quotes

kitshef 7:42 AM  

In post-puzzle, contemplation, realized I had an unusually high number of cascos:
loco before DAFT
WHAT A mess before WHAT A DUMP
obI before ANI
limbo before STOOP
CRouton before CRACKER
carnation before AMARYLLIS
rusE before WILE
scoNce before CRANNY

Aketi 7:49 AM  

And TMI on top of SEXY and I KNOW IT

Two trigger warnings in one puzzle.

Z 7:51 AM  

@CFXK - It takes a passport or enhanced drivers license these days, but young Detroiters have been heading south to Windsor on their 19th birthdays to enjoy the GENTLEMEN'S CLUBs for decades. I've never seen a 19 year old in a top hat, they're all too sexy for that hat. Windsor also allows more than just tits.

Aketi 8:03 AM  

I also looked at CODEr and it's cross and thought @Evil Doug is going to have a field day deCODing the hidden XXX themes in this puzzle.

Randy Picker 8:19 AM  

The Interstate Commerce Commision was created as part of the Commerce Act of 1887 ( https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=49# ) to create the first great federal administrative agency for the most important national industry of the late 19th century, railroads. With the passage of the Sherman Act on antitrust three years later in 1890, the key framework for regulating large enterprises was in place.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

Ann Coulter hasn't been in the puzzles so it's unclear why the anonymice are so worked up about her. Funny how her followers ignore the violence and censorship propagated by extremists in their own party but are all too ready to decry the alleged threat of a potential confrontation of a similar kind from what probably is extremists from both sides. She still has a mouth that no one is stopping her from using and the media which publishes what comes out of her mouth. Postponing an event is not censorship. Extremists who resort to violence exist across the political spectrum. Most people aren't extremists. Get over it right wing snowflake anonymice.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

David Steinberg is a great puzzle maker. This one did not disappoint.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

RR refers to run rate in cricket so ICC as international cricket counsel works..
I am enjoying puzzles commentary and as always rex...

Rhino 8:28 AM  

Guessed right but could not figure out the TIC/RACED cross for the longest time. Then I had stAN instead of FRAN (thinking Laurel and Hardy, which I don't think was TV but it made sense at the time). Figured it all out though and got the gold box - so I can feel good about myself for one more day.

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

It has nothing to do with Ann Coulter, Milo, Heather MacDonald, , Ben Shapiro , Charles Murray or any other right of center person who would dare to speak in a college campus. It has everything to do with the Freedom of Speech and if you sit idly by you're complicit in its demise. This is no joke.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

It's a sad day in this country when a scrawny old drag queen can't do his act in Berkeley of all places.

Anonymous 8:41 AM  

Freedom of speech doesn't give one the right to speak anywhere nor do we have to listen. Her speech was uninvited by the organization that invited her.

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

@Anonymous 8:33 am, what is every bit as important is the censorship of scientists and the destruction of data that is occurring right now. For quite a while there has been censorship of MDs when it comes to reproductive health and MDs who are legally obligated to make statements that are not factual. I don't see you speaking up about the much more widespread censorship of scientists and MDs in the same way you are speaking up about speakers who have perfectly good outlets for their words. All a college student has to do is google them and it's easy to find their positions, if you were really interested in Freedom of Soeech you should be promoting it across the board.

QuasiMojo 8:45 AM  

Yes, way too easy and fast for a Friday, but no serious groaners, so I'm giving it a thumbs-up.

As someone who is a "pea-branied" and "daft" "clod," I take umbrage with this puzzle. And yet there was some good stuff cluttering up the grid. "Acropolis," "what a dump!" (Albee quoting Bette Davis), "tine," "tottered," "Paloma," etc. I wanted "tea cake" before "cracker," perhaps because I am teddibly old-fashioned. It never occurred to me that "gentlemen's clubs" have come back into vogue, albeit with a completely different focus, and letting in the ladies, too! Heavens to Murgatroyd indeed!

I was hoping for something funnier for "bottom of the sea." Maybe a man's name (Joseph?) or nautical slang for buttocks. I guess a "head" is where you put your "bottom."

Isn't an oenophile more apt to boast about his "nose" than his "palate"? Or am I confusing him with a cheese expert? (Oh no, I hope I don't open up that can of worms again...)

I feel sorry for Ed Asner. It seems the only thing he is remembered for in the crossword world is playing Santa. How can they overlook his excellent work in "The Satan Bug" (1965)?

Missed opportunity: I wish we'd seen "LOVE" somewhere near "addicted to."

Despite the "slings and arrows" thrown to dim types like me, nice job, Mr. Steinberg.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

Dear Anonymous,

My reason for posting, is that I constructed tomorrow's NYT crossword.

By interrupting comments about David's puzzle, I'm really being one hell of a jerk.

What's your excuse?

-Martin Ashwood-Smith/MAS

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

Interstate Commerce Commission.

Boy you are young and you slept through the FDR section of your HS US history class!

