Military pilot's waiting area / FRI 2-8-19 / Big name in yo-yos / Bird symbolizing daybreak / 1935 Nobelist Joliot-Curie

Friday, February 8, 2019

Constructor: John Guzzetta and Michael Hawkins

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (5:29, still half-asleep)


THEME: none

Word of the Day: John BONHAM (1D: Drummer John of Led Zeppelin) —
John Henry Bonham (31 May 1948 – 25 September 1980) was an English musician and songwriter, best known as the drummer for the British rock band Led Zeppelin. Esteemed for his speed, power, fast bass drumming, distinctive sound, and "feel" for the groove,[1] he is regarded by many as the greatest and most influential rock drummer in history.[2][3][4] Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number one in their list of the "100 Greatest Drummers of All Time". (wikipedia)
• • •

This puzzle was trying very hard to be current and now and fully of whimsy, and on occasion it succeeded. "FOR THE WIN" isn't terrible "modern" any more, though I guess if you're measuring time by centuries, then sure, it belongs to the "modern" era, insofar as it belongs largely to the Internet (33D: Modern cry of success). I liked seeing it, at any rate. I less liked seeing FUNEMPLOYED, which is one of those grating cutesy euphemisms for terrible things that Americans invent to mask their deep dark misery (2D: Between jobs and loving it). Thumbs-up for FLAT BROKE right next door, though (3D: Busted). Give me good ol' plain talk any day. Overall, I never really connected to this one, possibly because the puzzle was just too name-y with names I didn't care too much about, possibly because the clues kept trying awfully hard to be sort of half-tricksy, and that gets irksome after a while. "Ha ha, our clue is a verb! You thought it was a noun! Isn't that clever!?"—yeah, I guess (18A: Piques = WHETS). The longer answers didn't provide much of a thrill, and there was too much shorter stuff (the grid feels oddly choppy and full of short stuff for a late-week themeless). It's by no means a bad grid, but aesthetically it just wasn't for me. I think they lost me at EAR OF CORN (57A: Something to shuck), which is somewhere between PILE OF DIRT and HEART OF DARKNESS on the "___ OF ___ Acceptability Scale." It's a stand-alone phrase ... but barely.


Forgot what Pfizer was (thought they made faucets?) (note: that's Pfister, ugh) and since the clue was one of those horrible non-specific ones, I needed a bunch of crosses to get VIAGRA (42D: Pfizer product). Had AWAKE before AWARE and so took way to long to get CLAIM TO FAME and the whole SE. Don't care about "Dr. Who" or (more so) "Top Chef," and never heard of READY ROOM (14A: Military pilot's waiting area), so the puzzle was probably entertaining someone, but it wasn't me. I mean, [Big name in yo-yos]??? (DUNCAN). Yeah, extremely not-for-me. Oh, NOT COOL—I did like that (38D: "That was totally out of line"). That answer was cool and not totally out of line. I have to go to the gym now. Bye.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

88 comments:

Lewis 6:46 AM  
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ttaylor 6:48 AM  

Fastest Friday ever. I enjoyed it.

Up with Men 6:55 AM  

Can't wait to read the tittering comments from @Nancy, @Gill, @LMS re: 42D. Don't let us down.

QuasiMojo 6:56 AM  

Over way too fast for a Friday. I remember when it often took me two days to finish a Friday puzzle. This one took only 15 minutes. No googling. I would have been done faster if I hadn’t been sure CHEF D’OEUVRE was right. But I guess Claim to Fame is more apt. And ALERT before AWARE as I always do with that clue. How did I love THEE? Let me count the ways. Which reminds me. I have never received a scented love letter. And since I get almost no mail anymore I doubt I ever will.

Loren Muse Smith 6:59 AM  

I always love me a good portmanteau. Never ever seen FUNEMPLOYED, but I got a kick out of it. Rex – I had the same thought about how the word would be a kind of linguistic forced brave smile and cheerful attitude. I’m currently funemployed, but it’s all good, man. I totally missed that it was next to FLAT BROKE. Hah.

I guess I'm stunemployed. I was just this part-time sub minding my own business and pow - I'm a full-on high school English teacher. Still surprised that life has turned out this way.

Ok. I have to point out that I kept noticing VIAGRA/I CAN. There's other periphery stuff to see once you head down that path, but I'll just leave it there.

I’m more with @Lewis – good stuff here. NOT COOL, PITFALL, FOR THE WIN, CLAIM TO FAME, LOVE LETTER, FLAT BROKE, MATHLETES… @Lewis – ever teach CHAIR YOGA?

Harryp 7:07 AM  

I liked MATHLETES, IMPRIMATUR and FUNEMPLOYED. At 8Down I always thought it was MiLes STANDISH. Easy Peasy, 1/2 of average Friday time.

