English headwear with short visor / FRI 11-3-17 / Intense sobbing with contorted face in modern lingo

Friday, November 3, 2017

Constructor: Kameron Austin Collins and Brendan Emmett Quigley

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: SAND DAB (1D: Pacific flatfish) —
The Pacific sanddab (Citharichthys sordidus) is a species of flatfish. It is by far the most common sanddab, and it shares its habitat with the longfin sanddab (C. xanthostigma) and the speckled sanddab (C. stigmaeus). It is a medium-sized flatfish, with a light brown color mottled brown or black, occasionally with white or orange spots. // The Pacific sanddab is endemic to the northern Pacific Ocean, from the Sea of Japan to the coast of California. They are most commonly found at depths of 50 to 150 m (160 to 490 ft), though the young inhabit shallower waters, occasionally moving into tide pools. [...] It is a popular game fish in northern California, found on menus in the Monterey Bay and San Francisco area, though more difficult to find in southern California restaurants and markets. (wikipedia)
• • •

I believe this is the most total names ever credited with the construction of a crossword puzzle. Most total *words* is probably one of them JASA-constructed puzzles, but for human name elements, I have a feeling six (two constructors with first, middle, and last names credited) is the winner. I also believe this was a very good puzzle. I say "believe" because I only caught a glimpse of it—I ran through this thing in 3:53, which ... I honestly don't know what my record Friday time is, but this is close. I can identify every single place I hesitated while solving this thing, because there are so few. My brain took a few beats to remember ENTEBBE, though it should've come to me instantly off the initial "E" (7D: Ugandan city on Lake Victoria). NUT MEAT is so ... unpleasant and seldom-heard ... that I mostly allowed crosses to take care of it (17A: Edible kernel). Never heard of "ABIE the Agent" but off the "AB-" I took a guess. I somehow remembered RIAA for the first time in my solving career (21D: Gold-certifying org.), which confirmed ABIE. I wrote KAHN instead of KHAN at first (30D: Sadiq ___, London mayor elected in 2016). I had LTD before YTD (54A: Abbr. in a financial report) but UGLY CRY (41D: Intense sobbing with a contorted face, in modern lingo) took care of that. Neither AGUA (51D: Tequila chaser) nor LARD (52D: It's used in preparing tamales) wanted to fall into place on the first go, but I just went up and in to that SW corner via ROB REINER (44A: Filmmaker whose directorial debut was "This Is Spinal Tap"), and bam, done, right at the central "E" in ENNEADS (61A: The Muses and others).

I think I might've struggled with SAND DAB if my parents hadn't moved, in their retirement, to the Monterey Bay area. They like to go to a little fish restaurant on a pier there, where you can see otters and sometimes Reggie Jackson (true story), and anyway, I think their menu was the first place I ever saw the term SAND DAB. I have a feeling I ordered it and it was tasty. But I have a feeling there will be plenty of people who've never heard of it before. I'm teaching MARLOWE this week and next week, so his name: no problem (26D: "Hero and Leander" poet). We're not reading "Hero and Leander," though. Just "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" and then Dr. Faustus. TMI? Fine. I liked this puzzle, overall. I *loved* UGLY CRY. I recognize that GOOGLE HANGOUTS is original, but I can't say I enjoyed seeing it (36A: Platform for chatting). Corporate properties, esp. those I don't use, tend not to light my fire. But I'll take originality wherever I can find it, I guess. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


okanaganer 12:24 AM  

Sure, easy!... unless you think the river VOLTA is in Russia. (Africa, yes of course.) Funny how one letter can really slow you down.

Really wanted I SAY for 53 down.

If I were Will: TOENAIL = "Hammer at an angle"

Trombone Tom 12:29 AM  

I very much enjoyed this KAC/BEQ creation as well as @Rex's take on it. Only difference was I was drinking a very smooth Napa cab that I picked up at Costco for $8.99.

I don't understand why NUTMEAT causes consternation. I've been saying that and eating same all my life. Speaking of eating, one of the advantages of living on the West Coast is the availability of such delicacies as SANDDABs, Petrale sole, and Lingcod.

I'm not familiar with GOOGLE HANGOUTS and had a problem with it being plural with a seemingly singular clue. Also never heard of ABIE the Agent, but in both cases the crosses were fair.

Also wasn't sure about ETON CAP but it made sense.

A great Friday puzzle for our delectation.

puzzlehoarder 12:34 AM  

Partly it was solving on my phone but even on paper I would have had to work to get this one. Great puzzle.

The top tier was deceptively easy compared to roughly the lower two thirds. The HORSE thing threw up a barrier. There was an ANNIE/ANNES write over and I initially spelled GOOGLE as GOGGLE (not the first time.)
BELUGAS gave me a fresh start in the south and from there it was steady work from West to east. The M of MIDS and MARLOWE was where I got the congrats. No hunting mistakes today.

Natick Runner 1:01 AM  

Naticked at the ABIE / ENTEBBE cross. Never heated of either. Mostly smooth sailing until then.

okanaganer 1:10 AM  
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okanaganer 1:13 AM  

Recommenting... I was a subscriber to K. Austin's "High:Low" puzzles which were free and consistently very good. Nice to see his work again with B.E.Q.

Robin 1:49 AM  

@Natick Runner, Maybe you're just younger than some of us, but Entebbe is well-known because it's where the hijacked airplane rescue took place in 1976. Otherwise, yeah, I wouldn't have heard of it either.

chefwen 2:02 AM  

Never cared for fish when I was growing up and avoided it at all cost until we moved to California and I was introduced to SAND DABS, my whole fish eating life changed. I still stay away from the thick, steak like fish but love fresh water fish like perch and walleye. We import it from Canada, fresh frozen. It is no more expensive than buying fish here and it’s delicious.

