Six-time all-stary Ron / FRI 9-28-18 / Spy who trades sex secrets informally / Assassin Sparafucile in Rigoletto / User of popular social news site

Friday, September 28, 2018

Constructor: Kameron Austin Collins

Relative difficulty: Easy (4:36)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: MT DANA (38A: Peak that marks the eastern boundary of Yosemite Natl. park) —
Mount Dana is a mountain in the U.S. state of California. Its summit marks the eastern boundary of Yosemite National Park and the western boundary of the Ansel Adams Wilderness. At an elevation of 13,061 feet (3,981 m), it is the second highest mountain in Yosemite (after Mount Lyell), and the northernmost summit in the Sierra Nevada which is over 13000 feet in elevation. Mount Dana is the highest peak in Yosemite that is a simple hike to the summit. The mountain is named in honor of James Dwight Dana, who was a professor of natural history and geology at Yale. (wikipedia)
• • •

First things first. That PUGS clue is not a dog clue. It's a boxing clue (11D: Boxers). OK then, moving on: this thing must be Super easy, because I solved it upon waking (at 4:15am, don't ask!), which is not, historically, the most auspicious time for me to solve crosswords, but I came very close to my (recent) record, time-wise. KAC's puzzles can be very hard, but this one was right over the plate, for me. Long answers opened right up, and struggles, where they existed, were minimal. The NE and SW are potentially dangerous, in that the ways in and out of them are Very narrow. This caused me a little trouble at the end, in the SW, where I didn't know MT. DANA (38A) at all, and I had not POWER but PAUSE at first for 44D: Remote button, leaving me to fight my way through that corner starting from the inside. Luckily, BRIT-to-SCEPTER-etc. wasn't too tough a fight. I feel like this puzzle will be easy for anyone who knows the song "BOOTYLICIOUS" (so ... for a lot of people) (30A: 2001 Destiny's Child #1 hit with the lyric "I don't think you ready for this jelly"). I had the BOO- already by the time I saw that clue, but I wouldn't have needed it. Gigantic gimme. But why not? Fridays can be fun and easy(ish) from time to time. Give people a lifeline, throw them a long BOOTYLICIOUS rope. Seems a fine, fair thing to do on occasion. Gives tyros a shot at getting into a themeless. It's welcoming, really.

I have only ever seen HOE CAKEs in Robert Townsend's "Hollywood Shuffle" (1987), but it was memorable enough that that answer posed no problem (15A: Cornmeal treat). I like that it comes right after ARAPAHO, so you reading the Across answeres sequentially you get ARAPOHOHOECAKES. I feel like there's a crossword theme here. ARAPOHOHOHOS. BOGOTATATAS. NOSFERATUTUTUS. COLORADODODOS. Etc. OK, it's not great, forget I said anything. The hardest part of this puzzle for me was actually remembering how to spell SADA (!) Thompson's name (5D: Actress Thompson of "Family"). I wrote in SADE, thinking it was an alternate spelling of Sadie, which gave me MEDIEN at 19A: Highway divider, which, honestly, looked possible. Certainly a better answer than AMBIEN, which was my first guess. Me: "Do they spell MEDIEN like that? I guess it's possible?" But then I sort of remembered that her name was maybe possibly SADA, and I went with that. No idea how I remembered BEHR paint, but it was very helpful in the SE. Only part of the center area that gave me pause was NORSE ___ (36A: Figures in the Edda). I was prepared for virtually any word to go in that blank space, but it turned out just to be a synonym of "gods." I've never seen the word LUNULAR (16A: Crescent-shaped), so I needed every cross there, but luckily those crosses were easy to come by *and* LUNULAR clearly makes sense once you've got it in there—shaped like a (crescent) moon! OK, off to my 6am (!) appointment. Bye.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 5:23 AM  

Did not know Bootylicious, but still managed to solve the puzzle. Had the most trouble with southwest corner but overall a pleasant puzzle and definitely easy for a Friday.

AmandaPup 5:46 AM  

wronog puzzle showing, and I need help on one clue LP? or at least it is the only one which looks wrong even though the downs look rght


Robso 6:05 AM  

Xword Nerd Comment (redundant?): constricted grid created four mini puzzles : (

Unknown 6:12 AM  


Lewis 6:23 AM  

Clean, clever and contemporary. Lovely clues (EVE, CHEM LAB, and especially BIKE SHOP) and fun answers (HOE CAKE, BOOTYLICIOUS, HONEYPOT, REDDITOR, TRUST FUND BABY). Mini double-ess theme (5). I learned afterward that the LUNULAR is the white area at the base of the fingernail.