Aketi 8:52 AM  

CODER also reminded my of yesterday's puzzle and why I eventually gave up puzzles of the numerical kind. I kept developing more and more eiaborate algorithms to solve the puzzles, which is really just a precursors for coding a program to do it for me. At that point I realized that my computer coding abilities are absolute ot ancient and it was time to move on to puzzles of the alphabetical kind.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

I remember a sign at the front of the bus I took to Stuyvesant High School that read something close to "This bus is (??) runs (??) under the auspices of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC).

When Stuyvesant High was still on 15th and 1st.

Steve M 8:58 AM  

Best puzzle in quite a while 👍

Tita 8:59 AM  

Cuckoo is CODE for naked in our house. When my husband's kids were tiny, the 2 year old came running out of the bathroom stark naked after her bath. 5 year old brother said "She's cuckoo!" 2 year old thought that it meant naked, and so it has ever since.

I can't imagine anything more annoying than a sports-themed restaurant. I go grudgingly into any restaurant that has a tv...which thanks to flat screens, is more and more commonplace. Whatever ESPNZONE is, I now have a vision of the down the block sports bar repackaged by those marketeers at Disney.
I'm quite sure there are sportsa-themed GENTLEMENSCLUBs. Do they need tvs too?

Good puzzle, though I thought ENTR clued with iNTERmission was way illegal.

Sir Hillary 9:00 AM  

Steinberg fan here, so liked. Tale of two hemispheres though. The west went in without a hitch. The east...um, no, lots of struggling there. LEMONLIME was the safeCRACKER on that side, and I worked my way north.

Great clue for CHIPS.

Not a fan of THEPOLLS. Feels like too obvious a crutch.

The only ESPNZONEs remaining are at Disney resorts, and given recent layoffs it wouldn't surprise me if they were all gone soon.

ZAK Starkey is Ringo's son, no?

Clue for SONINLAW...David's or Will's?

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

I have no idea what this means. What MD has been prevented from speaking ? Whoever he or she is I fully support him or her say whatever he or she wants.

John Child 9:05 AM  

Three cheers for @MAS.

And for Mr Steinberg for a fine offering. GENTLEMAN'S CLUB caused me to wince, but the constructor acknowledges the issue in his comments at xwordinfo. That he was 16 or 17 when he made this puzzle makes me feel a bit less ill-at-ease. The symmetric song title was a WOE, but no harm, no foul.

I see that ESPN ZONE is a chain of restaurants. New to me. BOUNCES OUT feels awkward in any context except basketball.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

Don't lump Coulter, Shapiro, MacDonald, and Murray in with Milo. Or MacDonald and Murray and maybe Shapiro in with Coulter. Or maybe MacDonald and Murray in with Shapiro. Murray and MacDonald are eminently serious folk.

pmdm 9:11 AM  

If you want to see the original clue for GENTLEMENSCLUB read David's comments on XWorkInfo.

The 42A 33D cross was brutal for me.

There's a lot of non-crossword chatter here about freedom of speech. The first amendment right is not a blanket right. You do not have the right to falsely yell "Fire" in a darkened and crowded movie theater. You do not have the right to orate encouraging criminal activity. You do not have the right to libel. Do public colleges have the right to deny persons the ability to claim something that is clearly false to be true (or vice versa)? Colleges in my opinion should be a place where meaningful debates about the truth of a statement is encouraged but not a place where falsehoods are presented as facts. There's a difference. The invective hurled in this forum is avoiding the real issue and really isn't relevant to this forum. So please stop and keep on subject.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

Doesn't matter they all share the same right if Freedom of Speech. So does Al Sharpton and any other left wing kook you might name.

Nancy 9:17 AM  

I spent twice as much time in the SE as I did in the other 3/4 of the puzzle combined. Mostly this was very easy for a Friday, but also it was very fair, with almost no PPP except the ubiquitous ASNER. (Question: Are there more ASNERs per puzzle or are there more ALDAs per puzzle, statistics-wise?)

I got stuck in the SE because I kept asking myself SEXY AND...what? (That was the one PPP answer that bollixed me up.) And I never heard of a CAIMAN, only a crocodile. My biggest blind spot (as in Nancy, you are so dumb!!!) was trying to think of where you go to vote. I had THE -----. And I'm thinking: Sometimes I've voted at a school. And sometimes I've voted at a church. And sometimes I've voted at the 92Y. Only when I had the final S did POLLS come to me. Duh! But I had made an error that kept me from seeing word patterns
anyway: For "subterfuge" I had RUSE before WILE. And I like it much better. You can be WILY, but can you have only one WILE???? Isn't it WILES and only WILES? I"m sure many of you have pointed this out already.

My last observation is the ball bouncing out of the hole thing. Wrong. Once the ball is in the hole, it's in the hole. It may almost go in the hole and lip out. Or it may bounce over the hole and not go in. But once it's in, it's in. Golf is hard enough, God knows. Let's not make it any harder.

Nancy 9:27 AM  

OMG -- Just realized I DNF. For "bottom of the sea" (10D) I had HELL, not HULL. And while I like my answer much better, it also gave me ReNES at 16A -- which, of course, is plain ridiculous.

