Draftkings competitor / FRI 7-21-17 / Formally approve as document old-style / Early Indus Valley settler / Devotee of Motley Crue Megadeth / Player of drug kingpin on Wire / One-named singer with 2016 #1 hit Pillowtalk / 1949 Hepburn Tracy courtroom film / Faddish dance move done to 2015 hit Watch Me

Friday, July 21, 2017

Constructor: Paolo Pasco

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: BIP (31D: Marcel Marceau persona) —
Marcel Marceau (French pronunciation: ​[maʁsɛl maʁso]; born Marcel Mangel, 22 March 1923 – 22 September 2007) was a French actor and mime most famous for his stage persona as "Bip the Clown". He referred to mime as the "art of silence", and he performed professionally worldwide for over 60 years. As a youth, he lived in hiding and worked with the French Resistance during most of World War II, giving his first major performance to 3000 troops after the liberation of Paris in August 1944. Following the war, he studied dramatic art and mime in Paris. (wikipedia)
• • •

I wonder if the vanity clue on TEEN was Paolo's or Will's (12D: This puzzle's constructor, for one). I mean, Paolo's already been at this for *two years*, so the TEEN thing isn't exactly news. Also not news: the kid is immensely talented, and respected by top editors and constructors across ... let's say, Crossworddom. He is on the constructor slate for the upcoming Lollapuzzoola tournament in NYC (August 19), and he's written puzzles for American Values Club Crossword, and ... probably other stuff. It's sick. This puzzle has a few wobbly moments, but basically looks like what I've come to expect from this constructor: very smooth and very current, with pop cultural predilections. Pop culture is dangerous, though, and I'm betting at least a few people founder and crash on the rocky shores of ZAYN (a massive pop star, but ... I mean, definitely not a gimme for the crossword crowd). My wife had LAID / ZAYD and never questioned it until she got the error message. She then thought, "Hmm, is it LES MIS?!" before eventually figuring out her error. BIGGIE SMALLS and Spike JONZE and IDRIS ELBA add to the pop cultural bro-fest down south. Quite a group.

[d. JONZE]

I didn't expect to end up with a solidly sub-5 time, as I flopped around a lot. A quarterback's asset is obviously his ARM, so I botched that one at first pass (3D: AIM). Did you know "I NEED A MINUTE" fits in the space ALLOTted? It does (19A: Words from one about to break into tears: "I NEED A MOMENT"). I spelled Spike JONES then Spike JONEZ before finally alighting on the correct Spike JONZE (56A: Spike who directed "Being John Malkovich"). I used to watch ESPN a Lot and have seen innumerable ads for fantasy sports apps and still, for the life of me, I couldn't remember the word that followed FAN at 7D: DraftKings competitor. FANZONE? FANBROS? FANDOME? Had to work the crosses to turn it up. Still, despite those hiccups, I found this one very enjoyable.  I would humbly suggest that the constructor (and all constructors) delete the following from their wordlists: BIP, ENSEAL, REMS (plural?), and GALOP (I put GALOPS in my first ever published NYT puzzle and I still haven't forgiven myself).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Unknown 12:25 AM  

@Paolo Pasco's puzzle had some wonderful stuff, like the Einstein quote about nationalism, and the clue for DRESS, but also had some tough pop culture crossings. The ARM/AIM trap mentioned by @Rex was charming, and Peer GYNT was suite, but ZAYN/LAIN, BIP/BIEL/FANDUEL, and the plurals of ELL, REM, and ADO, were problematic. ARYAN has a non-offensive clue, but SADLY reminded me of a crossword construction project a few years ago where we went to great lengths to keep it out of our grids.

This YouTube clip, demonstrating NAE NAE, has been viewed over a billion times! Classical opera or ballet, it's not. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to Google MALE GAZE, as well as that seed entry rapper that I'm proud to say I filled in entirely from the eminently fair crossings.

jae 12:48 AM  

I hit a point a few years ago where I mostly stopped thinking I might not be able to finish a weekend puzzle (this is not as true for the archive puzzles I've been doing from the mid '90s.) This puzzle was easy-medium for me except (@Rex's wife) for the ZAYN/LAIN cross. LAIN vs. LAID was a toss up, but ZAYN just seemed more like a name than ZAYD. Maybe I just hit a point a few years ago where I started to get luckier?

Me too for ArM before AIM and needing crosses to dredge up the DUEL part of FAN DUEL.

I'm pretty sure I not alone in wanting Alcatraz which wouldn't fit.

Liked this a bunch but @Rex the pop culture may be a problem. I mean ZAYN was a problem for me but...BIGGIE SMALLS, FAN DUEL, NAE NAE, IDRIS ELBA, JONZE, DBACK, the GARTH / MINI ME mini theme...may be a bit too much trivia.

Tom 12:51 AM  

Took a while, but my better half was watching a distracting program on TV. ArM lasted until the very end, until I came to my geographical senses and gave up on the idea that the Romans built the ERrECANAL. All canals lead to Rome?
Like the juxtaposition of ADIEU and LATER. Going to have a nip of Remy and watch a wet Open Championship. Good Friday puzzle.

Robin 1:12 AM  

I can handle the pop culture if it's movie related, so IDRISELBA, SPIKEJONZE, and MINIME were easy enough. Also, it's not like they're recent pop culture. All three of those date back to the 1990s. You can drop GARTH into that category too.

Had no clue who ZAYN is, but I wrote LAIN and so got the happy msg when I filled in the last square. Also have never heard of NAENAE. Basically, pop culture involving music of the past 20 years is out of my zone, although I have heard of BIGGIESMALLS.

Stopped watching ESPN some time ago, but I was dimly aware of FANDUEL so wrote it in after getting a few of the crosses.

Had the same problem with AIM as did Rex. Also almost goofed up by writing HULL before figuring it should be KEEL.

Sort of medium for me, both time wise and enjoyment wise.

Sue T. 1:14 AM  

This might be my most embarrassing crossword moment: for the Bay Area island clue, I mentally cycled through ALCATRAZ, YERBA BUENA, TREASURE, ANGEL...

