Fore-and-aft-rigged vessel / FRI 7-13-18 / / Apocalytpic event predicted in Norse mythology / West Indian sorcery / Fractions of krona / Martial art whose name means literally sword way

Friday, July 13, 2018

Constructor: Trenton Charlson

Relative difficulty: Easy (4:20)

[mirror symmetry!]

THEME: ZZ TOP (52A: Rock band whose name is suggested by the first row of this puzzle) — "ZZ" is in every answer at the "TOP" of this grid ... not really a full-fledged theme, but it's something!

Word of the Day: OBEAH (15A: West Indian sorcery) —
Obeah (sometimes spelled ObiObeahObeya, or Obia) is a system of spiritual and healing practices developed among enslaved West Africans in the West Indies. Obeah is difficult to define, as it is not a single, unified set of practices; the word "Obeah" was historically not often used to describe one's own practices. Some scholars, such as Diana Paton, have contended that what constitutes Obeah in Jamaica has been constructed by white society, particularly law enforcement. Accordingly, different Afro-Caribbean communities use their own terminology to describe the practice, such as science, among the Jamaican Windward Maroons. Obeah is similar to other Afro-American religions such as PaloHaitian VodouSantería, and Hoodoo in that it includes communication with ancestors and spirits and healing rituals. Nevertheless, it differs from religions like Vodou and Santeria in that there is no explicit canon of gods or deities that is worshipped, and the practice is generally an individual action rather than part of a collective ceremony or offering.
Variants of Obeah are practiced in the Bahamas and in the Caribbean nations of BarbadosBelizeDominicaGrenadaGuyanaJamaicaSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSurinameTrinidad and Tobago, and the Virgin Islands, as well as by the Igbo people of Nigeria. In some cases, aspects of these folk religions have survived through syncretism with Christian symbolism and practice introduced by European colonials and slave owners.
• • •

Talk about yo-yoing. Yesterday, had my worst M-Sat time since I started recording my times (three months ago); today, had my fastest Friday time in that same time span (which was also faster than all my recorded Thursday times). And this was an A.M. solve—those are usually 50% slower than nighttime solves. World upside-down! Today, I knew better than to roll out of bed and go straight to the computer, so I went downstairs, went through the whole ritual of making coffee (pour-overs require attention), talked to the dogs, etc. Then I solved. And just that period of waking up made a huge difference. I tore through this so fast I surprised myself. I kept waiting for the debilitating speed bump to hit, but it never did. There were a few harrowing curves, but I managed to handle them without veering too much off course or slowing down too much. It helped (a lot), that I had finally gotten around to watching "Thor: RAGNAROK" just last month (though of course I misspelled it the first time: RAGNORAK, rhymes with ANORAK?). If not for that movie, that answer would be brutal, totally out of line, but the movie was a huge hit, so ... fair ball! I also thought 36A: Fore-and-aft-rigged vessel was a KETEL (a la KETEL One? The vodka named after ... a boat?). But HOTS straightened that out and then came SCHROEDER and zoom I was off. Speaking of zoom: so many ZEEs! I don't really care about the Scrabble-tile value of the letters in any grid—I just care that the fill is good. And trying to force Js and Qs and what not into your grid in a way that compromises the overall quality of the fil is of course a disaster: hence the term "Scrabble-f***ing." Today's Zs were very very showy, but they were not at all forced. Nowhere did I think "Nice job, genius, you got your Z but ruined this whole corner, I hope you're happy!" All Zs and Xs and even that one J are positioned beautifully. No reaching. Everything smooth. Hurrah.

Besides misspelling RAGNAROK, I had one other write/rewrite situation that impeded my progress a bit: up in the NE, where DORMER sits on ISO. I assume a DORMER is a window that you add to a loft so that you can see ... out? Is there another meaning of DORMER. Anyway, [Loft addition] was hard, and I'd never heard of ISO in this context (31A: Film speed letters), *and* I wrote in ZERO IN ON instead of ZEROES IN (problem with speed-solving: you can miss little things like whether the clue is in the 2nd person (!). So I made a little mess there and had to clean it up. Not a huge deal. But a deal of sorts. A comparative deal. (Side note, "film speed" in 31-Across clue refers to photographic film; I was thinking motion picture speed, like, I dunno, how fast the film goes through the real (!?). Whoops)
Film speed is the measure of a photographic film's sensitivity to light, determined by sensitometry and measured on various numerical scales, the most recent being the ISO system. A closely related ISO system is used to describe the relationship between exposure and output image lightness in digital cameras. (wikipedia)


