1957 Jimmy Dorsey standard / FRI 2-1-19 / Game-changing invention / Cocktail with vodka triple sec lime juice / Where Delaware Minnesota have farmers / College from which Steve Jobs dropped out / Matthews NBA father-and-son duo / Big-box store with slogan Never stop improving

Friday, February 1, 2019

Constructor: Ori Brian

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (7-something but with an error because I spelled it KAMIKAZ*I*)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: WES Matthews (36D: ___ Matthews, either of an N.B.A. father-and-son DUAD I mean duo) —
Wesley Joel Matthews Jr. (born October 14, 1986) is an American professional basketballplayer for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the Marquette Golden Eagles. He is the son of former NBA player Wes Matthews.
• • •

Hello and welcome to Februrary. This grid is pretty nice, but the cluing was nowhere near my wavelength and felt too cutesy and clumsy much of the time. Also, this is (or feels like it is) a Very name-heavy grid, which makes for a very jerky solve, as difficulty toggles jarringly between easy ("BLACK MIRROR") and hard ("SO RARE" (!?!?!) or CECE ... I watched that show for a couple of seasons and still didn't remember her name). I don't mind proper nouns or brand names, but sometimes I think constructors who want to show how hip or current or fresh their grids are tend to lean a little heavily on them. I can't tell if UP THE WAZOO is fresh or quaintly retro, but either way it was a nice surprise. POLICE RAID, much much less nice of a surprise. My biggest struggles came in the NW, which was horrible for me. Horrible. Started there, got nowhere, then finished there, and really thought I was going to get stuck stuck. The two "?"-clue Acrosses at HOUSE RULE and ARMS DEAL just about did me in, as did REED (I got in to REED and still forgot it existed) and especially DUAD, which, honestly, you should turn in your constructor's card for letting that "word" anywhere, *any*where near your grid. The word is DYAD. Man ... DUAD is the kind of answer that risks completely and totally overshadowing your other grid accomplishments, so high is its revulsion factor. Origin of all trouble in the NW was 1A: Dentist's instruction (BITE), where I had OPEN, and only briefly considered that it might be something else, but that "something else" in my mind was SPIT. OVERALL, this is a decent grid with not great clues, and I had medium-level fun (this is kind of a negative review for a Friday, since Fridays are usually The Best).

Five things:
  • 16A: Common type of TV news broadcast (LIVE REMOTE) — I keep reading this as LIVER EMOTE, which is fitting since the answer crosses WEEPS (14D: Is overcome with joy, say)
  • 24D: Twosome (DUAD) — did I mention how bad DU- ... oh, I did? OK. OK, good.
  • 47A: Fishing need, maybe (PERMIT) — inexplicably hard for me. I had it down to -ERMIT and was still wondering whether maybe HERMIT (crab?) was some kind of bait (??)
  • 48D: Drink that can cause brain freeze (ICEE) — pretty bold move following up one crossword drink (HI-C) with another crosswordese drink That Rhymes With The First Crosswordese Drink
  • 9D: Recurrent theme (TROPE) — here's how bad I wanted MOTIF—I literally just wrote in MOTIF as the correct answer in this bullet point and had to correct it. I finally got traction in this puzzle by blunt force, entering the first thing I could think of for every Down in the NE. Buncha mistakes (including MOTIF), but thankfully ROADIE and ATKINS were right, and that was enough.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Harryp 3:18 AM  

Nice Friday puzzle, UP THE WAZOO was fun, but so were ESPRESSO BAR and SHORT STRAW.
Tks, Ori Brian.

Anonymous 3:21 AM  

Super easy Friday for me – flowed smoothly the whole time; wasn’t really rushing and still came fairly close to a record. No way this was medium-challenging. BLACK MIRROR was a Tues/Wed clue, loved UP THE WAZOO, and liked HOUSE RULE. CECE came to mind but not without trouble, even though I just watched an episode last Friday. Highly enjoyable Friday on the whole, and I found it much easier than Rex (not absolute time, but hey it’s all relative.

Loren Muse Smith 3:33 AM  

Rex, I know, right? Hard not to see EMOTE in LIVE REMOTE

I liked the whole “what spirits can do”/”flashy dance maneuver.” Sure. One KAMIKAZE and you’re smooth, loose. Four KAMIKAZEs later, and you think you’re hitting some pretty slick moves, but you look more like you’ve just walked through a big spider web. Hi, Dad.

When the eye doctor gives you a coupon along with the prescription for EYE DROPs, alarm bells should be going off in your head ‘cause that sh$#@’s gonna run you about $350, and that’s *with* your insurance.

Beach “bum” before BOD. Then I sat there thinking of the Wrong way Europeans go to a beach – one little dishtowel to sit on, and they’re good to go. (Forget the à l'américaine four trips to the encampment with the utility beach wagon loaded with meat tenderizer, aloe vera ice cubes, walkie talkies, portable grill, a fitted sheet, plaster of Paris, small tool kit, frozen sponge lei, pvc cup holders, solar-powered phone charger, mini-safe, and foil cupcake liners.) So then “bum” took on the British meaning. So then I thought of sitting on a little dishtowel (not the fitted sheet), and, well, talk about sand UP THE WAZOO.

TROPE – this word makes me feel smart. I actually didn’t learn it until I took a required on-line lit course for my teaching certification a couple of summers ago. The professor was most excellent, and I was desperate to impress her because she used the word TROPE and I had to look it up. Practice it. Get comfortable with it. Then I started peppering my comments with it, too.

I don’t have any “virtuoso” connotation for the word ARTISTE. It feels caricaturish. Meryl Streep is an artist; Pia Zadora is an ARTISTE.

And laissez-faire language person that I try to be, when someone says expresso instead of ESPRESSO, I’m secretly a little embarrassed for them.

Today’s avatar is Mitch Carmichael, the Senate President of WV. He’s about to incite another teacher strike here. Stay tuned. We’re still united, and we’re ready to roll.

Brandon 4:03 AM  

Kind of a fun coincidence that Wes Matthews Jr makes the puzzle on the same day he’s traded from Dallas to New York (even the Wikipedia article is updated already.) I always thought the saying was OUT THE WAZOO, at least that’s how I’ve always said it. That mistake left me looking for a rebus for a minute.

jae 4:05 AM  

Easy-medium. lEAPS before WEEPS and sho before TMC were my major erasures.

Excellent! Any puzzle with BLACK MIRROR and UP THE WAZOO has got my vote. Liked it a bunch.

If you’d like to see what a series version of a BLACK MIRROR episode might look like, stream “Homecoming “ with Julia Roberts on Amazon Prime.

