Chief justice in Dred Scott verdict / FRI 5-26-17 / Donnie of 2001 cult film / Sport for rikishi

Friday, May 26, 2017

Constructor: Robyn Weintraub

Relative difficulty: Easiest Friday I've Ever Done

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Roger TANEY (23D: Chief justice in the Dred Scott verdict) —
Roger Brooke Taney (/ˈtɔːni/; March 17, 1777 – October 12, 1864) was the fifth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, holding that office from 1836 until his death in 1864. He delivered the majority opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), that ruled, among other things, that African-Americans, having been considered inferior at the time the United States Constitution was drafted, were not part of the original community of citizens and, whether free or slave, could not be considered citizens of the United States, which created an uproar among abolitionists and the free states of the northern U.S. He was the first Roman Catholic (and first non-Protestant) appointed both to a presidential cabinet, as Attorney General under President Andrew Jackson, as well as to the Court. (wikipedia)
• • •

Well this was quite smooth, but also maybe too smooth. So smooth it was barely there. I finished in 3:51, a personal Friday record. Faster than every other puzzle I've solved this week (M, T, W and F were all actually within five seconds of one another). The puzzle seems nicely made, but I didn't really have much time to notice. Dropped 1D: ___ mocha (CAFFE) in pretty much right away (no point even looking at those long Acrosses before I've given the short Downs a go), and I honestly didn't pause, hesitate, or have to skip a clue for about the next dozen answers. Read clue, write answer. ELSE ATOLL FLUTE TORUS SMITE and goodbye. Slight hesitation on BFA vs. MFA (12A: Writer's deg.), but powered right through that. If there were such a thing as a Tuesday themeless, this would be it. Looking it over now ... it's really quite nice. Not scintillating, maybe, but not at all boring, and really quite polished. No gunk, lively fill. Possibly this constructor's best work.

There were exactly four answers in the puzzle that I had to work around.

1. I didn't really get the clue at 33A: Cricket, to a grasshopper, or vice versa. I thought maybe there was some adage or some Aesopian something or other that this referred to. Actually, my first thought upon seeing "Cricket" was the sport, but "grasshopper" got me back to reality. I just solved all the crosses, but even at -OUSIN I had at least a second of "????" and thought maybe I had an error. Is "COUSIN" a technical entomological term? Seems dicey.

2. Then I had the "F" in 38D: Surgical tool but couldn't bring it down. I was So Bummed because I knew I was flying and I was relying on that answer to help me turn the corner quickly into the SE. But I just blanked. Luckily ROMAS got me REEDED (educated guess), and then DARKO got me the "K" I needed to see KEEP TALKING.

3. I know BALOO now that I see it, but as I was filling that section in, the "B" didn't help, then the "BA-" didn't help, then the "BA--O" didn't help. Also, I ended up looking at the ELGIN clue really late for some reason. That was a gimme and might've made my progress through the SE a little smoother. But ultimately BALOO got worked out from crosses.

4. This was the only flat-out Don't-Know-It in the puzzle. An old, uncommon proper noun. No big surprise that it was the least movable object. I ran into it early and just turned the other direction (toward the NW). And then I solved the rest of the puzzle and just ended up back there again. Got every letter from crosses, ending with the "Y" in BETRAY (37A: Unknowingly reveal).

The overall easiness owes a lot to CAFFE and DARKO—two gimmes in optimal positions (providing the first letters of a bank of long Acrosses). The "C" and "F," and the "K" and the "O" (respectively) were particularly high-value letters, allowing me to see those long Acrosses very, very quickly. Low proper noun load meant low chance of getting badly stuck. Then there's the fill, which lives very much in the realm of real words / terms, and not crosswordese / obscurities. All of this adds up to Lightning. Hope you had a similarly triumphant solving feeling. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Mel Torme 12:07 AM  

Ditto as OFL. Cut my average in more than half for a New personal record (but quite a bit north of 4 minutes!). Great clues for ATOMIC CLOCK and RIDE SHOTGUN.

weasel 12:09 AM  

Third Friday I've ever done solo. I was really hoping that it wasn't rated an *easy* puzzle, but oh well. I'll take a huge PB any day. Wanted SCALPEL instead of FORCEPS.

gzodik 12:09 AM  

Yes, nice easy Friday. And my time is only 10 times Rex's. Woo hoo!

jae 12:24 AM  

Extremely easy for me too. Finished with out needing to read several clues which does not happen often on Fri. Nice 11 stacks but REEDED kinda grated. Also liked the long downs. Pretty good Fri., but much too easy. Liked it.

Anonymous 12:25 AM  

Personal record for a Friday of just over 8 minutes. Way too easy but also really fun, good long answers and no cringey fill.

Anonymous 12:30 AM  

Ah, how quickly the thrill of the fast solve passes. Now I'm just blue my friday puzzle is gone so quickly

Aketi 12:46 AM  

FORCEPS are just specialized TONGS to grab a baby's head and pull it out without having to resort to surgery. It's a surgical tool to prevent surgery.

Anonymous 1:13 AM  

After all these years reading this blog (maybe only 3), I'm still pleased when I know @Rex is going to be pleased.

puzzlehoarder 1:29 AM  

This was definitely an early week puzzle disguised as a themeless. The grid looked nice lots of white space but my first thought was those 3x4 blocks in the NE and SW corners are going to be weak spots. They were. The even bigger problem is the dearth of unknowns. For myself the only two things I came away with are TANEY and ELGIN. The eleven stacks and the fill over all look great but they're common material. Debuts may get a puzzle published but they don't guaranty difficulty. The difficulty of late week puzzles is what I look forward to.

Anonymous 1:35 AM  

For slapping Nancy Pelosi's face yet again, a big thanks to the people of Montana!

chefwen 2:24 AM  

Easiest Friday that I can recall. Last to fill ws the NW. Puzzle Partner gave me ATOMIC CLOCK off the letters already there and ba da bing, CATS PJ's showed up and we were done. Loved it! Saturday's should be so easy, but I doubt that's going to happen. You always have to pat the price, right?

chefwen 2:26 AM  

How do you pat the price? Let's try PAY.

Larry Gilstrap 2:40 AM  

Staying with the theory that I'm getting smarter and this puzzle was worthy of a Friday. Some day let's broach the subject of solving while impaired. OFL makes no secret of it on the Twitterverse. I went out tonight and I'm proud of it. I say great puzzle with those big stacks.

When I needed romance, my MOOD MUSIC was Martin Denny's album "Quiet Village" replete with howler monkeys and tropical birds. It's getting hot in here. I'll bet it still works.

In 1978, I ended up in London for a few weeks and visited the British Museum, the repository of the ELGIN Marbles. More of the Parthenon on Great Russell St. than in Greece, or so I've heard. I was so lucky to tour then; Americans were a novelty.

Caltech has no problems attracting great minds, I'm guessing.

LEDA's swan 2:48 AM  

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed,
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her breathless breast upon his breast.

