1978 Grammy nominee Chris / FRI 8-24-18 / College town east of Greensboro / Caribbean home of Blackbeard's Castle / Futuristic play of 1921 / Real life villain who was antagonist in Robert Ludlum's Bourne Identity

Friday, August 24, 2018

Constructor: Roland Huget

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (6:58)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: ERLE C. Kenton (48D: Director ___ C. Kenton) —
Erle C. Kenton (August 1, 1896 – January 28, 1980) was an American film director. He directed 131 films between 1916 and 1957. He was born in Norborne, Missouri and died in Glendale, California from Parkinson's disease.
Kenton and Edward Ludwig were the principal directors of the 1958-1960 CBS television seriesThe Texan, starring Rory Calhoun as Bill Longley, a "Robin Hood of the West", who drifts through the region helping persons in need. (wikipedia)
• • •

Wow, I don't dislike Fridays very often, but this one was disappointing. Almost painful. Audible ughs several times before I was even half done. A metric ton of wincing. I think my first wince was getting ECHO for [Repercussion]. That is an awful, awkward stretch. Like, the judge would probably rule in your favor, if you had a good lawyer, but we'd all know that that was some letter-of-the-law crap and the clue is actually terrible. RUR and REA are the kind of crosswordese detritus I can kind of tolerate, but shoving RETE up in that section as well ... it was just too much, especially since those long Acrosses weren't all that great to begin with. I can't see any 15 with ONE'S in it without laughing, and CHARLOTTE AMALIE is just crosswordese on steroids. Oh, and then there's AGREERS. [Deep sigh]. And DITS. I haven't even approached the ickiest part of the grid yet: the far west. So many problematic clues and answers all clustered together. ON EARTH should not be allowed to be a thing. AEREO, not great (though mostly I'm mad at myself for knowing it but not being Quite certain how it was spelled). I still don't get the clue on ARCED (26D: Went like a birdie). I assume that's an avian "birdie," as a golf "birdie" shot would not necessarily be ARCED. And if it's avian, then ... what? Birds fly in arcs now? Just a horrible clue. [update: ah, badminton. The very popular sport of badminton. Got it] Then there's SAPOR, site of the error I had that it took me forever to track down (I'd somehow convinced myself that a VACA was a thing, perhaps because SAVOR is so much more of A Word than SAPOR, which is an awful thing no one actually says in the world My God This Puzzle!)

[Like most theater popcorn containers] is just a lie. That clue has no basis in any data or any anything. Only the OVERSIZED containers are OVERSIZED. Over ... what, exactly? How big is just plain old SIZED? The clue on LAD, also amazingly bad (20A: Bucko). Would you call a young boy "Bucko"? I can't hear anyone using LAD as "Bucko" except ... maybe? ... in Britain? Ugh, Why is the cluing in this thing sub-garbage heap!?!?! That "Mad Men" clue is also, literally, a lie. "Mad Men" won Outstanding Drama Series four years in a row. BEST DRAMA is a made-up non-category. Why are you serving me this ERLE, whom no one knows? Why are you serving me not just the normal singular kind but multiple KALES!? I would argue ALL-AMERICAN HERO is not a real thing. It's a vague concept, at best. HERO, real. ALL-AMERICAN, real. AMERICAN HERO, probably real. GREATEST AMERICAN HERO, definitely real. But ALL-AMERICAN HERO, especially as clued (57A: Neil Armstrong or Jesse Owens, say), feels weak. And what the hell was up with that fat joke at Hitchcock's expense?! (50D: Hitchcock double feature?). Worst Friday I've done in ages. I barely EKED this one out. Did I use that right? EKED? I neither know nor care, at this point. Good night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Travis 12:09 AM  

I took the birdie to be the shuttlecock in badminton.

jae 12:16 AM  

Medium. I agree with a lot of @Rex’s points. I almost made the vACA error but PACA was somewhere in the recesses of memory. Triple stacks have problems although the bottom stack was pretty good. Liked it a tad more than @Rex did.

My take on the “birdie” clue was badminton.

CG 12:17 AM  

It's a badminton birdie.

Almost had to give up. CHARLOTTE AMALIE crossing RETE and REA and OLMSTED? OLDSTED/ADALIE seemed fine. And then crossing SAPOR and PACA and AEREO? And on top of this all I thought "jackal" was spelled "jackel"...didn't like that that was grossed with MARG.

TomAz 12:22 AM  

I said on here the other day, "I think Rex pans too many puzzles." I actually said that in support of Rex, the blog, and the commenters, but whatever.

But today I'll add my pan to Rex's. This puzzled BITES, for all the reasons Rex mentioned. I started pretty happy, dropping in REFRIGERATOR CAR and ACE UP ONES SLEEVE almost immediately (and noting that Rex would probably comment on the ONES bit.. but I mean he's right, ONE is used as a pronoun in the NYT xword about 5000 times more frequently than it is used as a pronoun in real life.. but anyway.) Somehow I knew CHARLOTTE AMALIE, though I thought there was a ST (saint) in the middle, but I sussed it out.

It all went to hell after that though. Had LEAN TO for the longest time where SHANTY was supposed to go. Deliberate misdirection maybe? yeah whatever.

I finished in average-ish Friday time, but, blech.

TJS 12:23 AM  

My God, I actually have to agree, Rex. The strangest thing for me was getting almost every long across off of three letters or less. The whole thing took me under 15 minutes, and I am not a speed solver. What a let down for a Friday ! But I liked the Hitchcock clue. What the hell, its not like it'll hurt his feelings.

Patrick O'Connor 12:25 AM  

I've been following your blog for long enough that I'm now puzzled when I can see the same "flaws" (I don't consider the judicious use of "one's" as a flaw, for instance; but you're right that some of the cluing is blurry and no editor should allow a plural for kale) that I know that you'll see, but the problems don't bother me at all, and this is one of those cases. Didn't you enjoy finding CARLOS THE JACKAL and REFRIGERATOR CAR? Don't you really think that all popcorn bags are OVERSIZED and that everyone should call the award that Mad Men won BEST DRAMA? I didn't get the equivalent of the dancing pencil at first because I also think that SAVOR is a more natural word than SAPOR, but when I was told I was in error I flipped it to the more obscure one (with, in this case, the more precise clue). I'd say that other puzzles are more worthy of your contumely than this one.

Ken 12:26 AM  

ARCED for "Went like a birdie" is probably referring to a badminton shuttlecock, or "birdie"

puzzlehoarder 12:38 AM  

This was surprisingly resistant in the north. I got AMALIE quickly but I had a mental block on the first half of the name. My other issue was putting in ACEUPYOURSLEEVE at 16A.

