Baby animal in parable in II Samuel / FRI 6-23-17 / Subject of 1984 mockumentary / Edible seed of pumpkin squash / Verdi opera set in fifth century

Friday, June 23, 2017

Constructor: James Mulhern and Ashton Anderson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: PERCALE (20D: Bedsheet material) —
noun
noun: percale
  1. a closely woven fine cotton or polyester fabric used especially for sheets. (google)
• • •

Expected something a little showier here, but all in all it's decent and clean. The long Acrosses don't really sing, though I do like the juxtaposition in the north, i.e. the idea of someone (I assume drunkenly) twirling in SWEAT PANTS while asking "HOW DO I LOOK?" I finished in just over 6. I don't know if the puzzle was easier or harder or exactly as hard as I rated it because I was aided somewhat in the NW, and mightily in the SE, by that niche knowledge I have only because I solve a ton of crosswords, i.e. by crosswordese. I got a superfast start by guessing AMMO right out of the box (1A: They may make the rounds) and then confirming it with (drum roll) ARNESS! (crosswordese the first) (1D: "Gunsmoke" actor James). And then at the end, in the SE corner, I just had blank space below SPINAL TAP, and got a little panicky. Then I tried ATTILA (42D: Verdi opera set in the fifth century). Now I know squat about opera, and I know zero about ATTILA, but something about the clue jogged the answer loose. I didn't trust it At All, but after stumbling with PHOTON instead of PHASER at 43D: Particle beam weapon, I could see it was all going to work out. Shoulda been able to get GARTH from just the "G"; shoulda been able to get PEPITA from the "PE-" ... but shoulda woulda coulda didn't. ATTILA to the rescue.


Other trouble spots:
  • Wanted MU SHU at 2D: Kind of pork, but saw the number of squares and wrote in MOO ... SHO :(
  • Had the "B" at the end of 7D: Baby animal in a parable in II Samuel and wrote in BEAR CUB
  • Wanted THE KEYS instead of CAR KEYS for some reason (35A: Request to Dad, perhaps)
  • Could remember only ASNER and ZOOEY DESCHANEL as Ferrell co-stars in "Elf" 
  • Could picture SLUGGO perfectly in my head (I own two fat volumes of "Nancy" comics) but for some reason his name eluded me and it came out BLUTTO (39D: Nancy's friend in the comics). 
  • TEST SCORES is boring and annoying because when I had ___ SCORES, I expected something specific. I wrote in PSAT, knowing full well no one puts those on their actual applications (do they?)
  • 34D: Arm that's tucked away (COVE) — just brutal. Way harder than anything else in the puzzle.
  • DRAT for CRUD (48A: "Oh, darn!")
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

141 comments:

jae 12:06 AM  

Very easy Fri. for me. reveRE before ADMIRE was it for erasures and no WOEs. Did not have as many missteps as @Rex did.

Plenty of zip, liked it a lot! Nice one guys.

Daryl 12:07 AM  

Thought this was easy: got UPTOWN GIRL with no crosses and then proceeded methodically to finish in 8:24. I liked the general lack of crosswordese.

George Barany 12:31 AM  

Thanks, @Rex, for your analysis of the collaborative puzzle by @James Mulhern and @Ashton Anderson. Hardly easy for me, since I ran into some of the same issues you describe, and then some! PERCALE is my new vocabulary word; I was fooled by the STEVE clue (thought maybe they were plural of STEM = science/technology/engineering/math jobs); and could not deconvolute the COVE clue (presumably unrelated to the CAVE part of the BATCAVE). I also misfired with UNEASY instead of UNHOLY, and how could one be expected to know the name of the "Tonight Show" house band?

I did figure out GOOGOOGAGA, but it sure sounds arbitrary and made up (made up by a baby, in fact). Of course I know EWE and LAMB separately (in fact, guess what my last name means in Hungarian) but--not being a regular Bible reader--had never seen them in combination. Agree on @James ARNESS being recognizable to regular crossword solvers as well as constructors, and moreover, were you aware that he was born in Minneapolis (as was his brother, actor @Peter Graves).

Still, quite a bit to ADMIRE, including two kinds of sycophants, and that tricky Patriot leader, @TOM BRADY of Deflategate fame. The Saint clue to get to SUPERDOME was easy enough, but could the constructors have gone for a pro football trifecta on BRONC (say, "Denver player, informally"). The clues for PINS, WON, and IRAN (among others) were rather difficult, while TRIAGE is evocative of peer review at funding agencies.

Thankfully, CARNAGE (not to be confused with CARKEYS) got a straightforward clue, though I should point out that there is quite a bit of bloodshed both in the Rambo movies as well as in Verdi's much underrated early opera, ATTILA (the full production is easily found on YouTube)--from a puzzle-solving point-of-view on the latter, one still has to sort out whether the "T" or the "L" is doubled.

martyvanb 12:48 AM  

SWEATPANTS over HOWDOILOOK over the he-man Sly Stallone clued ONEMANARMY is hands down the best stack I've seen a while.

There's also something wonderful about Sally Field who played Norma Rae and once accepted an Oscar by famously exclaiming "You like me! You really like me!" clued into the same cluster as a sycophantic TOADY.

I'd also like to take this moment while I have the floor to say if you like Tom Brady and the Patriots, you're objectively a bad person, and you should feel bad.

Also when are we going to take a stand for robot rights and allow them to comment on New York Times Crossword Puzzle?

Mark Barrett 12:53 AM  

The intersection of STE_ E & CO_E had me running through the alphabet one by one to finally figure it out. Before I got to that point I had thought of STEMS also for the tech and for the arm tucked away I had thought perhaps COLT? Yes, tough area compared to the speed for completing the other parts.

Larry Gilstrap 1:08 AM  

I always solve before I comment. That's my standard. This thing was worthy of TGIF. It took a while, but no complaints

Never denigrate any reference to the Old Testament, a rich contributor to our language and culture. Sure, much of it seems nonsensical, but you don't have to own it to know it. Recently, we had Balaam's ASS. but who has seen an angel? Feel free to share off blog.

I am constantly asked to be a fashion critic around the house. Usually the scenario involves a twirl, a pose, and the question HOW DO I LOOK? Other times it's like a trip to the optometrist; better here or better here? Earrings, shoes, Ay caramba!

From my history file: Gunsmoke was big so ARNESS was easy, as was Nancy's beau/ nemesis SLUGGO, and the BAT CAVE.

I went to school in San Diego and lived in Mission Beach. Even then, I knew that those were the best years of my life. Sure, we were poor and the SSS was looming over our heads, but we lived on the beach and used to OGLE nature's beauty. Not sure I've out grown that one.

Finally, from yesterday, spoiler alert, an amazing natural phenomenon is the TIDAL bore. Drive southeast from Anchorage along the Turnagain Arm and witness surfers and kayakers hitching a ride on a wave that lasts for miles. That's one huge COVE.



Thomaso808 1:13 AM  

Easiest Friday in a long time, but that's OK. I love the crossing stacks. Two uses of Sycophant as a clue but nary a YESMAN in sight. Seeing SPINALTAP always makes me grin.