Lewis 7:18 AM  

@loren -- No, haven't taught that, but it is not only good for the cubicle bound, it is wonderful for the elderly and handicapped.

This was a LARK and RICHLY colloquial. While it was right in the pocket for me, it gave me enough of a tussle to satisfy the Friday fights I look for.

My favorite answers were FOR THE WIN, FLAT BROKE, and IMPRIMATUR (what a lovely word!), and the trickiest clue for me was [Metric unit] for IAMB. That is one elegant misdirect.

So little junk, and lively as a Robyn Weintraub Friday, this was a CHOICE offering. Thank you, gents!

puzzlehoarder 7:19 AM  

I knocked 6 minutes off my Thursday time finishing this puzzle but I kept thinking I should have done it faster. There was enough easy fill that any time I was confused about a clue or an entry some gimme would pop up and show the way.

The best example of this was when I first guessed IMPRESARIO for 26A just based on the IM- I already had. As soon as I checked on that E at 27D the obviousness of IDED reminded me that the word I was looking for was IMPRIMATUR. It was as if the puzzle had it's own built-in self correct.

I did learn something new. The next time my wife comes home from work and tells me "You were in that recliner when I left" I'll just tell her I've been doing CHAIR YOGA all day.

Michiganman 7:24 AM  

I like @Rex and mostly his comments and insights are interesting. But sometimes he reminds me of Debby Downer of SNL fame. Case in point-FUNEMPLOYED. It made me smile. I've been "between jobs" (talk about a euphemism) and it's not necessarily fun, but still.......ya gotta laugh sometimes. I googled FUNEMPLOYED. There's a table game. Who knew?

AdamW 7:35 AM  

I had Coup de Grace at first instead of Claim to Fame... But now see that Coup de Grace actually means "death blow" and not the defining moment per se. So, there you go. Live and learn.

I also got hung up on MiLES over MYLES. And I had NBC for the home of 30 Rock, and couldn't figure out what Chair Boga was. Once I said "a ha" on that one, I was done.

Amy Yanni 7:44 AM  

Great Friday puzzle. Loved the idioms clue. Unfortunately, dad smoked unfiltered Camels so that was a gimme.
As was DHS: the Red Sox truck has arrived in Fort Myers! And how about Viagra crossed by tiny?

Hungry Mother 7:45 AM  

Super-fast this morning, on a day that I’m in no hurry since I’m taking a day off from running. The best part of late week puzzles in finiding unknown knowns in memory.

Bill Weeden 7:58 AM  

How is in the wings or in full swing a proper definition of “idiom quote?

Robso 8:01 AM  

Chair yoga? Someone should have told me—I’ve been doing chair boga this whole time.

mmorgan 8:02 AM  

I had deadBROKE for FLATBROKE, PoThoLe for PITFALL, AleRt for AWARE, NOTgOOd for NOTCOOL, among others. So this puzzle beat me up for a long while, until it killed me in the NE, with no idea how to complete MATHLE—S. Oh well, I still kinda liked it.

TomAz 8:17 AM  

This should have been easy but it wasn't for me. Sure, there were a few stretches where I was flying and I thought 'is this a Friday puzzle?' But then I managed to plop in a few incorrect answers that I was very certain of. ITO instead of ABE, and COUP DE GRACE at 23D.

Later, wanting a 6-letter pharmaceutical starting with V, I was initially undecided between VIAGRA and Valium.. each useful in its own way.. and since CHAIR YOGA and EAR OF CORN were not yet visible, it took me all the way to LAT to figure out which prescription I would be filling (in) there.

Rex, thanks for the Gang of Four song..I love that album. But are you saying the whole puzzle is "Damaged Goods" somehow ... I can't make the tie in any other way.

Outside The Box 8:23 AM  

Same here. Once I realized the name was Myles Standish, ready room fell right into place. Petty easy Friday puzzle.

Sir Hillary 8:29 AM  

I wish it had put up more of a fight, but I loved the puzzle. The long entries are CHOICE -- FUNEMPLOYED next to FLATBROKE is genius, FORTHEWIN is some announcer's CLAIMTOFAME (Marv Albert?), there's a READYROOM for MATHLETES, and IMPRIMATUR is just a cool word. Plus, any puzzle with the greatest drummer in rock history works just fine for me.

It's not perfect -- don't like the "IT" dupe in contiguous BEARIT and EATITUP, SAWII is never welcome on my screen or in my puzzle, and ESE is, well, "ese". But them's some nits I'm picking right there.

Nodding to 42D, I'll say to these constructors...keep it up, guys.

MissScarlet 8:45 AM  

As a yo-yo lover all my life, I enjoyed ‘Duncan’.

pabloinnh 8:53 AM  

Mostly smooth sailing except I started with BROS, which was unhelpful, eventually changed it to BFAS, ditto, and finally got to BFFS. Jackpot.