  • 15A: West Indian sorcery (OBEAH) — while the grid is pretty clean, it definitely helped to Know Your Crosswordese. I've never seen OBEAH anywhere outside of crosswords (except maybe in a comic book or two...), but every few months it comes in handy, solving-wise. See also ORE as clued (21D: Fractions of a krona).
  • 13D: Old-fashioned image projector (ZOETROPE) — I know this only because it's the name (I believe) of Francis Ford Coppola's production company. Let me just check BING ... (said literally no one ever what the hell, 39-Down!?) ... yup! It's American Zoetrope now (also now entirely owned by his children, Roman and Sofia), but it was indeed just ZOETROPE Studios for a time. 
  • 28D: "Beowulf," essentially (ELEGY) — once again, an answer squarely inside my wheelhouse causes me above-average trouble. I teach "Beowulf" from time to time, and while, yes, I would talk about its elegiac quality, I'm not sure I'd say it's "essentially" an elegy. There are lots and lots and lots of parts of it that are more heroic epic; it's mainly the last bit with the dragon / suicide mission / sad kinsmen sitting around wondering what's next / funeral pyre part that gets all ubi sunt-ish. (BING it, or "google" it, if you insist)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


da kine 6:45 AM  

Muller Monthly Music Meta did this exact theme earlier this year.

Anonymous 6:48 AM  

Bing is evil.

Jon Alexander 6:56 AM  

Wow smooth...sailed through and looked at the clock - half the time of yesterday and half my normal Friday time. Haven't seen the phrase "have the HOTS for" since the 1990s, but still in the wheelhouse. Very nice puZZle.

Dave 7:02 AM  

I like the way Microsoft, every time it does an update, adds Bing to my favorites. Then I have to delete it.

Do the constructors ever get a kickback for this type of product placement?

Jonathan Brown 7:14 AM  

This was Friday and yesterday was Thursday?

Astro 7:22 AM  

I resisted putting in “how goes it?” When I hear “‘sup?”, i think, what do NYC teenagers say to each other when they meet on the subway? “Sup?” yeah. “How goes it?” not so much. Not really equivalent.

kitshef 7:24 AM  

I feel like the moderators should let a spell caster through in honor of OBEAH (aside one of my few overwrites was vodun before OBEAH).

I guess BING is a Google alternative, in the same way that
- A Ford Pinto is an Aston Martin DB9 alternative.
- Mcnuggets at McDonalds are an alternative to chicken Kiev at Russia House.
- Ben Stiller is an alternative to Peter O’Toole.
- Ouzo is an alternative to ... well ... anything.

Mohair Sam 7:30 AM  

Good old ZZTOP. Without the theme I don't think I'd have finished this one. The double Z's at the top saved my butt, OBEAH, RABNAROK and ZOETROPE being unknown to me. Had to guess the first "A" in Aziz ANSARI too, man am I ever out of touch - this guy was one of the Time 100 most influential people in the whole friggin' world in 2016. And I'd seen his character in "Parks & Recreation" about 50 times. Sheesh. So obviously the puzzle played much tougher for us than Rex - but we liked it a lot, fun Friday.

So two nights ago I'm watching TV and this super chef guy is trying to rescue a failing restaurant owned and operated by a couple actually named NIMROD. No lie. It wasn't funny at all - two very nice people bought a restaurant a few years back - it appeared on TV that all they lacked was restaurant and management experience. Now they are ass over tea kettle in debt. If any of you are thinking of buying or opening a restaurant I want you to remember the Sam Kinison routine where he'd ask if anyone in his audience was engaged to be married - if he got a yes he'd walk up to the groom-to-be and scream in his face. And marriage is much easier than the restaurant business. Picture Sam if you get the food industry urge.

@Kitshef (yesterday) - A Mark Knopfler quote! Nice.

And oh yeah, I don't picture DORMERs in lofts - I know I'm technically wrong, but the lofts I picture don't have peaked roofs.

Anonymous 7:48 AM  

Isnt film speed ASA and digital speed ISO?

John Child 7:48 AM  

Lovely puzzle, it way, way, way too easy for Friday. Tougher clues please on themeless puzzles.

newspaperguy 7:48 AM  

This is an honest question: Does anyone actually use Bing?

dfan 7:52 AM  

Fastest Friday ever over here (I don't know by how much since the statistics on the website and app are so terrible).

Hungry Mother 7:57 AM  

Two letters wrong, but I stopped caring by then. Just a bunch of random stuff like my mother-in-law’s middle name.

FLAC 7:59 AM  

I thought the puzzle had "Legs" enough for a Friday, and the review was fair. Would've enjoyed a ZZ Top clip, though.

Charles Flaster 8:08 AM  

Much easier than yesterday!
OBEAH was one of my first entries in the land of crosswordEASE. Learn it.
Loved the clue for OLD AGE.
Thanks TC

Sir Hillary 8:11 AM  

Very nicely executed puzzle, but as @da kine notes, this exact theme was done by Pete Muller in January. In that case, three similar entries went across the top, and the puzzle included GIBBONS, HILL and BEARD (the band members' surnames). ZZTOP was the meta answer. So unfortunately, while this is a very good puzzle in a vacuum, the recency of the theme (albeit in a forum much smaller than the NYT) made it a little flat for me.

I did very much enjoy the contrast of ZOOMSOUT and ZEROESIN. Other great entries include POPDIVA, WHIZKID, RAGNAROK, HOWGOESIT and NIMRODS. Gotta love ZEE tying it all together as well.

Isn't her stage name written as P!nk?

I would have bet a lot of money that it was ZeoTROPE.

