Captain Morgan competitor / FRI 5-10-19 / Arpad eponymous creator of international ratings system / Queens neighborhood with floral name / Decades-old synth-pop group named for fashion magazine / Singer who gave his name to fever in 2010s / Glinda's portrayer in The Wiz

Friday, May 10, 2019

Constructor: Andrew J. Ries

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (5:29)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Arpad ELO (4D: Arpad ___, eponymous creator of an international ratings system) —
The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in zero-sum games such as chess. It is named after its creator Arpad Elo, a Hungarian-American physics professor.
The Elo system was originally invented as an improved chess rating system over the previously used Harkness system, but is also used as a rating system for multiplayer competition in a number of video gamesassociation footballAmerican footballbasketballMajor League Baseballtable tennisScrabbleboard games such as Diplomacy and other games.
The difference in the ratings between two players serves as a predictor of the outcome of a match. Two players with equal ratings who play against each other are expected to score an equal number of wins. A player whose rating is 100 points greater than their opponent's is expected to score 64%; if the difference is 200 points, then the expected score for the stronger player is 76%. (wikipedia)
• • •

A nice, pleasant, easyish Friday. Clean center stack—actually, all of the center of the puzzle is pretty good—with corner that are less interesting (because crammed with short stuff) but perfectly serviceable. I mark up my grid in ink after I've finished and printed it out, with the ink going primarily to stuff that was ugly and stuff that slowed me down (these aren't always the same things, but there is a lot of Venn diagram OVERLAP). Today, most of the ink is in and around the NE area, for two reasons. The first: two crossing proper nouns I've never heard of. Are you really trying to convice me that RON RICO is a "competitor" of Captain Morgan? Really? Does Captain Morgan even know RON RICO exists?

[Captain Draper]
Captain Morgan is an icon, while RON RICO works nights behind the bar at The Sandy Crack Crab Shack. Whatever rum I have in my house, it isn't RON RICO. Maybe RON RICO lives in ROSEDALE; he certainly crosses it. ROSEDALE is ... ugh (23D: Queens neighborhood with a floral name). I mean, a Queens neighborhood? All the love in the world to Queens, but that is not a known thing outside NYC (or maybe even inside parts of NYC, I don't know). Thank god the clue *knew* that ROSEDALE was an obscurity and threw that "floral" bit in there, otherwise, who knows, we might've had a RON NICO living in NOSEDALE situation (probably not, but it's fun to think about).

The other issue I have with the NE is BEDSORES. Honestly ... I'm totally fine with certain kinds of diseases and medical conditions, but BEDSORES is pushing it. The bigger problem with BEDSORES, however, is that you've decided to give it a cutesy clue? Why would you do that? "Hmm, a serious and painful condition ... how can we exploit this for wordplay value?" Jarring to have the puzzle try to get cute with something like BEDSORES. I had BEDSIDES for a bit. That was a pleasant 10 seconds.

  • 5A: Trip ... or start a trip (SET OFF) — I had SET OUT, which only works for the second part of the clue, I realize
  • 35A: It's pulled by students before graduation (SENIOR PRANK) — had SENIOR PR- and somehow decided the answer should be SENIOR PROMS
  • 36D: Joint protector (KNEE CAP) — had KNEE PAD. Glad they didn't go with the mafia violence clue on this one
  • 57A: Some subatomic particles (MESONS) — went with BOSONS, which are either also subatomic particles, or else those dudes who are in charge of a ship's deck
  • 9D: Outdoor security system component (FLOOD LAMP) — neglected the "outdoor" part of this clue and went with FLOOR LAMP 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:27 AM  

@rex -- Spot on review with excellent points wittily made.

I left the puzzle on a high, thinking, "What is there not to like about THIS?"

As it unfolded, gems kept slipping out. The clues for SANDLOT, POODLE, TRIP, BRAHMS! Answers such as PURPLE STATE and TORPID! The mini-theme of double O's (5)!

Perfectly pitched for Friday, and the care put into the making of this is plain to see. Thank you for a marvelous experience, Andrew!

Anonymous 6:40 AM  

Nice touch having Depeche Mode in the puzzle on lead singer, Dave Gahan’s birthday!