I found much less resistance going down the east side and filled the bottom stack quickly. My entry to the middle west was stalled by having SES at 34D. SIZES seemed a natural ending for 38A.

I just went back north and changed YOUR to ONES and finally remembered CHARLOTTE. Working off of SHANTY that middle west filled in quickly despite having no idea what SED is.

This came in at only four minutes less than yesterday's solve so my start in the north must have been slow.

John 12:40 AM  

Birdie, as in shuttlecock.

Harrison Mooney 12:44 AM  

Long time, first time. Here because I feel smart for once. As it pertains to ARCED, I think it's a badminton birdie?

David G. 12:51 AM  

A birdie shot is usually chipped in from the green, and drops without a putt. Hence, it arcs.

Ellen S 12:57 AM  

I figure ARCED like a badminton birdie. Isn’t that how you spell it?

Atram007 1:08 AM  

horrible puzzle. arced??????? really awful puzzle.

Larry Gilstrap 1:30 AM  

First thing out of my mouth: Big old grid spanners! I like that challenge, as opposed to yesterday's theme of words rotating at a rebus. Call me old fashioned, but when lines of letters in my puzzles make no sense, I get concerned. No such problem today.

Liked it better than Rex. but he really didn't like it, did he. I've been quite a RETE lately, if that works as a sentence. Civility maintains a tenuous hold when the puzzle contains "That BITES." What's next? That sucks or that blows appear over breakfast and folks are enchanted by the clever wordplay. I'm no prude, really! But what are we sucking, blowing, or biting? Discuss.

I have and have continued to be around bicycles most of life. I have seen a $10k bicycle strapped to a $500 car, more than once. Most avid cyclists clip into pedals attached at the ball of the foot. Quite a commitment, scary at first. A TOE CLIP was more of a cage with a strap and rarely seen on any bikes these days.

Don't dismiss the importance of the train and the REFRIGERATOR CAR. Ice became a valuable commodity and trains loaded up and spread produce and meat products all over the world long before refrigeration technology. The Southern California citrus industry and the demise of the passenger pigeon, to name two examples.

Jesse Owens was indeed an ALL AMERICAN HERO.

Jeff 1:33 AM  

Absolutely brutal from top to bottom, one of my least favorite puzzles in a long while. So esoteric, not clever, no fun whatsoever. Audible “ugh” factor pretty much off the charts, especially when I realized the puzzle just relies so much more heavily on odd crosswordese words and phrases over brain- and wordplay. Thought one or two of the long acrosses were promising but then just a huge thud. No thanks.

Harryp 1:34 AM  

After yesterday's DNF, this one made sense to me. 49Across TOE CLIP should be easy to current bikers, but when I last rode one it might have been a cuff to keep your pant leg from being chewed up by the chain (no gears in those days either). 18Across is topical, although I flirted with (SYR)ia. Easy Peasey.

Dolgo 1:58 AM  

I struggled with the same clues Rex mentioned. I agree that there are definitely some "stretches" in this puzzle. As a boy I had a gift from my parents a book called "Wild Animals of the World" which I loved dearly and pored over. So I knew what an agouti was, and PACA came easily. Otherwise I may not have finished the puzzle.

Jay from Queens 2:27 AM  

Liked it more than Rex did, but once I saw a “ones” in there I knew he’d be turned off. I believe the constructor is using the therm Birdie to refer to a Shuttlecock as seen in the game Badminton. The trajectories of said “birdies” in that game are certainly ARCED.

Anonymous 2:29 AM  

Oh Rex--how right you are. Sapor?? I also convinced myself that VACAs exist somewhere in South America. But I'm just a DITS--never heard of Morse Code DITS--thought there were DoTs and dashes.

Anonymous 2:32 AM  

The worst puzzle ever.

chefwen 2:36 AM  

Rex, like a badminton birdie.

Didn’t have nearly as much fun as we had yesterday, this one was rather painful. Top third was a lot easier than the bottom third. Never read any of the Ludlum books, so 54A was downs only.

Loved the Alfred Hitchcock clue and answer CHIN, that was a chuckle out loud moment.

Much Wite Out and with a couple of Googles thrown in, I will have to declare this one a DNF. Dang!

Anonymous 2:43 AM  

Excruciatingly bad.

Ned 2:50 AM  

The birdie clue (ARCED) refers to badminton.

everette 3:23 AM  

ARCED probably refers to the path of a badminton birdie.

Dean 3:29 AM  

Badminton birdies can be said to “arc,” at least in the kind of bad prose that likes to verb everything. But ARCED, which has been uttered in actual conversational English approximately never, looks too much like “arsed” for my taste.

chefwen 4:08 AM  

Thus the problem with moderators, 11 references to badminton re birdie. Let’s go back to the old way.

Jeffrey 5:26 AM  

What’s the difference between an American hero and an all-American hero? Just curious.

Lewis 6:06 AM  

I liked TEETER ON THE EDGE and CARLOS THE JACKAL, and really liked the clue for LAT, with it's tricky period. There was a mini-theme of double EEs (7). I loved the cross of HALE (as in Nathan) and ALL AMERICAN HERO.

And then there's the cross of OVERSIZED and BIG LOSER, the former describing an entity that the latter often comes out of.

BarbieBarbie 6:08 AM  

VACAs do exist, anywhere there are VAQUEROS. Maybe not related to the agouti though, no idea.
Didn’t know REA and mis-spelled AMeLIE so DNF. That’s two in recent history, both my own fault. I feel bad about myself.
Loved the Hitchcock clue. I once heard that babies come in only two models: Hitchcock and Churchill. True!

@chefwen, thinking of you and yours... please check in.

puzzlehoarder 6:32 AM  

I've mentioned this before but it seems to need repeating. Something that obscure animals like AGOUTI, COATI and today's PACA have in common is that they each have their own picture in Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. This text over the years has proven to be a very reliable guide to what will show up in an NYT puzzle. To a constructor looking for the obscure a picture really catches the eye.

Webster's is useful but it's certainly not the end all. Despite the frequency of it's use under this editor SAPOR is not to be found in it. Sapid is and no doubt that's the word SAPOR is based on. Inspite or perhaps because of it's obscurity SAPOR is quite popular with the Times.

SAVOR is a very common word and it kind of fits the clue but VACA is simply the Spanish word for COW. Cows aren't related to AGOUTIS whatsoever.

Webster's is like the Bible of crosswords. Mines an '89 . It's very thread bare and heavily annotated.

kitshef 7:12 AM  

DNF at CHARLOTTE AMeLIE / REe. The former I knew but not the spelling. The latter was just a WoE.