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

Um, wrong . PS don't feed the trolls

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

Maybe because of GENTLEMAN'S CLUB, for 33A I had TIt before TIC

Hartley70 9:39 AM  

The news that tomorrow we will get a MAS puzzle has perked me up considerably. I don't think I'll need an alarm clock. Some stacks would always be very welcome, as I've told WS twice this year already at the risk of being a bore.

Today was a very good themeless that played quickly for me also. I liked the pairing of GENTLEMENSCLUB with SEXYANDI KNOW IT. To me it was just the juxtaposition of two different eras. Strip Clubs seem so passé and never occurred to me.

I wanted alcove for CRANNY and XERO was a non-starter for me. I needed crosses for ZAK.

Unlike @Rex, gimme a gimmick any day of the week. I liked the Thursday sudoku puzzle better than any themeless. What can I say? I like Sudoku and do several a day. They're better than a "trank".

Phil 9:40 AM  

Forgot about the narcissism of entertainers, had SEXY AND y'KNOW IT crossing CAyMAN.

RooMonster 9:41 AM  

Hey All !
Nice FriPuz. Found S harder than N. PPP cluster with PALOMA/SONINLAW(as clued)/SEXY../FENDI/ASNER (only easy one). Didn't care for THEPOLLS. WONT as clued seems odd. And XERO-graphic??

DNF with stAN, as FRAN a WOE with clue, and a Y for I in CAIMAN. Which made SEXY AND Y' KNOW IT, which seemed logical for that groups song.

Quite a spirited @Anonymous's debate today. How can one rally against free speech if not for having free speech in which to do it? :-)

Writeovers, same as a bunch of y'all, WHATAmess-WHATADUMP, agar-TINE, aERO-XERO, oreoS-CHIPS.

@M&A - nice weeject stack BRR AAA TIC.


Phil 9:42 AM  

ICC is not a matter of age, it's a matter of not remembering your grade school amhistory or current events teachings.

Two Ponies 9:42 AM  

Nice collection of interesting words today. I had NO idea about the pop song, but it doesn't sound like I missed much.
Thanks David. Looking forward to a Sat. with MAS.

After a long forced retreat from my daily visits here I'm glad to see some old friends are still around (Hi @ evil doug).

Mohair Sam 9:47 AM  

First off - A hardy congrats to @Rex. Ya got us! I immediately Googled RR and cricket after reading the blog and sure enough - there's an NRR (Net Run Rate) in cricket. So Rex's ridiculous ICC comment actually makes total sense. Tip of the cap Rexford.

As for David Steinberg's puzzle - brutally tough here. Really clean though, a great Friday. We dnf'd on the song by the group with the dirty name. We spelled CAIMAN with a "Y" like the island, and thought there might be EERO graphics after the architect. And you know how these new groups like to misspell everything, so we came up with "See Ya 'nd Y Know it" (In D Flat Major).

I drink a lot of Sprite and kept trying to squeeze caffeine-free into 57A. CRouton for CRACKER cost some time. Nifty clue for ENTR. 24D, RACED? Pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat may be racing for your heart, but if your V6 makes that sound you're about to stall out.

Another fun Steinberg. And sounds like we've got an MAS tomorrow, hope he stacked 'em up.

Robert A. Simon 9:53 AM  

I just love it when I crawl to the finish line on a Friday or Saturday having had to change the batteries in my stopwatch only to have you say it was the easiest puzzle since the box said "2-4 years." Ah, well.

My problem is that there are not one but two (big) brand names in this thing, and with newspapers needing every last dime of revenue, I can't help but think that our beloved squares are for sale to the highest bidder. Why not "Slice" instead of "Sprite?," (which would have been a much better clue?) Because maybe just maybe K outbid PEP, that's why. And no, of course I'm not serious, but if one of these days, "clean," "crisp" and "refreshing" cross "lemon lime," we're gonna have a whole different conversation.

Nancy 10:01 AM  

@Tita (8:59) -- If memory serves, there used to be a TV show called "Kids Say The Darndest Things", presided over by Art Linkletter. Your "cuckoo" = "naked" anecdote would have made for an indelible example. It's priceless. Let me also second and third your determination to avoid any eatery with a television set. I do the same.

@pmdm's post sent me to Xword.com, where my jaw dropped as I beheld the (very flattering) photo of David Steinberg. He's so young!", I thought. "I had no idea he was THAT young!" It's one thing to be told on a blog that a constructor is young. It's quite another thing to see it with your own eyes. I mean, everyone: He's really young!

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

Help! How does "practice" = WONT? (Given that nobody else has asked the question, I'm obviously missing something obvious).

Z 10:11 AM  

@Mohair Sam and @anon8:27 - Seriously? Somebody contact DS and ask if it is Cricket or Interstate Commerce. I'm really really really hoping he intended cricket.

Z 10:13 AM  

@anon10:10 - It is my wont to ignore anonymice. It is my practice to ignore anonymice. Thank you for asking a legitimate question. This puzzled me for quite awhile, too.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

Thank you, Z. My OCD brain can now move on to other things.

