Verona vino / FRI 4-14-17 / 16 things in Don Giovanni / Foreigner's genre / Instrument with three-sided body / Instrument with octave keys / Creator of 1966 underground film chelasea girls

Friday, April 14, 2017

Constructor: Andrew Kingsley

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Marc SOAVE (15A: Verona vino) —
noun: Soave
  1. a dry white wine produced in the region of northern Italy around Soave. (google)
• • •

As with yesterday's puzzle, I found this one nicely made but dull. I think "ABOUT THAT..." was my favorite moment, because it seems fresh and colloquial and different. Everything else, solid as it was, was less than exciting. STRAIT-LACED, even. Also, eight "?" is a little much for me. Anything over five starts trying my patience. If you wanna get cute, sure, have some fun with a few "?" clues (assuming they are Perfect) but maybe try being cute without them. [Yankee fare] messes with your mind *without* resorting to "?". Ditto [Family-friendly diner choice], [Kayak alternative], etc. How do I know how much BBS cost? (24D: Cheap shot?). Anyway, by about the sixth "?" clue I think I audibly ugh'ed. You gotta nail those, especially with nothing else really sterling going on in the fill. But again, this is solid and I did not dislike it.

I've noticed lately that, in troublesome areas, there's usually just one answer that's really holding things back. Now, in the NW today, the whole far west part was a disaster. I had a DRUM getting beaten, and a BUST as my [Museum offering]. Also, my [Persian, e.g.] was a CAT (duh). But ATLAS and SHOT proved right, and somehow I was able to backfill (reasonably quickly) all the crap I messed up with those initial Downs. But in other places it was a single answer that (in retrospect) gunked up the works. APED was a killer in the east (28A: Followed closely?). Got it down to -PED and still couldn't think of anything but SPED. Then in the south, the culprit was TENAM (49D: 1000, familiarly). TENGS ... is obviously wrong, from a math standpoint, but it's all my brain wanted with just the TE- in place. 1000 is not not not TENAM "familiarly" unless you are in the military. Do you say "ten hundred?" Weird. IF SO does not mean [Then]. There's nothing conditional about [Then]. I see where a lawyer could argue their equivalence, but that is weaksauce in extremis.

 [I met Cody Decker before tonight's Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Mets AA) home opener and then he got three hits including two doubles because I have that effect on people]

I have to get up at 4am so I really need to go to sleep now.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Johnny 12:23 AM  

I had TENgs too, and when I finally corrected it I thought it was a great misdirect, even if it is mathematically wrong. I'll bet a bunch of solvers had TENgs in there...

Also, the clue for TENAM is correct; Rex got it backwards. 1000 is familiarly known as TENAM.

John Child 12:39 AM  

Before I looked up where the Rumble Ponies' name came from I had some wild imaginings: "Boy, those rural kids have to go a long way for a good fight," and "Do the ponies themselves rumble, leaving the kids free to socialize?"

Their logo suggests the latter: The pony pictured has on boxing gloves AND a cudgel. Turns out they were the Mets until just recently. The entry that won the renaming contest was: Binghamton Rumble Ponies - A tribute to the Triple Cities' carousel heritage, the "Binghamton Rumble Ponies" is a herd of fierce horses that no carousel center pole can contain.

Learn something new everyday...

Very clean puzzle IMO, and as OFL says, not terribly interesting. I'd place sparkliness next to Godliness and take a little more junk to get it. YMMV. Several minutes faster than average for Friday, so I concur with the easy rating.

Moly Shu 12:47 AM  

BALALAIKA crossing ECKO seems like a problem, one I somehow avoided. @Rex is 100% wrong about 1000. I've never been in the military and I know it is 10:00am. Any 2400 hour clock will tell you that. Saw SCAT at the top, then SKAT at the bottom and figured one of them was wrong, but all the crosses checked out so no harm done I guess. PARLANCE is a cool word, and I thought we might get a Napoleon Dynamite clip in honor of HEDER. Dang, (not) lucky.

Robin 12:47 AM  

Rough in the NW and had to backfill to get in there. SO pretty much worked from the NE and down then over.

Slight bit of trouble in the SE as I tried to fill in GRAND for 1000, and ALPHAWOLF for the pack leader. But figured out fast enough that that F was not going to work and GRAND was also no good.

Could have sword it was STRAIghTLACED. I guess you learn something new now and again.

A few nice clues in there, including those for ARENAROCK and MOSES.

But wait, SCAT and SKATE in the same puzzle? Hmmm.

jae 12:48 AM  

And I thought yesterday's was easy. No erasures, no WOEs, lotsa gimmes, never paused...a Wed. at best.

This was OK, but not much really stands out, or what @Rex said.

Fun fact: ANNA Paquin was the first millennial to be nominate for and win an Oscar.

Chim cham 1:34 AM  

Agreed about the difficulty. I like my Friday's to play like Saturdays, if not harder. Cut my average time by almost half. Still, fun while it lasted. Liked TOUGH LOVE because it looked like it was going to be something negative, and then the crosses revealed LOVE first:)

puzzle hoarder 2:23 AM  

All was easy except for the SE corner. I had a SES/CES dnf. I had considered COIL so I must have heard the quote at some point but "shuffle" got me to go with SOIL. It turns out the Shakespeare quote is used in Webster's for that definition of COIL. CES of course is not in the dictionary, except where I annotated it back in 2012. As far as SCAT and SKAT both being in the same puzzle, I thought that kind of near repetition wasn't allowed. I checked the clue lists and this is a first for the two being in the same puzzle.