Other than that, it was a Wednesday-level puzzle, and a decent but flawed one. AGREERS, RETE(??), the clue for ARCED, plural KALES, AEREO – these are not good.

But the clue for LAT was a gem.

American Liberal Elite 7:18 AM  

One of my best Friday times ever. So I liked it.

Teedmn 7:24 AM  

I came here assuming someone would explain LAT for “You'd expect to see it before long?”, but @Lewis's comment just has me feeling more idiotic. And I had the Jeff Chen error of REe crossing AMeLIE, rats. And I nearly left in REFRIGERATed CAR but eLMSTED didn’t seem as correct as OLMSTED.

This started out easy with ACEUPONE'SSLEEVE going in with no crosses. I speak using the third person singular possessive all the time. I think when I was younger I thought it made me sound smart, or at least British, and I haven’t totally lost that habit. So I never care about it being in the puzzle.

I had a couple of unsure moments when ExED out and ELIzAH (what? I know!) held me up from JACKAL. And then there's my “penCe” coming after Governor or senator (Mike Pence wasn’t a state senator but I wasn’t sure) - that all cleared up so except for LAT, I declare this easy, smooth Friday with stacks a success. Thanks, Roland.

FLAC 7:38 AM  

Not great, but nowhere near as bad as Rex would have it.

Worth it just for the Hitchcock clue and the reference to Eric C. Kenton, one of the great B-movie directors.

Che 7:45 AM  

I think someone should point out that the clue referred to a badminton birdie.

QuasiMojo 7:46 AM  

Never read Potter or saw MadMen so I don't particularly "enjoy" seeing those type of clues, but I make do. I don't let them get me down.

I took "All-American" to refer to football, or being an athlete, no? I am pretty sure Jesse Owens was one. Not so sure about Neil.

The "arced" birdie made me think of Nelson Rockefeller.

Hitchcock FEATURED his double-chin in silhouette in every episode of his TV show(s). So I doubt he would be put out by the clue.

Most trains on AMTRAK are either overly Air Conditioned, hence "Refrigerator Cars" or completely without air, hence sweatboxes.

My hurdle today was "Agouti" -- I know we've seen it a dozen times but I keep thinking it is a stew of some kind. Or a cousin of Aioli. It just sounds like Italian food to me! I hesitate to imagine the "sapor" of a PACA. Ugh.

FOUR-SIDED before OVERSIZED (which really is a silly answer as I know many people who insist on the smallest size. I for one detest popcorn so I am no expert.)

All in all, a challenging Friday but one that I finished in half my usual time.

Forsythia 8:09 AM  

Dancing a jig today! Fastest Friday ever and have been using the NYT count for 18 months, although doing the syndicated for years. Only 1/2 minute longer than Rex! And he rated it Medium Challenging! Whee!!
Of course geography and Correo Aereo come easier since I am a philatelist. And I read the early Bourne books. Yesterday's was a total DNF even googling, and finally cheating entirely, hugely disappointing.

Off to the Canadian Rockies so no puzzling for a couple weeks. Nice to leave on a high note. I do AGREE that AGREERS and KALES are bad!!

Cassieopia 8:27 AM  

There are soooo many cool things about trains - countingthecars, soundoftherails, beinganengineer, thenamesoflines (Keystone, Coast Starlight, Palmetto) that it was quite a letdown to suss out REFRIGERATORCAR. Boo.

I once saw an engineer climb out of a freight train and go into the coffee shop where I was going as well - i fangirled the poor guy, he probably thought I was crazy but I thought his job was just SO FREAKING COOL. I bought him coffee. My brush with celebrity!

emily 8:31 AM  


emily 8:37 AM  

dits or dots, or dihs or dahs describing dots and dashes in Morse code.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

I have a funny feeling Michael Sharp and Roland Huget aren’t good buddies.

Uncle Alvarez 8:43 AM  

Is there a remote possibility that ARCED refers to the birdie in badminton? Just a hunch.

kitshef 8:45 AM  

@Teedmn - Long. is short for longitude. LAT is short for latitude. When you give your coordinates, the latitude comes before the longitude. So ... you find "LAT" before "Long."

mmorgan 8:50 AM  

I found it a good challenge, very satisfying when I got the answers. I don't see what's wrong with ECHO for repercussion. Some answers were stretchers or groaners but it made me loosen and extend my thinking. Not the best puzzle but to me not that bad at all!

@Deej, most birdies are made with one putt; some are chip-ins, but far fewer. In any case, of course, we're talking about a shuttlecock.

chefwen 8:54 AM  

@BarbieBarbie, It looks like we lucked out again, the system has tracked south and we are hopeful it will continue in that direction and not change course. So far, so good.

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

Terrible puzzle. BTW....living in NC, ELON is a college, not a college town. Elon is in Burlington, NC (yes, just east of Greensboro)

JOHN XXX 9:04 AM  

I loved this puzzle! I say KALES all the time, and CARLOSTHEJACKAL is my favorite terrorist.

The "birdie" clue refers to the British three-pounder artillery shell from the Crimean War.

ArtO 9:09 AM  

Totally agree with Rex. West totally stumped me. Put in "Lean to" instead of SHANTY. Also had GOOGoo eyes... so that contributed to the western mess. Did not understand LAT. Thanks @kitshef for the explanation.

Generally like to suss out the triple stacks and today was no exception but could not win the west.

Sir Hillary 9:13 AM  

Wow, @Rex's OVERSIZED panning and the subsequent piling-on are quite humorous. C'mon, was this really so bad? It's certainly not the greatest puzzle ever, and I'll grant that RETE crossing AGREERS is supremely ugly, but now @Rex is killing the clue for ECHO and asserting that ONEARTH has no business in crosswords? Yikes, sounds like anti-editor bias to me. No surprise.

-- CARLOSTHEJACKAL. When I was a teenager, I read Ludlum novels voraciously. Pulpy semi-trash, but so very fun.
-- CHIN clue. Sorry if it's seen as fat-shaming.
-- That SHANTY and leANTo share those three letters.
-- Any reminder of "Mad Men". Loves that show.
-- "Westworld" dorkery: a major character is named CHARLOTTE HALE

Didn't like:
-- RETE, KALES (plural?), AGREERS, KOR, SED. Serious junk, that.
-- IPLANTO and Plant ___ in the same puzzle. Very nitpicky, I grant.
-- John Adams's FEAR quote. Apt, but oh-so depressing.

