Old World blackbird / FRI 11-23-18 / Relative of malt shop / Important item for '50s greaser / 1970 title lyric after Simple as do re mi

Friday, November 23, 2018

Constructor: Temple Brown

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (4:48)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: MERL (58A: Old World blackbird) —
The common blackbird was described by Linnaeus in the 10th edition of his Systema Naturae in 1758 as Turdus merula (characterised as T. ater, rostro palpebrisque fulvis). The binomial name derives from two Latin words, turdus, "thrush", and merula, "blackbird", the latter giving rise to its French name, merle, and its Scots name, merl. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hello, fellow eaters! I had a solid postprandial nap this afternoon, so I was well awake and rarin' to go for this puzzle. And for the most part, I torched it. Was headed to a Very Easy time, but the SE made me trip all over myself, starting with SABERS (43A: Things drawn during the Napoleonic Era), and then SPURS (46A: Urges), both of which proved effective blocks to my entry into that corner. Luckily, "ANIMANIACS" was a gimme, so I got some help down there, but even so: I really only knew the -MA part of PADMA (47D: Lakshmi of "Top Chef") and had no idea about ELSE (first guess there was NOTS) or AWE, which has a great clue—just baffled me (wanted ASL at one point) (51A: State without words?). Still, that corner wasn't exactly arduous, and the rest of the grid fell into place pretty easily. I will admit that I straight lucked-out with a few answers. Knew BBC AMERICA right off the bat (used to watch "Orphan Black" before it got confusing and tiresome). Got TIME TRAVEL off just the T-M. Also (and here's where I feel mildly guilty) I knew MERL. First response to [Old World blackbird]: "aw, crap, who knows this stuff?!" Second response: "Hey, wait ... is it MERL? It is! OMG *I* know this stuff!" MERL is some super-duper crosswordese, y'all. Store it away for future use, you will most certainly need it when it is scheduled to appear again in [checks calendar] February 2021. If you knew MERL, high-five yourself. (And if you knew MERL Reagle, well you are a lucky human being indeed.)

[MERL is the cool-looking dude and I am the idiot making a face]

I have to guffaw and scoff and other disdain-related verbs at SQUILLIONS, a "word" I'm seeing for the first time right now. JILLIONS and GAJILLIONS and BAJILLIONS and ZILLIONS and GAZILLIONS ... all fine by me. SQUILLIONS is bleepin' stupid (17A: Ginormous quantities). Unauthorized. Baloney and balogna, simultaneously. I know of a specific place called MILK BAR, and maybe, possibly, I've seen one shop somewhere between here and Ithaca that calls itself a MILK BAR, but the disparity between MILK BAR and "malt shop," name recognition-wise, is vaaaaast (5D: Relative of a malt shop). [Word before sign...] is a truly terrible way to clue CENT. If you're gonna go the [Word before this or after that] route, there should be excellent reason to do so. Had the -OMB part of 26D: Important item for a '50s greaser and assumed some kind of BOMB would be involved. PICKLE BOMB? POMADE BOMB? But POCKET COMB, that's good. Also good: [It covers the floor] for C-SPAN. Also good: BOYO! The whole NE corner was Monday easy. I never even saw some of the short Acrosses, which ... thank god, because seeing NRA once a-f***ing-gain would've really harshed my vibe. I will never not complain when you put this white supremacy- and terrorism-abetting org. in your puzzle. Good puzzle otherwise, though.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

(Twitter: @rexparker / #NYTXW)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:40 AM  

Easy, but it may be a wheelhouse thing. I’m a big fan of Orphan Black, 30 Rock, and Colbert...so, solid but a tad too easy, liked it.

JOHN X 1:11 AM  

Pretty good puzzle!

It was far too easy for a Friday (so was Thursday) but it's a big holiday and I'll forgive that and let's let everyone have fun and get a sense of accomplishment and all the rest of that. Stars for all!

It was so easy, in fact, that I had a DNF down there at that one square where 51A crossed 52D. I even resorted to running the alphabet and it seemed like "_ICK" is a word no matter what letter, number, or symbol you put in that first spot.

My favorite wrong answer I had in there for a bit was the greaser thing at 26D where I had PACKOFCIGS, which would have been an awesome friggin' answer.

puzzlehoarder 1:12 AM  

Mostly this was routine Friday but the extreme SE corner and the midsection of the NW really held out on me.

NIH has been clued this way quite frequently but until I made PE into PENCIL I just wasn't seeing it. The clue for 52A I misunderstood as indicating that it was your own body absorbing moisture. This is very confusing if you're dense enough to read it that way.

In the NW I had to change ABE to ITO and correct the spelling of 7D from RAIAT to RAITT. Every time she shows up I think this will be the time I remember how to spell her name then I go right back to conflating it with RIATA.

The puzzle's difficulty was of my own making but I did get some puzzling out of it.

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving.

Tom R 1:12 AM  

Easiest Friday I can remember. I don't time myself so can't be exact, and I am not even in the same universe with the Rex Parkers of the world, but it probably took me under 20 minutes and the only sticking point was the SE. Unlike Rex, animaniacs was no gimmie for me. Pocket comb was my favorite answer. Enjoyed it.

