One who's got game ... but shouldn't / FRI 10-5-2018 / Like a code anyone can use / Military leader known for being chicken?

Friday, October 5, 2018


Relative difficulty: Medium (until the bitter end, when things got ... frustrating)

THEME: Themeless

Word of the Day: TANEY (13d: Roger ___, fifth chief justice of the Supreme Court) —
Roger Taney delivered the majority opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), that ruled, among other things, that African Americans, having been considered inferior at the time the United States Constitution was drafted, were not part of the original community of citizens and, whether free or slave, could not be considered citizens of the United States. This ruling created an uproar among abolitionists and the free states of the northern U.S.

 • • •
Hello lovely solvers and T.G.I.F. from your podcast-enthused, baseball-distraught cruciverbalist companion filling in for Rex today.

You know that feeling, when things are all going smoothly, and then suddenly *WHAM* you come to a crashing halt?

Well, that's about how I can summarize my run through this puzzle (and my only explanation to the Cubs early playoff exit. There's always next year.) I got off to a torrid pace by my Friday standards, throwing down most of the 5–7 letter acrosses in the middle of the grid without so much as a second thought. And once HAIRDYE, CAPONE, COLD ONE, TINKERED and GENERAL TSO were all firmly in place, I was able to parse the long downs without much trouble. Aided by the all-too-familiar ALBA, APSE, ET AL, I cruised through the rest of the grid and was sure my screen would play the *NYT Puzzle Success* jingle ...

... until it didn't. Something was wrong. And it took me some truly excruciating extra innings before I found a fatal flaw in the SW which brought this otherwise smooth-sailing Friday endeavor to an unglamorous end. CLEAN and ONES are both words! Of course! But alas, not those we needed today.

I enjoyed this puzzle all the way down to the last DRAM. The triple stacks in the NW and SE are pretty original (though I was ~shocked~ when IN THE CLOSET didn't fit for 56a: Waiting to come out), the long downs (with the exception of the bit-too-clunky SET A RECORD) are great, and there's a happy blend of generational answers — from "Family Ties" to FLASH MOBS. Though we can all agree that the DAB is for all ages.

And while I did feel like I actually learned a lot from this puzzle, I do wish that the clue on TANEY (see above) captured more of his grave historical significance — especially given ... well, all of American history since Dred Scott.

  • DEAD LINE (35d: Newsroom concern) — Super relevant, especially for my work tomorrow! Check out Apple Podcasts in the evening for my show's newest episode. 
  • PERIWINKLE (15a: Purple-blue shade or the flower it's named after) — My proudest achievement as a colorblind person was knowing how to spell chartreuse and what it was.
  • CLICHE (41a: Like a kid in a candy store, e.g.) — Love the cluing on this. But as a radio producer and sports fan, *hate* cliches. My personal pet peeves are "take it one game at a time" and "blood, sweat and tears." Let me know yours in the comments.  
  • ARIL (48d: Seed case) — As a precocious kindergartner, I memorized a song about different plant parts and performed it for my parents. Yes there is video evidence, and yes it was an all-time great song.
Signed, Matthew Stock, melancholy Cubs fan in for Rex
[Follow Matthew on Twitter for podcast recs and countdowns until the 2019 baseball season]
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:08 AM  

Easier than yesterday’s. My only erasure was HAIR gel before DYE. Pretty smooth, but not a Fri. That said, liked it.

Harryp 12:19 AM  

My bugaboo was leadline instead of DEADLINE, for whatever reason, but that was proofread out after a while. OK puzzle for me. What I want to talk about is the New Yorker puzzle. Since they started, I have gotten every one of Patrick Berry's offerings, but maybe 30 percent of the others, if that. Are the others that hard, or am I just not ready for these?

Robin 12:34 AM  

Similar story here. Blew through this in a hurry but the Times website wouldn't admit I was done.

In my case it was because of the HEADLINE/HAB crossing. Oh sorry, I mean the DEADLINE/DAB crossing.

Dance moves of the past 25 years? Just shoot me know, because I know none of them.

puzzlehoarder 12:35 AM  

An easy Friday. Faster than yesterday's solve and no possibility for a dnf. ESME gave me DRAM. That and EWE were all that was needed for PERIWNKLE to go in. Once started the solve kept on moving.

Interestingly Jeff Chen had a HAB/DAB dnf. I never thought of HEADLINE but I could see where that could trip someone up. What makes it interesting is that I looked up the previous times that DAB has been clued this way and there's only been two of them both recent of course. The last one was a little less than a year ago in a Sunday puzzle constructed by none other than Jeff Chen. He forgot his own puzzle entry. I guess that's why he should remember dance moves from the 2010s.

My only write overs we're HAIRGEL, STORAGE and DATELINE. All easily fixed.

Marc 12:40 AM  

This was pretty easy for me because of some quick fills on long answers. FLASHMOB, ITOLDYOUSO, WITCHTRIAL, and others. And some crunchiness as well, but below my normal Friday solve time. But I really liked the puzzle. Great clues, great answers, fresh. A++++, would solve again. I would have loved to see what Rex' opinion may have been.

