Breakfast brand since 1897 / FRI 8-11-17 / Hilarious succeeded him in AD 461 / Film character who says ET stay with me / Rap group whose name comes from martial arts film / Onetime Mughal capital / Singer of 1965 hit Lemon tree / Self-titled pop debut of 1991 / View from Piazzale Michelangelo / Fail ancient crowning stone

Friday, August 11, 2017

Constructor: Hal Moore

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: TRINI LOPEZ (56A: Singer of the 1965 hit "Lemon Tree") —
Trinidad "Trini" López III (born May 15, 1937) is an American singer, guitarist, and actor. His first album included a version of "If I Had a Hammer", which earned him a Golden Disc. Other hits included "Lemon Tree", "I'm Comin' Home, Cindy" and "Sally Was a Good Old Girl". He designed two guitars for the Gibson Guitar Corporation, which are now collectors’ items. (wikipedia)
• • •

I hadn't even gotten out of the NW before I was thinking "I Love This Puzzle." That corner (and I would extend this to the puzzle as a whole) was a like a great scifi show w/ a majority black cast (but not that sucky "Matrix" sequel, whichever it was ... "Revolutions"?? ... anyway, a hypothetical such show, and a great one). Stargazing and TIME TRAVEL but also NELL Carter in WATTS with the WU TANG CLAN (that sounds like a guess in the world's coolest version of Clue). Once the SHETLAND PONY showed up, I knew this was my kind of party. Never mind that I count nine (9!) different short answers that I Do Not care for (IONE ALTA LEOI LIA ONETO INA AGRA CEE PLEB). It's amazing what my heart will overlook when the puzzle as a whole is so interesting and fun. Once again, the 1-Across Rule was in effect—when a longish 1A is a gimme, odds are I am going to burn the puzzle down, and that is in fact what happened, despite a couple of weird pauses in and around the dinosaur in the NE and in and around the "ancient crowning stone" in the SE.

"E.T." and "Doctor Who" *and* "THE X-FILES"!? I don't / didn't even watch the latter two, but I can't help but admire the commitment to the conceptual grid-flooding. Two things you might be learning for the first time today. One, TRINI LOPEZ is a man. I know *I* thought TRINI was a woman for a long time, since I had never heard anything by ... him, it turns out. You used to see TRINI a lot in the grid, so getting that answer wasn't tough for me, but I can tell from Twitter that that answer (and that corner in general) was a disaster zone for a lot of people (it is probably both the oldest and shakiest corner today). Two, IRV Gotti is not some old Italian guy. He is a Gen-X black man who is a very prominent hip-hop producer from way back (if your idea of "way back" is the '90s) (puzzle actually has a strong '90s-music flavor, with WU TANG CLAN and IRV and ALANIS putting in appearances). My favorite mistake (speaking of '90s music...) was at 28D: "___ again?" where I quickly and admiringly put in "YOU." I mean, YET's OK, but that clue really really wants "YOU." Overall, a delightful EXTRAVAGANZA. I hope you had at least half as good a time as I did.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


okanaganer 12:20 AM  

Probably my fastest Friday ever! Read the clue, type in the answer. I think it's because it seems like a puzzle from the 1990's, when I used to know a lot of current stuff.

Nice to not have any college sports clues (my least favorite type of clue). And really really nice to have basically no abbrev's (my least favorite type of answer).

jae 12:22 AM  

Yep, very easy for me and liked it a bunch. Only major erasure was @Rex You before YET. Tossed in WU TANG off the W in WATTS and was off and running. Never saw LIA as TRINI LOPEZ was a gimme...Lemon Tree was definitely in my '60s folk song wheelhouse. In fact I think I still have a TRINI LOPEZ vinyl album.

My only problem with this one was that it was over too quickly.

Michelle Turner 12:25 AM  

Love that Trini Lopez is in the puzzle. I was just singing Lemon Tree in the car earlier today. Also loved seeing The Doctor, Shetland pony and Grape-Nuts. I remember my dad eating Grape-Nuts for breakfast when I was a kid. I don't understand how he could do that without breaking a tooth.

puzzlehoarder 12:28 AM  

The way too easy for their day of the week trend just keeps on going. Sure there's a cheap thrill to smoking a Friday but its only because it's a pushover. Just look at that xwordinfo clue list. It's almost wall to wall blue. The only debuts are some bland phrase and this hip hop group that was first guess material. I have no more idea who WUTANG is than I do TRINI but certain names are so distinctive that once you hear them you never forget. From WUTANG it was all downhill. There were plenty of nice long entries. They just weren't challenging in and of themselves and they were held together with common fill. Not bad fill just common.

Moly Shu 12:50 AM  

WUTANGCLAN. Awesome. Nuff said.

chefwen 1:09 AM  

@Michelle T. The first and last time I ate Grape Nuts I thought I was going to break every tooth in my mouth. Nasty stuff.

WUTANGCLAN was a big WUT the ? Everything else was pretty easy, but that required all the downs to figure out. Giving my age, TRINI LOPEZ was a gimme.

Love the word EXTRAVAGANZA, its just fun to say.

Larry Gilstrap 1:27 AM  

I seriously never know when OFL is going to heap praise on a puzzle. No clue. On the other hand, I do sense when a puzzle is going to get trashed. I like most of them.

