18th century pioneer in graph theory / FRI 10-13-17 / Sites associated with innocence project / Lesser player of uncle leo on seinfeld / 1997 film whose poaster shows woman wearing dog tags

Friday, October 13, 2017

Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: TORTONI (56A: Ice cream treat) —
noun: tortoni; plural noun: tortonis
  1. an Italian ice cream made with eggs and cream, typically served in a small cup and topped with chopped almonds or crumbled macaroons.
• • •

This is a fine Friday. Fill is fine. Answers are fine. Fine. Adequate. None of the longer answers did much for me—whole NW was kinda dull, and only PILOT SCRIPT and the BERSERK part of WENT BERSERK really gave me any entertainment value. Rest of the puzzle is just mid-length short answers of an entirely forgettable variety. Again, there's nothing offensively bad or lazy or sloppy (well, maybe RIS ...). But there's little in way of KAPOW. The most notable moment for me was having no idea what TORTONI was (I've seen it in puzzles before, but still have yet to encounter it in real life). I also committed the unpardonable sin of writing in an answer without looking at the clue. Had SPIL- and wrote in the ... "L" (?!) (39D: Like milk you shouldn't cry over). So even if I *had* known what TORTONI was, it wouldn't have mattered because my answer ended in -LONI :( My TORTONI problems cascaded into the SW, where I couldn't see any of the Downs leading into that small corner—not REAL, not CONDO, not HOT AIR. So I had to dive in there and rely on IRA / OREIDA to bail me out. Not a great feeling, but you do what you gotta do.

Did you know that WENT BANANAS and WENT BONKERS both fit for 27D: Totally lost it (WENT BERSERK)? Well now you do. I knew it wasn't MOSHO Dayan, but I was not so certain it wasn't MOSHA Dayan, so BANANAS hung in there as a possibility for a bit. Do y'all really know that a czar's SON is called a grand duke?! In what ... nobility scheme are those things even ... things? "Grand duke" sounds like some made-up rank in a white supremacist organization, though it's entirely possible I'm (understandably) conflating Grand Wizard and David Duke. Anyway, SON was hard for me. Most of the rest–not hard for me. I'm mainly amusing myself now by imagining ILLINI as a really dope kind of pasta and IMALONE as a reclusive and melancholy form of sea snail. So it's probably time to call it a night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Evan 12:07 AM  

Clue for "IRA" bother anyone else? An IRA is a type of account. Investments are what are held in that account.

Unknown 12:21 AM  

Confidently wrote down "The Simpsons" for 2-down. That worked with "Tie" for 22 across but nothing else. Didn't take me long to figure out that was wrong, but I've never heard of "American Dad."

jae 12:22 AM  

Easy-medium for me too and exactly what @Rec said.,

Casimir 12:30 AM  

Pretty easy, but fun for me too. I'm writing to say I'm glad to see OFL being almost cheerful and giddy, making puns -- illini (pasta) and imalone (snail). I don't even like punning, probably because I'm not good at it, but those were pretty good -- keep 'em coming!

Hartley70 1:02 AM  

Tortoni is a long time favorite of mine and an easy dessert to make for a party. It was a staple in my 70s-80s repertoire so I guess it's probably dated now. I haven't seen it on a menu in years. Rex's ignorance of the dish must be because he's too darn young.

This constructor is a real pro. She knows what she is doing and again gives us a junk-free grid. Even though this played easy for a Friday, I still enjoyed the 3 stack long downs in the east and west.

I am always surprised to see ILLINI because it feels so wrong.

Tom 1:13 AM  

Took the bad taste of yesterday out of my crossword mouth. One minute slower than Friday average, satisfying to sip on a premier grand CRU and have a smooth solve. GOP is cleverly clued. Let’s hope we don’t say they WENT BERSERK at some point in the future.

Chance 1:20 AM  

I thought this was a fun puzzle with more than the average number of very clever, punny clues. No theme to judge good or bad.

On my blog, I keep track of old answers that were new to me the first time: both ILLINI and ANA Cabrera have been recent fills.

I didn't even think of The Simpsons as a trap; I had crossfill enough that I saw AMERICAN DAD had to be it. I don't even own a TV and I've heard of it; but if you haven't, count your blessings.

Mmm, a bowl of fresh ILLINI with butter and salt, tossed with some quick-sauteed IMALONEs. Rex made a funny!

puzzlehoarder 1:33 AM  

ILLINI went right in. After all I live in Illinois. This was easy from there on. My only real issues were spelling related. I'd swear BERSERK needed a Z and it took the crosses to convince me that there is no Y in MOSHE.

martyvanb 1:35 AM  

I've always pronounced BERSERK without the "r" which kept me from confidently throwing in that answer that I was pretty sure was correct.

The only time I've ever heard of a Grand Duke is in regards to the Austro-Hungarian one assassinated that helped spark the first world war. There was also a prominent character in the movie "The Illusionist" that was a Grand Duke. That movie was pretty well overshadowed by "The Prestige" that came out at the same time which also had a plot that revolved around turn of the century magicians.

Anoa Bob 1:59 AM  

How about this for 13A: "Memoirs of the Utah Jazz great known as The Mailman". Answer: I, Malone.

Larry Gilstrap 2:03 AM  

No problemo with this Friday effort. OFL comes with the evaluation that it was FINE. He uses that word exactly like my roommate. Local servers know what "FINE," means, and she never says it with a smile, and that sets off alarm bells. We tip well. There must be some mistake; my BARTAB includes a TORTONI and I have no idea what that might be. Did I enjoy it?