@lms - Hang in there and best wishes. We were on the picket line when our daughter went on strike in the district that just re-elect Duncan Hunter Jr. Tough crowd.

Anonymous 4:58 AM  

Hard for me. It was almost DN(CT)F: did not care to finish. I felt like I was definitely not on this constructor's wavelength and everything felt difficult. I still don't understand HOUSERULE and ARMS DEAL seems like a stretch for "fire sale?". Never heard of ICE BOX CAKE, and I am female, and in the right age demo (as in - old enough to have read TESS of the D'Urbervilles in high school).

I also don't understand 31 across. Never mind. It's IRA Glass? Radio personality?? Too clever for this solver.

JOHN X 5:56 AM  

I got halfway through this puzzle with almost everything SE of the diagonal line of black squares filled in (I only had _L_CKMIRROR).

Meanwhile, almost the entire NW side was empty (just HAL, HIC, and an incorrect HBO in 11D).

Did I cry? No. Is Friday NYT puzzle. Is like dog pack. You weak? You die.

So I said hey JOHN X let's do this thing and I just gutted it out and started filling in the NW with plausible words and slowly it fell before me and *ding* I finished it.

My last entry was the "A" in BLACKMIRROR which I guess sounds like a TV show, but I couldn't quite figure the "Glass with thick glasses" clue for Ira until just now and it's the NPR guy with the dorky voice who is on radio and thus I have no idea what the hell he looks like.

This was a good Friday puzzle.

TonySaratoga 5:56 AM  

LMS your riff on the beach made me laugh. So true.

Max 6:08 AM  

Clean grid with not too much bad stuff! Played medium for me. Agree with Rex about DUAD. Should never be a thing. Kind of surprising too, because it’s an easy fix... change it to GUAR (as in guar gum... not the greatest, but better for me... more like an actual thing) and it becomes GATE and LABORER.

Calman Snoffelevich 6:11 AM  

Enntire puzzle felt very green painty.

Lewis 6:13 AM  

I love that beautiful sash of blocks angling down the middle of the grid, as well as the grid design, in which no area is an island. And I love the scrabbly cross of KAMIKAZE and KWANZAA, plus the answers SHORT STRAW and UP THE WAZOO. My DATE/DUAD started as ides/item.

Rex complained about "clumsy" cluing. If what he means by that is cluing you have to work at -- problem solve -- to get, cluing that makes sense after you've LABORED to unlock it, well, that's cluing I love, because it brings satisfaction. Cluing like [Game-changing invention?] for HOUSE RULE, where you go "Wha?" early on, then after some crosses fill in a few letters, a germ of the answer begins to narrow the possibilities, and finally, with a flash, not only the answer comes, but the surprise aha at how the answer fits the clue. To me, there's satisfaction in cracking these "clumsy" clues, kind of like the satisfaction I used to get coming up with proofs in geometry or solving tough algebra problems back in school math.

Or like when a clumsy dance move one day, with practice, becomes smooth. I've never experienced that, but my day will come!

Anonymous 6:30 AM  

Well, let's look at the etymology of "wazoo" according to google when used in conjunction with up or out, "In this context, the wazoo is a slang term for the anus."

Not a prude, wouldn't have a second thought about hearing it in adult conversation, but in a puzzle in a newspaper? There are people on this blog who blanch at the mention of a bra. Sorry, gross.

Joe R. 6:37 AM  

I feel Ike I must be getting better at the puzzle when I’m making all the same mistakes Rex makes. I had DYAD instead of DuAD (which I clearly still consider to be the wrong answer), started with “open” before considering “spit”, and only eventually getting to BITE. (Though I did have an extra detour in there because I thought the hard thing to give to a cat was a pill. This is because my gf’s ct is sick and she’s had to go to great lengths to sneak pills in his food. But after wracking my brains, I couldn’t come up with a dentist’s instruction that began with P.)

My only other quibble with the puzzle was the clue for 39D, because as far as I am concerned, _all_ Chinese food is best eaten family-style, so that clue was no help.

Music Man 6:38 AM  

44A: Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘TIL You Get Enough” was the first single from his 1979 LP, “Off The Wall”. The song was #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for one week in October, 1979.

kitshef 6:38 AM  

Some puzzles are tough to get into, but you chip away here and there and you reach a tipping point and then you fly through the rest.

This was the other kind the kind that fights you all the way to the end. For me, that was the BOD/REED cross.

Quite a few WoEs today: CECE, SO RARE, ICEBOX CAKE, WES, but all the crosses worked things out except for the aforementioned semi-guess at REED/BOD.

I also kept thinking Anoa Bob will have some objections today.

@merican in Paris 6:46 AM  

Didn't sleep well last night (cold coming on, I guess), so struggled. Got most of the east but then the west did me in. Like @Rex, the NW was the last to fall. Had "tenniScOurt" for 4D at first. Had thought initially of something involving a saki BAR, and wasn't thinking of coffee. In the end, I had to look up CECE and the beginning of Machiavelli quote. Very apt that one!

While I'm on the topic of things Italian, and especially as former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is in the news, don't be fooled by Starbucks' "oh, our ESPRESSOs are always double shots" line. Even in Italy, where they like their coffees on the ristretto end of the scale, a single ESPRESSO served at any café has almost as much coffee as a Starbucks doppio, and for 1/3 to 1/2 the price. States-side, I would maintain, a better coffee, served at a warmer TEMP, and with much more taste and brewed coffee for your money, can be purchased at Dunkin Donuts. (As you can guess, my feeling towards Starbucks isn't quite HATRED -- I appreciate that they helped increase the availability of ESPRESSO to America, once SO RARE -- but there is now, thankfully, some competition.)

After wanting the plural for EYEDROP for 20D, I was wondering whether @Anoa Bob has a term for a singular of convenience. (There's POCs galore in today's puzzle.) Given that one usually treats both eyes for conjunctivitis, and over several days, a single EYEDROP ain't going to do it.

Finally, it took me a long time to finally get UP THE WAZOO. To me, the phrase is "out" THE WAZOO, but clearly that didn't fit. I did some internet research afterwards, and it seems it may be one of those regional variants.

@LMS -- Hang in there! Illegitumus non tatum corborndum!

Dave 7:13 AM  


Chris 7:13 AM  

The SW took me forever because I've always heard the phrase as "out the wazoo".

Michele Angelini 7:38 AM  

Not a bad Friday!

I loved the clue for ESPRESSOBAR!!
I kept wanting “outTHEWAZOO” in my head and it took me a minute to turn my mind away from out and towards UP.