...I live in ALAMEDA.

puzzlehoarder 1:20 AM  

This was a fairly challenging Friday for myself. BIP and ZAYN did me in. Spell check denies them both. I'm amazed that BIP was used just this year in addition to it's other nine appearances. I drew a blank on it. At least ZAYN is a debut. ZAYD looked just as good. @lms could probably explain how LAIN is more correct than LAID in this context or maybe they're interchangeable. So there I was wasting time running the alphabet when PIP and BIP didn't give me the congrats. This is another feature of tablet solving I hate. A very disappointing double dnf after figuring out NAENAE.

meg 1:29 AM  

Notorious BIG has the same letter count as the correct BIGGIE SMALLS so that tripped me up. Felt so confident typing in Notorious. So even if you're "up on" "pop culture" (Biggie was killed 20! years ago) there are places to trip.

Spelled ZAYN "zane" at first. durrr.

Unknown 1:33 AM  

I think the clue for Mo' Money Mo' Problems should have said that it was looking for an alias. Especially rough since Notorious B.I.G. (the rapper's name) also fits in the grid...

Mark 1:36 AM  

"Lain" is the past participle of "lie" and is therefore a correct synonym for "reclined."
I have lain on the couch. I have reclined on the couch.
"Laid" is not a correct synonym for "reclined"
because "laid" needs a direct object,
whereas "reclined" is an intransitive verb.

Mark 1:36 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 1:41 AM  

Yeah, I was dimly aware of @Mark's point while solving, so spared there. aDuLteRY first. Very close to best Friday time ever.

Mark 1:44 AM  

I should have included:
"Laid" is the past participle of "lay."

Larry Gilstrap 1:44 AM  

Friday is the sticky day, fair enough. I know folks complain when a puzzle is heavy on TRIVIA, but my nuggets of knowledge are someone else's nonsense. We've had this discussion.

An element of the Ten Commandments was the vilification of IDOLATRY which gave credence to anti-Catholic dogma. Does anybody still wear a St. Christopher medal? Not judging here. I've heard all of my life that Einstein was pretty smart so I'm on board. Lesser intellects need not apply.

I have a very active dream life. I can't decide if it's a curse or a blessing. I'm certain I have multiple periods of REMS, and I never drink REMY. That sentence was just plain stupid. Hi, @ Anonymous.

The Dodgers are playing out of their minds, and two other teams in their the division, the Rockies and the D'BACKS are possibly the top teams in the MLB. Of course, the NATS also.

Summer is upon us and here folks love to go to the beach and "lay out." Regional dialect at its most insidious. Lie means to rest or recline, while lay means to put or place. Lie is intransitive and lay is transitive, meaning it needs a direct object, you lay something. Conjugate the verbs and it makes sense, but is still difficult in conversation. LAIN is the past participle of "lie," so look for a form of the verb "to have," or the past participle of a regular verb like "reclined."

When I was a TEEN I was pretty clueless. Thank god those days are over! Irony emoticon!

Anonymous 1:51 AM  

Re Einstein...the guy didn't know everything. Speaking of idolatry.

chefwen 2:43 AM  


Seriously? Let's go back to the "old guys" puzzles. I'm more equipped for them. This was about 30 years out of my field of knowledge.

Filled in all my little squares, but my Great Uncle G helped out, a lot.

evil doug 4:43 AM  

"I would humbly suggest that the constructor (and all constructors) delete the following from their wordlists: BIP, ENSEAL, REMS (plural?), and GALOP...."

"Humbly"? We know you better than that, Michael. Humility is not your strong suit....

But for at least today you seem to understand how words can HURT, because ordinarily comments like yours would make you come out with guns blazing. He may be a teen, and he may be an outstanding grid-builder, but this one deserves a little more enthusiastic panning for the very reasons you enumerate.

Thomaso808 4:47 AM  

FANDUEL was a speed bump as I kept thinking competitor within the app, not a competitor of the app. FANDUde? FANDUEt? FANDUke? I didn't want to put down the final L because I knew that Jennifer BIEL was too young to be in Texas Chain Saw. Finally figured it out -- oh, remake!

I loved the "Cards" clue and CUTUPS answer. I wonder how many more years those two will survive in the lexicon with that related meaning.

I agree with @Rex that REMS is pretty bad. Slowed me down because I just did not want to write something so bad.

@George Barany thanks for embedding that NAENAE video, which was very fun. Way more fun than Googling MALEGAZE. I wonder where the term NAENAE comes from.

I guess I should know Marcel's BIP but I did not. I have a background in unexploded ordnance removal where BIP means Blow In Place for items not safe to move. On one project on an island in Hawaii we encountered a female Hawaiian monk seal and newborn pup, an endangered and protected species, on a beach where we were conducting a clearance operation. We set up a perimeter and stopped the clearance for a couple of months until the pup was weaned. Lots of pictures were taken. The pup was affectionately nicknamed "BIP".

TrudyJ 4:52 AM  

Another victim of ZAYD/LAID here, even though I had a vague sense that the singer with the Z-name was the kid who'd left One Driection to go solo and Zayd did not sound right. Between actually sorta knowing who he was, and definitely knowing the difference between LAID and LAIN, I'm deeply embarrassed to have had to Google that one.

Geophany 5:50 AM  

Graceful, my main criterion for a good puzzle. Not hard but requires thought of the intelligent variety.

BarbieBarbie 5:54 AM  

What's the problem with the current culture references? I loved this puzzle because it did NOT skew young. There was something there for every decade, going back quite a ways. I'm sure it was deliberate. GALOP, even. Which has the same number of letters as WALTZ, by the way.
For me the Rome clue was a many-pass misdirect for ERIECANAL. So clever.
@Sue T., I grew. Up in Alameda County, I had the A, and kept trying out Alcatraz and Angel Island. I'm still mystified. Is your city an island?
The GARTH and METALHEAD appearances were nice together. Though separated.
DNF because of Jessica Biel and the referenced movie was definitely my own decade, so booooo to me.
Medium-difficult for me. Many passes and a DNF.

Loren Muse Smith 5:59 AM  

Yeah, I made all the same mistakes as others are reporting. Rex – I always hesitate on the final letter for Les MIZ. Like your wife, I always think it might be an S.