I balked at the MOSUL/RUNS cross, but since our language only has five vowels, sometimes six, I ran the possibilities and settled on the correct answer. Those Middle East military involvements have been a huge drain on our country's resources, and theirs.

Look at the clock! It's time to nit pick: nobody but me really cares, but RBIS is a superfluous pluralization as of late. Love October baseball, all the teams, and most of the players.

RAPPORT led to "Let's RAP!" I seems to have caught on.

Trombone Tom 2:05 AM  

Another smooth puzzle from CC. I agree with OFL and others that this was on the easy side for a Friday. I didn't find anything to complain about. BERSERK is a great word.

In Wine Country we had a temporary reprieve today. Big winds didn't develop. Firefighters from all over the state and elsewhere arrived to help. My nephew got a "mando" (mandatory order to stop for R and R) after 60 hours straight on the lines. But tomorrow is another day.

chefwen 2:55 AM  

C.C., when do you find the time to blink? You keep turning out these great puzzles. Really enjoyed this one. Took me a tad bit longer, but it's Friday, so I'm O.K. with that.

I had heard of but haven't seen AMERICAN DAD, after Googling it, I'm going to keep it that way. Not too fond of animated shows, the only one I have watched is The Simpsons and I'm pretty much "over that" too.

Being Cheeseheads we're well aware of The Marching and The Fighting Illini, so no hang up there. Forever rivals!

Good one C.C. Keep 'em coming.

Mike 3:49 AM  

Could someone explain:
22. Evening result? (TIE)
46. Dash part (TACH)


chefwen 4:01 AM  

@Mike -Evening the score resulting in a tie game. TACH - Part of your dashboard readings, speedometer.

Thomaso808 4:12 AM  

Good themeless puzzle by CC, who it seems to me used to be the Queen of the Mon/Tues theme puzzles but in the last year has established herself in the themeless arena. Really like the three-stacks in the NW and SE.

If the only crosswordese found by both Jeff Chang And Rex is "R is for Ricochet" that's a pretty damn clean grid!

I lived in Pasadena, CA (home of the Rose Bowl) when about a 100,000 ILLINI came to town in 1984 for their first Rose Bowl in twenty years. What an amazingly friendly people they were! As my college friend Dan from Minnesota would say, "Good midwestern folks".

Anonymous 4:18 AM  

@Mike, TACH is short for tachometer, a dial that is part of many dashboards.

evil doug 4:48 AM  

My first entry was 'amulet' at 7A. That wouldn't jibe with the Illini, so SCARAB.

That would be the *only* ink-on-paper scratch--Loren wouldn't be able to abide by the mess I generally leave in my wake on Friday and Saturday. From there I swept seamlessly down the right sideline, across the south goal crease, and then reversed field up the left side to victory. Easy but pleasant.

Speaking of victory: Way to drain the Washington swamp, Cubbies, and good luck in lala land....

Jofried 5:17 AM  

Just set a new Friday record of 11 minutes, hooray! Clearly I thought it was easy but enjoyed it too.

Sluggo 5:19 AM  

I had TSKTSK in 18A working with SITS. Eventually I pulled that out, but imagine my surprise when it appeared at 67A... weird.

Ugh. Another Clinton clue... when's Shortz's love affair with the Democrats going to end. Said Rex never...

Lewis 5:54 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:01 AM  

@rex -- And I'm seeing TORTONI as a villa break-in, say.

Clean as can be and smile-producing clues for TIE, TIPS and SIPS. My MOSeL tied things up briefly, but otherwise, it seemed like I'd get an answer, and suddenly the whole swath around it was filled in. I like MARKET WATCH near TIPS, and BAR TAB near SIPS.

No leaps, stretches or fireworks. Just a good ol' fashioned high-quality puzzler that put my mind into the perfect frame to face the day. Thanks, CC!

evil doug 6:08 AM  

Leo: Move back with Lydia?

Jerry: C'mon, you're lucky to have anybody.

Leo: Last week you told me I was in my prime, I should be swinging.

Jerry: Swinging? What are you, out of your mind? Look at you, you're disgusting. You're bald, you're paunchy, all kinds of sounds are emanating from
your body twenty-four hours a day. If there's a woman that can take your
presence for more than ten consecutive seconds, you should hang on to her like
grim death. Which is not far off, by the way.

Leo: But she's an anti-Semite.

Jerry: Can you blame her?

evil doug 6:29 AM  

(Jerry's parents, Nana and Uncle Leo are living the high life at Elaine's comped room at the Plaza Hotel while Jerry's place is bombed for fleas. Morty is getting a massage...)

Morty: Oh! Oh! That feels good. Hey! This guy charges a hundred bucks an hour but I'm telling yah, he's worth every penny... OOOOHH!

Helen: I'm next.

Morty: Hey! Leo, get this, four movies at once; Pay Per View.

Leo: I love these nuts.

Nana: This Champagne's gone flat. (throws her glass over her shoulder)

Helen: Nana!!!

Nana: He Ha Ha Ha...Let the chambermaid clean it up....

Elaine (knocking): Hello is anybody here?..

Leo (opening the door) : They said they were sending an Asian woman....

Z 6:38 AM  

@Evil Doug - Ugh. I’ll be rooting for the Dodgers (mostly because Cub fans have been insufferable and I don’t want another year of it). But that’s not the real Ugh. Have you ever seen a worse caught game in playoff history? Those two looked liked Double A catchers. One of our local radio announcers is a former catcher, I kept hearing his voice in my head as those guys kept running to the backstop.

Oh, the puzzle. Meh. Nothing bad, just nothing meaty or interesting either. For awhile there I thought I was going to have a Wednesday type time, but DAMASK and GERANIUM took me a little to piece together so ended up in an easy Friday time (for me) of 15:15.