Lots of good stuff in this one. Had VALIUM for VIAGARA, so I guess you could say 42D gave me a hard time.

Sorry.

Z 8:56 AM  

Captain Jean-Luc Picard often said, “I’ll be in my READY ROOM,” but I always thought it was just a Star Trek thing.

Hand up for Pfizer/Pfister confusion. I guess “makes faucets” sort of applies in both cases. I know what @LMS means, depending on your philosophical bent and level of maturity the grid can be a joy of innuendo. VIAGRA LOVE LETTER? NOT COOL? Or, VIAGRA? Sometimes an EAR OF CORN is just an EAR OF CORN. EAT IT UP, people.

FUN EMPLOYED - uh, yeah, I’m team Rex here. Akin to “Gig Economy” to my ear, i.e - screw workers and make it sound like a positive.

Hartley70 8:56 AM  

I love FUNEMPLOYED and MATHLETES. I hadn’t heard either of them before. They’ve started my day off right.

David TENNANT is my favorite of all the Doctors. Of course he wasn’t hurt by the casting of the gorgeous Billie Piper as his companion. Unlike Rex, I’m delighted there are Whovian constructors out there.

BONHAM was tough. Thank goodness for Helena.

I need to find me some CHAIRYOGA. I can’t twist like a pretzel any longer and while I get shorter, the floor gets farther away.

Like others, I love the sound of IMPRIMATUR. Can I work it into my lunch conversation at a Chinese restaurant?

jacobeking 8:59 AM  

As a Navy test pilot, I couldn't have been happier to see READY ROOM MATHLETES stacked in this puzzle.

Nancy 9:19 AM  

One of those puzzles that ten years ago I would have just given up on. I found it really, really hard, and though I thought I'd finally solved it, I hadn't. MILES had an "I" -- he does have an "I", doesn't he????; HMS (12D) was written in as HsS (a boneheaded mishmash of HMS and USS) and so I ended up with READIROOS (14A) for the military pilot's waiting area. Don't ask.

But that's not all, folks. Not knowing zilch about yo-yos, I ended up with DUNgAN/ NOT gOOd (39D). Leading me to dAT for the muscle (60A). Once again, don't ask. All of the above was definitely NOT GOOD.

For "trap for the unwary" I had POTHOLE before PITFALL. Remember that I live in NYC. But that I did manage to correct. Yay, me.

I absolutely loved today's (new to me) portmanteaus: FUNEMPLOYED and MATHLETES. Keep these coming; I never met a portmanteau I didn't like.

Other than the unfair cross of DUNCAN/TENNANT, I thought this was a terrific puzzle. But it left me completely READIROOS, I'm afraid.

Z 9:28 AM  

@Nancy - From Readiroos to Viagra sounds like a great autobiography. Okay, maybe not.

Rachael 9:30 AM  

I really enjoyed this one. One of my fastest Fridays ever at 4:03. Enjoyed a lot of clues/fill aimed squarely at my not-quite-millennial, not-quite-Gen-X self: FUNEMPLOYED, MATHLETES, FOR THE WIN, NOT COOL all made me smile, IMPRIMATUR is an excellent word I don't get to see enough, and no real stumbling blocks.

Since I'm usually very much on the same page as Rex, a little surprised by this writeup. Any puzzle that references the great John BONHAM is okay by me.

GILL I. 9:40 AM  

I wasn't going to say anything about VIAGRA since I'm not of that persuasion. My bone of contention is BON HAM. My DNF of the day. I don't know drummers and apparently I don't know Horror movies nor Dr. Who actors or how to spell Standish's name.
BFFS was my first entry and because it gave me a smile, I was determined to enjoy my Friday. I did, except for the very top of the NW. I wanted GRACE for 13A. Finally ended up with fOULS. Never could figure out the Piques. So now I know it's saving SOULS. Continue to WHET my appetite...ok.
Loved the long ones. Like @Hartley, I learned FUNEMPLOYED and MATHLETES. @Hartley you could always say "General Tso's received my official IMPRIMATUR award for their pot stickers."
Lots of things here made me remember things in my checkered past. Ahem. I was the proud owner of a DUNCAN. It was white and it was encrusted with diamonds. My CLAIM TO FAME was "rock the baby" and "around the world" Yo Yo kid. I was pretty darn good with the hula hoop as well. We didn't have a TV....can you tell?
I actually did perfume a LOVE LETTER once. I sent it to my summer camp diving and water ski counselor. He was a college student somewhere and he looked like Omar Sharif. I would follow him all around and drool. Anyway, I told him I wanted to write to him just so that I could keep him informed of my diving progress. He gave it to me. I sent him an adorable letter that took me hours to compose. I used my mom's expensive perfume. He never wrote back.
Why is a LEFTY called a Southpaw? My mom and brother were born that way. I wanted to be one too, so I practiced to be ambidextrous.
PITFALL CHOICE I so RICHLY deserve.