@George – Peer GYNT was suite – good one!

@Sue T – Hah! That kind of thing has happened to me before.

@Thomas808 – I liked the “cards/CUT UPS, too. Hi, Dad.

@Evil – totally agree. Words can hurt like hell.

@Larry – you’re lucky to dream a lot. I just never seem to sleep anymore.

Oh, and @Larry (et al) – color me “insidious,” I guess. I’d say, on your beach, I’ve laid on my back long enough now. Better turn over. The lie/lay distinction – its ship has almost sailed, and I’m on board waving at all you guys who’re digging your heels in, probably throwing around words like thence, whom and wondering whither you’ll go for dinner.

From Merriam Webster:
lay vs. lie
Lay has been used intransitively in the sense of “lie” ⟨lay down for a quick nap⟩ since the 14th century. The practice was unremarked until around 1770; attempts to correct it have been a fixture of schoolbooks ever since. Generations of teachers and critics have succeeded in taming most literary and learned writing, but intransitive lay persists in familiar speech and is a bit more common in general prose than one might suspect. Much of the problem lies in the confusing similarity of the principal parts of the two words. Another influence may be a folk belief that lie is for people and lay is for things. Some commentators are ready to abandon the distinction, suggesting that lay is on the rise socially. But if it does rise to respectability, it is sure to do so slowly: many people have invested effort in learning to keep lie and lay distinct. Remember that even though many people do use lay for lie, others will judge you unfavorably if you do.
(Emphasis mine)

Bingo. It’s very tough to master the distinction between lie and lay. But once we do, buddy, it’s tossed into the little “good grammar” tool kit full of ways to judge others, put them into little groups of “smart” and “not-so-smart.” That’s the only thing that the lie/lay distinction accomplishes. Since no one can argue that my “wrong” usage above makes my statement unintelligible, - interferes with the communication of an idea – then the main thing the “mistake” does is make you think I’m not as smart as you. Fine. I’m okay with that.

Anyway, MALE GAZE was not something I was familiar with. Hah!

Another nice themeless, Paolo.

Lewis 6:12 AM  

Fantastic clue for FLOATS and some lovely answers: CUTUPS, ANIMIST, CANAPE. But what jumped out in this puzzle for me was what resides in my head that I had no idea was there: FANDUEL! NAENAE! BIGGIESMALLS! ADAMSRIB! IDRISELBA! ALAMEDA! METALHEAD! How did they get there? How did they get to where they could pop up in my brain with just one or two letters in their grid space?

I never asked for it when I was younger, I never expected it to happen, but as I've gotten older, I realize that I've become a can't-deny-it drivel magnet.

mathgent 6:22 AM  

Like @Sue T. (1:14), who lives there, I don't think of Alameda as an island very much. It's part if the East Bay, like Oakland. I just learned that it became an island in 1902 when the Oakland Estuary was dug to improve the tidal flow in San Francisco Bay. The Estuary separates Alameda from the Oakland mainland. It's one mile by six miles and has a population of 78,000.

Not easy for me but I solved it clean with a couple of good guesses on the singer and the dance move. Liked INEEDAMOMENT. Hated the cutesy clue for ERIECANAL.

I don't listen to rap music. Possibly because my poor hearing prevents me from understanding the lyrics. But somehow I knew BIGGIESMALLS. Has be been in other puzzles?

Happy to have solved it, but it wasn't much fun.

August West 6:31 AM  

Lawful ends?>ELLS

::..insert Pukeguy.jpeg..:

C'mon, Rex!

kitshef 7:14 AM  

Either the hardest easy puzzle ever, or the easiest hard puzzle ever. Tons of clues that I looked at and knew I had no chance of ever getting the answer. Yet I finished, and in what felt like a lightning fast finish for Friday.

The Zs gave me trouble. JONZE felt correct, but never having heard of MALE GAZE I revisited it several times before letting it go. And I thought it was LES MIS, but SAYN seemed unlikely, so I changed to MIZ, which makes no sense to me.

In the end, I have to credit the constructor as I was able to finish despite the WoEs, which means the puzzle was fair. But in many cases it was like playing Scrabble than doing a crossword. You have some letters and you think what could go there, because the clue doesn't help.

OTD 7:21 AM  

Well.... For anyone in their early years up to, say, 40 or so, I'd call this one easy/medium. But for any of us who are Older Than Dirt, it was a bit on the "what?" side. Luckily, I had run into BIGGIESMALL and Spike JONZE in other puzzles, but had to search out INDRISELBA. Doubt I'll forget him next time around. Whew! I'm glad this one is over and done with. Took me forever to finish.

Glimmerglass 7:24 AM  

Great puzzle. This kids is good. For me, this was challenging! Pop culture is defintely my weakest area, and I never Google mid-solve. Luckily (or by constructor's design), all the stuff I don't know was enough revealed by crosses that I could make an intelligent guess or find a faint echo down the distant canyons in my mind (e.g. GARTH -- never saw the movie, just skits based on it). @augustwest: *both* ends.

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

Good puzzle but a few things out of my wheelhouse. At least it skewed modern for the most part---let's ban inseal. If tears are coming, I need a TISSUE. It is more helpful than a moment because the tears will come---moment or not. I did know Biggie Smalls even though I don't listen to any rap. Zayn was a bit tougher.

kitshef 7:54 AM  

PS - hoping for their sakes that OISK and Nancy decided to give today's puzzle a miss.

Anonymous 8:03 AM  

Not a fan of hipster man bun puzzles.

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

A puzzle with a reference to a gangsta rapper (albeit a dead one) AND a Pakistani pop star?! Take THAT white guys. Rex must have tinkled with glee.

Beaglelover 8:22 AM  

Carly Simon used the word "Galop" in her great song, "You're So Vain"!

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

Too mucha that new mod'ren stuff fer me. But a nice puzzl!!

Birchbark 8:40 AM  

The modern pop fill was crossed fairly enough. So no Naticks, despite my ignorance, and am among those relieved by the "Congratulations" following the N in LAIN.

But there was also old-skew aplenty: GARTH, MINIME, ADAM'S RIB, GYNT, ENSEAL, Motley Crue/Metallica clues, and the nicely misdirected ERIE CANAL.

