Resort in Salt Lake County / THU 11-20-18 / Title character of Dora Explorer spinoff / Website for tech whizzes / Overprotective government so to speak

Friday, November 30, 2018

Constructor: Robyn Weintraub

Relative difficulty: Easyish (5:02)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: RAISA Smetanina, first woman to win 10 Winter Olympic medals (45A) —
Raisa Petrovna Smetanina (RussianРаиса Петровна Сметанина; born 29 February 1952) is a former Soviet/Russian cross-country skiing champion. Smetanina is an ethnic Komi. She is the first woman in history to win ten Winter Olympic medals (Stefania Belmondo being the second, Marit Bjørgen the third, and Ireen Wüst the fourth). Smetanina took part in five Olympics, representing the USSR team four times and the Unified Team once. In particular, Smetanina won two gold and one silver medals at the 1976 Winter Olympics, becoming the most successful athlete there, along with Rosi Mittermaier of West Germany. (wikipedia)
• • •

OK it's hard not to love an easy Friday but even as lovable easy Fridays go, this one is particularly lovable. Jim CROCE was a staple of my childhood, so right away we're off to a good start, and once I cracked open "HOLD MY BEER," I was *in*. EPIC POETRY is my jam—if you think you care about the Aeneid more than I do, well ... I challenge. In fact, here, HOLD MY BEER... I did not blow through this in record time, the way I thought I might when I started. This was largely because I needed many passes to get LETO (apparently my love of EPIC POETRY is not strong enough to make me commit that name to memory—LEDA, sure; LETO, unless you're Jared, no. And then I wrote YOUTH (!?) for YOUNG at 14D: Fawns, e.g., and therefore couldn't drop down into the west the way I wanted. Instead I took this weird winding and ultimately choppy route through the grid, down via TERRAPINS and then down again via ABBEY ROAD, then back up to the NE via NANNY STATE (so many good answers in this grid!), and then finally a leap back to the west and SW, where I managed to sort out the YOUTH thing, which made SYNS and DEFANG finally come into view, and then whoosh, down EMPTY NESTERS, down SAVE THE DATE, and finished at OHMS. This was a pleasure to solve from start to finish. Delightful. Friday is the day I most look forward precisely because that is when *this* kind of solving experience is most likely to happen.

Trouble spots for me, aside from the aforementioned, occurred in only a few places. RAISA was probably the toughest answer in the puzzle—the one people are least likely to know. Obscure proper nouns can really trip you up. Clearly a decision was made by someone somewhere along the line to make this a non-Gorbachev RAISA, which takes it from near-universally gettable to almost completely ungettable without many crosses. There are no mid-range RAISAs, I don't think. There's Gorbachev ... and the rest! But in a super-easy puzzle, she was a speed bump at best. I can't keep track of which schools are in which athletic conf. anymore, so faced with __U at 51D: Big 12 sch. (TCU), I initially wrote in _SU, and thought maybe that first letter would be "K". Not getting the "C" held back CANINE UNIT for a bit (again, I say: so many great answers in this grid!). ACOLYTE is a fancyish word for [Follower], so I had a little trouble there, as well as with STYE. Nice clue, but a makeup clue, so I was without ideas, figuring the answer was ... makeupish. But as I say, none of these trouble spots were really much trouble.

Crosswordese it helped to know:
  • 6A: Resort in Salt Lake County (ALTA) — if it's a resort in Utah and it's four letters: ALTA
  • 35A: County in a Pulitzer-winning play title (OSAGE) had the "O" and the "G" and wanted OSAGE before ever looking at the clue. That is the thing that constant solving teaches your brain to do: see patterns and anticipate possible answers. Quickly. Basically your brain just gets better at scrolling through all the possibilities really quickly.
  • 31D: Bigwigs may have big ones (EGOS) — off just the "S"; very obvious; very common
  • 26D: Fashion designer ___ Saab (ELIE) — *finally* I remember this designer's dang name! This was a milestone. I've been running into this non-Wiesel ELIE for years now, but I know him exclusively from crosswords and (normally) can never remember anything about his name except that it's crosswordesey, like AYLA or AUEL or ARIE or something...
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld (Twitter @rexparker / #NYTXW)

P.S. OK ARY is not a good answer, but really, that is the only negative thing I can say about this beautiful grid

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:06 AM  

Top half mostly easy, bottom half mediumish?

Went through the usual assortment of European crossword names beginning with E...ERNO, EERO, EZIO...before getting ELIE.

I’m with @Rex on this one, a terrific Fri.! Liked it a lot!

ABBEY ROAD is still my all time favorite album.

Marc Kwiatkowski 12:35 AM  

Disagree about ARY. Brilliant punny clue

okanaganer 12:48 AM  

Yes, what a bunch of great long answers tonight.