Three times "Aha!"s came just as I was thinking I was going to have to look something up, making for one of those ULTRA satisfying solves. Thank you for this, Kameron!

JHC 7:05 AM  

I can't be the only one who had to just run the alphabet at ALMAY/CEY. Does that count as a Natick? Neither proper noun is completely obscure, but both are either you know it or you don't, and that final consonant could be just about anything.

kitshef 7:13 AM  

Surprising number of things either I’ve never heard of (MT. DANA, HONEY POT) or have heard of but am not quite sure what they are (e.g HOE CAKE, MET GALA, Gizmodo or Engadget, C CLASS) in a puzzle that was pretty easy – meaning the crosses were fair.

For his career, Ron CEY hit .261 and slugged .445. In the postseason, he hit .261 and slugged .441. What a choker. He also ran funny, resulting in one of the great baseball nicknames: the penguin.

Irene 7:16 AM  

Really? You really remembered BEHR paint? That is the worst example of brand-name cluing I've ever seen. Kleenex, yes. Even ALMAY. But Behr paint?

Justin 7:28 AM  

The fill in this sparkles. Little if any crosswordese. Lots of fun answers. A fun Friday.

Passing Shot 7:46 AM  

Maybe it’s just the hangover from yesterday’s proceedings, but with KEG, RUED, GOT SORE, and the center masterpieceTRUST FUND BABY, this puzzle felt so on-point.

puzzlehoarder 7:47 AM  

When I saw the constructor's name I expected a good solve and I wasn't disappointed. All of his puzzles are enggaging and original. Better yet I didn't find it easy. All four corners had to go in before I could get the center.

Seth 7:50 AM  

Double Naticked at ALMAY/LUNULAR and ALMAY/CEY. Liked the puzzle, but both were utter blind alphabet-running guesses.

Good ol' Joe 8:01 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle. But REDTIDE clues as “colorful beach sighting” is weird/wrong. Red tide is not anything colorful - it is an awful, toxic, nasty phenomenon currently wreaking havoc on much of the gulf coast of Florida, destroying sea life by the millions. Despite its name it doesn’t really look red, it looks like dead fish.

Paul 8:14 AM  

@JHC ALMAY was the last clue to fall for me. I was looking at A_MA_ and about ready to through in the towel when the answer came. I particularly like puzzles like this one that give just enough help to pull things from the dustiest reaches of memory.

mambridge 8:19 AM  

Never heard BOOTYLICIOUS, never heard of a TRUST FUND BABY. Tough one for me, well over average time.

turkeyneck 8:31 AM  

"it's not great, forget I said anything."--my takeaway.

Hungry Mother 8:45 AM  

Big time slogfest today, but I got it done with an assist by my wife who helped with one letter of the Revlon clue. She gave me the Y which triggered my memory to get CEY. This one was way up on the difficult scale for me. If tommorow is a skosh harder, I’m sunk. Had a funny feeling all day yesterday realizing that a key player was in Bethany Beach, where I ran a half marathon last weekend. I wonder if he ran it also?

GILL I. 8:51 AM  

I scare myself when I come up with BOOTYLICIOUS. I also get scared when I remember CHRISSY in her role on the loudest groan inducing show called Three's Company. Come and knock on my door. AAACH.
Loved this puzzle. Was so afraid I was going to get another meh. KAC is da bomb....
I had @Rex's PAUSE and that was the only area that had me taking a break. BRIT gave me ROW so the W finally gave me POWER. YAY me.
HONEY POT was new to me. I was able to get it but I didn't "GET" it. Looked it up. The HONEY is the lure. I think PIE should be at the end or am I being obtuse?
54A colorful beach sightings....was looking for some eye candy. I really think it should have been clued as a horrible harmful algae bloom.
Wasn't the BIKE SHOP clue clever?
This was an "A" CLASS for moi. Thanks for the fun.

Rube 9:02 AM  

Agree this was not a Friday level difficulty. But even if I had the completed grid in front of me I would need 4 minutes to just write the answers in. How are times like this physically possible.? Do Mondays take 2 minutes?