Anoa Bob 2:30 AM  

There are some nice entries in this one such as SNOW CRAB, WARHOL & BALALAIKA. Much of the clueing, though, seems straight forward, even STRAIT LACED, and I'm thinking this reflects the NYT's effort to cultivate a larger audience ($!) by making the puzzle easier and quicker to solve. I think their ideal puzzle would be one that the typical solver can finish in the time it takes for a typical commute to work.

TERABYTE is getting a workout of late.

Like @Robin, I confidently put in ALPHA WOLF for 33D "Leader of the pack". When ALPHA MALE emerged, I thought back to the hyenas I studied in grad school. For hyenas, the "leader of the pack" is the ALPHA FEMALE. I believe that's true for elephants also.

Hartley70 2:43 AM  

This was too tough for me to enjoy on a Thursday night, or maybe I need to stop solving after midnight. I had the ANNAS, but I didn't know HEDER who I guessed was Cryer and ECKO is a brand of kitchen utensils to me.

Loren Muse Smith 3:09 AM  

BALALAIKA crossing TEN AM and ECKO was my deathblow. Never thought time for 1000 even though it crosses TIME. Sheesh. @Moly Shu – I agree that that cross is rough. I had “Ecco” and that was the least of my worries. The only thing I had for the Hamlet quote was to shuffle off this mortal “coop.” Vaguely concluded that “fly the coop” came from Shakespeare. Moved off to make more mistakes.

Coulda sworn the Deadliest Catch guys were going for “king” CRAB.

“Sits” before ASKS for 48D clue “poses.”

“O by the way” before ABOUT THAT. I’m with Rex on ABOUT THAT. Terrific. For me, the phrase feels like a little apologetic rationalized explanation.

Hey – wasn’t there a ton of POT ROAST left over? I can’t find it.
Uh, yeah. ABOUT THAT…

Big alcohol vibe in a TAVERN with SHOT, TALL ONE, TAP, SOAVE. (And then SOUND ASLEEP if you’re lucky. Startling mug shot if you’re not.)

And I liked SOUND ASLEEP right next to CAT NAP.

@Robin – I bet (hope) there are a ton of us this morning who were surprised that it’s STRAIT-LACED and not “straight-laced.” And I bet some of us have looked into it to see that it comes from tightening a bodice in a strait (as in narrow and constricted) fashion. Who knew? “Straight-laced” googles much, much stronger, fwiw. And it’s “dire straits” and “strait jacket.” Huh. Just upped my game. Ok - my written game. In the PARLANCE game there’s no difference, at least in its strait sense.

Thank. God. It’s. Friday. Teaching SRS this time of year is not for the faint of heart. Put a fork in’em. They’re done.

Dolgo 3:11 AM  

I think the dreaded auto-correct got you here. SCAT and SKAT in the same puzzle. That always messes me up, too! Anyone know how to turn the damn thing off?!!

Dolgo 3:16 AM  

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm getting mighty tired of OBOE, OREO, ARIA,and similar words being used over and over with vain attempts to come up with ever more clever clues. Find some new words, fer chrissakes!

Charles Flaster 5:12 AM  

Medium , very nice construction and cluing.
DNF at TEN AM which I now realize is a valid clue. Spelled BALALAIKA incorrectly so my fashion designer was ECcO.
Did not like the clue for BAD RAPS.
But, creative cluing for OTHER HALF, SOUND ASLEEP, RAIN DATE, and YEAS.
Writeovers-- ASKS for sitS and REHEM for REarM.
I do not have a problem with SCAT and SKAT in the same puzzle.
Thanks AK

Rex Parker 5:21 AM  


The weirdest thing about the Rumble Ponies (brand new name for the Mets AA affiliate this year) is that the term came from a children's book written by my friend and colleague Liz Rosenberg. Her daughter threw out one of the first pitches at last night's home opener. Anyway, a wonderfully unlikely source for a baseball team name.


Unknown 5:28 AM  

A very manly puzzle today: ALPHAMALE, PUTIN the judo master, not one but TWO beer clues, TOUGHLOVE. I suppose LEERAT is also kind of a male trait? I also suffered from the ECKO/BALALAIKA cross. I cry natick on that one.

Conrad 5:34 AM  

@Dolgo: On an iPhone, go into Settings -> General -> Keyboard and turn the Auto-Correction switch off. Then invent something and call it an ORIA.

mathgent 6:28 AM  

This played more like a cryptic than a crossword for me. When I do a cryptic, I fill in the gimmes (usually not many) and then guess words for the other clues. If the guess is right, I can see how it comes from the wordplay in the cryptic half of the clue. So the word comes first and then you have to figure out how the clue makes sense.

In this puzzle there were 18 such words. A few such clues (like the one for BADRAPS) never made sense to me.

Since I like to do cryptics, you'd that that I would have liked this puzzle. But I didn't, even though I put 14 red plus signs in the margins, about average for a Friday. Maybe the lack of wordplay.