BarbieBarbie 6:40 AM  

OK so. Mindful of the “just Google it” impatience that can greet idle curiosity here, I did just that for TORTONI, since all I know about is Spumoni. And, umm, I can’t see the difference, and that was my question. And still is. Anybody?

I would say this was Easy, based on my iPad ‘s assurance that I did it in near-record time, but actually after the first time through, my grid was mostly blank. I took another run at it, and suddenly those long Downs were toppling, and words were practically filling themselves in. A really fun Friday experience! Thanks to CC.

Love all of Jerry’s relatives, especially that “I had a pony!” one. Uncle Leo comes next.

Robert A. Simon 6:54 AM  

I thought I had really zoomed through this delightful puzzle. Got BARTAB with no crosses. Saw THESIMPSONS didn't work, and put in AMERICANDAD right away. My only problem was having SCAMS/RACPORT until the very end, figuring there was some new computer input slot called a RAC Port that everyone but me had heard of. When I didn't get what is perfectly called here "the happy music," I quickly sussed out my error. When I backspaced the "C" and put in the "P," I was expecting 20 minutes, tops, which for me is a Bob Beamon-esque increase over the norm. And as the music played, I saw, incredibly, 1:42:20.

Damn! Both I and my computer had gone into sleep mode.

evil doug 7:09 AM  


I love Contreras. Great heart. Clutch hitter. Terrific pick-off arm - - you saw it make the difference in last night's game - - and especially important when Lester is pitching.

Yeah, we're insufferable. After 108 years, I think we're entitled....

Hungry Mother 7:26 AM  

Played easy here too, but with enough crunch to be a Friday offering.

Exubesq 7:28 AM  

Record time for me, almost 1/3 of my average Friday time, so I have to love it. Yes, I am shallow, why do you ask?

Unknown 7:31 AM  

TACH is actually short for tachometer, which measures rotational frequency. It's on your dashboard and it's units are RPM.

mathgent 7:36 AM  

The local news is dominated by reports about the several forest fires north of here. All the stations promise to come back with "the very latest" news. Of course, news is either the latest or it isn't the latest. One news report can't be more "latest" than another. I'm just beginning to be annoyed by this illiteracy. I can't remember how long it's been around, but It's time to stamp it out.

By the way, it seems that "hopefully" has been pretty much stamped out. I don't hear people saying it any more.

kitshef 7:43 AM  


Spumoni is several different flavors served together. Like that vanilla-chocolate-and-strawberry ice cream. Tortoni is one flavor, but with mix-ins.

Birchbark 7:47 AM  

Inferred ILLINI without crosses given the alternating vowels and popular consonants, a structure that Eugene Maleska said constructors often use. I had Point of view and PILOT SeRIes before PILOT SCRIPT.

This was a pleasant and methodical solve, starting in the northeast and working more or less clockwise from there. Finished in under fifteen minutes, which for me is a rare Friday, but it felt a little more challenging than that.

RooMonster 7:58 AM  

Hey All !
Easy peasy CC-ey FriPuz. Like @BarbieBarbie 6:40, had o ly lightly written in answers first time through, then getting the gimmies IRA, JET, RIS, ended up flowing nicely through the puz. Only hold up was mInImALDATA, but that had my TIE as a mIE, which made no sense. Finally tweaked the ole brain to see "evening" as "even-ing", thereby a Heh moment for TIE

@Mike 3:49 AM, see above sentence for 22A.

CC seems to have learned English better than some of us know it! A bunch of what I like to call, Third meanings of words. Like TIPS = opposite of downs, as one example.

Wanted The Simpsons also at first, but had ADT saving me from writing it in. Then had _____ANDA_ and thinking, Who AND Who? Good stuff.

GIJANE was 20 years ago? Man, I'm getting old . . .


Two Ponies 8:10 AM  

Some clever clues kept this sort of in the range of a Friday but over- all pretty easy. Still enjoyable.

Berserk is a cool word, glad bananas didn't work. Berserk is better.

The clue for Euler is definitely end-of-the-week.

I must have every Seinfeld episode memorized. Loved that show.

Nice Friday puzzle spoiled only by Rex's finding a way to inject his hatefulness. He's not King of CrossWorld, he's King of BuzzKill.
I mean can you imagine the audacity of those Russians running around being white people? Some nerve those people have!

clk 8:14 AM  

Is this what you mean? If so, you may have a temporary win to be followed by an inevitable loss:

Garner's Usage Tip of the Day

Skunked Terms.

When a word undergoes a marked change from one use to another -- a phase that might take ten years or a hundred -- it's likely to be the subject of dispute. Some people (Group 1) insist on the traditional use; others (Group 2) embrace the new use, even if it originated purely as the result of word-swapping or slipshod extension. Group 1 comprises various members of the literati, ranging from language aficionados to hard-core purists; Group 2 comprises linguistic liberals and those who don't concern themselves much with language. As time goes by, Group 1 dwindles; meanwhile, Group 2 swells (even without an increase among the linguistic liberals).

A word is most hotly disputed in the middle part of this process: any use of it is likely to distract some readers. The new use seems illiterate to Group 1; the old use seems odd to Group 2. The word has become "skunked."

"Hopefully" is a good case in point. Until the early 1960s, the word appeared only infrequently -- almost always with the meaning "in a hopeful manner" {she watched hopefully as her son, having teed off, walked down the first fairway}. Then a new use came into vogue, in the sense "one hopes; I hope; it is to be hoped" {hopefully, they'll get it done on time}. The Group 1 objectors were vocal, and for a time the word acquired a bad odor. But with time the odor has faded, so that only a few diehards continue to condemn the word and its users.