Larry Gilstrap 1:35 AM  

What with BBC, CBS, CSPAN, and ABC, we get lots of TV options this Friday. This thing came together pretty quickly during my solve, results may vary. Balked at SQUILLIONS, which has never come across my desk. Also, I'm not sure I recognize ABOMINATES used as an active verb, but it certainly is.

I do admire those 10 stacks, which are gratifying to fill and, I imagine, tricky to construct. Daydreamers and STAR GAZERS are synonymous? The intersection of that Venn diagram would be rather small, the time difference twelve hours, but I'll grudgingly sign off on it.

For some reason, I never associated the color red with the metal copper. I had always heard "One red cent," but for years never made the connection. Live and learn.

Barely made it through the solve due to the dwindling supply of LEAD in my mechanical PENCIL. Hate when that happens.

Dolgo 1:49 AM  

Some really inspired clues this time, I thought. really liked LEAD PENCIL. CRAYOLA was kind of in the same area--school supplies. CSPAN was a good pun. By JOVE entertained.
I high-fived myself. I've seen MERL in a crossword. Otherwise I would not have been able to conjure it up from my subconscious.

Dolgo 1:52 AM  

PS I'm glad to see the blog the night before again. We Westcoasters get a chance to post before the big onslaught.

Brookboy 2:00 AM  

I thought it was easy-medium as well. I tore through the top half and the southwest (I didn’t know MERL, but I never even read the clue because I got it entirely from the crosses). But then I got to the southeast, and that’s where I stalled. The AWE-WICK cross really slowed me down. Just could not intuit the W in AWE and WICK. The clue for AWE was, well, AWEsome (but only after I got the answer and then thought about it). The clue for WICK was, well, not so AWEsome, at least for me. But, no matter. I enjoyed it a lot.

Liked OFL’s review, which was almost cheery on this best of all holidays. Had to agree about SQUILLIONS, a made-up word if ever there was one. Again the crosses made short work of the word, but it seemed out of place in an otherwise fine puzzle.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My wife and I visited relatives in frigid New Hampshire, where even the locals admitted that it really was One.Cold.Day. Local air temperatures were in the single digits, and the wind was fierce. We had our choice of turkey meat from any or all of a rotisserie-cooked turkey, a smoked turkey, and an oven-baked turkey. All three were fabulous, as were the ten or so side dishes. My cousin and several of her neighbors did all the cooking, and the rest of the family could not have been more thankful.

Christmastopher Ford 2:57 AM  

Came for the rant on SQUILLIONS and am thankful.

Lewis 6:25 AM  

My solve and reactions, almost word for word like Rex's. Chugged along, fighting small pockets of resistance, then came to a screeching halt in the SE, where there was much clawing, and where I came close to needing some WICKing.

This is a lovely debut, with 12 10-letter answers, all solid, except maybe SQUILLIONS, which I gave the side-eye to until I, post-solve, saw legitimacy in Google. I was surprised to learn that ASIA's first Olympic hosting was in 1964, and I somehow remembered that Man River is OL without the d.

Most of all, there was some terrific cluing, including CSPAN, UFOS, LARCENY, JOVE, UHAUL, and, especially the world-class "State without words" for AWE. All in all, nothing black about this Friday offering.

Carlo50 6:30 AM  

Is squillions an Australian term only? I had no trouble recognising that word, we use it all the time here.

Space Is Deep 6:38 AM  

Nice easy Friday. I think I may have done it faster than the Thursday or Wednesday puzzles.

three of clubs 6:53 AM  

That was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie and Dim, Dim being really dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening,

Loren Muse Smith 7:19 AM  

I love me a made-up word. What’s the biggie? SQUILLIONS was my favorite entry. If you think about it, all words are made up. If we can google what bling means, then we can chillax about adding stuff to our lexicon.
Kinda funny that we have a MILK BAR and a T BAR. Milk doesn’t really do it for me, so I’ll do the T BAR.

I didn’t see TRASHY as a synonym of “classless” at first. Right. I get it; the tv I watch is trashy. Except I’ve added The Great British Bake Off, so there’s that. I was thinking more of “classless” meaning Anything Grace Kelly in Rear Window Would Avoid:

1. Tattoos. Even the tiny butterfly on your ankle. It’s not as tasteful and discreet as you think.

2. Nose earrings that look like boogers at a distance. You look like you’re trying too hard to shock people. Yeah yeah, get off my lawn and all that, but seriously – why not just get a little gun at one end of the ring pointing down so you can shoot yourself in the foot?

3. Those shirts that have cut-out holes exposing the shoulders. At least for women my age. Never mind that I wear sleeveless mock turtlenecks all the time – I’ve never denied being a hypocrite. The cut-out hole deal feels desperate. Fredericks of Hollywood.

4. The granddaddy of classlessness – publicly correcting someone’s grammar. You are not slowing down the demise of English; you’re climbing over someone’s face to look superior at their expense.

So I ate too much yesterday and am in a fowl mood. I imagine I’ll be attacked for being so sanctimonious, and I’ll deserve it. But honestly, couldn’t we go on and on about things we find classless? I bet there are whippoorwillions of examples.

Anonymous 7:23 AM  

SE was a killer, ESPecially because I had convinced myself early on that "rem" was the wordless state (51A, AWE). Then, of course, I wanted "rice" bowl (51D, ACAI), and went about trying to force salary Help (instead of HIKE, 61A).