I resisted MADCAP because I thought the clue Antic was calling for a noun, but I guess Antic can also be an adjective. I resisted PHASER because the clue was "Particle beam weapon" and I don't think Star Trek was ever really clear on that. But I get it, it's just a puzzle and then there's that whole particle / wave dualism thing.

My wife, who usually quits early on puzzles after Wednesday, was very excited about getting most of a Friday puzzle done without Google, so good one for folks working up the learning curve. We live in Hawaii where the puzzle arrives at 4 pm.

puzzlehoarder 1:22 AM  

After an easy start in the NW I found ways to slow myself down with several write overs, SOLE/SHOE, GRIN/CART and DRAT/CRUD. Over all this was average by time but other than solving those three problems it felt easy. There was a fourth write over, it was HOWDOISTOP/LOOK. I now take "twirling" to mean turning around. As always I'm too literal. I really wish they hadn't put that song in the SW. I don't care for any of his music but that one is particularly grating.

Anonymous 1:35 AM  

This is a brilliantly constructed puzzle. Cheers, gentlemen.

-- Joe DiP

jae 1:58 AM  

For future reference late night TV bands:

Carson - Doc Severinsen and the Tonight Show Orchestra.
Leno - Kevin Eubanks followed by Rickey Minor
Fallon - The Roots
Corden - Reggie Watts and Karen (nickname)
Kimmel - Cleto and the Cletones
Colbert - Jon Batiste and Stay Human - Batiste is a Juilliard grad and is the associate artistic director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.
Arsenio Hall - The Posse 2.0
Craig Ferguson - Trick answer - he did not have a band.

@Larry G - We arrived in San Diego in Feb. 1974 after driving half way across the country from Urbana, Ill. The snow started falling off the car when we hit Oklahoma. These have been the best years of my life and my grandkids appreciate what a special place this is.

chefwen 2:32 AM  

@Thomaso808 - Hate when the time changes and we have to wait until 5:00.

Very easy Friday for me until I circled around and arrived in the NE. 16A had me baffled for way too long. Kept trying to factor in dizzy with twirling around and ONE MAN ARMY wasn't coming to me either. Puzzle Partner filled in SWEAT PANTS and TOM BRADY. Thank you my friend, I can take it from here.

Liked the CAVE/COVE intersection.

Prancing Fop 2:35 AM  

Does anyone remember Trump Wealthcare?

Jeff Keller 2:58 AM  

I'm in tech and can't believe I was stumped by STEVE Jobs! Fun and well-constructed puzzle.

phil phil 3:07 AM  

COVE?? Rex mustn't have had his crowwsord cap on for that gimme.

Very quick for my Friday solving.

My problem came from...playing Angry birds Pop and cursing Matilda...singing and researching the song Waltzing Matilda And then confidently writing in swag for (57a) 'Backpackers Pack'

Glad to have TOADY a few days ago or maybe that was Ben's AVX. Fun subscription.

jae 3:14 AM  

Oops, nearly forgot Fernwood 2 Night with Happy Kyne and the Mirthmakers.

phil phil 3:16 AM  

I always said the real tallent was Tommy Newsom the deadlpan sub for the NBC BAND leader, Severson.

He did all the arrangements and they were just the best. I hated it when they only rarely performed on air (they mainly were studio audience entertainment while the commercial played and Johnny smoked

phil phil 3:17 AM  

Hated it BECAUSE they rarely performed onair

Dolgo 3:20 AM  

Pretty easy overall, but I had trouble catching on to STEVE/COVE for a bit (Duh!) As an opera fan ATTILA I got right away. I always forget if it's two t's or two L's. The "O" clue took me a few minutes to catch on t as well. I thought it was a fun puzzle. I'm beginning to appreciate the multi-family entries, though I didn't like them much at first. The only problem with doing the same puzzle series for a long time, though, is it gets pretty predictable.

Dolgo 3:38 AM  

PS Though easily Naticked, ATTILA's pretty obscure Verdi. I only recall the Met doing it once in the sixty or so years I've been listening, and that was during the brief period when Ruggiero Raimundi was the hot Verdi baritone, perfect for the title role. You're not going to hear it much outside of Italy. Your opera freak in residence thought you'd like to know.

Robert A. Simon 3:52 AM  

Is it my imagination, or does almost every NYT puzzle nowadays contain a brand name? IPADPRO today, SCOTTS yesterday (complete with tag line), and UNITED, DELTA and SOUTHWEST (Three brands! Three!) on Tuesday? Since I've never met a conspiracy theory I didn't like, let me start one: everyone knows times are tough for newspapers, no pun intended. As a former ADPRO, I will tell you that one of the Holy Grails of advertising is called Involvement, which is just what you think it is. Well, what can be more involving than being a crossword answer? People arriving at your name a letter at a time, and then being attached to an Aha! moment? C'mon! And then, let's look at the audience. How many try to solve every day? Hundreds of thousands, maybe even more? (If you know, please speak up. Never met an obscure fact I din't like.) And that audience is more educated, more successful, more pedantic--in short, everything certain upscale-seeking advertisers could want, upscale like, say, Apple or Scotts or airlines? I'm saying the NYT has themselves a formerly secret revenue stream, and it collects almost every day. Ten thousand dollars per letter, more on Sunday. You don't think Apple would gladly pay fifty grand to get in front of us in such a way that IPADPRO is now burned into our brains in a way no mere ad or commercial ever accomplished? I'm saying they would--and do. And they--like all the others--pay in cash, so the rumors of a bike messenger on Eighth wearing sunglasses with a brown paper bag handcuffed to his wrist are true. All true.

Loren Muse Smith 4:03 AM  

First note in my margin was “circumspect.” Now there’s a word I really want to throw around sometimes in everyday speech, but I never know how. Deep down, I feel like it means ‘introspective.” WARY never occurs to me.

Wanted “burst out” before BUST A GUT. And I kept checking to see if “spinach dip” would fit for that mockumentary. Ah, spinach dip. Don't you hate it when you get home from a party where you were all scintillating and clever only to see that you have a big ole piece of spinach in your teeth? You do the mental math of when you ate it, how long it was there, who you talked to, whether you smiled a lot… It’s devastating. I always wonder if someone in the Maasai tribe feels the same way if she discovers that she has had a piece of acacia nilotica between her teeth. Does she panic that she was talking to the tribe elders? Convince herself that no one noticed? Get mad at her friend for not telling her? Then I wonder if the Maasai even have mirrors, and if so, do they practice saying assertive lines to use on someone taking advantage of them? Pretty soon I’ve wasted a pretty good amount of time.

And speaking of that friend not telling her about the acacia nilotica… the question HOW DO I LOOK is about as loaded a question as there is. My philosophy is, if, say, Mom comes downstairs (read - still time to change) for church in a clogger-style dress that ties around back at the waist over a full skirt and has poufy short sleeves and stuff and I’m not making this up, when she asks this, you say, “Oh, Mom, I really, really like that other purple dress – the sensible classic sheath you could wear your pearls with.” If she waits to ask the question as we’re walking in the sanctuary, I say, “You look great!”

EWE LAMB feels weird, but I guess we say things like puppy dog, kitty cat, billy goat, bunny rabbit… Still. I vote we change it to ewey lamb.