BarbieBarbie 6:33 AM  

Sorry, Rex, IFSO does mean THEN. "Are you a friend of the bride? Then sit here..." "...if so, sit here." What I don't get is how "show room?" means TIMESLOT. I guessed right there, but still don't get it. A position on the program is a tine slot, maybe? Feels weak.
Anyway, decent puzzle, faster than yesterday's which was easy, but I did a lot of circling back, and used every clue. So, medium for me I think. Two in a row that didn't make me late for work, but no, that's not critical to maintain my fanhood. By the way, I took 1000 to be a casual way to write 10:00, as in a text. "Familiarly" in that sense.

BarbieBarbie 6:39 AM  

@mathgent, what gets a red plus? Me too on cryptics, and you're right. And, I always thought a bad rap was a wrongful conviction, not a stiff sentence. But maybe it's a bad rap in the sense of a lousy rhythmic poem.

Anonymous 6:40 AM  

@Barbie - thanks for that IFSO example. OFL's criticism was bothering me, too. The position of a particular program in, say, the Friday night line-up of TV shows is, of course, known as its TIME SLOT. (Seems dated, that jargon, yes?)

Glimmerglass 7:09 AM  

IF SO definitely means then. Think computer if-then programming. "Ten hundred hours" is ten am in the military, as in "Sorry you had to get up at four hundred hours, Rex." I've always though the 24-hour clock made sense for the military, but the "hundred hours" formula was silly. I would have been a failure in the military.

kitshef 7:22 AM  

Today’s ‘medium’ puzzle took me less than half the time of yesterday’s ‘easy’ puzzle, and without the four wrong squares I had yesterday. Not a complaint – just pointing out that difficulty levels are wildly variable depending on what’s in your wheelhouse and how in tune you are with the constructor.

Once I was done, spent a long time wondering what on earth a ‘light eater’ was - another name for the deluminator in Harry Potter? Some Greek mythology monster? When it hit me, I laughed at my own blindness.

Some day, will we all say ‘STRAIT-LACE’?

Anonymous 7:36 AM  

@Barbie - Har! I hope you're right about lousy rhymes! Though that might warrant a ? IFSO.

r.alphbunker 7:52 AM  

49A {Bud source, perhaps} CAN --> TAP
49D {1000, familiarly} CENT? --> TENCS --> TENAM

The C of CAN made CENT? look promising. Nice aha when I realized that 1000 was a time not money. Here we have an inversion of the adage "time is money."

Finished with a plausible homonym
60A {Instrument with a three-sided body} BALALAICA --> BALALAIKA
54D {Fashion designer Marc} ECCO --> ECKO

Details are here.

evil doug 7:53 AM  

C'mon--you were all thinking 'maxi' for 52D "prefix with pad"....

15D "cross"--right clue, wrong answer, for Good Friday....

Trixie 7:55 AM  

@kitschef: I'm with you on LIGHT EATER. It made no sense to me until just now when I read your comment.

Z 8:02 AM  

MIL and FIL are long past that time when reading the obits becomes personal. MIL's latest observation is that "everyone in the obits is younger than us." "When we have shuffled of this mortal COIL" was no problem here, although I've oft wondered what COIL and why is it mortal? Anyway, may we all live long enough to have everyone in the obits be younger than us.

Marc ECKO has not quite gotten to ENO-ONO-OTT-YMA puzzle status, but he is as close as one can get when your name is four letters and includes a C and a K. I'm a little surprised puzzle veterans struggled there. Ecce homo, with weaknesses unbounded.

Blogger related. I noticed Blogger has added little red G+ circles to people with google plus accounts. Now if they would only upgrade Blogger to not force us to type in html code and allow in-line replies somewhere besides smartphones. Blrggh.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

Wrongful convictions and stiff sentences are not mutually exclusive. I daresay any sentence is stiff if you're wrongfully convicted

Mr. Benson 8:42 AM  

"I did not dislike it." High praise!

For the sake of Rex's students, I hope he grades on a curve.

Tita 8:44 AM  

@kitshef...I refused to move on until I had figured out light EATER. I like clues that purposely mess with my brain's natural tendencies... like having light and fire together. Us oldsters cannot shoo away "Come on baby light my fire" to make way for anything else related to those two words. If he had clued it as words after light or pumpkin, woulda been a totally different thing.

Yup...liked the two sleeping modes together. Both represent the best possible ways to catch Zs.

Mr. Potato Head was one of my very favorite toys. Back when you used a real potato. What has this world come to?

Thanks for a tough Friday that I stuck with and won.
Oh...SW was also tough due to Culture SHift and tbar as seasonal conveyance.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

I can't label any puzzle after Wednesday as easy but this one was eminently doable for me. The fact that I DNF it is due to entirely to entering tAS at 58D instead of RAS. And then I could not see ARENA ROCK. Even after checking the term I, really have no idea what it is and why it is referred as "Foreigner's genre".
Started with just a handful of entries on my first pass with ARIOSE, PUTIN, SLED and SHOCK as the first answers. From there on progress was slow but methodical. Quite a few aha moments when the puzzle starts filling itself. And then after about 40 minutes, BAM. Save for the two squares at the SE it was done.