To the writer or speaker for whom credibility is important, it's a good idea to avoid distracting any readers or listeners -- whether they're in Group 1 or Group 2. Thus, in this view, "hopefully" is now unusable: some members of Group 1 continue to stigmatize the newer meaning, and any member of Group 2 would find the old meaning peculiar.

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

Am I the only one to not understand HEADS UP as the clue for RUNS? Heads out--that would make a lot more sense. Otherwise decent puzzle for Friday.

QuasiMojo 8:25 AM  

@Anonymous -- He "heads up" the firm... etc.

Way too easy for a Friday. Remember when the Friday puzzle was often harder than Saturday's? At least I felt it was. That seems ages ago. I like this constructor's work but it is usually much too easy for the days on which it is posted.

One head scratcher was seeing LE GRAISE and wondering if that was a French actor or city of some sort.


Old Lady 8:28 AM  

Came here to make that exact comment.

Sir Hillary 8:47 AM  

ZAKACCB (as I like to refer to her) has been on a tremendous NYT roll for months now. Today's puzzle isn't her best, but there's almost nothing to object to here (okay, one entry is RIS-poor). It provided a fun solve, albeit with a little less resistance than I prefer.

I'm pretty up on pop culture but don't know AMERICANDAD and, more significantly, have never watched "The Simpsons". Regarding the latter, I sometimes feel I'm the only person in this country who hasn't. "Seinfeld" on the other hand...

GREAT clues for TIE and TIPS.

I LOL'd at @Rex's question as to which nobility scheme. Pretty sure if it involves a czar, it's imperial Russia. Just a guess.

@Anoa Bob -- I also LOL'd at your Mailman quip. Very nice.

With his lithe build, eyepatch and beret, the younger MOSHE Dayan has always embodied the term "badass" for me.

Stanley Hudson 8:49 AM  

@Garner, and I’m sometimes accused of being pedantic.

An enjoyable puzzle but awfully (another “skunked” word?) easy for a Friday.

Charles Flaster 9:19 AM  

Wednesday easy but terrific cluing .
Favorites were TIE and TIPS.
Wondering if LEN Lesser is related to an old comic- Benny Lesser.
Put Rose in HOF.
Thanks ZB

Unknown 9:27 AM  

You put on a tie in the evening for formal dinner

GHarris 9:38 AM  

At first glance it looked tough. Then some gimmes allowed me to break in, spool, spilt, moshe. That got me on a roll and even the long ones started to fall with the NW the last to go. Enjoyable and just right for a Friday imho.

Nancy 9:40 AM  

Not the challenge that I hope for on a Friday. Only the teensiest bit of thinking required. To which I say ALAS, TOO BAD, and TSK TSK. DIGITAL DATA seems green paint-y to me. The letters in GOP (59D) are not what leans to the right. The clue for ACTOR (28A) is nice enough, but most of the other cluing is pretty straightforward and dull. There's gotta be a more interesting way to clue LOINS (53A) on a Friday, right. How about "things that get girded or girdled". "Six-Day War leader Dayan" for MOSHE??? Like you really need the Dayan? Give me a break. Praise this puzzle? No CONDO.

Andrew Goodridge 9:45 AM  

I had WENTBERzERK and couldn’t see my error because CRUZ looked fine in the grid. I almost sacrificed my streak, but I saw my mistake just before succumbing to the “Check Puzzle” temptress.

This was a really fun Friday puzzle. Thank you!

redrube 9:46 AM  

Ok that’s works but I thought it was a tie as an even score at the end of a game. As evening the score? Could that work?

Maruchka 9:53 AM  

Nothing better than a morning of smooth and sly. Wakes the weary. Thanks, ZB.

@kitchef - I love ice treats that have things added in, do you? Nuts, candy, mixed flavors (like Neapolitan). Seemingly hours of enjoyment. Lately enjoying Southern Butter Pecan gelato. Mmm..

My heart aches for those affected by the NoCal fires. Peet's Coffee, for one, is collecting donations. If you go to their website and click, the nearest Peet's will pop up. The site also lists other donation options.

Malsdemare 9:54 AM  

When I had nothing in tne NW and saw those long downs in the SE, I was pretty sure I was in for a long scramble. Then the NE fell, partially thanks to the ILLINI just down the road. I slid around the SE into the SW and fought my way back north. I had Bananas first, then BonkeRs but agree that BERSERK is terrific. I needed Mr. Cub here to give me the M in ALOMAR, but otherwise, it was all due to my own little grey cells. Yay me!

Some trivia. Folklore here in U of Illinois country claims that the Illini are a vanished tribe, which has always surprised the men and women all over our state who are proud to wear the name. Because they have never applied for Nation status, the assumption is they're gone. Nope! And while some of the tribe aren't too crazy about the Chief, others are pretty much "whatever." The vanished Illini story is right up there with the totally fabricated myth about "Indians" jumping off of Starved Rock, an outcropping north of Champaign. The Dickson Mounds Museum has an absolutely awesome/GREAT exhibit that does a lovely job of setting the record straight on the fiction Anglos have concocted to protect our sensibilities. Worth a visit.

Thanks, CC! I really enjoyed this.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

Rotational frequency of the axles, not of my eye rolls

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

No. 108 was LAST year's excuse for being insufferable. Once you're off the schneid, being douchey is just douchey. The Cubs are defending champs, their fans are no longer long suffering. Though you are becoming insufferable.

You really have a small ken. Grand Duke has been a popular title in Europe for just shy of half a millennium. Where the hell do you think those knucklehead Klansman got it? I believe it was a favorite title for Napoleon to bestow, and I KNOW it' still used in Luxembourg. You really need to pick up something other than a comic book or a crossword. My goodness.