And bear cub. Rex – I got a kick out of your mistake there. It changes the feel of the parable: But the poor man had nothing save one little bear cub, which he valued all the more on that account, and reared amidst his family with the utmost care and tenderness.

Nice Friday offering, James and Ashton – I especially liked the clue for SHOE.

Moly Shu 4:08 AM  

Been melting in Vegas for 2 weeks now, @Roo, I don't know how you do it. Glad to see my little brother MOO got in the puzzle today. DiaS before DAIS caused all sorts of problems.

Trombone Tom 4:16 AM  

I'm frequently amazed at what I learn from crosswords. Who knew that mail addressed to (some) embassies is sent via APO. I would have guessed DPO (Diplomatic PO) and initially did so, but THE ROOTS saved me. Reviewing a list of embassy mailing addresses reveals that only a minority use an APO address.

I had a fair number of missteps along the way: DAVe-->DAVY, bONK-->CONK, and oRAN-->IRAN.

Lots of interesting answers: SWEAT PANTS, HOW DO I LOOK, ONE MAN ARMY, and UPTOWN GIRL.

Thanks to the authors and editor for a fascinating Friday.

Anonymous 5:14 AM  

To the Trump defender here. This is a serious post, not a bashing.
Are you rich? First, I hope so, second, if you're not, then Trump doesn't care one iota about you. How can you so vehemently defend Trump? It's like a bully beats you up, and you say, "Oh, he didn't mean it." He only cares about people with money.
I'm glad your stocks are doing well, cause you'll need that money to pay for your health care.
Unless you work for Boeing...

Conrad 5:35 AM  

It took me a long time to get IPAD_AIR ... and I was solving on an iPad Air.

Anonymous 5:51 AM  

Is it EWE LAMB versus ram LAMB?

BarbieBarbie 6:30 AM  

Couldn't believe ANTIPOPE was right, so erased it, and had COlt for hidden arm [red face-], so just could not see TIRE and DNF'd. Sigh.

@LMS, "circumspect" and "rectitude" kind of go together.

I loved HOWDOILOOK. Once I was headed to a holiday event requiring red sweaters, and I was trying to decide whether the one I had on was red or orange, so I asked a coworker "what color do you think this sweater is?" He got a look of panic on his face and blurted out "you look very nice!" I BUSTedAGUT. Obviously well-trained.

Also loved the two types of sycophant. Put mt in mind of Glenn Close as Cruella DeVille, snarling "what kind of sycophant ARE you?" at her assistant. To which he responded "What kind of a sycophant would you like me to be?" Wonderful moment in a kid's movie!

Only so many billy goats gruff to go around. Don't waste them.

Eprailick 7:12 AM  

Anyone else throw in COLT for "Arm that's tucked away?" Ultimately changed it, but I liked my answer more than COVE. Great puzzle.

Joseph Welling 7:13 AM  

Jae, you forgot Letterman and Paul Shaffer.

QuasiMojo 7:22 AM  

I"d love to know why my totally innocuous comment posted at 6:00 AM was deleted.

kitshef 7:22 AM  

Superb. I have over a dozen ‘likes’ and just one dislike (THE ROOTS). I mean, NORMA RAE, TOM BRADY, SKY ATLAS, BUST A GUT and ANTIPOPE are all golden – and those are ‘short’ words in this grid.

Other than being over too soon, this was fun.

Hand up for the KEYS before CAR KEYS and psat SCORES before TEST SCORES.

Hungry Mother 7:25 AM  

I'm reading the fascinating "One Device", but still didn't think of STEVE. A nice complementary book, also featuring STEVE, is "Hackers."

AW 7:26 AM  

Amazingly easy for a Friday. The stars aligned and all the words just fell into place. Well, not all the words. Had to cheat on STEVE/COVE. A COVE is an "arm" (34D)? That's a stretch.

Can someone kindly explain the PINS you usually hold in your head (10B)? How are PINS "figures"? I had everything but the "i" and ran through the vowels PANS, PUNS, PENS, PONS, and PINS but nothing made sense. I had to get it on the cross (HOW DO I LOOK). And it still doesn't make sense. Help?

Two Ponies 7:39 AM  

Lots of fun today. GooGooGaGa looks so funny in the grid.
So many great clues. Pins had me puzzled until long after the solve.
Oh, those PINs!

The Monkees ended up being a pretty good band despite being created for a TV show to parody the Beatles.

I still don't know who Kaplan is. Guess I better check my crib notes.

three of clubs 7:48 AM  

Enjoyed it. One cavil. I am tired of ___ target and also ___ go with. Just seems a lazy locution Get a better clue.

BarbieBarbie 7:52 AM  

@Quasi, when I posted at 6:30 I wondered why there had been nothing for forty minutes. I'm guessing a glitch, and that you weren't the only one.

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

@AW - think PIN number. Getting cash at the ATM, you'll need your Personal Identification Number number.

QuasiMojo 8:01 AM  

Thanks @barbie The only part I recall of my comment is that brats at the dinner table often say "ewwww lamb!"

Jamie C 8:05 AM  

I know it's supposed to be some kind of pun, but how does AMMO "make the rounds?" AMMO IS the rounds: "A round is a single cartridge containing a projectile, propellant, primer and casing." It doesn't, in any sense "make" the rounds.

Ando 8:09 AM  

Why is a cove an arm that's tucked away?

Birchbark 8:22 AM  

As a big fan of old radio programs via satellite, I wanted (William) CONRAD for ARNESS. He played Marshall Dillon in the long running radio series. Listened to an episode yesterday afternoon on the way home from work -- a herd of thirsty cattle can't get to water because a fence is in the way -- a prairie fire out of control -- Marshall Dillon enforcing an unpopular law and doubting why he wears the star -- then a rainstorm and an obscure statute save the day, and he's redeemed in a rare spiritual reprieve. A command performance.

Guessed COVE right away, but didn't believe it until BATCAVE and UNHOLY forced the issue.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

@Ando - think of the phrases "arm of the sea" and "hidden cove."

Nate 8:26 AM  

I was totally flummoxed by the STEVE/COVE/PERCALE intersection. I got PERCALE because it sounded like a real word, but then was totally lost at CO_E/STE_E. I could not conceive of the "Jobs in tech" clue being about anything other than employment. Gah, shoulda had it.

Although I have no idea what COVE means in the context of the clue? If it's referring to the common meaning of the word "cove," I'm really not sure that the clue works. What is a cove an "arm" of? The... ocean? I don't think that works.

Anyways, I had fun with the puzzle in general, so that's all that matters. As a Patriots fan and a This is Spinal Tap devotee, this worked nicely for me. And ANTIPOPE is a really cool word, so that was nice.


Hartley70 8:26 AM  

This was a very smooth Friday with above average cluing. I really enjoyed it. I have to give it an easy rating because each section had a nice little toehold for me. The NE was helped by ARNESS. The SW had a gimme with UPTOWN GIRL. PEPITA and SWEATPANTS helped with the east side.