I don't know why Rex would like to limit the ? type clues to 5 or less. As long as they are whimsical they have a place in a puzzle. I liked the clues for AVIATE, APED, TAVERN and YEAS (Floor support?) but did not care for the clues for AWL, REHEM, BBS and SHOW ROOM.

QuasiMojo 8:59 AM  

Too easy for a Friday. Even with a few missteps. I had "pretzels" before "Pot Roast" because that is what I used to eat at Yankee(s) games. Slathered in mustard. Not all graduations are in June so I had "PAs" before "Srs." Why the "very" conservative in "Strait-laced"? I had "Rearm" before "Rehem" which slowed me down a bit. I was sure someone out had quibbled once that Foreigner is not "Arena Rock" (whatever that is) so I was hesitant to put it in. Sounds like something you'd see at one of those godawful craft fairs.

Loved seeing "Snow crab" and "spasms" and "balalaika" -- and Hamlet, so I ended up satisfied.

Paul Morrissey was the co-creator of Chelsea Girls. He directed most of the famous or infamous Warhol flicks but is rarely given credit for them.

@Rex Parker, thanks for the info on the baseball team's name. Love it.

Mohair Sam 9:06 AM  

Very clean Friday that played easy for us in spite of a tussle in the NW because I Kept trying to squeeze some form of Prometheus into 6D (he's down by the skaters). Lady Mohair straightened that out. She also had to straighten me out as to why POTROAST was Yankee. Speaking of straight, guess when I learned that it's STRAITLACED and not straightLACED? Forehead a bit flatter this morning.

Let me join the chorus of vets informing @Rex that ten hundred hours is very much a thing. And also chime in with the programmers assuring him that IFSO is a fine answer for the clue "Then" at 39a.

"From the Priest in the opening scene of "Dr. Zhivago" as 8-year-old Yuri's mother is buried: "A simple woman who had a talent for the BALALAIKA"

Last Lines of "Dr. Zhivago":

Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago: Tonya! Can you play the BALALAIKA?
David: Can she play? She's an artist!
Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago: Who taught you?
David: Nobody taught her!
Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago: Ah... then it's a gift.

Lindsay 9:17 AM  

Hmmm .... I seem to be an outlier here. For me this was one of those puzzles you hack at here & there until eventually the filled in squares start butting up against one another. Slow going.

tAS >>> RAS

Maybe that last one explains why I was having trouble this morning.

Nancy 9:21 AM  

So I took a stab at BALALALAILA, which I've never heard of. Seemed as good as anything else. So too with fashion designer Marc ECLO. That also seemed as good as anything else. But I was wrong and thus I Naticked. Well, actually not exactly Naticked, since BALALALAIKA isn't a proper name, at least I don't think it is. But it might just as well be, as far as I'm concerned. Also in that awful SE corner, there is ARENA ROCK, of which I never heard either. And I wasn't helped by having tAS instead of RAS at 58D. (I never can tell them apart in crossword puzzles). But I corrected myself because I figured out that 57A had to be some kind of ROCK, so I changed the T to an R. There are so, so many kinds of ROCK -- hard and acid and heavy metal and goth (I think) and who knows what else, and I can't tell one from another. They're all the same to me: Badly enunciated lyrics you can't hear (and no one cares if you hear them or not), drowned out by eardrum-shattering music topped off by a throbbing bass. I know there is such a thing as "soft rock", but I suspect no one's played any in years. Anyway I assume that ARENA ROCK means loud enough to fill the Superdome. And then there's "show room" as the clue for TIME SLOT. Now that is really awful!!

Rant over. The other 3/4 of the puzzle was quite easy for a Friday and had some nice clues and answers. But what a woe was the SE.

Lewis 9:24 AM  

Very satisfying solve with many clues that themselves seemed like riddles (SCAT, EATER, APED, ARENAROCK, MOSES, PATH), and those are the best kind, IMO. In my house of wheels there were enough answers that appealed to give this puzzle spark (ABOUTTHAT, TOUGHLOVE, TALLONE, PARLANCE, BALALAIKA).

My brain is having a hard time processing the confluence of MOSES and WARHOL. Also, I looked up the origin of "mortal coil", and "coil" used to mean "fuss" or "chaos", thus the phrase refers to the chaos and confusion of our everyday lives. But whenever I see "mortal coil", I always think of DNA.

In any case, this was a right-on-the-mark Friday puzzle. Encore please, Andrew!

kitshef 9:45 AM  

Show me around your snow-peaked mountains way down south
Take me to your daddy's farm
Let me hear your balalaikas ringing out
Come and keep your comrade warm
I'm back in the U.S.S.R.
You don't know how lucky you are boys
Back in the U.S.S.R.

-Paul McCartney

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

Any Friday I can finish without googling or giving up before getting ready for school, and enjoy the solve, is a good solve. Did wonder about ARIOSE crossing ARIAS.

Andrew Heinegg 10:10 AM  

My experience was very similar to a lot of y'all today. I thought it was about Wednesday easy except for that dang S.E. I have read Hamlet, seen Hamlet and even acted in high school plays of Hamlet and I remembered the sense of 53d but not the exact word and got knocked out the same way puzzle hoarder did going back and forth between coil and soil. Lewis's nice little bit of research on the meaning of coil at an earlier time and place would have had led me to coil as it would be more fitting than the more literal soil as would a elementary knowledge of French.