Nancy 10:16 AM  

Anon 10:10 -- I'm going over the limit to answer your question: I'm off to the park today, as is my WONT. I'm off to the park today, as is my practice.

It's not a felicitous example of a synonym, but it is serviceable.

Maruchka 10:17 AM  

Nice, nicer, and nicely done, Mr. Steinberg. You are a true GENTLEMaN of The Puzz.

As we watch our watchdogs come under fire, it's nice to remember there was once an ICC. Pro publica!

@Nancy - Love the image of a watery Hell. Dante and Virgil in scuba gear?

Speaking of sin - "GENTLEMaN of Leisure - A year in the Life of a Pimp". 1970s photo essay about Silky and his world It's tough, and worth it.

John Child 10:23 AM  

@Nancy He is young, and he has 62 NYT puzzles, edits the Orange County Register puzzle, and has many other published puzzles. He started really young. I think this was the original picture he sent to xwordinfo.

John Child 10:34 AM  

I see that PRODIGY has appeared only twice in an NYT puzzle *as an answer* - 1954 and 2000.

The reason we can look into the far past of NYT puzzles is David's Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 10:42 AM  

I liked the Gentlemen's Club clue. Some definite advantages to being an elderly Anglophile .... I thought only of Jeeves and Wooster or a scene from Downton Abbey. Enjoyed the puzzle.

Mohair Sam 10:45 AM  

@Z - The Cricket ICC is still very much around, the clue specified "Old", and the Interstate Commerce commission fizzled out a couple of decades back - so I'd assume Railroads and commerce - but it is a Friday. Best check with David S.

Nancy 10:52 AM  

@Sallie (10:42) -- I also thought of GENTLEMEN'S CLUB only in the Downton Abbey sense. Maybe that's because I believe that the type of men who frequent the type of "GENTLEMEN'S CLUB" referred to by Moly Shu, Z and others are...well...no gentlemen.

QuasiMojo 10:57 AM  

@Nancy et al, re TV-plagued eateries, which I guess now are ubiquitous, I was shocked recently when I returned to an old haunt of mine, one of those legendary erstwhile gentlemen's clubs (later co-ed) where you ran a tab (money was never seen), the food was traditional (Senegalese soup), and the decor steeped in history, only to find that the place had been remodeled and outfitted with ginormous and hideous flat-screen TVs over the bar. You couldn't hear your dinner companion. Cole Porter would be spinning in his grave.

GILL I. 10:58 AM  

I love me some David Steinberg once in a while. I did today even though it had a lot of that XXX in it.
I'm always leery about making an entry because his answers could be anything...STAN=FRAN COZY=DAWG - well, you get my point. So I went pit-a-pat all over the place until I came to my first - for sure- entry, PALOMA. Love that name, can't stand her jewelry. She gave me that whole central part. Worked back up to the attic. Little by little words started popping in. Fun...!
The Americans hi-jacked the term GENTLEMENS CLUB and made it into a sleazy strip club. The Savile in London ain't no strip club. Why do we sleaze ball so many words? Speaking of...@Nancy, you know that bollix are the gonads, don't you.
Loved the clue for BRR; almost wrote in MILK for the Harvey College and still can't figure out which BART has spiked hair...
@Barbie B. Just read your comment from yesterday. I'll Google the Apr. 14th Anthony Lane review and see what I can. Thanks!
Hey @Two Ponies...welcome back! You still in Vegas?

GHarris 10:58 AM  

If you think basketball hoop as the hole then a ball that goes halfway down and comes out bounces. Not so much a golf hole. Never heard the term zerographics.

Nate 11:05 AM  


WONT is a nice word in writing and in speech. "Practice" is an acceptable but kinda odd way to clue it. I had WORK there for a while, but wasn't happy about it.

I'm usually one to rail against the lack of new-er pop culture references. And then they drop a very current reference with one of the One-Hit Wonderiest of the One-Hit Wonders in the LMFAO clue... aaaaand of course I can't remember that dumb song for the life of me. Way to go, brain.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

"The ICC is a checkin' on down the line" is a line from the country music classic "Six Days on the Road," by Dave Dudley from back in the day when "little white pills" were more or less common among long distance truckers. Annon 8:35, --My thoughts exactly--you made my morning.

Two Ponies 11:23 AM  

@ GILL I, Thanks. I'm in Montana now and no NYT dead tree version to be had (as was my wont) but lots of live trees! No cell phones and internet only possible via satellite. Nice to be back.

Masked and Anonymous 11:33 AM  

Tits in yer puz is always better than pewits in yer puz.

themelessthUmbsUp. Knew ZAK (yep, = Ringo's son, as someone else asked about). Also ALCAN. Didn't know FENDI. Or XERO-graphic. Or Harvey MUDD. Everything else was pretty much gettable, at our house. "Easy" for a FriPuz sounds about right, @RP. fave answerzone: ACROPOLIS GENTLEMENS CLUB -- WHAT A DUMP. I assume the two 14-letter entries were seeds; otherwise, why would anyone struggle to stuff 14-letter entries into yer 15x15 themeless?

staff weeject pick: SSN/MSS nice symmetric pairin of gentleman's desperation. Honrable mention to @Roo's weeject stack selection. Admirable show of respect for the little runts, my son.