Seems silly now, but it cost me a couple of minutes.

Z 7:25 AM  

Hey, it’s in the online OED, so I guess it is crossworthy, but boy howdy, just one of the SQUILLIONS of words I’ve never seen before. Fortunately, not too hard to infer what the ending would be. As for it being “made up,” as if gazillion and bazillion aren’t?

ABOMINATES as a verb?

If a cobbler’s job is SOLING does that make the anti-cobbler’s job conSOLING?

Anyone else think the musical standard is OLd MAN RIVER? That elided D made my NE a mess.

TRASHY CAPITOL? Well, I expect some clean-up come January. Now, if we can just do some OVAL cleaning, too.

kitshef 7:31 AM  

Not sure why, but I really didn’t enjoy this at all. But other than CBS TV and SOLING, each of which no one ever says, I’m not sure why. Yeah, it should have run on Wednesday, but we get easy Fridays all the time.
Just something about the cluing that irked me.

I do take some exception to calling LAVER the only two-time grand slam winner: Esther VERGEER won two in wheelchair tennis. Margaret COURT won three – one in singles and two in mixed doubles.

If you live in the US, and you were to see a MERL, you would think it was a melanistic American robin.

Z 7:33 AM  

@LMS - My son and his partner (it’s complicated] each have one of those tiny nose rings. I give myself a of silent “way to go, dad” every time I don’t say a word or resist the urge to give them a kleenex. I also resisted buying the coffee mug with “I’m silently correcting your grammar” written on it. In short, your post spoke to me.

mmorgan 7:57 AM  

Good, solid, enjoyable puzzle. I found it easy for a Friday but that's neither a criticism nor a boast, just an observation.

BarbieBarbie 8:04 AM  

Well, yeah, but “I’m correcting anybody who corrects usage/grammar” is also deserving of a mug, @Z. Go either way! How about a two-sided Virtue Mug?
This puzzle was a good time, with tons of fun clues others have already mentioned. Very easy, but very fun. Perfect for the 24 hours after the big bird.
Did you know that the dog show broadcast that runs after the parade was inspired by a Best In Show, the movie? It’s a perfect world, in some ways. Happy Foreign Object Friday, everyone (we have a veterinarian in the family).

Z 8:13 AM  

@BarbieBarbie - I would never publically correct someone for publically correcting someone’s grammar. I’m much much much too pure for that. No, I’d just silently consign them to the Fifth Circle of Hell.

Curmudgeon 8:14 AM  

I abominated squillions.

QuasiMojo 8:15 AM  

Just coming out of my tryptophan coma. I had a DNF today. Apparently I’m a closet mime. I had APE for “state without words” not knowing “wick” — I thought “pick” might come from “pique” — don’t ask. A few earlier stumbles. I did not know what channel any of those shows were on. I assumed Colbert was a cheese. So wanted France or Belgium. Thought the river was LEVA so I struggled with that cartoon. Never heard of Padma. Thought the 1964 Olympics were ROME but then recalled it was 60. Most flashlights use C or is it D batteries... favorite clue was for Larceny. Not a grand puzzle but happy I ended up with only one wrong box. I’m avoiding the urge to shop today. Unless the mall has a Milk Bar!

relicofthe60s 8:17 AM  

I hate the NRA as much as the next guy, but I don’t understand objecting to it in a puzzle. Do you also object to KKK or al Qaeda? These are real things that are out there, whether we like them or not.

Suzie Q 8:18 AM  

Really nice debut.
Coen took a long time because I was thinking in front of the camera not behind it of course.
That's a really small flashlight that uses AAAs but OK. The only AAAs in my house are for the remotes.
The only Lakshmi I know is that lady on NPR. Cool name as is Temple.
All of your sports wear these days absolutely HAS to be wicking it seems. How in the world have I survived this long without turning into a giant lump of mold?

amyyanni 8:35 AM  

Time travel and a show tune as long columns with an appearance by the No. 2 pencil. Agree with the criticism, especially in the NW and of NRA.

Hungry Mother 8:37 AM  

Easy, but I didn’t know a lot of the the answers until I saw enough crosses. WICK was my favorite.

ArtO 8:47 AM  

SE did me in. Kudos for clue for LEADPENCIL.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

@relicofthe60s - as much as I enjoy Rex's blog, when it comes to this kind of stuff (NRA today, FAKE NEWS yesterday) he becomes an absolute parody of the liberal college professor. So tolerant and open minded, he wants to ban any word in the dictionary that even hints at a different worldview.

pabloinnh 8:55 AM  

Hey @Brookboy--glad you made it to NH. We like it so much we live here, although this AM it was -7 and our furnace decided to stop working. Waiting for the repairman,not named Godot, we hope, while we raise the shades and use solar heating. Life in the country.

I knew MERL, but in the same way I know ATLE (salt tree) and ADIT (mine entrance), which is to say, entirely through crosswords, which is pretty much the definition of -ese. Thought OFL would therefore hate poor MERL, wrong again. Of oucrse, hating NRA was a slam dunk.

Everyone should learn to spell Bonnie RAITT's last name,because she is awesome, and "I Can't Make You Love Me" is one of the top contenders for Best Song Ever.

Happy Black Friday to all the shoppers out there. Can't say I'll be joining you.