Finished this one in 21:12, something of a Rush to start the day.

Two Ponies 8:47 AM  

What a boring puzzle. No word play, no fun facts, no wit, very blah. Just a bunch of shallow pop culture.

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

I'm a bit surprised there isn't more outage at rems and aim. Rem has no plural.
As for aim, I've never heard it used that way. Accuracy is the trait QBs prize. Aim? no dice.
As for a clue asking for knowledge of the constructor, utterly absurd. It was a snap to get, but a travesty nonetheless.

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

Too many proper names and such. They're no fun to figure out. 1949 and 2016 - Gee!

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

@Larry Gistrap,

"Gave credence to anti-Catholic dogma"?!!!
UNBELIEVEABLE!!!!!!! If someone had written that the Elders of Zion gave credence to anti Semitism, the world would spin of its axis.Or at least this board would.
But saying something that's anti Catholic has credencs? No problem here. Shame on you Mr. Gilstrap. And shame on all who let that pass without rebuke.

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

I naturally enough read "anti-Catholic dogma" in the context of the Protestant Reformation. I wouldn't put that on par with a forgery.

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

Then you're not very bright.

Nancy 9:41 AM  

Oh, @kitshef, you are so right!!!!! I'm glad I glanced at the comments before posting, because your sensitivity to my keen dislikes are very much appreciated. And you're right about something else, too, in that @OISK will surely hate this as much as I do. But unfortunately I seldom miss a Friday puzzle, so there was no chance of avoidance for me ahead of time. I NEED A MOMENT, as I'm about to tear up.

The first dire warning came at 12D, as the constructor proudly announced that he is a TEEN. The 2nd warning came at 32A, with the constructor happily announcing that TRIVIA is the "frequent fodder" of crossword clues. Well, since you brought it up, Paolo Pasco (the PP of your initials being appropriate to the plethora of PPP you dished out here), this is my rejoinder. You may think that all the pop culture TRIVIA jammed into this one tiny little puzzle is just the most fascinating, the most scintillating, the most earth-shattering, the most life-altering info that can possibly be known or learned by anyone. It isn't, PP. It's not just that most of it won't be remembered 100 years from now, it's that it may not be remembered 100 weeks from now. It's all ephemeral and it's all shallow. And, because one either knows it or one doesn't, it provides no pleasure whatsoever in the solving. You can throw in Einstein, who has withstood the test of time, but that does not salvage this puzzle. I hope you will learn from David Steinberg, a TEEN like you, who has abandoned his earlier fascination with arcane contemporary pop culture and now creates puzzles that are masterful in their wordplay and sophisticated in the knowledge they test. Maybe you'll decide to do likewise. And maybe not.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

I did not like this puzzle. Aim for arm? Ease for no worries? Lain for reclined? Sorry, but no one says 'she lain on the couch, 'I lain on the divan.' Lain is indeed a past participle, but it needs an auxiliary verb. If I'm incorrect, please let me know. And enseal? Please.

Andrea 9:44 AM  

Apart from pip/bip error and not knowing Zayn, I found this puzzle WAY easier than yesterday's, which I couldn't finish...at all.
I guess temporality is the factor at play here, where some of us feel more comfortable with certain type of content, while for others, that represents a great challenge. Nothing bad with that; it just is what it is.
When I'm 70/80, I want to solve puzzles I can relate to as well.

Drew 9:49 AM  

Hey now. Those comprise over 90% of NYT puzzles, so one day full of "modern" (past 20 years) trivia isn't so bad, is it?

As recently as... yesterday... we had REBECCA (1940 Hitchcock movie), SOCKHOP (1940s dance), ILONA (1930s-50s actress), EDMEESE (1960s-80s politician), and BERTIE (okay, that one's dated for all of us).

Trivia of any era is always my least favorite part of a grid since I know very little of it, but if it's inevitable, it's nice to at least occasionally have some "gimme" entries on a Friday/Saturday puzzle outside of the NYT Good Old Boys Club repository.

But for the record, I didn't know who ZAYN was and embarrassingly messed up the past participle of "lie." :)

cwf 9:53 AM  

I loved this puzzle. You can see more of Paolo Pasco's work in this recent collaboration with Chris King (whose "about" page features this quote: "'He has a puzzle site' – Rex Parker")

There's a giant mural of BIGGIESMALLS a couple of blocks from me that was slated to be demolished but was saved by a community backlash against the plan.

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

Shouldn't that have been, "you're not very bright!!!!!!"?

Chim cham 9:54 AM  

I started doing only Saturday puzzles in the archive (I've come to hate easy clues and early week puzzles. They're a waste of time), and after exhausting all the Saturday puzzles of the last 6 or seven years, I decided to see how far back the archive went and start there. Oh my god. What a different world. The mid-90's ones are ridickless. I had to skip ahead to 1999 before I could break out of DNF land. I aspire to learn what the F half of those clues are even trying to communicate.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

@cwf - Bed-Stuy in the house!

Mohair Sam 10:01 AM  

Very easy Friday. Each section of the puzzle had a gimme for us, or near gimme (ERIECANAL, ADAMSRIB, DBACK, MINIME, FANDUEL, JONZE, ALAMEDA, METALHEAD). So we blew through this thing fairly quickly. Lady M won the "N" vs. "D" argument - alone I would have dnf'd on ZAYN.

Visited the ERIE CANAL Museum in Syracuse centuries ago and remember wondering why they started the thing in the middle (Rome) and not at either end (Albany or Buffalo). Knew Alameda for the wrong reason, thought the race track was there. Don't know CW, how were we gonna get JANE? - easy crosses though. Knew a guy in the service named Smalls and we called him "Big" - so the rapper's name has never escaped me. Pasco too good a constructor, I'll believe the vanity clue was Will's. Learned NAENAE today, sounds like I should forget it. No?

@Loren - Lady M and I laughed and said "Here comes the LMS lay/lie lecture, better lay or lie low." Knew you wouldn't let us down.

Inspiration often comes from the world of sports. In yesterdays British Open first round the great Rory McIlroy was 5 over par after only 6 holes and playing terribly - already 10 strokes off the lead. Since then he has played 6 under par and closed the gap to 4. In his press conference he credited the turnaround to his caddy's inspiring words coming off the sixth green.