Slowed down by having SHORTSTick in the NE and had open at first instead of BITE in the NW, so that got me a rather confused opening. Plus I wanted LIVEREpOrt otherwise I just keep seeing LIVER EMOTE! 😂

My last letters concerned me having had ARTISTa with a final a not e which gave me oARMIT, which I guess could be a think for fishing in a row boat...then I caught the a/e issue and thought...kERMIT?? Who needs Kermit the Frog for fishing?? Ohhhhh Peeeeeermit! And done. 🙄

Andrea Ojeda 7:41 AM  

Well, I for one am overcome wit joy because I finished a Friday puzzle ENTIRELY on my own, no errors, no googling :^)

Amy Yanni 7:57 AM  

Yay @Andrea! Tough but fair. Got a toehold with Iams and Catchow in the east as I've bought them both. Hot shots/Espresso Bar gave me fits until it didn't. Grins on this First February Friday: Rabbit Rabbit all.

KRMunson 8:24 AM  

Couldn’t get Beach BOY outta my head for 37A. Fixated on that waaaaaay too long.

Deke 8:24 AM  

There could have easily been more clues about rocketry in this puzzle.

I think it's time for Will to be fired.

mmorgan 8:39 AM  

I had a WTF DNF over D_AD. I could only think of DyAD but I had no idea what a HOUSERyLE might be and couldn’t think of any other letter to put there. DUAD would never have occurred to me and I’ve already forgotten it. And I have no idea why HOUSERULE is the answer for 26A. So I’m just going to ignore that disturbing little cross.

Otherwise, I liked this a lot! I also had SPIT and WIDE as contenders for 1A. I had no idea what SORARE was (oh... SO RARE!), but I knew it had to be correct. I also wanted MOTIF for 9D and even entertained TRiPE for awhile (it kinda fits!). Also brief had BEACH Bum. I also kinda sorta saw a mini theme here with so many S’s and SS’s in the puzzle.


Except for DUAD, I thought this was great!

S. Foote 8:40 AM  

Corn, as clued, didn’t pass my breakfast test.

Volare Sorare 8:54 AM  

I exercise to Beach Body On Demand. When I saw Beach BOD...I shook my head. What exactly is a beach "bod?" Is "body" so long to say that you have to shorten it to "Bod?" I'm going to go out on a limb here (living in a landlocked state a few hundred miles from any kind of beach) and say that "bod" is used far less than "body," if it's used at all. "You have a great beach bod!" said no one ever. There are beach bums and Beach Boys (not to be confused with pool boys)...but a beach "bod" is a non-thing. "Beach Body," the company that creates workouts like Insanity, P90x, 80 Day Obsession, etc., is a brand name riffing on a descriptor that I"m sure is a thing in SoCal...but no one says "bod." And I can't wait until several of you say, "Oh yeah, I say beach bod all the time!" No you don't.

SO RARE...I know Jimmy Dorsey mostly from recordings I had as a kid from the big band era. SORARE was from 1957...waaaaaay off of my big band artist radar. I honestly thought Dorsey et al were done very soon after WW2 ended. My parents were of that generation, but in the car rides we took, we listened to those kinds of oldies stations that played all that stuff. Never heard SORARE (at least the recording that Rex linked). It was mostly Percy Faith and Nelson Riddle and Pat Boone and any number of a 100 crooners who went more string orchestra than big band.

Crimson Devil 8:54 AM  

Me too, stuck on Beach BOy, then divined REED, finally. Loved UPTHEWAZOO, also’ve heard out-same spot. NHO ICEBOXCAKE or HOTPOT or BLACKMIRROR. Wanted rebus for TROPE. Tough but fair Fri.

SouthsideJohnny 8:54 AM  

@S. Foote . . . and UP THE WAZOO did ?

Sir Hillary 8:55 AM  

Enjoyed this one a HEAP. UPTHEWAZOO is great fun, IAMS crosses CATCHOW (although not likely in the BATH), the SOUPS are being warned in the HOTPOT, and this week an ICEBOXCAKE is any dessert you leave outside.

Never mixed RYES, ALES, ICEE or SWISSMISS into my KAMIKAZE. Don't plan to.

WES Matthews? I'm sports nut, but seriously?? Just clue it as Montgomery and move on.

Speaking of sports, HAILMARY was first used in sports context by Roger Staubach in 1975 to describe a last-minute touchdown pass in a playoff game against Minnesota. As a lifelong Vikings fan, I will argue until I drop dead that the play should have been called back for offensive pass interference. Sorry, the Super Bowl always gets me in a lather.

I've never read Thomas Hardy, but ever time I hear or see his name I think of this.

Rachael 9:02 AM  

@mmorgan - A house rule is some change to the standard rules to a game, often to make it more or less challenging. For example, a family game of Trivial Pursuit might have a "house rule" that kids playing earn a piece of pie any time they answer a question, not only on the space on the board called for in the standard rules. A pretty good list of other examples here.

Hence the literal "game-changing" nature of the thing. If you're used to playing the game only by the rules that come in the box, you might be in for a surprise when you go to your pal's and find out about the rules they play by.

I'm one of those terribly literal people, so I often have trouble adjusting to someone's tweaks to the rules. I'm fun at parties, I assure you.

pabloinnh 9:02 AM  

My wife makes ICEBOXCAKE. so I'm familiar with that which was helpful in entering SEXT, with which I am not.

I've never heard "out the wazoo", but UPTHEWAZOO is fairly common around here, if you hang out with the right kind of people, e.g. loggers, softball players, etc.

I'm with @Joe R in wanting PILL for BATH. It may be difficult to give a cat a pill, but it's impossible to give a cat a bath.

Many thanks to OB for a Friday that knows how to Friday.

Nancy 9:03 AM  

A nice lively puzzle that was much too easy for a Friday. And herein likes the problem of having an arbitrary rule that dictates only Fridays and Saturdays can be unthemed. You have a themeless puzzle you that like and want to publish, but it can only be published on a *difficult* day and the puzzle's just not all that difficult. I was amazed that Rex thought it was hard; I breezed through it without having to do all that much thinking -- with the exception of the UP THE WAZOO/POLICE RAID/STATE SEALS section. And that was by far my favorite section. As for the rest: everything I didn't know was crossed in a way that made coming up with the answer a snap. I was helped by seeing SHORT STRAW right off the bat -- confirmed by HI C. Thought the cluing was nice and tricky for the longer answers, but too easy for the short ones. Now, where's my Friday challenge?