TokyoRacer 6:59 AM  

Another natick - that's two days in a row, which is not a surprise, given the number of proper nouns these puzzles use. Arpad Elo (are you joking?) crossing a Spanish word. This is an English crossword, there should be no requirement to speak foreign languages in order to complete it. Therefore this qualifies as a natick.

kitshef 7:16 AM  

lapDog before POODLE and KNEEpAd before KNEECAP were the only over-writes, which is pretty good for a Friday for me.

At one point I had DEPECHE MODE already in place, and the ECHE from 43A and I thought there was going to be a theme. Would we get recherche? Provolone cheese?

Instead, we got an excellent themeless, with a slight overage of abbrevs.

B. Cardi 7:19 AM  

The bigger problem with 22A is that, while Ron Rico and Captain Morgan are in the same family of products, they are really two different products. Captain Morgan is a spiced rum (a novelty product) while Ron Rico does not have a line of spiced rums. Calling these two competitors is like calling milk and Frappuccinos competitors.

American Liberal Elite 7:28 AM  

I use Ron Rico dark in rum punches. Captain Morgan OTOH is a foul abomination that has no place in my liquor cabinet.

everette 7:32 AM  

Not all bosons are subatomic: atomic nuclei which have an even number of protons and neutrons are also bosons.

Suzie Q 7:49 AM  

Kinda boring after the fun of @ Lewis' puzzle yesterday. The review today, however, was more fun than usual. Rex can be amusing when he wants to and I like it.
Sparkling clues for sand lot and dial saved the day. "Don't touch that dial!" has become a classic line for satires of commercials but I'll bet there are lots of people who have never owned a TV with dials.

The Sandy Crack Crab Shack sounds like a real dive.

Jamie C 8:00 AM  

@tokyoracer @6:59: Peso?! I mean I guess it's a Spanish word, but it's also an English word, which is the point...

Dorothy Biggs 8:02 AM  

I drank my share of crap rum in's sweet and you can add it to other sweet drinks to get REALLY sweet drinks that get you drunk. And when you're young, that's a lethal combination. We would drink Malibu...because SWEET! There are just too many kinds of rums in the world...never had RONRICO. Captain Morgan's is like the KetelOne of has avid fans and haters...very few in between. For the record, not a fan.

Things I know that I didn't think I knew: IRT and MESONS.

BRAHMS as a "B in music class" is weird. Bach, Beethoven, Busoni, Bartok, Bernstein, Beach, Bruckner, Barber, Bellini...I mean, there are LOTS of composers whose names start with a B, and no one ever just says "B" and someone else says "Brahms." I get that "B" is also a note...but SRSly.

I wanted bOgo for 1A Many a promotional giveaway, FLOODLight (doesn't fit) for 9D, some kind of knee protection for 24A until I saw actual KNEECAP protection in the opposite corner.

When I sort blogs I usually go with recent...NEW seems different to me when you're searching on a time line.

My SO wanted a different kind of "toy in a purse" altogether. Let's just leave it at that.

Jamie C 8:03 AM  

Higgs Boson walks into a catholic church. Priest says "What are you doing here?" HB says "Well, you can't have mass without me!"

Hungry Mother 8:04 AM  

A bit of a slog, but faster than average. ELO was an unknown, except for a musical group. TGIF!

Hartley70 8:13 AM  

At first glance I thought I needed the original Glinda from The Wizard of Oz, but once I realized my mistake I knew I was in the game. Hooray for LENA!

There was lots I didn’t know outright, but good guessing served me well. RONRICO,DEPECHEMODE, MESONS, TED, ROSEDALE, DEUCES were unknowns. I loved the clueing for POODLE, BISHOPS and PURPLESTATE! ODOREATERS started me off and I haven’t seen an ad for those in years so I was relieved the memory cells were still functioning. ABSCAM was further proof, although the details are fuzzy.

I thought this was an about perfect Friday and it hit my average time right on the nose.

OffTheGrid 8:16 AM  

I really enjoyed this but there were some rough spots for me in the ESE. I had
ROSE____ and DEPECHEM___. I tried ROSEbush, wood, pArk. Had no idea for DEPECHEM__, so finally googled. That got it going again. I loved DECIMETERS, ABSCAM, BISHOPS cluing. Always nice to see ARETHA and LENA HORNE.


Twangster 8:16 AM  

If you like Andrew's puzzles, he offers weekly themeless puzzles by subscription, along with a weekly "Rows Garden" puzzle:

kitshef 8:30 AM  

@everette - You are correct that some atomic nuclei are bosons, but atomic nuclei are sub-atomic.