My only huh moment was HOWDOILOOK. I knew the answer but couldn't connect it with "twirling" until I came here. Thank you @Larry Gilstrap for a great post today. Do they even make those short metal tubes with white rubber tips on each end anymore? It's been decades since I've seen a little girl with a baton, twirling around in a short skirt while she tosses the spinning baton in the air. I suppose after five grand in orthodonture, parents are not keen to put a baton under the tree. I sure spent hours in the backyard with mine in the 1950s and never got CONKed once.

evil doug 8:29 AM  

Michael McKean was interviewed in the Times the other day, and was asked what he was best known for:

'“Better Call Saul” now, though there are still a lot of “Spinal Tap” people. The best one was, I was on Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street, waiting to cross, and a cop car goes rolling by. They roll the windows down and start singing “Big Bottom” at me. It’s like O.K., I’m good.'

***

The bigger the cushion
The sweeter the pushin'
That's what I said

The looser the waistband
The deeper the quicksand
Or, so I have read

My baby fits me like a flesh tuxedo
I'd like to sink her with my pink torpedo

Big bottom, big bottom
Talk about bum cakes, my girl's got 'em
Big bottom, drive me out of my mind
How could I leave this behind?

I met her on Monday
'Twas my lucky bun day
You know what I mean

I love her each weekday
Each velvety cheek day
You know what I mean

My love gun's loaded and she's in my sights
Big game is waiting there inside her tights, yeah

Big bottom, big bottom
Talk about mud flaps, my girl's got 'em
Big bottom, drive me out of my mind
How could I leave this behind?

Nancy 8:46 AM  

Like Rex, I had BLUTTO before SLUGGO, which caused me a lot of problems. I don't even know who BLUTTO is -- Person? Dog? Other? -- but he/she/it sounded right at the time. I also couldn't figure out why Amazon's icon was BART -- Simpson? Starr? -- but because I initially had bONK at 25D, that's what came in. And I can never tell my PHASERS from my LASERS and TASERS, so that answer eluded me for a bit. Not knowing the third letter of 47A, I had a choice between THE RiOTS and THE ROOTS for the Tonight Show band at 33D. Luckily I chose correctly. I also agree with Rex that the clue for COVE was the most fiendish in the puzzle.

There was a lot more pop culture in this puzzle than I tend to like, though NORMA RAE was in my wheelhouse and a big help. For those who've never seen the movie, rent it -- it's an absolutely wonderful film with a superb performance by Field. And the song alluded to in the clue (12D) is absolutely my favorite of any theme song from any movie. If you don't know the song and don't plan to see the movie, at least go to YouTube and listen to the song. I can promise you one hell of an earworm.

I liked, but didn't love this puzzle. Probably because of the pop culture.

Wm. C. 8:55 AM  


@martyvanb --

Tom Brady is objectively (check his stats) the best NFL QB in history (though Peyton gives him a run for his money).

AND has objectively the best-looking wife of ant NFL QB in history. ;-)

Lewis 8:56 AM  

There is actually a town named BAT_CAVE near where I live...

Excellent overall puzzle, with some terrific cluing (SHOE, STEVE) and answers (LAPDOG, ONE_MAN_ARMY, GOOGOOGAGA, HOW_DO_I_LOOK). And answers from so many fields: Sports, history, arts, tech, food. It ran the gamut from basic (GOOGOOGAGA) to refined (ATTILA the opera). There's a nice cross of CAVE and COVE, and there's even a Boggle-style LADY (starting with the L in SKYATLAS) to go with that GAGA.

It seemed to scratch all my Friday itches, and sent me into the day with a glorious AAAH.

Stanley Hudson 9:00 AM  

SPINAL TAP redeemed the execrable song by the vastly overrated Billy Joel.

Coming up on a week of 100 plus temps here in Northern California. Thank goodness for air conditioning, though I shudder when thinking of this month's utility bill.

Steve M 9:00 AM  

Weirdly easy for me just bought percale sheets.....

Robert A. Simon 9:04 AM  

@NANCY--The closest I can come on BLUTTO is that BLUTO--with one "T"--is Popeye's nemesis. But you knew that...

Two Ponies 9:11 AM  

Forgot to say thanks @ BarbieBarbie for the movie quote. Love it!

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

Before Doc Severinsen Johnny Carson had Skitch Henderson and the Tonight Show Band.

johnpag 9:12 AM  

An easy puzzle for a Friday, but I have a real problem with the first clue "They may make the rounds". AMMO is singular, there is no "they". The clue should have been "IT may make the rounds", but that really isn't a very good clue for a Friday puzzle.

Passing Shot 9:20 AM  

Any Friday I'm able to complete without cheating must rank as easy. Threw in TESTSCORES on a whim when I saw the kength if the answer, which made the SW super easy. Not familiar with the term ANTIPOPE. Spent the most time in the NE and still don't understand 10 Down.

Wm. C. 9:21 AM  


@johnpag --

Ammo (or ammunition) is a collective singular noun. A pseudo-plural, if you will. Like team, or faculty.

Oh, and more to my Tom Brady & his wife (Giselle Bunchen) comment above. Not only is Brady the best NFL QB, but he's also the best paid -- albeit the second-best-paid person in his household. ;-)

John 9:35 AM  

Tom Brady - G.O.A.T. - no question about that, but haters gotta hate I guess.
Agree re cluing for "ammo" - no excuse for bad grammar.
Is the Amazon icon really a dart? Don't think so. It's a curved arrow in the shape of a smile.
At least that's what Amazon says. Should of had a better clue for that one.
The solve for "Jobs in tech" was fun. Now that the kids are grown, don't get to sing the alphabet song much.

Maruchka 9:37 AM  

SWEAT pants threw me. I do not think them 'lounge' worthy - chillin', maybe. Harem pants - now that's lounge-y.

Just OK, here. Not much crunch. Liked SLUGGO/BRONC/CRUD/BLAB formation. And how about that Mr. Dillon? I was GOOGOOGAGA when he came to our town, c. 1956.

EWE LAMB - knew it as a nickname for a long ago brief-but-spectacular beau.
Ah, wilderness days..

Caleb 9:39 AM  

That's actually not true re:Brady's pay. IIRC he's about the 20th or so highest paid QB....someone not using thumbs alone can check me on that tho. The QB at the SUPERDOME makes way more, for example.

John 9:39 AM  

Discovered cart dart mistake after submitting comment. DOH! and AARGH!

Rita Flynn 9:48 AM  

Not bad, finished fast. Both the main and the mini used virtually the same clue and answer, for FRACKING TARGET.

Mohair Sam 9:54 AM  

@Evil Doug - I don't know what puts the bigger smile on my face. Picturing the NYC cops rolling down the window and singing "Big Bottom" at Michael McKean, or his delightful reaction. Great stuff.

The puzzle? Would have been easy as pie if this idiot hadn't insisted on weeLAMB, and further insisted just as hard that the twirler was a majorette and HOWDOILOOK therefore made no sense. Sheesh.

Excellent stacking with a dearth of threes and fours, impressive. Several clever misdirects (PINS my favorite). And yes @Moly Shu, I too will admit that DIAS is one of those words that makes me greatful for spell chekers.

boomer54 10:00 AM  


re: quarterbacks' beautiful wives ...cinema sex goddess ... jane russell ..

was married to bob waterfield ...qb . coach . and hall of famer ...