Unknown 9:13 AM  

Please give examples of white supremacy and terrorism associated with NRA. Btw, your language is "classless".

Your Mother 9:14 AM  

Not including the NRA in puzzles is not a) censorship, b) ignoring that these groups exist, or c) .

It is a matter of taste. The NRA used to be a decent upstanding organization but it has devolved into its current incarnation of hate and outright support of white nationalist fear mongering. It is at the forefront of our current mess right now because of all the ridiculous amounts of random and barbaric gun violence. It doesn't need to be put into a puzzle because it is currently laden will all kinds of emotional baggage.

Idi Amin is dead. Stalin is dead. Nazis used to be "dead-ish," but they are no longer and they (and the KKK) are current and present in our day to day lives now...so they are (or should be) out too. There are groups and people who are actively trying to dismantle our country and any decorum that used to exist. To keep them out of a puzzle is to, at this moment in our history, cease to normalize them or legitimize their efforts.

Yes, the NRA exists. But they are terrible people. Yes. Terrible people. And if you have any decency in your heart at all, you would fight any attempt to in any way legitimize who they are and what they are doing. Am I an intolerant leftist? Yep. I preach tolerance...but there are some things that you don't tolerate.

Odd Sock 9:19 AM  

At first the review was so cheerful that I thought we had a guest blogger. By the end it was clearly Rex.
Pocket comb was good and I could clearly see in my mind's eye a duck tail being raked into shiny perfection before strutting into the malt shop.
@ threeofclubs, That milk bar is the only one I know.
@ JOHN X, Not a smoker I guess. There are 20 cigarettes in a pack.

NRA is unacceptable but assassin is OK?

Nancy 9:23 AM  

Some lovely cluing, but, still, a slam-dunk puzzle for me. There was happily no junk and it was crossed in a way that made even the few things I didn't know easy to get. I found it enjoyable, but not at all a challenge.

My ginormous quantities are either zILLIONS or gaZILLIONS. Never heard of SQUILLIONS. The number of nuts that squirrels the world over store for the winter?

For the four people on the blog who have never heard Paul Robeson sing OL' MAN RIVER, I'll go to YouTube now to cut and paste it and give it to you for a post-Thanksgiving treat.

Nancy 9:30 AM  

The most powerful theater song ever written!

jackj 9:33 AM  

While Rex rants about SQUILLIONS he tarnishes the good name of a venerable luncheon meat by commenting, "Unauthorized. Baloney and balogna, simultaneously."

It's spelled bologna, Rex, bologna; your spelling is baloney.

OldCarFudd 9:51 AM  

I find it interesting that people are rabid about not allowing words in a puzzle that might give offense to someone, somewhere, but no one has objected to greaser. When I was a kid, that was a very uncomplimentary word for a Puerto Rican. Other than that, I enjoyed this puzzle. Good debut!

Peter P 9:52 AM  

@Unknown - I do think that SQUILLIONS is much more common in non-US dialects of English. I am very familiar with the term (it pops up on a message board I post on [which is the corpus I use as a quick initial sanity check for common usage], but most references are from Aussie and UK posters; plus I have Aussie and UK friends and relatives who use it), but in the US, like Rex says, zillions is probably the go-to word for "vast amount," along with variants like gazillion, bazillions, jillions, bajillions. Squillions is somewhere behind that. I don't think anyone would bat an eye if you said "squillions," as its meaning is immediately inferable and follows the pattern of the other made-up "-illion" words. But definitely more common outside the US.

Fun puzzle, and if I can finish a Friday, it's definitely on the easier side. This one took me just under twenty minutes, which is a faster-than-average completed Friday for me. CBSTV felt a little forced to me. I knew the network, but saw five boxes in the grid, so thought the clue must have been going for something else. When the C and B fell in, I got the hint that TV was appended. Other than that minor irk, and I guess it's a fair answer, I thought this puzzle was clean through-and-through. CSPAN gave me the biggest smile as a clue-and-answer pair. Plus I got to learn MERL to file away in my crosswordese cache.

Wm. C. 10:05 AM  

I have several friends and acquaintances who belong to the NRA, and all are fine upstanding people. Also, the NRA has done lots of fine things concerning proper firearm use and storage.

I'm not particularly aware of the several "bad things" that the NRA is accused of doing that are listed above, but ...

I AM aware that the NRA, with its huge political power, has blocked any legislation concerning limitations around the purchase and possession of handguns. True, there are some fair reasons to own a handgun. However, in the wrong hands they are often murder or maiming instruments. AND, even in the right hands for home protection, say, they are the cause of more shootings (by far) of unexpected visits by family or friends than of home invaders.

The NRA is against automatic weapons, as well as devices ("bump stocks," e. g.) that can turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons. Well great! But an automatic weapon can still fire very quickly in the hands of an experienced user, AND, with the use of high-capacity magazines (whose ban the NRA has opposed) can do severe damage when shooting down into a crowd ... as has happened several times. Why the heck does a true sportsman need a high-capacity magazine???

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

I Cant make You Love Me is afine song. But its excellence is owing to Amblin and Reid. Its worlds easier to sinb a song than write one.
Ha ha @z who imagines having the power to decide a spuls eternal fate. Just what ive come to expect from him.
The folks most affected by gun violence are gun owners. Check out sucide stats and weep.
Loved seeing Showboat in the puzzle. More Kern, Hammerstein, and Wodehouse please. Less Drake and other drek.