Had DWI for the breathalyzer result. And since 'shepherds' wasn't capitalized it took me ages to get CANINE UNIT. I thought, what, they hire shepherds to herd the dogs?...why would you herd dogs? Doh!!!...German Shepherds. But Google tells me it often is not capitalized, so who knew; fair clue I guess.

RAD2626 1:17 AM  

Hell has officially frozen over. Rex’ review is far more positive than Jeff Chen’s. I agree with Rex. Thought whole puzzle was great. ABBEY ROAD clue a hoot. The one clue they both criticized - ARY - I thought was clever misdirection. A real pleasure all around.

the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד 1:29 AM  

Not easy for me at all, but the whole time, I was thinking "Rex is going to love this. "

emily 1:47 AM  

Can’t believe I have the first post!. liked today much more than yesterday.

BBPDX 1:49 AM  

I agree. Easy, but fun.

Sluggo 2:15 AM  

Here we go. I hardly ever comment because I have this thing about being first. I never liked it... never have. Even in school, I’d always try to not be first (or last) for that matter. Living in Germany, solving at 2:00am-ish US time, I’m always afraid to be the first commenter. But here goes...

This wasn’t my fastest Friday, but it sure was close. Everything just happened to fall into place. Lots of stuff in my wheelhouse. As new EMPTYNESTERS and with a daughter that was just married, FIRSTDANCE and SAVETHEDATEs are recent memories. Wonderful evening, but glad all the planning is over. HOLDMYBEER, ASCOLDASICE, NANNYSTATE were also gimmes. TERRAPINS went in after I figured out that there were two Rs.

After the Wednesday and Thursday puzzles which were difficult for me, I was dreading this Friday, but was happy when it was filled in! I approve!

chefwen 2:20 AM  

Definitely not easyish here, more mediumish. Did horribly right out of the gate. DisArm before DEFANG, iceax before PITON, cacti before ALOES, simmer DOWN before TONE IT DOWN. Wite out to the rescue, and boy, that was a lot of Wite out. Managed to sort it all out in a reasonable amount of time. Just received a SAVE THE DATE card a few days ago, so that was a nudge and I thought it was cute next to FIRST DANCE.

chefwen 2:23 AM  

@jae, guess I owe you a Coke with Mediumish, I was typing while you were being put into print.

Anonymous 2:43 AM  

Loved it. Agree that -ARY was great. But got SYNS only via crosses. Can someone explain? Thanks!

jp flanigan 2:50 AM  

Wrote down CROCE, ALTA, and then noting for about 20 clues. Put ICEAXE instead of PITON which fit nicely with BIGBROTHER instead of NANNYSTATE...I was so proud. That took a while to untangle. APHIDS did it.

Brookboy 3:33 AM  

I thought it was more medium to challenging, but that’s because I’ve only been doing crosswords for maybe thirty or forty years. I liked it as much as everyone else because although it didn’t give up its secrets all that easily, it did, finally, give them up quite fairly. Got my first toehold with TERRAPINS, then with ACOLYTE, and then the race was on. It felt like a solid win.

Mostly agree with @jae about ABBEY ROAD, but after many years of listening to music I’d have to say that my number one favorite would have to be Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. I think that if an alien species came to earth and happened to knock on MY door and were to ask me what I think is humankind’s noblest achievement, I’d say Beethoven’s Ninth. Please feel free to disagree. Kindly, though.

Also did not understand SYNS. What is Warm And Toasty about SYNS?

Loren Muse Smith 3:59 AM  

Man oh man oh man is this one a beaut. Way to go, Robyn! I especially liked HOLD MY BEER and COIN OPERATED. Yo. That’s a big-ass dryer. Think I can fit inside? Here, hold my beer…

I have to agree with @Marc Kwiatkowski said.. ARY is absolutely saved by its terrific clue. You just get sucked in to the pronunciation of “secret.” So, say, ERLY could be “Moth’s trail?”

@okanaganer about capitalizing dog breeds – I know, right? I always wrestle with what to do there. Is it Dachshund or dachshund? I deeply resent this dilemma.

I think “warm” and “toasty” are synonyms. SYNS.

@chefwen – I noticed the FIRST DANCE next to SAVE THE DATE, too. And … the possible EMPTY NESTERS who’re footing the bill. Word of advice to anyone currently planning a wedding - so the FIRST DANCE for the bride and groom is fine. Just don’t make it too long. But then you have the Father/Daughter dance. Shorten that even more; watching this gets awkward after a bit. Mother/Son dance – even awkwarder. Maybe just go out there, do-si-do once and call it a night.

Possible reason to forgo mascara? Hmm. Going to graduation and seeing my students march? Watching The Lion King? This? But a STYE? No way, man. Mascara’s going on.