Those words? - "You're Rory McIlroy, what the fuck are you doing?"

Try it on your kids in Little League, you never know.

Black Sun 10:07 AM  

Einstein should not be quoted outside of his knowledge of physics. Expertise in one field does not give you profound insight to them all.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  


Re: Carly Simon- You're So Vain

It's GAVOTTE not gallop.

RooMonster 10:29 AM  

Hey All !
Too many comments already to read through, but I did skim them, and am with the general consensus that this was a good puz. Hit all the traps/mistakes Rex made. Had my DNF (as per usual on a Fri or SatPuz) in the CANAPE/BIP/DISEASE/ENSEAL area. CANAPE wouldn't enter the ole brain, and the others were WOEs.

My grandfather was 100% Polish, and always had Polkas playing in his house. Never knew there was a forerunner.

JIFF looks funny, as so used to peanut butter JIF. Ha, autocorrect underlined JIF.


GHarris 10:52 AM  

Given such unfathomable nonsense (for me) as nae nae (even autocorrect won't buy in), male gaze and Zayn, I came as close to finishing as I could have hoped for and I take some comfort from that.

KevCo 10:53 AM  

Nancy, most of the pop trivia in this puzzle is decades old. NAE NAE is like three years old, and ZAYN is brand new, but BIGGIE SMALLS died in 1997, Wayne's World featuring GARTH came out in 1991 (after the skit had been on SNL for a while), IDRIS ELBA has been acting since the 90's, and The Wire, the show mentioned in the clue, has been off the air since around 2007. The bands mentioned in the METALHEAD clue are from the 80's. Spike JONZE has been making (excellent) movies for 20 years, and Jessica BIEL has been famous since she was on the teen soap 7th Heaven in the 90's.

It's fine if this information is outside your wheelhouse. But to chastise the constructor for having tastes favoring a certain era is, dare I say, childish. I think these clues, which are at least recent, are better than the questions asking us to name middling comedians from the 50's, or some uninhabited island off the coast of Gabon. Not every puzzle caters to everyone. I don't do as well when the constructors are older, but I do the puzzles anyway, because, well, that's the puzzle I've been given.

Grow up.

semioticus (shelbyl) 10:56 AM  

Paolo is really talented. I mean, this was amazing. Yes, it was easy, and some fillers could have been better but any puzzle with references that are actually relevant today are so refreshing I can't even.

Look at some of the unique entries: BIGGIESMALLS, NAENAE, MALEGAZE, ZAYN, JONZE. That's a good, fresh list for a week time, and they were all featured in one day.

semioticus (shelbyl) 10:59 AM  

P.S. I'm not a teen. I'm in my thirties. And these are definitely not obscure pop culture references (unless you avoid social media, Youtube, sports, hiphop and movies altogether)

Geometricus 11:03 AM  

My experience is that crossword clues which touch too close to home can easily be missed. As a math teacher, math clues sometimes aren't automatic gimmes because I know too many possibilities to recognize the obvious one.

Katzzz 11:06 AM  

Biggie and Einstein.
Peer Gynt and Zayn
Male gaze and Garth.
And much more. Loved the insanely broad "trivia" knowledge called for.
Leaned easy, but excellent.

GILL I. 11:09 AM  

I'm sure @Paolo Pasco has a large and happy fan base, I'm not in it. Perhaps he'll grow on me the way David Steinberg has. We'll see.
I'm OK with TRIVIA and pop culture - I just don't want it to overwhelm me. Every corner I turned, there was somebody taunting me and I wasn't amused. BIP NAE NAE just GALOP on home. Leave me alone and take JONZE and ZAYN and DBACK and MINI ME with you. You can leave BIGGIE SMALL and METAL HEAD because those guys have been around for a while. IDRIS ELBA can stay as well because he's handsome and I loved him in Thor.
That's about it.
ALAMEDA was the only entry that gave me a smile. My mom lived there and I spent many a weekend walking the beaches and Webster Street. I would have lived there had it not been for my transfer to Sacramento. My then boyfriend and I toyed with buying a Victorian era home. This was in the 70's and Alameda was still reasonably priced. So many "what ifs and should have" in my life.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

@Anonymous 9:53

I don't get your dig. why would there be a question mark after a declaration?

Masked and Anonymous 11:14 AM  

TEEN-er puz! Actually, a kinda neat change-of-pace themeless FriPuz. M&A likes different. Did go down in flames, tho -- but M&A spellin deficiencies were as much to blame as pop culture ignoramity.

Problem A: ZAYN/LAIN vs. ZAYD/LAID. Chose correctly, as ZAYN sounded a lil more like a plausible name. [Example: ZAYN Grye]

Problem B: IDOLETRY/BIGGIESMELLS. Looked reasonable, and by then the nanoseconds were mountin up, sooo ... went with first instinkt, and kept movin. But, unknown pop culture words can HURT, when used to verify yer spellin.

Problem C: CANOPE/MOLEGAZE. M&A's world and the world of canapés rarely cross paths. Figured feminists likely wouldn't like M&A starin at their moles, sooo … wrong again, M&A breath.


staff weeject pick: BEL. Becuz there ain't no "I" in BIEL. Sometimes. Betcha BEL is French for somethin … maybe "darlin", or somesuch …?

Thanx, Pasco Kid. Keep yer MOLEGAZE in the holster. We had fun, but alas can't spell worth snot.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

Wow, I only saw one ?-clue in the whole rodeo! And that was the near-gimme {Lawful ends?} = ELLS. Missed cluin opportunity: {Monkey around in a public restroom??} = CANAPE. Woulda spelled that one right. snort

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

Male gaze ? Feminist film criticism ? I swear these guys just make up these dumb phrases for our amusement.