Nancy 10:16 AM  

Ick and double-ick to WICK! Not as a puzzle entry. As an excuse to manufacture and sell godawful fabrics made from some sort of plastic instead of natural cotton.

If you're a guy, you can still get cotton activewear shirts. No prob. If you're a gal, finding a pure cotton tennis shirt is almost impossible. About 10 years ago, the tennis manager at Central Park talked me into buying two (2!) synthetic fabric shirts that she said would "wick perspiration away from my body." Although they were both primarily white (I can only wear white in heat and bright sunshine), when I hit the courts, the sun hit the plastic and the plastic felt as though it was burning my skin. The fabric didn't breathe at all. No air could penetrate it. I was hot as hell and supremely uncomfortable. The fabric was also stiff as a board, and when I moved, it did not move with me. I never wore either shirt again -- the biggest waste of money ever.

These days, no longer able to play tennis, I get much of my exercise trudging from store to store in desperate search for pure cotton.

TubaDon 10:45 AM  

The bad: Rex's rant on SQUILLIONS is right on! The clue to ENLIST doesn't seem to fit any of its definitions well. the good: some of the long answers were gimmies like OLMANRIVER. Had to hunt and peck around for the rest. ACAI was the last ganswer in. I guess I'm not up on the latest food fads.

gfrpeace 10:50 AM  

Nice to have TIMETRAVEL in a puzzle that equates daydreamers with STARGAZERS.

My sister having broken her ankle shortly after ordering her all-natural local turkey, I had to make stuffing and drive to her place to cook it for her. Not a job for a short-order cook. I hacked off the legs and wings before stuffing and putting into the oven, then put the appendages into the insta-pot with some herbs and red wine. Everything done pretty simultaneously, and all good. CAPITOL all around?

Ellen S 10:54 AM  

I had LEsserevIL before LEADPENCIL (second worst option, I figured), but gave myself a pat on the back for still being able to think of phrases. No problem with SQUILLIONS and I use ABOMINATE as a verb about as often as @Rex does it without knowing that’s what he’s doing. That is, all the time.

I enjoyed the puzzle, Mr Brown; keep ‘em coming.

jberg 10:54 AM  

I have a TV now, and pay for a FIOS hookup, but use it only occasionally to binge watch "Mozart in the Jungle" or "The Wire" -- and, OK, I knew Maddow was on MSNBC -- but beyond that, knowing what network something is on was completely beyond me, and I had to rely pretty much on crosses. Plus when I used to watch networks it was CBS, without the suffix; and BBCAMERICA was only a logical deduction. I thank the stars that ABC got a non-TV clue.

I loved POCKET COMB -- reminded me of the days when I did watch TV, with shows like this.

jberg 10:58 AM  

I have a TV now, and pay for a FIOS hookup, but use it only occasionally to binge watch "Mozart in the Jungle" or "The Wire" -- and, OK, I knew Maddow was on MSNBC -- but beyond that, knowing what network something is on was completely beyond me, and I had to rely pretty much on crosses. Plus when I used to watch networks it was CBS, without the suffix; and BBCAMERICA was only a logical deduction. I thank the stars that ABC got a non-TV clue.

I loved POCKET COMB -- reminded me of the days when I did watch TV, with shows like this.

Ellen S 11:04 AM  

@your mother 9:14 —thanks, Mom. My own mother couldn’t have said it better, and I couldn’t come close. Well done.

benjaminthomas 11:31 AM  

LOL that Rex (and some commenters here) actually think that the NRA is a white supremacist organization.

Double LOL that Rex (and others) bemoan the politicization of the comments section.

Finally, simply baffled that the same people who get the vapors over NRA in the puzzle don't even notice when CHE, MAO or STALIN show up every other day. Apparently cuz mass murderers are okay as long as they are left wing.

Stanley Hudson 11:45 AM  

Camp Fire 95% contained. Thank goodness for the rain.

John Hoffman 11:54 AM  

Never heard of BOYO.

pabloinnh 11:55 AM  

@Anon. 10:15-Totally agree that songwriting is tremendously important. Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg wrote a beauty in "Over the Rainbow", but I'm not sure how memorable it would be without Judy Garland's take. I'm probably prejudiced as a singer, but lots of people sing ICMYLM,and none, for me at least, come close to Bonnie Raitt's version.

emily 11:56 AM  

Or Italian? But I thought it was anybody who slick backed their hair... unfortunately for me I put Brillcream in for pocketcomb...really messed things up!

Peter P 11:59 AM  

@TubaDon - I don't understand the complaint about the ENLIST clue. The first two entry in Merriam-Webster is: 1 a. To secure the support and aid of; b. to win over. The clue is "win the help of." That covers both ends of the first definition. Seems a pretty tight clue to me.

Banana Diaquiri 11:59 AM  

"Kooky, lend me your comb" "77 Sunset Strip" "Happy Days", may be too; never seen that one.

emily 11:59 AM  

The wire....best show ever... will try Mozart in the jungle...

emily 12:07 PM  

Loved OFL’s cheery review. Am thankful for this community/forum, althoughyou guys can be pretty crabby & hard on each other. To each his own, but will never be a NRA supporter.... just saying, and I too miss Merl Reagle & his puzzles.