Unknown 9:05 AM  

Having things like BOOTYLICIOUS in the puzzle is a lot more objectionable than having NRA and LAME, about which Rex always bitches.

Mike Herlihy 9:10 AM  

Ditto to what Good ol' Joe said. Red tide is not colorful. I suppose the *name* is, but that's lame.

Sir Hillary 9:15 AM  

I was excited to see KAC's name atop this one, but was initially disappointed because the NW corner (which I did first) is a bit tame. As a diehard Le Carré fan, I like HONEYPOT a lot, but the rest up there is blah.

Fortunately, things improved markedly from there. TRUSTFUNDBABY is fantastic, and I really enjoyed the other three corners. Virtually no short junk, so top marks for that. Overall, not really the INDIE vibe you often get from KAC, but a very good NYT Friday.

Other stuff:
-- BOOTYLICIOUS looks wonderful in the grid. Not exactly contemporary (2001) but very nice nonetheless.
-- I love AGASSI over SMASH[UP].
-- CCLASS is unfortunate, but at least the first C is a gimme due to the cross.
-- I'm sure I'm one of many who initially entered HOtCAKE. Also had TROmPED for a while.
-- The BIKESHOP clue: YEAHSURE, I get it, haha, but too cutesy and forced for me.
-- I'm on my second RESCUEDOG, so big thumbs-up to that one.

Good start to the weekend.

Z 9:31 AM  

Easy here even with my total ignorance of Destiny Child’s oeuvre. I did look at the PPP* before coming here. It is getting close to the 33% line, but falls just under (22/68). however, two of the marquee answers are PPP, so this really toes the line at being excessive. No problem here with the Ron CEY/ALMAY crossing, but I can see where that can give people problems.

Easy here, but I’ve done quite a few of KAC’s puzzles lately. This is easier than many of his and I’m getting more on his wavelength, so maybe a little easier for me than for people new to his style. My only real holdup was Pause before POWER “confirmed” by SCEPTre. I had TECH-maG for a bit before sussing out TECHBLOG, which allowed me to see the POWER button.

@kitshef - I was surprised at those career numbers, so I looked him up. A 48.1 career WARP is a fairer assessment of his career, almost all of it being achieved by age 32. Those last years with the Cubs were not great.

@Irene - I think BEHR is Home Depot’s store brand, so pretty ubiquitous in home remodel circles.

*PPP - Pop culture, Product names, and other Proper nouns. When the total is more than 33% of the answers some subset of solvers will struggle.

Z 9:46 AM  

Huh. Maybe we should do a poll on the BIKE SHOP clue.
1. Fantastic
2. Too cute by half
3. I still don’t get it

I was #3 for many precious nanoseconds then was Schrödinger’s cat once I understood.

RVA flier 9:46 AM  

Well there were at least two of us.

RVA flier 9:48 AM  


TomAz 9:49 AM  

This played on the hard side for me, but it was very fair, I thought. Took me quite a while to get BOOTYLICIOUS.. at first I couldn't think of the song at all, then when I had BOO I got it.. but spelled it BOOdeLICIOUS. I knew CHRISSY but again it took me a while to remember it.

Didn't know MT DANA at all. Not HOE CAKE or LUNULAR. I guess I knew DYSON (I heard him on How I Built This with Guy Raz recently) but it took forever to come to me.. 5 letter vacuums remain Orecks in my mind.

MEDIAN, CEY, RADISSON all went in immediately. I knew the Mercedes was something-CLASS so that gave me a hold too.

In the end I finished 25% slower than normal Friday time, but the puzzle was enjoyable and worthwhile.

Isandxan 9:54 AM  

MataHari before HONEYPOT and SCEPTre / Pause were the only two slow downs. Didn't know BOOTYLICIOUS as a song name (more of an INDIE guy) but dropped it in easily after BOOT from the crosses. TRUSTFUNDBABY went in on TR. All in all, a fun, easy Friday with some great answers.

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

Z: Bikes have spokes

mmorgan 10:33 AM  

Never heard of BOOTYLICIOUS but it came fairly easily from crosses. I think I've possibly, vaguely, heard of Destiny's Child but I know nothing about them and I've never heard their music. I prefer MAXWELL ANDERSON.

woolf 10:36 AM  

33 across threw me until I realized "Bret Kavanaugh" has two t's.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Why does bootylicious get a pass?
Raunchy and degrading to women even if sung by a girl group.