Nancy 11:21 AM  

@KevCo -- a puzzle loaded with pop culture ephemera always seems, well, junky to me, whether the ephemera is from 30 years ago or yesterday. I seldom post on Wordplay Blog, but I did so today, in the hope that Will Shortz would read my comment. It explains exactly why I feel so negatively about puzzles like this one. I think they may do "Likes" over there, if memory serves. And if they do, I hope they like my comment more than you did. But if you read my comment there, you'll see that I have strong reasons for feeling the way I do -- reasons that have nothing to do with whether I can, or can't, solve a given puzzle. I never care about my Naticks and I certainly don't care about my solving time. I care about the lasting importance of trivia answers that appear in the NYT. Ideally, there would be no trivia answers at all, not even important ones.

You don't have to agree with my opinion. But you needn't be unpleasant about it.

jb129 11:23 AM  

I always find that when Rex considers a Friday puzzle easy, I have to cheat..... I guess that's b/c he wants me to visit his page.....

It's no fun if you gotta cheat, altho you do learn the answers to grids you didn't before (for me, it was IDRIS ELBA) & (hopefully) will know in the future ?????

Stanley Hudson 11:26 AM  

@KevCo, while I likely would word it more diplomatically, you said what needed to be said.

I suspect that Shortz is responsible for the 12D clue.

As for the puzzle itself, more PPP (of whatever era) than I care for, but it's amazingly good given that a teenager constructed the thing.

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

The puzzles are not written for the crossword cognoscenti. No doubt a large majority of solvers had no idea that the constructor is a teen. I know I didn't and found it interesting.

dbud 11:31 AM  

I like the pop culture stuff and I loved the answer "BIGGIESMALLS" but felt the clue should've added a disclaimer, like "familiarly" or something like that. He's credited as The Notorious BIG on that song, BIGGIESMALLS is a nick name (well, so is The Notorious BIG, I guess).

G. Weissman 11:42 AM  

The NAENAE / BEL / BIP / DBACK area on the Midwest side was a naticky mess, in my opinion. This constructor relies on an excessive number of obscure proper names.

old timer 11:44 AM  

I refused to give up "lan" fir the incorrect LAID. And I had many iterations for the movie feminists: "date rape" before "male rape" and I left it at that. Didnot know "Biggie" SMALLS. But would have gotten the Happy Pencil if I had remembered Spike JONZE (and if I ever solved online rather than on paper).

But no hard feelings, PP. I realize that for all but one of my Naticks, a bit more work would have cleared them up -- only the LAID/lain mistake is your fault.

I saw nothing wrong with GALOP and put it in because I know it used to be a dance though I did not know it was a polka predecessor.

And I never knew ALAMEDA was not an island (at least at low tide) until now.

Was anyone else tempted to put in "adultery" instead of IDOLATRY?

Matthew G. 11:58 AM  

I jumped through the exact hoops as Rex's wife. I had LAID/ZAYD, and I checked my grid twice and couldn't find the error. Then decided, A-ha! It must be LES MIS. Because after all, SAYD looked like a perfectly plausible variation on the Arabic name SAID, just as ZAYD had. Never thought to question the D, and had to hit Reveal for the first time in many moons to figure out what the heck I was missing.

I guess I'm at that age (41) where this is just going to happen to me from now on. New singers are going to come on the scene, I'm not going to hear of them, and they're gonna wreck my grids. What a drag it is getting old.

(Would still rather solve a puzzle by Paolo than nearly anyone else, FWIW!)

Joseph Michael 11:59 AM  

I liked the mix of new and old and the ridiculouness of NAE NAE which was one of my favorite entries.

Hard to complain about a puzzle fhat combines Peer GYNT and ADAM'S RIB with MINI ME and BIGGIE SMALLS. Also liked MALE GAZE and the references to the 20s flappers INA BIND and ANI MIST.

My only complaints are that there are too many proper nouns, that REM does not come in plurals, and that those ornaments on the Christmas tree are candy canes, not CANES.

Great clues for FLOATS, ADIEU, KEEL, DRESS, and DISEASE.

Congrats, Pablo. I SCRY a great future for you in Crossworld.

jberg 1:24 PM  

I liked this one quite a bit, even though I had no idea about NAE NAE, which I got from crosses, and DNF because I had BIm instead of BIP, which kept me from seeing CANAPE and so leaving in most of the letters from bANAna. I also went with MINIMy/EASy. ... I NEED A MOMENT, or maybe a hanky.

I binge-watched (well, one a day) the first two seasons of The Wire last fall; would have done more, but my wife couldn't stomach the violence. A name like IDRIS ELBA is hard to forget, but since the credits just give the names I had no idea which character he played.

I did get GARTH from the crosses (I've certainly heard of the movie, but never watched it), but my big problem there was missreading the clue numbers. After I was done I asked my search engine to find "flash garth." It failed there, pretty much, but it did come up with a Wayne's World reference, so that was OK.

vAdA before BAJA until I saw it was going to be BIGGIE.

@Nancy, I get your point, but don't see it that way myself. I like the freshness of words I haven't known, the latest cultural fads, etc. There's a new puzzle every day, printed on flimsy newsprint, I solve it or fail and throw it away -- so I don't expect it so stand the test of time. De gustibus, I guess.

@Loren, nobody's gonna think you're not smart when you do all that research and use all those grammatical terms. And thanks for that! I especially like the point that people have used LAID intransitively for 400 years before anyone noticed. Those were the days!

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

Why don't we all just face up to the true distinction, albeit taboo, between lay/laid and lie/lain, i.e. the former pair refers to sex while the latter refers to going to sleep? Even if this isn't, well factually true, it doesn't make me want to poke a stick into my skull as does the grammatical distinctions discussed here.

okanaganer 1:59 PM  

Whenever I see the name ALAMEDA I hear Sulu asking for directions to the "nuclear wessels" in Star Trek 4.

Blackeyedsusan 2:00 PM  

At first I was bummed out by all the trivia but then I remembered my just recently departed granddog BIGGIESMALLS and carried on. Confidently filled in INcamera but NOMEANSNO and INEEDAMOMENT got me to INSECRET although I like my answer better. Wasn't sure about HURT because I kept hearing from my long ago childhood "Sticks and stones can break your bones but words can never hurt you." Is there some well known admonishment about words hurting or just the rather lame "Words HURT, you know. "?

Joe Dipinto 2:02 PM  

@beaglelover 8:22 -- the word in "You're So Vain" was gavotte, not galop (she rhymed it with yacht and apricot).