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

I struggled with this one a bit but enjoyed it. I’ve always thought the phrase was OUT THE WAZOO, not up. Last letter for me was the U in DUAD. Any issue with “cat” being in a clue and in an answer?I figured it had to be dog chow since cat was in the clue for 1 down.

Mr. Benson 9:10 AM  

I had a tough time in the SW because I wanted to spell WAZOO as WAZzu -- maybe for some reason I had Washington State University on my mind -- and from there was able to convince myself that PubS (not PODS) somehow had beans. Once I took some things out and opened my mind I was able to finish that section. The rest of the puzzle was pretty easy.

CDilly52 9:32 AM  

Me too! You are in rare form today. Thanks!

GILL I. 9:33 AM  

Doing needlepoint one silk stitch at a time. That's how I felt. Let's see....Is that the right one? The wrong one? Do I understand what I'm finally going to see? Admire? Or do I pull everything out and start all over again?
Phew....an enjoyable outcome, if I say so myself.
So much to choose from and so many wrong turns. Ori didn't make for easy choices. OPEN/RINSE? Nah...BITE. Same with boy>BOD, alpo>IAMS, boon>LOAN and so forth. Held me up something fierce. No matter, I was loving it all along the dance floor - DIP and all.
I wish I could spell. You throw in a K and a Z and I'm in trouble. KAMIKAZ(i)/KWANZA(i). Further, I've always heard it (and said it) as UP THE kWAZOO. I like adding false K's. Nobody EVER tells me I mispronounce words - not even in a little whisper. I'm good at that. Poor Yosemite.
I liked everything here. I did, though, have one Google.....SORARE. Without it, I wasn't going to CATCH the CORN.
Be being patient, I was able to finish. I did wonder what a Beach BOD is. Is that a good thing? Everyone who goes to the beach has a body. By shortening the word, does it make it more eye candyish? Hmm.
I don't really drink vodka, but I do remember one KAMIKAZE. I try new things if I like the name. If you have a interesting label, I'll give it a try. It wasn't bad but I sure got a quick buzz that lasted for ages. Not a bad thing.
Haven't seen an ICE BOX CAKE in ages; I forget what they look like. No problem with DUAD. What's the difference between a SHORT stick and the STRAW? I don't know but I seem to recall I always got the SHORT one.
Is this a debut? Liked it a HEAP.

Unknown 9:36 AM  

Ah you're a teacher in WV!! That's my home state, I even went to WVU. My mother-in-law recently retired from teaching at my old high school. Rooting for y'all.

@merican in Paris 9:44 AM  

Regarding the phrase SHORT STRAW, there is an excellent chain of restaurants (many near autoroutes) here in France called "Courtpaille" -- literally, SHORT STRAW. It specialises in grilled meats, and all-you-can eat servings of potatoes (mashed, baked, fried) and green beans. I have no idea about the origin of the name, but my guess is that it is the cheap-and-cheerful, but nonetheless cozy, place you take your buddies if you're the one who ends up holding the courte paille.

Jamie C 9:45 AM  

I don't know what day it is, so I kept thinking "this is pretty hard for a Wednesday." Fun puzzle. Realized I didn't know how to spell KAMIKAZE or KWANZAA but got them with crosses. Nobody is named WIS.

CDilly52 9:47 AM  

@Lewis, nice analysis. Your comments describe my thoughts and solving experience today precisely. Once I got a toehold (of course I “bit” on the misdirect at 1A and tossed in OPEN instead of BITE), I breezed through from the NW to the SE and then fumbled around forever to get the NE and SW corners. Wavelength issue for sure. Once I finised WEEPing and recognized ATKINS, my Gran’s ICEBOX CAKE and REBATE, I slowly found my way to the end. Enjoyed ATKINS crossing the carb-laden cake. Hated DUAD (agree with OFL that the word is DYAD) but overall was pleased with this as a Friday offering. Crunchy and pretty clever. And I finished so go me!

Nancy 9:49 AM  

From the *There Are Some Things You'd Rather Not Know* Dept: Oh, gee, thanks a lot, @Anon 6:30, for giving us the true meaning of UP THE WAZOO (I've never heard of OUT THE WAZOO, btw). An expression I thought cute and colorful, and now... Well, @Anon 6:30, I'm not even sure what happens now.

Misuse a phrase in an amusing enough way, though, and it will be emblazoned on your brain forever. I first heard the expression fairly late in life, thought it colorful, and filed it away for future use. Or thought I had. Thus, maybe five years ago I'm sitting at the tennis courts and it was threatening to rain again and I blurted out: "What a dreary summer. We've had rain UP THE KAZOO!" My friend Sylvia looked at me aghast. "We've had rain up the what???? she asked. I was quickly apprised of the correct expression and I laughed as hard as everyone else.

TubaDon 9:51 AM  

Made the same mistake (KAMIKAZI) that Rex did. My very large dictionary and several on-line syllabaries, do not list recurring theme as a meaning for TROPE. Is this a neologism?

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

Be sure to avoid a kazoo UP THE WAZOO!

Jeff Eddings 9:58 AM  

WES 36D: ___ Matthews, part of the absolute worst deal in NBA basketball history, particularly for long-suffering Knicks fans who are eaten up by losing their best player since Patrick Ewing back when they were still paying with peach baskets, dammit

A guy in nampa 10:10 AM  

Difficult for me. Not in a good way. Not especially enjoyable.

mar 10:23 AM  

re: Wazoo
This should clear it all up:

Z 10:35 AM  

Love the Machiavelli clue.

@Volare sorare - Dad BOD, Mom BOD, Gym BOD, Beach BOD. Yep, that extra syllable is one syllable too many.

PPP Analysis
Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns as a percentage of the puzzle. Anything over 33% will cause some subset of solvers problems.

I finished solving and counted the PPP fully expecting 35-40%. Nope, Just 19 of 72 for a reasonable 26%. The reason for my reaction was pretty obvious, though, as I looked at my circled clues. I then confirmed by toting up the PPP to the right of that black square diagonal. In the SE I counted 82 squares and of those 82 squares 61 are PPP in at least one direction. 12 of the 19 PPP answers in the puzzle are in the SE. The issue for PPP is always the density, so this is an odd puzzle since most of the puzzle is unusually PPP-free and part of the puzzle is unusually PPP-dense.

Bob Mills 10:39 AM  

My life companion Rosie gave me "ICEBOXCAKE," which I never would have come up with. That did it. Thanks, dear.

Tita A 10:42 AM  

BATH is not just hard to give a cat, but 99.999% of the time, completely unnecessary.