Lemon Tree was a song I most closely associate with Peter, Paul, and Mary, but TRINI LOPEZ was popular, as well. It had a Calypso vibe, as did a lot of tunes from that era. Speaking of old stuff, Around the World in 80 Days was huge in the late 50s. Didn't we just have a PHILEAS vs. Phineas discussion recently?

American city (4) is ERIE much of the time, but I balked at SeaWolves, because I'm pretty sure that city is on a lake. Baseball is trending this time of year, as are short shorts. And in this region of the world, I've been noticing that they are trending very short, revealing areas north of the actual leg. My fashionista informs me that cheeks are the new cleavage. Add a HALTER TOP and you're good to go. Ah, summer! I'm more of a socks and sandals guy.

I watched Sanford and Son and thought Redd Foxx was a comic genius. Sincere laughter on my part. His drink was a blend of champagne and Ripple: Champipple. His snack was Swiss cheese and avocado: Holy Mole. Fred Sanford was a powerful character, shady and irreverent, who dominated every scene. Elizabeth! (clutching his chest) I'm coming to meet you!

Trombone Tom 1:43 AM  

Nice Friday puzzle, but agree it is on the easy side once you are rolling. In my case I got through all of it except the NW. A pause until I saw CLAN and then WUTANG popped right in. The rest of the region was a gimme.

Couldn't remember that CHAPLIN was in "Great Dictator" but the crosses made it obvious. Tried to spell the beast IGUANaDON, but PONY set me straight.

I identify "Lemon Tree" with Trini Lopez.

"Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet,
But the fruit of the lemon is impossible to eat."

Lee Coller 2:20 AM  

I didn't know 1-Across, needed all the downs, but this was still easy. 16-Across, 17-across, 25-across, 33-across, 36-across, 52-across as well as 1-5 down were all give-mes, making this an easy puzzle.

CDilly52 3:00 AM  

So much to love about this puzzle that takes one down memory lane. My family did whole riffs on the Euell Gibbons Grape Nuts cereal commercials and for decades called my Dad "The Wild Hickkory Nut." He loved his Grape Nuts. Do they even exist today? Must look. I actually stuttered out of the gate and worked this from the SE to NE then SW to NW. Odd how the brain takes a while sometimes to catch on. I agree that the puzz has plenty of "meh" but the lively fill and all the memories made it fun.

Agra Chaplin Monomops 3:51 AM  

This puzzle is why people should GOEASYON the needed short-word glue carping.
WATTS not to LOVable???!!!!!

Phil 3:57 AM  

I hated it time and time again until...
The end when the last BIGS fell into place and then I loved it as looked it over.

The puzzle was full of small traps that begged a bad review but ended up well done. Don't even remember where they are now.
1A was a woe for me needed every cross and put me in a bad mood to see 'rap' clue in primo spot.

But... my major pivot was the 'aha' correction from Peon to PLEB for common sort. It fixed a mispelled GARBel and the wrapup of the rap guys which that too I ended up liking..
Loved SALE

evil doug 4:20 AM  

I eat 'em every day. Great fiber for us old guys. Let 'em soak in milk for a couple minutes to avoid dental issues.

Top to bottom, left to right, no hangups anywhere. Whatshisname through Georgia. Easy but pleasant enough.

I prefer the PP&M version, but Trini shows up on my Sirius more.

"Result of a perfect pitch"=SALE. Interestingly, Chris Sale of the Bosox is the ACE of the staff and possibly the best pitcher in baseball.

"ARE WE ALONE?" I was gazing at something other than stars whenever I asked that question....

I don't see the "majority black cast" thingie--more EGALITE to me....

manitou 4:37 AM  

confidently committing to SHOW at 11A made it hard to suss out that corner, but still faster than usual. i figure others had that word as well.

Thomaso808 5:02 AM  

Finished in about half my average time, which is definitely a trend this week. My speed bump was 11A where I was over-confident about "Step up from Triple-A, with "the", to which I wrote in SHOW. The Show is what you arrive at with MLB, but I can't argue that BIGS is wrong. But still, there's something magical to all us would-be wannabes about being called up to THE SHOW.

WUTANGCLAN / WATTS was a gimme, but my sympathies to solvers who did not know them. Awesome debut!

The 3 and 4 fills were all pretty good, except for CEE, ugh.

Years ago one of my son's friends abandoned an old Cadillac on my yard, so I ended up having to dispose of it. Before I did, I cleaned it out and found a couple of TRINILOPEZ CDs. I'm in my 50's and got music schooled by a Gen Xer!

This is the second puzzle by Hal Moore, who debuted earlier this year. Good job, young man! Keep 'em coming!

Anonymous 5:30 AM  

Could someone please explain what "The Big S" is? Is it a motor club? Thanks!

Dolgo 5:56 AM  

I got everything pretty fast. Yep, way too easy for a Friday. I was entrance by @Rex's comment about WUTANCLAN being an old version of "Clue." I don't know exactly how old you are, young man, but I don't think you remember the old (2940'd) "Clue" rival called "Mr. There's." The clues were in wooden screwtop capsules. My cousin had the game and I remember playing it once or twice. You couldn't help thinking of Syngman Rhee, who was an early South Korean prime minister after WWII. There was also one of those complicated jokes with a pun about a missing journalist son of his, the answer to which was, "Ah, sweet Mr. Rhee of "Life," at last I've found you!"