Teedmn 2:13 PM  

I nearly KEELed over in the west - I had hulL in at 40A. Needing a few crosses for 21D, 24D and 30A, this was holding me up but I finally figured ON LINE had to be correct at 22D and that put me back on an even KEEL.

One place people get lay/lie correct is if they ever recite the prayer, "Now I lay me down to sleep..". I do pay attention to my written usage, but what comes out in my speech is anyone's guess.

@GeorgeBarany sent me a link to one of his latest puzzles, a collaboration with Michael Hanko. I thought it was a very nice Wednesday-ish solve so check it out.

Thanks, Paolo Pasco, for the crunchy Friday and the dig at all of us rap-challenged solvers, i.e. 47A.

jae 2:13 PM  

@jberg - ELBA's character was Stringer Bell who was featured more prominently in the later seasons.

Wm. C. 2:35 PM  

@Anon10:24. & @JoeDi --

Yep, you're right: Carly Simon did sing "gavotte" in her song "You're So Vain."

And I always thought it was: "...as you watched yourself GO BY."

So I looked it up: Gavotte is a French folk dance, and I guess that the guy was kinda slide-stepping closer to the mirror to check himself out as he came in.

I'm sure that I'm a better person with this knowledge. ;-)

Joe Bleaux 2:52 PM  

Friday. Master Pasco. I finished, no help, no mistakes. Whew. Wow.

OISK 3:11 PM  

Freshness, and a few pop references are fine. I won't know them, but I can usually figure them out. But this was awful. Yet I somehow completed the upper two thirds without knowing Wayne's friend, "_" the virgin" (I don't even know what CW show means) Nae Nae or Fan duel. But then we get to Biggie Smalls, Male gaze, (??? I will have to Google that) Zayn, Idris Elba, Metal head, (I know the term, so I got it...) Jonze.

The DNF was the Z in Jonze. Male gaze?? I mentally tossed a coin, and incorrectly tried "Male gate." with Jonte. Shudda haddit, as we say at Saratoga, but wouldn't have been happy anyway. Nancy and I are on the same page here. This reminded me of David Steinberg's earliest puzzles, laced with sneaker brands, hip-hop, and computerese. But while his puzzles are still up to date, they are not overloaded with pop trivia. And Jonze with Male gaze is just an awful pairing.

Earlier in the week, our fearless leader jumped all over a lovely Wednesday puzzle, trumpeting his unfamiliarity with "The Student Prince." I thought it was wonderful to find an operetta reference in the puzzle.

One of the earlier anonymice argued that gavotte was the correct answer, not galop. Wrong. A gavotte is nothing like a polka at all. There are several polka-like pieces in light 19th century music that are called "galops." Strauss (the waltz king) wrote several galops.

Hartley70 3:11 PM  

GARTH, Baby! As my avatar indicates, GARTH has a special place in our hearts and home. His framed photo, autographed by Dana Carvey, sits on the desk in my daughter's old bedroom. When she was in second grade she dressed up as Garth for Halloween and the resemblance was uncanny. At her school costume parade, a relative of Dana's was taken by surprise when she spied the mini-GARTH, told Dana, and he sent her his photo. It was her childhood most treasured possession, much coveted by her brother, who snatched it recently and was caught red-handed.

kitshef 3:32 PM  

@okanager - FANTASTIC clip, but that is of course Chekov, not Sulu.

t-dawg 3:48 PM  

LES MIS is vastly more common than LES MIZ, at least according to Googlefight.

I had LES MIS/SAYD/LAID and had absolutely no idea that any of those were wrong (since I have never heard of ZAYN before in my life).

Joe Dipinto 4:24 PM  

NaeNae and FanDuel were the only answers I'd never previously heard -- well, and enseal -- but they were easy to glean, so no problems in solving. I do think the puzzle was excessively heavy on pop culture references, from any era, so much so that "trivia" could almost have been clued as a theme revealer. Then the sections with little to no trivia looked out of whack and dull by comparison.

Add in the obnoxious meta-"teen" clue and the constructor's condescending spiel on X-word Info about how he built the puzzle around Biggie Smalls -- I mean, please, Biggie Smalls died 20 years ago; if you want to go contemporary, why not try for a 15-er with Chance The Rapper, who won Best New Artist THIS year -- well, color me unimpressed.

Hungry Mother 4:25 PM  

I grew up in the Bay Area, but only knew ALAMEDA from the name ot the Raiders' old stadium. Normal Friday for me.

Joe Dipinto 4:33 PM  

@OISK 3:11 - The Anonymouse (and myself as well) were pointing out to @beaglelover that the dance mentioned in "You're So Vain" is the gavotte, not that gavotte is the correct answer to the puzzle clue.

OISK 5:46 PM  


Michelle Turner 6:57 PM  

Beaglelover, Carly Simon used gavotte not galop in You're so Vain.

Doc John 7:16 PM  

I'm sorry, but a puzzle is pretty F'd up when you know both of the crosses but can't complete the puzzle because of some (not obviously as well-known as some people think) pop star. BTW, that show has been abbreviated with both a S and a Z.
So instead of Natick, you have what I now dub the Zayd- a ridiculous outlier that crosses familiar answers that can have two spellings.
And NAE NAE crossing BEL- almost a Natick except that BEL is really the only thing that fits.
And finally- REMS??? As in, he had five REMS last night, doctor. Nobody ever ever ever EVER says that.
Total and complete fail.
Rex is letting his fanboy get the best of him.

Questinia 7:23 PM  

My intransitive follicles were snatched with LAId/ZAYd.

Joe 7:45 PM  

The Walken video is an old fav. Thanks. Otherwise, suprisingly easy for a Friday, for me.

Anonymous 8:07 PM  

Do all the haters of this puzzle now know why Rex dislikes Shortz? His puzzles are more than likely better, yet this crap keeps making it in.

Anonymous 8:17 PM  

Wow anonymous 8:07,
That's a whole lot of assumptions for a someone with Mike's junk in his (or her--I'm woke) mouth.
Puzzle was fine.