Phil 3:14 AM  

Grat puzzle. No rap, sports, celeb. PB'ish. Reviewing it and I have to admire the longs and fill. Even MFA is not a usual goto abbr. I guess that's not bad, right?
'End' in starting clue and last answer. Maybe not Kosher but ... BFD.
Thanks Robyn

Phil 3:16 AM  

No way you can get a cat in a ONESY.
Amazing feat

Loren Muse Smith 3:41 AM  

This is a beautiful grid. It seems that usually on a themeless there is at least one stinker in one of the longish stacks, some utterly forgettable word like scientist or recrossed or some desperate stretch like neuralgia, but not today, buddy. RIDE SHOTGUN, KEEP TALKING, ODDS AND ENDS, CAT’S PAJAMAS, ATOMIC CLOCK, FOR INSTANCE, MOOD MUSIC, FINE PRINT, OVERSLEPT, NOT TOO BAD… and there’s also SOLDIER ON and FUN FACTS.

One issue, though, is the clue for 52A. For me, a backseat driver is just a know-it-all (myself included) who tells you how/where to drive no matter where they’re sitting. So a backseat rider cannot ride shotgun, but a backseat driver can be anywhere in the damn car. I manage to give helpful directives to a driver even if I’m in the way back, carsick, with the little kids.

FUN FACT – like octopus, platypus, if you’re gonna be all show-offy and loyal to etymology, has a startling plural: platypodes. Pronounced /pluh TIP uh deeze/. Now that’s just really cool. I can’t let this Greek plural thing go.

I was lucky enough to sit next to Robyn at the Women Constructors Breakfast. Women’s Constructor Breakfast. Women’s Constructors’ Breakfast. Whatever. Anyway, a nicer person you’ll never meet. I always feel kind of nervous there because all the other women are real constructors – I’m just a creepy wannabe who can’t seem to get a solo accepted. Robyn made me feel welcome and important. That’s a gift. I'll link the picture to my fb page, but I don’t know if you can view it. Robyn is the first person on the left. The reason I’m showing the picture is that Mike Selniker made a comment so funny, I still laugh when I think about it. So there we are, 10 women, smiling, proud. He said, “What puzzle did you write together?”

Robyn sure doesn’t need an army to help with a puzzle. This was terrific.

walkingreject 4:16 AM  

Today is a special day! It is the first Friday puzzle I have ever completely solved on my own!!! And on top of that, it only took as long as a normal Tuesday for me. Seriously, after the NW fell into place in <2 minutes, I was just waiting for something to trip me up... but nothing did! Excellent grid... full of life, and very little ugly stuff. It's nice to feel smart for a day :)

Space Is Deep 5:03 AM  

Did they run the Wednesday puzzle by mistake?

Moly Shu 5:53 AM  

Guess I'll be the outlier. MFA ONT SRTA EPA STD ACS JCT ACCTS ENGS ELO STA, seemed like a ton of abbreviations. Or Abbr.'s if you prefer. Kinda stuck out to me, diminished my pleasure a little.
On the bright side, I have a partially deformed ear, the result of the overzealous use of FORCEPS during my birth. Glad I don't remember it happening.

CFXK 6:03 AM  

Also loved the puzzle, but, man, was it easy and fast.

So if Friday is the new Tuesday, does that mean we have to work three more days before the weekend?

BarbieBarbie 6:06 AM  

Healthy puzzle, since I solve in bed and got my Z's. Fast but fun. I call I Doubt It on OFL about those eleven no-hesitation-no-thought words he filled in, since two of them were clued identically and his grid was blank at the time.
Friday grids with their huge white count always fill me with trepidation. It was really great to be able to zip through. I'm King of the World!

Oscar Madison 7:19 AM  

Dear Rex,
TANEY and some past puzzle lacunae suggest you might have some resistance to reading about the American Civil War, perhaps the one gap in your broad-ranging knowledge. But you might find it more interesting than you think! Why not pick up Battle Cry of Freedom, by James McPherson--long, but incredibly well-written and readable. (I think it won a Pulitzer.)

kitshef 7:20 AM  

Apparently, I was a day early with my FUN FACTS. Here’s one for today:
Crickets and grasshoppers are in the same Order but a different suborder, which makes them as much ‘cousins’ as house cats and walruses.

Which is better: the CATS PAJAMAS or the bees knees?

Tim Pierce 7:42 AM  

I'm always fascinated to see what Rex considers a gimme, and I can't see how CAFFE is a gimme at 1D. I waited for the crossings to put it in, late in the puzzle, because it seemed just as likely to be DECAF -- especially on a Friday, when I'm extra conscious of potential headfakes.

Speaking of headfakes, anyone else land FACTOIDS before FUNFACTS? That proved to be wrong pretty quickly when I saw ACURA and OAFS in the downs, but it slowed me down for a few minutes trying to unwind.

Anonymous 7:46 AM  

Michael Sharp = Michael Clanton.

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

Eric Clanton

Two Ponies 8:07 AM  

I love a puzzle full of vocabulary and fun facts. That's why I do them.

Hopefully this sort of puzzle offered on a Friday will give courage to new solvers to soldier on.

Here in Montana it takes more than a cowboy hat to win votes.

Birchbark 8:13 AM  

If you go back and solve archived puzzles from the early Shortz years, there are plenty of Fridays and Saturdays that solve this quickly. I have the sense that the same easy-to-difficult-over-the-course-of-the -week progression didn't apply as rigidly back then. Perhaps longtime solvers know?

Today, it was fun coming into the southeast and realizing the answers were still dropping right in, all the way to the end and a nice "Congratulations" on the first try. Even left time to post something here before getting the day going --

mathgent 8:18 AM  

It certainly wasn't hard, but it had some crunch, I thought. What it lacked was sparkle. Of the words @LMS liked, only RIDESHOTGUN tickled me. The clue for OVERSLEPT was nice. But that was it.

Nancy 8:21 AM  

I agree with everyone. It's one of the easiest Fridays I've ever done, but, as @Loren says, the grid is beautiful. And there was even one FUN FACT. I learned that CONAN is a Harvard grad. Didn't know that. Anyway, quite enjoyable, but over much too soon.

Vincent Lima 8:23 AM  

The whole puzzle filled itself, except the two top acrosses. That's when I noticed the time. What? Getting CATSPAJAMAS took me about 1/3 of the overall puzzle time, which was unbelievably short.

Frieda 8:28 AM  

As @gzodik, only 10x Rex's solve time, and a Friday, and plenty of fun, after I gave up living "dangerously" for CATS_PAJAMAS.

Love the Greek plurals, @LMS.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 8:35 AM  

Oh this was fun! ... I don't time myself, but probably the first time my Friday puzzle looks like a Monday one on the page ... (dinosaur solver, pen and paper). Anyway, absolutely no writeovers, all my lightly-written-in guesses were right the first time. Made me happy, but of course, I knew Rex would find it easy.

QuasiMojo 8:42 AM  

Excellent puzzle. I don't mind finishing fast if it is worth doing. (Although my speed was several times slower than Rex's. Personally I can't imagine writing anything in that fast. Although I used to type 80 words a minute back when I was a bright-eyed tyro in the workplace.)

I loved that the puzzle had no real drek. The pop clues at least were classic rather than trendy, although I must admit I'd rather watch the god-awful "Conan the Barbarian" any day rather than that stultifyingly dull late night Harvard grad.)