Dolgo 6:02 AM  

Damn autocorrect!! The name of the game was "Mr. Rhee!!!" And it was popular in the 1940's. It's hard to remember to check these entries carefully during insomnia at 3 am!!?

BarbieBarbie 6:06 AM  

When did we start buying dairy products by the DOZEN? No eggs in the dairy aisle where I shop. Thought OFL would burn this puzzle for that one, but no.

Very easy NW, didn't need the Down clues. And then the rest... Very slow for me, lots of e-rasures. So, not Easy at all, but a great puzzle to do. Out of my league. Funny for me to be able to bung down WUTANGCLAN with no crosses but get stymied by TRINILOPEZ.

@Barany means LAMB, everybody. Awwwww. Hope his students know that.

Lewis 6:10 AM  

@rex -- You saw the glass as half-full today; how rare and wonderful!
@evil -- Nice post, sir, from top to bottom.

Like others, this put up little resistance (went EASY ON me); I would have liked it better with some trickier, more wordplayish cluing, more like the clue for NHL (the group frowning on illegal checks). Still, I found it a joyous solve, with answers like GARBLE, BIGS, BADCOP, CLARET, and SHETLANDPONY. Mr. LOPEZ actually saved me in the Southeast. I like MONO near STAG, and that WATTS up. Off of the Z, I threw down "lollapalooza", but it didn't last long.

My grandson's name is Phineas (he's Finn to everyone), and when we found out his name (he's a bit over a year old) I immediately thought of Mr. Fogg, then learned the error of my ways, so PHILEAS plunked right in. His GARBLE is sounding much closer to words, and while he's not quite ready for raw GRAPENUTS, he's getting close to his first SHETLAND PONY ride. It's ERIE how LOVABLE a grandchild can be.

Dolgo 6:38 AM  

I'm not a sports fan, but I think I remember that Major League Baseball in Bernard Malamud's novel "The Natural" was called "The Show." That threw me for a while in the NW.

Dolgo 6:40 AM  

Gee. Where ARE the eggs in your store?

Dolgo 6:53 AM  

Aha!! I just found out that it's my phone that autocorrects. Let's see __Rhee__. Yep, I successfully turned it off!Thank God! Now I will be able to go to sleep more easily after adding to this blog!

Diywriter 7:02 AM  

Best Trini Lopez song: "What Have I Got of My Own?"

kitshef 7:13 AM  

Way too easy for a Friday, although in saying that if I hadn’t somehow pulled TRINI LOPEZ out of that piece of the brain that knows things I don’t know I know, the SE probably would have been a bear.

LEO I is reckoned to be the only pope to meet Attila the Hun – after the meeting Attila withdrew from Italy.

Glimmerglass 7:42 AM  

Long holdup at 42A. I had ZA at the end and two As from PHILEAS ( except I had it PHInEAS) and NIA, so I confidently wrote in lollApAlooZA. It took me a very long time to abandon that three-ell lollapalooza. THE X-FILES finally got me straightened out. The truth (EXTRAVAGANZA) was out there.

Two Ponies 7:47 AM  

There is always a box of Grape Nuts in my pantry. Why they have that name is a mystery to me.

The wide variety of knowledge required for today's solve was interesting and made for a good puzzle.

I seem to remember an album cover of Trini's with a provocative photo of a pretty woman sitting in a mound of whipped cream. It seemed racy to me as a 10 year old.

Jon Alexander 7:51 AM  

Boy did I just cruise through this puzzle. Sub 7 for a Friday is way below my avg. like Rex said, even the sometimes dreckish fill was over come by the shear amount of quality long answers. Great puzzle with just everything in my wheelhouse today.

clk 7:51 AM  

So funny to see that apparently everyone else's dad ate GRAPE NUTS too. Must've been a regularity thing.
PEON for PLEB slowed me down, as did YOU for YET. It seems like the choice of how many Ls and Ts a given ELLIOTT will have is more or less random.

Unknown 8:28 AM  

Entertaining puzzle to blaze through, though FOPS seemed a reasonable alternative to MOPS and FONO looked like some archaic old record term, so that took a while. Great work!

Mohair Sam 8:38 AM  

Well I turned this fun and easy Friday into a medium by throwing in the gimme "show" for BIGS at 11A, the gimme "ann" for COD at 48A, and the gimme "paul stokey" (misspelling stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary) for TRINILOPEZ. Yeah, I know COD is much more famous, but I hated "O" for the remember clue.

Talk about a great mix on the PPP, nobody dares complain. Who didn't love Redd Foxx? Great memory. @Barbie - I hesitated on DOZEN too, but they're a dairy item for sure. @Evil Doug is the first person I've ever heard speak well of GRAPENUTS - I knew somebody out there was eating them. If there's a six letter "Ono" out there for constructors ALANIS may be it.

SeaWolves seems like an odd name for a team located in ERIE, PA. - the nearest sea is the Atlantic. Any self-respecting sea wolf would need to traverse hundreds of miles of St. Lawrence River, including 15 locks, swim all of Lake Ontario, traverse Niagara Falls, and swim half of Lake Erie just to make the front gates of SeaWolves stadium. Shouldn't they have named the team the Zebra Mussels?