Anonymous 9:14 PM  

c'mon guys----
lay laid laid (to place)

lie lay lain (to recline)

american glasser 9:21 PM  

"Iron gynt" is cute

Anonymous 9:54 PM  

I'm 52 and thought this was Wednesday-easy. Finished in 16:16. Now watch me NAE NAE!

Thomaso808 9:59 PM  

@okanaganer I knew from your post that it had to be Chekhov as @kitshef pointed out, but I just want to commend you on finding a clip from a well known movie that mentions ALAMEDA six times in just over two minutes!

Anonymous 10:08 PM  

@anon 11:10 - I give up, why? A question was being asked about a declaration (as indicated by the penultimate punctuation mark).

Larry Gilstrap 10:17 PM  

Glad that MALE GAZE is something other than what I do at the gym.

Hartley70 11:24 PM  

Uh, yes @LarryGilstrap, as chance would have it, I do wear an inherited St. Christopher medal occasionally. Now that I've been reminded, I think I'll wear it on my ferry trip tomorrow as big storms are forecast.

Larry Gilstrap 11:36 PM  

Very popular when I was a kid as were Virgin Pins. Do you have one of those as well?

Hartley70 6:18 AM  

I assume you're talking Mary, but whether you are or not, no I don't.

QuasiMojo 7:09 AM  

Very late to the party, but just wanted to say that I agree completely with @Nancy. Trivia is stuff that has earned its place in the public's consciousness. It can be from any period. But just a few pop names from one-off minor celebrities is not trivia. And they make a puzzle like this pretty icky despite its clevernesss.

BurnThis 3:10 AM  

I'm older, but had no trouble with any of those clues except for Nae Nae. I had more of an objection to REMs and Galop. Plus you don't wish for a float at a fountain, you order one.

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spacecraft 10:32 AM  

What irony! After two killer days, to sail through this like a Monday--only to be LAId low by a stupid Natick! Of course, with the Y of IDOLATRY in place, the four-letter one-named singer had to be enYa. Suuure it did. So then LESMIZ and ALAMEDA go in, two of innumerable gimmes--on a FRIDAY!--and I'm left with ZAY_. Only, I'm not, because I have already filled in LAId, and so there sits ZAYd, just as unknown as his more famous (???) twin ZAYN. Easy-peasy, yet a one-letter DNF.

It's bad enough to deal with short-named rappers like NAS, but a 12-letter one? Yikes! Still. having filled SMALLS in on crosses, I simply inferred the BIGGIE part. If SMALLS were my last name, and I was a (shudder!) rapper, I'd most likely call myself BIGGIE. Makes as much sense as the stuff that comes out of their mouths.

So no, I didn't much like it; way too easy for a Friday except for one square way too hard--which is stupid. Can't score a DNF, but you know it'd be a +.

Burma Shave 10:42 AM  




rondo 11:06 AM  

Three w/os with the popular ArM and then Bon-Ami. Apparently not up on my judging with sIxES before NINES. Left the trap open at LAI_ so I wouldn't fall into it. One direction I would go is toward Harry Styles over ZAYN. Got BIGGIESMALLS from just the two ELLS.

I see yeah baby Jessica BIEL has a DRESS on her today, often NOT the case.

Was never really INABIND, but finished not exactly with EASE.

Anonymous 12:59 PM  

This puzzle a sop to the lunatic fringe. No more like this for me - if his name is on the bottom, the puzzle is history.

thefogman 2:16 PM  

Another DNF for me. I had ArM instead of AIM and I actually paused to reflect on how the ERrECANAl was so close to being the ERIECANAL but did not change the R to an I because I was convinced the clue was about Rome Italy. ERrE could be an Italian port no? Doh!

The other trouble spot was 49D and 51A. I figured a GeNT was part of a peer group and I even ran the alphabet but nothing else turned up that seemed any better. My knowledge of 1867 Norwegian plays is pretty sketchy so GYNT did me in as I was somehow convinced that ARYAN was spelled AReAN. Wrong again.

42D and 59A: Finally, I know nothing of this chap ZAYN. And I thought for sure it was LESMIs not LESMIZ (I hate cutesy spelling). So instead of ZAYN I put down sAYd and that seemed to satisfy 50D with LAId. But I was LAID to rest with that error.

Not in my wheelhouse. Stank like my outhouse.

leftcoastTAM 2:40 PM  

Tough, clever, solid, and enjoyable, including some good misdirects. I liked it.

Entries that most slowed the way to a satisfying solve:


By the way, isn't it all TRIVIA by definition?'

Looking ahead to PP's next, but maybe with a little less PPP.

thefogman 2:46 PM  

I don't fel so bad after reading the comments above - which are littered with tales of woe about falling into the same traps I fell into. One of the other misdirects I had to dig myself out of was 35D where I put down MisoGyny before I changed it to MALEGAZE, but not without lots of ink being spilled first...

Diana,LIW 3:17 PM  

Gave up early due to the many WOES. Like others, I was ArMed with errors that wouldn't budge. Still have half a dozen puzzles to catch up on. But I did read all 10 days of comics - gotta keep up on those stories.

Z ya later.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana,LIW 3:28 PM  

And, for the record, a last-week puzzle I found pretty easy and fun was rated challenging by OFL. Why? It was funny, and you had to think "outside" the lines. (Elayne Boosler was the co-constructor). Much more my wheelhouse, where I have a chance of FIGURING OUT the answer rather than simply knowing a name. I realized, talking about a movie with a friend, that I remember character's names but can't identify the actors frequently.

Lady Di

Anonymous 6:20 PM  

It took about 4 hints plus one possible answer that was eliminated through looking it on a crossword site. Of the four there was 1. The ese in disease. 2 The bck in DBACK. 3. The y in GYNT. And the aap in CANAPE. Plus a couple letters I cannot remember for ALAMEDA.Had part of it. So about 12-13 letters off. One of my weaker Fridays.


thefogman 7:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 7:07 PM  

For such a young constructor, Paolo sure has awfully mean bag of tricks and baffling misdirects. He is going to be something else when he comes of age.

leftcoastTAM 9:53 PM  

@rainy--Where are you?

Tarheeled 4:26 AM  

I hadn't a clue on 50% of this mess. Many, too many generations between me and Paolo.

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