Hartley70 10:43 AM  

I enjoyed this quick romp. How I remembered CHRISSY is beyond me. I could swear I never watched that silly show, but that answer got me off to a fast start. I wanted METball and I confused “Into the Wild” with that book that was made into a movie with Reese Witherspoon. She hiked a trail in California and I couldn’t remember that name other than “western equivalent of Appalachian trail. Those two problems slowed me up in the NE.

I got MTDANA and CEY from the crosses. Ron CEY is an “all star” what? I vaguely thought Ron Ely was the answer but I have no idea who he is either. He could be a neighbor.

BIKESHOP was cute and it came easily once SHOP was in place.

kodak jenkins 10:49 AM  

Great puzzle, though twice as easy as my usual Friday. I won't complain because the fill was interesting and managed to avoid all the horrible crosswordese. Lots of first time answers in there.

I got CEY immediately because he was memorable from my Dodgers/Cardinals/Yankees childhood though I never would have guessed he was an All-Star.

BIKESHOP clue should probably have a "?" tacked on.

Ellen S 10:54 AM  

@Z - I vote #1 on the BIKE SHOP clue. Never heard of anything, but the puzzle was still a lot of fun. Okay, I watched about two episodes of Three’s Company, but not enough to remember the characters’ names. Only recognized Ron CEY after filling it all in from crosses, and ALMAY wasn’t a gimme either, so that Y was hard come by. I still found it a fun solve.

Peter P 10:58 AM  

Absolute easiest and fastest Friday solve for me. I'm lucky if I even finish a Friday, and this one I raced through the NW and SE areas, but got a little tangled in the SW and NE, so no sub-ten minute time for me (which I can only do on Mondays and Tuesdays with any regularity.) I always forget answer like ALMAY, and ORANGS had me tripped up as a) I've never heard them referred to in that way and b) chimpS fit the space nicely and was a familiar nickname. It was RADISSON that finally unplugged that area for me, but I just couldn't conjure up the name for an embarassingly long time, even though I had the R from RESCUEDOG almost immediately. My brain was stuck on ramadainn, which clearly doesn't fit.

Not sure what gave me trouble in the SW corner. In retrospect, looks pretty easy, but took some chiseling to get it to work. Except for MTDANA, everything in that corner is familiar and I've seen before.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

I think Somers's character's full name was Christmas Snow. Deep trivia, and for a second, it hung me up.

Peter P 11:01 AM  

Oh, yeah, also, I always forget ALMAY, which I feel has shown up more than a few times in these puzzles, but I just have no memory for cosmetic brand names. CEY I was lucky with, as I grew up (and still am) a Cubs fan, so I well know "The Penguin" at third base from the heartbreaking 1984 team.

TJS 11:03 AM  

Thought this puzzle was just right for a Friday. Tough enough for me, but ultimately fair and satisfying.
@Hartley 70, "He could be a neighbor" best laugh of the day.
Can we stay apolitical today? I, for one, could use the break.

Shafty 11:13 AM  

Amen to this. I think at least a one-day politics time-out would be refreshing.

Speaking of “refreshing,” Rex, thanks for the positive review of a great puzzle today.

RooMonster 11:36 AM  

Hey All !
Maybe it's all psychological, but FriPuzs seem to trip me up even when the majority here say it was easy. This played as a typical tough Friday here.

Did online today, so used the Check feature to fetter out the wrongness, thereby making puz a bit easier on the ole brain. Speeds things up a bit, too, as you can get some wotd-pattern recognition going rather than having wrong letters. Cheating? If you say so. I call it assisting. :-)

Overall a nice puz, themelesses don't do much for me, I'm more a themed puz guy. This one was good in the not-much-dreck department.

12D had A_____A, tried AfricA, ArabiA, Asia_A. Har. SKIN had a nice/deceptive clue. CUBIC clue seemed like an LSAT question. REDDITOR? YEAH, SURE. :-)



Banana Diaquiri 11:38 AM  

nothing made from cornmeal is a treat. all such foods are staples, and in many places, the sole source of nutrition.