Birchbark 8:52 AM  

I liked ARE WE ALONE stacked over TIME TRAVEL. And the harmonic resonance of IGUANODON next to GRAPE NUTS.

The lower center was an explosion of proper-noun crosses. I spent a long time figuring out IRV and NIA crossing ERIE, with its misdirecting salt-water-extreme-minor-league-baseball clue (plus, isn't it spelled ERIEPA?). Compounded by misspelling PHInEAS, so I didn't get CHAPLIN -- thought it must be some other actor. This could have been the mother of all Naticks. But once that section was finally unpacked, it still came in below par for a Friday.

Stanley Hudson 8:55 AM  

Too easy for a Friday but fun.

@Two Ponies, I believe you're thinking of a Herb Alpert album cover.

Extra points for anyone who remembers Trini Lopez was in "The Dirty Dozen."

Tim Aurthur 9:00 AM  

Hand up for lollapAlooZA, also show for BIGS.

Someone I know was a huge GRAPENUTS fan, but swears the formula changed a few years ago and stopped eating them.

Maruchka 9:00 AM  

This puzzle is so cheerful and chock full of fine stuff. WU TANG CLAN, TRINI LOPEZ, GARBLE, GRAPE NUTS (trick is, soak in milk until chewable), ALANIS (love her!),

I can hear RuPaul calling out "EXTRAVAGANZA!" Thanks, Mr. Moore.

Do-overs for PLEB/prol (doh), PHILEAS/Phineas (had a feeling that went in too EASY).

TRINI - Belafonte first, Lopez second, in my Calypso intros. Has anyone else heard Sir Lancelot? I first came across him in 'Curse of the Cat People'. Lovely voice.

stonymed 9:06 AM  

reply to @two ponies: i remember the whipped cream girl, but thought it was on a herb alpert & the tijuana brass album?? amazing the things that stick in our brains [and conversely the important stuff that seems to slip into oblivion]!

Tim Aurthur 9:15 AM  

Not sure about this, but I think GRAPENUTS were originally a Post competitor to a Kellogg cereal called Granola (the word was originally a trademark) that according to the OED was made of wheat, oats and cornmeal ground into granules. The names are slightly similar.

More Whit 9:15 AM  

The X files provided a foothold, and an episode of Seinfeld fired the Trini Lopez synapse...and the rest was as fun as riding a Shetland pony and contemplating time travel through a universe sure to confirm we are not alone. ELL-I-OTT. Superb puzzle.

Unknown 9:17 AM  

Ummm -- interesting typo of yours, Rex, in the Search Engine clues up top: "marital arts film" --- could be an interesting new genre.

Two Ponies 9:19 AM  

Yes you all are right, it was Herb Alpert and yes, it is strange how such things stick with you.

If loving Grape Nuts is not enough, I even put buttermilk on mine!

Unknown 9:28 AM  

I finally got it, but a step up from triple a is really called the "show", not the "bigs".

Nancy 9:33 AM  

Good grief, I'm thinking, as I read the 1A clue. I'm supposed to know a rap group anda martial arts film for the same clue? By the time I got to 17A and realized I also had to know the plot subtleties of "Doctor Who", about whom I knew absolutely nothing at all, I was already gnashing my teeth and thinking I was going to hate this puzzle. Fortunately, as I TRAVELed down the puzzle, everything started looking up. Way up. It actually got pretty easy, and there was much less PPP. Or at least there was PPP that I actually knew or could figure out from the crosses. But what would become of me in the NW?

Fortunately ANEW (9D) to BRAWL (20A) and then TAPS, SHE and AWES, were my initial road to success. I do hope to never a see WUTANGCLAN again -- ever, anywhere. Why do today's rap groups and rock bands have such hilarious names? And, btw, there was really a Pope named Hilarius?? (58A) Was he a funny guy? Is that where the word hilarious comes from? In the end, I did end up sort of liking this puzzle -- if not a lot, then at least a little.

Suzie Q 9:43 AM  

If having a mostly black music genre crossing a black musical and a black sit-com makes this a puzzle with a majority black cast then I guess I'm supposed to ignore Chaplin, Alanis, Leo, Trini, Michelangelo, Elliott, Hilarius, Uriah, and Dr. Who? Throw in some French, Irish, Indian, and Thai and we seem to have a real variety of cast members. Why does Rex always have these racial comments?
What a troublemaker.

Nancy 9:45 AM  

@Dolgo (6:38) and others, who put in SHOW instead of BIGS at 11A. Dolgo, I don't remember "The Natural," though SHOW may have been used there, too, but it was a prominent phrase for the big leagues in "Bull Durham," my favorite sports movie of all time. (A close 2nd is "A League of Their Own".)

Tom 9:50 AM  

NW was last to fall for me. Being a left coaster, I finished most of it by a little after 7 when it showed up on my phone. Had to leave it until this morning, when AREWEALONE popped in. At first, had mumBLE for GARBLE, but the question we have all asked helped everything else fall into place.

As for GRAPENUTS, my father used to pour a little boiling water on them, let 'em sit until soggy, then put the milk on and consume. No broken teeth.

Overall, brilliant Friday.

jberg 9:51 AM  

I put in WU TANG CLAN right away, and was off to the races -- guessed THAI, got BRAWL after a few crosses, noticed that this week we are running through the obscure clues for EEL -- and, like everyone else, said "hmmm-- has to be either Enid or ERIE, but SEA wolves???" But EGALITE had to be right, so it had to be ERIE.