Hey NYT! 9:24 AM  

Dear NYT lurker,

Notice that the criticism of this puzzle is leveled at the puzzle itself...NOT the constructor. This is usually how it goes here. It's not personal and if the puzzle constructor or WS choose to take it personally, there's not much commenters can do about that. Granted, if your name is another way to spell "hate," then you might be the victim of some low-level wordplay, but in that case, if people hate your puzzles you're going to have to expect it. It is the internet, after all. You might even notice there are attempts to be positive throughout the comments.

So instead of dismissing the criticism here (and other places) out of hand and then including it in a thinly veiled propaganda piece to get people to stop un-subscribing to your increasingly lame xwords, you might learn something about how the average person feels about your puzzles by reading these comments sections. There are a LOT of valid criticisms here, and it's probably time you do something about it rather than claim we only attack constructors personally here.


An Unofficial and Self-Proclaimed Spokesperson for Rex's (and other non-NYT sponsored) blog.

pmdm 9:26 AM  

Z: Couldn't reply to you the other day. What I was talking about are statements like the following, which I quote. "It's idiotic, the whole thing. SLUMPERLAND is just absurd—the way SLUMPER is absurd ..." This is not an opinion, it is a statement of something purported to be a fact. Maybe you read it differently, and maybe in fact it was intended to be stake as an opinion. But [fact is] it was written as a fact, one that some people would take to be as much in error as today's rotation comment. That's the type of thing I was getting at.

I finished almost half the puzzle before I had to go to the reference sources. And I needed less help than normal to complete the puzzle. So for me, it was easier than most Fridays. The top, for me, was the most difficult part. And at first entering LEANTO rather than SHANTY (what I though of after entering the T) didn't help me.

By the way, I did not go to the Mets game yesterday, but did visit the 50 tap brewery in their park. For those who live within visiting range of the park, if you like beer but hate baseball, the brewery is worth a visit. I found the food so-so, but others might disagree. Just don't visit it when the Mets are playing, especially immediately after the game, except if you like overcrowded places.

Z 9:27 AM  

@Chefwen4:08a.m. - Sure, except we had the same phenomenon before moderation.

@FLAC - How great can ONE be if spellcheck auto-corrects your name to "Eric?"

Yesterday I overestimated the amount of PPP. Today I underestimated. I had a vague sense that it was high but I thought that sense was due in large part to three of the 15's were PPP. But, nope, 25 of 68, 37%. My guess is that solvers with experience will breeze through this. But if you've only been at crosswords for a year or three this one could prove challenging.

I had the same thought on CHARLOTTE AMALIE (although "crosswordese on steroids" expresses it better), so that's a double whammy, PPP and ese. This pretty much summarizes the puzzle, PPP and ese on steroids. Speaking of which, for future reference, PACA.

Suzie Q 9:31 AM  

First I saw all that open space and got worried. Then I zoomed through much of the north and it seemed too easy. That feeling evaporated as I fell into so many traps but in the end I got it!
Googoo for googly really caused some pain.
When I saw C3H8 my first thought was "Wow, that's a lot of hydrogen!"
As @ QuasiMojo said, I doubt Hitch would have been offended because he got a lot of mileage out of that chin.
I guess there's a new Erle in town. He's hanging with his buddy Rae.
No idea about either one.
So I guess there are plenty of reasons to pick this one apart but it was a good workout for me and was satisfying to finish.
She Walks in Beauty is such a simple phrase but a great example of why poetry can be so powerful.

Nancy 9:33 AM  

Please tell me: When did DOTS become DITS? Why did DOTS become DITS? Just asking.

3D is especially well-clued for the age we're living in. Or should I say "living through"? Never forget John Adams. Never forget any of the Framers.

Confession: I looked up the meaning of "agouti", which I never remember. Didn't want to cheat on the actual answer, but I did need to know whether agouti was a soup, an alcoholic beverage, a tree, a dwelling, or, as it turns out, a rodent.

I've heard of GOO GOO eyes, but never of GOOGLY eyes. Please use in a sentence.

Knew CARLOS THE JACKAL from a different source: "The Day of the Jackal". Or did "The Day of the Jackal" become the movie, "The Bourne Identity"? Not sure, actually.

Thank heavens for OLMSTED, who got me into this not-at-all easy puzzle. And it's not only Harry Potter yet, again, still, but it's "Quidditch" again too. Whatever the hell that is.

Carola 9:34 AM  

I guess I'm the odd person out so far, as I really enjoyed the puzzle. For me, the "double feature" aspect was an easy romp through the top half (thanks to ACE at the start) followed by a terrific struggle below OVERSIZED PIETA, where I was slowed down by the incorrect Shoo (for SCAT), "ere" long (I overlooked that diabolical period), ExED out, and MeRl. I loved finally seeing TEETER ON THE EDGE - on the edge of the grid, no less - which let me finish up. Other do-overs: me, too, on leANTo before SHANTY, also GOOGoo eyes, and PiCA.

I liked the parallel "Charles" versions CHARLOTTE and CARLOS and the fake-out (for me) of the double EMS of "swimming" followed not by Hitchcock's double Cees but his CHIN.

In defense of multiple KALES - at our local farmers' market, I have my choice of curly, lacinato, and Russian, and I never know which of those KALES to choose.

GILL I. 9:42 AM  

OBSERVATION DECK 1A. Didn't even hold my breath. Dang! Thank you RUR for my first of many ERASES.
So...It's REFRIGERATOR CAR. Ugh. Sooo many things that are cool on a train. If you're loaded, take the Orient Express London to Venice.
@Rex pretty much has my sentiments today.
I struggled in many places. GOOGLY eyes? I had GOO GOO. Had @TomAz lean to. I kept thinking I was a BIG LOSER today. About the easiest thing for me was getting CHARLOTTE AMALIE because I know Blackbeard and his whereabouts.
OVERSIZED took forever. I had the OVER and wanted priced. We just went to the movies this last week. Saw "Crazy Rich Asians"....Ordered a OVERSIZED popcorn and coke. The whole shebang cost about $20.00. Save your money....on both the movie and the popcorn.
Hey @Pete from yesterday: ELIJAH...Hebrew Bible Book of Chronicles. Happy?
I have one question...My first language was Spanish. What does 34D SED [thirsty] have to do with a latin conjunction? Maybe @pablo can set me straight.
PIETA made me smile because I saw that gorgeous statue in St. Peter's. Then you have to cross it with the most disgusting uneatable vegetable ON EARTH. KALES and okra should only be eaten by rabbits.
Loved Hitchcock's double chin clue.
That's about it.