Unknown 9:43 AM  

Pretty easy for a Friday. Did not fully understand "idiom".

oldbizmark 9:59 AM  

Another guy for CHAIR BOG(?) until I realized it was NYC not NBC. Otherwise, an easy solve for a well-constructed puzzle. Wish it has a bit more teeth to it (what else can you shuck besides an ear of corn, for example) but otherwise no complaints.

Job 10:04 AM  

Never heard of funemployed but it’s a clever portmanteau. I say that as someone who is happily unemployed.

nyc_lo 10:08 AM  

Fell comfortably in my wheelhouse, only 20 seconds off my Friday best. Seemed written to appeal to former MATHLETES-of-a-certain-age now limited to CHAIR YOGA, what with the Star-Trekky READY ROOM and the second best ever Dr. Who, TENNANT. And can you believe they used to advertise DUNCAN yo-yos during kid’s TV programming? Yeah, if you remember that, you probably sailed through this one.

Cassieopia 10:11 AM  

Charmed to see DUNCAN! @Gill round the world and rock the baby were in my repertoire as well, plus walk the dog - but as a fellow yo yo enthusiast you probably didn’t name that trick as it’s definitely entry level. I still have an emerald green Duncan. This puzzle makes me want to break it out and take it for a spin. Ha.

DNF because of BONHAM and loved finding IMPRIMATUR. Very nice Friday.

Mr. Benson 10:17 AM  

I've never heard the term FUNEMPLOYED. But I'm on the brink of leaving my job for a new one, and I'm going to take some time off in between, and you can bet I'm gonna use the hell out of that term. I've forgotten what it's like not to have to check e-mails constantly.

Peter P 10:29 AM  

One in my wheelhouse as well. This one is my fastest Friday solve ever. Actually, also faster than my fastest Thursday solve. (And I just gave up on yesterday's puzzle. I couldn't get any traction and just said "screw it" after filling in maybe half the grid.)

Main initial mistakes was "greenlight" for IMPRIMATUR. I felt so clever for getting that off the bat and it turned out to be completely wrong. Also had NbC for NYC, but that sorted itself out quickly. Never watched Dr. Who, but I've heard of David TENNANT for some reason. And "pelts" instead of RIMES.

ENTREE is an interesting one. That one tripped me up for a sec, because in other varieties of English, it means "appetizer" as opposed to main course. Which makes sense, given the word. Now why my brain was out of US English mode for a sec, I don't know, but that's one of those words that makes me mentally hiccup. How it ended up meaning main course in US English I don't know. But thanks to the internet, somebody has traced its usage and shifts in meaning: http://languageoffood.blogspot.com/2009/08/entree.html

Overall, the grid felt fair, and there were no clunkers or head-scratchers for clue-answer combinations, as often I feel a clue or two rubs me the wrong way. Not today.

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

@Z,
if youre back in Michigan, you might want to check out a lecture next week in Grand Rapids. If you go and still find Thomist though unpersuasive, so be it; I'm guessing you may find the Angelic Doctor's logic and arguments quite stunning.

Sacred Heart parish gym. 7PM
156 Valley Ave.

If you don't buy the arguments, you're still welcome to the wine and cheese

Crimson Devil 10:30 AM  

Fun Fri. N/H/O MATHLETES, but like it, nor SAWII. Stumbled onto FUNEMPLOYED, like it too. I, too, was a Duncan aficionado, but recall trick as rockin the cradle: close enough.
Sick of viagra, incontinence, psoriasis, ED, etc. ads. My sainted Mom would cringe.
FDA should return to ban on direct to consumer ads, IMO, but there’s this First Amendment....

Big Daddy Dave 10:32 AM  

@GILL:

Southpaw is a slang meaning for a left-handed person, actually a left-handed baseball pitcher. It originates from the practice in baseball of arranging the diamond with the batter facing east to avoid the afternoon sun.

Amelia 10:32 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 10:34 AM  

We thought it was fairly easy for a Friday. And, we liked it. John Bonham is a give-away for any Rock fans in the time-frame when Led Zeppelin were on the scene.

Pfizer/Viagra: Anyone watching the evening news on television during the past 20 years couldn't avoid the ubiquitous Viagra ads on all of the major networks, including cable.

David Tennant was excellent in Broadchurch as, of course, was Olivia Colman.

Ready Room has historical roots and was also used in Star Trek.