Thanx, Mr. Steinberg. Don't be a stranger: try to come back a little more often.

Masked & Anonymo5Us
"Sexy & I Don't Know That"

Yo, @Two Ponies!


evil doug 11:41 AM  

Hiya, 2! Hope all is well in Big Sky country.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

@Phil Phil - Such a pithy comment: yeah if you were up on your current events you would certainly know of the ICC. Specifically, if you were up on your current events you would know that the ICC was disbanded over 10 years ago, and wouldn't have made such a stupid comment that the ICC is involved in current events.

r.alphbunker 11:48 AM  

Same as @phil phil. I finished with SEXY AND Y'KNOW IT/CAYMAN Google indicates that CAYMAN is an alternate spelling of CAIMAN. I had no chance here.

Details are here

timjim 12:00 PM  

Pretty easy except for XENO, SKORT and CAIMAN crossing a song I'd never heard of.

Mr. Benson 12:01 PM  

Seems David Steinberg's puzzles have gotten a lot easier. He used to make some real doozies, but recently they've all been quite doable.

mccoll 12:09 PM  

World wide there are many Gentlemen's clubs. They are fading out because they exclude women.Mostly they are high-end men's bars. No strippers. In C anada if we want striopoers we call them peeler bar's so there is no confusion. Could it be that there aren't enough gentlemen in the US to make it worthwhile? Just kidding.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

The Divided States of America. Obama's legacy

Carola 12:32 PM  

Having a slow morning, brain-wise, I felt a jolt of anxiety when I spotted David Steinberg's name at the top of the puzzle. Would I be up to it? But it turned out to be a very pleasant clockwise ramble, beginning with two of my favorite items: CHIPS x CRACKERs. I liked SARTRE x ENTR', too. One do-over: DogG.

Malsdemare 12:36 PM  

Ah, the First Amendment. It means, as long as there's no harm to people or property, that
A. Anne Coulter can say pretty much anything she wants as long as she isn't seditious, treasonous, libelous, or promoting violence.
B. Group A can invite her to speak.
C. Group B can protest that invitation.
D. Group A can rescind that invitation, for security concerns or because they all have Garth Brooks tickets for that night.
E. Group C can protest that Group A rescinded the invitation.
F. People, anonymous or otherwise, can come on this blog and protest that group B "trampled on Coulter's right to speak."
G. People can rant about on this blog about those who rant. Including calling them names. Ugh!

That we can do it doesn't mean we should, but that's another post.

I was the little engine that could today, just chugging away, only momentarily halted at that bump of CAIMAN crossing WONT. I have no clue about the croc look-a-like, and had WOrk for practice. Figured out my problem when I realized I'd created something new with a SKORk.

jberg 12:38 PM  

What's all this talk about the ICC as a New Deal agency? As someone pointed out, it was created in 1887, 45 years before FDR got in.

I'm staying out of the free speech debate, which belongs somewhere else. As for crosswords, anyone has the right to construct one, but that doesn't mean the Times has to publish it.

I've got a cane, but no top hat, so I've always stayed out of those clubs.

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

It's called a heckler's veto and it's a term of art coined by U Chicago Law Professor Harry Kalviin and cited by the Supreme Court many times. I Look it up and stop feeding ...

mathgent 12:47 PM  

Wonderful puzzle! Sufficient crunch, some fresh entries, several nice misdirects in the cluing.

I enjoyed the back and forth on free speech. Some some well-expressed short points on both sides.

Many of us like to list their first thoughts on an entry which aren't correct but fit the clue to some extent. Do we find such comments informative?

Mom 12:59 PM  

@Mr. Benson. Or maybe you've gotten better!

old timer 1:07 PM  


One cheat: Looked up ASNER because I also did not know FENDI. And did not guess ENTR AFORE I got FENDI.

Tough but mostly fair. Like most of you I got the entire L side before working on the R. I did write in TIC but had to come here to learn how it could be part of XXX.

There are still a few old-style GENTLEMENS CLUBs in San Francisco. The Bohemian and Pacific Union to name two. I think there may still be that other kind of club in North Beach, but for the most part a strip club (such few as are left) is just a strip joint and does not put on airs.

I loved the story about how the ICC had no rules on how old you had to be to get a drink on a train. I crossed the country when I was 17, on the New England States to Chicago, then on the original California Zephyr. I spent the night walking all over San Francisco's downtown then boarded the Daylight for that final run to Los Angeles. On one of those trains, maybe the Zephyr, I ordered a drink in the lounge car. I still remember it, it was a rum collins.

And oh yes, during that long layover in Chicago I walked up State Street and went to a GENTLEMENS CLUB, though they insisted it was a burlesque show -- and yes, there were comics interspersed with the (almost) naked ladies.

Teedmn 1:24 PM  

I was in a "cozy" frame of mind today - WHAT A DUMP dumped right in but I started reconsidering when GENTLEMENS CLUB showed up and made me think "snuG" for "homey" but I wasn't DAFT enough to change it all the way. And falling for the Laurel and Hardy error at 3D (after all, the only place I've seen Laurel and Hardy is on TV) had me trying to crowbar kaThmandu in at the highest city spot.