Z 9:43 AM  

@pmdm - You are not alone in your interpretation but I still disagree. Take a word like "absurd." Can anyone ever say that something is objectively, factually, "absurd." Calling something "absurd," even when the vast majority of people agree that something is "absurd," is always just an opinion. That Rex states it as an absolute does not change the nature of the statement - his opinion. I would go further. "Stop Making Sense is the greatest concert film ever created." Do I really need to add, "in my opinion," for you to understand that this is my opinion and I fully understand that someone else will almost certainly argue (incorrectly) that it is The Last Waltz?

In short, just because an opinion is stated strongly does not transform it into a fact, or even signify that the opiner thinks it is anything more than an opinion.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

Charlotte Amalie is a very, very popular vacation destination. Its the Virgin Islands for God's sake. All American Marriott has a massive hotel there. everybody does.
Sapor is a vastly superior to savor, since, you know, savor doesn't work. It's a verb. I could go one--I mean bitching about All-American hero, really? And why get out the fainting couch over a gentle dig at Hitchcock? He himself poked fun at his weight. Surely he doesn't need some little tin god from a third-rate college in an fifth-rate town to white knight him.
Fact is, Anon 8:43 has it right. Mr. Huge isn't an FOR ( friend of Rex), and if you're not in the club, god help you.

Shawn 9:49 AM  

I’m not an ethnomusicologist but I am a professional conductor. RAGAS (30D) are not Eastern melodies. A raga (there are many) is a more complex system of Indian/Pakistani music. There is no western analog although it is best described to westerners as a collection of scale tones from which melodies are often improvised. Certain phrases within the raga are also repeated or used as the basis for other phrases.

I can’t admit to understanding it with any expertise. However, to clue RAGAS that way denotes a complete lack of understanding or research. I mean...just Google it for the love of dog.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

Hey Rex,

I know you like comics, so check out one of my last works. It's called Bugs Bunny: All American Hero.

Fritz Freleng

Matthew G. 9:54 AM  

Fully agree with Rex’s review today (except for his confusion at “birdie,” which I was confident referred to badminton).

The top third of this puzzle was the easiest triple stack I ever solved—I had everything from the AGREERS line and up filled in within 0:50 or so. My pulse started to race and I thought I was going to destroy my Friday record.

But the rest of this ... oy. SAPOR AEREO PACA all in one spot? And next to SHANTY, which was clued in a manner that suggested LEAN-TO, a word with which it shares three very inconvenient letters? For-get-it. That west wing of the puzzle was dreck that should never be in the NYT.

Ed C 9:57 AM  

Fact: Alfred Hitchcock was fat and had a double chin, a famous double chin, actually. It wasn't a "fat joke at Hitchcock's expense" as Rex says. It was a clue about a famous guy's famous feature. His TV show opened with a silhouette of his famous profile, double chin and all. He literally had a double chin. That's it. Can we please, please stop with the fake hypersensitivity?

Rex's constant offense-taking has grown wearisome. His critiques used to be fun and clever, but most of the wit has on the blog been choked out by incessant word-shaming. Ugh.

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

Are you going to stick with your calumny that " American Hero" might be real?
I've had the pleasure of knowing a few American heroes. You? at this point I think your a bot programmed to spit and sh*t on things. Creep.

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

I heard some stupid song in my head after googly.
Barney Google with the Goo Goo Googly Eyes!

Nancy 10:04 AM  

@Quasi -- As you'll see from my 1st comment, we both had the same take on "agouti". It always seems like a soup or stew to me, too. Great minds, and all that.

Like so many here, I loved the Hitchcock clue. Top honors in a puzzle not exactly full of gems.

I wanted SUCKS before BITES, too. I've actually never heard, or even seen written, the phrase: "That BITES".

If there's one thing worse than KALE it's multiple KALES (Hi, @GILL). For anyone who missed it, my immortal ode to kale, titled I HATE KALE, can be found on the Rexblog of January 15, 2018.

@chefwen -- If you're here, posting away, that means that the storm didn't hit you, or at least not too badly. That's very good news!

Hartley70 10:07 AM  

I was delighted to see the stacks this morning. I started at the bottom with SHE and worked my way up. OLMSTEAD was my gimme in the north. PIETA in the east. CHIN came without a pause and with a smile, although I’ve never considered Alfred’s profile before.

The stacks were fairly easy and I loved CARLOSTHEJACKEL. I thought I had this Friday in the bag until the last minute when I got to the west and went splat on the wall with the PACA, SAPOR cross. I chose the V.

Hartley70 10:09 AM  

Sorry, Frederick. Where did that A come from?

Ethan Edwards 10:20 AM  

The best concert film ever made is The T.A.M.I. Show and both Scorsese and Demme (RIP) will tell you that.

jrstocker 10:23 AM  

Agreed the far west was a nightmare...I also had down REFRIGERATED CAR, and not knowing either of the two proper nouns crossing the two errant spots, ended up stuck.

Blue Stater 10:24 AM  

My sentiments precisely.

QuasiMojo 10:34 AM  

@Nancy, lol, we do often think alike. As for googly, remember the cartoon Barney Google? With “the googoo googly eyes...”?

Hungry Mother 10:42 AM  

Had a V instead of P also. Other than that, I thought it was a good challenge and I was haooy with my performance, a DNF.

Warren Howie Hughes 10:48 AM  

"There is a SHANTY in Old Shanty Town, the roof is so low it nearly touches the ground" Forgive me Rex, I FEAR DITS a SLOE day...Heh Heh Heh

Stanley Hudson 10:57 AM  

@Ethan Edwards, not sure if The T.A.M.I. Show is better but it’s certainly as good as.

ArrBeeJay 10:59 AM  

There isn't a plural form of kale! It's only kale no matter how much you have!!

Chip Hilton 11:28 AM  

Anybody help me figure out the birdie clue?

CHARLOTTEAMALIE went in immediately, which doesn’t usually happen for me on 15-letter clues. With that foothold, I raced through everything . . . except the far west. Plugging in leANto instead of SHANTY (and GOOGoo rather than GOOGLY) and totally believing it to be an absolute certainly didn’t help, but I had no chance on either SAPOR or AEREO. Alas, what was looking like a record-time Friday faded away to a DNF.

I must agree with several of Rex’s quibbles regarding the sub-par fill, but I did enjoy the smooth movement I made thanks to the gettable 15’s. Fun for me.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

HaHaHa. Having Jesse Owens in the clue spoils any unAmerican rant that was sure to happen from 57A.
Too bad Pinkos!

