Arrives 1967 soul album / FRI 10-26-18 / Funny Martha / Hilton alternative / Trendy salad type / Cable inits popular with female viewers

Friday, October 26, 2018

Constructor: Evan Kalish

Relative difficulty: Easy (4:19)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Kansas' Fort HAYS (22D) —
Fort Hays, originally named Fort Fletcher, was a United States Army fort near Hays, Kansas. Active from 1865 to 1889, it was an important frontier post during the American Indian Wars of the late 19th century. Reopened as a historical park in 1929, it is now operated by the Kansas Historical Society as the Fort Hays State Historic Site. [...] 
Fort Hays became a key Army installation in the Indian Wars, serving as a base of operations for combat forces and a supply point for Fort Dodgeand Camp Supply to the south. Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan, supported by Lt. Col. George Custer and the 7th Cavalry Regiment, used it as his headquarters during his 1868-1869 campaign against the Cheyenne and the Kiowa. Both Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok served as Army scouts at Fort Hays at points during this period. (wikipedia)

• • •

So normally when I solve just after waking up, the results are semi-disastrous. There's usually some residual brain fog, even if I've gotten up and splashed water on my face and had a drink of water etc. I'm definitely faster at night. So tonight was particularly weird, because I (accidentally) fell asleep on the couch for like three hours this evening and then woke up ... but it was still nighttime. So "just woke up" (slower) + "nighttime solving" (faster) = somehow astonishingly fast. A few seconds off my record for this year. Now I'll never know if the marathon nap helped or hurt. Would I have smashed my record if I'd solved it at night without the nap? Or did the nap actually propel me, helping me to a faster time than I would've had without it? Also, who cares!? I loved this puzzle. I know, I know, it's easy to love a puzzle that you Krush, but this one is really fantastic, everywhere you turn. BWAHAHA made me laugh (apt!) and PHTEST has that insane consant-heavy opening, which is cool, and SIDEARMED is a nice verbing of baseball term, and PERPWALK and BIG PHARMA and I'VE CHANGED are all just great, in-the-language terms and phrases. I do think it could've been toughened up a little, especially in the NE, which I took down like it was a Monday (ARETHA, then all the four-letter Acrosses, then all the long Downs, without hesitation). And the crossreferenced clue at 33A: See 47-Down (SKUNK), which I cracked just by getting a few crosses, pretty much handed me PEPE in the SE, making that corner much easier than it might've been. But when "too easy" is your sole complaint, you know you've got a good puzzle on your hands.

Update: apparently everyone is setting personal records on the Friday puzzle today, so I'm gonna say my nap actually *hurt* me, and I would've solved this in sub-4 time without it, so now I'm officially mad. Mad at sleep!

I struggled a tiny bit getting into the SW, which is probably what kept me from a record time. The hardest clue in the whole puzzle, for me, was 28A: Selection ___ (BIAS). I am notoriously bad at fill-in-the-blank clues like this, and I honestly had no idea what could follow "Selection." Couldn't come up with a single idea, of any letter length, let alone four. Maybe Selection Sunday (when they reveal the NCAA Men's Basketball brackets)!? I'm not even sure I know what "Selection BIAS" means. I know what "Confirmation BIAS" is. Selection BIAS appears to be a problem in the gathering of evidence in a study, where "selection" of samples is not proper randomized, thus invalidating or calling into question the findings of your study. Anyway, tripped on that, and then had a bunch of trouble with LINT, because the clue made it look like the answer was a plural, when it wasn't (32A: Fluff pieces). Since BIAS and LINT were doorway answers (i.e. I had to go through them to get into the next big section of the grid), solving the SW took a little work. Always dicey backing in from the east, which is what I had to do via SPARE SET. Very proud that I also was able to back in SAMOSA off just the final "A" (I eat SAMOSA at least once a week, at the campus branch of a restaurant called MOG(h)UL!), so that helped). So the SW was comparatively tough to get into, but the toughness didn't last. Love to close the work week out with a huge win. Now I'm gonna try to sleep sleep ... if the 3+-hour nap hasn't made that impossible. Good night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


kitshef 7:12 AM  

One of those days when I felt completely in sync with the puzzlemaker. BIG PHARMA off the BI, LUSTS FOR off the L, SPARE SET off the S, PEPE and SKUNK off the second K in SKUNK. Only erasure was Ecru before PUCE.

Not that anyone asked but LA PAZ is functionally the capital of BOLIVA. The president, the legislature and most government departments are headquartered in LA PAZ. SUCRE is the capital, per the constitution, but really only the Supreme Court is based there.