SouthsideJohnny 10:03 AM  

I usually really struggle on Friday and Saturday. This one seemed cleaner and more straightforward than usual. One question - how does flag lead to TIRE ?

RooMonster 10:05 AM  

@Moly Shu, Har! And I have to wear a black suit in and out of black cars...
You just grin and bear it until October.
I didn't know you'd be here that long. Are you just visiting, or working?

Puz was good. Put me in the Jobs as a clever(bite me) clue. :-) Had STElE/COLT/TIlt. Ugh. DNF there. When I saw "O" follower clue, I said "Please don't be PQRSTU". Did have to Goog for Gunsmoke James. I know, but a touch before my TV watching time. Couldn't get a toehold in that NW, even after getting ONSALE and ROAN, hence the Goog. Clue for SHOE funny. GOOGOOGAGA though? What's next? A OOOH GAH!?

MADCAP BLAB
RooMonster
DarrinV



Ellen S 10:08 AM  

@AW -- I only just this second (having read the comments down to the one after yours -- PINS are Personal Identification Numbers, the ones you use at ATM etc. I have one (1) that I use for everything, two different bank accounts, my computer unlock codes, you name it. I'm very modest, small head, no room for a lot of PINS. (I thought it was hatpins, during the solve, in full-on "whatever" mode.)

Didn't understand "twirls" until coming here. I wear blue jeans with naturally-occurring holes in the knees. When I dress up, I look for something that isn't in tatters. When I discovered that the stuff in thrift stores was way better than what I was still wearing, I stopped buying new. Twirls?

@Robert A. Simon, your conspiracy theory would be more compelling if the puzzle had really been pushing the iPad Pro, but it wasn't. And Apple doesn't even still offer the IPADAIR so that's a waste of advertising money. Maybe the ad was commissioned by eBay.

Nancy 10:17 AM  

@Robert A. Simon (9:04) -- That must be it.

@BarbieBarbie (6:30) What a terrific movie quote!

@jae (1:58) -- You've performed a great service. Someone is going to profit greatly in the future from your extensive late night bands list. Unfortunately, that person won't be me. I've already forgotten them.

kitshef 10:17 AM  

Otto Graham is the best QB ever. Stats are only somewhat meaningful across eras due to rule and strategy changes.

Wm. C. 10:26 AM  


According to Forbes magazine (which publishes ranked lists for just about everything), Tom Brady is the 15th best paid ATHLETE in the world. And most of those above him are non-Americans, with Drew Brees and Eli Manning the only NFL QBs earning more than him.

His net worth is estimated at some $180M, again outpaced by Giselle at some $380M. And she'll outpace him by even more over time, with a far longer high-paying professional career. BTW, Manning's net worth is estimated at $100M, and Brees' at $130M. Manning and Brees are 2 years younger than Brady, so they have a chance to close on him, but zero chance on Giselle.

And Giselle is an outstanding crossword solver. ;-)

Three and out, you'll be happy to hear.



Richard 10:29 AM  

"Request to Dad, perhaps" reminded me of the old Harry Chapin song "Cat's in the Cradle" -- "What I'd really like, Dad/Is to borrow the car keys/See ya later/Can I have them, please?"

JC66 10:36 AM  

@ Robert A. Simon

Your theory only applies if people remember the brand correctly. It's IPODAIR in the puzzle.

AZPETE 10:41 AM  

His salary is not the highest among QBs. Maybe with endorsements he is the highest paid. Luck's contract is the highest.

AZPETE 10:43 AM  

Agree. Jane Russel is way sexier than Brady's wife.

hankster65 10:47 AM  

Sounds like something I'd do. LOL

Anonymous 10:48 AM  


@AZ --

Luck is the second-highest paid QB, at $24.6 M guaranteed/year. Derek Carr's 5-year extension pays $25M/year.

Cleared2Land 10:53 AM  

Thank you EvilDoug for the lyrics to Big Bottom. Made me laugh and want to go back and watch Spinal Tap one more time. "It goes to eleven.....Ours goes to eleven."

JCurtis 10:54 AM  



Yeah, Jane Russell is beautiful, although it's a subjective comparison to Giselle. But comparing Bob Waterfield's lasting impact on the NFL to that of Tom Brady is a bit of a stretch, IMHO.


Ando 10:58 AM  

@SouthsideJohnny: one meaning of "flag" (v) is "to tire"

JC66 11:05 AM  

@Ellen S

My apologies. I published my comment after reading @ Robert A. Simon's, but before reading yours.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

On the subject of ranking pro athletes: Individual stats in many sports depends heavily on the strength of the team one is playing on (football, for sure, but also basketball and hockey...). Not much in baseball, though, except for aggregate stats like total runs scored, and a pitcher's ERA (influenced by the savviest of the catcher, and the qualit of the defense behind him).

mathgent 11:22 AM  

As @Lewis would say, it was a good workout. And I learned a few things. But somehow it wasn't very satisfying. Puzzles constructed by a team lack soul.

Joe Bleaux 11:26 AM  

Brilliantly done, sir, complete with the reveal! Just as the fake news generators give it away with wrong names and misspellings, you cleverly planted IPADPRO for the IPADAIR actually in the puzzle. My tinfoil hat is off to you!

GILL I. 11:29 AM  

How did we get on to Jane Russell? Serves me right to wait util 8 am to post.
@Maruchka...HAREM PANTS...Hah! I wanted a silky robe ALA Hefner.
AMMO/ARNESS popped in lickety split. Kept on plopping in an answer here and an answer there.
I don't think I've ever said HOW DO I LOOK, much less twirled around in front of anyone. Like @Hartley, I wanted some baton bashing.
My MOM was the one I went to for the CAR KEYS however my first driving lesson was on the lap of my dad at the age of 6. HOW am I doing?
When I got to 50A I honestly said to myself "oh dead lord please don't let it be GOO GOO GAGA." It was. No baby worth her salt would ever utter those words.
GORP was my biggest hang-up at 57A. Why wasn't it GORP. I learned that word right here on this blog. EVERY backpacker takes GORP not GEAR. I like GORP better but ATTILA changed everything. My least favorite Verdi. Why couldn't Simon Boccanegra fit?
I did finish without Google but for some reason, this puzzle kind felt blah to me. I liked the cluing and all but the puzzle felt UNhappy to me. Words like TOADY ONE MAN ARMY WARY ESCAPE CRUD BLAB LAPDOG and the most over-rated QB that I don't like, TOM BRADY. I'll take Joe Montana every day.
@Stanley. I'm dreading our PG&E bill too. We've had the AC on non-stop for the last 10 days. Yesterday it was 108 here in Sacramento but we got the Delta breeze t about 10pm so were in for a cool-down. @Roo. I feel for you.... What happens if the AC goes out in your Limo?

Sir Hillary 11:40 AM  

Very nice puzzle. The "Jobs in tech" clue eluded me for quite a long time. @Rex's trouble spots made for fun reading today.