TomAz 12:44 AM  

Quicker than Thursday, by several minutes.

NW was where I started and where I ended. Couldn't get traction til the NE, and then went around clockwise.

Nice write up from @Matthew. Radio producer and sports fan? I listen to too much sports talk radio when I'm in my car. Cliches? never. ha. I have a small game I play with it. Doesn't matter if it's the local schlubs or ESPN. turn a sports talk show on, set a timer.. see how long it takes before one of the hosts uses the word "obviously". "Obviously, Bill Bellichik is a great coach, but what on earth was he thinking on that call on fourth down?" If your timer runs past 5 minutes (not counting commercials) you've found an innovative show.

Sorry bout your Cubs. At least they didn't collapse a month earlier like my D-backs.

Dolgo 1:23 AM  

And I had hEADLINE because my dancing days are over.

Dolgo 1:27 AM  

I keep seeing ols "crossword puzzle words" creeping back in. ARIL, ESME, ETSL, APSE, NENE. Let's declare a solver's revolution. Don't let 'em get away with it!

Larry Gilstrap 1:49 AM  

I floundered for a bit. CoRnflower did not help me end up with PERIWINKLE. I know my plants, but not so much outside Southern California. Years ago, I camped the West Coast in my 70 VW Van. As we headed north in July, nobody was using their LANTERNS.

Honey bunch cluing WORKER BEES is some good Friday misdirect right there. ALSO, the cluing that resulted in PERSON. Thinking out of the box is fun when the cluing is nuanced. Trivia is fine on a Thursday nite at your local, but make the puzzle feel solvable without a GOOGLE option. I said that?!

Time is MONEY, no doubt. Strive to get off the clock!

Loren Muse Smith 2:46 AM  

Robyn – emerging as our Queen of Fridays. 1A and its clue are superb. I also loved the clues for GENERAL TSO, SERTA, POACHER, and TONY.

Ok. So I didn’t have a DEADLINE/headline issue. Mine was dumb – I was going “lead line.” Ya know – Breaking news, this just in…

ESME reminds me of the all-time worst portmanteau name in the history of portmanteau names: Renesmee (Twilight – Bella’s half vampire/half human daughter named after Renee and Esme. Poor kid).

PERIWINKLE – I would always choose this color from my nifty Crayola box with the built-in sharpener. Inexplicably, I would think that something had changed overnight that would render it capable of delivering the color its appearance promised. But nope – it always colored an anemic, lackluster blue. Worst crayon in the box, if you ask me. False advertising. But, hey – it prepared me for the bajillion lipsticks I’ve bought over the years that did the same damn thing. Looks like a dignifiedish pinkish nudish color in the package but once applied, it looks like I’ve been chugging Pepto Bismol.

FLASHMOBs just float my boat. Especially this one.

Vulcan MIND MELD. Every summer in Maine I try this while the girl in the ice cream shoppe in Sebasco Estates scoops the Moose Tracks up for my cone. I’m going More, more, more. With all my mind might. Every time.

Matt – thanks for pinch hitting. A CLICHÉ I always notice is It’s not the MONEY, it’s the principle. Uh, no. It’s always about the money. Another one is It’s all good. By the time you say that, it’s actually all pretty bad. This is what you tell the security officer while he watches you pack up your office belongings. Or while you’re slowly picking yourself up off the ground and picking grit out of your knees because you forgot that aforementioned ice cream shoppe has a little step down and you’ve fallen and your cone has splatted with the Moose Tracks scoop loosed and already melting on the pavement and the people in line are asking you if you’re ok and the girl isn’t offering to give you a Sympathy Replacement Cone.

Robyn – this is a terrific themeless. I love your puzzles.

Anonymous 3:10 AM  

I agree with Rex that this was a good puzzle. I enjoyed it. My only nitpick is the clue on OPEN SOURCE. As someone who writes software, and even some OPEN SOURCE software, it grated. Nobody says "a code." It's like when George W. Bush said "The Google." People who know what it means don't say that. Also, technically, OPEN SOURCE software isn't necessarily something anyone can use. There are often times restrictions (depending on the exact license), like that you can't use it in other software that isn't OPEN SOURCE.

chefwen 3:14 AM  

This puzzle was pretty much an ocean of white when I handed it to puzzle partner, he banged out the SE corner and handed it back. “That’s great honey, but that doesn’t help me anywhere else”. The more I plugged away the easier it got. Handed it back and forth a couple of times, last pass changed his R in STOrAGE to a W for STOWAGE and we were done. Loved it, especially 1A and 12D I TOLD YOU SO.

Can’t stand “AT THE END OF THE DAY” and “IT IS WHAT IT IS”. Also not fond of air quotes or people makin little hearts with their hands. Ugh!

JOHN X 3:40 AM  

This was a very enjoyable puzzle, but I tore right through it. I just knew every answer, but admired the trickery of the clues. I mean I spanked this puzzle, like it was tied up and had a ball-gag on. I defeated it like it was Hooker at Chancellorsville. I crushed it like . . . like . . . like I was King Kong, an angry King Kong and it was an elevated train and I was angry and I crushed it.