I"m lucky - my two cats have voracious appetites, and are real omnivores.
I just put a pill in with the CATCHOW, and it's gone.

@Andrea - congratulations!

Fun puzzle. Thanks Mr. O. Brian!

Tita A 10:48 AM  

(Sorry if this is a dupe)

@Joe R:

How to give a cat a pill:

1. Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

3. Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered ornaments from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9. Check the label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink beer to take taste away. Apply band-aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10. Retrieve cat from neighbor's shed. Drink another beer then get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put door back on hinges. Drink large tumbler of whisky to take away pain. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus jab. Throw Tee shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12. Ring fire brigade to retrieve the bloody cat from tree across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil-wrap.

13. Tie the little ^%@)_+*^!$@()% front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed, pry cat's mouth open with small spanner.

Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Hold head vertically and pour a pint of water down throat to wash pill down.

14. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call at furniture shop on way home to order new table. Arrange for RSPCA to collect cat and ring local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

How to give a dog a pill:

1. Wrap it in peanut butter.

jberg 10:49 AM  

Jeez, nobody checks the crosses anymore, what's this world coming to? "open" doesn't work with something that's hard to give a cat ("come on, Fluffy, wouldn't you like a nice oven?") not to mentino with TOM THUMB. And KAMIKAZi would require not one, but two people named "WiS." I went with the probability on that one.

Also little bemused that for @Rex, SO RARE is obscure but BLACK MIRROR obvious. Exactly the opposite for me; I didn't know the former was asociated with Jimmy Dorsey, but it's a jazz standard, which means that someone or other is always playing it.

I think UP and OUT you-know-what are both expressions, but they mean different things. One has to do with an excess (as clued), the other with getting rid of something.

@Loren, good luck! Teachers (house) RULE.

Matthew G. 10:53 AM  

Hand up for knowing the expression as OUT THE WAZOO, not UP THE WAZOO. I had the Z first so I tried putting in OUT THE WAZOO before scratching my head when it didn’t fit.

Might be a regional difference, where we keep our wazoos.

Banana Diaquiri 10:56 AM  

around here we use sphincter to avoid bad word removals.

and, around here, it's UP your/the sphincter, aka WAZOO. OUT doesn't make as much sense, in an insult connotation, since that's just a fart, in a whirlwind, is directed to the speaker, and disappears in a trice. also, sphincter flows so nicely off the tongue.

David 11:00 AM  

Yes to dyad over duad. With duad you may as well use brace. I'm horrible with current sports figures and TV shows, so only got Cece and Wes on crosses. Wes only after I figured out "catfood" was wrong, which gave me "Blackm" and I had no clue what that was, figured it out after I got permit and ryes and still have no clue what it is.

As many, I had open at 1A and could only think spit. Got short straw, up the wazoo, police raid, and state seals easily, had remote long before live (is there such a thing as a dead remote? is this like "live dancing girls"?, if it's on tape, is it still a remote?) and, though my wife was a pastry chef for decades, and my mother always made dessert, ice box cake is not a thing I know. NW fell last. Never heard of ICEE, just googled it; oh. Labored a bit because of ides and item, which was changed to date and duet and finally got it with the mis-used duad.

Besides reading 4 major papers each day I listen to NPR a lot. Ira took a few seconds. I stay away from TV "news" and on-line advocacy blogs posing as news organizations. I suggest this approach to anybody who wants to stay both informed and sane these days.

Overall tough for me, but satisfying to finish.

CDilly52 11:15 AM  

Ah that wheelhouse problem again! It was half and half for me and the difficult half (NE and SW) were all easy enough words (except for CECE - I watch no commercia tv) but I was not of a mind with the constructor. In-house, outhouse, wheelhouse: the differing solving experiences fascinate me.

CDilly52 11:18 AM  

Go you!!! CONGRATS!

puzzlehoarder 11:29 AM  

At 22:30 this was very much an average Friday for me. It wasn't really difficult but it wasn't a complete ICEBOXCAKEwalk either.

SPIT initially masked BITE. SHORTSTRAW was first guess material with HIC, REBATE, SEXT and ROADIE lending immediate support. However the possibility of MOTIF at 9D caused me some hesitation. I associate that word much more with "theme" than I would TROPE. That word makes me think of "shibboleth." Another hesitation was thinking 16A ended with REPORT. REMOTE had to be forced on me and this EMOTE thing people came up with never crossed my mind.

There were just enough little speed bumps to overcome to make this feel like a late week solve. After solving I was surprised to find that BLACK MIRROR was the only actual debut. As far as solving goes CECE as clued was a debut also. That and SORARE gave me a couple of entries to work around. I actually thought SORARE was a single word like VOLARE. In spite of the strong crossses I still had doubts about SORARE when I'd finished.

SO RARE turned out to be an "unknown" that I've seen before, just like REED. That was a stumbling block because all I could think of initially was RICE which I knew was wrong. Like I said just enough brief confusion to make for an interesting solve.

We're just starting to come out of the deep freeze here in Chicago. This means everything that drips off the south side of my roof will form several inches of ice on my shaded sub zero gangway sidewalk. I have to remind myself that #Carola an #Teedmn have it worse.

Roo Monster 11:30 AM  

Quite the Scrabble-fest south of the diagonal block line. Quite cool.

But, what in tarhooties is an ICE BOX CAKE?

LOLed at Rex's LIVER EMOTE. Is that what happens to a SOT?

Writeovers, spit-BITE, ides-DATE, item-DUAD, Bar-BOD, CATfoOd-CATCHOW, ARTISTa, AdKINS.

UP THE WAZOO does indeed reference things that theoretically enter the body. But it's supposed to be a fun expression, nor to be taken literally. Can't we all just relax? Even Geico brought back the Money out THE WAZOO commercial. And, yes, it's funny.

Drink too many KAMIKAZEs and you end up with HICcups. No, not HI-C cups. Har.

Hang in there, Polar Vortex living people. Hopefully the TEMPS will start going UP. (And not UP THE WAZOO!)


Bob Kerfuffle 11:38 AM  

Nice puzzle; I thought it was fairly easy.

My only objection while solving was to 30 A. "Fire sale?" did not seem well-connected to ARMS DEAL. And because it bothered me, I am surprised that only one other commenter even mentioned it!

@Tita A - Loved your instructions re: cats and pills. I no longer have any cats, but when I did, any time the vet would prescribe a pill, I would ask, "Can't you give that as an injection?"

Nancy 11:40 AM  

So funny, @Tita!!! Thanks for the laughs.