Runs with Scissors 8:30 AM  

Right off the bat this was fun, made me think a bit, nothing unfairly clued.

This seemed to take much longer while solving than it actually did. There was nothing I didn’t recognize after it went in, but there were a few that were hard to suss out of the depths of my tattered synapses. Things like RON RICO (does anyone actually drink that??? If so, well, you’re a stouter individual than I), DEPECHE MODE (gag me with a pitchfork), FLOODLAMP (in my dialect it’s floodlight), Justin BIEBER (again with the pitchfork), MESONS (STEM referent), ENABLERS (addiction referent), the blast from the past ABSCAM. So much to like and zero dreck. I’d have changed 11A IDS to relate to discredited psychobabble, though.

I’m thinkin’ many will claim BEDSORES failed the breakfast test. Personally, I’ve never understood this test . . . maybe I’ve just got a cast iron stomach from too many years at sea; I haven’t seen anything overly objectionable in the last 15 years of crosswording. But hey, that’s just me.

I would, however, like to file a nitpicker’s objection to UNMOOR. Yes, it’s a word that means the opposite of moor, but it just ain’t nautically right. The term is “cast off.” Oh, well.

On to other TOPICS. DEUCES reminded me, tangentially, of a game called Acey Deucey. It’s played on a backgammon board and is much fun. Can’t remember the rules, now.

I’d also like to note for the record that ROSEDALE is referenced in Lynyrd Skynnyrd’s “Crossroads.” Don’t know if it’s the New York version, though.

Let’s pull on our BREECHES, move to PLAN B and SET OFF on a NEW SENIOR PRANK where we AMP our TASTE BUDs on MEDs. Okay, that made no sense but it was fun to say out loud.

I truly enjoyed this. It was over too quickly.

Mark, in Mickey’s North 40

RMK 8:39 AM  

B refers to the "three B's:


Z 8:39 AM  

How wrong can I be before I am right? Starting the morning with a little Elvis is never wrong.

Not that it bothered me, but RON RICO is triple naticked; INDIRA, ROSEDALE, and ODOR EATERS. Yep, a product name, a political figure assassinated 35 years ago, and a NYC neighborhood. Some are sure to crash and burn there. Have a drink.

I liked the puzzle fine. ELO is no problem for anyone who reads 538. Nate Silver’s crew does ELO ratings for just about everything, from ranking all the soccer clubs in the world to comparing historical teams.

We also get a wonderful musical cross section, my personal fav being BIEBER in BREECHES. Tally Ho.

Since @everette was excessively brief, here’s a little wiki article to get you started.

@Teedmn late yesterday - Nope, got to the jump scare in chapter one and said “SRSly‽” I find Martin as overwrought in print as on television. I’m obviously in the minority here, but hard pass on all things GoT.

puzzlehoarder 8:41 AM  

An excellent Friday.l found this one to be more of a Saturday level. The NW and SE corners were the most difficult. Both had obscure clues for otherwise Monday level three letter entries. The one for LEA is an actual debut. It makes perfect sense that those kinds of clues are saved to enhance the difficulty of quality puzzles like today's.

Suzie Q 8:41 AM  

@ Runs with scissors, Thank you for remembering "Crossroads" for me. That song jumped into my head as soon as I wrote Rosedale but I could not recall the band.

webwinger 8:44 AM  

Nice Friday puzzle, nice review from @Rex. Interesting novel clueing for a couple of 3-letter stalwarts, ELO and LEA. (Google-after-solving told me that Albert LEA MN, despite being a county seat, has only about ½ the population of Natick MA.) I was somewhat jarred by the clue for PURPLE STATE (of which my new home, Colorado, is exhibit A). Why is this a “classic” battleground?

Nancy 8:49 AM  

SABER before SABRE. That one I corrected. Here are the ones I failed to correct: KNEEPAD instead of KNEECAP; FLOOD RAMP instead of FLOOD LAMP. The latter kept me from seeing the marvelously clued DIAL, because I had D-AR.

I guessed at the CH of DEPECHE MODE, of whom I have never, ever heard. And I still failed to get BISHOPS. I blame it on not enough sleep, having been awakened at 5:45 by a siren. Never got back to sleep. Don't ask.