The only potential "junk in the trunk" today was ACURA (so close to CURE, too). But that is a small price to pay for a smooth and elegant grid.

Teedmn 8:43 AM  

New Friday record - under 10 minutes. Very nice, Robyn! Almost no pop culture and just the abbrev. clusters in the SW/NE, all acceptable, IMHO.

Again with the cats today - not the CAT'S meow, but its PAJAMAS. I can just see the unhappy kitty in PJs; it might be the "living end" for whoever decides to deck the cat out thusly.

Fitting that ATOMIC CLOCK is crossed by ALARMED, as I think we all should be. Does the earth have a TIME STAMP?

AVOIDED, BETRAY, I LIED, kind of a DARKO mini theme, not exactly FUN FACTS! The MOOD MUSIC for this puzzle seems like a dirge.

But happy Friday, everyone!

Carola 8:53 AM  

Same here, on the "easy" rating. Beginning with the nice MOOD MUSIC, one thing led quickly to another and the puzzle was done. I thought that this lovely grid deserved tougher cluing.

My only hitch was right at the start with 1A, where "ne plus ultra" was the first thing that came to mind. I couldn't confirm it with any crosses, though, so went on.

I liked ALARM x CLOCK.

Weird personal coincidence on ATOMIC: last night my husband heard for the first time from his brother that during WWII their dad had worked on the trigger mechanism for the ATOMIC bomb. I've spent some time speculating on why this is something he never spoke about.

Mr. B 8:54 AM  

The TIMESTAMP on my iPad says it was a record time for me too...
Started at OIL and ONT and then worked clockwise around the puzzle.
Nice long answers fell right into place for me today. I didn't know TANEY, but the crosses took care of that.
My only hang-up was post-solve...when I didn't quite get what in heck ACS was. I was seeing it as A.C.S. - possibly some automotive shock absorber system-or-other I didn't know about. Big DOH moment when "air-conditioner" finally clicked in place. DOH !

Thanks Ms. Weintraub - it felt like we were on the same wavelengths there. Fun puzzle.

MaxK 8:55 AM  

Surgeons use "forceps" to refer to any tweezer-like tool.

Lewis 9:13 AM  

It was a sprint, but with moments of respite to appreciate answers like CATS_PAJAMAS, SOLDIER_ON, RIDE_SHOTGUN, and FINE_PRINT (all, I see, on Loren's list). The sprint was exhilarating across the board, apparently, not only to me, but to Rex and many of the commentators -- you could just sense it coming through their words.

I love a sprint from time to time for that very reason -- the exhilaration -- but I also love those dig-in-the-dirt puzzles that really scrub the brain, and hope for one of those tomorrow.

Nate 9:17 AM  

Bah, I felt super smart for breezing through a Friday, which I usually do not do without checking a lot of the answers I put in with the NYT app. I should have known that it was uncommonly easy.

But whatever, the most important thing is that it was fun! Good wordplay, solid minutia, nothing really cheap. I enjoyed this immensely.

Z 9:22 AM  

I hear this puzzle was easy.

Andrew Jackson appointed Roger TANEY to the Supreme Court. If you read a little about their positions and consider those positions in today's political context you might see why some consider today's Republican Party more akin to the southern Democrats of the 19th century than the Party of Lincoln.

@Two Ponies - No cowboy hat, just put an R after your name and Montanans will vote for any slime bag asshole. Aren't you even a little embarrassed for your state? TBF, it doesn't seem the opposition party put forth a candidate that was much better, but at least he doesn't seem to have anger management issues.

Z 9:24 AM  

BTW - Top notch constructing today.

Matthew G. 9:29 AM  

Very nice puzzle. Easy but fresh, fun language. More fun than the average Friday lately.

The clue on TANEY is wrong, though. Appellate courts do not issue "verdicts." You can refer to a Supreme Court decision in an appeal as a "decision," or "opinion," or "ruling," but no lawyer would consider the term "verdict" correct. That term is reserved to trial courts.

Ironiclally, in the Dred Scott decision itself, the whole (reprehensible) import of the Court's decision was that Scott was not a citizen and could not sue, and so therefore he there could be no case, no trial, and no verdict.

evil doug 9:31 AM  

When you show any concern for the "anger management issues" of progressive administrators/students/rioters at speeches by members of the administration or anyone else espousing a conservative viewpoint, I'll show mine for a guy tossing a reporter....

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

Eric Clanton had some anger management issues. Methinks Z doth protest too much.

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

Hey Z - heads up. Your intellect is showing.

Tita 9:43 AM  

@Barbie...I agree - I dropped in torus, next donut. FLUTE at 19A made me realize one of those was wrong...but which? They both have _O_U_...
so I had to wait for ELSE to let me move TORUS over by one, and to then let me see ATOLL.

CATSPAJAMAS has 3 distinct "a" sounds the way I say it. Is that why it's so much fun to say?.

@Larry G - indeed - we ARE getting so much smarter to solve a Friday so fast...

@Loren - if I had a seat at the Women Constructors' Breakfast, I would sure shout about it as often as I could!

Thanks Ms. Weintraub - I enjoyed the solve. And btw, at 3am (a rare bout of insomnia), it did put up a bit of a struggle - esp. the SE, not knowing DARKO or BALOO, and being fixated on Victoria isl(and). Only gimme there were those Marbles.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:43 AM  

FETA is goat cheese. Female goats are nannies, not EWES.

GHarris 9:46 AM  

Found this puzzle easy and fun but for very different reasons than those offered by Rex. His gimmes were my workarounds e.g. Had latte before caffe and never heard of Darko (or torus, for that matter). My gimmes were Taney and Elgin and I second the recommendation of Battle Cry of Freedom, great read. Hard to fathom that Montanans are glorying in yesterday's election.

Maruchka 9:47 AM  

FUN! and that's a FACT. Sussed the long ones PDQ - who doesn't love that? Only hang up was FOReCEP. Apparently, also accurate.

Thanks, Ms. Weintraub.

Fav of the day - RIDE SHOTGUN. We always said back seat driver, never rider. Thanks for the heads-up, @LMS, and for your sweet nod to Ms. Robyn and the puzz gals.

Speaking of gender - NewsHour had an interesting interview with Andy Kim, the 'Gangnam' guy, who posits testosterone-based facial features as indicators of potential 'success'. May be specious, but our prez may be THE bellwether. The times are so angry and loud and dour and scary and ugly and just plain sad. Thanks for the memory of 'Quiet Village' cuddling, @LarryG

Mikey from El Prado 9:48 AM  

Wow, was that easy! My fastest Friday ever. With my Penguins winning last night, and now this... a great start to Memorial Weekend. May the rest of you have a great one, too. Remember those who served with their lives. Remember PEACE.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

The Democratic Party supported racial discrimination then and they stil do. Who thinks an affluent African American child should get preferential admission to Ivy League universities over a poor Asian American child ? Democratic politicians. Nice try though Rex's toady.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

@Greater... - The whole damned world disagrees with you, in whole or in part. No one, and I mean no one, claims that FETA is goat cheese. Some say goat milk is a component, most say it's sheep's milk.