Hungry Mother 4:52 AM  

Wow! That was really easy. Almost SETA(personal)RECORD today, but was slowed a bit in the SE. Up early for a drive to the Boston area today and gave myself more time than necessary for the morning puzzle over coffee.

Solve this 6:03 AM  

So weird that there would be "crossword puzzle words" in a, um, "crossword puzzle."

Lewis 6:08 AM  

A couple of years ago, Robyn decided to focus on themeless puzzles (this is her 10th in a row), and they've been getting more and more polished. With today's puzzle, she has fully arrived, come into her own, become a master of her art, IMO. The puzzle is playful and energetic -- signature Weintraub qualities -- yet nowhere does it feel like she's tried too hard.

There is lovely wordplay (clues for GENERAL TSO, POACHER, even CLUBS, i.e.), plus a most memorable 1A, and the abutting MONEY and GOLD COIN. The puzzle is tuned perfectly for Friday, and as your resident alphadoppeltotter, I must report that it has an unusually low double letter count (3), the lowest in more than a year.

Was it a wise decision to move to themeless puzzles, Robyn? I believe you've earned the right to say I TOLD YOU SO.

Anonymous 6:21 AM  

I can count on one hand how many times I've heard the happy-song on a Friday (I lie, it's one finger and that's today making this the greatest Friday puzzle ever).

And then to come here and find a bright, well-written review, my gosh. Things are looking up for Anonymous.

Anonymous 6:34 AM  

Sorry. If you didn’t know Taney or watch Family Ties, you were defeated.

amyyanni 7:05 AM  

Enjoyed Loren's riff on the periwinkle crayon. Fun puzzle and I didn't need The Google at all.

W. Strunk 7:19 AM  

Thanks for pinch hitting, Matthew. A good at-bat. But I'm sorry to hear that you don't like clichés. I guess one man's meat is another man's poison.

OffTheGrid 7:28 AM  

I think Matthew Stock did a great review. Rex is fine but geeez! Cut the cord.

QuasiMojo 7:29 AM  

I found this as smooth as a baby’s bottom. How’s that for a cliche? So many silly fill-ins on my part — Capote before Capone (too true!); “rave” before “Tony”; “storage” before “stowage” and “tall one” before “cold one” (I stopped drinking before most of you were born.) but I managed to correct myself as I went along and was done in 11 minutes which in my book means it was too easy for a Friday. Yet I’d rather have smooth and easy over tortured and inane as we’ve had recently. Thanks to Robyn for a swell puzzle and to Matthew for a charming write-up. I probably won’t click on your podcast link however because I like podcasts about as much as I like “flash mobs” — both are the equivalent of “nails scratching on a chalkboard,” speaking of “stale” cliches.

kitshef 7:32 AM  

Took a while to find an entry (LAG), but then ended up going pretty fast. Certainly faster than yesterday, and without the DNF.

Cluing was unduly dull today. POACHER was a little fun, I guess.

Worst crayola color: Indian red.

Worst cliche: “What goes around comes around”.

Rainbow 7:34 AM  

Hand hearts are the worst!

Peter P 7:36 AM  

I got snared on TANEY, but then realized I had misspelled ELYSE as ELISE, which made figuring out the cross TONY (Props for a Broadway play. I saw "props" and TO-I in my grid, so I thought I was looking for some Latin plural, given the apparent plural of "props." Only when it dawned on me that "props" was being used in the sense of "mad props"/recognition and that Elise has an alternate spelling did it all gel together for me.

Other minor stumbles included hEADLINE for DEADLINE (which I figured out fast), and WITCHhunts for WITCHTRIAL. (I guess the former phrase has just become background noise in my brain because of a certain someone's tweets and came out today.)

Otherwise, a weird week for me, finishing today's puzzle well above average (and I still only finish maybe a quarter of Fridays) and faster than my Thursday this week and almost at my Wednesday time this week (and yet I gave up on Tuesday and needed outside help to finish Monday.)

Passing Shot 7:49 AM  

Any Friday I can do in under 20 with no cheats is waaaaay too easy.

michiganman 7:50 AM  

Really nice enjoyable puzzle. Started with a happy moment when PERIWINKLE was my first entry. Worst crayon color: white. Hard to pick least liked cliche-so many of them. As a group, sports cliches are awful: "He came to play", "Our backs were against the wall", "They gave 110% today", "We just have to play one game at a time"

RavTom 7:53 AM  

Others note “crossword puzzle words.” I note crossword puzzle spellings. Take “tsar.” While scholars like to use it, in more popular writing (like newspapers), it’s usually “czar.” Or today’s GENERALTSO. Most Chinese restaurants I go to call him General Gau. Others?

pabloinnh 8:51 AM  

I know that some people hate those "crossword" words, but for me, they're trips down memory lane. Hello ARIL, old friend. And hey, NENE, glad to see you're not extinct. I'm still worried about the elusive anoa, and fear that adit and atle have fallen off the map.

Nice work from Robyn. She really came to play and gave it 110% and left everything on the field and on and on.