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

Oops. I forgot. There is no such thing as clutch hitting. That's a fact. If you think there is, lie down until the feeling passes, then read, well, anyone who's ever studied the question.

F. 10:10 AM  

I got properly Naticked between Illini and Alomar. Could have been any letter there and I'd never heard of either. Still, I'm kind of a newbie and I finished this one (with running the alphabet at that one square) so I'm totally happy.

evil doug 10:18 AM  

My favorite thing, anonymous asshole, is getting you to believe so much that I actually give a shit about your views that you become compelled to get sucked in! Twice!

mmorowitz 10:20 AM  

I liked this puzzle and found it pretty easy, except for one small problem (and I might be alone on this)....

Where I'm from (professionally), a BID and and OFFER are opposites. In any market based system or investment world, the jargon goes:

The seller puts something on OFFER and posts an ASK for a price.
The buyer makes a BID

This is pretty standard and very widespread. So using "Offer" for BID made me grit my teeth quite a bit.

GILL I. 10:27 AM  

@Sharon B...I'm pretty sure the Evening results? clue was meant as an even score type thing. I don't wear a TIE in the evening - just lipstick.
Not as titillating as CC usually is but I learned how to spell BERSERK. I always pronounced it bahzerk so I added an extra S. Didn't even catch my Latin Heart mistake.
Like @Hartley...made a bunch of TORTONI in my BAR TAB DAYS...(loved that screwdriver clue)..Just add some hot rum to the ice cream and top off with a cherry.
The only TSK TSK I saw at this easy Friday, was the one NIGHT. I guess because I always say nighty NIGHT. And to all: SEE YA LATER

semioticus (shelbyl) 10:30 AM  


I actually put in ASK first for 12D Offer, which led me to put in TSKTSK for 18A "Such a pity". Then at 67A I had a more obvious TSKTSK so that was pretty confusing for a while. I definitely feel where you're coming from, but I guess bid is still a synonym for offer so more teeth gritting for us in the future.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

I was responding to you your inane post. And you responded to me. How is that you aren't the one who's been sucked in?
But more important, I made two assertions. Instead of addressing them you chose to make an ad hominem attack. Classy. But of course, it does nothing to disprove my points. I await your vitriol.

Dan Murphy 10:39 AM  

It's what redrube said.

Tita 10:39 AM  

@Larry G...wow...I never ever realized the silliness of The S in RBIS...ha! I'm the one that cringes at the redundancy of ATM machine or PIN number, but I missed that obvious one. What does the NYT style guide say about that?

Re clue at 6 Down...Did you know that it's perfectly fine to bring knitting needles on a plane? Metal, wood, long, short...it's perfectly fine. But not those deadly cuticle scissors!!

@Sluggo...I had that same malaprop with TSKTSK first at 18a.

@Roo M...great observation about CC's learned language skills. Both SIP and DOFF were really hard to suss.


"Tacho-" means speed. (Think "tachycardia"). TACHometer measures engine crankshaft revolutions per minute...not axles. To redline your engine means to over-rev it, and risk melting all those moving parts into one seized mass of metal. Manual cars these days have governors that won't let you do that.

Thanks CC... a slightly crunchy Friday with lots of stories to tell.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

And another thing...
I never actually do the NYT crossword puzzle. I come here only to troll others. So there.

kitshef 10:41 AM  

@maruchka - Once upon a time Baskin-Robbins had a mint chocolate chip ice cream with miniature York peppermint patties ... heaven.

And in Fenwick Island, Delaware there is a place called Ha-Ha's where you can get ice cream or frozen yoghurt and they have like 40 things you can mix in. From this I know that Cap'n Crunch in a sundae is a treat for tongue and teeth.

Tita 10:50 AM  

@Larry G...
(I can't believe I went down this rabbit hole...)

From episystechpubs.com:
"Even though it doesn’t make perfect sense, you make initialisms and acronyms plural by adding an s to the end no matter what part would be plural if you wrote out the whole thing. Therefore, even though you would write runs batted in, the plural is RBIs.

In the past, some publications used apostrophes to make acronyms and initialisms plural, so until a few years ago, it was common to see something like RBI’s or CD’s in The New York Times. But these days, the major style guides recommend omitting the apostrophe."

And from the Society of American Baseball Research:
"The AP Stylebook specifies some sports terminology and usage, for use by newspaper beat writers and their editors. (For example, they choose RBIs for the the plural of RBI because they consider RBI to be a formal term, requiring an "s" to pluralize it. For SABR purposes we chose RBIs over RBI for the plural for the sake of clarity and readability.) "

cristiano valli 10:51 AM  

I'm from Italy, and never heard of this in my life. I assure you that you can go around all along Italy for weeks, and no one would ever know what the heck a Tortoni is [searched on Google, it looks totally unappetizing, by the way].

Anonymous 11:07 AM  


Thank you. I for one kind of like the rabbit hole, at least sometimes.

To all,

It's not the same phenomenon as RBI, but how does everyone here pluralize father-in-law? or spoonful? I always add the s to the father, or spoon as opposed to the end of the word. But I realize it can sound fussy or pretentious. Curious what the group says.

roscoe88 11:23 AM  

easiest friday i have ever encountered.not one difficult clue 20 mins

jberg 11:23 AM  

I couldn't see any of the long acrosses, so I was stuck until I got to IRKS - and that could have been ailS -- so I went back to try the short downs. Sure enough, ALAS and SON. In re: the latter -- you don't actually have to know anything to get this one, a 3-letter relative is either a SON, a mom, a dad, or a sis; Grand Dukes are male, and the father of a tsar is a tsar, so by elimination ....