BarbieBarbie 7:14 AM  

Lots of SW trouble for me, otherwise Medium. Got hung up on “fluff pieces” which I wanted to make into a word for the junk you read in the Style section. Finally figured out LINT. OK, back to Modern Love.....

Hungry Mother 7:21 AM  

Very doable today with some interesting entries. The SE took more of my time, but no big problems. I liked it.

Harryp 7:35 AM  

I sailed through this one in 2/3 my average Friday time, but it had some fun words and clues overall. I liked KALE CAESAR, BWAHAHA, and BIG PHARMA. The clue for 39Down was a great misdirection.

jberg 7:36 AM  

Selection BIAS is what happens when you take a poll without calling cell phones, e.g., if that helps.

It is a bit obscure for the puzzle, though— and I had the same problem with bIts of fluff.

My first thought at 11D was EarTHA, instead of her anagram— but she had arrived and, thanks to LBJ, departed by then.

Beautiful puzzle, but with all that LUSTing and TWERKing, I’d better hide it from the grandkids.

Hungry Mother 7:40 AM  

Whenever I think of Fort Hayes, I remember a classic trip my wife and I took in order to do a Rim-to-rim hike in the Grand Canyon. Because of the movie, “Dancing with Wolves”, we had great expectations for our anniversary stop in Hays, Kansas. Our stay was memorable for the tiny herd of Bison we saw, our not finding a restaurant up to the clothes we brought for the anniversary dinner, for the strip mall, and for the store employees dressed as clowns who were checking receipts at the doors. Often, when my wife and I are about to leave a store, I say, “Save the receipt for the clowns.”

Suzie Q 7:50 AM  

Any puzzle that has BwaHaHa in it is already a winner. How funny!
A pen seems like a cheap retirement gift.
Here we go with kale again. I suppose if you have to be trendy at least kale won't hurt you. Unlike say, Tide Pods.
Muck a muck? I always hear it Muckety Muck.
I guess I don't know what color puce is.
The only downer today was twerk. I could do without the vulgarity.
Mostly good fun today.

mmorgan 8:09 AM  

I also enjoyed this a lot. Very fresh and crisp and smooth. I don't time myself but it felt unusually fast for a Friday -- which has nothing to do with my liking it. I think. Some sections held me up, due to typos -- SAMOAS and PERPWALL -- but I finally noticed them and cleaned them up.

Didn't have time to write or reag blog comments yesterday, but it was a very strange experience -- I completed the entire puzzle and still could not figure out the theme. Off to read about it now.

Jamie C 8:11 AM  

Seems like there could be a better clue for OWN than a network nobody has ever heard of. "Dominate a crossword puzzle" or somesuch...

amyyanni 8:30 AM  

Love samosas! Also the puzzle, although was stumped by B plus and Alpine, even though I've run the Tahoe Marathon (so blue! So hilly!). Off to work: tgif.

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

definitely easy for a Friday puzzle but not breaking records easy.

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

I think Margaret Mead wrote a SAMOSA cook book. Har!

JOHN X 8:34 AM  

This was NOT a Friday New York Times puzzle.

Everyone tore through this puzzle because it was stupid easy. Yes, it was well crafted and enjoyable, but make no mistake: you "crushed it" because it was a child and you hit it and took its candy away and then you gloated about your boxing prowess.

The difficulty level, on average, between the NYTX these days and the NYTX twenty years ago is vast, and I encourage anyone who has access to the archives to do those old puzzles themselves and see the difference. Don't just do one, do a bunch and get a good sample. And they aren't loaded with archaic "PPP" or "naticks" or "green paint" any more than nowadays; there's usually nothing that a high school graduate shouldn't know. The difference is in the clues, which (on late week puzzles) was often merciless and incredibly inventive by the constructors.

In today's puzzle, almost every clue just telegraphed the answer right away, even the "trick" clues. And these dumb code words like "fresh" and "in the language" just mean "easy." If you want crossword puzzle answers to provide self-affirmation then you should stick to People Magazine.

Try the Friday June 25 1999 NYTX puzzle. Do that puzzle and then tell us all about how you "crushed it." That puzzle is like stepping into an octagon with some tattooed freak from a broken home. But then do the other puzzles around it and see how that one is not a fluke. They're not all winners but they mostly are.

It's funny, sometimes there's a real howler of an answer in those old puzzles, something that for various reasons would never fly today. And you'll say "Gosh, I wonder what the blog community will say about this!" But there is no blog community for that puzzle. You are out there alone, my friend, fending for yourself and getting stronger. Just like the old days.

Vincent Lima 8:34 AM  

Looking at the completed grid, I was struck with sadness that the clue for 1A wasn't "Ort." That would be turning the TABLEs on that Saturday answer.