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

Sounds very much like you dont in fact you dont agree with me about the importance of song writing. You dimish it by calling tremdenspusly important rather than preeminent.
Also, SOTR has been recorded my many folks, and performed by untold more, surely its nit because Garland sang it, right? I know people whove nwre seen tne WiZard of Oz and have performed the song. Garland was a genius, bwtter in fact than tnw song you cite. But even with all her talent, she disnt make that song great. It was great bwfore she sang it and is great 5 decades after her death.

Professor Marvelous, Ph.D 12:14 PM  

@ OldCarFudd 9:51 AM

You're mixed up, old timer. "Greasers" always referred to a sub-culture of guys who greased their hair back into DAs and wore Levis with enginneer boots and white T-shirts, often with leather jackets. This look spread across a pretty diverse spectrum of American males in the 1950s, including urban Italians, southern rednecks, and west coast hot rodders, to name but a few.

Puerto Ricans were "greaseballs." So were Italians for that matter. That's the word you were looking for.

Center Left Democrat 12:19 PM  

I know a lot of people who are NRA members. They are all very nice people. None of them are white supremacists. Some of them are not even white. Try to be a little more tolerant of people who have views that you disagree with.

RooMonster 12:20 PM  

Hey All !
Yay to ANIMANIACS! Loved that show when it was on. Here is the theme song. Favorite cartoon of that era was Darkwing Duck. "Let's Get Dangerous"

Found puz easier than most FriPuzs, although it still put up a fight. Had SQUILtIONS because also had nBcTV and ENtIce. When I couldn't think of brothers starting with N, and 26A ending in SE, figured something was amiss. Finally got PTBOAT, and saw ENLIST, CBSTV, and COEN. One other writeover, ITtY-ITSY.

SQUILTIONS bugged me too, until I read the comments, and see it's a valid made-up word. 😉 Somehow never heard of LAVER. Hmm. Used to lust... er love Martina Hingis.

Loved the UFOS clue. JOVE also clued neatly. Lots of doubles it seems today. Quick count gets me 11, including the double doubles. One F. SUBPAR. Better than none, though, like YesterPuz.

Happy Black Friday all you crazy people who run each other over to get some deals. Was driving home from Dinner yesterday, went past BestBuy, jammed. Police in the parking lot directing things and all. Silly.


jb129 12:32 PM  

I agree with Rex - at first I flew through this thinking "too easy" but Awe (across) & Wick (down) killed me. Larceny was my aha moment. Loved it!

RooMonster 12:33 PM  

Mistakes! And here I thought I proofread...

...and 26A ending in AE...
SQUILLIONS bugged me...

I just noticed it was Auto-Corrupt that changed them.

I know you really care about my corrections, thank you all. :-)

Oh, also wanted to say, what an unusually cheery write-up from Rex. Keep going in that vein! Makes reading you pleasurable.


jb129 12:39 PM  


Preferred Customer 1:04 PM  

@Loren I'm with you on the shoulder cut outs for ANY age. Particularly toddlers. I wanted to buy my niece some clothes and way too many of the shirts had shoulder cut outs. Trashy.

On a lighter note, today's puzzle was easy and fun, and yesterday I ate well, and the puzzle was easy.

Easy for me means I can complete it without resorting to the internet for help.


Anonymous 1:07 PM  

Fine upstanding people don't support a group dedicated to the proliferation of assault weapons and any other guns to as many people as possible.

Rainbow 1:11 PM  

Second that!

Masked and Anonymous 1:13 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JOHN X 1:24 PM  

A lot of possibilities down in that SW corner:

ACE/CICK (ha ha look it up)
AGE/GICK (Swedish for "went")
AHE/HICK (it's in Polynesia)
AKE/KICK (Dutch footballer)
AQE/QICK (look em up)
AWE/WICK (huh?)
AXE/XICK (see Urban Dictionary)
AZE/ZICK (both very real)
A$E/$ICK (this could happen)
A&E/&ICK ( " " )
A#E/#ICK ( " " )

okanaganer 1:30 PM  

Row 1: BBC
Row 5: CBS
Row 8: CSPAN
Row 12: ABC

Oh, and thank you Bonnie TYLER for making the upper left a real bear!

michiganman 1:31 PM  

@kitshef 7:31 AM:

I think 40A "Tennis's only two-time Grand Slam winner" means winning all 4 grand slam events* in the same year.
Rod Laver did this in 1962 & 1969. Margaret Court did it once in 1970. It is quite a remarkable achievement. Three others have done it, Steffi Graf, Maureen Connolly, and Don Budge.

*Australian, French, and U.S. Opens, plus Wimbledon

PhilM 1:53 PM  

SuzieQ - indeed, all modern headlamps are compact and take two or three AAA batteries.

John Hoffmann: Boyo is used in Welsh English as a form of address. But it isn't really the same as Laddie, which is the equivalent in Scots English.