It kept seeming hard but turning out to be a little easier, with lots of ambiguously fun clues. I still don't see what the second sense of ACTOR is. I get that thrailers are previews, and have actors in them, but what's the other one?

I was finally left with the LEN/PILOT cross. Didn't know the actor in any sense, and never heard of a PILOT SCRIPT. But pivot script didn't sound "initial," and vEN seemed diasgramatically less likely than LEN, so there I was. Nice puzzle!

jb129 11:49 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle - usually have to cheat for Friday ZB puzzles, but this one was fine. Thank you ZB!

Jim Finder 11:52 AM  

Ok I'll bite. Why are you calling the constructor CC and at least one other name too?

emily 12:03 PM  

Nor have I...

Masked and Anonymous 12:05 PM  

72 words, most of em stable. I got no big problems with the fill or the feel of the solvequest. Can't help wonder what the seed entries were.

Kinda liked the symmetrical GERANIUM LEG RAISE ode to the neighbor's dogs. Also deeply admired the weeject stacks in the NE/SW. staff weeject picks (a TIE): RIS and COR.

Not nearly enough desperation in this grid to make it over-the-top entertainin, for m&e. But then, M&A is a sorta special needs solver, I reckon.

Thanx, CC. Were yer seed entries LAWYER and BARTAB? Anything U maybe wanna talk about sometime?

Masked & Anonymo3Us

Clue cleanup...
SIPS is the *opposite* of "downs"? It's still goin down, even if U just sip on it.
Really liked the RUNS clue. Confused the tar outta the M&A.

boomer54 12:05 PM  

Concerning the treatise on " hopefully " ... there is a group 3 ... those who roll their eyes at such B.S.

Bob Mills 12:26 PM  

I finished it quickly. Are Friday puzzles getting easier, or am I improving?

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

Re hopefully etc.: I just hate "OFF OF". What happened to "FROM"?

CDilly52 12:40 PM  


Hartley70 12:41 PM  

@BarbieBarbie 6:40am, spumoni is made from 3 flavors of ice cream. The TORTONI that I'm familiar with is made from whipped cream. It is almond flavored, much lighter and less sweet, more like a mousse. It often has crushed amaretto cookies (in the red can) sprinkled on top.

Just another Joe 12:43 PM  

@Jim Finder - The constructor, Zhouqin Burnikel, goes by the name CC Burkinel in real life. Many know of her as she has a blog dedicated to the LA Times xword. The NY Times requires that the puzzle be published under the constructor's legal name, hence Zhouquin and the confusion.

CDilly52 12:49 PM  

I care. About the superfluous plural which my Granddad pointed out over 60 years ago while schooling me on my mistaken use of Attorney Generals that should have been Attorneys General. It led to an overlong examination of similar misuses that included RBIS, already plural. Memory and it’s triggers fascinate me.

CDilly52 12:51 PM  

Agree. The TIE is the “evening” of the score

CDilly52 12:54 PM  

Cubbies peaking at the right time!

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

Since I have not seen it answered, may I repeat the query of @jberg of 11:23 a.m.? What is the second sense of *actor* at 28A. After reading clever contributions above, I wonder if the "two senses" belonged with 22A, *tie*?

Anon. i.e. Poggius

RooMonster 12:55 PM  

Har. Addendum to Myself @7:58, I meant SIPS, of course. Although the clue for TIPS is pretty good/Third meaning.
Surprised at no kerfuffle (where is Bob BTW?) over CRUS. Ooh, maybe I should've WHISPERed that!


Pickle 12:56 PM  

One might say that Rex heads up this website.

It could also work for a project, an organization, a company, etc. The person heading up the project could be said to be running it.

RooMonster 12:59 PM  

@jberg 11:23
ACTORS on set stay/live in trailers.

RooMonster Help Desk (next to M&A's) (Although his was first and for some reason much larger.) :-)

Anonymous 1:03 PM  


Anonymous 1:04 PM  


RBI isn't plural per se. It can, and in fact very often does mean a single run batted in. It's not really akin to attorney general, because as TITA A so ably noted its an initialism and not a word. I'm with you on memory and triggers though. Weird and wonderful how the mind works.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

Poggius, and jberg

I don't think the clue is asking for a second sense of an actor, but rather a second sense of trailer.

Actors and actresses appear in trailers that preview films. They also go back to their trailer ( a physical thing, as in a trailer park) between takes and or scenes.

Teedmn 1:14 PM  

I have potted GERANIUMs out on my deck every year and I've never looked closely enough at the clumps of florets to notice they all have five petals. I guess I'll have to check them out before the cold weather kills them all. They're looking rather sad as it is.

When I say, "It's just me", I'm usually trying to convey that it's "my fault", not I'M ALONE.

USB PORT went in for a "good connection". Seeing RAPPORT gave me a chuckle.

Thanks, CC, for this mostly easy Friday. The NW put up some resistance but otherwise it flowed pretty smoothly.

Fred Romagnolo 1:23 PM  

I never understood the fuss about "hopefully," glad it has subsided. I agree with RBIS, the official explanation makes perfect sense. @anon 10:51: FYI, I say fathers-in-law and spoonfuls; not logical, but American English is a delightful hodge-podge. The fire continues to be smelt (see SPILT) in San Francisco, many miles away. If @evil doug & HIS @anon would meet at high noon in Dodge City, it would clear up the blog. I really do feel that the old, old battle over Tsar (Russian or Cyrillic alliteration) and czar should be codified for crossword clues. Zhouqin Burnikel uses it wrongly in my opinion. And, yes, I know that this is a never-ending topic on this blog.