Hard not to notice TWEET crossing SAWS. If only…

“They may have rooms to spare” – rural schools whose population keeps declining. As I sit here, I can’t even count the empty classrooms and offices our building has.

Robyn – my ACPT brunch buddy – I’m so happy and proud that you’re absolutely killing these Friday themelesses. Rex is right – this one just has so much to love.

PS - I just put in for my sub so I can attend again this year. See you there!

ZenMonkey 4:16 AM  

Yes, this was definitely some tasty and fresh Friday fodder. HOLD MY BEER was by far my favorite.

This is the kind of quality I associate with "the New York Times crossword" as a brand.

Ibi 6:04 AM  


BarbieBarbie 6:09 AM  

Put me in the Appreciative camp for ARY. Of course I bunged down IVE first, which tripled the misdirection. Just great. Did not need to know the non-Gorbie RAISA because knowing the Gorbie one makes it easy to guess after a couple of letters. Really enjoyed this and more more more please. Wow, what a bunch of great answers. Felt really fresh.

Our son and DIL solved that FIRSTDANCE awkwardness by making it an anniversary dance: people who’ve been married longest dance first, then next-longest join in, and so on until the happy couple is celebrated by all the other couples together as they join in, having been married only an hour or so. Very nice because grandparents can really dance and the institution of marriage gets celebrated at the same time as the bride and groom do. I recommend it to all you EMPTYNESTERS out there planning similar fun.

Lewis 6:37 AM  

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what a Rex rave looks like. Rare and wonderful.

So many lovely answers (CANINE UNIT, HOLD MY BEER, NANNY STATE, SAVE THE DATE, EMPTY NESTERS, AS COLD AS ICE), and sparkly clues (SAWS, TWEET, CANINE UNIT, EMPTY NESTERS). Zippy solve for Friday, but not without some mental calisthenics, a nice balance of work and ease.

I keep seeing connections. With EMPTY NESTERS I see YOUNG / GONE. Then the mini-story of SAVE THE DATE / FIRST DANCE / HOLD MY BEER / TONE IT DOWN. Also HEADS / EGOS, and not just BON but EPIC. Finally, I saw CHEZ ZEN, where you hear OHMS.

Once again, a smile-producing Weintraub offering with bounce. Next time I see Robyn's name atop a puzzle, my being will resonate with an "Oh boy!"

Anonymous 6:39 AM  

I don't get that either. I put snug but then saw "abbr". Had no idea.

IrishCream 7:02 AM  

They’re synonyms!

Scar McDyess 7:02 AM  

Loved this puzzle as well. Usually when I like one I check Rex's blog to make sure that he found it to be an utter failure. Not today!

Small Town Blogger 7:25 AM  

SYNS meaning synonyms which warm and toasty are. Clever!

DeeJay 7:26 AM  

LMS, I have you to thank for my getting HOLD MY BEER, as you used it here earlier in the week. Strangely, I'd never heard it before. Thanks for making this excellent puzzle come together slightly more quickly.

And thank you as well for your trenchant and consistently hilarious comments.

kitshef 7:29 AM  

Most of the long answers came fairly easily, so the trouble was in the short stuff. ALTA/LETO cross, REYES, ELIE, GTO, TCU. Somehow a puzzle is more satisfying when it’s the long stuff you have to work hardest on.

27D was an exception, thanks to reading it as “Advice for newlyweds”, rather than “Activity ...”. “Compromise”? “Don’t give up”? “Dump The bum”?

The Secret ending clue was by far my favorite. Skip it was by far my least favorite (and I'm surprised Rex didn't comment on that one).

Hungry Mother 7:41 AM  

Back in Florida for the season. The longs fell quickly as did the rest. I guess the warm weather got my juices flowing.

amyyanni 7:49 AM  

Another fan of ARY. And the entire puzzle. Very sparkly.

mmorgan 8:01 AM  

Great puzzle! Never heard of HOLD MY BEER but it came easily. Loved ARY!

I actually had two Naticks -- the L in ALTA/LETO and the Y in REYES/MYNA. Never heard of any of them, but my (educated and considered) guesses turned out to be right, so all is well in the world.

More like this one, please!!

pabloinnh 8:13 AM  

Count me among those who found this one just lovely. Maybe a little easy for a Friday, but after yesterday (which was strenuous fun), I guess we deserve a break.

Liked seeing ACOLYTE, getting it off a couple of letters is like recognizing a rare bird by its call or just a glimpse. Hey, I know that one!

I've heard HOLDMYBEER as an example of "famous last words", along with "Hey, watch this!"

Muchas gracias to RW for a Friday fantastico.