Chris 8:59 AM  

Two nitpicks, where i think tee constructor tried to be too clever:
17A: croutons aren’t dressing!
27D: no one says “a code,” it’s just “code”, a mass noun like snow. This one held me, a computer science professor, back for far longer than it should have.

Otherwise i loved the clueing & fill today. Pretty easy for a Friday.

Chris 9:01 AM  

General Gau?! I think you may have been getting off-brand general tso.

Anastasia 9:05 AM  

@RavTom (7:53 am): Don't know if this is an actual convention, but here's what I have found in crosswords...

-when the clue refers to a Russian monarch, the spelling is almost always TSAR.

-when the clue refers to a political figure who has overall inter-departmental responsibility for policy in a particular area (e.g., drugs), the spelling is always CZAR.

Chris 9:05 AM  

Yes, thank you, i had the same nitpick.

Nancy 9:13 AM  

An entertaining, VERY enjoyable puzzle that I found Medium.

I only had one real problem -- 25A. First I wanted LUGGAGE, then I thought BAGGAGE, but once I had the S from SCAT (25D), I *knew* the right answer. STOrAGE! But what the heck were RORKER BEES (28D)? I stared at this jumble of letters for much too long.

And I had trouble getting past my mental block for FLASHMOB. I knew that someone had put a link up on this very blog to this new (for me) phenomenon, but FLASH would not come to me even when I had MOB. Needed the F from FED (10D), which gave me OFF, which jogged my memory. And now I remember: that link was from @Loren. Nor was it that long ago.

If only everyone could create puzzles with such little PPP. It's always a pleasure when that happens. A lovely job, Robyn.

Z 9:18 AM  

Easy, fun Friday.

@LMS - Does this mean the float is done?

Roger TANEY - Uhhhh... I’ll just shut up and go to my meeting. You’re welcome.

Anastasia 9:20 AM  

@Chris Martens

I don't think the stale bread is referring to croutons, but to the bread used to make turkey dressing (which in the north is known as "stuffing")

Randy (Boulder) 9:23 AM  

10:48, on the fast side for a Fri for me. Definitely felt like I had a MIND MELD with the constructor.

Great clue for POACHER.

Gretchen 9:24 AM  

Way too easy for a Friday. More like about a Tuesday. Disappointing.

Nancy 9:31 AM  

@michiganman 7:50 -- Re your comment on sports cliches: If you've never seen the film BULL DURHAM, go rent it ASAP. It's not only quite possibly my favorite sports movie of all time (the only contender in that category is A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN), but it has the funniest scene about sports cliches imaginable. Said scene takes place on the team bus. Don't miss it!

Sorry for the earlier duplication, everyone. No sooner was it mysteriously lost than my comment was mysteriously retrieved. If I'd just waited 90 more seconds...

jberg 9:32 AM  

@RavTom -- wait, TSO and Gau are the same general? I see the latter often here in Boston, but I always just figured one of the things you did when you commanded a winning army was commission a chicken dish. I actually had Gau for a moment when I misread the Jessica clue as referring to 49D and put in LaNg.

I agree with almost everybody, on the easy side but a beautiful, polished puzzle.

GHarris 9:44 AM  

My fastest Friday ever. A really enjoyable romp (least favorite cliche?) .The clueing was really clever but fell right in my wheelhouse ( another least favorite cliche?) Hey @John X I prefer to compare my conquest to Meade’s defeat of Lee at Gettysburg, much more significant than Chancellorsville.

GILL I. 9:57 AM  

With all due respect, to be honest, BASICALLY drives me to drink. Well, just about everything does.
I don't think I've met a Robyn Weintraub that I didn't like. This was very enjoyable.
Hello APSE, ESMY, LAIC and ARIL. They're my friends and I hope they stick around.
My good fellow APSE and EWE gave me PERIWINKLE. Not only is the flower pretty, so is its name.
FAKE NEWS fits in 35D. HAIR gel and MIND read. Oops. I always thought it was "Like a bull in a china shop." I like the kid in the candy store. My son was like the bull - especially looking for jelly bellies.
Really didn't have any problems and finished sans Google but strangely, the hardest part for me was getting SCHMO in that sap corner. I knew it ended in O for the ORES but that answer had me staring into space for at least two coffee sips worth.
Wanted to fit in closet somewhere in the 56A. TWA was always clued as a PanAm rival in its past. I hated Eastern. Planes were always dirty. I used to fly them once a month from SFO to MIA. TWA, on the other hand, was primo. Upgrades to first - always. Filet mignon, real champagne and fake caviar. Now our choice is Jet Blue. Waaaah.
Thank you RW. This was fun.

Peter P 10:01 AM  

@RavTom - It looks like General Gau may be a Boston-area appellation. Here in Chicago/Midwest, I've only seen General Tso, or variations on that (General Tao, General Tsao, maybe even General Tzo, but not one beginning with "g.") That said, dialects the way they are, and transliterations the way they are, it is unsurprising to me that there are many versions of this name. But TSO seems to be the most well-known/mainstream one in the US. (That's where you can find it on Wikipedia, for instance.)