Nancy 11:47 AM  

Easy? Give me a break. Didn't know the crossing PPP, BEHR and BASSO. And I also had TROmPED instead of TROOPED for "Marched." So, when I had to guess at the aforementioned cross, I ended up with LEHR/LASSM. Could the assassin in the opera have been named LASSM? Yessm.

Also had BODY SHOP instead of BIKE SHOP for the spokesperson clue; knew BOOTYLICIOUS only after it more or less came in; never heard the term HONEYPOT for that sort of spy; and -CLASS (27A) could have been anything. I struggled and finished what was finishable -- leaving me with a DNF at what should have been the BEHR/BASSO cross. Too much PPP for me to like this puzzle very much.

Back to the TV to witness every last foundation of our democracy -- legislative, executive and judicial -- get compromised and corrupted beyond recognition. It's an unutterably depressing moment in America, with portents for the future that I don't even want to think about.

jberg 11:53 AM  

Allegra, our RESCUE DOG is undergoing a mastectomy today, so please send some good thoughts her way. It was nice to see her spang in the middle there.

Like several others, I had Pause/SCEPTre for too long -- I mean, everything was confirmed by something else, so it had to be right, right? POE was pretty clear once one read the clue correctly as "three-letter American writer." I guess the actual clue was a little helpful in ruling out Anais Nin, but he was the obvious choice. And the SW was not helped by putting in lasT ROW (thinking of some of my students) for preferred seating.

My go-to five-letter vacuum is Oreck, followed by Miele -- so it took a lot of crosses to get DYSON. And I never heard of BOOTYLICIOUS (even from the clue, I could tell it wasn't from the 15th century), and someone who uses Reddit could have been a REDDITeR -- so that whole bit took a long time.

It was all good,though -- just the kind of struggle I enjoy, and which helped take my mind off both pet health and judicial politics.

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

I often wonder that, especially if one stumbles on simple spellings like MEDIAN.

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

FWIW, KAT Dennings' co-star on 2 Broke Girls was Beth BEHRs, alas plural, but still nice to see the names together...

michiganman 12:10 PM  

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!

Ban the "?"

Peter P 12:17 PM  

Oh, for all you HOECAKE people, another one worth knowing about is ASHCAKE. I got totally tripped up on a puzzle earlier this year (July 15) that was clued "cornbread variety named for where it's baked." I saw it ended in CAKE, three blank letters before it, surely it's HOECAKE!? Bzzt.... Turned out to be an ASHCAKE. (And probably a more accurate answer for that clue, anyway. Hoe cakes may or may not have at one time been cooked on field hoes, but they certainly aren't anymore. They're kind of like a pancake version of cornbread.) So now I don't get too cocky when I see a cornbread clue, 7 letters, ending with KE. :)

JC66 12:21 PM  


Hope all goes well.

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

@Namcy, “basso” is the category of singer, not the character name.

Masked and Anonymous 12:42 PM  

fave filler: RESCUEDOG.
staff weeject pick: KAT. Not familiar with "2 Broke Girls" show, but luv luv luved the Krazy Kat comic strips [via compilation books]. Also, kinda close to K.A.C.

Solid grid: Hard to find any entertainin Ow de Speration … but CCLASS/LSAT was a nice, small taste. Maybe LUNULAR … which coulda been LU-LUNAR, and fooled m&e. Still … primo constructioneerin job.

Theme: HONEYPOT. BOOTYLICIOUS. Not real familiar with either of these. Kinda sound like stuff from outta that there SCOTUS nominee's yearbook, but @RP & most of U nice commentfolks are just fine with it, sooo … ok by m&e, I reckon.

Best clue: the BIKESHOP one. [yo, M.B. @Z … I'd tend to vote for yer choice #1.]

Thanx for the feisty fun [especially that NW corner, where I only knew about 1/2 the stuff], Mr. A-C.

Masked & Anonym007Us

Banana Diaquiri 12:50 PM  

portents for the future that I don't even want to think about.

well... given that the GOP is partying like it's 1850, we could all go into the Brown Shirt business. make a killing.

Pete 12:53 PM  

@Nancy - The BASSO in 45D isn't PPP, it's the male voice part - a BASSO profundo.