Cute clue for WHIZKID. Conversely, the tying together of PIZZA and PIECE was a stretch. I suspect most people would say "slice" before PIECE, and the latter could have been clued countless other ways.

I know OBEAH only from the James Bond film "Live and Let Die", when the term is used to describe one of the characters. Bond geekdom helped me today.

mmorgan 8:13 AM  

Clean, yummy puzzle. Could a dormer be someone who rents living space in a loft?

pabloinnh 8:18 AM  

Not know what a dormer is? Our house in NH has three, and a shed dormer on the back.Sometimes we can hear a front sider singing "You may say I'm a dormer, but I'm not the only one.".

This one was full of trivia that I knew, except OBEAH. News to me, but again, it's a poor day when you can't learn something.

Wicked smooth but not really challenging enough for a Friday. Fun to go so fast on a Friday though.

B Right There 8:21 AM  

Second fastest solve time for a Friday that we've done. Being a camera buff, loved the ZOOMSOUT, ZEROESIN, and ISO. And thought NIMROD over ANSARI was cute. Nice mix of happening clues ([sup?]), and shout out to our yesteryears with the Barry Manilow-evoking EVENNOW answer. I immediately had my Alexa play it at 27A.

Bruce R 8:29 AM  

I had BLOB instead of GLOB and unfortunately didn't know how to spell the Norse apocalyptic event.

Bing is actually a pretty good search engine, just not the best. I use Google first but occasionally Bing gives me the hit I'm looking for. As for the comparison of a McNugget to Chicken Kiev, that's more than a bit overboard. It's more like comparing a McChicken sandwich to a Chik-fil-A sandwich.

And talk about product placement, Nabisco must have connections with the xword people because OREO appears in about ever other puzzle. I guess they finally tired of OLEO.

Z 8:38 AM  

Z Z Zed Zed - Of course I loved it.

I do have one quibble with the clue for 18 across. A PIZZA unit is a slice, not a PIECE. No pizzeria anywhere ever had a lunch special featuring your favorite PIECE. I know I know, it’s not wrong. But it certainly isn’t right either. And the cluer went out of their way for this TONE deaf clue by cross-referencing. Hell, I’d have preferred some firearm clue to this atrocity!!!*

Anywho - my only other writeover was my happy-go-lucky friends were SpInning before they were SKIPping. Somehow having a vague sense of ZOETROPE quickly righted the ship there, though.

Do I really get to be the first to mention that NIMROD was originally a great hunter?

@Mohair Sam - Yeah. I’m thinking “lofts” here is a more generic “anything that’s the top story.” These days I only see “lofts” in relation to former industrial buildings converted into high priced residences, so it took me precious nanoseconds to sort that out.

*Hyperbole - don’t be so serious.

QuasiMojo 8:39 AM  

Okay... a couple of Zzzzzs at the top. Yawn. But clean and fast. How many types of voodoo arts are there in the West Indies? Obladi Oblada. Et cetera.

Ry 8:40 AM  

I thought a former could be either someone residing in the loft OR horizontally expanding out a part of the rafters to create more space. I believe contractors use it as a verb ie “to dormer out” the attic.

Lewis 8:41 AM  

@johnchild -- Spang on the mark; I concur completely.

Lewis 8:41 AM  

Which word packs more of a shock
Apocalypse or Ragnarok?

I liked the mini-theme ZZ
The puzzle itself skewed toward EZ

pmdm 8:51 AM  

I did enjoy this puzzle, but I have one problem with one of the clues.

The Tappan Zee Bridge, as of a few months ago, no longer exists except for some of the middle suspension part. The bridge that now crosses the Hudson River is officially called the Mario Cuomo Bridge. Ugh. So I guess the clue to 7D should read "The Hudson's former Tappan Zee Bridge." Maybe I'll email my complaint to Mr, Shortz.

Mohair Sam 8:51 AM  

Hey, I naticked. Just discovered it's GLOB not bLOB. Blasted random apocalyptic events.

Conrad 9:11 AM  

@Mohair, hand up for a DNF on RAbNAROK. I thought the one in the movie was RAngAROK, which obviously didn’t fit, so I figured there was some other random apocalyptic event that I didn’t know about.

@newpaperguy, when BING was first introduced, I tried a few searches with it vs. Google. I liked the Google results better so I stuck with it. Several friends of mine did the same thing and two preferred BING and stayed with that. I still prefer seeing it clued as cherries or Crosby.

Jim Lemire 9:19 AM  

Fastest Friday ever. It helped that the NW corner fell in relatively right away - always a good sign when I don’t need to skip around until I find something I know for certain!

I didn’t know OBEAH or ZOETROPE so needed the crosses to get them both. I wanted ZOETROPE to end with -scOPE so HAVENOT took a while to get (plus, I originally thought 8D was ZACk instead of ZACH) and I started questioning DORMER. Luckily it finally came together.