Sir Hillary 10:05 AM  

Lots and lots to like here -- ANDWEREOFF, ITOLDYOUSO, WORKERBEES, SETARECORD, GOLDCOIN, COLDONE, CAPONE, SCHMO, RIBCAGE, MINDMELD and FLASHMOB, to name but a sample of the sparklers. Great clues for ETAL, TONY, POACHER and ALSO.

Wonderful Friday fare -- thanks, Robyn!

Airymom 10:11 AM  

I had trouble in the west, and had to Google "first public enemy #1". Three top Google listings had John Dillinger, not Capone. I'm trying to figure this out. Any comments?

@LMS @2:46 A.M.--There's an ice cream/Italian ices place near my house, called "The Cow". On a summer night, you could find 50 people on line. I always order their home made vanilla ice cream with m&m's sprinkled on top. I watch the employee plop the scoop in the cup and then dip a big ladle into the vat of m&m's. His job is to shake about a dozen candies on top of the ice cream. I too use the Vulcan mind meld, hoping his hand will slip and the entire ladle-full will fall in. It hasn't happened yet, for which my blood sugar is thankful, but I'm not!

gfrpeace 10:17 AM  

When people say 'it's not the money, it's the principal' it's usually the money. But sometimes in life in fact it is the principal. Not everything is money.

Suzie Q 10:19 AM  

My first glance through the clues had me guessing Col. Sanders.
Wrong answer but in the right direction. Same number of letters.
I haven't clicked on @ Loren's flash mob yet but I'm guessing it's the one with Ode to Joy.
Good fun to start my Friday.

Randy (Boulder) 10:38 AM  

"Dressing" can also mean stuffing, made from bread crumbs.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Worst crayon color—“flesh”. Remember? How not p.c. can you get? Most over used cliche—“at the end of the day...” ugh.

Crimson Devil 10:44 AM  

Amen re Bull Durham and bus scene when vet catcher prepares Nuke LaLoush pitcher for dealing with press and use of littany of cliches when he gets to Bigs.

BJD 10:58 AM  

“Like a code...” in 27 down makes no sense. “Like code...” is much better.

Carola 11:18 AM  

A treat of a puzzle. Which I will follow with the one phrase that drives me wild: 'Nuff said.

@Lewis, thank you for the background on Ms. Weintraub's turn to themeless puzzles. What a happy decision for us solvers!

For those of you trying the MIND MELD at Ice cream shops - I'm not sure it will work employing only mental forces. Please see here to refine your technique.

Malsdemare 11:18 AM  

Oh crap, DNF here because I don't know Jessica ALBA, and tAGS seemed reasonable for captures. Otherwise, a fine romp, lots of seriously great stuff. I adore the color PERIWINKLE, share Matthew's chagrin that INTHEcloset didn't fit, thought the clue for POACHER was most excellent. My one gripe? It didn't last long enough.

I liked AND WE'RE OFF though I mentally supplied the apostrophe. I'm in the middle of an editing job so nitpicking is what I'm doing these days. I also appreciate his explication of why TANEY dropped in so easily; yes, the Dred Scott decision is pretty horribly embedded in our brains.

And now to see what y'all have to say.

TJS 11:19 AM  

I'm usually disappointed when later-in-the-week puzzles dont put up a good fight, but like many others here I found this one so well-clued, and with so many fresh answers, that I really enjoyed it. I cant blame this constructor just because I seemed to hit on every answer on the first try. I'm still recovering from "woot" and "yolo". Like @GILL I, lots of things can drive me to drink.

Gulliver Foyle 11:20 AM  

Sure, easy for a Friday, but I'll take it! I don't often get to dance to the happy tune on Friday. And I thought it was well-done.

Malsdemare 11:27 AM  

@LMS I adore FLASHMOBS. Thanks for sharing. I'd post my fav as well, but I love them all.

JC66 11:38 AM  

For all you FLASHMOB fans: Ode To Joy

Banana Diaquiri 11:48 AM  

it's worse than you think.

"The dish or its variants are known by a number of names, including Governor Tso's chicken, General Tao’s Chicken, General Gao's / Gau's chicken, General Mao's chicken, General Tsao's chicken, General Tong's chicken, General Tang's chicken, General Cho's chicken, General Chai's chicken, General Joe's Chicken, T.S.O. Chicken, General Ching's chicken, General Jong's Chicken, House Chicken, or simply General's Chicken. " the wiki.

I've known it mostly as TAO. so it caused problems. might be an Effete Eastern Intellectual thing.

Malsdemare 11:48 AM  

My favorite FLASHMOB isn't a mob. It’s my amazing brother-in-law, an incredible pianist and all-around sweetie, plopping down at a random piano in a square somewhere in Austria (Vienna?), and proceeding to awe the ever-increasing crowd. How I wish I had been there!

TubaDon 11:53 AM  

Faster than usual for a Friday, but an enjoyable trip. Started at the bottom with Gen. TSO (never saw GAU even in New England) and DEADLINE and worked my way up. Slight dellay caused by STORAGE and HAIRGEL and had to get TANEY from crosses. 1A and 15A were the last words in, giving me an "oh, no!" moment because I actually have some Periwinkle in my landscate (although I always called it Vinca Minor, and its very blue, not purple). A lot of nice clues on the longer answers.