My Uncle George 11:50 AM  

After World War II there was a surviving Kamikaze who wrote an autobiography.

"Worst Pilot Ever" I think it was called.

QuasiMojo 12:02 PM  

I’m very late in posting today as I had a meeting this morning and only got to the puzzle just now. I did it in pen on the newspaper and found it slow-going. Felt like an old-fashioned Friday which I liked. Throwing in IDES for Date screwed me up as did Dyad and then ITEM before that doodad DUAD.

@merican in Paris, I agree OVERALL with your point about Starbucks espresso. Chintzy and nowhere near rich enough. And never the right temp. Nothing compares to the real thing in Florence or Rome. BTW I hope you saw me reply yesterday to your response to my post about the slash. I’m afraid I beat a dead horse with it.

Ethan Taliesin 12:11 PM  

My snag was putting DYAD instead of DUAD, thereby frustrating my ability to figure out HOUSE RULE.

Just a few days ago I looked up the word WAZOO and learned that it means "anus."

Colorful. Maybe everybody knows that... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

JC66 12:15 PM  

@merican in Paris


Masked and Anonymous 12:28 PM  

@RP: I have been flailin my way thru the "NYT Tough Crossword Puzzle Omnibus" book. Themeless puzs from 1996-98's. U talk about clues that put up a fight … worse even than gettin cats to do anything they don't want to do.

Had no particular troubles in the NW. Had more nanosecond leakage probs in the NE, at our house.

* Certainly more attractive somehow than its DYAD cousin. Neither version has the Patrick Berry Usage Immunity, tho.
* Last use of DUAD in a NYTPuz: 11 May 2011. DYAD has been used 8 times since that date.
* DUAD sounds like a cross between DAD and DUDE.

staff weeject pick: ORA. Almost a constructioneer name watchamacallit. What's that word -- where they hide somethin in their work for conspiracy-theory folks to uncover? M&A has got to think … seems like it's somethin edible, maybe … ? [Arghh. Will probably come up with it, right after I mash the "publish" button.]

Lots of great puzfillins; had fun solvin it. Thanx, Mr. Brian. Seed entry = UPTHEWAZOO?

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Tita A 12:55 PM  

@m&a... The definitive video on gettin' cats to do anything...
I love the attention to detail in this:


bob k ... I can only take credit for finding a link to that meme...

nyc_lo 12:58 PM  

Happy to see Rex’s disgust at DUAD nearly matched my own.

Hungry Mother 1:00 PM  

In Nassau, finished my 10K race, which turned out to be 6.8 miles, sitting on my deck, looking at the varied blue Bahamian waters, solving my puzzle in under average time, living large and happy.

Suzie Q 1:05 PM  

Lots of good comments today.
I clearly was not on this constructor's wave length but I finally got it done.
I was really amused to see Up the Wazoo.
I was very curious to see what farmers in Del. and Minn. had in common.
How am I supposed to know what a radio guy looks like? That seemed so ridiculous to me that I had to laugh.
You know you've done a lot of puzzles when you begin to recognize certain people's styles and an unusual grid like today catches your attention.

Teedmn 1:16 PM  

You are more likely to hear "Up the ying-yang" around here than the WAZOO, though the etymology of that one is no more palatable than that of WAZOO. I was surprised the online Merriam Webster includes ying-yang in its definitions.

@M&A, re: DUAD vs DYAD - the latter would have eliminated a precious U and it always makes me think of nymphs (dryad) so DUAD (doodad comes to mind) is preferable to me. But just in case, I left that spot open until HOUSE RULE cleared it up.

I'm a bit uneasy about the symbolism on the MN STATE SEAL. I have heard it argued that the Native American is riding into the sunset, thus symbolizing that their era is over. That isn't mentioned in the link I provide so perhaps that wasn't the intention but still...

For some reason I always thought a KAMIKAZE drink had Jagermeister in it. Possibly because the only way I would drink something with Jagermeister in it was if I were on a suicide mission. Ugh.

As many have mentioned, this played easy "for a Friday" for me but I still had fun. Thanks, Ori Brian.

Carola 1:28 PM  

@Nancy, your Friday challenge is here at my house. Unfortunately, it's the same puzzle.

I found this one terrifically hard: I felt I was suffering from some sort of non-ICEE-induced brainfreeze (perhaps precipitated by last night's return from LA to the Polar Vortex) - as in, I couldn't think of what kind of STRAW was undesirable, Apart from a solidly filled-in NW, the rest of the grid was splotchy, with an ICEBOX CAKE here and a SWISS MISS there and a lot of wrong guesses scattered around (aMC, motif before Topos before erasing, BLACK orphan, ides x item [hi, @Lewis], loAd before HEAP, lOmein before HOTPOT). LABORED would be my word of the day, to describe the solve. But I thought the puzzle was great - lots of gratifying little moments of comprehension (STATE SEALS!), and it was very satifsying to finally finish up (LIVE REMOTE x TROPE).

@Loren re: beach gear and @Tita A re: cats and pills - so funny! Thank you.

Crimson Devil 2:06 PM  

Ying-yang synonymous with WAZOO in my experience as well, both to describe constant SHADE, i.e where sun never shines.

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

Tita A.: loved the cat tales!

The only version of the wazoo phrase I have ever heard is what is here, "up the wazoo." I always considered it obscene in the sense explained by others, and would never use it around those who could be offended. E.g., that exam was "up the wazoo"--the professor f*cked us good (this last expression offensive on more than one level, although one still hears it).

Re Sir Hillary and the origin of the "Hail Mary" pass. I recall seeing some fairly old footage of Moeller (sp.?) High School football (the school is a Catholic school in Cincinnati, renowned for football). I suspect the context of the broadcast was Jerry Faust's ill-fated tenure as a Notre Dame coach--he had been at Moeller. The team was sent out to the field from a time out for a last-ditch play. As the coach's huddle on the sidelines broke up, he called to his players: "Say a Hail Mary!" What to me was striking was that the coach was utterly serious--he wasn't using the phrase in a joking fashion, as it is always used now. I'm pretty sure this was before 1975.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

@merican in Paris 2:13 PM  

@QuasiMojo 12:02 PM -- Thanks, I did. Personally, for the reasons set out succinctly by @Paul Rippey (12:17 PM yesterday), I shall continue to write that kind of non-hyphenated combination as "actor and waiter" -- or, if I have to save space or keystrokes, "actor & waiter".

@JC66 12:15 PM -- Er, thanks for the link. I do understand the meaning in English of drawing the SHORT STRAW; it's the same meaning in French for courte paille. Excuse my sleep-deprived denseness, but what's your point?