GHarris 11:43 AM  

When I flounder unlike Rex I don’t fault the puzzle unless it is truly unfair. This was tough and I am proud to have worked it all out except for two letters. I,too, went with vaca thinking savor made sense and never hearing ot sapor (even my spellcheck doesn’t like it) and putting in google eyes which left me with shante (my fault entirely).

Lawrie 11:44 AM  

@BarbieBarbie, ditto on the “a” vs. “e” at the crossing of Amalie and Rea. I really dislike a Natick even though I only live about 1/2 mile from the real Natick, which is a perfectly fine town.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

Most NYT puzzles are bro shows, but this one was particularly one-sided. (Blackbeard, Hitchcock, Owens, Armstrong, Kenton, Helm, Che, Elijah, Olmsted, Rea, Adams, Byron, Carlos the Jackal...)

Do better, Shortz. Women exist.

FLAC 11:50 AM  

@Z 9:27. Touche. I guess Otto Korrect is not a devotee of the auteur theory.

Banana Diaquiri 11:54 AM  

not all bikes with drop handle bars are racing bikes. real racing bikes don't use toe clips, at least for the last few decades. real racers on real racing bikes wear shoes with sole locks; they snap into to the pedal.

"Modern cycling shoes are designed to work with clipless pedal systems. Such systems temporarily connect the shoe to the pedal like a ski binding system for maximal efficiency of power-transfer using a cleat on the bottom of each shoe and a matched fitting on the pedal. Several manufacturers produce these systems; consequently, modern shoes usually have threaded holes in the sole in various arrangements to attach cleats from different manufacturers. "

the wiki. I still use toe clips, since I'm not a real racer.

Bob Mills 11:57 AM  

Those of us seeking a new site manager are accepting applications. Only criterion is fairness, which has been missing for a while.

Masked and Anonymous 12:03 PM  

@RP: har. Well, good mornin, Sunshine. I gotta admit, there's somethin in this puppy to please & displease just about anybody. But, I think I admired the playful cluin style of this FriPuz a lot more than U did. [Plays havoc with yer solvequest nanoseconds, I'd grant -- if that's important to U.]

* AGREERS. har
* CHARLOTTE AMeLIE. Capital of the Virgin Islands. Knew it off the CH?R*, but couldn't spell it, a la runtpuzlers @kitshef & @Teedmn.
* Clue for LAT(.) was over-sized-outstandin. Mic drop territory, dudes & darlins.
* Clue for CHIN was also brilliant. I'd be votin in the Hitchcock-wouldn'ta-minded-it-much camp. He had a pretty cool/dark sense of humor on him.
* OVERSIZED. Would be among them agreers who'd say that cluin this as {Like Hitchcock's appearances in his film cameos?} could be goin a dit or two too far.
* SED. staff weeject pick. Latin Lives Today meat. Better clue: {Partly used??} = SED.
* SAOTOME & OLMSTED. Symmetrical learned-somethin-there entries.
* Correo AEREO. Not sure what the Spanish for "har again" is, but pretend I just said it.
* REFRIGERATOR CAR. fave longball answer. Also admired ACE UP ONES SLEEVE and ONE ARTH.

Thanx for the feisty fun, Mr. Huget. [p.s. U ever seen that there "Goldfinger" flick … ?]

Masked & AnonymoUs


Sgreennyc 12:06 PM  

I think Rex and Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons are the same person.

Nards 12:09 PM  

Racing bikes would have pedals meant to be used with cleats, not toe clips. In fact, those pedals are called “clipless pedals”. A racing bike does not have toe clips. Simply not accurate.

pabloinnh 12:27 PM  

@GILL I-Never took Latin, but I have sung enough Latin to know that "sed" is "but" in that romance language forerunner. Also, I love the idea of a VACA, which seems to have been a common mistake today, as a small rodent-like cow. Ja ja ja.

I wrote "correo aereo" on dozens and dozens of envelopes when I lived in Spain and the love of my life was back in the states in college. I guess it worked, because next week we celebrate our 48th. Cuando el tiempo no corre, vuela.

Knew "dits" from learning Morse code as "dits" and "dahs". Knew OLMSTED and CHARLOTTEAMALIE right away. Knew CARLOSTHEJACKAL. In short, knew enough stuff and sussed enough other stuff to feel smart enough to enjoy this one lots more than a lot of other folks here today.

Joseph Michael 12:39 PM  

This puzzle had a lot to like, especially CARLOS THE JACKAL and the clue for LAT with its period hiding in plain sight. Also loved the Hitchcock reference which is not a “fat joke” but a tribute to his signature profile.

OLMSTEAD was easy since I live in a town that he designed and features winding roads that suggest his idea of a city within a park.

My biggest hangup occurrd in the northwest where I wanted LEAN TO before SHANTY and GOO GOO before GOOGLY and didn’t know what an Agouti is, much less who it’s relative might be.

Time for lunch. I think I’ll have some KALES.

Unknown 12:44 PM  

Sed is latin for but.

jberg 12:45 PM  

DNF, as I had SAvOR / vACA and never looked back. I did notice that vaca means cow in Spanish, but figured it might be an animal name in some indigenous language. If I had thought more, I think I might have come up with PACA -- but I didn't think more.

I still enjoyed it, though; don't mind ONES, and I think CHARLOTTE AMALIE is pretty well known; for the spelling, you just have to remember that it's named for the Queen-Consort of Christian V. Fun fact: it was called "Taphus" when it was founded.

Another fun fact: unless it's a putt, a golf shot will be ARCED just as much as a badminton shot. Badminton fits the clue better, I'd agree, only I didn't think of it, and still got it.

@Nancy -- DIT and dah are supposed to be phonetic representations of the sounds the telegraph key makes. So if someone asks you "What's Morse for s?" you' probably say dot dot dot; but if you're writing a thrilling story about a small fishing boat foundering in a storm and sending out pleas for help, you might type "dit dit dit dah dah dah dit dit dit."

@Lewis, thanks for explaining LAT; I couldn't figure it out.

In my dictionary, a RETE is a network of nerves, not a bundle. I got it from the crosses, but didn't understand it.

Most interesting writeovers: I meAN TO crossing leAN-to, and seeing the AMA in 17A and plunking down "jAMAica," presumably to be preceded by the name of some town. Also Four-SIdED before OVERSIZED, both of which are correct answers (if you don't count the bottom as a side).

@Larry, I'm with you on the TOE CLIPs -- I have an old bike that has them, but only because I put them on 40 years ago. I keep thinking I should take them off -- they do help to pedal, but they're such a drag when you stop or start. I think those modern shoe-pedal combinations are actually pretty easy to attach and detach, although I haven't tried them and don't know for sure. BTW, where can I get me one of those $500 cars? Or was that in the past -- I did buy a '47 Pontiac for $35 back in 1963.