RooMonster 11:56 AM  

Hey All !
Started out as a typical FriPuz, with the initial run through only netting a few answers. (I do the puz the "wrong way", according to Rex, start at 1A, go through all the Across clues, then all the Down clues in order. Only after do I go and start filling off what I have.) But, once I started getting answers, it turned into a quiet easy puz. Got the entire East first, (SE, NE) then SW, finishing in the NE, with a rapid time (for me) of 17:24! Not sure if that SET A RECORD, I'll go back and look later.

GENERAL TSO had a fun clue, if easy to parse. SERTA also. Kept thinking Burger? Haven't heard WIG out in forever. Fun. Writeovers, only two today! killERBEES (Har) and ELiSE-ELYSE. (Pats self on back.) Took a minute for 48A, ALBA or Biel?

So a satisfying Friday. Gonna give myself a GOLD star and a COLD ONE!


Banana Diaquiri 11:57 AM  


alas, if your of the MBA Masters of the World Class, principal *is* money. it's what generates the vig you live off of.

Crimson Devil 12:11 PM  

Ode to Joy is excellent; my fav is Christmas shopping mall Halleleujah chorus.

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

Banana: I think he meant principle, but you know that.

Masked and Anonymous 12:31 PM  

ANDIMABITOFF … Also bit the dust on HEADLINE/HAB. M&A's dance moves are pathetically limited. Will grudgingly give DAB the staff weeject pick nod, even tho a better clue would clearly be {Bad backing??} = DAB.

The DAB is evidently a move that resembles coughin into yer elbow, while extendin yer other arm out and slightly up. M&A does have part of this move in his repertoire, as recently came down with a messy old cold. M&A tends to do the Funky DAB variation, I reckon.

Hey, real first-rate fillins in this puppy. Did learn somethin, on that TANEY entry. [And on DAB.] Everything else was smoooth sailin, at our house. fave stuff included: ANDWEREOFF. ITOLDYOUSO. MINDMELD.

Both 6th Chief Justice CHASE & 7th Chief Justice WAITE would also fit into 13-D's 5-letter answer. Justice WAITE gets M&A's award for best raised-by-the-wolves official picture.

Not sure why I remembered ELYSE, but it was an ab-so-lute lifesaver in the NE. Didn't watch the TV show in question much, so probably must know from other crosswords. There was a real pretty actress named ELYSE KNOX, co-starrin in "The Mummy's Tomb" flick, tho. But, I digress.

Thanx for the excellent FriPuz, Robyn Weintraub darlin. Enjoyed it more than a DAB.

Masked & AnonymoUUs
"Off to Clean Off His Dabbed Elbow"


Anonymous 12:57 PM  

As in a turkey...

jb129 12:58 PM  

Love it Robyn - & you've still got me going & won't give up (but I had to cheat on Witch Trial) - oh well.

And We're Off 1:01 PM  

I kept trying to figure out how 1-Across could be some version of "I have no clue."

JC66 1:12 PM  


A Little DAB Will Do Ya

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

Not sure why "in the closet" would be better than INTHEWINGS

Teedmn 1:14 PM  

Nice ONE, Robyn. I found this fun and relatively easy but I still left a bunch of black ink in places. A__WEREO__ at 1A had me wanting AnsWER?One but that second E kept it from going in. With STA_EBRE__ in at 17A, I was looking for STAgE and a dressing room word/phrase but FLASH and FED gave me the stuffing reference. Fun clue.

I had very important PEople holding 39A up and 21A Bucks, e.g. was MONEY before 29A was MONEY.

Lots to like here, though I was surprised by some of the crossword-easy LAIC, ARIL and others. I enjoyed all of the clues that others have mentioned with TONY and POACHER getting the "circled" treatment.

Least favorite cliche: "It's the exception that proves the rule." Ugh. Utter gobbledygook!

Groucho 1:22 PM  

Aren't FLASHMOBS sort of a cliche? In a way? Not to mention annoying.

Anoa Bob 1:25 PM  

PERIWINKLE is also a small, edible marine snail. When I was a kid in Tennessee, it was what we called a small freshwater snail that we would find attached to rocks and logs just below the waterline. We would toss one out into the lake or swimming hole and the challenge was to swim out, dive down, and retrieve the PERIWINKLE before it sank out of sight. It wasn't easy. We were working without NETS!

I do the puzz on the NYT site and the square where the cursor is located in the grid has a yellowish color and the continuing row or column squares have a light blue color. Except today. As you can see in the blog grid, the 1 Across row has a dull, greenish color. All the rest of the puzz follows the usual yellow-blue scheme.

Anyone else notice that? I thought at first it might be the color of the PERIWINKLE, but that would have been in the 15 Across row, no? What gives? Is it meant to be AND WE'RE OFF color?

TVguide 1:44 PM  

More than you probably want to know: Family Ties

Steven and Elyse Keaton, once 1960s radicals, now find themselves in Reagan-era American trying to raise a traditional suburban family. Son Alex P. Keaton is an ambitious young Republican, and his sister Mallory is a shallow victim of the corporate culture, obsessed with music, clothes and boys. Their only normal kid is young Jennifer, a bit of a tomboy. In later seasons, the Keatons add a fourth child, Andrew. Most of the comedy arose from the conflict between the liberal parents and the conservative children.