Not that anyone asked me, but when I rank athletes it's on their visible impact on the field, less so on the stat sheet. Someone of whom you know exactly what they are trying to do, whom the opposing team specifically game-plans against and deploys tactics and personnel to stop, and yet they do it anyway, to tremendous effect on the outcome of the contest. So for me, the greatest football player of all time is Lawrence Taylor. Jim Brown is second.

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

Thank you, thank you thank you for not using "Uptown Girl" in your video clip. That song needs to die with the '80s.

RooMonster 11:54 AM  

@Gill I 11:29
It's happened before, thankfully not to me. If it goes out before you have passengers, you call Dispatch and they send another driver with another car. If it happens en route, you can either try to get them there fast, or apologize profusely, or drop them somewhere close where there's AC.

I did once have a car stall at a red light, had to call Dispatch, they sent another car, but I was in the middle of the road for like 10 minutes, with cars beeping and swerving around me. And I was apologizing profusely. :-)

RooMonster

Joe Bleaux 11:57 AM  

As a Falcons fan, I refuse to let all the Tom Brady talk ruin the good mood that I was left in by this extraordinarily well-done Friday puzzle. Hand up on (heh-heh) COLT, so throw the pistol in a COVE. As for AMMO, @Jamie C got it right: Ammo IS the rounds; it ain't about the grammar. My only nit: a fictional ROCK GROUP (nine letters) was the "Subect" of the musical; SPINAL TAP was its *name.* Happy Friday, all, and thank you both, JM and AA.

jberg 12:17 PM  

@JC66 -- It actually is IPAD AIR (not iPod) in the puzzle. You must have BLoB (something spilled) instead of BLAB (what you do when you spill the beans).

Eerily easy for me, as almost all my wild guesses (SPINAL TAP from the clue, COVE,etc.) proved out. SWEAT suits before PANTS, though. And I misread pesto for peso in the clue for 6D so was looking for kimchi -- fortunately, it wouldn't fit.

If one is going to complain about sexism in the NYT puzzle, then one shouldn't complain about PERCALE.

Jennifer Freeman 12:32 PM  

I had iPad pro forever tho I own an air. It slowed me down a lot.

Master Melvin 12:40 PM  

The story about the EWE LAMB is the prophet Nathan speaking truth to power (King David). Old Nathan was no TOADY.

AW 12:41 PM  

Thank you, Anonymous and Ellen S. Personal Identification Numbers (PINS): (10D) Figures usually held in one's head. Fiendishly brilliant! Hats off to the constructors.

johnpag 12:45 PM  

@Wm. C. It's not really a collective noun. You can have many teams, or tribes, or herds, but you never hear of many ammos or two ammos. In fact, the word "ammos" gets flagged as a spelling error.

JC66 12:46 PM  

@ jberg
Thanks. I had IPAD in the puz and did just what @ Robert A. Simon did. I substituted the wrong Apple product in the comments.

Har!

Cassieopia 1:07 PM  

No comments on dreamy DAVY Jones of the Monkees??? If I had spent as much time on Algebra homework as I did staring at Davy's picture on the album cover... well, the possibilities boggle.

SPINALTAP and the exploding drummers - absolutely ADMIRE that movie. "Go to 11" is a necessary part of the modern lexicon.

Hey, a no-Google Friday for me! Lots of type-overs, but really loved how the puzzle fell into place eventually. Very nicely done. Now off to listen to "Daydream Believer"...

Cassieopia 1:09 PM  

P.s. and here I was thinking the figures in the head were hair PINS! I no longer feel as smart as I did a few minutes ago :)

Masked and Anonymous 1:13 PM  

Smooth solvequest, on this very well-crafted FriPuz. Never felt overly ganged-up-on-ed, by the two young wily constructioneers. Thanx, dudes.

Day-um, tho. How the heck does that ever work, when two heads work on buildin one themeless grid?? ...

On a themed puz, I can see tossin themer candidates back and forth, one head figures out a grid layout which the other head either oks or changes, etc. Then one head fills the grid, and the other head does the same, and they compare outcomes, pick fave isolated corners, tweak each other's work, etc. Ditto, on cluin the puppy up. M&A's only absolute rule is that the other head pays for the stamps.

But on a themeless … what? Each head comes up with some cool seed entries, maybe? One head fills the biggest seeded upper corner, while the other head fills the biggest seeded lower corner, and U black-wall off the center and hope it all will somehow come together in the BATCAVE middle? Is that how this sausage gets made? Really tasty results, for today's puz -- whatever their methods mighta been. Congratz on a weird project job well done!

M&A is more of a themed puz fan. Nothin wrong with themeless -- just generally not my fave solvequest experience. I enjoy the full-combo mix of theme antics, word pattern recognition, and sneaky clue de-codin. There's yer BRONC+COWS+EWELAMB(?) rodeo. Usually themeless ones do seem easier for m&e to build, tho -- at least at the runt level. (Just pick seeds with lotsa U's and go to town.) But, I digress.

staff pick, from 6 registered weeject contestants: WON. Mostly becuz of the odd foreign currency clue on it. I bet weejects hardly ever get to be NYT seed entries. No respect, for the runty.

Mucho great fillins, but a coupla oooh-inducers, along the way, were: SWEATPANTS. BATCAVE. SPINALTAP. ARNESS [mostly cuz it got m&e "in", real early]. (de) BUSTAGUT. Few poooh-inducers ... maybe EWELAMB rates a politely heaved har.

Have seen many STEVE clues like {Jobs in tech} before. Fool m&e once, shame on puz; fool m&e twice, typical. But today, nailed it immediately.

Thanx again, JM & AA.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**

Teedmn 1:25 PM  

All of the CARNAGE in this puzzle was in that one answer - I started it out with wAR____ and wondered what pastel color started with W, certainly not "white".

The SE is the only place that put up any struggle today. I don't know why but I always need a KONK on the head to get SPINAL TAP. Even with SPIN in place, my mind was blank. I own the album, "Break Like the Wind" so what my hangup is on their name, I don't know. Finally getting CARNAGE gave me GARTH and the rest of the SE fell as if attacked by ATTILA.

@Gill I, good idea on the Gorp answer and I'm glad I didn't think of it.

@LMS, I, too, was WARY of that answer for "circumspect". For some reason, I associated "circumspect" with "decorous". Not close, though both traits are likely held by the same person.

Thanks, JM and AA, for the nice, easy Friday.

Nancy 1:31 PM  

There's a lot of competition, because the comments today are particularly entertaining, but my nominee for Comment of the Day is @GILL's (11:29) critique of GOOGOOGAGA: "No baby worth her salt would ever say those words."

My nominee for the Most Baffling Comment of the Year is @jberg's (12:17) "If one is going to complain about sexism in the NYT puzzle, then one shouldn't complain about PERCALE." How's that again???

foxaroni 1:35 PM  

Anybody else remember Milton DeLugg leading one of the Tonight show orchestras? I saw a record album of his many years ago. He had a goatee and was playing an accordion (as I recall).

Masked and Anonymous 1:43 PM  

Of all the first baby-word picks to ever emanate from our fam history, I was always most impressed by "GLAR". But "GOO" is strongly ok, if their underlyin intent is actually "GU".