Well, I slept late and then this took longer than usual, so I'd better get to work.

Unknown 12:48 PM  

Horrible & hard in a distinctly i pleasurable way. Rex nailed it. Charlotte Amalie is absurd Agreer is not a word- I would never accept that from a 3rd grader even. I liked ALLAMERICANHERO but that’s not enough payoff for sticky, sloggy drek.

Unknown 12:54 PM  

Usually when I eat kale, there are several leaves on my plate. Nobody ever asks how I like my KALES. When I have grown it, I’ve never said I’ll go check on my KALES. Nor I’m sure has anyone. Even when I ask my husb to get some at the market, I’ll say, get a couple heads of kale—never get a couple KALES. Silly, sad, sloppy.

Anonymous 12:59 PM  

Ugh is right. I did not like BIG LOSER.

Lizzie 1:08 PM  

Racing bikes do not have toe clips and haven’t for decades. Racers have pedal cleats attached to their bike shoes that slip into a grove on the pedal.

Hungry Mother 1:10 PM  

When I was in the Army Engineers in the ‘60s, my MOS (miltary occupational sprecialty) was Intermediate speed Radio Operator. The speed referred to how fast one could send and receive Morse code on small radios such as might be attached to a Jeep. At times in training or on task, Morse code must be spoken. A dot is pronounced “dit” and a dash is pronounced “dah”. Sometimes in the bars we’d talk to each other that way.

Unknown 1:17 PM  

Also toeclips are not used on racing bicycles, cleats are

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

@anon 1:18
I was genuinely trying to follow his disquisition on facts versus opinions. He's even more muddle than usual. I'm not sure if he's a fictional character or just a crank, but whatever he is, I wish he'd go haunt some other place.

Wanderlust 1:27 PM  

A DNF, I guess, because of SAPOR and PACA. I actually had it wrong differently than most - SABOR and BACA because sabor is Spanish for taste and I couldn’t imagine vaca could be any other animal than a cow. I may have once heard of a paca but definitely not sapor, so that did seem like an unfair cross. Agree with Rex’s enmity for many of the short answers, but I liked the long answers a lot. And some of the criticism is silly. Hitchcock double was a great clue and badminton is not such an obscure sport that you shouldn’t recognize birdie.

Wanderlust 1:30 PM  

Also, my favorite reference to kale was a New Yorker cartoon of a tombstone with the epitaph “I ate all that kale for nothing!” Roz Chast, I believe.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

Yes, it may take several dozen people to do that before it sinks in.

JC66 1:51 PM  

Maybe TOECLIPS are used in badminton.

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

@Ed C9:57 AM
You state "He literally had a double chin." Is there a metaphorical double chin? I think ONE has a double chin or ONE does not.

TubaDon 1:57 PM  

     After OLMSTED and TSARIST, my mind on the top triple layer so I had to work around clockwise. Back at the top the AM–L finally dredged AMALIE out of my memory but had to struggle to cozy up to CHARLOTTE. Too many wrong initial guesses like SAVOR, VOLE, GOOGOO slowed down my solving time. Reluctantly have to go along with many of Rex's grumbles about the clues.

Anonymous 1:57 PM  

Do you enjoy cheese with your whine?

Anonymous 2:01 PM  


Anonymous 2:05 PM  

Agouti is actually very tasty and highly prized by Africans. If you make it over someday, be sure and try some. It was an ok puzzle. I stumbled on the rea and amalie crossing. I agree that kales should not be allowed in the puzzle.

Rainbow 2:23 PM  

Kale Varieties:

Delaway. (60-65 days, Heirloom) Very attractive, flavorful and long producing green leafed kale with purple tingeing and purple stems. ...
Lark's Tongue. (55 days, Heirloom) Lark's tongue kale is an old and very tasty German kale variety. ...
Red Russian. (55 days. ...
Red Ursa. ...
Ripbor (F1) ...
Scarlet. ...
Siberian. ...
Toscano / Lacinato.

For more information:


Ergo KALES is entirely legitimate.

Now, if someone would deal with the birdie and bicycle clips issues.

beam aims north 2:28 PM  

I had some high hopes for this one after dropping in "refrigerator car" and "Charlotte-Amalie" right away. But I could not solve that weird area with "sapor" and "paca" and "aereo."

Randy (Boulder) 2:38 PM  

TOE CLIP is incorrectly clued. Modern bicycle riders and racers use "clipless pedals."

TOE CLIPs went out of fashion in the 1980s because it is difficult to get ONES foot in and out of the webbing straps quickly.

GILL I. 2:58 PM  

@pablo....Hostia y gilipollas de mi parte. I looked at that clue and thought it referred to Spanish latin. Thanks for clarifying.
And...enhorabuena on the long lasting courtship. We're going on treinta y tres.....!

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

So what everyone's saying here is that toeclips travel in arcs, and that badminton birdies are aren't used on racing bikes any more? Were they ever?

Cassieopia 3:22 PM  

...and don’t forget how very SAvORy those vACAs are, especially when delivered via REFRIGERATORCAR.

Girish 3:23 PM  

@Anonymous 9:44 AM You know the name of the wife of Christian V and not your own? Savor (n.) the quality in a substance that affects the sense of taste and smell (also the original Latin spelling.) Would you care to share where you were schooled? I’m not suggesting you have goo-goo eyes for Rex but why teeter on the edge with your criticism? Try a few ragas to soothe... be well.

CDilly52 4:07 PM  

Hand up! And one of the ones I was certain was correct just because of all the other horrible earlier clues!

CDilly52 4:23 PM  

Neil Armstrong: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” June, 1969 moonwalk.

Jesse Owens: possibly the most famous American track and field athlete. Set numerous records that still stand and he won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

CDilly52 4:30 PM  

With me it was a mental picture of Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster (often described by Oscar or Grover as having “great big googly eyes”) singing his theme song “C is for cookie. . . “. Too much time with the grandkids?

CDilly52 4:45 PM  

Well, I finally finished and the total time was normal Friday thanks to slamming in the top triple stack. After that, though it was total piecemeal - go away and think, come back and put in the answers that came to me during the hiatus. Read. Think. Repeat. Loved the Hitchcock show in the ‘70s and got the reference instantly recalling his silhouette. Bottom stack was a bit stickier. A long time Ludlum reader, Carlos popped itself in as did ...HERO and ...ON THE EDGE, but the ALL AMERICAN and TEETER stumped me for a hot minute. Wavelength problems mostly and I didn’t think the opus was as bad as do many of this community. In general, I do not mind “crosswordese” as much as some. I believe that it generally is part of the overall culture of the past time and I often enjoy seeing some of the old chestnuts especially when they hep me get a tough section started or finished.