GILL I. 2:00 PM  

Ooh. Just woke up and it's 11:00 and raining.
Did this late last night after a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. 5 month old granddaughter tried mashed taters for the first time. You had to have been there...
Loved the puzzle. I suppose you can say it's easy. I finished it, so I guess I agree, although it took me about an hour.
BBC AMERICA and FALL IN LOVE. How could you not enjoy this one a bunch of SQUILLIONS.
@Nancy...Lands End has 100 cotton tennis shirts for women. I know you won't order them on-line but I'm sure there is a store somewhere in NY.
Now to make myself a turkey sandwich.......

Teedmn 2:00 PM  

My brain kept creating Cascos today - I first wanted SQUIdjIONS at 17A, just because it sounded cool and was a great new way to get a J in the grid - maybe thinking of Squidward from Spongebob?

I decided 27D must be a TIME delay term but the ETS rescued me, thanks guys and girls. And really, wasn't 51D going to be a "kale" bowl? The only thing healthier would be a kale-ACAI bowl.

I'm really impressed with Temple Brown's debut puzzle and the cornucopia of great clues. Congrats!

Crimson Devil 2:11 PM  

Like fowl mood, and cluing for larceny, c-span, pocket comb and jove: squizilions, not so much.

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

Why won't Nancy order on line?

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

The song was great, but without interpreters (starting with Judy Garland) it wouldn’t have reached the rest of us. Singers need songwriters, if they don’t create their own material, and songwriters need singers if they don’t perform their own stuff. They’re both involved in creating art. People should check Youtube for amazing versions of this very old song. I like Israel Kamakawiwo’oie and Leon Russell to start.

Mark 2:55 PM  

How can any word lover abominate "abominate" as a verb?

Sir Humphrey Davy
Abominated gravy.
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.
(by Edmund Clerihew Bentley)

I rest my case.

kitshef 3:03 PM  

@michiganman - yes, that is what it means. And Court did it three times and Vergeer and Laver twice each. My objection is based on the notion that only singles count. It's like saying Serena Williams is close be having the most grand slam tournament wins, when the reality is she'd 25 behind Margaret Court and 20 behind Martina Navratilova.

Monty Boy 3:13 PM  

I liked this one a lot. Easy for me: 1) Finished 20 min under Friday average. 2) Last entry got the happy music (no going back to find the one letter mistake). 3). No Google lookups.

Things I learned: Squillions, milk bar, boyo, soling is a word, merl, Padma, how many ess's are in assassin.

@larry Gilstrap 1:35 - It IS sad when there is no lead in your pencil.
@LMS 7:19 - My trashy TV is "Whose Line Is It" and several others. Spit-take on Whipoorwillions.
@z 7:25 - You can verb any noun now these days. (Yes, that's grammarist)

Crimson Devil 3:25 PM  

Enjoy cluing re cspan, pocketcomb, larceny and LMS’ fowl mood: squillions, not so much.

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

It might have been a bit easy for a Friday but the southeast corner was difficult enough to have me satisfied for solving it. But overall this puzzle just really wasn’t interesting enough to call it a good one.

michiganman 3:33 PM  

Thanks for the additional information.

Chip Hilton 4:12 PM  

@John X - Loved your PaCKofCigs detour. Before I got to CRAYOLAS, I had - - - YOL - S and wondered, for longer than I should’ve, what egg yolks would be doing hanging out in a box of 64. The teacher in me had no problem with the clue of LEADPENCIL. I had a much tougher time with the Spielberg series that came underneath it. Not a gimme for me, Rex.

I got to see the great LAVER in action exactly once. Same with Don Shollander, the dominant U.S. Olympian in swimming back in the late ‘60’s. It’s always amazing how effortless the great ones make it look, like they’re operating in a slow-motion universe all their own.

I purchased a new snow blower today at a wonderful neighborhood hardware store today. Felt good. Tomorrow, off to a local bird feed and feeders shop.

pabloinnh 4:15 PM  

Ave, anonymice-

Well this is fun. Singers or songwriters, who ya got? (I know, I know, there are lots of very talented folks who do both.) Agree there are other great versions of songs-Izzy doing OTR is a favorite, don't know the Leon Russell take but I bet it's great. I could listen to Ray Charles singing "Happy Birthday" and it would make me smile. This is all a matter of opinion, but for me the singer makes the song.

Anonymous 4:27 PM  

Just checked and it really is Ol Man River. I thought of Old Man River right away, and of course that didn't fit.

With the advent of more efficient types of bulbs, batteries have gotten smaller, and now triple-As can power a bright flashlight, where a decade ago you would have needed double-As, Cs, or Ds to get that much light.

I don't understand the disdain for gloomy subjects. Why can't NRA, Sieg, Che, Hitler, Stalin, and Nazi be answers? Assassin isn't exactly a pleasant word either. Though once in a while the clue could refer to the National Recovery Act just for a change of pace.

I'm surprised wick caused such pain to so many people who had _ick. An oil lantern or candle wick absorbs fluid up from below.

H777 4:31 PM  

So Rex...you puke over NRA, but you think ANTIFA is a wonderful answer. C’mon man!

Anonymous 4:34 PM  

Good puzzle, almost my best Friday time.

It funny how the NRA sends Rex and many commenters on here into fits. An organization which has its warts, but is doing its best to protect every Americans’ Second Amendment rights (whether you want them or not). When ANTIFA was in Wednesday’s puzzle, there’s wasn’t one complaint from OFL. This is a group that actively destroys private property and is actively working to squash speech that they don’t agree with. If that not the definition of a terrorist organization, I don’t know what is.