Wonderfully hard clues on just about everything. Too many to list, but ENABLERS, PURPLE STATE, and PLAN B were some of my favorites. BEDSORES was clever but off-putting.

SENIOR PRANK gave me trouble, too. Is that something that's expected now? I managed to get through my senior year in both in high school and college without a single prank being pulled by me or anyone else, so far as I remember.

An extremely good puzzle that unfortunately I was too tired and grumpy to complete successfully.

Sir Hillary 8:49 AM  

People familiar with Andrew Ries's themeless style will recognize the staggered central stacks as his stock in trade. @Twangster is right -- Ries's subscription offering is well worth it.

Lots and lots to like here. Beautiful long downs knifing through the central stack, making for a wonderfully open center. Almost no junk at all -- IRT is about as bad as it gets. A few things I haven't thought about in years -- ABSCAM, RONRICO, DECIMETERS (oh right, the rarely-used increment between meters and centimeters).

The PESO/ELO crossing is a bit harsh as clued, but if you really think about it, it can't be anything else. And yeah, maybe just clue RONRICO relative to Bacardi, and let the rum geeks hash it out.

Almost-error: Had --NA--RN- for 31D and for a brief moment thought What? Tina Turner was in "the Wiz"? Oh, wait...

Great lead-in to the weekend!

Twangster 8:58 AM  

The Rosedale in the Skynyrd song is Rosedale, Mississippi. This originally comes from a Robert Johnson song, Traveling Riverside Blues. Eric Clapton put the verse with Rosedale in his cover of Robert Johnson's Crossroads, which is likely where Skynyrd got it (from the Clapton cover).

Z 8:58 AM  

@Runs and @Suzie Q - Skynyrd was covering Clapton who was covering Robert Johnson. A quick search of lyric sites shows ROSEDALE referenced by Clapton but not Johnson, so maybe NYC and maybe Yorkshire. The only ROSEDALE that popped in Florida was a golf resort in Bradenton, so I’m guessing not there.

Z 9:04 AM  

@Twangster - Dang, Facts totally ruining my Yorkshire joke. Oh well. I still like the image of Lynyrd Skynyrd meeting Satan at the crossroads of the cart path between the 9th hole and 10th tee.

Nancy 9:10 AM  

@Ellen S and @Monty Boy (from yesterday) -- Here's the irony: I went to a website to make absolutely sure of both the order and the spelling of the various reindeer before posting yesterday. This is because the one thing I know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that I Remember Nothing. The website I went to gave me DONNER. If I'd gone to a different website, I might have been given DONDER or DUNDER. Who knows? The Internet can be a highly confusing place.

QuasiMojo 9:11 AM  

I was taken aback by bedsores too. But also odor eaters. Luckily I did this one before breakfast. This puzzle felt very challenging while I was doing it but I ended up finishing it in half my usual Friday time. I liked the informative clue for PESO, a word that may be in another language but that is certainly well-known to speakers of any language. MESONS was new to me. I wonder if there is a society of Free Mesons. I always add BUSONI to my three B’s. Never tried Capn Morgan or Ron Rico (I was a Myers kind of guy back when I drank) but I used to see the ads for it on the IRT when I lived in NYC. Also ROSEDALE AVE on the road to the Triboro I think. Edith Wharton named one of her best-known characters Sam ROSEDALE from The House of Mirth. I always wondered if she took it from that street. But maybe it was the area in Queens. Depeche Mode was new to me altho I remember the magazine. Loved the clue for ABSCAM.

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

Never heard of ELO. Kept trying to make this have something to do with that APGAR score for new babies.
“Hey Doc, what was my baby’s PESO?”

Solverinserbia 9:20 AM  

I speak Spanish so I got it instantly but I'd quibble by saying PESO is an English word only in the sense of the currencies of Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, et al, not in the sense of "weight" which was its clue.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

Maybe I'm missing the joke, but Rosedale in music, especially guitar-heavy stuff, is a reference to Rosedale, Mississippi.
Robert Johnson cites it in Traveling Riverside Blues. That's where Clapton picked it up.

Thanks for the nice puzzle Mr. Ries.