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

The Pepe LePew cartoon was a bit disturbing. Interesting insight into how the culture of sexism permeated even cartoons and insidiously taught children the roles of male and female. The cartoon is wrong on so many levels. I'm sure a few of you will disagree and say it's "just a cartoon" and that I'm being a "snowflake," I would suggest you turn to one of the more popular christian authors, CS Lewis, and his book "The Abolition of Man" to see how these apparently "innocent" messages can make it into the minds of children.

Was Warner Bros trying to promote sexism and the role of male aggression and female simplicity and naiveté? I doubt it...but the message (as I remember it clearly growing up) in this cartoon is a reflection of the way it was in 1960s America. An entire generation watched and learned. We laughed at Pepe and his relentless pursuits and didn't give one whit about the cat (or dog in this case) being pursued.

Kinda surprised this got by Rex's sensibilities without comment.

GrEy Area 8:46 AM  

This was not an easy puzzle for me. My evil laugh starts with an M, so the B messed me up. I kept thinking of "boxes" as the fighting kind, KALECAESAR is a thing?, just too many small problems all over the place. It took a long time to dig myself out and change my thinking in places I was sure were correct: hASP, mWAHAHA, ToKEI, ICESHElfs (yeah, I know), and to me the most popular retirement gift is a watch, so I was trying to divine a three letter word for that.

DNF 8:52 AM  

Hooray! no more DNF. I interpret the appearance of 37A in the NYT to mean that use of AIDS is now approved and will no longer be considered "cheating".

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

I found 39D very transparent. I think it's been done before.

L 8:59 AM  

I thought a proper retirement gift was a watch. A pen seems like a crappy sendoff.

Unknown 9:02 AM  

Couldn’t agree more. This was NOT worth a Friday puzzle. I’m shocked OFL didn’t rip this one, but then it made him feel good after a nap.
It’s worth a trip to the archives to see how things used to be.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

Are you male or female?

Z 9:17 AM  

Solved while sitting on a tarmac so no idea on time, but it sure felt easy. Low PPP certainly helps. The lack of obscure proper noun crossings is a feature, not a bug. Also really liked SANTA ANA because terminal A’s instead of the usual E’s, S’s, and D’s is a nice touch.

KALE CAESAR strikes me as a crime. Why would you take the unhealthiest of salads (salty anchovies, coddled eggs, cheese) and pollute it with something allegedly healthy. UGH.

John Child 9:22 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy 9:24 AM  

BWAHAHA is a maniacal laugh??? Really? Any relation to Dinah Shore's MWAH [big kiss]? Where have you been hiding, BWAHAHA? Why have I never heard of you?

I spent 90% of my time in the NW. What kind of SCRAP? What kind of CAESAR salad? What kind of LAKE is Tahoe? Not Nevada. Not California. How can it be ALPINE when it's not in the Alps?

I didn't know TAKEI. Look, I've never seen Star Trek. It's miraculous enough that I know Nimoy and Shatner. Don't ask for the impossible.

An inspired guess allowed me to finish. What's trendier than KALE? It's just the kind of revolting item that some health food nut would choose to ruin a perfectly good CAESAR Salad with. My guess was correct, and it enabled me to finish.

A very CLEAN and enjoyable puzzle with some lively fill. Loved PERP WALK; GRAY AREA and BIG PHARMA. Great clues for AFC EAST (37D) and THROATS (41A).

Question of the day: Doesn't sepia sound like a much nicer color than PUCE?

Kiki 9:25 AM  

I didn't know Martha Raye, but I vaguely recall her in an old dentures commercial?? or was she the Palmolive lady, dipping other women's hands in Palmolive?

Rube 9:26 AM  

Also agree completely. Tablescrap was a total gimme and that led to takei and alamo and encased and on from there. I want to be stumped by a puzzle every now and then. That makes solving more of a victory. Does anyone get pleasure from doing Monday puzzles? Just too easy for Friday.

John Child 9:28 AM  

LOL @Z - why would anyone take delicious anchovies, eggs, and cheese and pollute them with disgusting kale?