Joe Bleaux 4:51 PM  

An elite one, I 'd guess, a la All Star ... but, yeah.

Larry 6:01 PM  

I thought "Hitchcock Double Feature" was a terrific clue.

Van Hallweg 6:55 PM  

This puzzle made me feel bad about myself, which is the opposite of what I’m looking for from my hobbies

Teedmn 7:27 PM  

@kitshef, thanks for the (delayed) forehead slap!

Da Dit Dit Da 7:43 PM  

— •••• •• •••
•——• ••— ——•• ——•• •—•• •
—••• •• — • •••

Unknown 7:52 PM  

Not sure if it’s my age (34), cultural bias, or what, but I have never heard of way too many of these, which were mostly way too close together. Rete? Chris Rea? Correo Aereo? Paca? Saotome [*googles* São Tomé]? Help, I’m in the wrong universe.

Also just furious at the clue for EKED, which made a better clue for EXED and made the across (also new on me) even more senseless than it had to be.

Anonymous 8:15 PM  

What record of Jesse Owens still stands?

Anonymous 9:34 PM  

88s to Hungry mother

puzzlehoarder 9:38 PM  

@RK Beatrice, I don't know if you'll see this but I feel your frustration. Remember that many of the commenters here measure their solving experience in decades. If you haven't paid the $20 for xwordinfo I highly suggest you do. Study the solutions and the individual clue lists for each entry. If I'd had such a resource when I started I'd be way ahead of where I am now.

Shackfu 10:26 PM  

Crap. This was disturbing based on the liberties the constructor took just to achieve some semblance of synonymity (yes I know I made that up). It actually must take an ungodly amount of time to concoct this stuff up. Well the writer and editor failed me. Seriously: arced; oversized, sapor... and eked was really exed. If I see Avia one more time I may switch to candy crush. Time to play mindless games, like Bricks and Balls. Ugh!!!!

Monty Boy 10:54 PM  

Very tough for me, an average solver. Way over my average Friday time, but I finished using my criteria for Friday and Saturday: unlimited googles.

For arced, I like 3 pounder the best of the suggested clues. Now that's obscure (if true). Me? I'd have clued it as Bye Bye ___.

Unknown 7:02 PM  

Totally agree with all you wrote, Rex, Had to quit after not getting anywhere on bottom half and west side. Sapor!? Is that even English? Sounds like Spanish to me.

Burma Shave 12:14 PM  


with no FEAR SHE said, “IPLANTO be a BIGLOSER,
after a few BITES SHE would HEAVE,
until any ALLAMERICANHERO ONEARTH would choose her.


spacecraft 12:20 PM  

Got it, but ONLY with a little bit o' luck, as "Halfred" Dolittle would say. For one thing, I filled in REDTAG despite misreading the clue as "Safe indicator." Trying to fit in something like PALMSDOWNSWEEP. Or PICTUREHUNGATEYELEVEL.

Slow starter, for sure. 1-across should have registered right away, but it took me 3/4 of the way through before aha!ing that one. Lots to gripe about in the fill: I assume that the two worthies in clue 57-across were both elected to an ALL-AMERICAN team. Quite probable, but otherwise I'd be with the OFL AGREERS who say that's not the greatest line in the grid.

My big owie? How many KALES can there be? Guys, you keep pluralizing collective nouns, and that dog don't hunt! Don't talk to me about obscure sub-varieties that ONLY a botanist would know or care about. KALE is KALE. Other wince-elicitors include yet another unfortunate iteration of EKE (-S, -D, etc.). I say "EEK!" when I see it. Then there's the just-as-hackneyed ETE, right there in the marquee position. Crutch much?

SAOTOME can't be much of an island; I never heard of it. Crosses prevailed. And: how did "Zero" get to be BIGLOSER?? Granted, if that's your final score, you most likely lost. But BIG??? I just don't get it. I also AGREE about the popcorn barrels; ONLY the OVERSIZED ones are...yeah . 'Course, anybody who buys ANYTHING at the outrageous prices charged in theater lobbies is throwing away money; EAT before you go, knuckleheads!

DOD is the charming MARG Helgenberger. Triumph points and the appearance of "birdie" in the clue set notwithstanding, IPLANTO give this one a par. He EKED it out. EEK!

rainforest 2:51 PM  

When I first viewed the grid I was thinking "oh no! Not a third consecutive DNF!"
But I started in the North with RACK, ECHO, RUR, RETE (fine word; accurate clue) and CELL,and the entire section was done like dinner. Side note: you'd think that AVIA is the biggest-selling athletic shoe out there. I'm not sure they are still being made.

A write-over of leANTo and some muddling in the middle followed, but the South came just as quickly as the North. I know there are several types of KALE(S), so that was no problem.

Calling someone a "zero" is the same as calling them a BIG LOSER.

So, much easier than yesterday's. Liked many of the clues, like the ones for DITS, CHIN, BIZ, eg, and both stacks. Good puzzle.

rondo 3:18 PM  

A slow start and a slower finish. Yeah baby MARG Helgenberger got me going in the SE and I pretty much worked my way up. A real inkfest in the NW with ImeANTO, GOOGoo, and the popular leANTo. SAPOR and PACA seem to have come from the Maleska days.

PIETA to me is PIETA Brown, Greg’s daughter who is a fine musician in her own right.

The clue for KOR coulda been “Swedish cows”. Et KO, tre KOR. And HOLM as “Swedish island”. These things show up more often than you might think. And yes, I have solved Swedish xword puzzles.

With that inkfest I don’t know how ONEARTH I finished.

Diana,LIW 3:55 PM  

Another "let's play horseshoes" Friday - close, but not winning cigar.

A couple of Naticks, including the pirate's home away from home and the fact that accordions have reeds?? But there were other unknown folks, as well.

Upward and onward to the weekend.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Unknown 5:22 PM  

Don't see Rex didn't like the hitchcHit clue...his silhouette appears in his movie credits and that double chin is the most prominent feature...he also was a serial abuser of his female actresses...surprised that uber liberal Rex was offended

thefogman 8:28 PM  

Tough, tough, tough! Especially the top portion. But I got it! And unlike OFL who just wants to beat the clock, I actually enjoyed the challenge and the time it took to solve this one. The minor flaws did not diminish the experience enough to make me hate it. Well done Roland Huget!

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