The guy in Nampa 4:51 PM  

Tipping my cap to all of you who thought today was easy.
Couldn't get hold anywhere...

Masked and Anonymous 5:10 PM  

p.s., sorta [reposted, due to error problem]

{Number 2, for one}. har

This FriPuz had m&e at SQULLIONS. But, great LEADPENCIL clue -- way to whittle away at the ol breakfast test. themelessthUmbsUp.

@RP: Well MERL-ed, dude. Man, what a face on U, tho … start of a juicy sneeze …?

Only an X short of a pangram. Must be some good'n'desperate spot in this grid to splatz an X …
I've got to think …

staff weeject pick: NIH. Sounds sorta like a noncommittal "nah".

fave fillins: POCKETCOMB. SQUILLIONS. TABULAR. TIMETRAVEL. OLMANRIVER. BOYO [Has Patrick Berry Usage Immunity,btw].

ahar … got it … !! ...
48. "Put a lid on that, you big oaf!" ??
49. Warrior princess name

Thanx and congratz on a primo debut, Mr. Brown

Masked & Anonymo4Us


jae 6:28 PM  

@pabloinnh - the first time I heard Izzy’s version of OTR was at the end of the movie 50 First Dates. My thoughts about the movie were that it wasn’t half bad for an Adam Sandler flick. My thoughts about the song...wow!

Dolgo 6:42 PM  

I always wonder how people with jewelry in their nose can pick their noses.

Paul Mazur 7:01 PM  

SE was the last of my fill, but NW was a killer because I was too stubborn to reconsider BLOC for 1-Down. It was a fun puzzle.

Anonymous 7:42 PM  

Yes, the singer reaches us, but I’m not sure we’d be listening if the song weren’t worthy.

Z 8:16 PM  

Over the Rainbow.

Voice of Reason 10:28 PM  

Quoting Michael Sharp-“this white supremacy- and terrorism-abetting org. in your puzzle” Any evidence for this or s it just alt-left hyperbole?

Burma Shave 10:45 AM  


but she’ll FALLINLOVE to ENLIST a date with LEAD in his PENCIL.


spacecraft 11:02 AM  

A beginning auspicious for ease of solving--but ominous for the letter add-on thing. 1-across was a gimme not for the shows given but for all the Star Trek shows, which I devour. I guess I am a STARGAZER. Ah, but the BBC part? Sadly, 'twas but the tip of a huge iceberg. We couldn't even get out of the NW without ANOTHER TV acronym!

So, solve it? sure. Like the man said, easy-medium. But like it? Not on your ABC. I won't list them all, but my teeth ground with each one. Perhaps I'm being a tad unfair, but despite a fresh DOD in Bonnie RAITT, I have to score this one a bogey.

thefogman 1:06 PM  

It took me a SQUILLION Rexes to complete this one. That WICKed SE corner had me saying "CMON!" a lot. I use a pen (not a LEADPENCIL - or CRAYOLAS) to solve so there were BLoTS of white-out there. What ELSE? Plenty of TRASHY fill, stuff that makes you go BOYO boy, and ITSY bitty non-words. Not much to FALLINLOVE with here, so I RAITT this xword to be SUBPAR. Will Shortz should have CENT this one back to the drawing board. Yes it was hard, but by JOVE I finished. What a COUP! Now I can breathe ACAI of relief...
By the way LEADPENCILS do not contain lead and never did. They contain graphite.

rondo 1:43 PM  

I’m with OFL on SQUILLIONS, is that more or less than zillions? ANIMANIACS?? Apparently so. But I still enjoyed the solve.

LENA today, no Ole nor Sven.

I like Bonnie RAITT plenty, but PADMA Lakshmi? Yeah baby.

If you can get past the alphabet soup, the long stacks ain’t bad.

Diana, LIW 2:10 PM  

I just filled in SQUILLIONS rights off the bat - what a gimme! Wanna buy a bridge? Things like that should be left to some other kind of puzzle - one that doesn't require actual words. Put that in your OED.

Lady Di

Anonymous 7:11 PM  

There are blacks who belong to the NRA as well as there are blacks who belong to Gun Owners of America. Rex and others would have us believe that the issue of gun ownership is settled on their side. To the contrary think about the fact that thousands more people are butchered by the state than by individuals. Once individuals are disarmed tyranny takes root. Freedom and liberty are in danger without the ability to defend them. Ask those who luckily survived under Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, et al.

thefogman 7:58 PM  

The founding fathers did not envisage nor give a green light to automatic weapons. The NRA perpetuates lies to promote its insane gun culture of death...


leftcoastTAM 8:21 PM  

SE corner did me in:

AWE can be a state with or without words, IMO.
Gave up on MANIACS part of ANIMANIACS.
Wanted vegi instead of ACAI.
Computer coding statement, ELSE, unknown.

No FALLINGINLOVE with this one, though we could be friends.

Anonymous 6:15 PM  

to Fogman:

So only the state should possess automatic weapons ?

scallions not squillions 6:04 AM  

knew MERL from crosswords. Knew MILK BAR due to A Clockwork Orange. SQUILLIONS is bad, bad, bad. Really surprised that this got past the editor. Not NYT worthy!! The NRA, Maria Butina, and the Republican Party suck.

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