Embarrassingly I struggled a bit with DELANO. Not because of the answer but because I kept trying to think of Theodore D. Roosevelt’s middle name...that didn’t sound quite right but there I was. When I realized that was wrong, I went to Eleanor D. Roosevelt’s middle name. Also didn’t sound quite right, but, once again, there I was. Funny how one’s brain can be so close yet so far from the answer! Finally came around to Franklin D. Roosevelt and I smacked my forehead with my iPhone muttering “you dummy”. Sometimes I’m less the WHIZ KID and more the NIMROD!

Suzie Q 9:22 AM  

I noticed the Zs right away so the revealer was a nice bit of humor.
Yes @Z, I knew Nimrod was a hunter. Strange how his name has been degraded to meaning an oaf.
Diva is another example of being degraded. It seems to me that it used to be reserved for opera stars, then petulant performers with talent but inflated egos. Now anybody can be a diva.
I cannot think of a single time when a clue asking for the key of a musical piece ever helped me. They are like RRNs. You know there is an M and an R with limited possibilities for the key itself. For me it's just a waiting game.
That NW corner was a rough mash up of Norse, Danish, and whoever that Aziz guy is. Other than that it was a good time.

Teedmn 9:26 AM  

This puzzle had a bit of effervescence but mostly it was easy, though I wasn't blasting through it as fast as I feel I should have. POP star at first at 5D and having "closes IN" before I ZEROEd IN on the mini-ZEE theme slowed me down.

Got a chuckle when I fell into the Garden of "Eden" trap at 65A but that wasn't an E MAJOR hang up nor was I at SIXES and sevens.

Nice puzzle, Trenton. And @Mohair Sam, thanks for the laugh on the "blasted random apocalyptic events."

Ellen S 9:27 AM  

@Newspaper guy — I got a new laptop, and used Bing for a few days until I got around to changing my default search engine. Now Google hounds me incessantly about how much better and safe my browsing experience would be if I switched to Chrome.

Ellen S 9:42 AM  

We have a very popular pizza restaurant here in Sacramento called “Pieces / Pizza by the slice.” I think one could make an argument that “piece” is the more generic word and “slice’ is the pizza-specific term. And the phrase “piece-a pizza” keeps rattling around in my head. Also conversations like, “Would you like a slice of cake?” “Yes, please. Give me a big piece.”

Brett 9:43 AM  

@kitshef: I like Ouzo, thank you very much. Then again, they said I was high class, but that was just a lie.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

Oh my god!!! It really is Ragnarok; I actually agree with Z. Pizza and Nimrod. Ok, Nimrod isn't an agreement, more like I had the same reaction thinking to myself "pfft, Nimrod REALLY means a great hunter".

I had a couple of soft bound books when I was kid. One was the "Shotgunners Bible", its companion, "The Hunters Bible." I'm guessing they were published in the early 1960's and when i was treading them in the late 70's they felt pretty old fashioned. but i didn't care; I loved them. Anyway, the folksy text talked about a nimrod coming home with ( insert game). I was befuddled, until I looked it up. I couldn't believe how far the word's meaning had changed.

Circling back to Ragnarok. Anybody else get the sense that rex has a big hole in his Nordic knowledge? A couple of months ago he found skald difficult or obscure.

Have a good weekend all.

Bob Mills 9:46 AM  

An awful lot of bizarre stuff in this one. Somehow finished it 100%, even though I had never heard of "ZOETROPE" or "OBEAH" or "RAGNAROK" or "ZZPOP" or "KENDO."

Abalini 9:50 AM  

“Hey, let’s go get a piece of pizza” said no one ever. The answer was apparent but the clue terrible. Either way DNF thanks to bLOB. Damn Scandinavians!

gfrpeace 9:51 AM  

Ah, my Orion has made it into the puzzle again, but in his African/Hebrew persona, NIMROD. He declines to be photographed for it however, because someone has transformed him into an inept sort. He takes exception to that. How in the world did that happen, was it some comic book?

jrstocker 9:52 AM  

Movie or not, nothing wrong with the word RAGNAROK on a Friday. I mean, that's page one of the Norse Mythology Cliffs notes. No way that word is any more obscure than a ZOETROPE for example.

jackj 10:03 AM  


I have BING bookmarked and go to it daily to enjoy each day's presentation of fascinating photographs. (They also offer a 3 question quiz regarding the daily photo's topic for those inclined to participate).

The same start page also features a running group of 30 or more thumbnails of the day's news events which, when clicked on, allow one to receive multiple versions of each specific topic by new organizations from around the world. This is a particularly useful element of their start page.

However, in direct response to your question, I don't use BING as a search engine; I'm a Googler in that regard.

jberg 10:03 AM  

I'm a Duck Duck Go user myself -- supposedly it doesn't track your interests and sell them to advertisers. Of course, I negate that by using Chrome, but what you gonna do?

Yeah, @Z, I was going to bemoan the general decline of knowledge of our mythological heritage. Not only thinking NIMROD is some kind of a klutz, but knowing RAGNAROK only from a movie. Sad.

OTOH, IBIS is only ever clued as an Egyptian sacred bird, rather than anything about its long, red, decurved bill. That would be easy, too, but at least it would bring variety.