Mohair Sam 9:58 AM  

Just love "The CAT'S PAJAMAS" - flat out the coolest term ever. The "living end" doesn't begin to measure up as a clue, but we'll give Robyn Weintraub a pass this time because this was a superb puzzle.

Bill Murray's voicing of BALOO in the latest "Jungle Book" is worth the price of admission. He is the ultimate con-artist bear.

@Loren - Thanks for the photo of the breakfast club (whatever their proper title) - sharp lookin' crew. I'm wondering if the gang went all Gianforte on Mike Selniker when he cracked wise. Who could blame you?

@Larry Gilstrap - Good grief! Martin Denny's hideous "Quiet Village" for mood music? Nah - gimme Kenny G. or Sweet Baby James Taylor any day.

@Oscar Madison - Yeah, surprised someone as sensitive to racial issues as @Rex doesn't know TANEY. Your recommendation of "Battle Cry of Freedom" is an excellent one. You might have mentioned that it is Volume VI of The Oxford History of The United States. Thorough as all hell, and eminently readable.

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

Soft bigotry of lowered expectations.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

Don't feed the trolls Z as tempting as it may be. You're better than them. You're smarter than them and gosh darn it people like you.

Surphart 10:05 AM  

What a backseat driver cant do? RIDEQUIETLY!

CDilly52 10:10 AM  

I nailed CAT's PJs very early, and thought we were going to have some sort of theme. Looking for similarities in the stacks and not finding them slowed me down. But still a normal Friday time for me. Misspelled BALOO (Balou), did not understand the relationship between the cricket and the grasshopper and for the life of me, couldn't remember Justice Taney. But I was also solving very late last night after some celebrating so I am happy.

GILL I. 10:11 AM  

Wow...what a MENSA crowd today. I finished without Google but it took me about an hour.
Like @GHarris, I plunked in LATTE for 1D and wanted that living end to be something like a last breath. I've never heard of CATS PAJAMAS. Ever. I know he has some whiskers and a meow but didn't know he had some PJ'S.
RIDES SHOTGUN was my fastest entry and I crossed my fingers it was correct. BALOO, of all things, took me some time because I had Mogli. I read that book a million times to the kids and we watched the movies over and over again. Why in hell couldn't I remember BALOO?
MOOD MUSIC makes me sad. The only one I like is Lara Fabian singing Je T'Aime. Anything with waterfally sounds or birds chirping and a pan flute make me think that the Living end is near....I had a wonderful friend who was dying of AIDS and he wanted his last days to be in his own bed. His partner insisted he be taken to Kaiser. He went there. All they did was play MOOD MUSIC and dim the lights. I wanted to shout out "Come On Baby Light My Fire."
My favorite entry today was SMITE for the Bible belt. I kept think some kind of booze would go in there. Maybe some cheap red wine.. I also like ALARM crossing CLOCK and meeting up with TIMES.
Very nice puzzle Ms Weintraub. I enjoyed ALTO MUSIC SOUND SONGS. Just not MOOD.

PHV 10:12 AM  

I expected Rex to cavil about fine arts crossing with fine print. Also, don't understand SRTA.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Look in the mirror. See that red handprint on the side of your face. Don't get why you never feel the sting? Maybe you're a 1%er?

Stanley Hudson 10:30 AM  

@Oscar Madison, I'll echo @Mohair Sam in endorsing my fellow historian James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom. It was published very early in my career and I had the good fortune to review it for a fairly obscure history journal. To my surprise, some weeks after the review appeared in print, I received from McPherson a short letter (before email) thanking me for my complimentary review. What a thrill for a young scholar! McPherson is not only a brilliant historian and writer but obviously a very gracious, thoughtful person.

Daryl 10:39 AM  

New Friday record for me at 5:50 (at least I think it's new - the app has a record of me doing a 3:30 Friday, but that was a weird glitch). Great puzzle too, nothing that felt forced. Like some others, I had LATTE for 1D but managed to correct myself.

This was another puzzle that has interesting combinations when you read it across:

STD ODDS AND ENDS (okay, maybe that last one is a bit icky)

Tessabelle 10:42 AM  

For a bright shining moment, I was euphoric and so very quick-witted.Dash it all!

More Whit 10:47 AM  

Great Friday time ever. How does anyone complete this type of puzzle in less than four minutes?! Impressive. PHV - I believe SRTA is the abbreviation for least I took the Dora clue along that vein.

Maruchka 11:03 AM  

Oops. That's RIDES SHOTGUN. If no S, Victoria is TA. Ta Ta!

jberg 11:14 AM  

I thought TANEY was a gimme, but on thinking it over I realize that I may not be a fair sample, as a professional political scientist. He's pretty important in American history, all the same.

I liked this one a lot -- all those ordinary expressions for the long answers, even if some, like CAT'S PAJAMAS, are a little dated. In fact, my hardest moment was deciding on PAJAMAS vs. PyJAMAS, but the former is much more common, at least in the US. Second hardest, datE or TIME STAMP? And BALOu or BALOO, but I guessed right there.

Seems to me we often get COUSIN used that way in the clues, as "Lion cousin" = OCELOT, etc. At least, thinking that helped me get the answer.

Maybe you folks who want to argue about the Montana special election could go read Nate Silver and comment there.

old timer 11:21 AM  

Joining the chorus of praise here. Easy (for a Friday) and when I was done, I looked at the short answers, trying to find drek that OFL might criticize. There was little to none. STD is an abbreviation I have seen in actual use. So is STA, in the context of a British rail timetable. So is MFA, so is ONT. And every one of the long Acrosses is a thing of beauty.

Got my start with ELGIN and ACURA, had a lucky guess with CURE, was confounded for only a minute by COUSIN and I was off to the races. Finished in the NW, where CAFFE was obvious, and gave me the rest of that segment. I used to have the occasional CAFFE Mocha at a North Beach coffee house, when I lived in the City, and that was the name on their list of drinks.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Despite the widespread media depiction to the contrary.

Given the chance to meet/work with Ms Pelosi you would find her to be a truly lovely person and terrific asset to our country

Not only is she one of the most hard working, caring people in Washington
She has an absolutely wonderful personality, possessing traits of kindness, warmth, compassion, humility, love for all people and our country, willingness to work with any and all, flexibility, generosity in word and deed, and great wit and humor to name a few.

However my guess is your lowbrow opinion would remain rooted in ignorance and therefore, unchanged.

Joseph Michael 11:41 AM  

Thoroughly enjoyable, elegant puzzle.

Especially liked CAT'S PAJAMAS, ATOMIC CLOCK, FINE PRINT, RIDES SHOTGUN, and NOT TOO BAD. Lots of first-rate cluing as well, such as the ones for MONIES, OVERSLEPT, and CABS.

However, about those back seat drivers, I've had plenty of them riding shotgun beside me.

Malsdemare 11:42 AM  

I can't add to this so I'll just say I really liked this. It made me feel smart and quick-witted; some of those clues (living end, what a backseat driver can't do) were just perfect. I just sit here and stare at them for forever, wander off in another direction, come back, and Voila!