Someone who's not a Debbie Downer is Deb Amlen, who writes the Daily Crossword Column in The Times. I know she is employed by The Times (duh), but she is upbeat. And that makes for pleasant reading.

ArtO 10:35 AM  

Forgot what Pfizer was??? Had a hard time parsing VIAGRA! Are you in an upstate cave? Oh, I'm sorry, you were half asleep but still managed to do it in just under five and a half minutes.

NW a total Natick with no knowledge of BONHAM or SAWII. BFF doesn't come to mind when your mind is 81.

jberg 10:48 AM  

My wife and I belong to Servas, an international network to provide and/or receive free two night stays in your home for travelling members. Years ago, we hosted a couple from Australia who worked as hotel managers. They would work until they had saved from money, then quit the job and travel around the world for a few months. That's what FUNEMPLOYED connoted for me -- but I can see it could also be a making-the-best-of-it sort of thing. I was happy to learn it!

I enjoyed the knife-sharpening minitheme with WHET and HONE.

I understand about different wheelhouses, but sort of stunned by the idea of not knowing what Pfizer is. For years they were the target of massive protests because held the patents on HIV drugs, and wouldn't discount the price for South Africa and other countries where people were dying by the millions. No idea they made VIAGRA, but only so many choices once you know they're big pharma.

But, like I said, wheelhouses!

Roo Monster 10:51 AM  

Hey All !
Fell into the PITFALL of NbC. After struggling a bit, and refusing to use Check Puz feature, finished up with the toughish NW and Center West. SMOKER/SKEW/WADIS all tough to get. Couldn't get Arab(anything) out of the ole brain for the Camel clue. IMPRIMATUR was a Holy Cow. But figured the Horror movie had to be SAW(RRN), it was just a matter of I or V. Put in the last letter, FOR THE WIN, expecting the Happy Music, but the Almost There! screen popped up! NOT COOL! Never went back to NbC, and ended up with others doing CHAIR bOGA, thinking it might be short for boogie, or somesuch. Talk about not being KEYED IN. ARGH!

So no MIRTH at my one-letter DNF. My CLAIM TO FAME. Just had to grin and BEAR IT.

Had Valium for VIAGRA first, and once I realized that wouldn't work, took forever to remember the name of the Power Up pill. I need some Brain VIAGRA! :-) Why it took so long to remember, is a mystery, as I get spam e-mails to buy it all the time. I wonder what they are trying to say??

Been FLAT BROKE in my life before. Checked my checking account in my younger days, saw I had around $!.43 in there, and absolutely no savings anywhere else, with about $60 or so in my wallet. Talk about a feeling of dread. Luckily I wasn't FUNEMPLOYED or otherwise, so got my check a couple of days later, then started to cut some things out I was spending money on needlessly, and was able to ride it out. Kids, let this be a warning, don't let it happen to you! :-)

2 F's right out of the gate! With 5 total. Way to show the F love! I EAT IT UP! :-)

TINY CHOICE
RooMonster
DarrinV

David 11:08 AM  

This one rounded out an easy-for-me week, though some of the shorter answers held me back a bit because of the way they were clued. Had Miles but then Readyroom was obvious, so that was fine. As the test pilot above, I like that stacked with Mathletes, which is a word I've known for a long time. Was a bit put off by Funemployed, but that was ameliorated by Flat Broke. Had Invitation before Love Letter (by the way, it was Roche which made Valium, and it's long been out of patent and replaced with the generic Diazepam; Pfizer is still the only place to get Viagra).

An international puzzle, which is one of the things that threw me. You might find a Therm on a utility bill in the UK, where it's a (non-standard) term in use, in America our bills are for cubic feet of gas or megawatts of electricity and we BTUs for air conditioners and gas stoves. Apparently Wadi is Arabic for Arroyo. Then there's Lefty, a name of any one of many two-bit gangsters from black and white movie days, as opposed to the noun Leftie, and Choice, which while quite good, is not as first rate as Prime.

I suppose using a British utility bill to share a first letter with one of the many Whos (none of whom I know) sort of makes up for it. In that case maybe 47D should have been Saudi, or maybe Sunni, to preserve my many fun memories of Duncan yo-yos.

Love the clues for Idiom and Iamb and a puzzle which works in Imprimatur is worth any other distraction. In the end it was fun.

Banana Diaquiri 11:27 AM  

it was revealed during his appearance (just one?) on 'Top Gear', before it left BBC, that his real name was David TENINCH. right next to VIAGRA, of course. could be a faux pas?

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

As a soldier in the Army on the ROAD program - love the use of the WADI. Had not used or even thought of that word since I was in Afghanistan during the surge. I knew the Army would teach me something!

TJS 11:56 AM  

Wow, @Z , that was really a funny response to @Nancy. Thought it might make my comment of the day until @GILL I managed to combine Viagra with "bone of contention".