M&Also

Anonymous 2:04 PM  

I beg to differ regarding the assertion that there's no debating Tom Brady as the GOAT. Lots of folks dispute it. I'LL grant their numbers decrease each year, but they're still around. And reasonable too.

Anonymous 2:10 PM  

Wm C.
Don't be so sure about the future worth of either Manning or Brees.
Check out Roger Staubach's net worth. He could buy and sell Giselle and Tom.

Charley 2:14 PM  

Nit pick. Moo Sho is a dish made from pork. It's not a kind of pork.

Anoa Bob 2:34 PM  

I've visited South Korea a number of times and even lived in Seoul for a while, so I confidently dropped in WAN for their currency at 6 Down. That's how I remember the sound, as in rhyming with wan (pale, ashen), not WON, as in rhyming with "one". Transliterations from one writing system to another are often tricky.

By the way, the Korean alphabet, Hangul, was created in the 15th century, making it one of, if not the most recent major alphabet of any language. Or maybe it's the least ancient.

Lot's of Cees in this one, including those stair-stepped ones. Don't know if it was intentional, but nice touch anyhow.

"Big Bottom" has its charm, but pales in comparison, meideates, to Sir Mix-A-Lot's over-the-top classic "Baby Got Back", the epitome of the Butt-Positive rap genre.

So, rappers Busta Rhymes and BUSTA GUT get together with GARTH Brooks to do some TRI AGE music...

There's an ANTIPOPE?! Is that literal, like an antichrist? Looks more like it would be a relative of an ANTELOPE.

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

@RP, GILL, NANCY and others,

You are missing the context for 'baby talk'. Picture grandma looking into the crib and saying 'GOOGOOGAGA'. Its still baby talk although directed at the baby, and a fair late-week misdirect, IMO.

Nice Friday, if a tad easy in most places, but technically DNF - left the C in CART blank and forgot to double-check before going to Rex. I think I would have got it, but that's my rule.

RT

Teedmn 2:49 PM  

@Hartley70, like you, I haven't seen anyone twirling a baton in years, and that is the image that came to me for 16A before HOWDOILOOK appeared. I remember getting a baton, a copper-colored one, with the little rubber caps at the end. Inevitably, one of the caps split and came off. There were anecdotal stories about people cutting their necks on the resulting sharp exposed metal and ending in CARNAGE. I always wondered if that actually happened.

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi 2:55 PM  

I used to twirl. My followers still twirl. None of us, ever, has asked "HOWDOILOOK" when we stop. We reflect on God, not on our looks.

Heathens, each and every one of you.

Anonymous 3:23 PM  

@Nancy - You don't understand that? You don't understand that common household items are, by definition, girly, specifically if they consist in large part of cloth? Or were you confused by the "complain about" part, where no one complained, just mentioned.

GILL I. 3:33 PM  

@Roo. Oy! I've been in a few Limo's and I always felt the AC was way too cold...! To keep the champagne happy?
@Anony RT: If grandma looked over the crib and uttered GOO GOO GAGA, I'd smack her.

Nancy 3:34 PM  

@Anon 3:23. I don't. If I did, I wouldn't have said that I didn't. Nor do I understand it any better now. You were being facetious, yes? No?

RAD2626 3:37 PM  

Late to the party. Thought puzzle was just great. Stacks were all really different and interesting. Started with Garner even though I knew it was ARNESS. Had a dnf apparently all to myself based on the comments: tARY/tORE which sort of fit both clues so I did not find it. WARY/WORE definitely better. Best puzzle this week so far by quite a bit. SPINAL TAP terrific but not as good as their Best in Show.

Wm. C. 4:00 PM  

@Johnpag -- I was gonna be "three and out," but I need to come back to your last.

1. Right, ammo or ammunition can't be plural (and munitions can't be singular). But Ammo IS (IS!) a collective noun. See dictionary.com: "Collective Noun: a noun, as herd, jury, or clergy that appears singular in formal shape but denotes a group of persons or objects [like bullets].

2. Just because ammo cannot be plural does not disqualify it as a collective noun [see above].

@Anon2:10 -- Roger Staughbach can probably "buy" Brady/BUnchen, since his estimated net worth is about the same as theirs combined. But this has nothing to do with his primary career, as is the case with B/B. The overwhelming majority of his wealth comes from post-NFL unrelated franchising and real estate development activities.

Andrew Goodridge 4:05 PM  

This is one of the best NYT puzzles I've seen in ages. Loved all the marquee answers and the cluing was fun and perfect for a Friday.

UPTOWNGIRL was a highlight for me. I know it's cool to hate on Billy Joel, but I am proud to admit that I love him. My wife and I saw him live about 2 years ago. Even at 65ish (??), he put on a significantly more energetic and exciting show than any of the "hip" indie bands I saw back in college. Plus, he played for about 3 hours. Anybody who can go 25 years without putting out a new song and STILL sell out huge arenas is a legend.

Big Fat Fanny 4:31 PM  

I was such a naughty nanny.

Anonymous 4:53 PM  

Chelsey Gentry-Tipton, Phil Montag - two proud democrats. Now back to my MSNBC.

Moly Shu 5:06 PM  

@Roo, here til monday if I don't die first. WSOP and all

jae 6:43 PM  

@joseph Welling. - D'oh, yes I did and we just saw him on Colbert this week. Plus, we were audience members on Lettermam on our last trip to NYC. I remember meaning to put him in as leader of the "World's Most Dangerous Band" and then...squirrel ??

@Evil - I'll always remember McKean as Lenny.

Anonymous 7:10 PM  

William,
Are you retarded? Who mentioned anything about primary career? Whatever the heck know that means? But the larger point is this: you made an untenable claim that a QBs salary was the indicator of his net worth.
Staubach at more than 600 million can in fact by and sell the Bradys.
Don't have the fifth
Girls before me, but I'm guessing you make more than he ever did as a Cowboy.

Anonymous 7:20 PM  

Y'all gotta grow up. Being mortified by comments from people you don't know seems a little silly.

BarbieBarbie 8:57 PM  

@AnoaBob, "butt-positive!" And whoever said "meideates!" HARRRR! Busting my gutt.

Burma Shave 11:12 AM  

MADCAP PALS

The UPTOWNGIRL WORE only CORAL SWEATPANTS
and asked, “HOWDOILOOK?” to SLUGGO, that TOADY yokel.
“I ADMIRE what you GOT”, he’d BLAB in a trance,
and, “MOOSHU GOOGOOGAGA”, with an UNHOLY OGLE.

--- GARTH PEPITA

rondo 11:45 AM  

No writing over so probably not too tough. Wondered if this might have startred out as a football puz with a BRONC, TOMBRADY, and the SUPERDOME. Musical gimmes with THEROOTS and DAVY Jones.

There’s lotsa cool stuff in the BATCAVE, but even more in the BAT man-CAVE.

Oh, for the simpler days spent with Ernie Bushmiller’s SLUGGO and Nancy. A daily read when I was three. Not what you’d call MADCAP or enough to BUSTAGUT, but somehow I related to SLUGGO.

No clues circled so I’ll have to ADMIRE yeah baby Christie Brinkley as the UPTOWNGIRL in Billy Joel’s video.