I was using an area MAP at 39D but perhaps it's TMI to tell you how I worked my way out of that mess. And along with others, (hi @r.alph) I had alligator kin in the CAyMAN islands but I finally parsed the LMFAO song correctly.

Har, @Nancy, love the HeLL at the bottom of the sea. My error in the NE was having ZAc for a long time and since the only word I could think of that ends in _CcER is soCcER, which neither fit nor made sense, I had to clean up in the NE before I got CRACKERs in my soup. But the longest stare time came at my 54D-62A cross. IMI_ crossing SE_T; for some reason I wanted a texting acronym at 54D which made anything possible for that last letter. The poker reference finally jabbed some sense into me - ah, the draft has been SENT.

Thanks, David S. for a nice Friday challenge. And thanks, @Hartley70, for going to THE POLLS with WS for more stacks!

Fork Everything 1:56 PM  

Just noticed that David used TINE in his very first NYTimes puzzle on June 16, 2011: "Points at a table" = TINES.

That boy sure does love his utensils. And I sure do love his puzzles. That 2011 puzzle is definitely worth revisiting.

GILL I. 1:58 PM  

@Barbie B. Just read Anthony Lanes' April review in the New Yorker for "A Quiet Passion." I love his writing style so I guess I'm in for a treat. Just finished Lizzie Widdicombes' "Annals of Gastronomy"... that's a treat as well.
Almost makes me want to have read KAEL and her movie reviews.

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

Man, this Rex Parker dude is really a self-righteous twit.

chefwen 3:14 PM  

@Two Ponies -A sight for sore eyes, missed you and your cute avatar. Welcome home!

@Gil I - I DID put down Harvey Milk first, felt like a fool. Pretty much needed all the crosses to get AMARYLLIS. areaMAP didn't stay too long either.

Good Friday puzzle.

Paul 3:16 PM  

Excellent point.

Flailing Away 3:31 PM  

So how is TIC part of XXX? I get RACED for Pit-a-pat, but I still don't get TIC.

Tita 3:33 PM  

@mathgent - yes - wrong tries are sometimes interesting. I keep a "Wrong answers Hall of Fame" on my blog, but I haven't been updating it. I did it for a while, and invited everyone to add their own as comments, but haven't gotten any bites - so er - maybe it's NOT so informative!

I do have the requirement that the wrong answer bu not merely wrong, but hilariously wrong.

@Quasi, @Nancy - there is one exception to my no-tv rule.
Back before we had cable, my husband would take the kids to TK's American Cafe.
Despite the lah-di-dah name, it was just a dive whose main clientele was (and is) UCONN students.
It used to have a little TV at each booth, and a remote control. You could watch whatever you wanted - and they had cable!! Which we didn't.
So it was an occasional diversion.

They now have dozens and dozens of tvs, and still give you the remote. But the secret fun of your own tiny tube tv and power to watch what you want is gone.

Stop the troll-feeding!

RooMonster 3:43 PM  

For those who (whom? :-P ) asked, TIC for XXX is Tic-Tac-Toe. You get three X's, you win! Simple, eh? :-D

And for the person asking about BART (too lazy to go back through comments, although not too lazy to type this whole disclaimer), it's BART Simpson, which I'm surprised OFL passed up as I know it's a favorite of his.


chefwen 3:44 PM  

@Flailing Away - TIC as in tic tac toe XXX
@ Gill I - Spikey haired kid I think would be Bart Simpson

chefwen 3:46 PM  

WOW beaten by a minute, darn you ROO!

Andrew Heinegg 3:57 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 3:58 PM  

@Two Ponies Welcome back.

Andrew Heinegg 4:01 PM  

As usual, a well thought out post by you, Malsdemare; I continue to be distressed by the personal insults that are attached to too many of the political commentaries herein. I don't get how the writers of such invective come to the conclusion that their opinion or assessment is enhanced or reinforced by the personal insult.

Unfortunately, it seems like both sides of the aisle don't seem to have a problem with it so, it appears inevitable that it will continue unabated.

Anoa Bob 4:11 PM  

Thanks to the anon who reminded us of the ICC lyrics in "Six Days On The Road". Although I've heard that song many times, I never fully made the ICC-as-federal-regulator connection, even though the lyrics following "The ICC is a checkin' on down the line" is "I'm a little overweight and my log book is way behind".

My favorite version is Taj Mahal's interpretation. It's got some punch to it.

Loved ACROPOLIS. There has to be some superhero that lives there, right?

RooMonster 4:55 PM  

@chefwen 3:46
Har! I guess because things are taken laid back enough in Hawaii!