GILL I. 9:33 AM  

I think the cluing could have been juiced up a bit. I mean 46A Stuffed appetizer for SAMOSA. Gee, I would've at least clued it as Indian Punjabi flaky pastry.
When I retired I got a send-off to remember. No pen involved which is just as well since I might have sent it back. My office was closed in Sacramento and everybody was laid off. I was kept on and it meant working from my home as well as commuting to San Francisco once a week. I took early retirement after doing that for a year. Headquarters threw me a huge party (maybe they we're happy I was finally leaving) and everyone had a ball. Gag presents galore; my best friend gave me "Depends."
Yes, it was on the easy side and I'm alway thrilled I can finish sans AIDS. But for some reason, this felt a bit on the bland side. I agree with @JOHN X about past puzzle cluing being primo and in many ways down right nasty. You really do have to put your puzzle hat on.
TWERK - of all things - was the toughest to get. Didn't know that OWN Cable that's popular with my gender. I'm an HBO gal. NO PRESSURE IVE CHANGED SWEET TALKS finally gave me TWERK and before I could reach for my cold coffee, I was done.

John Child 9:34 AM  

@Nancy - google George Takei and see what he has done since his acting career. Eminently cross-worthy.

Unknown 9:35 AM  

Solid puzzle today - just challenging enough for a Friday but I finished well under my average despite not knowing the RAYE or OWN or PUCE. My 178 day streak was snapped by yesterday’s monster - I’m still not finished and still can’t grasp the theme well over an hour in (average on Thursdays is 27 min). Might need to let that one sit for a few days.

JOHN X 9:41 AM  

@John Child 9:22 AM

I always try to be objective when I compare the old puzzles to the new ones, but I'm convinced that, on average, they have a higher difficulty level due to the clues, not necessarily the answers. And that clueing difficulty was by design, not just because they're from a different era.

You could very well take today's puzzle, with every single answer in place, and re-write all the clues and raise its difficulty level substantially. The trick, however, is making the difficult clues inventive and not merely brutal. There still has to be some enjoyment and sense of accomplishment for the solver, otherwise you might as well just be filling in tax forms.

P.S. Whenever I give an example puzzle from the archive, somebody always replies how easy it was for them. I don't mind; I'd probably do that too.

Bob Mills 9:45 AM  

Easy for Friday. Got "TWERK" from the crosses, but don't understand the word.

SJ Austin 9:47 AM  

Did I miss a rule change? Unless I'm much mistaken, this puzzle has no Z or Q in it.

I liked it a lot. Very fresh answers.

QuasiMojo 9:48 AM  

@Kieran, she was the Polident lady I think. “Take it from big mouth...” turns out it was David a Letterman who had a big mouth. She sued him for ten million smackers for spoofing on his show that she used condoms. And @jberg, wasn’t it Lady Bird who put the kibosh on Eartha?

I did NOT find this one easy but I finished it without the need of any AIDS. In fact I got the bing bong sound without even knowing I had finished because I had no idea that AFCEAST was right. Btw do any of you guys resort to an Almanac when doing these puzzles? Maybe the Almanach de Gotha for all those faux-noble baronets.

Never heard of SAMOSAS. I put in Canapé first.

Not a peep or a PERP WALK on TAKEI from OFL today. His PC meter in these #MeToo days seems to be off these days.

All in all a pretty good Friday. But I agree they were much tougher and more enjoyable 20 years ago.

Karl Grouch 9:51 AM  

Some interisting fill today. And some really bland clueing, too. Pretty easy and (thus) enjoyable puzzle overall.
That said, I still can't imagine how on earth 17a didn't involve some kind of pun.
HAIL CAESAR! and a wonderful weekend to everyone

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

@kitshef - umm... honey...
Sucre is a South American monetary unit = "South American capital" - it's a thing.

Z 9:58 AM  

PUCE, besides looking too much like “puke,” is also apparently a bug.

@Gill I and @John X - Is it that the cluing was too easy or that with a little experience solvers aren’t as easily sent down a rabbit hole. I’ll take a little word play any day over PPP.

@Nancy - ALPINE is anything related to any high mountains.

@Jamie C - Thanks. A perfect example of Selection BIAS.

Nancy 9:59 AM  

@DNF (8:52) -- You're so right on 37A. I wanted CHEAT, or at the very least, CRUTCH. AIDS is much too ethically neutral for me -- though at least one of my good friends on this blog seemingly Googles up the wazoo and I continue to love (him or her). Won't tell you who it is, though :)

@JOHN X (8:34) -- It's so frustrating not to be able to engage with you and others in regard to the crunchier NYT puzzles of the past. I have collections of them in book form -- collections I turn to when I haven't had enough of a puzzle "fix" that day. But there are no dates attached to any of the puzzles, so I can't discuss them on the blog. You're right though -- the Friday and Saturday puzzles of yesteryear were definitely harder than they are right now.

@Kieran K (9:25) -- Yes (I think) to dentures. No, she wasn't the Palmolive ("You're soaking in it!") lady. That woman was pretty famous, too, if memory serves.