Thanks, Robyn and Will

Ghostface Puzzlah 11:55 AM  

Hey, I set a personal Friday record too! It was, um, not quite 3:19 though. Holy crap

Big Steve 46 11:57 AM  

No STAR WARS, no HARRY POTTER, no LORD OF THE RINGS - that's good enough for me! Kudos to Robyn Weintraub, bless her soul!

GILL I. 12:16 PM  

@CDilly: I went back to read yesterday's comments and yours made me smile. I loved your tale of the "Me Too Iguana." Our daughter always insisted that my husband read her "Polly Pig and the Bee" every night before bedtime. Because he's a Brit, he had to make Polly Pig sound just like the Queen Mum.....! And he did!

Unicorn Slayer 12:17 PM  

@ Oscar Madison:

Kudos for mentioning James McPherson's Battle Cry Of Freedom. I concur with your assessment of his work. Perhaps some people here would like to listen to the song that most likely inspired McPherson's title. It was written by George F. Root and the first public performance of the composition was on April 24, 1862. Although the original lyrics were meant as a rallying cry for the North, the South quickly embraced the song and improvised on the lyrics.

The tune could actually be called the official anthem of the civil war. Many people are familiar with the melody, but few know it's name.

Warning: If you avail yourself of the links I have provided, a serious ear worm of undetermined length will follow. Enjoy!

Masked and Anonymous 12:48 PM  

M&A emerged Bible-belted, but religiously hangin in there. Alarmed, but soldierin on. Body-slammed, but with pen (well, pencil) un-silenced. Finishin cleanly, with nano-seconds still in the holster. No records. No tapes. No CDs. But still .. got to do a modest victory dance.

Openin volley: LATTE/LASTBREATHS, in the #1 corner. Turned out to be total #2, of course. Unfortunately, that clogged up the works, somethin fierce, in the NW … felt trapped. Started to sweat.
Then M&A saw those NE and SW corners. Upliftin etherial choir music emanated from an unseen orchestra pit. A blazin aura of welcomin light surrounded them two glorious 4-stack weeject corners. It all felt so right. M&A was immediately drawn in. "I. want. to. go. to. there," M&A sorta intoned, with jaws aslack.

Sooo … Them NE and SW corners bailed out M&A's bacon, and things went pretty smooth, from then on. This is a really well-constructioneered gridwork. M&A can instantly sense that -- becuz hard now to recall any bouquet de desperation encountered along Solvequest Road. There was that one interestin JCT, I reckon … Let's ergo go with that lil darlin, as our honored staff weeject pick.

"Donnie DARKO"! har. Epic schlock flick. Whole premise unmercifully twists back on itself and makes yer head explode. Highly recommended. Must watch at least twice to understand, but that ain't too bad. (M&A is watchin "Primer" for the umpteenth time, and still tryin to get that day-um story straight.) But, I digress.

@RP: Concur, with items #3 and #4 in yer illustrated (wein-)traublespots tour. And also kinda wish I'da knower that CAFFE answer offa nuthin, and U had a wart on yer nose. Congratz, on yer new record, tho. And extra-primo write-up, btw.

Thanx, Ms. Weintraub. themelessthUmbsUp.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Anonymous 12:53 PM  

Dems - please keep reelecting the Pelosis, Frankens and Wasserman-Schulzs. I'm begging you.

Joe Bleaux 1:02 PM  

A cow pile?

Joe Bleaux 1:09 PM  

Sometimes a quick finish can be satisfying. One snag: Since when is betrayal accidental? So every rat "unknowingly" squealed on someone who trusted him?

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

I forget how it works. Will you please explain again what Republicans need to do to win elections?

Your pal,

Greg Gianforte

turkeyneck 1:27 PM  

Yeah, my fastest Friday ever as well.

BarbieBarbie 1:34 PM  

@Z, today's Republicans are not actually the Party of Lincoln-- they are descended from the Johnson-apologist branch of the party; it was the so-called "radical Republicans" that legislated against and abolished slavery. Those guys were largely thrown out later under Johnson, leaving the Vichy Republicans in charge of the party. Supporters like Grant sent some of the former abolitionists to places like Montana to govern-- because Montana was mostly Democrat. (the darn radicals next wanted to give rights to Chinese workers, so the Democrats booted them out of there too.) Everybody wants to claim those guys as their political forebears, but the fact is that neither color of, umm, dedicated public servant we have in charge now can really make that claim. People can be jerks, and we're just going through a time when the jerks are in power and feelin' good about it.
@ED, snarky tit-for-tat comments are unworthy of your usual wit. Knock it off. (HAR)

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

What anger management issues? Gianforte threw 125 points of wussy to the ground. No issue. No problem. The Big Sky state agrees.
Enjoy that dump you call greater Detroit.

Pappy Boyington 1:45 PM  

@Two Ponies:

America thanks you and your fellow Montana patriots. @Z is the quintessential pot calling the kettle black. His cheap shot at you only goes to prove the double standard and hypocrisy of the left. At one time Michiganders would reliably pull the lever for Satan, as long as his name on the ballot was followed by a D, so @Z has scant room to talk.

@Evil Doug at 9:31 AM

Couldn't have said it better myself!

ArtO 2:21 PM  

Interesting to see how many nasty political comments we're getting today. Some must love dictators,hate a free press, nepotism in the White House, consorting with our enemies, destroying the environment, rejecting science, underfunding anything not related to profit and a justice department that seems to have forgotten what it is supposed to represent.

And, yes, the puzzle was the easiest Friday ever!!

Anonymous 2:35 PM  


LMAO! See you're totally ensconced in a "safe space", better know as the "liberal bubble." How's the rarefied air in there? Hope there's enough to sustain you and your brethren until reality sets in?

Anonymous 2:38 PM  

Thank you ArtO and your ilk for backing such a flawed candidate last year. What do they say about making the same mistakes and expecting different results?

Tita 2:44 PM  

@2:36 Anon...
Whoa in the're in the bubble...

Agree or not, Art O listed very specific facts / opinions.

Your response was completely empty.
As it would be if you were comfy in your own bubble of safety. (Some might call it bubble of ignorance.)

Tita 2:46 PM  

*who's* not whoa. That's what I get for ignoring my own advice against trollfeeding.

Anonymous 3:06 PM  

You're great, but come on! Art rambled on with MSNBC talking points. There were no facts. Of course Mr. Trump is a buffoon. Sure Mr. GIanforte is a bully. But inane tweeting isnt criminal or dictatorial. And decking a twerp is hardly the same thing as an assault on the First ammendment. Besides, even if we were to grant that the current administration is guilty of the crimes Art alledged, the last occupant of the White Housee did assail our freedom to worship. The Federal courts agreed.

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

Commencement speech to Binghamton students: "Now go out there armed with you comic book degree and make a difference!"

Noam D. Elkies 3:36 PM  

Yes, nice and easy for a Friday. I wonder if anybody else paused at the intersection of 14A:ALT? and 21A:DE? -- the choral part could be either ALTO or ALTI, and one needs to have some sense of Latin to know which of DEO and DEI matches the clue (or remember "gloria in excelsis Deo" = glory . . . to God" vs. "Agnus/Opus Dei" = "lamb/work of God").


Anonymous 3:39 PM  

Me, too.