Jamie C 8:14 AM  

For the first time ever (when he mentions it), my time was less than double Rex's! It's like me having a batting average close to Mantle's but I'm playing t-ball. This day will live in infamy.

Passing Shot 8:20 AM  

Way too easy for a Friday. Less than half my average Fri time, and a personal record. Had the R and the last A of the Olympian and just guessed, as RAISA was the only name that came to mind. Liked the puzzle, but it was a little light.

Z 8:32 AM  

SEE SAWS. Har! Just snuck that little teeter totter right in there, didn’t they?

Hand up for loving it. I see two potential challenging crosses at REYES/MYNA and ALTA/LETO. The latter is the dreaded proper noun crossing, the first because ______ flier is so often an airline clue that it looks like a dreaded proper noun crossing even though it isn’t. Otherwise this is clean and sparkly. Can’t we all imagine Paris saying, “HOLD MY BEER” while Achilles is all “TONE IT DOWN, bruh.” EPIC POETRY indeed.

@LMS - Lion King not so much, but graduation ceremonies every damn time.

Rube 8:41 AM  

I have lived in the NYC area since the Eisenhower administration. What on earth is a CONEY Dog. No new yorker has ever used that term. Puzzle way too easy for a friday. This is Wednesday level.

QuasiMojo 8:50 AM  

There’s no Theirs there! Lovely puzzle that felt like a killer Wednesday. I would have broken my record but I put in Abbey Lane, whom I now recall was a singer (Abbe Lane) not a Beatles album. Favorite clue was the ARY one, although the good Shepherd one is a close second. Got stuck momentarily at FREES for FIRES, (never watched The Apprentice). But tons to admire today. I’ll let the pundits parse it out. Thanks, Robyn!

Suzie Q 8:55 AM  

This had a nice modern and upbeat feel to it. Being among the "loved it" crowd yesterday I was braced for disappointment this morning but Ms. Weintraub saved the day!

GILL I. 8:56 AM  

I won't use the word "lovely" because I feel I would be encroaching on Lewis's territory. Instead I will say sweeeeeet.
Is there a person alive now who was around in the 70's never heard of CROCE? Take note, constructors, you want to bring on a BIG smile with your 1A. It works every time with me. I have all of his records and the one used the most was his Life and Times. I don't think there's been a better decade for soft rock and pop than the 70's. Carol King, Gordon Lightfoot, Don McLean, John Denver, Neil Diamond and the list goes on. I would always look forward to turning up blast mode during my road trips in the VW Bug. Now I only listen to NPR. Where has all the music gone?
You follow CROCE with HOLD MY BEER YOUNG EMPTY NESTERS and I do the happy feet FIRST DANCE.
And look....Robyn didn't clue CHE as a hero! Imagine that!
I loved ARY. I really thought @Rex would too. I thought this Friday was aS TWEET as they Come. Big smile on this face.
Now to go listen to Jim's New York Is Not My Home and cry a bit. Taken at the tender age of 30......

Mao 8:56 AM  

Liked the clue on Che.

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

CONEY Island is a place in New York where Nathan's sells hot dogs, but a "CONEY dog" is specifically a Michigan thing. Cluing is a little off.

Z 9:09 AM  

@Rube - I was wondering. Note the lengthy section on Michigan. Let me add that Wikipedia doesn’t begin to convey the depth of the antipathy on the Flint/Detroit, American/Lafayette, Kalamazoo’s is older and better, questions. Any right thinking human will acknowledge that Kalamazoo’s is the best Coney, Flint or Detroit arguments are a mere distraction, and Lafayette is far superior to American, especially after a long night at the Windsor Ballet or bar-hopping. For anyone who disagrees all I can say is I hope you have other redeeming qualities.

Crimson Devil 9:11 AM  

Great puz, best in memory.

Carola 9:14 AM  

What a treat. Which I enjoyed as a frothy top and fudgy bottom (or, what @jae said). Ran into a nugget of extra-chewy nougat in the far SE with uncertainty in the Downs and unparsability of .AN.NE..IT, which was my last one in. I echo what others have said about all the lovely entries and the little stories they tell.

Like @Rex, I went wrote in LEda, despite the nagging quesion if she could be the mother of both Helen and Artemis; only the N of EMPTY NESTERS prevented me from also going wrong on YOUth. No idea: CROCE, HOLD MY BEER, OLIN, RAISA, CHE.

@Lewis, I love your fancy meditation studio!

Passing Shot 9:17 AM  

I’m sure I’m missing someth8ng simple but can someone explain how 15A “Coping mechanisms?” leads to SAWS?

Blind as a Bat 9:31 AM  

Where is the che everyone is commenting on? I only see chez.

Carola 9:34 AM  

@Passing Shot, I'd heard of coping saws but didn't really know what they were. Here's the lowdown.