Arden 10:03 AM  

If your goal is to solve Friday puzzles in under 4 minutes, where is the enjoyment? When you say you had trouble with a certain clue or area, what does that even mean? It took you 30 seconds longer to diss it out? Geez!

Arden 10:14 AM  

Typo in my comment. Read “suss” rather than “diss.” Thank you autocorrect.

Evan K. 10:15 AM  

I’m curious if you would have preferred some of the clues I mention in the constructor notes @ Wordplay / XWI. Also, I know the feeling — look at New York State Regents exams from the 1950s and it will put anyone who cruised through HS science to shame.

jberg 10:16 AM  

@Nancy, Lake Tahoe is ALPINE in the same way California has a Mediterranean climate. In botany, the area above tree line where plants still grow is referred to as the "Alpine zone," regardless of whether its in the ANDES or not.

And yeah, PEN. I really resisted that -- and would have resisted being given one on my retirement even more. Since I had bIts for LINT at that time, I ran the alphabet on both _EN and _As, without much satisfaction. I mean, I would have much rather been given a retirement hEN, but hAs didn't work at all. It finally got all sorted with LUSTS FOR, near the end of the solve.

And now that I'm working from a keyboard, I'll add that what I really loved bout this puzzle was that there were several words starting with improbably combinations of letter -- not only PHT, which was obvious from the clue, but AFC, BW, and -- until I fixed it ItH at 29D.

@Bob Mills, search for "Miley Cyrus twerking."

jberg 10:19 AM  

@nancy, from yesterday. Thanks for catching my misspelling! I was somehow confusing journalism with architecture. LEED is a more legitimate term, though still involving some phoniness in that some of the things that count are not really related to the supposed purpose.

Third time and out!

Evan K. 10:23 AM  

Just to be sure, KALE CAESAR is definitely a pun. I was hoping for that chuckle even if you’ve never seen it on a menu before.

Evan K. 10:41 AM  

I had the chance to throw in some additionally Scrabbly chewiness at PAT and CFO/BIO (YAK; SFX/FIX), but that’s just an exercise in vanity. YAK would have been fine, but I preferred my clues for PAT (“Lightly push back?”) and LINT. There are plenty of ‘K’s and 4-point letters to keep things interesting.

mbr 10:43 AM  

@Anonymous 9:51 - my dictionary has the following "two, TWO mints in one!" :
sucre | ˈso͞okrā |
the basic monetary unit of Ecuador until 2000, equal to 100 centavos.
Sucre | ˈso͞okrā |
the judicial capital and seat of the judiciary of Bolivia; population 274,576 (2009). Located in the Andes, at an altitude of 8,860 feet (2,700 m), it was named Chuquisaca by the Spanish in 1539. It was renamed in 1825 in honor of Antonio José de Sucre

@Kieran K & @Nancy: the annoying Palmolive lady was "MADGE".

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

Sucre is what they call their money (capital) in Ecuador

Bax'N'Nex 10:55 AM  

I was so proud to finish in under 17 minutes...til I cam here and saw how easy it was for (Most) everyone. Had the most trouble in southeast. Just couldn't see "Bills" as a football team and the AFC just looked so wrong. Great clue and one of my favorite things about crosswords, the misdirection.

Can't believe Mike didn't rant about OWN clue being woman-centric.

Great weekend, all. Cheers

Unknown 10:57 AM  

I got hung up in the Northwest corner... I initially UHURA which crossed nicely with ROO, then BONES which crossed with EMU, then finally got TAKEI/EMU...

It was a DNF for me because of the confluence of SUCRE/PUCE/AFCEAST. Fun puzzle otherwise, though. I loved "Move behind?"!

Brookboy 10:57 AM  

I thought today’s puzzle was easy (for a Friday) and I had the same reaction as Rex, that it was an enjoyable solve that went pretty fast. I’m not sure why this is grounds for such high dudgeon. The suggestion that a particular puzzle from the (long ago/distant/recent) past was much craftier or slyer in its clueing is met with at least one response that, no, it too was easy. Doesn’t this indicate that crossword puzzle solving is, to some degree, personal, i.e., what’s in my wheelhouse (to use a recent idiom) may not be in your wheelhouse, and so on?

I’m still in awe (maybe always will be) of those who have the ability to create these things in the first place, and often to include the most creative and inventive twists and turns, and on top of that frequently to come up with clever and witty clueing. Yes, I do like some puzzles better than others, but overall I remain pretty impressed.

Malsdemare 11:08 AM  

Oh, my! I've heard of TWERKing but knew nothing about it beyond it was a dance or dance move. So I googled it. I will say the images are eye-popping. I'm going to have a tough time erasing all those buttocks from my mind today. Good thing I'm headed to the World Clydesdale Show; those big horses will help.