ArtO 3:56 PM  

She certainly was flawed but hardly to the extent of the person in the White House. Let me remind you of what John Quincy Adams said... "may none other than honest and wise men ever rule under this roof." I don't think DJT qualifies.

Frankly, now it's not a Republican vs. Democrat issue. It's the fate of the country and I doubt it's ever been in the hands of someone so unqualified to rule.

Anonymous 4:03 PM  

Maybe John Quincy Adams should take a little peek at the gains in my 401K the last seven months.

Schadenfreude 4:05 PM  

@Tita A:

@ArtO listed NO specific facts! However, you are correct when you stated that his post was strictly opinion. The fact that his opinions mirror yours, is of no surprise and little significance. Lets look at some real facts:

This list has not been updated, but as of two weeks ago President Trump and his administration has already accomplished the following:

Abortion funding - eliminated internationally, on the chopping block domestically.

Border Wall - moving forward under previous legislation that Obama ignored.

CAFE standards - going, going, going
Coal - a friend in the White House, what more does one need?

Dakota Access - approved for completion!

Illegal aliens with criminal records being deported post haste. Don’t go away mad, just go away!

Illegal immigrant crossings on the southern border down over 40% since January.

Economic Confidence - at historic highs.

FBI - incompetent Director “fired”, to be replaced by a “law enforcement” officer.

(Democrat Hillary Clinton went on TV to claim that Mr. Comey cost her the election. Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey. Did Democrats praise the president? No, they want him impeached. Devious logic, but devious is a good descriptor of much of what goes on in this fight.)

Federal Judges - a slew of conservative Judges nominated, confirmations inevitable.

Guantanamo Bay - open for business and ready for new ‘guests’.

Gun control - dying the ugly death it deserves. Pro second amendment laws being passed on multiple levels in multiple states. Gun sales climbing, with women leading the way in applications for concealed carry permits.

H1B visas - going, going, going … hire American, buy American
Industry - bringing their factories back to the US.

Illegal aliens of all stripes at the lowest level in 17 years.

Jobs (real "jobs") - roaring back … Bayer, Carrier, Ford, Hyundai, Sprint/Softbank, etc.

Military micromanagement - no more leftist prepubescent weenies telling Generals how to wage war.

Muslim terrorists - being denied entry and hunted down.

NAFTA - under renegotiation.

Obama-Death-Care-Spiral - repealed and replaced in the House, on to the Senate. Anything is better than what Obamacare mandated!

Paris Climate Accord - deader than the enviro-nuts remaining two brain cells!

Red lines in the sand? - We don’t need no stinking red lines, Trump showed that we got Tomahawk missiles, and we'll use them!

Regulations - two eliminated for every new one added.

Religious freedom - ended the America-hating Democrats war on religion.

Sanctuary cities - On notice to lose federal funds if not compliant with federal law. Sanctuary City supporting politicians likely to be jailed.

SCOTUS _Judge Gorsuch who believes that the constitution should be interpreted as it was written. Three more potential judges tee’d up and ready to go. Doily neck is on her last legs.

Taxes - being cut.

TPP - deader than Lying Crooked Hillary’s political future!

Veterans care - no longer being wait-listed to death, able to see real, outside doctors.

Wookie lunches - gone, gone, gone to the pigs.

XL - approved for construction using American steel.

Democrats and Entitlement Monkeys - in utter disarray and micturating in their panties.

Just a partial list. The greatest thing Donald Trump has accomplished so far, is allowing me the extreme pleasure of being able to see Liberal heads explode on a daily basis. Its the gift that keeps on giving. Bush Derangement Syndrome was nothing compared to the complete meltdown that the left is now in up to their azz!

Enjoy the suck Proggies!

Anonymous 4:08 PM  

Um, James Buchanan makes Trump look like Thomas Jefferson. Until Mr. TRUMP leads us into a war that kills 600,000 Americans I'll refrail from pegging him as the worst pretty in history.

Anonymous 4:11 PM  

I love it!!!!!! If you decide to publish a newsletter, I'll gladly subscribe.
Thanks again.

Anonymous 4:33 PM  

Z, are you seriously trying to appeal to the better nature of a person who said just yesterday, without shame or even self-awareness, that they didn't like a puzzle because it was too black? Give it up, man.

Anonymous 4:34 PM  

Especially if the newletter is nicely alphabetized so that it seems really spontaneous unless you already saw it listed elsewhere. Make sure to erase that little Fox News logo in the corner next time.
Obama has a lot to answer for (most massive uptick in deportations in history, condemnation of border lands in order to construct a wall, orders of magnitude increase in drone strikes, use of his CiCh status to act as judge/jury/executioner on Americans overseas, etc. etc.)-- interesting that some of it is stuff Trump and his fanboys are now claiming as his own-- that's politics; they all want to pretend.

GILL I. 4:56 PM  

You know what makes me sad? This is a wonderful Friday puzzle by a talented constructor. All of your political rantings positively stink. ALL of them. Don't do it here. Is this the only place you have to go to? Are you that desperate? Go get a placard, print something on it and walk the sidewalks with you message, feed the hungry, adopt a pet....get off this blog with your asinine political rhetoric. Your pathetic hegemony doesn't work.

Malsdemare 4:56 PM  

Wow, this got really ugly. Rex is going to be back to monitoring. I'm outa here.

Chip Hilton 4:57 PM  

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. They also took a site devoted to discussing crosswords and turned it into a confrontational haven for mean-spirited left and right wingers. If only I meant hockey.

Nancy 5:17 PM  

Let me vociferously second and third the comments just now of @GILL, @Malsdemare and @Chip. (Whose law is it that bad always drives out good? I know it's not Murphy's). What's most horrible about all the bile-filled, venom-laced, blind rage-driven vitriol on the blog today is that probably 9 out of 10 of the ranters have never solved a crossword puzzle in their life. They're simply here to spew hate. After which they go there to spew hate. I suspect they go from blog. The blog doesn't have to be political. It just has to be one that's not moderated.

@Mals is right, Rex. You may have to come back to clean up Dodge.

Anonymous 5:25 PM  

I made a political comment and have solved many thousands of crossword puzzles. I suspect most of those who've made similar comments have too.
What makes you say that 90 % of those who've given voice to their opinions as it regards politics are non puzzle solvers? It's an assertion with no evidence to support it.

Moly Shu 5:26 PM  

@GILL I, I always read your posts. I enjoy your well-thought-out input, stories, humor, etc. Your insights usually spark careful thought and reflection by me. Today however, I have to strongly disagree with your "positively stink" sentiment. This back and forth with its name calling and opinions is effing awesome!!!!

@Z, you really got em going today, well done!!!!

Nancy 5:30 PM  

Because they choose to be Anonymous, Anon 5:25. Obviously I wouldn't include Z or Evil Doug in that statement. But almost all of the really, really nasty comments on this blog --
political and otherwise -- are posted by Anonymous.