PIECE is some kind of new height of generality -- you could use it for anything. "Broken leg unit?" Puzzle unit? Anything!

Tiny brain? was a brilliant clue, though.

Cheerio 10:09 AM  

I came away with a lot of words to add to my crosswordese file. That’s maybe not the greatest compliment, but there are some crosswordese that I refuse to track because it has no interest at all to me. Here I will track: obeah , kendo, ketch, zoetrope, and ragnorok

Nancy 10:18 AM  

I was so sure it was dIMRODS at 20A. So I ended up with RAGdAROK for the Norse apocalypse. I never gave that a thought -- I was too busy worrying about the RAGd?ROK/?NSARI cross. But that one I guessed right.

Is RAGNAROK worse than Armageddon? Or is Armageddon worse than RAGNAROK? I must brush up on my Apocalypsi.

HOW GOES IT this week for moi? Not well. This is my 2nd 1-letter DNF in as many days. Sometimes I feel I am not a WORTHY puzzle person. And it's always the same: it's always the little bits of arcane trivia, POP and otherwise. Rock bands. POP DIVAS. Norse Apocalypsi. West Indian sorcery. Netflix. I knew PELOSI, but she was situated where I didn't even need to know her. Wish she'd been located in the NW where she would have been very, very welcome. An uneven puzzle, with tough (for me) sections and easy sections. My favorite clues were for DELANO (47D) and OLD AGE (44D).

Maruchka 10:26 AM  

I ricocheted with this one. Zippy for some, Zzzz for the PPPz.. all in all, tho, well done TC.

Knew OBEAH from Ismith Khan's novel. Check it out, mon.

TubaDon 10:30 AM  

PIZZA cake? Well, almost. Guessed Got the Z answers, RAGNAROK, ZOETROPE, ALLINONE ok, knew Spring was something MAJOR, but guessed wrong on BEANE. One question. NIMROD in the bible was a mighty skillful hunter. How did he morph into an inept clod?

CDilly52 10:34 AM  

One of the reasons I continue to come here each and every day is to gauge the opinion not so much of OFL by himself but of the collective. I often , as illustrated by the past two days, find myself a polar opposite on difficulty rating. Admittedly, not in the pro league of solvers but I have been solving since I was 8 and am now 66, just not into competitive times, but I do notice. So, I (for me) “tore through” yesterday and despite getting the “zz “theme” easily could not get on the remainder of the constructor’s wavelength, despite knowing RAGNAROK, OBEAH & KENDO.. Consequently, a long Friday time today-twice yesterday. Go figure.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  


Careful. The white ibis has a bright red or pink bill (adult birds anyway), but their brother, the glossy ibis has a brownish, olive bill. Pretty much the only ibis we see in NJ.

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Had the beginning k for fore and aft rigged vessel, so immediately considered kayak, which was wrong. Later in the puzzle the word kayak was part of a clue. Do constructors anticipate likely wrong turns and insert a reference later for fun and a wink?

jb129 10:57 AM  

What a pleasure after the last couple of days :)

Warren Howie Hughes 11:03 AM  

Use AJAX, the foaming cleanser, floats the dirt right down the drain...GLOB GLOB GLOB

Malsdemare 11:10 AM  

I did not know RAGNORAK, or ANSARI, or IRONMIKE; I had to beg Google, not BING, to help me. Almost none of this was in my wheelhouse, other than Geoffrey BEENE and INUIT (but only after AleUT didn't work). And after finally finishing the damn thing, I still had an error, IsIS instead of IBIS. What a nimrod!

So I do genealogy and I have a great great great grandfather named Morand Bourgeois. He, in turn, had a brother named Myrod. In the early 1800s when they arrived in rural Ohio, officials had a real problem figuring out how to spell these very foreign names. And of course until we get Social Security, name spelling was pretty whimsical anyway. So I have on many court and church records, two ancestors who are NIMROD and Moron. Just tickles my funny bone.

I need to go load my car-aversive pooch into my car and get him weighed. Is it 'talk like a pirate' day? Arrgghh!

GILL I. 11:11 AM  

PIZZA just sat there getting all greasy. @Ellen, no PIZZA for you today at Bella Bru.
Thank goodness for ZZ TOP down there. Had to go back upstairs and finally get me a PIECE of the RAZZ and FIZZ. I'm thrilled @Rex saw Thor RAGNAROK. I didn't, and never heard of it. I'm also very happy Coppola named a studio ZOE TROPE or whatever. Never heard of it.
OBEAH was my second entry. I've always been interested in any kind of "religion." OBEAH gets thrown in the "voodoo" vernacular and that conjures up images of needles being pierced into a straw doll and then death. Tough classification and a wrong image. In Cuba, it was called Santeria. All of the ones mentioned in @Rex's blurb originated from the slaves in Nigeria who were brought by the Spaniards. In Cuba's case, they were forced to cut the sugar cane. It's a beautiful religion focusing on harmony and equilibrium. I suppose it's similar to Catholicism. They were forbidden to mention the God they worshipped and so the Santeria adopted similar rituals. You can spot a newly initiated Santeria a mile away. They are dressed from head to toe in white. The women weave a beautiful white headdress in their hair and carry an ornate umbrella.
I only know NIMRODS as oaf like people - not as the hunter, so that helped. IRON MIKE could have been JAKE for all I know. PELOSI is not WORTHY of being next to WHIZ but I like that she's close to DALI and his burning giraffe...(kidding)...
This may have been ZIPPY fast for many of you but it took me a while to geterdone. I learned two new words today so that gives me a smile.