Carola 1:33 PM  

Easy right side, descending from SCARAB; harder left side, needing many crosses for the unknown TV shows. I enjoyed writing in DAMASK, FLOTSAM, TORTONI, heck, even CLOAK and CASK (maybe I have a thing for Ks?). I liked LEG RAISE x SINEW and GI JANE on PATROL on the ORE-IDA border.

Peviously I'd known my Land of Lincoln neighbors only as the Fighting ILLINI, but it was easy enough to guess that they also march.

@Teedmn, same here on the GERANIUMS and "It's just me."

BarbieBarbie 1:49 PM  

As long as "skunked" words got brought up, here's one that "impacts" me: when did the phrase "I'm excited for xxxx" supplant "I'm excited about xxxx?" Seems to have shown itself right around when my kids were in middle school, and now that's all you hear.

oldactor 1:59 PM  


Thanks, I'm an actor and I didn't get that.

Old timer 2:01 PM  

We're at hotel in SanFran getting a break from all that smoke up north and they gave me a WSJ. I have to say today's Times puzzle was way better. Took me longer than 11 minutes but that's s good thing

Bob Kerfuffle 2:30 PM  

@RooMonster, 12:55 PM -- And only because you asked -

Bob Kerfuffle is at home now.

For unimportant reasons, I actually bought a copy of the NY Times this morning (for a friend, actually.) I did the crossword, and read the blog as I always did when I had completed the puzzle. But I found I had nothing to say about it, other than that it seemed rather easy for a Friday.

I have read all the comments, and forgotten most of them. My favorites are still Loren Muse Smith, M&A, and a few others. (Very interesting stuff on RBIs, BTW. As a plural word, that is, not as a thing.)

But I also noticed myself unavoidably proofreading as I went along, seeing one Anonymous use "its" where ""it's" was called for, and a few entries later another Anonymous doing just the reverse. In other words, I don't think I have anything to contribute.

Now if I could just figure out today's Matt Gaffney meta. Week 2, and I haven't the vaguest idea!

Joe Dipinto 3:03 PM  

@Masked&Anon - To down a drink implies you are swallowing the whole thing rather quickly. Sipping it is a much slower process.

Two Ponies 3:04 PM  

Anon 12:28, I will add to your list of over- or misused words
"In terms of...." that newscasters so dearly love.

Anonymous 3:13 PM  


I think your misunderstanding your own mea culpa. When you say 'It's just me" to express your fault or error, what you're saying its, "It's me alone and no one or nothing else's fault." The words aren't said, but surely they're implied, no?

Unknown 3:27 PM  

What does OFL mean?

Anonymous 3:35 PM  

Our Fearless Leader

Masked and Anonymous 4:51 PM  

@Joe Dipinto: yo, and mucho thanx. I definitely get it, that…

* SIP = drink by taking small mouthfuls [dictionary's wording].
* DOWN = consume something, typically a drink [dictionary, again].

I reckon it's sorta like snack is the *opposite* of feast, due mostly to the degree [or speed] at which that there verb is bein performed, huh? Different. I tend to like different.


TCProf 5:08 PM  

Speaking of Czars, just finished Simon Sebag Montefiore's book, The Romanovs. I highly recommend it. A really nasty bunch of despots. Helped with 5 Down.

Nancy 5:51 PM  

I'm enjoying the comments today a lot more than the puzzle.

@Fred R (1:23) -- SMELT/SPILT: good one! I must admit that I've always said RBIs -- wrongly it appears -- without ever once thinking what the initials stand for. But it doesn't matter any more, since I no longer watch baseball and have no reason to say it at all. And great Dodge City showdown suggestion; my money's on Evil.

@Hartley (12:41) -- Now that's what I call a dessert!! Yum!! Do you make it, or do you buy it?

@Teedmn (1:14) -- I wouldn't ever use "It's just me" as an apology. I might say "It's on me." But much more likely, I'd simply say "That was my fault" or "I'm sorry". When I say "It's just me" I do mean I'M ALONE. I'd say that if, for example, I buzz someone on their downstairs buzzer on the night of a party,and they ask "Who's there?"

@Bob Mills (12:26) -- They're getting easier. Not every week, but this week for sure.

Tim Aurthur 5:53 PM  

Ah, to be young like OFL. Back in the day the only desserts you could get in an Italian restaurant were spumoni and tortoni.

Anonymous 6:17 PM  

Having done a little research, I really think The Simpsons is actually the longest running Fox sitcom... in fact it's the longest running TV show of all time and has been on Fox for its entire run. Someone at the Times needs to do a little fact checking...

Megan 6:23 PM  

I wouldn't even call this "medium". This was probably the easiest Friday puzzle I've ever completed... I didn't hate it, though. I just found it very simple.

Anonymous 7:02 PM  

Hey Evil Doug,
I just got home, and checked. Not suprised that you haven't crawled out from under your rock to defend your silly assertions.
Your intellectual and, I'm pretty sure, moral superior

Anonymous 7:02 PM  

Anonymous 6:17

You may want to reread the clue for 2D

kitshef 8:44 PM  

Anon@6:17 - you may also want to check your sources.
Longest running TV show of all time is probably Meet the Press, which started in 1947. I say 'probably' in case there is something in the Guatemala or somewhere that is older.

burtonkd 3:53 PM  

Late to the party here, but always thought of sinew as the connecting tissue that transfers the power from the muscle, not the actual source of the power. It is the tendon. Looking it up, I see that there are extended meanings, but those don’t seem as clear.
Had a big argument with someone about CD’s. A teacher was chastising a class for not noticing the error in an advertisement. I pointed out that I was pretty sure I had seen it with the apostrophe. Even with the backing of the NYTimes style guide, she refused to see it as anything but wrong because it was not possessive. Not sure why people want to go through life being so pedantic and narrow. Of course there is a time and place for specificity...