Nice Friday fare, that’s all I’ve GOT.

spacecraft 11:46 AM  

First of all, WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE LIGHT A FIRE UNDER THE ASS OF WHOEVER'S JOB IT IS TO UPDATE THE SYNDICATED PAGE? PLEASE??? Tomorrow it'll be an entire WEEK stuck on the same page! COME ON!

Rant #1 over. Here's rant #2: I'm feeling all Twilight-Zoney this morning because of PEPITA. Not only did OFL think he should have gotten it off the first two letters--but NOT A SOUL even MENTIONED it! Does everybody know PEPITA except me? Forced in on crosses, I looked it up after finishing. Here's the kicker:

IT'S NOT EVEN A WORD!!!! That's right, there is no such word as "PEPITA." Am I dreaming? WHAT IS GOING ON?

All ranted out. Near disaster in the SE with yesman. At least there I have plenty of company. Son is a Billy Joel fan, so UPTOWNGIRL was easy. As I was filling in 50-across I thought, man, are they really doing this? Baby talk--literally? Yep. Gotta admit, it's original. I recall fondly the Nancy strip; always thought Aunt Fritzi was a dish. In fact, why not install her as DOD? I was hoping the first name in country would be LEANN...but no.

A fun (mostly), medium-challenging puzzle with lots of cool entries. I balk at calling the collective AMMO "They." It's not only off-putting, it's wrong. Most of the other stuff was suitably Friday-clued. Love "HOWDOILOOK?" Nice to start with a gimme in big Jim ARNESS, who of course rose to fame as The Thing From Another World. "Keep watching the skies..." Birdie.

Diana,LIW 1:27 PM  

Another safe for @Rainy post from @Rex - was he abducted by aliens? And replaced by a blogger who doesn't know how to set the Syndie button?

You were absolutely certain that GOOGOOGAGA would explode OFL's head, right? - but not a word. Not a word.

Lots of gooey clues today created much enjoyment. You know what they were. STEVE was priceless. Heard of PEPITAs for the first time a couple months ago. My Friday brain didn't get a few, and dnf resulted. I blamed it on the roofers hammering away above my head. Not buying that, huh? Didn't think you would.

Well, anyway, Trader J's had restocked my beloved Brie Bites yesterday, so life is good.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 2:26 PM  

I echo @Spacey re the daily task of finding the Syndie puzzle. I hate that.

However, PEPITAS as pumpkin seeds I knew. I learned that years ago from my Mom. That and ARNESS were my only gimmes, though TOM BRADY came close. BRADY is certainly great, but you can't avoid an argument positing that he is the greatest ever. Baugh, Unitas, Montana make a pretty good case, too.

Oh, the puzzle, which had a daunting grid, and tons of great entries and stacks and really no dreck. My only major ?? came with ANTIPOPE. What does that mean? It must be some arcane Catholic thing that I probably wouldn't understand. I suppose I might be called ANTIPOPE, but that is a personal feeling entirely.

Anyway, nice romp through this one. Liked it a lot.

Torb 3:15 PM  

Googoogaga? Really? And as a native San Diegan, we all know what pepitas are. Spinal Tap and Uptown girl were gimmes. Backed into "howdoilook". Clueless as to that one. All in all, fun and easy Friday.

Torb 3:43 PM  

Googoogaga? Really? And as a native San Diegan, we all know what pepitas are. Spinal Tap and Uptown girl were gimmes. Backed into "howdoilook". Clueless as to that one. All in all, fun and easy Friday.

Teedmn 3:45 PM  

@spacey - Rex is on a week-long vacation. He must not have told stand-in blogger Laura about the Syndi updating.

And I eat a bag of PEPITAs nearly every week so they aren't obscure around here. They're very similar in taste and texture to sunflower seeds but larger.

Torb 3:46 PM  

Googoogaga? Really? And as a native San Diegan, we all know what pepitas are. Spinal Tap and Uptown girl were gimmes. Backed into "howdoilook". Clueless as to that one. All in all, fun and easy Friday.

Diana,LIW 3:52 PM  

@Teed - actually, Rex is back and signing his blog. I think the vacation muddled his mind.

Lady Di

Diana,LIW 4:18 PM  

d - I get it - Rex is out in futureland, and Laura isn't connecting with the Synders. I's confuzzed, 'cause Rex posted "yesterday" (5 weeks ago) about having jet lag. And this didn't even involve the deLorean.

I still don't know who this Rex is that's posted the last 2 days (5 weeks ago). He seems like such a happy solver...

D,LIW

Diana,LIW 4:20 PM  

Sheesh - Now I'll have "let's do the time warp again" stuck in my head all day. Must go to gym to clear same.

Lady, D

AssumethePosition 5:53 PM  

Too easy. Finishing up in the SW, all I had left (before looking at the clue for 33 down) was THE___OTS. Boy, I really wanted it to be THETROTS. What a missed opportunity.

thefogman 7:34 PM  

Challenging-Near Impossible for me. Most stuff was outside of my wheelhouse but I eventually muddled my way through. Cheers to the Syndies!

leftcoastTAM 7:39 PM  

Out for much of the day, so late useless post.

Problems piled up in the middle South, especially GAGA following GOOGOO. CRUD was a WTF. PEPITA was a problem and stuck with dOeS before COWS.

Elsewhere, questioned ESCAPE "room" (what's that?) and LIDS as "coffee shop freebies", since nothing is free, and would be quite surprised if owners/managers didn't routinely include them into their costs.

Not a whole lot of fun, but fair enough.

Anonymous 10:35 PM  

Finished but missed two down and three down. For three I had maycea instead of madcap. Moashe instead mooshu. 5 letters off. Three are missed vowels and d and p are constants. What percent would that come to?

Mark

rain forest 11:50 PM  

@leftcoastTAM of course not a useless post. I'm listening. I too wondered about ESCAPE room, but I reasoned that some people might have a room to where they escape. Is that it?

I guess if you owned a coffee establishment, you'd have to include your monthly costs for LIDS, sleeves, cream/milk, sugar, stir sticks, napkins and who knows what else, into the price of a coffee. But, since you pay for your coffee and have the option of not using any of those other things, then you can think of them as "free".

Diana,LIW 10:36 AM  

Let's see if anyone sees this! I googled escape room - it's a new "party" craze where people gather and "escape" from the room by solving, wait for it, puzzles. Who knew?

Lady, Di

TK Hodgram 3:10 PM  

You know what I love about this outfit? That somebody, having finished the puzzle, will actually look up a bunch of embassy addresses to see how many are APOs. Now that's... dedication? would-be gotcha? OCD?

Don Byas 3:04 AM  

Remember Branford Marsalis! From 1992 to 1995 Branford was the bandleader on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Jeff Watts on drums and Robert Hurst on bass. And prior to that in Doc's band don't forget the great trumpeter Clark Terry: the first African American to become a regular in a band on a major US television network. (1962-72 The Tonight Show band)
Mort Lindsey led the Merv Griffin Show band. Geez, look what Jim Hall had to put up with... https://youtu.be/iDs8JxxAnlU
The Dick Cavett Show also had a band.

Blogger 11:00 AM  

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