Steve M 9:41 AM  

What now arrows or other gimmicks? Beautiful puzzle loved it

JC66 9:46 AM  

@Blind Bat

Re: CHE - See 24D

John Child 9:48 AM  

Great fun, but I wish it had lasted longer. Here at CHEZ DAFT we TORE through this faster than Tuesday’s puzzle and about one-third the time of of yesterday’s challenging grid.

Unknown 9:54 AM  

Loved this puzzle. I got CROCE right away, and the only reason I knew it was because it was featured in Stranger Things. I love answers that have multiple cultural touchstones; it increases the number of solvers who stand a chance at getting it right (especially true for proper names). And FWIW, I loved the ARY cluing!

Unknown 9:56 AM  

p.s. one thing that really hampered my time: I had DISARM and FREES, instead of DEFANG and FIRES. That area of the grid was chaos until I figured it out.

Crimson Devil 9:57 AM  

24 down

Sir Hillary 9:59 AM  

Fabulous grid yet again from Robyn Weintraub. Not quite the stunner from a few weeks back, but damn close. Favorite entry: EMPTYNESTERS. Favorite clue: Coping mechanisms?

It is sad that I now associate Homer almost exclusively with Simpson, despite never watching the show, not once. EPICtirade? EPICtheoRY? EPICidiocY? Oh wait, the blind guy who wrote arguably the most famous works in history? Doh!

ARY and one other entry are unfortunate, but when everything else is so good, who cares? That said, since we all like to nitpick and tell constructors what they should do better, we may as well have fun doing it.
You don't TWEET while ABBEYROAD's on
You don't ROPE TERRAPINS' fins
You don't steal the YOUNG from the CANINEUNIT
And you don't mess around with SYNS

Wm. C. 10:01 AM  

@Passing7:19 --

I'm sure I won't be first on this , but ...

Wood joints can be mired or coped. If coped, a Coping Saw is used to form the joint.

Rudolph 10:08 AM  

Had the UN part of YOUNG in there for “fawns” and wanted it to be fauna.

Kiki 10:24 AM  

Oh, I love this Rex!! He's fun and happy!!!! My Friday is officially off to a great start. Mwah to Rex!!!!

Thanks to Robyn for putting ABBEY ROAD in there. Such a great album, and I had the pleasure of walking across that crosswalk a few years ago while visiting my daughter in London. Also did an Abbey Road family Christmas card in 2008. Hubby was in Afghanistan, so teen daughter, playing George, carried one of her dad's military jackets over her shoulder. Barefoot ten-year-old son carried a candy cane instead of a cigarette (playing Paul, of course), and giant teen son carried "Peace on Earth" sign as Ringo. I led them as John, all in white (wish I had tails), across our little town's crosswalk by the railroad tracks. It was freezing cold, and cars passing by slowed to watch our neighbor take the pictures. Best Christmas card ever and can be seen at

Airymom 10:29 AM  

The first concert I ever attended was the Beach Boys at Carnegie Hall, on November 23, 1972. The ticket cost $5.50. The "lead-in act" was Jim Croce. he had a couple of songs on the radio--"Operator" and "You Don't Mess Around with Jim". He impressed the NYC audience. My favorite Croce song is "I Got a Name", which was released right after he died. If you can, listen to Lena Horne's version. She sang the song as part of her Broadway revue, "The Lady and Her Music" in 1981. You will be in tears.

I echo what most everyone has written--this may be one of the finest puzzles I've ever seen--great long answers, no "junk", clever, fun, current. Thank you Robyn.

jberg 10:36 AM  

I guess Orem is a big city, not a resort, but since it's in Utah, I had no idea. (Also it's in Utah County, not Salt Lake -- but no idea of that here.) I didn't put it in, because ABETS, but I needed a few crosses to see LETO/ALTA. Also, I spent way too much time trying to figure out Snug as Your New Sweater, or whatever. Only when I noticed that Rex considered it non-problematic did my brain do that little bit extra so see that they were SYNonymS.

My other big problem was reading "35. County ...." as "36. Country . . ." That was a real puzzler.

Also, I was troubled by "Point REYES Peninsula," thinking that a point IS a peninsula -- but apparently it's a thing; the Point Reyes Peninsula is bigger than Point Reyes itself.

But those were all my fault, and not that serious -- this puzzle was just beautiful with all those lovely downs.

@Loren, I don't know how you think of your avatars; today's was brilliant.

Hungry Mother 10:42 AM  

JIm Croce was a 1965 grdauate of Villanova, where I graduated in 1966. I never met him.

Nancy 10:43 AM  

@GILL -- "Is there a person alive now who was alive in the '70s who never heard of CROCE?" Yes, @GILL, there is.