Ethan Taliesin 12:04 PM  

Enjoyed the perfect homophone fake-out and had to correct AONE to HONE.

The word "Refuse" was a clue for the LA/WaPo crossword today, though no such ambiguity with answering.

chris b 12:05 PM  

Set a new personal Friday best with this one, almost broke the 10-minute mark.

Also brought back memories of High School Math Team:

"Tangent! Secant! Cosine! Sine! 3.14159! Gooooooo Math Team!"

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

Difficult, even for a Friday, but certainly solveable and enjoyable, too. So thanks very much Mr. Guzzetta and Mr. Hawkins for the challenge. Enjoy your weekend!

Anonymous 12:17 PM  

How do the clues lead to IDIOM?

Carola 12:25 PM  

Well, if there's Reddi-wip, can't there be a READi-ROOM? Solving in the newspaper, I got no "Almost there" message, so never questioned MiLES. I did manage to extricate myself from CHAIRbOGA.

Like most of you, I loved the puzzle, for all the reasons you've mentioned. Unlike most of you, I found it challenging, but then, all the more time to savor the wonderful entries. Gold stars for IMPRIMATUR for sure.

Commenters, you're in top form today. Thanks for the many smiles.

jae 12:44 PM  

Yes, easy.. I put in BFFS and just kept going. My only speed bump was Shad before SOLE. Delightful grid with lots to like, but a tad too easy.

If you haven’t seen TENNANT in “Broadchurch” it is definitely worth a look. His co-stars are Olivia Coleman who is QEII in the upcoming season of “The Crown” and Jodie Whittaker who is the current Dr. Who.

GHarris 12:48 PM  

Trying to complete this puzzle while simultaneously watching the House members questioning Whittaker made it especially challenging. Still, I succeeded which is a result apparently beyond the ability of the inquisitors to achieve given the stonewalling by the witness and the complicit shenanigans of the minority..

OISK 12:49 PM  

Never heard of Bonham, nor SAW II, and didn't know Tennant, although I apparantly saw him in Broadchurch, but I zoomed through this puzzle, and enjoyed it. Alas, all of the Viagra jokes I had considered were already used..

Anonymous 12:59 PM  

I don’t remember “chairyoga”. But I do remember “chairobics”, the exercise you get from settling up - and later breaking down - a room full of chairs.

Banana Diaquiri 1:01 PM  

not that I know from experience of course, but I saw in the news back a year ago that Viagra went generic. there are now myriad TeeVee adverts from innterTubes 'doctors' offering same for real cheap. and you don't have to crawl through the wire to be seen by such doctors. we're declining back to 19th century snake oil salesmen.

Masked and Anonymous 1:02 PM  

Enjoyable stuff, for a themelesspuz.

Slight nanosecond outages, here'bouts:

* IMPRIMATUR. May be almost an anagram of somethin M&A has actually heard of. This one kinda opened up the "no-more-mister-niceguys" window, for the solvequest.
* NYC. Staff weeject pick, as NBC also works. CHAIRBOGA didn't sound familiar, but after IMPRIMATUR, it was katy bar the doors and windows.
* CHAIRYOGA. Sounds like the sorta yoga M&A might be doin, without fully realizin it? [fave chant syllable: har]
* SOULS. Wanted to save the SEALS, for far too long. But, like it that an extra U eventually i'm-primo-boga-ed to the surface, for sure.
* MATHLETES. Sounds reasonable. Opens the door/window in the future for {Length calculation by competitors??} = MATHLETESFOOT.
* FUNEMPLOYED. Also sounds reasonable, and rhymes with PUN EMPLOYED, sooo … ok.
* Always cool to learn new stuff, tho.

fave fillins that M&A knew included: LOVELETTER. READYROOM. PITFALL. FLATBROKE. CLAIMTOFAME.
Only one ?-mark clue in the whole rodeo? M&A attributes this to imprimatur-guilt-complex syndrome.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Guzzetta & Hawkins dudes. Admired yer "+" in the gridmiddle, no doubt signifyin a two-perp collusion.

Masked + Anonymo3Us


biter:
**gruntz**

Teedmn 1:13 PM  

I had almost exactly the same problems as @Nancy except, being flummoxed with READiR_Os, thought perhaps the end of 14A would end up as aReaS so when Bushwa failed to help me with R_T, I threw in an e. In the SW, I had the same DUNgAN and dAT. I did avoid the PothoLe PITFALL because of TALC and SOLE.

Otherwise, this SKEWed mostly easy. I'm not going to write it a LOVE LETTER but I think it RICHLY deserves praise.

My brother was recently FUNEMPLOYED. He claimed that he was thankful for having a break, and with the current hiring circumstances, he was confident he would have no trouble getting a new job, but I suspect he was probably a nervous wreck underneath the bravado.