Like kitshef, I filled in eater and looked at it and looked at it, followed by smacking myself on the side of the head.

Contrary to or in agreement with Nancy (not sure which), it took me forever to figure out time slot but, when I did, I gave it at least a B+ for being as awful as it was intended to be.

All in all, I thought it was a fun exercise and the struggle and the error in the s.e. added up to a decent solving experience.

There are so many crosswords nowadays from so many sources, it seems like it must be pretty tough to come up with new and fresh ideas or reworking of old ideas in a new and interesting fashion. Repetition of as few crossword cliches words is greatly appreciated by solvers.

Andrew Heinegg 10:13 AM  

Darn fat fingers; cliched not cliches

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

Alexei Arkhipovskiy - Sharmanka

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

barbiebarbie re: showroom?

Do we have room in the schedule for that new show? Yes we can put it in the 8pm timeslot.

Mohair Sam 10:25 AM  

@Lewis - Thank you for "coil" explanation. I have remembered the line from Hamlet specifically because "coil" made no sense to me. I've wondered forever where it came from - now that I know I'll probably forget the line.

Nancy 10:36 AM  

..."When we have shuffled off that mortal COIL." Ah, yes. Unlike many of you, for me that was just about the only place I didn't have trouble in the awful SE. You see, I can recite the entire soliloquy from memory, based on learning it more than a half-century ago in sophomore year of high school. This is true of every poem and every song lyric I knew by heart way back in the day. I can even recite one (quite complicated) Baudelaire poem in French, even though I was never fluent in French and can barely speak it at all now. Just wind me up and all of these various poems and lyrics effortlessly gush forth -- out of my brain, into my mouth, and, from there, out to you, my audience. Are you ready? No?

This surely has To Be Or Not To Be (pun intended) one of my most useless talents.

mathgent 10:38 AM  

@BarbieBarbie (6:39): I award a red plus sign for several different reasons. A clever clue. A word I was pleased to learn (even a rapper or a designer). A word I vaguely know but haven't seen for a long while. Or such a word that's fun to say. A clue with a pleasing bit of information.

You may be new to the blog. If so, welcome!

seanm 10:39 AM  

played harder than average for a friday for me, especially that bottom right corner. to the person saying ECKO is common, it's been used only 5 times ever in the NYT. that next to an uninferrable COIL and an obscure SKAT with a rarely used foreign word CES crossing an obscure BALALAIKA (second ever NYt appearance) was not a fair section.

GILL I. 10:44 AM  

@Lindsay - slow going here, too. Had a heck of a time getting anything other than SOAVE. I paused for a bit while I sat back and remembered my time in Verona and tasting a wonderful cold SOAVE Classico. When I arrived back in San Francisco in the 70's everyone was drinking it along with Chianti. It tasted awful here. Maybe the hippies had something to do with it...
I rather enjoyed today's tussle. I fell into some BAD tRAPS but managed to crawl out. The Brewski's of this world always get me. I wanted it to be a COLD ONE because the climber's tool I use is a PITON.
EXPEDIA came to my rescue. By the way, all those travel sites are pretty much the same. When Kayak came onto the scene, they were far better than the EXPEDIAS. Everyone played catch up so, what you want is a company that will actually help you out when the United's of the World bump you off (really!)
I thought to myself "what a strange way to clue COIL." I had SOUL.
Like SOUND ASLEEP next to the Siesta clue. I don't CAT NAP, I tend to SNOOZE.
OBYTHEWAY @Loren, took me a while to change.
Wanted to fit some kind of jargon in the vernacular but PARLANCE looks fancier.
Are SNOW CRABs really deadly? Or is catching them deadly?

Blue Stater 10:45 AM  

To add to Rex's list of items here that ain't so, a BADRAP is the charge and/or conviction that results in the "long sentence" not the sentence itself. Again, WS should run these through the Times copydesk. The NYT's standards don't, or shouldn't, stop at the crossword puzzle.

Cheerio 10:56 AM  

I loved this. It was so smooth. I'm adding Kingsley to my list of favorite constructors. Let's have more of these!

RooMonster 10:59 AM  

Hey All !
Thanks for the lightbulb moment for Light EATER. Jeez, was gonna complain about that, but now it's good. Thought the clues were rather opaque today. One of the few who did, as it seems most of y'all found it easy.

Funny how New England staters are referred to as YANKEES, but hate the NY team of the same name. Irony?


Crane Poole 11:25 AM  

Let me hear your BALALAIKAs ringing out, PUTIN. With POTROAST at 1a, I would have enjoyed MEATLOAF at 62a. Near record time for a Friday. Good, clean, liked it.

Joe Bleaux 11:38 AM  

(And it's "straitjacket," too -- although a careless editor sometimes lets the incorrect "gh" version get printed.)

Foghorn Leghorn 11:45 AM  

Doubtless, Miss Prissy also got an "A" in her Elocution class at Finishing School.