But I did know ABBEY ROAD. My younger brother, who liked the Beatles a lot more than I did, had the album. I went through the album with him once, telling him which songs I liked and which I didn't. "That's easy," he said. "You like the McCartney songs and you don't like the Lennon songs." I hadn't actually known which were which.

I quibble with "In play" as the clue to ALIVE. Meant to throw us off, but pretty weird. Other than that, a nice puzzle. Some of the clever clues, such as EMPTY NESTERS, I got readily. But struggled to come up with CANINE UNIT at 54A. And, while I didn't know RAISA the Olympic champ, I got her name because RAISA was the first name of either Mrs. Khrushchev or Mrs. Gorbachev, I forget which.

TJS 10:49 AM  

Usually prefer a greater challenge on Fridays and Saturdays, but after yesterdays debacle, this was the perfect antidote. Great cluing, great fill. Had almost the exact route as Rex, which never happens.

@LMS, immediately thought of you when "Hold my beer" emerged. Cant believe I was not familiar with that phrase until your use earlier. BTW, if I can jump back a day, aprpos your toenail painting comment, Eric Church has a great reference in "Like A Wrecking Ball" which I highly recommend. And @GILL I., given your comment, I think you might like that tune also. "Where has all the music gone?" It never left, you just have to look a little harder. And it helps if you have kids who give you a heads up. Adios

chucolo 10:57 AM  

I’m being dense, I realize, but I’m still not getting ARY. Otherwise, a great Friday puzzle. Just started doing Thursday and Friday puzzles and was pleasantly surprised with this one.

crabsofsteel 11:03 AM  

Excellent puzzle. It took some time to get SECRET-ARY but I liked it once I got it.

pabloinnh 11:10 AM  

@Rube, @Z-I grew up eating and loving what are here being called "coney dogs". This was way up in upstate and later lived in even more northerly upstate NY where this ubiquitous and delightful treat was never called anything but a--wait for it--"michigan". Unavailable where I live now, sadly. We have a secet recipe for the meat sauce and make our own, but not often enough.

ArtO 11:10 AM  

Love those "easy" Fridays! The only time I seem to have a shot at finishing and assuring myself that I'm not totally over the hill.

We have "coin operated" laundry machines in our condo complex and it's a big pain to have to empty them and count the quarters every few months since TD Bank closed down their free coin counting machines.

TubaDon 11:16 AM  

     Despite dropping in CHEZ first, I had trouble with the western puzzlesphere, not helped by guessing COSY for warm and toasty. Much easier time in the east once I dropped APOSTLE for ACOLYTE. OHMS and TESTTUBES finally got e started in the east, and I finally tumbled to SYNS. One goof...never heard of CROCE so mis-spelled his name. Nice puzzle, and its also nice to see Rex in an upbeat mode.

oldbizmark 11:20 AM  

A make-up call puzzle. Super easy after the ridiculously difficult puzzle yesterday. Thought the fill was great. But, again, a bit too easy for a Friday. Felt very Wednesday-y.

RooMonster 11:21 AM  

Hey All !
Did enjoy the long Downs. Shout out to the Facebook-er who posts funny stuff as "HOLD MY BEER".

Having to know French? Italian? with BON and ANNO. Apparently I don't. :-)

Wanted THEyre at first for THERES. Other writeovers, iceax-PITON, cOolITDOWN-TONEITDOWN, ALmA-ALTA. Ran the alphabet for the Y at REYES/MYNA. SE corner tricky. Didn't TORE through this like Rex.

Total F count- 2
Total ROO count- 0



Rube 11:29 AM  

A little 1000 miles off. Nathan's was serving hot dogs on coney Island before Kellogg's of Battle Creek invented rice krispies. Who edits these puzzles?

Z 11:33 AM  

Lena Horne and also Lena Horne. The first is one of those “album cover” videos, the second is from The Muppet Show.

@Sir Hillary - Excellent. I can hear CROCE singing the lyrics.

@synanonymous - I love the nom de blog.

I just read Chen’s post on this puzzle. Uh, wow? Doesn’t know HOLD MY BEER or Something so pans the puzzle as not as good as Weintraub’s other puzzles? Being out of touch with memes is one thing, but Beatle ignorance? That’s a sure way to end up on the elevator down instead of the elevator up. One thing, though, this explains my reactions to many of Chen’s puzzles. If he doesn’t like HOLD MY BEER and thinks the ABBEY ROAD clue could be improved he and I are just in different universes. I’m not saying my universe is better than his, but... Oh, who am I kidding, of course my universe is better.*

*I put these little footnotes for those whose sense of humor is impaired. If you think I’m serious with that last little gibe you’re taking me too seriously. And, no I don’t think ignorance of all things Beatles results in eternal damnation.