Nancy 11:12 AM  

@SuzieQ (9:22) -- Love your comment: "Now anyone can be a diva". This is actually the first time I've seen it applied to a pop singer. But I've often had the same reaction to the word "artist." The singer/group in question can caterwaul at the top of their lungs in a raspy, scratchy bass-baritone or shrill falsetto, while banging and twanging on a cacophony of creepy, soulless alien-sounding electronic instruments turned up to eardrum-shattering volume, and he/she/they will somehow be described as "artists". And I say: if these people are artists then no one's an artist.

@Hungry Mother (7:57) -- Very, very funny. And also very, very true.

old timer 11:23 AM  

Kudos to @pabloinnh for his story about the residents of his old house. "Some may says, I'm a DORMER, but I'm not the only one." If we had decided to create rooms in our attic we would have added DORMERs. We did not because our house, though a block away from a street with lovely Victorians, was built in the 1900 + era and is Edwardian in style. DORMERS are more from the Victorian era.

My last entry was to spell RAGNAROK correctly.

If you buy pizza by the each, you buy a slice, but if you buy a whole pie it comes in four or six (or more) PIECEs,

Maruchka 11:35 AM  

@pmdm - Ugh indeed. I admired both Mario and Bobby but will likely continue to call them bridges the Tappan Zee and Triborough.

And how does one pronounce Van Wyck? As in 'quick' - not 'cycle' puhleez.

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

You need a remedial lesson in Catholicism. I know you meant no offense, but to compare Santeria or obeah to Catholicism is deeply insulting. It's true that both the cults you write about appropriate things from Catholicism, but they are so deformed and perverted that any similarity is, at best, superficial.
Read the Nicene creed then ponder Santeria and Obeah. If you can in good conscience still compare them without blushing, I'll bite my tongue.

mathgent 11:39 AM  

OBEAH was in Dr. No, the first James Bond novel.

As Rex notes, Zoetrope was the name of Francis Coppola's movie studio. They did Apocalypse, Now. Coppola recently opened Zoetrope Cafe here in San Francisco. They say that he hangs out there when he is in town. I think that it is near his office.

This is the cleanest puzzle I can remember. Only six Terrible Threes, absolutely no junk.

Not enough crunch for me. Short on sparkle. "Tiny brain?" for WHIZKID was one of the few standouts.

katherine catmull 11:45 AM  

I am so happy you said that about Beowulf! I had E_EGY and sat there thinking "well it isn't elegy, obviously, so what could it be?" Just seems like quite a stretch.

I knew RAGNAROK from the John Hodgman special!

Carola 11:54 AM  

Agree on easy (meeting the solved-from-top-to-bottom criterion) but it didn't go particularly fast for me. More like pleasurably cruising, with time to enjoy the landscape as I passed through....ZOETROPE, RAGNAROK, SCHROEDER, WHIZ KID, and SEXPOTS + HOTS.

Random coincidence: re-encountering the character of Mr. WORTHY from The Recruiting Officer, which I saw last night, in a production which unfortunately failed to KETCH fire. You expect FIZZ from Farquhar, but it somehow eluded the director.

Banana Diaquiri 12:01 PM  


"On an international level, the ASA system was superseded by the ISO film speed system between 1982 and 1987, however, the arithmetic ASA speed scale continued to live on as the linear speed value of the ISO system. "
the wiki, of course.

thus before digital, in any meaningful sense.

"The determination of ISO speeds with digital still-cameras is described in ISO 12232:2006 (first published in August 1998, revised in April 2006, and corrected in October 2006). "
the wiki, of course.

digital sensors generally have speeds far in excess of silver films.

ISO is the International Standards Organization; nothing specific to film or cameras.

GILL I. 12:04 PM  

@Anony 11:39. I have to run out but if you have some time, Google Get Religion...Santeria, Catholicism and Cuba.
I can't speak for all of OBEAHans but I do know something about Santeria (The Way Of The Saints) and what they practice today. Of course they appropriated Catholicism, they had no choice. The Spaniards forbade worshipping anything other than "their" God.
"Santeria is influenced by and syncretized with Roman Catholicism."
Read the article and let me know what you think.
I'm having lunch with @Ellen S (no PIZZA) so I have to go.

Nancy 12:09 PM  

@GILL -- Now why do I get the impression that you're not all that fond of Nancy PELOSI? :)

@pmdm (8:51) and @Maruchka (11:35) -- Ugh, indeed. Fortunately, just like "Avenue of the Americas", absolutely no one will ever say Mario Cuomo Bridge.