Andrew Heinegg 11:48 AM  

I thought the snow crabs answer was odd. Although I never watched the show but was always of the impression that it was King Crabs that were the focus of the show because they are the most commercially valuable crab and are only permitted to be caught in two periods of about four weeks in the Fall and Winter, typically October and January respectively. The captain of the boat makes or used to make celebrity appearances in the Seattle area to sell and sign copies of his book. Reputedly, neither the crew nor the boat owner(s) were ever paid for the filming of the show, which I found to be rather odd with all that dangerous work and you are going to have a film crew on you, as it were.

One interesting thing to me is that, despite its high price, by most estimations including mine, the Dungeness Crab has a much sweeter flavor and better texture than it's larger neighbor species.

Since the name of the show is supposed to indicate that it is very dangerous​ work to catch crabs in the Bering Sea, I presumed they were referring to King Crabs. But, I suppose if you have the crab boat only operating for 8 weeks of the year, it might not be very profitable. Thus, going after snow crabs, which fetch a fraction of what King or Dungeness crab do, would make sense. And, as you might suspect, there is a good reason the Snow Crab sells for a fraction of the King.

Pete 11:53 AM  

So, I decided to check, you know, dictionaries to see if common usage of "bad rap" had expanded to include something akin to a long sentence. I didn't find any such indication, but I did find this:

Any unjustified condemnation : Microsoft gets a bad rap for a reason
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.

I think I'll just go home, to bed, and pull covers over my had. For forever.

Andrew Heinegg 11:56 AM  

Duh, I meant to say, despite the $28-35 a pound average price for the King Crab and the $6-11 per pound for the Dungeness Crab, most people think the Dungeness is sweeter and has better texture than the King. Sorry.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

Rex - I think you meant to say you have to get up at 400 (less familiarly) tomorrow.

Dan Murphy 12:03 PM  

I figured it was referring to a poorly written hip hop song.

old timer 12:22 PM  

I think it was Mark Twain who explained the curious usages of "Yankee":

To a European, all Americans are Yankees.
For Southerners, all Northerners are Yankees
For Northerners, people who come from New England are Yankees.
To a New Englander, a Yankee is someone from Vermont.
And to a Vermonter, a Yankee is someone who eats pie for breakfast.

Joe Bleaux 12:30 PM  
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Lindsay 12:31 PM  

@ Blue Stater --- I'm not convinced the Times has a copy desk anymore.

Last week an article in the PRINT EDITION for cryin' out loud reported that “300,000 fewer international travelers will visit the five bureaus this year.”

Happy Pencil 12:50 PM  

I'm with those complaining about SCAT and SKAT -- and that was before I realized SWAT was also there (hi, @Roo!). That just seems suggestive of a lack of care to me.

I liked TOUGH LOVE, TALL ONE, and ALPHA MALE, but the cost was REHEM, ANNAS, OAT, ODE, and ODD. I don't know ... not bad, but a bit of a shrug.

Anoa Bob 12:54 PM  

Anon @12:02, that would be 0400, spoken "zero four hundred" or "oh four hundred". Brings to mind all those 0400-0800 watches I stood in the Navy. Had to get up at 0345 to get ready. Ow.

GILL I. 1:05 PM  

@Nancy...Chocolat! You need to be wound up. The only poetry I know from memory is "Roses are Red." I tried writing my own lyrics to the music of "Yellow Rose of Texas." It was my first piano solo and my first stab at writing. They both stank.
I'm in awe of anyone that can memorize Hamlet.
Hands that labor and slave...!

Teedmn 1:15 PM  

An under 11 minute Friday for me is a new record. POT ROAST plunked right in at 1A and I was off. Shot myself in the foot with a typo at 30D's PISAt but I recovered handily (footily?). And with SLEEP in place for 9D, I started in with "fast a.." oops, not enough letters. Thanks, Mr. PUTIN, for fixing that.

I had @r.alph's cAn for a Bud source but not long enough to confuse my TEN AM time. And for some reason, STRAITLACED went strait in without a hitch but reading about the "straight" possibilities some of you pose, I'm kind of surprised I didn't have a SPASM thereabouts.

@kitshef, I got the Back in the USSR earworm even before reading your helpful inclusion of the lyrics. 60A ringing out, indeed.

Thanks, Andrew Kingsley, for making me feel a lot smarter than Patrick Berry did last week!

mac 1:22 PM  

Very nice Friday! Crunchy because of the clues, I suspect.
Nice words and terms.

Mohair Sam 1:33 PM  

@Nancy - Wow, just read that you whiffed on BALALAIKA! Gonna have to review your '60s credentials. His BALALAIKA is what Yuri Zhivago hands to Lara as she's about to be taken off in the sled by the evil Komarovsky (loved hating Rod Steiger in that role), we know he'll never see her again - schmaltz at its purest. Maybe you had tears in your eyes and didn't notice. It's also the main instrument played in the hit song "Lara's Theme" from the Zhivago movie. Sheeze.

Bill Feeney 2:28 PM  

From more stuff you didn't care to know...I'll take a stab at ARENA ROCK. it started with Phil Spector and his wall of sound. Think what you will of him personally, he did invent, refine a sound that went floor to ceiling, wall to wall. Think The Shirelles and other girl groups from the sixties e, g. Be My, Be My Baby. Orchestration, over dubs, back up singers...throw everything at the song and you get the Phil Spector sound. Perhaps a perfect example would be the Righteous Brothers' You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling. So a group like Foreigner did(does) the same thing and it takes an arena to hold the sound. BTW, one of the reasons Stand By Me is such a powerful song, is that it was the first am Top 40 hit to use a full orchestra so when those violins sweep in, it was a totally new sound for the pop music fan. All of this is from memory so any mistakes are fully mine.