Blogger 10:01 AM  

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Diana, LIW 11:06 AM  

I love CC puzzles. I get CC puzzles. I got this puzzle.

After last week's appalling dnf's, it's good to have a Thurs. and Fri. safely under my belt. Not to mention Wed. and Tues. Ok - I'll mention them. My only dnf of the week was Monday. I still rankle over that Naticky corner of nattering nabobs. And stand by my defense of the "Monday is good for beginners to learn from" rant.

After two days of raininess I believe we're back to normal.

Wouldn't LeGraise be a cool last name?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 11:43 AM  


G.I.JANE was on PATROL, the MARKETWATCH was brisk,
that NIGHT, ALAS, it was her goal to WHISPER, “SON, TSKTSK,
OREIDA shown
you a REAL GREAT foxhole, GOBERSERK and give your LOINS a frisk.”


spacecraft 12:19 PM  

Solid. Medium (maybe leaning a tad toward easyish) puzzle. Ended --yet again--in the NW, where like OFL I was confused by SON. Learned another new thing. Didn't know DAMASK was reversible, and never watch sitcoms, let alone Fox ones. The breakthrough had to come from deep in the SW, where gimmes GIJANE (starring DOD Demi Moore) and OREIDA led to CONDO--and long thinking about that committee till I realized that it must be ADHOC.

I also held off on WENT Bananas vs. BERSERK, even though I was pretty sure Mr. Dayan was MOSHE and not MOSHa. And every time I encounter that fellow EULER I keep hearing Ben Stein call attendance.

Like many, I seem to have a RAPPORT with Ms. Burnikel. Very little FLOTSAM. Birdie.

rondo 12:41 PM  

The Marching ILLINI and some FLOTSAM gave me a start over in the east so I went down there and up in the west. Had that __ONI and almost went for spumoni, but held off for crosses. No w/os for me but that is typical of CC’s puzzles; like @D,LIW, I get them. KAPOW!

I will always call them RBIS, even if that R for runs can technically be the plural. Some announcers even call them RIBbies.

So an ACTOR, behind DAMASK, RUNS into his LAWYER and offers to pay his BARTAB . . . TOOBAD I couldn’t finish that one, it might be a PILOTSCRIPT.

I believe this is a return trip for yeah baby ANA Cabrera.

Very solid puz, if not GREAT.

5wksltr 1:46 PM  

I have often take Burma Shave for granted. Not after today.

rainforest 2:00 PM  

@Rondo - maybe the end of your imagined PILOT SCRIPT could be, "when he saw how big the BAR TAB was, he WENT BERSERK."

I found this mostly easy-to-easy-medium, but spent way too much time on the MOSUL/RUNS cross. I was absolutely convinced the city was MOSeL, and really tried to "discover" a heretofore unknown definition for ReNS. Massive headslap followed. Jeez.

ZB's (or CC's) puzzles always delight, regardless of the day of the week they appear. Their smoothness approaches PB's, and are always competently constructed.

A propos of nothing, I do hate the misuse of the word "hopefully", as well as "momentarily" and possibly others I won't bore you with.

Hey @leftcoastTAM! Cat got your tongue? You are missed.

leftcoastTAM 3:16 PM  

All's well until hitting the East coast:

Had TSKTSK before TOOBAD in the NE, then found its place in the SE. Easy enough switch.

KAbOm before KAPOW, and had to work at digging out out CRUS.

My LOW[s] point was the RAPPORT/SPAMS cross, where I stuck with ScAMS despite the strange RAcPORT.


P.S. @rainforest--Signed in yesterday, late. Was away to some islands. Aloha.

thefogman 3:52 PM  

Now there's a snappy puzzle! Got 'er done in pretty near record time for a Friday. I had no problem with this one with the exception of my final entry where I guessed the N in ANA and ILLINI. Glad I guessed right OREIDA know what I'd have done.

@Rex: TORTINI + ILLINI = Tort(e)llini?

BS2 4:29 PM  

Must slow down and check cut & paste/editing/typos and proofread final version.
Speed kills.

. . . WENTBERSERK and given your LOINS a frisk.

Diana, LIW 6:26 PM  

@Rondo - So the LAWYER hoped someone would LEN him a TENOR for the BAR PRO, but realized he was (as LAWYERs sometimes are) full of HOTAIR. Glad he had a RAPPORT with the ACTOR, and explained "IMALONE here, and ALAS, have no TIPS for my SIPS. TOOBAD, ORE IDA called it a NIGHT before you came along for REAL."

Lady Di

rondo 7:34 PM  

That's GREAT, but a SINEW can't SCARAB a buyer.

Diana, LIW 7:47 PM  

DayUm - I originally had the guy SCARAB a TENOR. A SINEW and I knew, I GEESE.

Lady Di, on PATROL

wcutler 7:58 PM  

When I was growing up ages ago, the ice cream was called Bisquit TORTONI, or at least that's what Bing tells me from my search on that. I always heard it as "biskih tortoni", never really understood what the biskih part was. I never liked it, but lots of people must have.

I liked the puzzle, figured it was easy, since I did most of it (doing Fridays is pretty new for me), though I pretty much wrecked the mid-west.

Anonymous 4:11 PM  

All sorts of shows on TV about the Romanovs, especially the Grand Duchess Anastasia. If the girls were all Grand Duchesses, it stands to reason the son would be a Grand Duke.

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