Puzzle, semi easy here. The expression BEAT A DEAD HORSE always makes me cringe, too graphic.

Larry Gilstrap 2:18 AM  

The clue, White whales got me all a quiver until I realized that BELUGAS are white naturally. Can you imagine if Ahab was dismasted by a black BELUGA; "Hast thou seen the black whale?" Waiting for the sequel.

OFL dispenses with this puzzle in less time than I spent trying to envision a Minion. In fact, I loitered in the SE quadrant for an inordinate amount of time. Sad to learn that one can sob intensely enough to warrant designation as an UGLY FACE. I hope these are not adults pulling this stunt. My dad used to say: Go wash your face!

Never wore or heard of an ETON CAP, but would love to see a link to that and 41D all in one image. Desperately waiting on Twitter.

I'm a Left Coast guy and a bit of a foodie and had no clue that a SAND DAB was not an Atlantic thing. Live and learn. But, I am well aware that Xmas means tamales which I truly love, especially because of MASA which must be delicious because it is made with LARD. I ask around about who is making tamales and put in my order. Doesn't matter about the filling, just love the masa.

Marlovian theorists be damned. If MARLOWE was the Bard of Avon, then why didn't he sign the plays? Asking for a friend.

Why do people still feel the necessity to BEAT A DEAD HORSE? Speaking figuratively, of course. Enjoy both the Breeder's Cup and that bacon cheese burger looming this weekend.

Hartley70 2:21 AM  

This was a fast Friday solve, but there were only two gimmes at first glance, ROBREINER and UGLYCRY, and I needed them on the bottom half. I found this a light and fun themeless and I enjoyed the clue for TESTATE most. ONEEYED Minions made me smile but I'm sure annoyed the heck out of some here. I have no idea why I find them cute.

I didn't know SANDDAB or GOOGLEHANGOUT or ABIE or RIAA or ANNE (because I avoid eating cardboard and pretzels). I'm ashamed to say I had to struggle to get MARLOWE.

Z 2:42 AM  

@Trombone Tom - I was watching a soccer match this afternoon. A player went down and stayed down, writhing in agony. This is such a common occurrence, too often precipitated by having felt the breath of an opposing player, that his own team played on until finally the opposition kicked the ball out of play. This gave the network the opportunity to show viewers the writhing player getting a kneeful in his NUTMEAT in super slo-mo. The commentator tactfully said, “Well, we know what happened there,” which would have allowed us to go on with little more wincing except the producer cut to a live shot of the now standing player unsuccessfully rearranging his NUTMEAT into a less painful position. So, yeah, “unpleasant.”

Did you know that AmADeus has the same number of letters as ALADDIN and three letters in common? I didn’t either for much longer than three minutes and fifty-three seconds. Gah.

Dolgo 2:49 AM  

I had to Natick GOOGLE HANGOUTS, but for once, being on the west coast gave me an advantage for SAND DABS. We catch and eat them all the time out here off the California coast. It almost compensates for oft-appearing eastern regionalisms like Edy's ice cream and Hellmann's mayo (Best Foods out here)that often crop up in these puzzles.

Anoa Bob 3:24 AM  

Chasing your tequila with AGUA (51D)!? No. If you're chasing your tequila with anything, other than maybe licking some salt and sucking a lime wedge, you're doing it wrong. Here's a tutorial:

Ten Rounds of Jose Cuervo

Loren Muse Smith 4:36 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 4:37 AM  

It’s always a bit demoralizing to read that people found a puzzle easy that challenged the bejeezus out of me. I almost gave up several times.

*Natick Runner – I know, right? Since I’m not familiar with “ABIE the Agent,” I have to say that the ENTEBBE/ABIE/RIAA cross wasn’t so fair for me. I shoulda remembered ENTEBBE, and I did somewhere in the recesses of my mind, but I didn’t write it in because AB_ _ seemed like it wasn’t going to work.

Some early goofs:

**“noun” for DOOM
**off the above final N, those things seen in showers were “nipples.” Ok. I didn’t write it in, but it is part BEQ, so…
**“pitch to” before CATER TO
**”look” before NOTE. See here – you’re way out of line / Look - you’re way out of line.
**”keep it in house” before BEAT A DEAD HORSE. And yeah, it’s one letter short, but I kept double checking.
**”salt” before AGUA. Hey, there, @Anoa Bob.

Loved the clue for TOENAIL.

@Joy2u from yesterday - welcome!

Thomaso808 4:56 AM  

@Anoa Bob, I remember your comment about LARD, the secret ingredient for Okra!

This was really tough for me. @Hartley70, ROBREINER was a gimme for me, too, but UGLYCRY was a total WOE to the end. Never heard of it.

The ultimate embarrassment was a DNF on ABIE / RIIA, thinking ABbE / RbII, not knowing ABIE and thinking some standard for gold metal. This coming from me, a big Weird Al Yankovic fan who bought the “Straight Outta Lynwood” album just based on hearing the song “Don’t Download This Song” playing in the record store (yes, that long ago), probably the only song in existence that includes a RIAA reference, featuring the lines:

Oh you don't want to mess
With the R I Double A
They'll sue you if you burn that CD-R.
It doesn't matter if you're a grandma
Or a seven year old girl
They'll treat you like the evil Hard-bitten criminal scum you are

Check out the Wikipedia article on Don’t Download This Song for more fun facts.