Tita A 2:23 PM  

I really should show more restraint against posting memes here, but I just couldn't resist the serendipitous nature of my husband sending this tweet to a friend today considering
@brandon's comment...


(Can it be called a meme if it dates from the 1700s?)

JC66 2:29 PM  

@merican in Paris

Sorry, I must have misinterpreted your 9:44 comment.

Masked and Anonymous 2:38 PM  

@Teedmn: Good call, on preservation of U's.
@Tita A: For additional entertainment, try givin a feisty budgie a bath. Our weehousebirds have tended to roam free & go dirty, except in rare, "emergency bigger than a wall" situations. Like the time Radar the budgie landed in the spaghetti sauce.
@BobK.: Really great to see U back in the RP Comment Gallery again. Is this now an ongoin thing, or did someone just deliver a newspaper to the wrong house? [BobK. is a famous & heralded runtpuz test solver. As is @Teedmn.]

Mystery whatchamacallit word from first msg. has finally been solved: Easter egg. Took the M&A brain long enough to hunt it down. Had the same kinda problem rememberin egg-headed Howie Mandel, just recently.

Am sorta in the same camp as @Roo, on the weird-to-the-ears ICEBOXCAKE. We get somethin like that to build up on the sides of the freezer walls, occasionally … but couldn't get me to have it for dessert. Not even if completely out of the cinnamon rolls. Not even with chocolate sauce on it.

Anyhoo … One of our fave raised-by-wolves clues today: {Fire sale?} = ARMSDEAL. Just enough smell there to probably cause puz-solvin prosecutors to re-investigate the NRA's goodwill "Russia open carry" tour.


Anonymous 2:46 PM  

Poggius and Sir Hillary,

I'm pretty sure Sir Hillary is right. The confusion arises from Gerry Faust's well known, or at least well documented, use of praye ob the football field. It's said that before very play of significanve for twenty years--bothe at Moeller and Notre Dame, Faust exorted players and coaches to say a Hail Mary. But those plays weren't Hail Marys. At least not most of them. A fourth and 1 at the 2 yard line with 8 seconds to play is a crucial play--it would however call for a Hail Mary, which is used exclusively for long passes with only a prayer of a chance of succeeding.
That's exactly the case Hillary invokes. The Cowboys looked beaten. they were at midfield trailing the Vikes 17 to 14. These Vikes were fierce. At least their defense was. Alan Page, Carl Eller Jim Marshal, Paul Krause, et al. Not the best iteration of the purple people eaters, but plenty good. And more than good enough to keep the vaunted cowboys offense to a skinny ten points with just 32 seconds to play. Staubach himself claims he threw the pass up and "said a Hail Mary."
As for whether Drew Pearson, the Cowboy who caught the pass, pushed off, I can say with certainty that Nate Wright, the Vikings cornerback who was covering Pearson insists he did.
If you're familiar with NFL Films you may have seen an orange object fly through the screen as Pearson waltzed the last 5 yards into the end zone. That is not a penalty flag, but an orange heaved by an irate Viking fan.

Anonymous 2:54 PM  

so many typos. Sorry all. Anyway the Cowboys were losing by 4 points 14-10. (duh!) Staubach heaved a long pass, said a prayer, and the rest is history.
Faust was incredibly devout and did ask players and coaches tp pray-especially before big plays. But he did not coin the term Hail Mary for a long, last-second pass. Roger the dodger did.

Joe Dipinto 3:38 PM  

Ah yes, the Michael Jackson song with the immortal lyric

Keep goin'
To the post office
Don't stop 'til you get enough

At least that's the way I've always heard it. Enough what? Stamps?

I was having a bowl of 42d while solving this. In the upper right I had ROADIE, ATKINS, and LEAPS (as in leap or jump for joy) going down, then confidently wrote in BAKED ALAKA at 18a. I didn't even notice it was missing a letter (and ergo, wrong) for ten minutes. So that whole section gave me problems up the wazoo.

Elsewhere, things went more smoothly. I wish EAST L.A. had been clued à la Cheech & Chong.

Anonymoose 3:59 PM  

How does god decide which team to help? This is the major theological question of our day.

albatross shell 4:00 PM  

Arms are firearms, fire power and do fire.
A sale is a deal.
Slightly wacky, but certainly a workable clue.

SJ Austin 4:00 PM  

Wanted MOTIF and NUDE in place of TROPE and SEXT. Took me forever to get that sorted. Otherwise relatively easy for a Friday.

Unknown 4:17 PM  

Oh, hysterical! Haven't laughed so hard in ages. Thanks!

GILL I. 4:43 PM  

@Tita...I just got back from the dentist (still have the gauze in my mouth) but I managed to laugh so loud, the pups started to growl.
I'm also imagining @M&A leaning over the bath tub bathing his little budgie. I would imagine they love that!
The lates craze are cute little Otter's swimming in the master bathroom. I wonder how well they take a pill!
I'm also a ying yang person. Imagine the things that can go up there.......

BarbieBarbie 5:10 PM  


(warning-- a bit of salty language-- don't read if you find that ofensive. Otherwise, hilarious.)

I actually read Hi C as "HIC" until I came here-- was mystified [red face]. Especially since I got its cognate ICEE with no crosses.

This was simultaneously a round-and-round dig-til-you-get-it exprerience and an easy puzzle. Very satisfying. Thanks Constructor!!!

Anonymous 5:54 PM  

I've gone fishing many times and I've never been asked for my fishing 'permit' by anyone (47 Across). I have, however, been asked to produce my fishing license. Who ever heard of a fishing permit? Must be a regional thing. And 'duad' is not a word (as evidenced by my auto-correct, just now, trying to shoehorn in a different word, much as I did in the puzzle...after realizing the answer for "March 15, e.g." was not "Ides" but the rather inane answer "date," as if that answer isn't applicable 364 other times every year).

Anonymous 6:12 PM  

I think the point was to misdirect solvers to ides. It worked.

Crimson Devil 6:17 PM  

Apologies for misdirect: SHADE was, indeed, an answer today...but in MINI PUZ !!

Anonymous 7:06 PM  

LMS, you are my favorite person in the world. I always love your posts, and Fight The Power!

Anonymous 7:17 PM  

Yikes! Hardest puzzle EVER! Thanks Mr. Brian.

Loren Muse Smith 10:11 PM  


@Bob – fwiw, I agree with @albatross shell on the clue for ARMS DEAL.