Aketi 5:33 PM  

Ugh, I really hate that this group keeps getting infiltrated by those who a) find it necessary to verbally bully others for no good reason and b) deliberately post rants labeling other groups about issues that have zero to do with crossword puzzles and everything to do with trying to disrupt normal everyday comments about them. None of these rants really have much substance behind them other than to tar and feather other groups with labels that are meaningless and never really deal with the complexity of political issues that should be approached with far more consideration to the topic at hand than the party, ideological leanings or identity of those who are framed as "the enemy". It's one thing to make a few jokes every now and again about the bumbling of politicians and quite another to spew dozens of rants a day that go well beyond any sort of civil discourse. I am glad that I have met some of the regular bloggers in person and know them to be kind and considerate people unlike the anonymous bloggers whose escalation of pathetic bids for attention has culiminated in the copious explosive vomiting of completely unproductive rants today. Today actually finally rivals what I have seen before in the ugly unnecessary mommy wars that are never really as bad in face to face interactions as they are online.

I miss @George Barany and @Leapfinger among others who used to comment regularly.

@Rex, I'm really sorry that it looks like moderation might again be needed.

Anonymous 5:38 PM  


There's no difference between anonymous or evil Doug or Z. Theyre are all just screen names. Z is as faceless as any of the anonymous posters. So are you for that matter. When folks start signing their posts with their real names, I will too.

Nancy 5:44 PM  

There is one Z. I can attach him to all his comments. There may be 30 different Anons each day. I have no idea which Anonymous is which. And that, my dear Anon 5:38, is why there's a HUGE difference. Z takes responsibility for his comments. So does Evil Doug. So do I. You don't.

Aketi 5:46 PM  

And just to make it clear, like @Nancy, I mean the anonymice.

Anonymous 5:50 PM  

Why is it important to know the identity of the poster? Shouldn't the post be judged on its content rather than its author?

QuasiMojo 5:53 PM  

@Aketi, very well said. And yes, it is sad. I've already mentioned how IMDB, that great internet resource for movie lovers, had to take down all of its extremely useful forums because of exactly this type of insidious off-point vitriolic trolling and name-calling. As for the anonymity issue. Yes, most of us are anonymous behind our handles. Even OFL chose to use a pseudonym. But that doesn't mean those of us who post here and enjoy the blog will put up with trolls who are needlessly cruel and exceedingly dull.

Anonymous 5:55 PM  

That is feckless nonsense. I take responsibility for all my actions, including my posts here. Perhaps your recent cold has dimmed your ability to reason. Regardless of the cause of your error, be assured I am a man of honor. That I choose to refrain from adapting an inssipd screen name or use my first name of more makes me irresponsibl than it makes me the King of England.

Anonymous 5:56 PM  

@Anonymous-4:34 PM

Nice try. You can go to multiple outlets available on Google and pull up the same information I posted. Trying to tie those facts to Fox News only shows how much you fear the information disseminated there.

Everyone with half a brain knows that Fox used to lean right. They attempted to balance the reportage coming from ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, NPR, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Ad Nauseam. When you're outnumbered 10 to 1, you're always going to have an uphill battle.

So now, Murdock's idiot Millennial sons are hell bent to turn Fox into another Proggie news outlet? That's fine. Those of us in opposition will find a way to resist and overcome the Liberal-Progressive media.

We've already understood and accepted the bias. When research by such august liberal institutions as Harvard confirm that media bias against Trump is running over 90% negative, we need little else to confirm our suspicions.

Anonymous 5:59 PM  

Like when Michael Sharp says Dilbert can go eff himself.

Masked and Anonymous 6:08 PM  

Real sorry, but this msg is mostly about crosswords…

First M&A m&sg auto-correct-did-it recap: "… knowed that CAFFE entry", not "… knower that CAFFE entry".

Upon further inspection, a couple more subtle moments of desperation:

* ENGS. Plural abbr. This is real noteworthy, since the singular abbr. ENG clues are usually about the ENGlish language. But plural ENGlisheS don't come up much.

* ACCTS. Another plural abbr. Now, so is its runty cousin ACS, but somehow ACS doesn't look near as desperate. Length of desperation considerations, I reckon.

* STA. Most popular, of the {Stop that stops early??} ilk. STN is a distant second. Shoot, actually it almost gets no respect: STA = 433 NYTPuz uses, STN = 69 uses. From now on, M&A roots for STN.
Neither STA nor STN has Patrick Berry Usage Immunity. STN has Michael Sharp Usage Immunity, tho. Way to go, @RP.

Lots and lots of great fillins today, to offset a modest modicum of desperation:
M&A faves: CATSPAJAMAS. ATOMICCLOCK. FUNFACTS. FORCEPS. RIDESSHOTGUN. DARKO. BETRAY (Agree with other commenters, that BETRAY's clue was slightly weird, tho.)


speed-solvin [4 min.] exercise:

Not quite as much about crosswords …
See that? Even the commenter with that there long alphabetic Trump to-do list skipped over the entry for the letter U! I'm tellin yah … the letter U just gets no respect, *anywhere*. [Sooo … Trump would maybe do better to splatz a different vowel in his name?]

Tom4 6:23 PM  

Funny, I struggled in places specifically because of how easy it was for a Friday! Kept second-guessing myself, thinking, "no, this must be a trap."

jae 6:29 PM  

@puzzlehoarder - I'm not sure if you thought this was a wasn't.

@Birchbark - I've been slowly working my way through Saturday puzzles from the mid '90s (early Shortz era) and so far none of them come close to being as easy as this one was.

@lms - David Sedaris is on Colbert tonight.

Scroll finger 6:32 PM  

Blog reading tip. If you tap Anonymous as soon as it scrolls up on your screen the comment disappears.

Aketi 6:32 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aketi 6:47 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
gifcan 6:50 PM  

Congrats @walkingreject, it feels good to notice our development as solvers. I marvel at how far I've come.

Aketi 6:55 PM  

@Quasi, well said and by writing that's I've gone well over the three today. Just can't stand the fact that I had to scroll past more Anonymous posts than the regulars today.

@M&A, U made my day. It was well worth the extra exercise of my scrolling finger which is kinda tingling oddly from dragging it across the iPad so much today. Too bad I didn't know you could obliterate anonymous posts @scrollfinger suggestion, before my finger was subjected to the marathon of the Trump list.. Tomorrow I'm getting up early for fight club. We always have breakfast afterwards. In the last month we have added two items to share for the table to accompany our individual orders: a) a dish called a "Mac Attack" which consists of three bowls of different flavors of Mac and Cheese and b) a giant Cinnamon Bun. I shall savor it the cinnamon bun tomorrow morning while I pay homage to Ur precious Underrated U's.

Anonymous 7:20 PM  

Eric Clanton

Bike Lock Coward 7:40 PM  

If you don't know who Eric Clanton is you should look him up.

Anonymous 7:54 PM  

Don't waste your time. The regulars around here will never admit the left is a bunch of degenerates. They'll say this is an aberration.

Tom4 8:09 PM  

The only way to defeat trollness is to ignore trollness. The more crossword-dedicated comments the better.

Looking back a second time, this one was really too easy for a Friday. Maybe it was supposed to appear on Wednesday but OVERSLEPT.

Tita 8:49 PM  

@Tom4 says it succinctly and well. Beating myself with a wetly noodle for giving in today.

Scroll on.

No moderation...please!

Anonymous 10:03 PM  

Did anyone notice comments seem off topic? I blame Z . Pretty sure Andrew Jackson wasn't referenced in the puzzle. Maybe Sharpie should moderate.