Joe Bleaux 5:07 PM  

@Mr. Benson, you may be right. I suspected as much when I found myself solving a David Steinberg puzzle at a good (for me) clip, and on a Friday at that. Great puzzle, as always; the kid kills. Working from the bottom up, I enjoyed smooth sailing 'til I hit those rocks at FENDI, ENTR, SARTRE (dammit, I KNEW that one, but ... ).Not knowing about ZAC and thinking the Starkey clue was about his daddy, I shrugged and went with Ric, as short for Richard. When it finally dawned on me that the sports restaurant made sense only as ZONE, ZAK and SARTRE fell into place, as did ENTR (which, I recalled from "acte," but still liked no more than I did FENDI). As noted in earlier posts, sweet spots at CHIPS, TINES, SENT, I'M IN, and a coupla others (no cheers for CLOD, or singular WILE). This late in the day, I hope the trolls are too well-fed to bite, but: Yeah, let Coulter speak -- but screw her, her ilk, and her fans.

jae 5:24 PM  

Yes, a very easy Fri.

Ten before TIC

area to sITE to CITY

and me too for ruse before WILE and CAyMAN before CAIMAN.

Liked it, but if you want more of a challenge try this week's AVCX themeless by Kameron Austin Collins.

Scroll Finger 5:27 PM  

Y'all know it's very easy to skip the obnoxious posts. Y'all just keep on scrolling.

Unknown 5:40 PM  

After all these comments, I guess I'm the only one who still doesn't get ENTR.

Anonymous 5:45 PM  

The Klan tried to keep MLK from speaking. I loathe Ann Coulter and think MLK was the greatest American ever, but the point is the same. There can be no viewpoint discrimination regarding free speech.

Mohair Sam 6:13 PM  

@Timothy - ENTR is from the theatrical term Entr'acte which means literally between the acts, or intermission.

Joe Dipinto 6:14 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle, no coming-to-a-screeching-halt experiences while solving. Started in the Paloma/Asner region and just kept going (got Fendi and Sartre right away). A tad easy for a Friday, imo. What's with the Jared Kushner clue, though? I mean, he's a son-in-law but is that really "notable" in itself? Wouldn't "Kushner, to Trump" be a better (if easier) clue?

Nothwithstanding what "gentlemen's club" eventually came to mean, the term always reminds me of a James Thurber story called "The Breaking Up of the Winships", wherein a married couple has a nonsensical disagreement that escalates into a full-blown standoff, with the husband eventually moving into his "club". It's truly hilarious.

Joe Dipinto 6:56 PM  

And I sincerely regret the early extra "h" in "notwithstanding."

Anonymous 8:28 PM  

Antifa = Alt-left=liberal hypocrisy.

Anonymous 8:48 PM  

Antifa=KKK. FIFY

BarbieBarbie 9:34 PM  

@old timer, politics is in the air today because it's in the puzz. Thanks Mr. Steinberg for a great 100th day celebration of IM IN, SONINLAW, ADDICTED TO THE POLLS, XXX, TMI, SEXYANDIKNIWIT,, and perhaps the best description of the current White House I've seen so far: PEABRAINED GENTLEMEN'S CLUB. Camp David even made it, for about 30 minutes ("what a dump"). Love love love the misdirect at 33A. Great puzzle.

Leapfinger 5:55 AM  

@Anonymouth 12:31

The Divided States of America. Not Obama's legacy. Racism's legacy.

All yawl ought to be keel-hulled.

Anon 7:16 AM  

I had KathmAndu crossing with Stan, until I realized it had to be Alumna, so finally got Acropolis.

Clint 7:52 AM  

So the real significance of the ICC is that it was the first real attempt by the federal government to regulate a bloated and rapacious industry, the railroad, in the American Industrial Revolution. This happened around the time FDR was born. This is not to be confused with the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which was used rather effectively by FDR and Congress to push through federal legislation in the Great Depression.

mmorgan 11:55 AM  

The entr'acte is not an Intermission starter, it starts Act II.

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

On the list of things that divide this country, racism doesn't crack the top 10.
The single greatest divide in the country or the world for that matter is whether life is merely an act of randomness or part of an ordered universe The willful act of a prime mover.
For most of human history the proposition that life was telelogical was simply a given. The cleave between those that say it is and those that say it ain't is a very modern phenomenon.

Anonymous 8:19 PM  

Much of what the ICC (Interstate Commerce Commission) was taken over by the Department of Transportation (DOT). The company I own hydrotests pressure vessels, which were once spec'ed as "ICC cylinders" and are now "DOT cylinders." At a DOT facility, my company is reviewed every five years by an independent third-party agency, who then recommends us (or not) to the DOT to be re-issued our re-qualifiers I.D. #. Back in the 70's, the third party agencies were often associated with railroads. So this clue and answer was obvious to me.

spacecraft 10:16 AM  

Argh, single-letter DNF. Misspelled CAyMAN, and didn't know the artist LMFAO, let alone the song. I figured "SEXY AND Y'KNOW IT" worked. I did like it though. Man, they really cleaned up that GENTLEMENSCLUB clue, didn't they? I mean, they scrubbed it! Top hats and canes indeed. LMFAO!

Where there were equal choices I just left the changeable squares blank till later, as in T__TERED and _O_IC.