@Tita –(see you in March, too!) That cat thing is one of the funniest things I’ve read on this blog! I’ve already reread it and reread it! (And that commercial is one of my favorites. It’s a pretty good description of me taking my first period downstairs to get their breakfast.) This cat bath discussion reminds me of Steve Martin saying something like, Gave my cat a bath the other day… for those of you who have cats and think you can’t, don’t worry – they love it. My cat enjoyed it, I enjoyed it… [pause] …The fur stuck to my tongue a little bit, but other than that, it was great.

@BarbieBarbie – funny article!

GILL I. 10:19 PM  

Can I wear gauchos?

Loren Muse Smith 5:06 AM  

@Gill-Wait. No. YOU’RE COMING???

I know I keep shouting.

Andrea Ojeda 7:57 AM  

Thanks!! :)

Monty Boy 9:22 PM  

I guess I'm the only one who doesn't understand SEXT. I'm so late commenting, I'll have to google it. Or come back in 6 weeks and hope a Syndie can help.

JC66 9:48 PM  

@Monty Boy

SEXT = Sexual Test (Naked photos).

chua xuat tinh som 11:36 PM  

Thanks!! :)

spacecraft 11:01 AM  

Rotate the POD please, HAL.


I don't think he can hear us. A Friday puzzle with plenty of teeth, the better to BITE with, my dear. Our old friend the 9000 was my way in, but for the first half hour that's all I had! Though never completely sure of anything, I finally tried ROADIE and ATKINS with DIP, and eventually got going in the NE. I'm not familiar with ICEBOXCAKE, but it was inferable after a few crossing letters. Weird fact: last night we ate at a local restaurant and had them box our desserts to take home. Mine was cheeseCAKE. And yes, we stuck 'em in the fridge for later.

Despite meeting resistance UPTHEWAZOO, I emerged victorious, scoring a HEAP of triumph points. Hannah Simone's CECE is a fine DOD, so high marks OVERALL. Eagle.

centralscrewtinizer 11:46 AM  

WEEPS yielded SHORTSTRAW and it was off the races. Well, in the east. Midwest was flyover territory for quite a while. Looking at the grid the only write over was the placement of the DUAD AA in KWANZAA.
I use pen so things can get a little scritchy sometimes.
I say UP THE kAZOO too because I just hate making people blanch, heh.

Diana, LIW 12:24 PM  

Oddly enough it took me a while to get HAL. I kept trying to think of recent films by Mr. K.

The East fell pretty quickly, then the west, by bits. But if we use me as the standard, it was "easy" FOR A FRIDAY.

I had a cat who was pretty easy on the BATH-giving scale. He came in thru the window one day and soon became mine; (I did know his previous owner, who bequeathed Pedro to me when he moved). His fur was so thick we'd pour water INTO the cat, then on with the flea bath stuff. He was quite agreeable to about anything as long os you fed him.

Then there's Lambo - mini but mighty. He gets a kitty form of pink eye, and needs EYEDROPs. It is a two-person operation. Sketchy results. Mr. W always suggests wrapping him in a towel (Lambo, not Mr. W). Another funny suggestion. Cat - 1, People - 0.

My other cat gave me a BITE once that saved my life. Really. But that's another, long, story.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Wooody2004 1:39 PM  

HIC sounds like something a SOT (anagram of 45A) would say.

At Starbucks, you used to be UPTHEWAZOO in ESPRESSOBAR HITs.

10D could be clued today as "below-the-belt selfie".

Burma Shave 2:11 PM  


It’s BINS SORARE that he gets a DATE,
and now he WEEPS for THE SWISSMISS he saw.
He LABORED ‘TIL he RAPT up his fate:


thefogman 2:13 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 2:33 PM  

HEY, let's face it. We are UPTHEWAZOO with mediocre puzzles. But BOY oh BOY, I'd say OVERALL this one's almost IDEAl. Ori Brian is a xword ARTISTE. HIC is too low a mark. It's SORARE for me to do this, but I'll give him an A+. TGIF everyone. And screw the ATKINS diet. It's time for a BITE and some ALES!

rondo 2:38 PM  

As a whole gave me intotAL which got written-over to OVERALL, and nearby I of course had DyAD, ‘TIL HOUSERULE made that impossible. I’m with @Rex on the word DUAD; never use that doodad again.

And yeah, stop drinking [HIC] and watch your LIVER EMOTE. [HIC]

No, no, no. ‘Fire sale’ is a terrible clue for ARMSDEAL.

And yes there is a farmer (with plow) on MN’s STATESEAL, along with a Native American on horseback

What @spacey said re: CECE.

Maybe because I was in a clinic waiting room, I didn’t get that big a RYES from this puz. SEXT me.

rainforest 4:21 PM  

OVERALL, this puzzle had some BITE, but I entered SHORTSTRAW with no letters, and once I got KWANZAA, UP THE WAZOO went right in. Those, HAL, and KAMIKAZE made it easier to move around.

Toughest puzzle of the week so far, but not the stiffest Friday ever.

Liked it.

thefogman 7:06 PM  

I'd love to hear that l-o-n-g story D,LIW.

leftcoastTAM 8:44 PM  

Way late, but not waylaid by this relatively easy Friday puzzle.

Skipped around for awhile trying to find a toe-hold, and then skipped around some more until getting some patterns to show up. Fun finally to find enough of them and to fully fill the grid. (Sufficient alliteration there?)

UP THE WAZOO is crude and crappy, but I can take it. And what's a beach BOD? More narcissistic slang, I think.

Not surprised that Minnesota, my native home state, featured farmers on its STATE SEAL, but DELAWARE? Thought that state was known much better for abetting corporate tax evasion.

Despite a few cringes, liked it well enough.

wcutler 9:42 PM  

@GILL I. 9:33 AM, @David 11:00 AM, @Roo Monster 11:30 AM @Masked and Anonymous 2:38 PM (all from 5 or 6 weeks ago):
It seems there are several ICE BOX CAKES, that it's a category rather than a specific item, but when I grew up, it was this one: https://thedecoratedcookie.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/icebox1a.jpg. Dead easy to make - you "paste" chocolate wafer cookies together with whipped cream, to form a log, then slather the whole thing with whipped cream. Put in the ICE BOX to soften the cookies to cake consistency. Then cut into slices on the diagonal, so that you slice through several cookies at once and it magically looks like a cake with layers. I grew up in Pennsylvania; a friend who grew up in California understood it to be exactly the same.

Puzzle couldn't have been that hard - I almost got it. I'm surprised mOUSE RULE isn't a thing. I was sure the mouse was related to entering changes in computer games. I still see LIVER EMOTE.

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