Solverinserbia 9:25 AM  

RONRICO and ROSEDALE would have been impossible if not for the masterful cluing of the latter to include "floral." also I consider ELO to be more than fair since the bit about "eponymous rating system" was included. ELO ratings are used in basically any two player competition you might follow: chess, football, what other coubtires call football, even Settlers of Catan online. I came close to completely colvong, would have been my first ever Friday, but had some issues in SW

Bob Mills 9:32 AM  

Got it 100%, but I still don't understand how a TOTE is a promotional giveaway.

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

How is “purple state” a “classic” battleground? Isn’t that misusing “classic “?

oldbizmark 9:42 AM  

Way too easy for a Friday but I am guessing it was done for the Moms? Seems like puzzles are always easiest leading up into holidays celebrated over the weekend and Mondays. Too bad. I think my mom would have preferred a little more teeth to her puzzle. Nothing in here to slow me down at all. Solved in a purple felt tip pen and my puzzle is clean as a whistle. Oh well. Hopefully tomorrow takes a bit more time to solve.

Wood 9:57 AM  

Rosedale is also a shopping mall in Roseville, MN (a suburb of St. Paul).

pabloinnh 10:08 AM  

PES) for weight me cayo bien (hola GILL I.). Made me think of the Spanish expression "no seas pesado", literally, "don't be heavy", I would say in translates to something like "don't be such a drag". Also we get ron rico, "rich rum", not rich Ron, which I suppose is a possibility, but not something you would name a rum.

SENIORPRANKS were a big thing in the high school where I finished up my teaching career here in NH. As for my favorite, our school had a two-story atrium with an overhead walkway which connected the second floors of two wings. One fine June day, just as school was starting, the Class of 2006 decided to launch 2006 super balls from said walkway. Some were not amused, but others of us thought it was brilliant.

Thanks for a fun Friday, AJR. Like some others, my only complaint is that it was over too soon.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

I'm sorry. I now see you had Rosedale covered from the jump. I was reading posts newest to oldest an stopped after reading @Z's gummed up drivel.
As I say, you're completely correct. Sorry to everyone else for the redundancy.

RooMonster 10:20 AM  

Hey All !
PRANCE today to go along with YesterPuz's reindeer posts.

Spelled BIEBER wrong, as always, BeiBER, which took to the very end of puz to see and change, having 23D _OSEDALi and 32D _ORPeD.

My SWOOSH was whOOSH first. Finally sussed NEW, so was able to change it.

IDS reminds me of a corny joke:
Ego and Superego walk into a bar. Bartender says, "I need to see some ID."

Had __AL for DIAL and couldn't figure it out. Got a big smile one I finally got DIAL. "Don't touch that DIAL!" Lost on kids today.
Growing up, I was the channel changer, as I sat closest to the TV. We had four stations, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS. Channels were 16, 22, 28, 44. If I cranked the DIAL too fast, my dad would yell at me. "You're going to break that!"
That was also the times when a 25" set was considered big. 25" floor model that weighed like 200 pounds.

Oh, did get ODOR EATERS off just the D. *Pats myself on the back*


Dorothy Biggs 10:20 AM  

@RMK 8:39:

Should maybe have clued it “one of the 3Bs” then? A singular B in a music class is not Brahms.

Daniel Korbel 10:21 AM  

If you play chess or even many different video games you will be familiar with the ELO rating system. I filled it right in.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

TOTE bag

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

What a great and fun puzzle to start my Friday! Thank you, Andrew!!

Ken 10:25 AM  

Rex, your write-ups are much more palatable when you stay away from the political and "PC" arena. Keep up the good work !

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

I thought IRT = Interborough Rapid Transit.

What's the depot?

nyc_lo 10:30 AM  

People are a lot more forgiving of that atrocious NE corner than I am. Man, oh man, what a downer that was. Working this puzzle was like watching a delightful, crowd-pleasing movie where everyone dies at the end. Dorothy kills the Wicked Witch but never gets home, forced to work the rest of her life in the Wizard’s emerald mines. E.T. comes back to life but is torn apart by wolves on the way to his spaceship. I mean, what gives? Lived in NYC for 25 years, many of them spent in bars, and never heard of ROSEDALE or RON RICO. I actually said “ugh!” out loud at BEDSORES. Written a fair number of blog entries and never used NEW as a “keyword.” Lousy clue. Just spoiled the whole affair for me.

Birchbark 10:41 AM  


ROSEDALE is mall in Roseville, Minnesota. And Minnesota, the home of the Vikings, is a PURPLE STATE.