Thanks, JG and MH, even if I do feel like a stupe today.

Anoa Bob 1:15 PM  

This got off to a bumpy start for me, what with the cheater square in very first slot followed by BFFS and SSNS coming out of the gate.

This was quickly forgotten when IMPRIMATUR showed up soon after. That is pure word-nerd delight, and can make up for any other NOT COOL stuff in the grid.

My Random House lists four pronunciations with the "A" getting either an "eh" or an "ah" sound, and the accent falling on either the second or third syllable.

The word comes from Latin meaning "let it be pressed" and was what censors would use once a pamphlet or manuscript had been cleared and deemed acceptable to print, i.e., was free of any heresy or threats to prevailing religious dogma. Writing things like "the Earth is not the center of the solar system" wouldn't get the IMPRIMATUR stamp of approval and might even get you burned at the stake. FUN times.

We had a large garden when I was a kid and CORN was one of our staples. My chore was to pick, shuck and de-silk some EARs OF CORN so they would be ready about the time the water in the cooking pot came to a boil. After they cooked, we would EAT IT UP with lots of butter and salt. Since they had been growing on the stalk only 20 or 30 minutes earlier, each kernel would literally pop, deliciously so, when bitten into. It was the only food where it was okay to make noise while we were eating.

Joseph M 1:20 PM  

Rex’s steadfast refusal to enjoy a puzzle is NOT COOL. This was a CHOICE crossword full of fun answers (FUNEMPLOYED) and clever clues (Camel purchaser). Bravo, gents!

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

You misunderstand what funemployed means. People who describe their joblessness as funemployment are typically younger individuals with fewer financial responsibilities or people who have accumulated enough savings to enjoy the extra time their unemployment has afforded them. People who describe themselves as funemployed often point out that, during times of recession, finding a new job can be a long and stressful process so, rather than spending their days worrying about their future, they take advantage of the chance to do things they would be unable to do if they were working.

Ellen S 1:36 PM  

Hand up for not spelling MiLES STANDISH’s name correctly. And I went to Google Maps and got driving directions from Liverpool to Nottingham. I’ll remember that if I ever go there.

I thought the IDIOM clues were reasonable. The phrases mean something to fluent English speakers but literally translated into another language, maybe not so much. “In the wings” in the context of a stage performance refers to stage architecture, but when it just means “waiting your turn”, we understand it only because we learned it, not because it is a meaningful phrase. I have no idea of the possible derivation of “in full swing.” Literally, it doesn’t mean anything. Is it golf? If so, how does that become “has gotten started and now is moving ahead at top speed”? (Or whatever it means...) Anyway, it has been assigned a meaning — in English. I.e., an idiom.

phil phil 1:37 PM  

The rolling stones list of greatest drummers has Ringo Starr as 14 so you can throw that list in the bin.

If there was a list for the luckiest bloke in history he would be number 1.

My personal favorite is Spencer Dryden. 60's Jefferson Airplane. He and Kantner's rhythm guitar were a cut above in musical creativity.

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

46D clue gives two examples of an IDIOM.

Def. A group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words themselves.

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

Home of 30 Rock. NYC. I don't see how NBC is also a correct answer. Maybe you are thinking of the TV show. But then the clue would have had "....." to indicate a title.

John Hoffman 3:00 PM  

Fastest Friday ever -- under an hour!

Peter P 3:15 PM  

@phil phil, at first I thought you were talking about Ringo being too low, but too high? Ringo's a fantastic drummer. For rock drummers, he's in my top five with Stewart Copeland, John Bonham, Phil Collins (yes, that Phil Collins), and either Matt Cameron or Jimmy Chamberlin (along with my somewhat lesser known personal favorites like Janet Weiss, Kurt Dahle, and Gary Bruce.) All very different styles, but tasty and served the music, and their drumming had character and imagination. Thing I love about Ringo is his drumming is so musical. Take away all the tracks but the drums, and you know what Beatles song it is. They don't all have to be Mike Portnoy or Neil Peart types of drummers to be among the greatest (though I respect those drummers a lot, too.)

And I grew up past the prime of most of these (I'm 43.)

What? 3:54 PM  

I invented a new word! Listed BUDS as pals, DEAD BROKE as busted, misspelled Annan as AMNAN, and came up with UMM EMPLOYED as between jobs and loving it. Other parts didn’t fit but I UMM the word.

Nancy 4:32 PM  

@GHarris (12:48) -- I found the hearing so excruciating as to be unwatchable. My appraisal, though, from just a few excruciating minutes: He's slippery as an eel, but also dumb as a rock. (Sorry, eel. Sorry, rock.) Happily, I don't think we need worry about how he'll stifle the investigation. He won't -- he's just too damn dumb.