Interesting that there are only two debut entries, GOOGLEHANGOUTS and UGLYCRY, but there are three entries never used since the Maleska era: NUTMEAT, MIDS, and ETONCAP. These two constructors known for fresh fill are not afraid to recycle!

This was a really good Friday grind, more difficult for me than I’ve seen for a while, so thanks KAC/BEQ,

BarbieBarbie 5:11 AM  

@Dolgo, I think I remember that at one time Edy’s was a competitor of Blum’s in San Francisco, and that I was surprised to see the name and stripes show up on East Coast ice cream. What goes around comes around. As kids we always got a kick out of the mayo labels switching east/west. Makes you wonder what the distribution situation must be in, oh, say, Colorado. Western warehouse empty— whoops— can’t use the stuff in the eastern warehouse. Or do they have a relabeling system?

Oh, the puzzle. I really enjoyed it. For me it felt hard but my time was fast-ish. (Many multiples of Rex’s 3, though) Most of the answers made me think and then appreciate. I read that GOOGLEHANGOUTS was the seed and that the constructors split the puzzle up north-south. How in the world would they do that, and then end up with centered Down gems like METEORS? Construction is a mystery to me.

evil doug 6:00 AM  

Highly recommend "Operation Thunderbolt" by Saul David on the Entebbe Raid. Even knowing how it ends, it'll keep you on the edge of your seat.

Jofried 6:08 AM  

Well that was fun! I was quite pleased with my 20 minute solve on a Friday...until I came here! 3:53? Seriously??

evil doug 6:08 AM  

And if you're ever in the Tucson area, check out the nearby TITAN Missile Museum, home of the last Titan II ICBM. The rooskis said it could be left standing in its silo for tourism as long as we covered it with glass, so their satellites could confirm it wasn't rearmed.

Lewis 6:24 AM  

The NE and SW fell quickly, and then I was struggling through deep mud. There were six answers not in my wheelhouse and things were hard to see. ALTOONA saved me in the NW and TESTATE and finally ARTDECO in the SW. Loved the clue for METEORS (I was thinking rain or bathroom showers). I had high expectations coming in, seeing who the constructers were, and when those first two quadrants went so fast, I was disappointed, but the remaining battle easily made up for it. A fine fine showing, gentlemen. More please!

kitshef 7:19 AM  

Had --TAN at 48D and flirted with saTAN.

ABIE crossing MIATA, ENTEBBE and RIAA … whoof.

Amazing number of WoEs today: UGLY CRY, GOOGLE HANGOUTS, ETON CAP, SANDDAB, RIAA, ABIE (of course) … but it all came together – everything could be inferred from clue and crosses. Sign of a well-made puzzle.

Ben 7:25 AM  

Yup - I had line in with no crosses my first go-through. Was ultimately easy to remove after I curved down from the SW edge but still - there's got to be a better way to clue that. "Cantina cupful" maybe.

QuasiMojo 7:45 AM  

SPARE ME re Rex's time. This one took me quite a bit longer. I'm surprised Rex isn't teaching Philip MARLOWE in class, especially since he told us it's NOIRvember.

Good tough Friday puzzle. Great clue for METEORS. My main hangup was filling in HARICOT for Green Bean. Never heard of a SEED POD but I got it in the end. Sounds a lot less appetizing that way, bringing to mind Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

mathgent 8:30 AM  

Nice puzzle. Learned a thing or two, but not a lot of fun.

@BarbieBarbie reports that one constructor did the top and the other did the bottom. I'll bet that BEQ did the bottom; it's zipper. Also the top has ALTOONA. Why do I even know that town? It's not the home of Linebacker U (University Park). Is Altoona the brother of Charley the Tuna?

Mohair Sam 9:02 AM  
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Mohair Sam 9:15 AM  

Hi @Loren - If misery truly loves company you've got a friend. We found this one incredibly tough. Loved it though, a great test. We battled through and finally naticked with a second "B" in ABbE - knew neither that nor RIAA. And hey Loren, being retired I may just LayIDLE for the rest of the day.

Our only gimme was ROB REINER and we built slowly from there. We lost tons of time by putting in the American DSC for DSO - blocking ALTOONA forever. Also learned UGLYCRY (neat term) and SANDDAB today.

@Z - The movie "Amadeus" was derived from the Broadway play.

@Evil Doug - There's also the excellent made for TV movie "Raid on ENTEBBE" for the lazy and/or illiterate among us. And I'm going to get that book, thanks.

Julius Caesar: (aside to ANTONY) Let me have men about me that are fat,
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights.
Yond CASSIUS has a lean and hungry look.
He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.

Our Rex is kinda lean and thinks an awful lot, dontcha think? Hmmmm.

Terrific Friday KAC/BEQ - thanks!

Lewis 9:22 AM  

@mathgent -- It was Collins who did the bottom and Q the top!

Nancy 9:27 AM  

Wow, was this ever a clean puzzle! With the exception of RIAA. I have no idea what that stands for, but if I go to some sort of GOOGLE HANGOUT, I guess I'll find out. And, when I finish posting, I must type in "GOOGLE HANGOUTS" and see where I end up. I have no idea who I'll be chatting with. Sounds like an adventure. Meanwhile, I loved this puzzle. No junk -- and this from BEQ, a constructor who often piles on the PPP. Maybe KAC kept him on the straight and narrow?

Medium for me. I couldn't enter in the NW, because other than PLUS ONE and EWES, neither of which I was sure of or could check, there was nothing else I knew. I've known two people from ALTOONA, both tennis friends, but I didn't remember that the college was there. So I entered in the NE, with the wonderfully clued TOENAIL, easily checked by everything around it. That was the easiest section. On the other hand, the SE, where I had ERE before NEE at 58D, baffled me for a while. But whether the section was hard or easy, this was a wonderfully entertaining puzzle that was great fun to solve.