I was a little slower than my average time but I seem to be slower lately anyway. Puzzle was half done when I took a break, came back to fill it in rapidly. I had SCRAP, CAESAR, but my car rental was econO so seeing the first half of those answers was hard. The break gave me TABLE, and ALAMO, and the rest went in easily. I had IVEevolved before IVECHANGED and NOPRoblemo before NOPRESSURE, so I got slowed down there as well. But I hammered away, got 'er done, feel pretty good. Great puzzle.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

@jberg, the word is LEDE.

JC66 11:11 AM  

@Jamie C

Oprah Winfrey Network

Carola 11:18 AM  

On the easy side, I thought, but very enjoyable to solve. There was something so satisfying about how the phrases instantly snapped into focus with just a couple of filled-in-letter nudges: SPARE SET, I'VE CHANGED, NO PRESSURE.
The NE provided my way in with RICA x ARETHA; I backed into the NW through PERPWALK getting me KALE CAESAR (would a dog enjoy some as a TABLE SCRAP?) and then an uninterrupted infurling to the bottom.
No problem with selection BIAS, maybe because I'm married to a researcher and have heard about it a lot.
I liked the array of unlikely initial consonant combinations: PHT, BW, BPL.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

To Karen Kramer 9:25
The Palmolive lady was Kaye Ballard

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

@Anonymous 11:37 AM

Madge the Palmolive manicurist ("You're soaking in it") was played by actress Jan Miner.

Anna 12:03 PM  

They do look very similar, but the actress is Jan Miner, aka Madge.

RooMonster 12:07 PM  

Hey All !
Seemed a typical tough FriPuz here, although I did get some long answers off just one letter, so maybe slightly easier than some Fridays.
Gave myself a chuckle at BPLUS, because I came at it from the bottom, and when I filled it, said, "What the heck are B-P-L-US?" Har.
SUING took till the end, as wanted goING forever, plus SAMOSA new here, wanted SAMOas. Those are delicious cookies, though. Or even MIMOSA.
Did have to use Check feature, though, as the SE had its dukes up, fighting me with the likes of CACHET, wrong BIz, and having A_CEAS_ not looking like anything. SWEET TALKS=wheedles? Boy, she really knows how to wheedle me into doing something doesn't seem to ring right. Right? And PAT is oddly clued. Sure, if you Rehearse something, you might have it down PAT, but still doesn't make sense.
Anyway, after the SIDE ARMED answer of HAYS, (wanted Knox [Isn't that Kentucky?]) saw the PH of TEST, sending me on a nice staircase solve, until goING.
Writeovers, tsA-MTA, stAt-ASAP, BIz-BIO, gAEr-SEAS.
ROOMIE - my nickname of my nickname. :-) (UGH, I know!)


Mary McCarty 12:09 PM  

Karen Kramer No, the Palmolive “Madge” was Jan Miner:
Kaye Ballard did Camay, Crest, Scope etc with Eve Arden
Martha Raye did Polident

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

I use Palmolive to soak my dentures.

Nancy 12:14 PM  

@Anon (10:52) -- Actually, I'm not, but I can certainly hope it's in my future. Meanwhile, try to understand that being born more recently than someone else is not an accomplishment. Have you actually done anything of note to justify your insufferable smugness? Other than being young enough to have heard of BWAHAHA? Some people cure major illnesses. Some people send men into space. Some people write The Great American Novel. And you, you have heard of BWAHAHA! Wow!!! You are so awesome!!!

TubaDon 12:29 PM  

     While I finished this in 20 minutes or so, relatively quickly for me, I can't match Rex's time of 1.3 seconds per open square! I can't write letters that fast let alone looking back and forth at the clues and thinking of an answer!
  My only holdups were the obscure clue for 28A and thinking that a MGR. ran a Subway store, but I finally realized what a TWERK was (not bad for an old fogey like me) though I've never seen one live.

John X fan 12:47 PM  

@John X : Just did the 6/25/99 entry. You are right in all respects.

Teedmn 1:17 PM  

I see-sawed easy and hard on this one today. I tried so hard to DNF in the SE but finally plopped in what I thought had to be right in 40A and 42A and it turned out to be right, BWA-HA-HA (which I first entered as @Nancy's MWA-HA-HA, har, maniacal air-kisses.)

After getting BIG PHARMA, 28A was B_AS and I was thinking "Selection ___" was going to be a BrA brand, but LINT provided the save on that one.