David 10:45 AM  

Another pretty easy one with some write overs and figuring. Hmm, is that IND or IRT? "tote, peso, sabre", 3D must be taste bud, therefore IRT. Kids in the office have no clue what I'm talking about, but I can't help that.

Had Bacardi before Ron Rico. Capt'n Morgan is right up there on the never in my house list along with Jaegermeister.

Whoosh before Swoosh. For the longest time I figured the foot clue must be to some bones or tendons or something. Ever seen the inside of a foot? Pretty messy.

Lena Horne!! The one and only, crossing Aretha. Somewhere deep in the recesses of my brain I kept thinking, then rejecting, Depeche Mode until it was too obvious to not.

Purple State also took a long time. I'm an old-time true "Blue" capital L Liberal in and from NY (yeah, I know Rosedale). I will always take self-governance more seriously than a football game, as do most of the folks I know in the supposedly "purple" states. "Battleground", as so much, is a lazy media trope which should be eradicated.

Coulda done without the bedsores as well, brings up lousy memories of passed loved ones, but fleeting. Another Steppe. How odd. Loved the cluing for Bishops and Sandlot.

Yes, Brahms is the last of the "Three Bs" in music class; my own three Bs are Bach, Beethoven, and Bartok; and I'm awfully glad to see Sam Barber's name up above. Thanks. Totes are given away by non-profits when you contribute; is that "promotional"? I guess so.

I keep forgetting to say, regarding Wednesday's puzzle, I slapped down "stoner" at 44D (the clue for Otto from the Simpsons). That caused a minute or so of head-scratching.

Cheerio 10:49 AM  

I don't understand the clue for bedsores.

jberg 10:56 AM  

Maybe it was a bit on the easy side, but the clues were beautiful. I especially loved BISHOPS. Even when I got it from the crosses, I spent a few moments thinking "Well, THAT'S pretty controversial" before I realized we were talking chess and not religion. And any puzzle with TORPID in it gets a win from me.

A previous recorder teacher was fond of remarking that there was as much music written before Byrd as after and that the 3 Bs should be Byrd, Biber, and Buxtehude. (Not to slight Bach, but he was already taken.)

If I hadn't driven from Boston to Bozeman so often, I wouldn't have known Albert LEA, but as it was it was a gimme.

@Bob Mills, go turn on NPR. Chances are they are having a fundraiser right now, and if you give them $100 you can get a free TOTE with their logo on it.

I loved a lot about this puzzle, but the very best thing was putting in TOTE at 1A and ThemeS at 1D. This gave me the chance to ponder whether you could call a puzzle "themeless" if it had the word "theme" in it. 17A had to be PESO, though so it didn't last long. I guess peso as a currency unit is like pound, right? Originally referring to that weight of some metal (silver?)

@Nancy, those two reindeer are German, named for thunder and lightning.

bigsteve46 10:56 AM  

As for you "Rosedale" whiners, this is still the NEW YORK Times, no matter how many of you crossword nerds there are out there in flyover country.

Carola 10:58 AM  

Liked the puzzle for all the reasons everybody else does. Especially liked SANDLOT and seeing the BISHOPS materialize. But...

Another day, another DNF because of a vowel square: today the EL? x PES? (hi, @Tokyo Racer). Of course I thought of PESO (hi, @Jamie C. and @Sir Hillary), and on an earlier weekday I'd have written it in, but thought it. might be a trick question because it's Friday ("You thought 'weight' and the currency unit were the same? Not! Ha ha.") (Hi, @Solverinserbia). But my fault for not remembering ELO as clued from earlier puzzles: xwordinfo tells me that the "rating system" clue has been used a few times on Saturday and Sunday, with the remaining ~200 occurrences being for the band.


@Hartley70, I also spent some time trying to come up with Billie Burke's last name before I realized the letters I had in place wouldn't work.

Ebenezer 11:09 AM  

Very enjoyable! A lot of creativity in this one.

I learned about ELO ratings during last year's men's World Cup, as they're much more on target than FIFA's ratings. Unfortunately, they don't do women's soccer ratings.

Didn't realize DEPECHE MODE was named after a fashion magazine - I have their CDs with "Enjoy the Silence" that I rarely listen to. Great song, though.

Really need to watch "The Wiz" - didn't know LENA HORNE was in it, but figured it out once I got a few crosses.