Z 11:38 AM  

@chucolo - secretARY. Nothing to do with secrets, everything to do with fooling us solvers.

Hoosier 11:58 AM  

Fort Wayne, Indiana has Fort Wayne's Famous Coney Island. It's a landmark and still going strong. Eating there is to step back in time.

Kath320 12:09 PM  

ARY got me, and I was a secretary!

Doug Garr 12:16 PM  

I loved this puzzle, mostly because it takes me forever to finish a Friday, if even do. I was only at 80 percent done yesterday so this made me feel pretty good. I started with CHEZ and CROCE and then figured out HOLDMYBEER, which made me laugh. Then I got stuck until ABBEYROAD and FIRSTDANCE. So I jumped around, took a long break, came back and finished it.

GHarris 12:16 PM  

Loved doing this puzzle. Relatively easy, especially for a Friday.Some of the longs, like as cold as ice, coin operated and terrapins jumped right out, others came partially into view rather quickly (epic, down, unit, dance) and the balance went in soon thereafter.Croce was a gimme.The only write overs were dui after dwi, fires after frees and defang for disarm. Had to get the names and syns from crosses but the speedy and wholly unaided solve was exhilarating.

jb129 12:19 PM  

I love Robyn's puzzles! I didn't finish tho & I'm disappointed in myself for not being able to get into her head for once... should've gotten "Coney" tho - I was stuck on stray.

Thank you Robyn - hope to see you next Friday :)

Pete 12:23 PM  

When I'm vacationing in ALT[O], my various Secret[O]RY glands tend to go absolutely haywire. Trust me, you don't want to be around me when that happens.

Masked and Anonymous 12:45 PM  

ARY. Well, shoot -- there's yer rodeo, on this FriPuz. Desperate weeject clue of the year nominee, at the very least. Absolutely luved it.

Rest of the puz was real real good, too. Only big prob was DEFANGin my HOLDMEBACK temp 13-A answer.

Thanx, Robyn darlin. PB1 is a-hearin footsteps.

Masked & Anonymo4Us
"Big Hui, DUI, and Lui DuckFan"

chucolo 12:50 PM  

Ahhhh. Thanks.

H777 12:51 PM  

Wow! A puzzle where nobody got offended at ANYTHING!

Dave SF 12:56 PM  

Fabulous suggestion

Dave SF 12:57 PM  

Alternative to first dance 💃 as a n homage to marriage is a fabulous idea. Thanks.

Anonymous 1:04 PM  

What now arrows--????

Teedmn 1:09 PM  

Like Robyn's last Friday puzzle, this took me under two Rex's, which is always fun. Like Rex, I was chary about putting in LETO, thinking LEda, but the crosses let me know.

I join the FreES club for FIRES, 33A. Were the newlyweds going to do a FIeSTa dance? Good thing that doesn't fit.

My blaze through this grid got TONEd DOWN in the SW with RAISA and TCU. And the MYNA-REYES cross was an educated hail mary splatz - knowing REYES was a CA tie-in, I guessed correctly.

I would channel my inner M&A (if only, right?) and try to clue ARY as "Game of Thrones character who meets a bad end??) So far ARYa is safe but who can tell what the new season will bring?

Rex puts "Cold As Ice" in as his musical link on the day I hear it on the radio for the first time in (not long enough but) years. Some crazy college DJ must have gone back in the stacks. Could they have been inspired by the NYT puzzle? Somehow I doubt it but you never know.

Thanks, Robyn, for another sweet Friday puzzle.

OffTheGrid 1:23 PM  

What, exactly, is your quibble?

michiganman 1:35 PM  

Per Detroit Historical Society-

A Coney dog is a beef hotdog, topped with an all meat, beanless chili, diced white onions, and yellow mustard. A true Coney dog uses made-in-Michigan products.

This popular food got its start in Michigan, although the exact location is still disputed. Three locations in Michigan all claim to be the birthplace of Coney dogs: American Coney Island in Detroit, Lafayette Coney Island in Detroit and Todoroff’s Original Coney Island in Jackson.


Anonymous 1:54 PM  

Easy-ish, yes. Enjoyable, yes. Superb puzzle. Thanks very much.

Kreekie 2:29 PM  

Coney Island amusement park food.

john towle 3:25 PM  

Been doing the NYT since the days of Margaret Farrar. This one is as fresh and as brilliant as the driven snows of yesteryear. BRAVA TO THE NTH POWER. ENCORE!!!



Z 4:43 PM  

@michiganman - 1915 is before 1917 so Kalamazoo Coney Island was before American or Lafayette. The original Todoroff was 1914, but it looks like each generation opened up new restaurants, so the family has claim to being first, but Todoroff’s Original ain’t the Original Todoroff’s. Of course, with Duly’s, Grandy’s, Onassis, Zeff’s, Zef’s, Detroit One, Leo’s, Kerby’s, National, et al. the Coney options in Detroit are far more extensive than anywhere else.