Teedmn 1:08 PM  

Trying to figure out the SW with 44D wrong gave me pause enough to take BRIT out and later put it back in. And misspelling DieTIES (the slimmer version of the NORSE gods?) helped not at all at 27D and 28D. Plopping in "Leah" Thompson at 5D and then wondering if it might be "EmmA" because of MEDIAN, only to find SADA didn't help me TROOP through this either.

And I would swear I have seen LUNULAR in a puzzle recently, but according to xwordinfo, it wasn't in the NYT, as the previous instance was in 1994.

Nice one, KAC, you got me again, just when I thought I was catching onto your style. I finished but 20 minutes seems slow for Friday.

Adam 1:23 PM  

I cry bullshit on PUGS, which I can only gather hasn't been used since the 19th century. I cry double bullshit when crossing it with LUNULAR, another wildly antiquated term.

I've had to deal with enough archaisms this week, listening to the Republican wing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Otherwise, this puzzle was cake.

XQQQME 1:52 PM  

Maybe he’s an ass-man?

Nancy 2:13 PM  

BASSO -- the voice! Of course! How dumb of me! Thanks, @Pete and @Anonn 12:41.

I'm feeling a hairsbreadth better about our country right now than I did just an hour ago. For those of you who missed the mystifying what-on-earth-is-going-on-behind-the-scenes? delay of the committee vote just now, I can only say this: Paint has never dried more thrillingly.

GILL I. 2:17 PM  

@Nancy. I rarely disagree with you but I have the complete opposite opinion.
I didn't find it depressing at all. I found it fascinating. We got to hear some of our Senators up close and near. Only in this country (with perhaps the exception of watching Parliament in session) will you EVER see this sort of democracy at work.
this isn't an interview, it's a mock trial. The he said/she said; who do you believe? Who is more credible? Unfolding right in front of our eyes. AND now, the Republicans conceded to a week long FBI investigation.
I love this country. I love that we can have a voice. It may be ugly at times, and hell, we have to fight tooth and nail for it, but we have it.
Don't ever love to Venezuela..... ;-)

roscoe88 2:57 PM  

Ugh! just when i thought i was getting the hang of Friday puzzles, this easy one proves impossibly clued for me.

TubaDon 3:12 PM  

Didn't start til 1pm since DW insisted we go for flu shots. I forgave her when she gave me a hint about LUNULAR. Other things I was unfamiliar with: BOOTY songs, REDDIT, BEHR, DANA. Hardest part was NW. Is LYIN part of a song title?Googling afterwards I found "I ain't lyin", "He, aint lyin" and "Oh, Yeah, you ain't lyin", but none of them match the clue. Seems odd to clue it without an apostrophe if it isn't.

JOHN X 3:16 PM  

I totally guessed BOOTYLICIOUS just off the BOO and CI even though I don't know it; the clue just telegraphed that it would be BOOTYLICIOUS. I guess it's a song for people who like big asses.

Speaking of that I thought HONEYPOT was pretty funny, because I only know it from an episode of Archer where he travels undercover to Miami.

The Winky Dinky Ho Cake... ho's gotta eat too.

Anonymous 3:35 PM  

So there!

michiganman 4:00 PM  

Jon Krakauer wrote "Into The Wild", an account of a young man's quest in ALASKA. He is a very good writer. He also wrote "Into Thin Air" about a multi-death disaster on Mt Everest.

Other titles:
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (fundamentalist mormons)

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a college town

I highly recommend his work.

Joe Bleaux 4:12 PM  

Typical KAC puzzle, which means fine Friday fare for me (i.e., I finished with no help and no cheating, in under 30 minutes). ALMAY seems to pop up a lot, but maybe it's because I once had a colleague named -- yup, Al May. CHRISSY was one of those I was surprised that I remember. I disliked that show so much, particularly the John Ritter character, that for a long time I wouldn't watch anything with him in it (until he redeemed himself with his stellar performance in "Slingblade"). For whatever reason, I got TRUSTFUNDBABY from only the BY on the end, as I was working up from the SE, where AGASSI, um, served me well. Nothing to complain about on this one. Happy weekend, all.

iamjess 4:44 PM  

As the forum's resident ALASKAn, may I just say that up here, we all hate, hate, hate "Into the Wild"? This Alexander Supertramp guy made dumb decisions and got himself killed. Lots of people have done what he did (move out to the middle of AK to live off the land) and didn't die. On top of that, Every year the AK State TROOPErs have to rescue tourists who try to pilgrimage to this guy's old van, and then they too, get stuck behind the river. (It's glacial. Water levels rise in the afternoons.)