@Malsdemare (11:10) -- Your ancestors "NIMROD" and "Moron" are so funny. Though I must say that until this morning, I wouldn't have gotten NIMROD. It's a name/term I've never heard of -- either as a hunter or an oaf. For an oaf, dIMROD still sounds better to me. As in: "You're a pretty DIM ROD, unfortunately."

pmdm 12:19 PM  

Update: Mr. Shortz sent me this response.

Hi Paul,
Thanks for your correction.
My understanding was that the new span was being called the Mario Cuomo Tappan Zee Bridge, making the clue OK. But upon further research, I see that’s not the case. You’re right — it’s now just the Mario Cuomo Bridge.
However, I also see there’s a movement to bring back the Tappan Zee name, so we’ll see what happens!
Thanks again.

Sent from my iPhone

Masked and Anonymous 12:25 PM  

ahar! E-W symmetry themeleZZ meat! Different. Like.

This puppy drove M&A plumb nuts, cuz it had lotsa stuff that he sorta vaguely knew, but had no idea how to spell em. ZZamples:

* ANSARI. Have even watched the show. Occasional-like.
* RAGNAROK. Knew I heard this somewhere. Probably from the schlock flick name.
* ZOETROPE. yep. Flick company name part, as someone here just pointed out (yo, excellent @RP bullets).
* ZEE. staff weeject pick, onaccounta it's kinda the themelezz puzz theme revealer. Not sure if T-NUT is also trying to tell us somethin, tho. Anyhoo … didn't know the bridge name.
* OBEAH. Actually, this puppy falls more into the learned somethin new category, at my house. Didn't remember it from the 2010 NYTPuz, evidently.
* Notice that all these above hi-lites are from the hi-half of the grid. Lower part was much easier, M&A-wise.


Thanx, Mr. Charlson. Scrabble Average = U average = 2.00.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Manny 12:58 PM  

Slice of Pizza?

RobertM 1:04 PM  

My favorite vanity license plate ever: NIMHROD on a Prius. Nerdy^2.

Joe Bleaux 1:50 PM  

Four Z's across the top's kind of an impressive feat. So's three names that END in i (ANSARI, DALI, PELOSI). Kinda easy Friday, but fun. Got caught with B for G in the apocalyptic NW, and lucky-guessed out with the R in ZOETROPE and DORMER (new one on me ... something every day, right?) to finish in the NE. Happy weekend, all!

jae 1:57 PM  

Yes pretty easy for a Fri.

@Z et. al. sliCE before PIECE and changing bLOB to GLOB, BEaNE to BEENE and asa to IOS were my only erasures. Actually, that’s slightly more than few erasures.

Nice mini-theme with some Zippy fill, liked it!

Anoa Bob 2:18 PM  

I grew up thinking that NIMROD only meant a bumbling, incompetent person and was surprised when I found out that it originally meany a great hunter. I attribute that to watching Looney Tunes cartoons as a kid and hearing Bugs Bunny call Elmer Fudd, who was all decked out to go wabbit hunting, a NIMROD after Elmer repeatedly did (hilariously) stupid things.

Don't know for sure if Bugs was the first to turn the meaning of NIMROD on its head to ironically refer to an incompetent hunter, but that's how remember it, albeit dimly, through the mists of time. Elmer was definitely no WHIZ KID.

Hungry Mother 2:22 PM  


TCProf 3:45 PM  

It's Van (or "fon") Whyke (or something in Dutch that I find unpronounceable.

MaryLou 5:08 PM  

Fun puzzle Trenton Charlson!

I knew OBEAH from “Meet Je Black”:

Jamaican woman: Obeah.
Joe Black: [Jamaican accent] Rahtid. Obeah evil. I not evil, woman.
Jamaican woman: And what you is then?
Joe Black: I from that next place.
Jamaican woman: You waitin' here to take us? Like you is the bus driver to there?
Joe Black: No, man, I on 'oliday.
Jamaican woman: Some spot you pick. [Groans faintly] The pain. Pain is bad, bad.
Joe Black: I don't have nothin' to do with these things, you know.
Jamaican woman: Make it go away.
Joe Black: Doctor Lady make it alright.
Jamaican woman: Uh-uh. Not this pain. This pain go through and through me. Make it go away.
Joe Black: I can't, sister.
Jamaican woman: You can, mister. Take me to that next place.
Joe Black: It's not your time now.
Jamaican woman: Make it time!
Joe Black: You can't fool with the way things got to be.
Jamaican woman: [Whimpering] Please...
Joe Black: [Pauses] Close your eyes. Go on, sister. [Puts his hands on her, woman smiles and opens her eyes slowly] Soon.

roscoe 88 5:16 PM  

how about 'sup. is that a better clue?

Rex Fudgepacker 8:13 PM  

Easy for Friday ZZ theme lame though. Would like to see XXX theme instead

Boo Radley 8:20 PM  

Zzzzzz. Made me sleepy

Brett Scowcroft 8:22 PM  


Unknown 9:51 PM  

Reel. Are you for real?