Meredith Baxter (Meredith Baxter-Birney) as Elyse Donelly Keaton
Michael Gross as Steven Keaton
Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton
Justine Bateman as Mallory Keaton
Tina Yothers as Jennifer Keaton
Brian Bonsall as Andrew "Andy" Keaton (seasons 5–7) v

jb129 1:50 PM  

I can't believe I was stuck on General Tso! Great puzzle, Robyn!!

Anonymous 2:21 PM  


The exception that proves the rule is an exquisite expression and a lesson in logic.

Consider the sign that says "no parking from 4Pm to 6Pm". That exception ( no parking for those tow hours) proves the (general) rule that parking IS allowed at all other times.

It's the very opposite of gobbledygook.

Joe Bleaux 2:48 PM  

Ditto all plaudits for Robyn Weintraub, and as for 41D: When all is said and done, in the final analysis, the bottom line is that "At the end of the day ... " is here to stay. Sigh.

Anonymous 3:04 PM  

I tend to avoid cliches like the plague.

Dawn Urban 4:08 PM  

Agree, Periwinkle was a wimpy crayon. Something goes wrong with Crayola's transluscent type colors.

GILL I. 4:12 PM  

@Anoa B. YES! What memories. In Spain they're called bigaros (accent on the i) and they are delicious. They're also called caracol de mar "snail of the sea." They are DELICIOUS and I'm betting @pablo will agree with me.
I'd give anything to find them here; they are so easy to cook and fun to eat. Once you've boiled them in salt and added a couple of bay leaves, you run them under cold water. You pick the meat out with a toothpick! It can take an hour or two standing in a tapas bar while sipping a "chato" de vino. Fun finger food....Just hope you don't find a little crab who has made his casita in one of them!

Anonymous 5:00 PM  

No, it is gobbledygook, just like "agree to disagree" AAAHHH! My head is exploding!

Anonymous 5:16 PM  

No. The exception that proves the rule is an example of a specific proscription allowing one to infer a broader allowance.

In what way is that gem of logic gobbledygook?

And of coursd agree to disagree is also eminently reasonable, and in fact, useful.

Matthew G. 5:19 PM  

Thanks for the explanation on "dressing," Anastasia. I am familiar with "stuffing" (and do not like it) but to me the word "dressing" only relates to salads, so I had no idea what was going on and suspected croutons.

The northwest corner of this one was brutal, but the rest was smooth as silk. Great Friday.

Anonymous 5:46 PM  

@Anoa Bob - the NYT programming provides a shading for the fill where the cursor lies and a different shading for cross-referenced clues - very obvious when you get to the revealer and all of the themers get that secondary coloring. 1A today is self-referential: blue + yellow = green. QED etc etc.

Anonymous 5:50 PM  

Teedmn et seq. - the "proves" in "proves the rule" does not mean what "proves" usually means in today's English - it means "tests" (compare German "probiert" or English "probes") the rule. The exception "tests the rule." Not the only idiom to outlive the actual meaning of its words.

Sherm Reinhardt 6:43 PM  

Almost a record-fast Friday, and would've been even closer if I hadn't spelled ELYSE as ELISE and didn't check that they don't give out TONI awards. That's for HAIRDYE, I think. Fun Friday. I feel like all the misleaders were very gentle on purpose and the fill was on point.

Thanks to @Anastasia for the dressing information.

Z 7:22 PM  

Hmmm, anonymice or Wikipedia? Oh - look - one of the Anonymice isn't, but rather someone who actually knows that of which they post. Still, I'd have been happier if she had posted a link to a source rather than making me use the Google.

CLB 8:15 PM  

Super easy, until I jumped to an empty SE and, thinking I was so smart, plopped "THE COLONEL" in for "Military leader known for being chicken?" and then... wow did that take a while to unwind.

Anonymous 8:23 PM  

Im always right whe i post.

Anonymous 8:45 PM  

My favorite example of my being correct was my prescient prediction that Trump would win. You went on and on about how not only would HRC win, but offered suggestions about how the GOP could recover state legistatures, governors mansions and the US capitol. Of course, tbe GOP swept all those and more.
I'll grant that you've acknowledged you're error, though you mis-ascribe the reason,but keep flinging that frisbee. Maybe that and Calvinism will help you.

Azzurro 9:15 PM  

I really enjoyed the clues on this one. I struggled for a while trying to make ZOOEY aka ZOEY fit where ESME belonged, but it eventually fell into place.

RooMonster 9:21 PM  

@Z and @Anonymous
Figures it was a lawyer who originally started that saying. Double speak is their specialty.
Was Schrödinger a lawyer? :-}


Anonymous 9:45 PM  

Tripped myself up on 58A by putting down COLSANDERS, which made it worse when I looked at 39D "got game but shouldn't" and I *knew* it had to be POACHER, but then POACHER didn't fit.

Also thought the 46A clue for LAIC was miserable; I put down LAMB.