So what was my big hang-up in the SE? I had PEPE at 47D and decided the sepia relative was going to be Pink. But 50A, 54A and 56A filled in, leaving 40D as a must-be CACHET. P_C_ had me thinking it must be a photography technique rather than a color. "Bladder" had to be SAC so the South American capital must be SaCRE? SUCRE crept into my memory after I crossed out SAC. I threw in SAC, PUCE and CFO and groaned, knowing that "Bills are found in it" was wrong, wrong, wrong - I mean, what was AFCEAST? It wasn't a bird, or an ATM or a cash register or an account... I went over to Xwordinfo, looked at the grid and said, AFC EAST. Big headslap at that aha. Ugh.

Well, at least this solve was better than my faceplant from yesterday.

Thanks, Evan Kalish and congratulations on your sophomore puzzle.

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

I interpreted rehearsed/PAT as referring to a PAT answer to a question from an interviewer. It sounds rehearsed and is meant to be noncommittal and evasive.

Rainbow 1:25 PM  

Nice retort.

Unknown 1:28 PM  

Ecuador has used US Dollars for the past 20 years, it's definitely referring to Bolivia. Agreed that it's a bit silly to call Sucre the capital of Bolivia.

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

Oh @Nancy, that was classic! Thank you.

JC66 1:33 PM  


Wonderful response!

QuasiMojo 2:12 PM  

@Nancy, can I borrow that sometime? You rock!!

Greg 2:28 PM  

bills and AFCEAST has to be one of the worst entries I've seen in a while. At the minimum, "Bills" should have been capitalized.

TomAz 2:53 PM  

Now this was a good puzzle. Easy, yes, but so what. It was smooth and a pleasure to solve. Not like yesterday's dreck.

I may be the only person I know who will admit to liking kale. Like I will actively seek it out in it's different varieties.

@Nancy: "being born more recently than someone else is not an accomplishment." I am so stealing that line.

@Gregory Schmidt 2:28p: Did you get a different clue than I did? My clue reads "Bills are found in it". Capital B.

Norm 2:55 PM  

Started with BORDER LAKE for Tahoe. Well, at least the second part was right. Enjoyable puzzle.

Charley 3:02 PM  

Kale Caesar? Eww.

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

They took my 10:52 post out teasing Nancy!! Big brother is definitely watching.

Got quite the rebuttal, though!

I'm actually a physician, if that gives you any point of reference. And my patients love me, so you can make all the bed-side manner/compassion jokes you want, i really care for and about my patients.

Was just playing with you, but definitely won't poke that bear again!

Sorry that it came off mean-spirited...

kitshef 3:49 PM  

@John X - there were hard puzzles and easy puzzles back then, and there are hard puzzles and easy puzzles now. If they skew a littler harder on average, I think it is due to pop culture names that would come easily twenty years ago, but whose fifteen minutes has long passed.

Try the puzzle one week before the one you suggested - June 18 1999. I think it is slightly easier than today's puzzle, despite some dated references.

Anonymous 3:58 PM  

It was.

TJS 4:16 PM  

@Nancy, I am making a mental note not to aggravate you on these pages. Yeow !

Rex, "When 'too easy' is your sloe complaint, you know you've got a good puzzle on your hands" ? No. Not even close. Unless your obsessed with your solve time. Otherwise, too easy is a boring, unchallenging waste of time. That having been said, this one was fairly easy, but I still liked it. Go figure.

Nancy 4:29 PM  

How could anyone ever think of quitting this blog? The love and support you get from it are palpable. Appreciative thanks to @JC66, @Quasi, @TomAz and the various others today whom I can't identify. And also to @Teedmn off-blog.

Z 5:40 PM  

WARNING: potential spoilers for a 19 year old puzzle Regarding the supposed high quality puzzle of June 25, 1999 puzzle: Balderdash. 1 Across, bad because it’s PPP and the “namesakes” just makes it worse. 24. Across - “sixth brightest star”? Give me a break. Ooh, look at me, I know my Greek Alphabet. 26 Across - OMFG. But at least Ms. Chandler had a role in ST:TNG. Something that can’t be said for Ethelred the Unready. Way to really highlight your Random Roman Numeral. But maybe you’re thinking there’s less dreck in the downs. You would be wrong. Besides the obscure maritime spy agency, an actor who had been dead 27 years when the puzzle was originally published, the other citrus drink, and everyone’s favorite Latin list ender that isn’t et cetera, we get the emparasssing 10/11 down combo.In short, the puzzle isn’t “challenging,” it is obscure. Maybe you like trivia and think we need more of it in puzzles. That’s fine. Watch Jeopardy. I thought most of the cluing was too straightforward except when it was being creepy weird (“Sites with little privacy”), with no actual wordplay. Two Thumbs Down. Oh, wait, that’s Siskel and Ebert.