Soapbox aside, great puzzle.

Unknown 4:49 PM  

No one is going to point the KEG stand and TRUST FUND BABY? Very timely NYT

Rainbow 5:35 PM  

How dare he die in your state!

kitshef 5:46 PM  

@Z - I really wasn't trying to dis CEY. I was (clearly ineffectively) pointing out that his career stats and playoff stats are just about identical. The "choker" was a reference to the .004 lower slugging percentage in the playoffs.

Nancy 5:56 PM  

Easy for you to say, @GILL 2:17 p.m. :) You posted after today's dramatic Jeff Flake turnaround. Having initially posted much earlier, I didn't have the benefit of that hindsight and was deeply, deeply depressed by the prospect of the most credible and sympathetic witness I've ever seen testify in my life being completely and utterly ignored by the GOP-- just as though she had never testified at all. The eleventh-hour turnaround gives me hope that justice may yet be done and that this angry, belligerent, highly partisan and utterly disingenuous candidate may yet be kept off the court. I watched the Anita Hill hearings back in the day, and this guy manages to make Clarence Thomas look like a choirboy.

That doesn't mean that I haven't found every nanosecond of the last few days just as fascinating as you have, @GILL. But it's completely possible to be riveted and horrified at the same time. I do suspect you have a more optimistic nature than I do, though, and I envy you that.

Peter P 6:08 PM  

@TubaDon - I don't think it's part of a song name or anything like that, just part of the colloquial phrase "i/he/she/you ain't lyin!" like "you ain't kiddin!" Now, yes, it feels like a fairly weak clue, all things considered, but I think that's all it's referencing. It's a phrase I'm familiar with and have used myself, but I didn't think it would be non-generic enough to fit as a clue. I didn't even notice its presence, since I had filled in the down clues by that point, but I would have needed the L and the Y to figure that out, and even then I'd be wondering if the constructor was going for "LYIN," since, like I said, It feels too generic a colloquialism to me.

Sherm Reinhardt 7:01 PM  

DNF at MTDANA and TUNA steak. I was convinced it was TUBE steak--I don't know if anyone still calls a hot dog that. And I am much more a hot dog guy than a tuna guy. Mt. Dana, glad to meetcha. I dana know ya.

GILL I. 7:43 PM  

@Nancy.....Riveted? YES! Horrified? I've lived through far worse in my life.
I was riveted because I got a glimpse of how our system conducts business in Washington.
Horrified because we got a glimpse of the most divided Congress I've EVER seen in my lifetime living in this beautiful country.
Sad, incredibly sad is how I feel. Both of these lives have been changed forever - not in any good way and no matter who is believed or even correct in a 36 year old recollection, there will always be doubt.
We got to see it. THAT is democracy. Good or bad, we got a taste of it and I'll take it and decide my conscience when the time is right.

Anonymous 8:02 PM  

Had a little trouble in the SW (didn't know Mt. Dana, the tide, etc.) until changing PAUSE to POWER, so anyway great minds think alike :)

Unknown 10:22 PM  

New Friday record. Seems too easy for Friday to me, but shrug.

Z 10:34 PM  

@Adam - “boxer” in the clue is a hint that the answer is a dog.

@Pete - Just an FYI since I’m the person who posts PPP counts, I count BASSO as a PPP answer because of the opera reference. Knowing that good guys are tenors and bad guys are BASSOs certainly helped me. I haven’t posted a list lately, but I might again just so people see how I do it. Sometimes I vacillate on including PPP clues with answers like this, but @Nancy’s misunderstanding of the clue is exactly the reason I do include the PPP clues in my count.

@roscoe88 - Don’t despair. KAC definitely has a different voice than other Friday constructors. He can be tough if you haven’t done many of his puzzles before.

@kitshef - Stats are stats, so I didn’t think you were trying to dis CEY. I was just surprised. As for playoffs, I sometimes think success there can be as much about the club as the individual. Hearing Kirk Gibson describe how the scouts had told them that Eckersley often threw a backdoor slider in 3-2 counts makes me realize that sports heroics are a combination of opportunity, skill, and preparation, with a dash of random luck tossed in just to keep it interesting.