Unwiseowl 5:11 PM  

Coping Saws are a type of woodworking tool. Presumably they cope, though I've used one many times I don't know what that is...

BarbieBarbie 10:25 PM  

Wouldn’t a “true” coney dog be made of rabbit meat?

GetWynded 10:29 PM  

I'm 50/50 on this one. I flew through parts but then....Hold my beer? What? C'mon. Settle down instead of tone it down I couldn't come back from. Defang I changed for neuter. Which worked with nuts on the down. And epic poetry???? Basically I got had, in PEN! Test tubes was a sad miss for me would've loved it and it was in my mental rolodex somewhere, but then I'd get orderly and my mental pride would swell the next answer out of my cortex. Oh well. Until tomorrow. Saturday? No way. :)

Kckitty 11:34 PM  

Easiest Friday ever. I thought Rex would destroy it.

albatross shell 2:43 AM  

I would agree with Rex that ARY was bad if the clue was "secret ending". I disagree with him because the clue was "secret ending?". I got it because of this indication of extra duplicity. ROPE got me to chuckle, so thumbs up there.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

The clue says: "Kind of dog found in New York City." It doesn't say dog "only found in New York City." So what's the fuss?
(Although we were eating hot dogs in Brooklyn before people were even waking upright in Michigan!)

Burma Shave 10:28 AM  


tho’ she’s ASCOLDASICE, THERE’S a chance
I’ll make that YOUNG NANNYSTATE,


centralscrewtinizer 12:29 PM  

Darn, another dnf. Had mAkE instead of SAVE, with EmIE to give AmIkE for in play, thinking it was an 'on air' deal.
Oh well, loved it nevertheless.

rondo 12:29 PM  

Might have been record Fri-puz time if I’d have been tracking. Finished it over tea while the missus was getting ready for work. Rare occurrence for a Friday. One nit to pick (probably since it was my only write-over) was with the last clue: A Breathalyzer does not *determine* a DUI, it determines a subject’s BAC (blood alcohol content). The Breathalyzer could determine that your BAC could be 0.02, or 0.00 for that matter in which case there’s no DUI. Only the officer *determines* whether to cite for DUI. Other than that, EZ.

So the CONEY dog is big in MI, but what about Charles Feltman, a Coney Island pie-wagon vendor, credited with inventing the fast food, serving hot dachshund sausages in milk rolls as early as 1867? Go to the Gopher Bar in St. Paul, MN if you want one around here.

I use a can cooler to HOLDMYBEER when it is ASCOLDASICE.

I still miss Ron DIEGO.

Not only Word of the Day, also yeah baby Olympian RAISA Smetanina.

Lotsa long answers, but early-week easy. I TORE through it.

thefogman 12:30 PM  

This one had tons of nice long answers. I finished with a guess at the crossing of 6A and 7D. I went with an L for ALTA/LETO and did my FIRSTDANCE of the day (a happy one) after realizing I guessed right. I still don't understand 22A, SYNS - Warm and toasty, e.g.: Abbr. Overall, it was a pretty decent puzzle. Not as great as yesterday's but they can't all be masterpieces. Well done Robyn Weintraub.
BTW: How many OHMS does it take to get into a ZEN state?

Diana, LIW 12:49 PM  

My fancy schmancy restaurant was a "café" at first - CHEZ took a while. Which led me to the southern part of the puzzle. Which just kept filling in. OHM...

Lady Di

spacecraft 12:49 PM  

I TORE through this like Grant through Richmond. As OFL said, when 1a is a flat-out gimme, it's a good sign. My lone hesitation was the Natick at 7, but "L" seemed the most natural, so I didn't overthink. I do not know Colorado resorts. I could never even stand stock still on skis; they just...well, a long time ago a kid brother said it best as he came in crying to Mommy about his big brother (not me): "He falled me down!" Skis--and skates--simply "fall me down."

I hardly seems like a Friday. The sudoku took four times longer to do than the puzzle. Knowing about coping SAWS helped. DOD will be RAISA Andriana, because I found her while Googling the name. Indonesian singer, and a stunner. There's only one way this puzzle suffers: from being in the wrong time slot. Though a 70-word themeless, it's still no harder than a Tuesday offering. I should not punish this in the scoring: a second straight eagle.

thefogman 5:18 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 5:19 PM  

I read up above and got my answer. SYNS = synonyms, i.e warm & toasty.

I could be happy the rest of my life with a synonym girl...

rondo 5:39 PM  

@foggy - Neil Young would be proud
From now on I may be ruined for life on that song
Well done

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