TJS 5:59 PM  

@John X, I just finished the 6/25/99 puzzle and thought it was great. 1,11,and37 downs almost killed me. 1hour 11 minutes,one cheat for the newsmans' last name. Thanks for the tip.

jae 6:46 PM  

Top half very easy, bottom half more on the medium side. Solid, liked it.

Only regret of the day was getting here after the Anon 10:52 comment was deleted.

68Charger 7:05 PM  

Maybe splitting hairs but, strictly speaking, I think One Down is a little misleading, if the original Star Trek pilot is considered. George Takei was not an original "Star Trek" cast member from that series. 
To me, the original cast would be those who starred in the first pilot episode, "The Cage", with Jeffery Hunter as Captain Pike. Although NBC rejected this pilot episode, it lives on, being recycled as "The Menagerie", in the first season, episode #11.
George Takei did appear in the second "pilot", "Where No Man Has Gone Before", the first broadcast episode. Interestingly, he appears here as a physicist, later to be cast as a helmsman.

Strunk 7:12 PM  

@Greg: It was probably pointed out previously but the NYT puzzle rarely makes such mistakes. “Bills” was capitalized.

David 9:06 PM  

Obligatory bitter anecdote about the ACPT puzzle from 2017 that had a "maniacal laugh" clue at 1-Down, crossing 1-Across's "Booker T and the _____". Not knowing the band, I relied on my pretty extensive knowledge of comic book super-villainy, getting literally my only mistake of the entire tournament for putting bWAHAHA instead of MWAHAHA, in the first square of the first puzzle of the first day.

Finally, I am vindicated, thank you Evan Kalish for understanding me.

Unknown 11:22 PM  

Not hard, fairly easy.

spacecraft 10:58 AM  

Everybody seems to think this was so easy. One even said the clues could have been toughened up!?! Well, I did it but it took 10+ Rexes because of those clues. For example, in the clue for THROATS, what in the world is "officials" doing there? I wanted THROATS, of course, but hesitated because of that word. WHY was it there? All people clear heir THROATS, not just officials. So maybe the answer had some special significance for It was just TGHROATS after all. And it didn't help that I never heard of SAMOSA; I have no idea what kind of food it is or what it's stuffed with. I already don't like it.

I've always heard the maniacal laugh as "MWAHAHA," but MRING made no sense at all. Tried B and came up with BRING, so you're saying "Escort" isn't a tough clue for BRING? It's fair enough, but I'd never call it a gimme. Anyway, that was my only inkblot. Here's another cutie: "Bills are found in it." Sure, AFCEAST. Call that an easy clue? "Rehearsed" for PAT? The clue should read "Rehearsed, with 'down,'" since PAT in that sense never appears without "down." I know, that would make the clue too easy for Friday, but fair.

Please don't "toughen up" the weekend clues any more than they are, or there'll be many more DNFs in my future. Sad to award ARETHA's DOD posthumously; we miss you, your Majesty. Birdie.

thefogman 11:28 AM  

About medium for a Friday for me. AFCEAST was my final fill. Decent puzzle. Not a BPLUS, but definitely in the high SEAS.

Diana, LIW 12:31 PM  

9:30 am - still working on it, but hanging in there

Lady Di

Burma Shave 1:47 PM  


PEPE LUSTEDFOR a girl SKUNK, “I’VECHANGED on my OWN”, he will say,


rondo 2:05 PM  

As I look back there are no write-overs, so kinda easy, but I did dwell on some of those clues.

Someone above actually felt micro-, or perhaps macro-aggressed by PEPE LePew? A cartoon SKUNK? UGH!

What you say when the hostess seats you in a bad place: “This TABLE’SCRAP!”

Yeah, ARETHA, we miss you already baby.

Fun one today, no LIE.

Diana, LIW 2:43 PM  

My stupid sports league was the AFlEAST, so the bladder became a gAl (gallon) - so...I tried. all that hard work...

Diana, Lady whilstlosing

rainforest 5:03 PM  

With all due respect, @Rondo, I believe "KALE CAESAR" was the mantra of Brutus, Casca, Cassius, et al. A fine puzzle which I join with others in finding it easy for a Friday. Nothing wrong with that.

I have only seen BWAHAHA in the comments section following a Sean Hannity episode where I made cogent remarks, only to be labelled a "snowflake". Mistake noted.

Slowdown in the BIAS/LINT/PAT area. What *is* Selection BIAS?
They're going have to rename that county to Blue County, I guess.

Fun Friday. Sorry I's late.

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