Two Ponies 9:37 AM  

Woke up to 8" of fresh snow on top of the 8" we got yesterday so I approached this puzzle knowing I was going nowhere today. It will be another SRO day at the bird feeders.

Considered halibut before sand dab which I thought was a shellfish.

Beat a dead horse always reminds me of the scene in GWTW.

Eton cap, jacket, collar, what's next? Eton socks?

If you love tamales made with lard I think I have recommended biscuits made with lard in the past. Yum!

I'll be feeding the wood stove all day and making sure there is oil in the lanterns. No way will the power stay on all day.

Tim Aurthur 9:44 AM  

Having ALLOW IN and INS in the same puzzle, does that count as a glitch?

Tita 9:45 AM  

Yes...NUTMEAT reminds me of old times cookbooks like Fannie Farmer. It's probably a starring ingredient in Mince Pies. I suppose it's more specific, but does anyone really need to know that when the recipe says 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, that you ought to take them out of the shell first?
@Z...your story will sadly color my readings of any recipe from now on.

@Mohair...thanks for the Caesar quote. I was at the controversial Production this summer in Central Park. There were so many lines that ring so true today. But alas, that can be said for any administration, anywhere, at any time in human history. But thanks to seeing it, then reading it shortly after, I was able to intellig ntly guess CASSIUS with no crosses.

Puzzle was easy until it was hard. As usually happens to me on the weekends.
Ever before ELSE and haricot (Hi @Quasi).
Minions are hard to avoid, but it wasn't till I corrected the above errors that I saw ...EYED. Audubon.com has a great picture of two Burrowing owls. They look like two-EYED minions. Only much more adorable.

Good Friday puzzle - thanks KAQ and BEQ!

Nancy 9:48 AM  

@Mohair (9:15) -- Your CASSIUS quote is far and away my favorite passage in all of Shakespeare. Or at least in all the Shakespeare I know -- not a prodigious amount. And even though t'was Hamlet that was shoved down my throat in high school (we spent three months on it, analyzing and parsing and memorizing every soliloquy), Julius Caesar has always been my fave -- and that passage in particular.

JHC 9:53 AM  

Walk up to any musical theater fan, and ask them where "The Light in the Piazza" takes place, and they will probably sing at you in a delighted upper head voice, "FIRENZE!" (The opening number repeats that, over and over again.) There's a brief scene in Act II where the main characters decamp to Rome, but the rest of the show takes place in Florence.

I love me some musical theater clues in the crossword, but if you want to clue ROME with musical theater, go for A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM.

Crocodillo 10:01 AM  

Allow in, ins.
Plus one, one eyed.

Jack Effin Gladney 10:08 AM  

Considering the talent of the two constructors, I found this to be an extraordinarily dull puzzle. Except for UGLYCRY, there is nothing that is fresh, fun or surprising. Again, that's surprising considering that it was built by not one but two of the most gifted constructors around.

And then there's that horrendous ENTEBBE/ABIE crossing — and for what? There's nothing around the crossing that even remotely justifies it.

Stanley Hudson 10:11 AM  

A superb Friday puzzle. Thank you KAC and BEQ.

@Two Ponies, good luck with weathering the storm today. I grew up in the Midwest where we had some long winters, but have lived in California (northern Central Valley) for almost 30 years and have become a total baby when it comes to cold weather..

burtonkd 10:14 AM  

I get to say WOE and Natick for ABIE ENTEBBE cross! Otherwise a lot of fun, and puzzle opened up nicely with things I didn’t think I would know, but did.

Mike Rees 10:17 AM  

I’m with you on this one. Medium at best - far too many isolated names that may fall into one wheelhouse but not another. I didn’t know most of the names and made some incredible lucky guesses.

Mike Rees 10:18 AM  

Reply intended for @Lauren

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

Definitely not "Easy." And I'm a speed-solving time snob.

Any puzzle that has NUTMEAT crossing SANDDAB and ENTEBBE, and ABIE for god measure, is a giant piece of crap. Dump the entire NE corner.

Some days, Rex. Some days...

Maruchka 10:30 AM  

What a sweet, warm, welcoming puzz! Very close to my idea of an ideal word play morn. Tanks, Messrs BEQ and KAC.

'Yond CASSIUS has a lean and hungry look'. So, what's on today's menu?

LARD - Danish grandmother's delicious Xmas cookies were loaded with it. Who knew?
SAND DABs - Brought back memories of the Grotto in Jack London Square, an old school California-Italian style eatery. The DABs were perfection.

@Nancy, @LMS - Ditto for TOENAIL. Gettin' harder to reach 'em..

jberg 10:34 AM  

Dang! I thought I had this one, but had fogotten that I had to fix the nonsensical "matport" at 24D. That came from ANNaS and pRE for ANNES and ERE. I don't know if I would have been able to figure it out -- I was torn between ANNa'S and ANNy'S, would have taken a long time to think of an E.

Nevertheless I liked the puzzle. Beautiful trap, that I fell for, at 49A. WhyEver did I do that? Also pleBes/spiritS before RABBLE/ENNEADS.

80,000 people in ENTEBBE, but it's famous as an airport, so I think that was OK.

And I'm pretty sure the movie and musical are both based on the Arabian Nights, so that clue felt wrong.