So I was sailing along at a fast clip until I hit the SE and fiured one might SinG a solo. ALANIS had to be right, and GOES EASY ON changed NO Deal to NO DICE, but it looked like 59A, "Look for" had to start with noTIC. Unfortunately, I didn't remember that it was TRINI LOPEZ. My wife wanted Peter Paul and Mary -- I actually thought Harry Belafonte (so I had some faint notion of the Caribbean there). So here I was, looking at A_OO as a sight in some Italian city. Then I finally saw that STAG was possible, and it all fell into place.

COPAY would have helped -- but I was blocked from seeing it because my father owned a pharmacy, until he retired in the early 1970s, so my image of a pharmacy is frozen into the 1950s and 60s, when people either paid cash on put it on their charge account. Doh!

SHETLAND PONY was also a brief hangup -- I had _HETL... so of course I thought it was THE something, but couldn't think of a ride that started with TL. The T-Liner? I had to work my way down to the bottom and back up into the NE before I saw PONY, which cleared the scales from my eyes.

EXTRAVAGANZA is a great word -- more than half way to a pangram, so I was sorry (but am sure @Rex was glad) that he didn't follow up on it.

@Larry Gilstrap -- you wear socks and sandals instead of short shorts? That must be REALLY revealing!

Ken 9:52 AM  

I don't think that just because a puzzle has rappers, Watts, Nell Carter and Irv Gotti make it "cool" or lovable. I personally don't suffer the "privilege" complex and look to other criteria for puzzle excellence. I guess Rex just can't shed the liberal dogma proffered by the world of academia and just pen an OBJECTIVE critique. Oh well. Sadly that will never happen.

GHarris 10:00 AM  

Same missteps as Glimmerglass but righted the ship. Still, had to Google Alanis and Trini so for me not so easy. Felt good about working through the rest.

ArtO 10:08 AM  

Having never heard of WU TANG CLAN or an IGUANODON or watched THEXFILES, I'm pretty happy to have slogged my way through this one. It's my previously expressed thought that working one's way through and finishing a Friday or Saturday is possibly more satisfying for some of us than racing through an "Easy" rated puzzle with a new record time.

Johnny 10:13 AM  

Trini Lopez a woman? HE WAS ONE OF THE DIRTY DOZEN.

Also, Trini Lopez does a kick-ass version of "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66."

BarbieBarbie 10:14 AM  

With the bacon, yeast, etc. near the OJ.

kitshef 10:18 AM  

WU-TANG CLAN are also known because of Martin Shkreli - the drug price-gouging guy - who bought the only edition of a Wu-Tang Clan album for $2 million at auction and has refused to let anyone else listen to the music.

QuasiMojo 10:43 AM  

Some fun full but too easy for a Friday and way too much pop cult-ure.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  





To me it's a hoot that Rex fawns over the Wu-Tang Clan and doesn't know Romberg. Less funny but just as telling, Rex likes Friends more than Seinfeld. Inexcusably poor taste of course. But were he a Seinfeld aficionado, he'd have known Jerry and George have a great exchange about Lemon Tree and Trini Lopez.

Ah Rex, enjoy the dulcet tones of the Clan and the wit of friends. Give me Donnelly and David any day.

AW 10:58 AM  

A big DNF for me, made all the more discouraging by the many posts rating this as easy and fast. Ouch.

After staring blankly at the NE corner for the better part of my 35-minute time, I gave up and used the "reveal word" function for 11A BIGS (don't know what triple-A is to begin with; guessed something to do with sports but all sports clues are big fat NATICKS for me); 11D BAD COP (don't get what cops have to do with procedurals); 12D IGUANODON (got IGUAN but couldn't figure out the rest). Elsewhere, it was 48D COPAY (clever cluing) and 51A DIRT that did me in. I even had the IR for DIRT! Sheesh!

kozmikvoid 10:59 AM  

@evil doug: Come on, man. You're losing your touch. I fully expected to see the following post from you.

Outside apartment building, night. George and Jerry are sat on a low wall:
George: Well there is traffic. It might take her till eight-fifteen.
Jerry: I got one problem: you're keeping her busy in the other room. Now, what if she somehow gets away from you and is coming in? You have to signal me that she's coming.
George: A signal, right, erm, OK, er OK, the signal is, I'll call out 'Tippytoe!'
Jerry: 'Tippy Toe?' I don't think so.
George: You don't like 'Tippy toe?'
Jerry: No 'Tippy toe.'
George: Alright, er, OK I got it, erm, I'll sing.
Jerry: What song?
George: Erm, 'How do you solve a problem like Maria?'
Jerry: What is that?
George: Oh, it's a lovely song. (Sings) How do you solve a problem like Maria?
Jerry: Anything else?
George: You pick it.
Jerry: 'Lemon Tree'
George: Peter, Paul and Mary.
Jerry: No, Trini Lopez.
Both: (Singing) Lemon tree very pretty and a lemon flower

jb129 11:05 AM  

I was so happy to see "Trini Lopez" as my first answer - flew through the rest until the "dinosaur" clue & then I had to cheat .... still, I loved this puzzle. Thank you, Hal!