And when talking money, it's definitely spelled "principal."

Teedmn 10:08 PM  

Thanks, everyone, for showing me that my disliked phrase can be used in a manner that makes sense. Unfortunately, my experience is of hearing it used in the nonsensical way which still makes me grind my teeth, even after I've been driven to drink (hi @Gill I!).

Anonymous 10:13 PM  

@Z & anonymice: Could you be any thicker? Provide examples,

Dan M 10:47 PM  

Re: “a code”: Beyond nobody saying it that way, it’s ...just incorrect. “Code” in the software sense is an uncountable noun, like “sand” or “garbage”. That said, the clue for POACHER was so good, it made up for it. Also cute to throw in DAB right near NENE (I know it’s actually “nae nae” but I was amused nonetheless). Great puzzle overall!

Adam 10:47 PM  

I also had TONI awards before realizing that they were TONYs. I loved this puzzle - I worked from NE down (actually got GOLD COIN first, and worked from the East to the NE and down to the SE, over to SW, and up. Very smooth, a pleasure to solve, limited dreck. Got TALI from the crosses (I know the TARSI, but ). Great!

Anonymous 1:37 AM  

Am I the only one who thinks that Dillinger was the first public enemy number 1? Nope. Googled i after I sorted out that area. Pretty boy Floyd seems to have been next I quibble because I got stuck in that part of the grid of course, but when a clue is factual it ought to be correct. But overall some delightful clueing with not too much crosswordese. Liked it.

Dolgo 1:59 AM  

C'mon, you know what I mean, smarty-pants! Some old ones you don't see much--ULU (Eskimo hunting knife) IMARET (Turkish soup kitchen). I obviously mean words so obscure they are only found in crossword puzzles. Other examples are words spelled strangely so they can be dropped in to solve needs, but which are done to death. OREO cookies and APSEs appear over and over.

Anonymous 3:51 AM  

Tso?Gau? Zaogao! (Sort of WTF!). General Gau would seem to be an (Chinese-)American regionalism, even beyond General Tso, which went to China from the USA.

burtonkd 5:12 PM  

Great writeup. I thought ofl had a stroke, then saw you name.
At the end of the day, when all is said and done, it is what it is...
On the subject of clichés, the band they might be giants had a list of phrases that were banned from their rehearsals that included a lot of gems.

spacecraft 11:06 AM  

ANDWEREOFF! Except, there's nothing OFF about this one. Thursday : ridiculous :: Friday : sublime! It ISON! Well, that one's not too cool, but a tiny imperfection in the overall grid.

Easyish for a Friday, but super-solid throughout. To start, who can forget the color of the dress that the unfortunate Mrs. Bates was buried in? I wanted MONEY for "Bucks, e.g." but instead it appeared two lines down! Yours Trekkie had a gimme with MINDMELD as it crossed MOUSE. The obscure PPP? In on crosses--and now that I read about him here, maybe not so obscure after all. I simply didn't know it.

Toughest part was seeing SERTA as a "King maker"--without even a "?"! Sports announcer CLICHEs? How about "Step up" and "Go-to guy?" Well, Ms. Weintraub would have to be the "go-to-girl," but she certainly "stepped up" today and delivered. Even provided a class-A DOD in Jessica ALBA. Eagle.

Diana, LIW 11:38 AM  

My Mom did her bedroom up in PERIWINKLE blue - a name I loved s a kid.

The answers to this puzzle came so easily that I put them in as small letters - unsure at first. But the correct answers kept coming and coming. If I timed such things, this could have been in my fastest Friday group of puzzles.

Speaking of answers that came to me, I pretty much believe I figured out why all our Calif. dealers didn't want to help me license my car with Wash. plates. Hint, hint - paperwork was involved, yes.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting fr anyone's guess

Burma Shave 12:02 PM  


STALEBREAD’s what your BAGS of MONEY brings,


thefogman 2:03 PM  

Very crunchy and delicious. Nicely done Robyn Weintraub!

rainforest 2:23 PM  

Bit of eww! there, @BS.

Maybe easy for a Friday, but very enjoyable to do as each entry led to another when at first I thought this was going to be a major challenge. W/o's as I went from taLl ONE to COlL ONE to, finally, COLD ONE. Interestingly, STOWAGE was my first guess.

Lotsa nice stuff in here, clues, misdirects, cleverness all in a relatively easy package.

Liked it a lot.

rondo 3:00 PM  

Did not hesitate with PERIWINKLE as I have a nice shirt of that color. GOLDCOIN green paint? Not sure if I SETARECORD but this puz filled in rather quickly.

After reading some comments above, it seems many folks use CLICHÉs until the cows come home.

Always gotta look for the crosses to see if it’s yeah baby Jessica Biel or ALBA.

Decent Fri-puz for my MONEY.

left coastTAM 6:46 PM  

Bit of a LAG here, but time is MONEY, as they say, and needed extra time to spend both today.

Would like to have seen puzzle's beginning with AND WE'RE OFF in the NW corner followed by "NOW IT'S DONE" in the SE corner.

Lots of fun in between, despite the CLICHEs.

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