Gwinns 10:34 AM  

Add me to the Naticked at ENTEBBE/ABIE. Awful.
I almost remembered it; I had ENTERBE. I remembered there was a city ending in -BE.
I'm too young to remember the plane thing, I guess. Maybe I conflated it with Linda ELLERBE?

I'm not a fan at all of the inclusion of an uninferrable comic strip from 1914. Most obscure references I see like this are easier to guess from context-- like if it was Agie the Agent... or the IMO preferable ABIE BABY. If it were clued with the song from Hair (which ironically debuted 9 years before Operation Entebbe) I would have finished 3 minutes earlier.

evil doug 10:39 AM  

If you know crossword regular IDI AMIN, you probably should know *why* you know him....

Suzy 10:41 AM  

I’m right there with you!! Google was my friend today!! Nice puzzle, should have been an easier solve, but Google Hangouts
is clearly out of my wheel house!

F. 10:51 AM  

I struggled through this, but as an Oberlin grad (2013) was delighted to see my alma mater! It was actually a friend at Oberlin who first introduced me to Rex Parker, after we would do the Sunday crossword together.

jb129 10:52 AM  

Are you kidding me - EASY????

Tom 11:14 AM  

Started this at 7 pm PST and got nowhere fast. Had about six entries after going through all of the clues twice. Went to bed. Woke up and ripped through it in a flash. A good night’s sleep can do wonders...think my brain was working on it subconsciously. Nice puzzle.

Foldyfish 11:38 AM  

Not easy for me at all. Sand dab was a gimme for me too. I cruised through the NW, and then muddled through SW... and sputtered to a stop. Sigh... not today.

GILL I. 11:46 AM  

@Loren used the bejeezus I was going to use around this challenging puzzle. Stare fest for moi. ROME was my only entry. Had so many errors. Started with TOI instead of SIE. CMDS instead of MIDS and the tamales I eat are made from MASA. Oy. Add an IS IT to the correct ELSE, wanting a narwhal instead of BELUGA and putting in LOOFAHS instead of the evil METEORS for things seen in a shower - although I kinda like the nipples.
@Larry G...The wonderful lady who comes to clean up my messes makes the most delicious tamales. We always order two dozen from her at Christmas. She tells me that the masa is the most important part. It's like "arroz con pollo." If the rice isn't delicious, the chicken won't taste good. If the masa isn't prepared well, the inside will taste bad. Words to live by.
Oh...do you really chase tequila with AGUA? I thought you did it with beer.
UGLY CRY was new to me. My first thought was when Harding whacked Kerrigan and she had this contorted face screaming WHY WHY WHY???? When I cry, I hide it but sometimes my shoulders shake a bit.
An utter fail fest here. Had to Google for about 4 entries and I hate that. On to Sat.
@Two Ponies...BRR.

Calton 11:46 AM  

I'm trying to figure out the "Light in the Piazza" clue: IT'S NOT ROME, IT'S FLORENCE. Hell, I've got the book right here.

Unknown 11:47 AM  

I'm in the WOE camp on this one. ENTEBBE, ABIE, RIAA..... holy cow. Why do I get the feeling that if this wasn't a BEQ puzzle, Rex would have been a lot harder on it?

old timer 11:51 AM  

Googled for ROBREINER. Other than that it was pretty Easy for a Friday. I knew ENTEBBE though. Did not remember CATT at first. My main problem was in the SE where I confidently wrote in "ever" instead of ELSE. Gotta say that part had the best clues such as the ones for TESTATE and SEEDPOD.

I thought (wrongly) that a platoon was a small unit commanded by a corporal. Turns out it is a larger unit often led (in theory) by a lieutenant. Any wise lieutenant will let the SARGE handle the unit, just as any Lieutenant JG in the Navy will rely entirely on his Chief (petty officer).

Lewis 11:56 AM  
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Lewis 11:57 AM  

As many of you know, I inexplicably track the count of double letters in these puzzles, and as your resident alphadoppeltotter, it is my duty to inform you that this puzzle has an unusually high number of double letters -- 21, where anything over 20 is highly unusual. It has been many many months since this has happened.

Unknown 12:15 PM  

Doesn’t “ERE” need to be defined with a nod to poems? I had PRE and couldn’t figure out METPORS for he longest time.

Masked and Anonymous 12:24 PM  

@Lewis: yep. I sensed a strong Quigley presence right out of the chute, with SPAREME.
btw: BEQuigley just splatzed his 1000th crossword down at his own primo puzwebsite. Congratz and keep up the mighty good work, Quigleymeister.

NUTMEAT. har Knew ENTEBBE and RIAA. Not ABIE the Agent. This seemed to be how M&A swung, on this puppy. Knew just enough to keep off the ropes. Fun but feisty FriPuz. Lotsa MEAT and a little NUTs here and there. Overall, great fillins, on both puzhalves.

Any puz that references the Minions is A-ok, plus one, by m&e.
staff weeject pick: BRR. Sound effects are always welcome, except after a beans and burritos feast.
M&A went with WHOEVER, WHATEVER, WHEREEVER, etc., at first BRRush.

Especial Thanx to Kameron, whose puzhalf had more U's. Very nice collab, no matter which of U boxed in the ERE.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Anonymous 12:29 PM  

Finally had to try to google something to get the answer to 41D. I typed in "slang for ugly crying." Hah!

Carola 12:34 PM  

Easy here, thanks to PLUS ONE, ALTOONA, EWES, and ENTEBBE-->SPARE ME and a subsequent unfurling of the grid from top to bottom. One snag along the way: CoTT before CATT (interference from Lucretia Mott, I guess). Finally remembered RIAA after repeatedly coming up only with ??? in earlier crosswords. More help from previous puzzles: ROB REINER, ENNEADS, METEORS as clued.