Anonymous 5:11 PM  

@phil: What about Keith Moon, of "The Who"? For me, he's up at the top.

ChE Dave 5:52 PM  

Not enjoyable at all. Had sweet corn for ear of corn, alert for awake. Didn’t know chair yoga was a thing. Don’t remember a Friday with so much low hanging fruit.

ChE Dave 5:56 PM  

@phil Phi - John Lennon was once asked if Ringo was the best drummer in rock and roll and he replied that he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles!

Patrick Butler 6:42 PM  

Sheesh, Rex. Yesterday was “circa 1944” and today is “trying too hard to be current.” Can anything satisfy this man? I agree with the earlier poster that Inwould eagerly follow some of the wittier posters here to a new blog. @LorenMuseSmith?

Malcolm Gibson 7:01 PM  

Hey, loved "funemployed" (and the only thing I liked about this puzzle) because I was in '93 for career change from successful job I loved in daily journalism to grad school to another job I loved: university professor. Retired now, so unemployed forever. Cool. As for this puzzle, easiest Friday ever (and relatively dull).

john towle 8:29 PM  

Mickey Hart of The Grateful Dead & Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac…my cuppa tea.

Best,

john

Banana Diaquiri 9:27 PM  

Ginger Baker. a real drummer.

Crimson Devil 9:29 PM  

Goit LMS !

Peter Meidlinger 9:59 PM  

Chair boga here too.

Groupie 10:45 PM  

What do you call people who hang out with musicians? Drummers.

Sandy McCroskey 2:50 AM  

@ChE Dave
Nope.
https://www.radiox.co.uk/artists/beatles/did-john-lennon-say-ringo-wasnt-even-best-drummer/

burtonkd 12:12 PM  

@ bill They are both examples of an idiom, not the definition

Anonymous 3:36 PM  

30 Rock refers to the former RCA, GE, now Comcast, Building at #30 Rockefeller Center in NYC.

kitshef 9:50 AM  

A great week, but not a great Friday. Too easy, and FUNEMPLOYED can go to hell.

Interesting that so many - self included - thought it was MiLES STANDISH. I wonder where that comes from? Reminds me of the day dilemma was in the puzzle and a bunch of folks thought it was dilemna.

spacecraft 11:27 AM  

This took me half an hour--barely five Rexes. Not a plethora of triumph points there. Started, somewhat ironically, at PITFALL, an old computer game that used to beat my ass every time and helped to inform me that gaming was NOT gonna be in my future.

Lots of the longer answers were RICHLY filled; some of the shorter stuff: NOTCOOL. I'm looking at you, SSNS, DHS, HMS and IDED. Hand up for M[I/Y]LES. But then, why would you go out of your way to clue an ordinary word as a PPP?

I had IRENE Cara ensconced as DOD until I saw Leann RIMES--so close a neighbor to VIAGRA. Sold!

EAROFCORN looks awkward, like BOTTLEOFWATER or BAROFCANDY. Still, this one comes down on the birdie side of par. Pardie?? Like it's 1999. When I was FUNEMPLOYED.

Burma Shave 11:34 AM  

SOLE CLAIMTOFAME

It’s NOTCOOL if you BEARIT, boys,
and ARE AWARE of WADIS missin’:
For SECTS VIAGRA’s a good CHOICE,
EATITUP and see what’s ARISEN.

--- IRENE DUNCAN

Diana, LIW 12:12 PM  

MATHLETES, untie!!

I had a period where I was FUNderEMPLOYED - had 5 or 6 jobs and loved them all. And they all led to my dream job. So somebody works in mysterious ways.

Hoping to meet up again with a BFF or two at the ACPT. (Saw a really bad crossword movie last night about a tourney and a mystery; WS made a cameo but I didn't see him.)

This was a Friday horseshoe puzzle - almost...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Horseshoes, er, crosswords?

rondo 3:50 PM  

I zipped through this in probable record Friday time. In the SE I was immediately AWARE of what was clued as an awkward and unnecessary plural which was really yeah baby LeAnn RIMES. Why not clue it ‘Blue singer’ if a ‘LeAnn’ clue is too easy?

I live about 10 miles from the former Yoyo Capital of the World, where the DUNCAN Yoyos were once made. They’d give school kids from the local region field trip tours and you’d come home with a DUNCAN Yoyo, and maybe also a top. Maybe the folks there were actually FUN-EMPLOYED?

Not exactly a MIRTHful puz, but hey, I got to tell you a little about DUNCAN Yoyos.

strayling 8:11 PM  

@rondo - thanks for that explanation of DUNCAN, I was wondering.

Enjoyable puzzle for me. A bit corny and cutesy in places, which I consider a good thing.

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