CDilly52 11:24 AM  

Apt observation; my thoughts exactly.

Z 11:34 AM  

@Wood - Is it near Edina?*

@Anon - "gummed up drivel"? Who do you think I am? George R.R. Martin?

*If you cracked even the barest of smiles you are doing too many crossword puzzles.

Crimson Devil 11:40 AM  

Loved clues for BISHOPS and SANDLOT.
Excellent Fri puz.

CDilly52 11:50 AM  

Confusing indeed. That’s pretty PC for what else the ‘net can be, which is dead wrong, and why my daughter uses her best tongue in cheek attitude when she discusses questionable citations with her students who resist libraries like the plague. When they cite the author of a quote without more she always asks if the source is the “AAI” which her kiddos recognize as the “Always Authoritative Internet.”

Cheerio 11:53 AM  

Never mind. I thought the clue for "bedsores" was "People are told not to touch it."

CDilly52 11:54 AM  

Are you not receiving many, many giveaway inexpensive made-from-recycled-products-that-feel-sorta-like-fabric TOTEs with the giver-awayer’s company logo everywhere you go these days? I bet I have a dozen in my kitchen and the trunk of my car so I can avoid the evil plastic bags.

CDilly52 12:02 PM  

A real insult to BRAHMS!

Master Melvin 12:19 PM  

Both of my parents grew up in Rosedale, so it was a gimme for me. It's the last community in SE Queens before the Nassau County line. As such it was a popular residence for NYC police and firefighters, back in the day when they were required to live in the city. When my dad was a boy there were even farms in Rosedale. Dad was able to pick up a few bucks now and then picking things like string beans.

CDilly52 12:29 PM  

Well, as much as I loathed that one, having had to deal with weeks of turning my late husband every 15 minutes to avoid them, let me explain. BEDSORES start out as red “spots” on one’s hips or buttocks, elbows, shoulders, etc. from “resting” too long in one position. Suffice it to say that anyone in danger of acquiring them is most assuredly NOT. EVER. RESTING. I will not elaborate further. I sincerely apologize for the mini-rant, but you asked.

Masked and Anonymous 12:31 PM  

SRS = {"r u ___?!" (texter's "Really?"}. This is of supreme interest to M&A, in several aspects:

1. Novel clue, for what is usually a plural abbrev meat answer.
2. Modernish. Evidently in the in-folks' language, if u r a texter [M&A r not].
3. Nice featurin of a solitary 'u" in the clue.
4. Intriguin use of "?!" punctuation in the clue's first texter quote, while U only get the "?" punctuation in the clue's second, supposedly equivalent English-version quote. Do texters tend to get more excited than most other folks?(!) Confused the M&A. Lost some precious nanoseconds, gawkin at the punctuation.
5. staff weeject pick. Primo weeject stacks in the NE & SW, btw.

Most of the other stuff in the puz was pretty cool, too. Especially the whole POODLE in a purse concept -- whole new meanin for "doggy bag" (?!)

Thanx for the feisty fun, Mr. Ries. themelessthUmbsUp.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Tim Aurthur 12:33 PM  

I live in Queens and put in ROSEhill first. Queens has lots of bucolically named neighborhoods, like Fresh Meadows, which lies along the Long Island Expressway.

Anoa Bob 12:44 PM  

@Runs with Scissors, I decided long ago that the entire editorial staff of the NYT xword were all landlubbers (poor wretches) and lacked even a rudimentary knowledge of things nautical like anchoring, MOORing, docking, etc. Announce to your crew "Stand by to UNMOOR" and you will probably find yourself the only one left on the ship.

I would have thought that a SABRE (27A), much like a saddle or riding boots, would be standard equipment for the British Calvary, rather than an "accessory", as clued.

ODOR EATERS reminds me of a great come back if you are in a verbal joust with someone, and they have fired a particularly nasty zinger at you, maybe "How's that treatment for BED SORES going?" Calmly reply "Very well. Thanks for your concern. By the way, is that Extreme Foot Odor Support Group helping you out these days?"

jb129 12:49 PM  

This took me longer than I thought it would when I first started. Had Knee Pad for so long & didn't want to give it up. But I did & I'm glad. Great Friday puzzle, Andrew!

Mo-T 1:10 PM  

HA! Senior pranks....