I was interested in the cross of TITAN and ONE-EYED: were there any? Wikipedia tells me that according to Hesiod, the ONE-EYED cyclopes were brothers of the TITANs.

Anonymous 12:39 PM  

Where's the outrage on Altoona? I graduated from Penn State, was once on a bus home that couldn't go in reverse and thus got stuck in Altoona while the driver endlessly circled block after block trying to find his way (yes, pre GPS) and I couldn't get that. State College, Happy Valley, whatever, but a branch campus? Bleh. No offense to the good people of Altoona. I grew up in Fayette County.

Malsdemare 12:53 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Malsdemare 12:58 PM  

It was a tough fight, Ma, but I got it eventually. I'm embarrassed to admit I had to google Carrie Chapman, but the rest eventually emerged from the mist to become a fully formed puzzle. I've heard of GOOGLE HANGOUTS, but that took forever to fall. Like others ANNES and ABIE were lucky guesses. I was pretty dubious of ONEEYED; in fact that SE corner was a challenge. I had _RTD at 40D and was sure that was wrong until the lightbulb lit. I also had NOpE and NiE in that corner which gave me CApiNTO; I stared at that for an embarrassingly long time before the penny dropped. But I got 'er done. Not telling anyone my time, which doesn't count anyway cause, you know, google.

@Z your story had me mentally bent over, screaming, and I'm a GIRL! Yikes!

@two ponies. Where are you that you have that much snow? I'll remove it from my "visit in November" list. Stay warm and safe, please.

RooMonster 1:02 PM  

Hey All !
Add me to the Easy???? list. :-)
Found it too tough to finish. Too many names I just flat out didn't know. Kept rereading clues, but finally succumbed to DOOM, and left half (literally) the puz blank. When I hit a certain plateau and nothing else is coming into the ole brain, it gets to the 'No-fun-anymore' place and then I stop. Oh well.

Cracked up at @Z's NUTMEAT reference.

@Two Ponies, holy cow, 16" of snow? Where do you live?

AWGEE, a (huge) DNF

Frayed Knot 1:11 PM  

There was an 'Odd Couple' episode where Oscar orders some kind of steak while Felix order Sand Dabs; naturally the waiter gives each the wrong dish. Hijinx ensues. Would never have heard of SAND DABS otherwise.

Similarly had never heard of GOOGLEHANGOUTS (though I parsed it out), CATT (I had CADY - wrong suffragist), ETONCAP, or UGLYCRY which, when combined with my failure to see ONEEYED and ALADDIN (you getting the idea that I don't see kids movies?) left me DNF in the SE corner.

Austenlover 1:14 PM  

The only gimmes for me were ROB REINER and Carrie Chapman CATT, suffragist and founder of the League of Women Voters, of which I have been a member since 1972. My time was nearly ten times Rex’s. Of course, I don’t turn off the timer to get up and pour more coffee, but still... How does he do it?

Outside The Box 1:26 PM  

Not an easy solve for me, but an OK puzzle. Liked “beat a dead horse.”

Teedmn 1:37 PM  

KAC and BEQ ganged up on me today - I find either of them alone can be challenging constructors but together, whammo - I was in Saturday time territory with this one.

NW fell fast from PLUS ONE but after that I was DOOMed to stare at the grid for long minutes at a time with no progress made. I had AEON for AGES, in both senses of the phrase. Auntie ANNie pretzels made the platoon VIP an "eAglE". Wasn't Col. Potter always poking his eagle insignia in peoples' faces. "See here,....". (Yes, "look" is what I wanted there also, @LMS).

But even after I cracked open almost everything (M&A's Ever in place of ELSE held me up Ever so long), I was still flailing in the SE. __TAN = God father, well, woTAN of course. Everyone knows that's a variation of Odin and he's the father of Thor and, and, dang. Finally, ALADDIN rubbed me the right way. So no UGLY CRY today but it was close.

Kimberly 1:48 PM  

I would talk more about this puzzle but I’m just so awesome I did it with my eyes closed and never even saw it.


Let me expound, so you can see it too...(remainder omitted because endless self-aggrandizement is, well, boring).

foxaroni 1:51 PM  

RIAA = Recording Industry Association of America. See also: ASCAP and BMI. Nice to know that 30 years in radio was good for something besides song titles and lyrics.

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

Agreed. The clue was diabolical and just off. Another way to go for ROME is the composer/lyricist for Fanny, I Can Get It For You Wholesale, etc. Paging Miss Marmelstein.

Two Ponies 2:00 PM  

Thanks everyone for the warm thoughts.
I am in the extreme NW corner of Montana
just east of Idaho, south of the Canadian border,
and west of Glacier Natl. Park.
Power is still on!

I recently saw a picture on the internet
of a sign in someone's snowy yard

Free Snowman
Some assembly required.

Joe Dipinto 2:01 PM  

Easy puzzle for me. Can't say it was a terribly exciting one. LIEIDLE looks like some sort of yodeling term.

BeTheBallDanny\ 2:10 PM  

Sand Dabs didn't come to me immediately but then I recalled them as the fish that the Ryan Aircraft guy was frying with an acetylene torch in The Spirit of Saint Louis. The rest of the puzzle just kind of fell into place. Entertaining puzzle in the end, I did like Rex's humblebrag (another recent crossword answer) of the 3:53 time, took me an additional 4 minutes and I was happy with the time!

mmorgan 2:14 PM  

Never heard of a SAND DAB but I got it from crosses. Same for UGLYCRY, though I'm not sure why Rex loved it.

semioticus (shelbyl) 2:19 PM  

That MIATA/ENTEBBE/ABIE/RIAA cluster is something that we should never see in a themeless puzzle. Never. I understand if you have trouble with spacing and themes etc. but seriously, WTF? That alone drops this puzzle to 4/5.