Adam 9:51 PM  

IT'S A SLICE OF PIZZA! Special, 2 slices and a soda, $2.75. It's not "2 PIECES". Never never never. You say to your coworker, "Hey, want to grab a slice with me?" Your coworker knows what you're asking. If you say, "Hey, want to grab a PIECE with me?" your coworker might back away looking for the HR rep. Nonononono.

Other than that, I enjoyed the puzzle (which also has 2 Zs) - loved the mini-revealer and that all the ZZs were at the TOP. I still haven't seen the Thor movie, but it's ubiquitous enough that I completely agree with @Rex.

BING is not a good alternative to Google, but, yes, it is an alternative.

Didn't know OBEAH or ORE (as clued), but got them from fair crosses.

Fun Friday the 13th.

Z 10:16 PM  

@Nancy - “Apocalypodes”

Junief 11:34 AM  

Yes, mos def.

Junief 11:44 AM  

Sometimes the answer is “sharp.” So can’t always count on that first m and last r. (As in the key of E sharp.)

Burma Shave 10:16 AM  


EVENNOW in their OLDAGE, they HAVENOT lost the HOTS:
They NONO END to their XGAMES, they are WORTHY SEXPOTS.


spacecraft 10:29 AM  

See, today's puzzle should have run yesterday. I mean, it has a theme--at least as much of one as yesterday's--but a lot easier. The clue for 1-a was typically vague, so I scanned the clue list, and there it was: a reveal type clue. Gimme ZENO yielded ZZTOP (love those guys) and it was off to the races in that crazy car of theirs.

I agree about the excellent use of the big-count letters, though perhaps HAVENOT included the RMK at 46d. Well, we can't be perfect. I thought something might be afoot with that "Pink, for one" clue, and I was right. The POPDIVA wins DOD. Nice to have a Friday puzzle I KENDO; it's WORTHY of a birdie.

BS2 10:46 AM  


ZZTOP to AIDE as playmates, ALLINONE room to DOER.


rondo 12:05 PM  

5a was either gonna be PastA or PIZZA, and ZACH showed me the way, but also gave me a sliCE, until Pink the POPDIVA and yeah baby gave me a PIECE. Not much trouble elsewhere, but the E in OBEAH was the last to drop, as a guess.

I was AHEADOF the others and the first in my area to buy (on 8 track) “Tres Hombres” when ZZTOP released it in ’73. All my friends became ZZTOP fans and the rest is history. I’ve seen ZZTOP live several times over the years and it’s always a good time. It’s still a curiosity that Frank Beard is the guy without one.

Give It Up for this puz. I Thank You. The END.

thefogman 2:59 PM  

I'm sorry but I didn't get ANSARI. Had no idea what RAGNAROK and went with oNSARY and bLOB for the crosses. so DNF for me.

rondo 3:12 PM  

There’s hardly a more iconic symbol of the early years of MTV than the ZZ Top Eliminator car. A fixture in several videos—including “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Sharp Dressed Man,” and “Legs”—the fire-engine red 1933 Ford coupe was the culmination of guitarist Billy Gibbons’ lifelong fascination with hot rods.

Diana,LIW 3:41 PM  

Had the obvious RAGNAROK/ANSARI Natick, leading to a dnf. The rest was a 100% improvement over yesterday, IMO.

Which makes for a great Friday! I may be "off the boards" upcoming for a week or so - depends on computer and puz availabilities. Car show in Pebble Beach. Always a good time.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, "All my Rolls are Silver Ghosts." - Statement overheard at car show a couple years ago. Lah tee dah.

leftcoastTAM 3:50 PM  

EVEN NOW, on Friday, a prominent theme, even if it is just a mini-theme? A bit surprising, but just fine with me.

The Zs in the top row were practically gimmes, but just below them, the obscure OBEAH spoiled the solve for me, and PIECE instead of slice didn't help at all. That middle North section nonetheless looks quite solvable--in retrospect, that is.

Does a WHIZ KID have a "tiny brain"? Obviously, no. Then is a WHIZ KID "tiny"? Again, no. So what's with the silly clue?

Overall, a relatively easy Friday.

rainforest 4:16 PM  

I was positive I dnf before coming here. OBEAH, ISO, ZOETROPE, ANSARI, and ZACH were all unknown to me. I thought film speed measure was ASA, and I had a fight with myself about IsIS/IBIS. So some guessing ensued. I guess I'm a good guesser.

Very stupid of me, after getting ZZTOP, to not immediately get the three double Z'S up TOP. RAGNAROK begot RAZZ, and I just entered PIZZA because, well, because, and FIZZ was my first thought for 10 A.

Kind of surprised there was a theme (I guess this was a theme), and though I struggled in several places, it was an OK puzz.

Actually, this has been a pretty good week for puzzles. Thanks, Will Shortz.

leftcoastTAM 8:03 PM  

Have to add this re my OBEAH problem: Wanted a crossing ankh, also an Egyptian sacred symbol, instead of IBIS. (Probably just trying to excuse myself with a late observation.)

thefogman 9:14 PM  

@Rainy: I also remember old camera film having ASA (American Standards Association) ratings for speed - ASA 400 for example. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) designation was just the international equivalent.

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