JC66 10:52 PM  


PUG is an old time expression for a run down boxer (PUGilist) .

Here's are images of a boxer dog.

Pete 11:27 PM  

@Z They named the character and the opera, so the only thing left to know is that the clue was a not uncommon crossword trope. No opera knowledge necessary, just soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass. And their Italian variants. And why would anyone choose opera?

Jamie 11:41 AM  

Fun puzzle but what's the deal with ancient pop culture like Family and Chrissy? Family ended (I had to google, had never heard of it) in 1980. The other one in 1984. Weird choices, imho.

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Burma Shave 10:29 AM  


YET I ENDEDIT with that LYIN’ missy; she’s no TRUSTFUND YEAH BABY.


thefogman 11:01 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 11:13 AM  

Easy my eye! Kind of tough and not much fun - at least for me. DNF because I had doGS and not PUGS for 11D. I had to look at a map of Yosemite to figure out MTDANA. That SW corner has exceptionally challenging, but after I discovered MTDANA it slowly fell into place. I probably would have enjoyed this quite a bit more had I not fallen for the PUGS trap. I GOTSORE over that but I'm over it now. Next!

rondo 11:36 AM  

Gotta love a puz where YEAH crosses BABY, YET it’s not for the nearby KAT Dennings (I can’t stand Two Broke Girls), it’s for CHRISSY Snow as played by you-know-who.
I really figured OFL would go on rants over HONEYPOT and BOOTYLICIOUS. The omission musta been due to his early A.M. solve.

@Lewis – not what I’d call *contemporary* when the 1a TV character CHRISSY is from 40 years ago, and the hit song BOOTYLICIOUS is pushing 2 decades, and Andre AGASSI retired midway through Dubya’s administration. YEAHSURE you’ve got REDDITOR and the HTTP/TECHBLOG cross, but that’s not exactly the *contemporary* mother LODE.

@Z – as has been pointed out, by OFL’s opening lines and elsewhere in this blog, the boxer clue has nothing to do with dogs. PUGS is short for PUGilistS. Stop the obtusity.

No write-overs, but can’t DECIDE if it was actually easy.

spacecraft 12:45 PM  

Similar to @rondo's first thought: gotta love a puzzle that leads off on 1-across with a DOD/gimme. The NW laid down and died--for a change--but then I had trouble getting out into the center. Next came the SE--but then I had trouble getting out into the center. Finally figured out the NE--but then I had...are we sensing a theme here?

The SW was weird: not knowing the MT____ and trying to run the alphabet for _ECIDE. Nothing comes up except DECIDE. But by what circuitous route did "call" come to mean DECIDE?? Somebody has to explain that one. I am racking my poor brain. That has to be the worst clue ever.

Plus, coming down, ____ steak? Of all the wonderful steaks in the world, it has to be TUNA? Is there even such a thing? Why would you clue TUNA that way? Horrible.

I give credit for Friday-level toughness, and for the groaner pun about BIKESHOP, and for the finishing triumph factor, but still can't muster more than a par. Call--> DECIDE. WE-I-RD!!!

thefogman 3:01 PM  

@Spacecraft: DECIDE = Call, like when it's your call. You make the call. You get to DECIDE.

Diana, LIW 3:32 PM  

The BIKESHOP summed it up. Easy? Not so much. But once a few toes got hold of the matter, I was off to the races.

@Spacey - I had a friend who was a chef, and he prepared a lovely Ahi (tuna) steak for me - just barely grilled is the way to make it. Try one and you'll be sold.'s not the first steak that comes to mind. That's why they call it a puzzle. :-)

Just the kind of bit by bit solve I love.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 4:48 PM  

North and South - easy-medium; centre section - challenging. Many places where the down crosses were crucial to the solve, and one across - EVE.

That was the only way I could get BOOTYLICIOUS, and that entry was key to the spoiled Brat (had to w/o that, my only one).

There was not too much that was tricky, though I liked BIKESHOP (which gave me KAT) and EVE.

Pretty good Friday puzzle.

leftcoastTAM 6:35 PM  

Two words, then total and amused distraction:


I guess I should thank Will Shortz for going with this one.

leftcoastTAM 6:57 PM  

Oh, better get this one right: BOOTY[licious].

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