And then the 7-letter answers did nothing for me. The fun of a themeless mostly is in figuring out longer answers stacked on top of each other.

SANDDAB/PLUSONE/ALTOONA is not exciting. (Also, plus-one and one-eyed in the same puzzle? WTF #2?) NE corner is OK. UGLYCRY/TESTATE/SEEDPOD is meh. I'm not gonna go through every corner but you get the point.

My ratings for Fridays and Saturdays have been 3.5/5 the lowest for a long while. This one is a 3/5, and even that might be a little bit generous.

GILL I. 2:29 PM  

@Two Ponies...Kalispell? That's the only place I've been to in Montana. I had to give a seminar there about a million years ago and fell in love with the place. It was summer time and with free time on my hands, went to the Conrad Mansion. I remember that kitchen stove like it was yesterday. Beautiful country....(in the summer)...!!!

Masked and Anonymous 2:37 PM  


@Two Ponies …
Glacier National Park is one of the prettiest places I've ever been to. Then again, I was there in June.
They have neat red tour vehicles, I think of Thirties vintage. Our tour guide was Bill, who pointed to the upper peaks and said "They've still got Apache snow." After someone in the tour group bit and asked what that was, he clarified: "Yep… a patch of snow here, and a patch of snow there …" har. Bill oughta write crossword clues, after he retires from the guidin business.

Stay warm, and the same to yer ponies...


Gareth Bain 2:39 PM  

11:05 - which is way above most recent Fridays for me... Started at 1D with HALIBUT and nothing ever flowed in any section from there on...

Joe Dipinto 3:05 PM  

One thing Rex didn't notice is that not only do both constructors have three names, their names have the same number of letters respectively -- 7,6,7.

Beauchamp 3:42 PM  

Hah! LOL (not Lots O’ Love) funny.
Rex, you have your vacation stand-in.

webwinger 4:51 PM  

Challenging also for this Oberlin grad. DNF because I couldn’t let go of PRE and didn’t grok the clue for meteors; clever in retrospect.

I too vividly remember the Entebbe rescue. Two things in particular: It was when everyone started using the word “tarmac” for airport pavement that’s not runway—I think because it was said repeatedly by BBC reporters first at the scene of the grounded airplane taken over by terrorists; before that was just a Britishism for asphalt or macadam road surface. Also, the heroic Israeli soldier who was killed in the course of the successful operation to save the hostages was the brother of future leader Benjamin Netanyahu—gave him a big boost with voters when he first ran for office.

Bax'N'Nex 5:40 PM  

Of course Mike liked this one. The constructor is his buddy. He only bashes people he probably won't run into, but not his friends.

And I'll ask it again...why is it such a brag to be proud of getting through the puzzle in only 3 minutes and change? Obviously this is not enjoyment for #notmyfearlessleader...he just can't wait to get it over with. Like "I went for my prostate exam today...thank god it only took a couple minutes" i.e. Something I or we(well most of us)hate. As opposed to "Had a massage today, thank god it was only 3 minutes and change". Huh? If you enjoy it, you don't try to rush through it. But that's just me. Maybe Mikey likes those three minute massages...

I liked this puzzle but DNF the southeast. But still had a great lunch hour working on it. Thank you constructors for my daily diversion. It gave me 40 minutes (between bites)of forgetting to stress.

Chip Hilton 6:00 PM  

Skimmed through all the comments and found there were two distinct camps: the Piece of Cakers and the Brutally Savaged. Put me in the latter squad. Eventually got it all, but nothing about this was easy. I enjoyed the struggle, with the METEOR clue a favorite.

Three minutes and change? Remarkable.

Joe Dipinto 6:32 PM  

@David S. -- Hard-core speed solvers, of which Rex is one, are always obsessed with their finishing time, and will report it vis-a-vis their past finishing times, whether anyone cares or not. Which they don't.

Bax'N'Nex 6:41 PM  

Joe...yeah, I know, but still don't get it. The need for an ego-boost.

So tonight, I'm opening an expensive (for us) bottle of wine. I can guzzle it or savor it. I choose the latter.


Joe Dipinto 7:07 PM  

@David S -- Clink!

Mohair Sam 7:48 PM  

@David Schinnerer - So Usain Bolt despises the 100 meter dash?

Anonymous 7:57 PM  

Re:sand dabs,
Were they the fish Jimmy Stewart (as Charles Lindberg) stumbled onto in the airplane factory that would ultimately build the Spirit of St.Louis in the film of the same name?
More pressing, is the previous sentence the worst ever written in English?

Why the quotation marks?
Also, is the tunnel to (and from) Windsor very near the Marriott Renaissance closed? If so, do you know why?

Also. The Cadillac diner on um yeah, Cadillac Square is amazing in many ways. Chiefly authenticity. I'm a fan after one visit.

old timer 8:17 PM  

Gotta add, if you ever visit San Francisco there are two restaurants you have to go to. One is Zuni Cafe ust because everything there is perfect, starting with cocktails and continuing through dessert. But the other is Tadich Grill. The oldest restaurant in town they say. They specialize in fish and SAND DABS are always on the menu. You will be glad to have dinner there (the Petrale sole is also a great choice). Zuni is excellent for either lunch or dinner, but Tadich is best in the early evening because the bar scene is classic).