Steve M 11:06 AM  

Absolutely love this puzzle and it's the best one in ages

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

Can't resist. Sharp fancies himself a baseball aficionado. Constantly tweeting about his local team. They're a Mets affiliate. I mention this because a Mets ball player, Cliff Floyd, used the Sanford and Son theme as his walk up music. Mike should know that. Coulsd have use it in lieu of simply cadging a clip from, where? YouTube. Anyway, I'm guessing Rex didn't do that, `cause Rex didn't know that. But then Mike doesn't know lots of things.

joannamauselina 11:14 AM  

For those of us who instantly knew Binet, Behan, and Lehar, this puzzle, except for Phineas Fogg, was a total fizzle.

joannamauselina 11:16 AM  

P. S. Grapenuts isn't a brand. They are Pist Grapenuts.

Ethan Taliesin 11:22 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anoa Bob 11:31 AM  

Never heard of 1 Across but managed to piece it together, after which I parsed it WUTAN G CLAN.

For most of my life I thought "The fruit of the lemon is impossible to eat" was a certainty right in there with death and taxes. That was until moving to Tex-Mex land along the Rio Grande. They grow lemons down here, big ones, that are as sweet as oranges---gotta leave them on the tree until fully ripened---yet they still have a lemony flavor. We still have death and taxes, though.

They also have large ALOE farms down here.

I wonder if those of us who put PHINEAS instead of PHILEAS were thinking of the Intro Psych classic case study of Phineas Gage. He was a railroad construction foreman who was using a heavy iron rod to tamp some dynamite down into a hole when the dynamite prematurely exploded and blew the rod up through his left eye socket and out through the top of his head.

Not only did Phineas survive the accident, he never even lost consciousness! After the accident, his personality was much changed, in a Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde kind of way. The case had a major influence on 19th century thinking about the role of the brain, especially the frontal lobes, in controlling personality.

Ethan Taliesin 11:33 AM  

Trini Lopez is a MAN. Ya learn something new every day. In Seinfeld, the Trini Lopez song "Lemon Tree" was George's secret signal to Jerry to abort the mission of trying to gain access (and erase) a message on George's girlfriend's home answering machine.

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

Uh, yeah, that's how I choose my favorite sci-fi shows too -- the racial composition of the cast.

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

Bothers me that grape nuts is not a brand. Otherwise a nice interesting puzzle.

a jazz listener's thoughts 11:43 AM  

Ignore the others. This is for fun, not a competition. Same for those who a decide what's fun or not fun, a good clue or not, etc. just enjoy

TOCraig 11:46 AM  

Let em soak a bit. 😀

Joseph Michael 11:48 AM  

I was going to wax poetic about the TRINI LOPEZ classic hit "La Bamba" until I realjzed that it was actually sung by Ritchie Valens. Trini is neverthless a lasting voice in American music history. Good to see "his" name in the grid.

Rich puzzle full of gems, from IGUANODON to EXTRAVAGANZA. Liked the variety of topics and cultures. @Susie Q at 9:43am: well said!

It's a welcome change to finally read a positive review from Rex and the puzzle deserved it. Congrats, Hal. Hope you keep 'em coming!

mac 11:49 AM  

Great Friday puzzle! Enjoyed it all the way as well.

Hugh Hefner 11:54 AM  

Does anyone remember Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66?

Ghostface Puzzlah 11:55 AM  


This was my favorite puzzle of all time. It's all downhill from here, folks.

Carola 12:14 PM  

I'll add my "I loved it!" with a nod to my son, thanks to whose high-school immersion into all things WUTANGCLAN got me started. I agree that it was an easy Friday, but gosh so many pleasures! I loved the pairing of BAD COP with GOES EASY ON. I also noticed DIRT SALAD - recipe here.

pabloinnh 12:19 PM  

Lemon Tree has always been a personal favorite (PP&M version) and I still sing it at our Monday night hootenannies (remember those?) Brought back memories of my Dad telling me "You can't learn to drive and sing Lemon Tree at the same time." .

Boy am I old.

RooMonster 12:33 PM  

Hey All !
SE corner did me it. Didn't even try to fix, took the DNF and came here. Started writing in NODICE, but went with NODeal instead, then wanting Etna, but saw SALAD, so changed that to AsiA (?), and the French motto a thoroughly unknown, plus having Sole for STAG, giving me ossiedavis for TRINILOPEZ. (Is Ossie Davis even a singer?) Oh, and 57D was also no help.

So a puz that actually started easy, but then got difficult. It's usually the other way around.

Some Random Nonsense lines,
Pennsylvania motels for slippery fish? EEL ERIE INNS
Waiting for a reverb in an Asian country? THAI ECHO DUE
Disease from grits and greens? DIRT SALAD MONO
Not eviscerate an athlete? ESPN GOES EASY ON
Dino insurance? IGUANODON COPAY
What Hockey might've said to Carter? NELL NHL NO DICE
Shirt shirts in Phoenix? TEMPE HALTER TOPS

You're milage may vary on those...


Joe Bleaux 1:13 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 1:15 PM  


I remember Sergio Mendez. In fact I was just in a vintage record store, Ron's, trying to pawn one his albums. It didn't go all that well...