There's more short-fill junk than one might expect to find in a DS: SSN BRR AAA ICC MSS and the painful ENTR. Still, I would never call this a PEABRAINED effort. The kid is rapidly garnering a set of "immunities" for himself, I guess. Am I becoming ADDICTEDTO him?

DOD is the sexy-voiced FRAN Drescher. Talk about tits in your puzzle! (Hey, I didn't say it first.) If allowed to give a score on a puz that I (technically) DNF, I'd put down a par. Clean up that short stuff, DAWG.

Joe in Newfoundland 11:51 AM  

syndication-land piping in here. Is ENTR'ACTE English? I would have expected something indicating French. "Beginning of intermission in Ypres" eg.

Burma Shave 11:58 AM  


So this CLOD BOUNCES him OUT of that IONIC pub


rain forest 1:40 PM  

Easy-medium here, but unfortunately the very same DNF as @Spacey, and for the same reasons. I still think that gator cousin is spelled CAyMAN. Must look it up.

I think I must be naive. The prevailing understanding of a GENTELMEN'S CLUB is not mine. I really thought of one of those elite places with overstuffed armchairs and brandy and cigars and self-important conversation.

Steinberg's puzzles are always a treat, and even if I don't get the connection between RACED, and pit-a-pat, I liked this one a lot.

Diana,LIW 2:00 PM  

One of those "aha" filled Friday puzzles - played at a leisurely pace. Even tho I had a 3-letter dnf in the middle (yes, the ZAK/ENTR/ESPN???? area), I had great fun sussing out the rest.

Didn't see the DS designation until I came here. Since I met him at ACPT, I'm glad I didn't, as I'm now biased "for" him. So not knowing merely confirmed my admiration of his skills.

If your heart's racing, @Rainy, it's going "pit-a-pat," which I always heard as pitterpat. Like what your heart does when watching "Felix, the wonderful cat." (You'll laugh so hard your sides will ache your heart...)

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the Entre Actes

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

A real stinker, infested with pissers. Rejected.

leftcoastTAM 2:38 PM  

Struggled with some of this: FENDI, TIC, XERO, PALOMA, and the LMFAO (never heard of them) SEXY song, but crosses came to the rescue.

Long downs were fairly easy and helped a lot.

Favorite entry: Bette Davis's classic delivery of "WHAT A DUMP!"

ALCAN now mostly known as the Alaska Highway, though
our friends north of the border likely prefer the traditional name. (@rain forest?)

One square dnf: AMoRYLLIS/CAIMoN crossing. Damn.

Another good Steinberg offering.

rondo 2:42 PM  

Only one write-over at areaMAP, so a pretty smooth Fri-puz. Disappointed that the clue wasn’t “stereotypical Trump supporter” for CRACKER.

ESPNZONEs used to be located in your larger cities. I visited them in NY, Chicago, and L.A., and have the polo shirts from each to prove it. The last one I got was in L.A. in 2012 when they were already phasing out of business there and the only shirts AEG had out for sale were for the Kings, Lakers, etc. I asked the kid at the register about an ESPNZONE shirt, like all the restaurant staff were wearing. He went into the back room and came out with a nice black one in my size and said it would be $25. I handed him the money and he was “having trouble” getting a receipt. I quickly understood that the ESPNZONE shirts were no longer in inventory and told him to just bag it. I got my L.A. ESPNZONE shirt and he had $25 extra in his pocket for his day’s work.
Got my Chicago ESPNZONE shirt due to being on an Amtrak late arrival and missing my connection. They put us up in a hotel next to ESPNZONE, so it was just a coincidence being there. Got a baseball cap, too.
Got my NY ESPNZONE shirt one week before 9/11 when I went there for brunch instead of going down to the World Trade Center, figuring I could look at the buildings any other time in the future. Upside is that I had brunch at the same time, in the same room with Kenny G.
All my ESPNZONE gear has a story.

Drive down 8 Mile Road in Detroit and you’ll see plenty of GENTLEMENSCLUBs. Ain’t no top hats and canes there, DAWG.

Gotta put PALOMA Picasso in the yeah baby category. Talk about SEXYANDIKNOWIT.

Always like a DS puz, probably ADDICTEDTO them.

rain forest 6:16 PM  

@Lady Di - Thanks for the pit-a-pat explanation. As you can imagine, I was thinking of my babysitting times with my grandson where "Pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat, baker man...". I never race through that.

Diana,LIW 6:57 PM  

Well, @Rainy, I understand the confusion. However, the rhyme is, "Patty cake, patty cake, baker's man. Bake me a cake as fast as you can."

The only other pitterpat (pit-a-pat) I know of is the pitterpat of little feet, often said when inquiring if a couple is expecting (to hear same in the near future).

Lady Di

leftcoastTAM 7:31 PM  

@rain forest--Any thoughts on the ALCAN/Alaska Highway question?

rain forest 2:08 AM  

@leftcoastTAM - I believe you are correct about the designation, but when I traveled on that road, maybe 15 years ago, the signage said the Alcan highway. Whatever you call it, it is the same road. I actually wanted to put in Dempster Highway, but that one is quite different, and very hard on tires.

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