Anonymous 10:36 PM  

Z is clearly a double agent trying to undermine Rex. Or does he really believe the condescending vitriol he spews ? The mysterious Z.

Joe Bleaux 12:00 PM  

Still zero response to my question about the "unintentional" part of that "betrayal" clue. Maybe I first should've called somebody a snowflake or displayed a mindless adoration of Trump in order to call attention to something related to the puzzle. Just sayin ...

DigitalDan 5:56 PM  

Will Shortz simply MUST stop allowing constructors to attribute any good intentions or actions to the EPA. I can hardly bring myself to fill in these answers.

Tom4 9:58 AM  

@Joe Bleaux sure betray is used for snitches and rats - it's also used though for unintentional revelations (e.g. His blushing betrayed his true feelings.)

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

Totally agree with you Mr Parker. I solved this without any hints in a short amount of time. The one was I put BABOO for the bear's name instead of BALOO. Still a minor point since everything else was right.

Finished every puzzle since Monday without any hint.


spacecraft 10:38 AM  

I concur with the vast majority today: this was easy-peasy for a Friday. I was pleasantly surprised that OFL didn't start with a rant about the rustiness of 1-across. That's an expression of--what, 80? years ago, but he still likes it, and so do I. See? Old is NOT automatically bad! What we've been trying to tell you.

The second long across triggers a political comment, but I promise it will be quick. The day this country actually went ahead and ELECTED the real Donnie DARKO, my first thought was: well, the boys in charge of the old ATOMICCLOCK will be pushing that sucker ahead--say, 11:59:59.

Okay, back to the puzzle. The whole thing just went down like a shot of Southern Comfort. It was truly a "Tuesday themeless." No DOD though, unless we can stretch out SKEETer Davis, who sang one of the best old SONGS ever: "The End of the World." Oh no, there I go again!

It went fast for me, but you'll never see a TIMESTAMP here. Hint, hint, Fearless One! Birdie. Naw, the hell with it: Eagle! (Hey, maybe we should make the constructrix the DOD!)

Burma Shave 11:55 AM  


like when the SOLDIERON the ATOLL relaxed,


Burma Shave 11:57 AM  

proper version (one word edit)


like when the SOLDIERON Bikini ATOLL relaxed,


leftcoastTAM 12:31 PM  

Yes indeed, this one was unusually easy for Friday.

Could have been a more typical Wednesday. Was glad to see it, even though it's so misplaced.

Last letter in was the "A" in the BALOO/LATKE cross, which was just a good guess. Didn't know the bear but felt the right vibes for the Hanukkah serving. Saved me from a Natick.

Tomorrow almost certainly will be another, quite different day.

Diana,LIW 1:07 PM  

I know what time I got up this morning, and I know what time I finished the puzzle, so I know it took me less than one hour. That's as close as I get to "timing."

I also know I was on this puzzle's wavelength, and the solve seemed smooth and, well, you know...easy.

The photo of the cat in a onesie caused me to wincie, which is what would happen if I tried to get Lambo into one of those. He already is the CATSPAJAMAS.

COUSINS may not be a scientific designation, but is a crossword commonplace description. (i.e. Cousin of Greek god of smelly feet? - Roman god of bad breath.) Or is that just a FORIN STANCE? Sorry, I won't KEEPTALKING.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 1:51 PM  

Intimidated by the great white space of the NW, I went straight to 12A, entered _FA, and pretty well went Whoosh! An almost unbroken counterCLOCKwise solve with answers just filling themselves in. I was thinking "this can't be this easy" but I just kept rolling, all the while anticipating a roadblock in the NW.

As I approached that section, I had enough from the centre section to get SKEET and ALARMED, and that was pretty well that.

The smoothness of this puppy, to mix a metaphor, was amazing. Every entry was a Maserati, and sure it was easy, but isn't it great to just keep solving and to be enjoying every moment? Hmm?

Now I know we are to keep "poly-ticks" out of it down here in safe Syndiville, but my actual thought at 37A was, "the President says he is pro-women, but his Tweets will BETRAY him". And so they have.

I'm pretty sure that tomorrow will bring a rather different experience to this gem.

TK Hodgram 2:15 PM  

My fastest-ever too. Somewhere around 30 minutes. Which is basically the same as Rex; I just write a lot slower.

rondo 3:06 PM  

NOTTOOBAD, I must say. What ELSE? I did one dumb thing and spelled it MONeyS at first, but changed it RITE away.

One itty bitty nit. “Engineer” is most commonly abbreviated Engr. Or just E as in PE (professional engineer). The ENGS owned a farm a coupla miles away from where I grew up.

Ever since my camera fell off a table the date and TIMESTAMP no longer work. Probably not long before the rest of the innards give up.

If you take a close look at the whole column under 8 you have an ARMED FORCE in the middle of the ALPS. AL)ARMED FORCE(PS
That’s what doing the Harper’s puzzle will do to you.

Nothing in the FINEPRINT to say Robyn can’t be yeah baby for a day.

That’s about all the ODDSANDENDS I’ve got. Really nice puz.

wcutler 4:48 PM  

I don't think anyone replied to PHV 10:12 AM re: SRTA. I've never read Dora the Explorer, but I see she's of Mexican heritage, and would be a senorita (add your own tilde), abbreviated SRTA.

I'm in syndicate land, a month after you asked this question, so it's unlikely you or anyone else will read this, but anyway, fwiw.

I finished this Friday puzzle - that defines easy. Last Saturday I got seven answers total, and I think people said that was easy.

Diana,LIW 5:12 PM  

I asked Mr. W, an ENGr, and indeed, ENGr it is. I say ENG is an English Major. Or an engine.

Yes, Dora helps teach kids Spanish, thus the translation is correct.

Lady Di

leftcoastTAM 6:20 PM  

Note to all syndilanders (in the interest of interaction): We're all on the same page literally and, for today, figuratively as well. A good thing?

strayling 7:42 PM  

I wanted ODDS AND SODS, but I know better than to expect British vernacular to work here, so I corrected that before I filled it in. The rest was nice and easy. Learned a new bit of Americana courtesy of TANEY, so I count this as a win in my continuing quest to learn US culture via crossword.

Diana,LIW 7:56 PM  

So, @Strayling - what does your name signify? Something non-Yank?


strayling 8:34 PM  


I'm from Manchester, and the starling is practically our city bird. There was a rather good tv drama called Starlings which stuck in my mind. And then there's the way that starlings were introduced to America by a Shakespeare fan.

So, just like them I strayed away from England, ended up in the US and decided I quite like it here.

Diana,LIW 9:22 PM  

@Straycat - Wonderful anagram! Mr. W and I were in London one Sunday, couldn't find a place open for lunch, and ended up in the Victoria and Albert Museum. At the front desk, there was a sign for "concessions." "Oh great, a concession stand," I thought. No dear, concessions (discounts) for seniors. Discounts. Okay, Let's all try to speak English. ;-)

The Other Lady Di

Unknown 1:38 PM  

I need and look forward to a good, challenging puzzle on Fridays and this one was way too easy. Very disappointed!

Blogger 6:38 PM  

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