Ron: I’ll give you five bucks.
Kramer: Five bucks???
Newman: Well, you know how much those records are worth!?
Ron: Yeah, I do… Fi’ dollars.
Newman: Those records are worth more than five dollars!
Kramer: [In Newman’s ear] He’s gyppin’ us…
Newman: You’re gyppin’ us!
Ron: Well, whattya got here, y'know, you got “Don Ho: Live At Honolulu”, you got “Jerry Vale Sings Italian Love Songs” you got Sergio Mendes, now come on…
Kramer: Wait, wait, wait… Sergio Mendes has a cult following.
Newman: They follow him like a cult.
Kramer: He can’t even walk down the street in South America…
Ron: Look, that’s his problem, alright? Now you don’t like it, too bad.
Kramer: [In Newman’s ear] I don’t like it…
Newman: I don’t like it.
Ron: Well, then get the Hell out of my store, alright? You bring me
something decent, I’ll give you some money.
Kramer: [In Newman’s ear] Alright, well be back, jack.
Newman: Alright, well be back… *jack*!

Gosh!! how can you beat the genius of Friends! what a show. What a boon to the culture.

old timer 1:19 PM  

NIA was the only thing I did not know, in the end, but I found the puzzle tough but fair -- a perfect Friday solve. Started with only two real giveaways: PHILEAS and CHAPMAN, soon followed by EGALITE (doesn't it look like some sort of ore, in English?).

I vaguely thought Belafonte sang "Lemon Tree" but the version I listened to was PP&M. So I was looking for some way to cram Paul Stookey in there, or maybe Peter Yarrow.

Grape Nuts is a trademark of Post Foods, LLC, though this is not the original Post company. I think the new owners tweaked the recipe, because it used to taste more of malted barley. Which is the same stuff used to make good beer.

Joe Bleaux 1:27 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teedmn 1:36 PM  

For a super fast Friday (possibly a new PR at a few seconds short of 12 minutes), I sure managed to splash a bunch of black ink around. Talk about "Seawolves" being fish out of water, I had them at EnId for a while (Oklahoma not known for its beachfront property). And I was thinking of convenience stores when I put in "robS" at 4D for "Knocks over".

I found the NE the most challenging today. My grid was blank north of PONY except for GRAPENUTS. Somewhere between grade school and the 90's, it seems as if all of the dinosaurs I knew growing up have been given new names so I was looking for an "ichthy"-style dino; icthyodon was both spelled wrong and not helping my solve. Finally a bit of crosswordease guessing (four letter place ending in RA = AGRA) led me to IGUANODON.

I know the Lemon Tree song but when I read the clue, I was thinking of Led Zeppelin's Lemon Song - Robert Plant didn't fit.

Was anyone else thrown, looking for a carnival ride that started _HETL______? Tilt-a-whirl came to mind but...

Thanks Hal Moore, a very nice sophomore entry.

Chip Hilton 1:50 PM  

Grape Nuts, honey, and raisins on scoops of vanilla ice cream. Delicious.

Chim cham 1:56 PM  

That was actually the classic Whipped Cream and Other Delights by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Hope I'm not the ninth jerky person to point that out. Haven't scrolled further down yet.

Chim cham 2:19 PM  

Man, there was never a music act on Earth with fans like WU-TANG fans. Zealous people. Maybe those Deadhead bootleg tapers, but they had 10,000x the concerts and recordings to draw on. WU-TANG put out... 1 album was it? And no one else has that aura of guarding some sort of secret Shaolin mind meld powers or whatever it is that gives them that look in their eyes when someone mentions WU-TANG.

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

@ Evan,
Oh, I dunno. Check out some articles on Bobby Soxers and Frank Sinatra. And of course, for zealotry it's hard to beat the Velvet Underground. They had three thousand and fourteen fans, but every one of them started a band, so.....

Frayed Knot 2:45 PM  

Count me among those who had The SHOW in for 11A instead of BIGS - but that merely slowed me down instead of being a fatal error
The SHOW as slang was in part made popular in Bull Durham

Two Ponies 3:34 PM  

@ oldtimer, Mining for raptors?

Wm. C. 3:38 PM  

@TT1:43am --

... fruit of the POOR lemon ...

Unknown 3:45 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
TCProf 3:47 PM  

Had "lollapalooza" for "extravaganza." I always confuse twelve-letter words when the penultimate letter is "z."

Hungry Mother 3:48 PM  

Started out easy, but ended up a slog, especially in the NE. It took me so long sot see the simple MONO, and I was at the Franklin Institute as a kid when stereo was demostrated.

Ghostface Puzzlah 6:23 PM  

No, they've released many albums as a group since 1992 - as recently as last year (the infamous single-pressed-copy Martin Shkreli album).

But if you count the dozens of combined solo albums featuring core members, which are essentially Wu-Tang albums in themselves-- plus Wu affiliates, the list of official releases is very long.

The sprawling mystique is such that there isn't even universal agreement among fans on the exact number of core members of the Clan (the correct answer is 9).

Space Is Deep 7:32 PM  

Definitely one of my fastest Friday puzzles ever!

Joe Dipinto 8:30 PM  

@Two Ponies -- Herb Alpert's "Whipped Cream" album does include a version of "Lemon Tree", taken at a curiously dirge-like tempo.