Gotta add, a primo place for lunch or a summertime dinner is what could be a tourist trap, but is actually excellent, the Cliff House. Your table will have a view of the waves coming in and crashing over the rocks.

Anonymous 8:21 PM  

Masked and Anonymous,
I know those red buses!!!! I too love Glacier. My wife and dad preferred Yellowstone but my heart is somewhere on Going to the Sun.

(New and,hopefully,kinder anonymouse)

Two Ponies 8:40 PM  

Well, power went off for a while as I expected.

Glacier is gorgeous but so is most everything west of there.
Around here you only know you are in a park or national
forest because the signs say so.
Such a change from Henderson/Vegas that I came here
to escape (Hi @ Roo).

Anonymous 8:43 PM  

Old timer,
Does Tadich grill make any claim to being the oldest restaurant in the country? Philly has a joint which has been jousting for year with a place in ShakyTown for the crown of USA 's oldest.
For anyone who cares,

Girish 10:02 PM  

Not to beat a dead horse but I never saw Despicable Me. I would have to be Aladdin to recognize the one-eyed rabble. Personally, I only hung on by a toenail.

Space Is Deep 10:02 PM  

DNF. raced through 3/4ths of the puzzle. Then stumped by last part of GOOGLEHANGOUTS. Never ever heard of it. I had GOOGLE, but couldn't get the rest. Had EVER instead of ELSE, which killed me.

Anonymous 11:00 PM  

“Apache snow? Racist AF.

OISK 12:03 AM  

I thought it was easy for a Friday even though I never heard of Google hangouts, ugly cry, nut meat, and as with most brand names, had no idea that there was a pretzel chain. The rest was pretty much in my wheelhouse.

rondo 11:33 AM  

Second try at posting:

Not easy. Especially when half of my digits had evENess, my AGES started as eonS, and I was chasing my tequila with a lime (actually have USEd a lemon) and also considering beer, never once considering water, or AGUA, who the heck does that? Have never seen it. Only just recently had heard of GOOGLEHANGOUTS.

Alternate clue: Become a Packer fan – GOGREEN.

ANNE’S got be the yeah baby today, Hathaway that is.

Inkfestation across ¾ of this puz, ALL my bad. Still wondering who would USE AGUA to chase tequila.

Burma Shave 12:08 PM  




Diana, LIW 12:40 PM  

The puzzle that SHOULD have been in syndication yesterday was a real beauty, in my opin. And I had posted early to offer some suggestions to Spacey as to how to navigate when the Syndie button isn't working. All lost, and maybe @Spacey, too. Triple rats!!!

This puzzle went smoothly, esp. for a Friday. I seemed to be on their wavelength, unlike my experience with Bruce Haight's, which I eventually solved.

that's all for now...

Diana, LIW

centralscrewtinizer 2:03 PM  

Kampala DOOMed me. Alas. At least I sussed out TESTATE thanks to the question mark. Otherwise, lots of blank space except for the SW where BELUGAS was a gimme. UGLYCRY here.

spacecraft 2:12 PM  

Logged on just to see if they fixed it...they did. Okay, you guys, you get a reprieve. Unfortunately, this one was a big DNF here.

As the dad of a PSU alum, I know perfectly well the answer to 3-down: it's OLD MAIN. What else would ANY Nittany Lion think of for that clue? That was chiseled in stone for me, and nothing worked. Tried again elsewhere but knew absolutely NOTHING in the entire bottom half. Nada. Zilch.

ALTOONA. Yeah, okay, I get it. The site of a BRANCH (where was that word in the clue, to make it at least pseudo-fair?) campus. The clue as written was not only unfair, it was malicious. Any Penn Stater will answer Old Main and not think twice. TARGETING! Not only 15 yards, but DQed!

thefogman 2:30 PM  

Easy? Maybe for an English major. But for us mere mortals? Not so much. This one was almost as hard to solve as finding its matching Syndie page. I know there's no need to BEATADEADHORSE, but come on blogmaster! Please fix this.
I detest tech lingo contaminating puzzles lately. Words like GOOGLEHANGOUTS are not really words and should be banned for the AGES. Rex loves the ancient Roman/Greek stuff but I am not a big fan. ENNEADS, TITAN, CASSIUS etc. were all headache inducing. And AWGEE made me go AWREALLY? As did SANDDAB. I managed anyways via the crosses, with one exception. DNF'd by putting down DSa instead of DSO. Naticked by ALTOONA. All that work to (almost) solve and no tangible (or intangible) reward of any kind. Insert *UGLYCRY* here.

thefogman 2:59 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 3:36 PM  


Did you ever GO OGLE HANGOUTS ?

BS2 4:01 PM  

@thefogman - For a LEI,SURE.

rainforest 4:10 PM  

Way late today because I took my car in for servicing where a 1-hour service is now entering its 4th hour. Belatedly got a courtesy car.

In my paper, no constructors, nor Will Shortz were mentioned. That doesn't really matter but at first I thought that some random puzzle was chosen.

My first entry was (lucky) SPARE ME, and I was off. Sort of. The NW was easy but I was slow on most of the rest. I thought the puzzle had good sparkle, with an edge. UGLY CRY? Evocative, but new to me.

Medium overall, and I liked it.

BS3 4:28 PM  

TEST 8 + 1 (= 9 as in ENNEADS)

Unknown 12:02 PM  

Challenging for me, but kinda fun and (mostly) fair.
But I have to say that crossing an obscure comic from 3 generations ago with some random initials is a dirty trick. DNF on that square (I had B).

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