Hungry Mother 3:16 PM  

A long slog, killed by "ses."

Unknown 4:05 PM  

ARIA and ARIOSE should not be in the same puzzle, let alone crossing through one another. Grrrr....

GHarris 5:35 PM  

Typically found it tough going on the first go around; tried ten cs on theory that ten cnotes or ten centuries make 1,000. Put the puzzle down and on second review worked it all out except, to my great chagrin had Ecco which caused balalaika to be misspelled. Still, found it an enjoyable and satisfying workout.

Anonymous 5:47 PM  

Anon @10:21

Didn't know the balalaika was so complex and versatile. Beautiful music. Thanks for posting the link.

Unknown 6:05 PM  

How about "I'm with HER" almost directly across from PUTIN!?

beatrice 7:12 PM  

@Rex *does* have a PhD in English - IF(SO) is a conditional or hypothetical, 'then' is the consequent - in logic, programming, and plain ol' English. In the example used above, 'then' is implied. End of grump.

@Tita - me too on Mr. Potato Head! Maybe because he was a sort of humanoid...potato?

The final work of the wonderful Orlando di Lasso was a set of 'spiritual madrigals', entitled "Lagrime di San Pietro", or "Tears of Saint Peter". Here is the first one.

jae 8:50 PM  

@Bill Feeny - Darlene Love singing Christmas ( Baby Please Come Home) on Letterman...

Nancy 10:31 PM  

@Mohair (1:33 p.m.) Re: BALALAIKA. I'm normally a huge David Lean fan. He directed three of my all-time favorite movies: BRIEF ENCOUNTER; BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. (The first two are even listed on my blog profile.) But for me, DR. ZHIVAGO was one l-o-o-n-g white snoozefest and it's more than likely I snoozed during the whole BALALAIKA thing, whatever it was. I remember nothing at all about the movie except lots and lots and lots of snow, everyone dressed in lots and lots and lots of fur (in which Julie Christie looked quite fetching) and endless close-ups of Christie and Sharif staring longingly at each other. And staring. And staring. I'm sorry I didn't love it, @Mohair. Please don't strip me of my Sixties credentials, as you sort of hint of doing above :)

@GILL (1:05 p.m.) -- I appreciate the shoutout. Of course no one on the blog will have the faintest idea what you're talking about. I just sent you an email thanking you and providing some details that I think you'll find interesting.

GILL I. 10:57 PM  

@Nancy...Damn it... The next time chocolat or even CHOCOLATE appears, let us fans peek into your fabulous lyrics.
One of my favorites.... "I like them under my skirt" ......;-)

Leapfinger 11:10 PM  

From the same performance, another side of Alexei Arkhipovsky:

And another side of BALALAIKA*:

Neither qualifies as ARENAROCK

@Pete, I always feel right justified when there's a reason for unjustified condemnation, heh.

@Lindsay, nice one! That should reduce congestion on the TriBureau Bridge

Anyone who reads cookbooks and/or menus is likely to follow Yankee with POTROAST, but I also assumed LACED was STRAIghT, and wondered whether the 'light' EATER would be a black hole. Dense, eh?

@Nancy, I think maybe your BALALALALAIKA slipped on a banananana peel.

Liked it. Better a POTROAST and TOUGHLOVE than a TOUGHROAST and POTLOVE.

BarbieBarbie 7:57 AM  

@Beatrice, a PhD in English may not be a PhD in the English language, its grammar, its diagrammed parts, etc etc. A PhD in English is far more likely to indicate familiarity with and expertise on English literature. Or, possibly, comics.
The language evolves after we leave our fourth-grade teachers behind. Even grammar evolves. We each retain our fingernails-on-blackboard sensitivities, but that doesn't make us right. I'm always amused when I hear Brits use plural verb forms with collective nouns, because I've completely bought into structures like "the company puts customers first." I'm shakier on nouns that have become verbs--medal, OK; laser, NO; impact, NFW unless it's a dentist speaking. But I know these things are creeping in, like "proactive" (gives me the willies). "If so" used as "then" is common, inoffensive, and ok. (Not like "hone in." [insert creeped-out shivering sound here])

ra.ra 12:21 PM  

@ Bill Feeney 2:28. Re: ARENAROCK, Phil Spector's Wall of Sound was essentially a set of studio techniques and effects used for creating multi-layered sound on recordings. The Wall of Sound that sat on stage behind the Grateful Dead for their 1974 tour is the one to know regarding live performances. As far as Foreigner's music..... pfffft.

ShortShrift 8:03 AM  

'House' at 19A went in first, which may be why the SE was first to fall for me, unlike so many here. Also had coLdONE before TALLONE, and thought tAIlgATE before RAINDATE. I question the '?' in the 28A's clue. Seems literal enough to me. But maybe that's a bit of misdirection? Played tough but fair to me. Nice work, AK!

spacecraft 12:22 PM  

I can't believe there are some who called this easy--and one in particular (@anoa bob) who actually said the cluing is mostly straightforward. If there is one puzzle I've done so far where most of the cluing is anything BUT, it's today's.