Joe Dipinto 9:04 PM  

I loved this puzzle. Funny solving experience: I sat down at this tiny dumpling joint in my neighborhood to get a bite, went to get my pen out of my bag to go to work, wasn't there! -- Oh no! Undaunted, I stared at the puzzle and started filling it in mentally, starting with TRINI LOPEZ. Got that whole corner, plus every other musical clue (WUTANG CLAN, NELL) and about 1/3 of the rest of the thing without filling in a single box. Then, when I was getting ready to pay my check I discovered my pen, so I wrote in everything I had already figured out, and then the rest was basically automatic. IGUANODON was my last entry -- a word I've never seen/heard, but was totally logical.

A very enjoyable solve, Hal Moore.

Blogger 9:21 PM  

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spacecraft 11:09 AM  

OFL and I have the same 1-across rule of thumb--but vastly differing ideas of what's a gimme. I read "Rap group..." and went "Oh, no! I will have to know every single down square." I did manage to do that, all except #2. But with _RIAH in place, I went with U, although the Bible predates Dickens by quite a lot. Thankfully, both the tens right underneath were stone cold gimmes, so no harm there.

I had no idea that anyone else but Peter, Paul and Mary did "Lemon Tree,: but at least I did know that Trini Lopez was a guy. Those two well-placed Z's were key to solving this one. "Spectacular" as a noun was tricky, but I buy it. I've heard the term.

Again with today's, the longer entries fell with little resistance, the leadoff excepted. So I guess for a Friday easy-medium is about right. LIA, of course, is an unknown--by ANYBODY--but filled in crossways without even noticing.

I'd like to see DOD NIA Long in a HALTERTOP...INA LIA LEOI evince winces, but the rest is super-solid. This has been a pretty good week. Birdie.

Burma Shave 11:26 AM  


"CEE what IONE beneath my HALTERTOP?"


rondo 12:11 PM  

At first I was thinking FOO Fighters, but they're not rap, and then I filled in WUTANGCLAN after WATTS dropped in. Off to the races and no w/os.

Back when there was one radio station (WCCO) that dominated this market, one could ANTICIPATE that they would play a hit song or two amongst all their talk and news. Those songs had to be middle-of-the road and TRINILOPEZ' Lemon Tree got plenty of play. So did Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer by Nat King Cole and Hello Dolly by Louis Armstrong. NODICE on hearing the Beatles on that station, the low-power kids' station had that music. If you went to a farm auction around here in the 1970s - 90s the tuner on the "barn radio" was melted to WCCO. So all those Swedish and German farmers knew TRINILOPEZ and Lemon Tree.

Enough TIMETRAVEL, I'd give a yeah baby to ALANIS Morisette; not a jagged pill to swallow.

Some bouncing around to fill it, but this puz is ONETO like.

Diana,LIW 1:49 PM  

Easy if you know this "stuff," impossible if you don't. I don't. Should have another name for these PPP filled puzzles - trivzles or something. Pretty much the opposite of OFL's experience.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for wordplay, not trivia

And, for the record, I knew TRINI, SHETLANDPONY, and everything from the pony down.

rain forest 2:46 PM  

Nice puzzle. LIke @rondo, I first thought of Foo Fighters but (a) they don't do rap, and (b) it didn't fit (luckily). ARE WE ALONE went in with no entries, but I couldn't get much more in the NW and so moved to the NE. From there and moving South and then clockwise I got back to the NW pretty quickly.

This puzzle went very smoothly with very gettable long acrosses and some nifty long downs, as well as nice cluing.

With a 1A that you either know or don't, all the crosses are needed, and even when I finished, I wasn't sure that WUTANGCLAN was a thing. I doubt I've ever heard them. I certainly didn't know the movie.

For me, the only weak answer was PLEB(??). Otherwise, very enjoyable, smooth, and 3/4 easy, 1/4 challenging.

thefogman 3:25 PM  

Satisfactory puzzle yes, but sadly no themer. Which I am a sucker for. I did it in about average time for a Friday with no write-overs. Good but not great because of the absence of any theme. PS At 33D, what does CEE have to do with the clue 2.0? The truth is out there...

Unknown 4:04 PM  

I had Lollapalooza briefly for fit

Diana,LIW 4:15 PM  

Lifting the fog...if your GPA is straight A's you have a 4.0. B's, 3.0. C's, you get the drift.

It kinda had a starry/sci fi theme, as Rex hinted at.

Lady Di

Anonymous 4:48 PM  

Wow. Three enjoyable, challenging and fun puzzles in a row. Nice to see another day of good comments, too.

thefogman 5:31 PM  

Cheers to Lady Di!

centralscrewtinizer 6:22 PM  

Guess Cheeto Jesus would not like this Trini piece.

Sticking with NO DEAL just killed me in SE. Dnf.

leftcoastTAM 6:48 PM  

Start. Long, long break for pool games and a beer. Restart.

Had to cheat to get into the North with WUTANGCLAN and SHETLANDPONY.

Had some interesting additional challenges after that in the South, one of which was TRINILOPEZ instead of Peter, Paul, and Mary.

Clearly not easy or medium in this case, but a puzzle to admire.

leftcoastTAM 6:51 PM  

@spacecraft-- Except for my big DNF, pretty much followed along with your comments.

Anonymous 4:22 AM  

Interesting puzzle. First time I solved a Friday in pen. No hints were necessary. In fact it seemed a bit easy for a Friday. With the exception of a spelling question for the Thursday,I solved all of the puzzles,Monday-Friday,without any hints.


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