Hand up for HOUSE. When it turned out to be EATER, I thought, light EATER?? WHA??? I suppose this is someone on a diet, but "word after" (or "before") clues should refer to stock phrases. This is one of those Wheel of Fortune puzzles that people never solve early--because those two words don't normally "belong" together. Out of bounds, stroke and distance penalty.

Another hand up for some long sentences = BADRAPS. The only thing I can think of is that if you're innocent, even one day in jail would feel too long. But that is a stretch that no rubber band in my experience could ever withstand without snapping. Horrible, awful clue; a snap-hook WAY out of bounds into somebody's garden. One more stroke. This is getting out of hand.

The 1000 thing is an example of the cluer doing everything he can to thwart the solver. Possibly he was so angry at having to settle for the clearly substandard entry TENAM that he took it out on us!

Lots of other misdirects: with "diner choice," naturally we're all thinking about FOOD, not where you sit, fergoshsakes. Spiked punch? = AWL. Yeah, descriptive, but not of any liquid in a party bowl. Straightforward? Not.

It's better HALF, and sneak IN. I don't think I've ever heard anybody say "STEAL IN." TALLONE sounds more Starbuck-y than beery, and who in blazes is HEDER? Talk about 100% crosses!

Despite all these WOEs, I did somehow manage to finish it off, but certainly no thanks to the constructor, who seemed intent on its being unsolvable. There are good things in it; there are even patches that might be called easy. But with all the above, I was left scratching my head and just hoping I was somehow right. That's not a joy-filled experience. One thing WAS obvious: the choice for DOD, our favorite ANNA. Again. With a couple of better clues, this might even have made birdie, but...ya gotta stay in bounds. Bogey.

Burma Shave 12:46 PM  


Is ATLAS an ALPHAMALE, that creep? IFSO, he’d give TOUGHLOVE a SHOT.


Diana,LIW 2:28 PM  

Used to work next to the OR where they use a 24-hour clock, so I should have gotten 1000. But I didn't. Didn't know the fashion designer, the card game had HELo instead of HELI, so got Naticked in the SE.

Had POTROAST right off the bat. So proud of sussing out PARLANCE. Got all the other misdirects pretty quickly. Ah well...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 2:32 PM  

Quick comment today. Gotta run.
Good puzzle. Challenging for me, starting in the mid East with TERABYTE, ICE AX, EXPEDIA. Moving to the SE I slammed in BALALAIKA, and mopped up there.

Many places, a la @Spacey, caused big slowdowns, but a couple of guesses (BOOTH, PATH, OBOE) helped immensely. I think the biggest holdup was SNOW CRAB.



rondo 3:06 PM  

I was held up for a time in the west because “. . . the spelling straight-laced is more common than strait-laced in the Oxford English Corpus . . .” I wouldn’t spell it the way it is in the puz. To use it as spelled in the puz, I would have to say, ”George STRAITLACED up his cowboy boots.” Which would be ridiculous. And my RUG was at first a cat. The OTHERHALF of the puz seemed easy in comparison.

Speaking of ARENAROCK, STEALIN’ should have been clued 1973 Uriah Heep hit and BADRAPS as the 50 Cent catalog.

Interesting to see SHOT next to TAVERN, CATNAP next to SOUNDASLEEP, and SPASMS next to WARHOL. And PUTIN so far away from ALPHAMALE (cue “Dueling BALALAIKAs”).

Holy MOSES, either of those ANNAS could be today’s yeah baby. IFSO, maybe I’d opt for the TALLONE.

Time to SCAT, or SKAT, maybe for some spiked punch at the TAVERN. That is AWL.

Anonymous 3:13 PM  

Four hints off a solve without hints.

First Thought the actor's name was Heyer. Checked and changed it to Heder,giving me odd for whimsical. Looked up ceu and it was not a word. So I gueesed it was CES and Skat was the game. As had RTs instead of RAS. Finally never heard of fashion ECKO. Another three letters for the e,k,and o. 6 letters off put together. How are many letter are there?189?
If so,then 183/189=96.82%

So close.


Anonymous 3:25 PM  

Wait,counted the e twice. It is actually 5 letter off not 6. So it is 184/189. 97.3%


centralscrewtinizer 3:36 PM  

Guess I did not have an ear for EYE. Or rather, I did. Thought HEDEe looked funny and wondered how EXPEDIy was like a kayak, thinking watercraft. Oh well.
Snowcrab used to be considered by-catch until kingcrab became scarce.

Nightowl 8:35 AM  

Syndi-lander here. Just googled Foreigner. It's a British band formed in 1976. Genre is usually a clue to music, art, etc., I've noticed. Arena rock and other firms of R and R, R and B are not in my wheelhouse.'76 wad the year my first son was born, so I wasn't in tune with many current events.

Nightowl 8:47 AM  

I thought the puzzle was opaque, also. Had no trouble with coil. Love the balalaika! 1000 was awful-- appreciated the explanations, as always!!

John 6:20 AM  

Good as always..

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