At a certain graduation (in the school where I taught), the seniors were assembled onstage. They were to walk first to the superintendent who was standing behind a slant-top podium, shake his hand, and walk across the stage to the Board of Education president to receive their diplomas.

Each senior who shook the superintendent's hand gave him a golf ball. At first he was able to set the balls on the pencil rim on the podium, but once there were too many he started to look for places to put them - his pockets, on the floor.... The funniest part was when they started to ping and pong across the floor and off the stage. Bouncy little devils.

I taught for a long time and attended many graduations, but this was my favorite ceremony of all time.

Thanks, Mr. Ries, for that memory.

Teedmn 1:13 PM  

Talk about in one's wheelhouse - I grew up 21 miles NW of Albert LEA. It was the go-to place to shop, at the Skyline Mall. Last time I saw that mall, in 2013, it was a weed-infested, abandoned BEDSORE. Sad to see a place that seemed magical to young me just get thrown on the junk heap. As @jberg has seen, it is an exit on I-90 and is close to where I-90 and I-35 meet so you start seeing road signs for Albert Lea at Sioux Falls, SD.

Continuing in the wheelhouse is DEPECHE MODE. I must have 5 of their CDs - love their sound. I know @Nancy will hate this, but I adore Policy of Truth and I crank up the volume whenever it comes on my MP3 player.

I liked this puzzle by ex-Minnesotan, Andrew Ries. I circled as great the clues for SAND LOT and BISHOPS.

newspaperguy 1:44 PM  

I enjoy the irony of a guy whose mission is to be a pain in the ass to the New York Times and Will Shortz complaining about the use of bedsores in a crossword. Good gravy.

Aketi 2:16 PM  

@Mo-T, when I was in high school, the SENIOR PRANKS were not as creative as the golf balls. We merely decorated our mortar boards. Blinking Xmas lights and wax dipped stand up tassels were popular. When my son graduated high school, they too focused on mortar board decorations.

CDilly52 2:36 PM  

So, SENIOR PRANKS. . . Senior Week in high school was the best time I have ever had K-12, as it should be. My particular class started at the beginning of the year with a “theme” that carried us through the entire year (thank you Steve Roberts wherever you are)! This class included four of the “members” of the “Coal Bin Clubhouse” from a few blogs back, if that gives y’all an idea of the creativity level and the propensity for mischief. Our theme was Tiddlywinks of all things! Tiddlywinks was accessible to everyone in my big inner city school. And we played the whole year in a variety of formats.

We had one-on-one, doubles and quad teams that played in round robins at first. We played every lunch period for the first semester so that we could identify the potential superstars, and because we used lunch, all the teachers had an opportunity to see the enthusiasm. The coaches were desperate to help and pitched in to assist in creating the criteria to “letter” in Tiddlywinks! I think they had as much fun as we did.

The “lettering” criteria mimicked that of the real athletes. We didn’t want to be remembered as the class that was just a bunch of shiftless squoppers and potters (see the Lexicon of Tiddlywinks), we wanted to check all the boxes and be good students, contribute to the community and the leave a lasting positive mark on the school.

Anyway, we learned a lot about ourselves and our peers that year. Gained such respect for the power of a cohesive group of people, and the importance of inclusivity to the success of a project, and most importantly, the power of friendship.

Best part of the year was Senior Week which includes Skip Day. On that day during Senior Week, the whole class, by secret agreement just didn’t show up. Back then, skipping school was really hard to do. There were no flexible schedules, All kids of school age were in school M-F from 8-3. Period.

For class officers, Skip Day was the day we had to get ready for Awards Day when the Tiddlywinks tournament trophy would be given and the “Twathletes” would be awarded their letters. My task that day was to “source” and prepare the prizes for the tournament. They were, of course, round flat “found” objects that we spray painted gold, silver and bronze. Use your imagination and we probably had it stored in my garage the weekend before. On skip Day several of us got pretty well lit from spray painting with the garage door shut and the window covered lest some “spy” find out before Awards Day what the prizes were! I was so naive that I had no idea you could get high from inhaling spray paint! I actually just got a seismic headache and vomited in the alley. Talk about blowing your image!

We were almost ready, but lacked a GRAND CHAMPION WINKER trophy and were stumped. Until the night before Senior Awards Day (Friday of Senior Week) when way too many of us were once again packed into Steve R’s lovingly restored, gorgeous and painted a glossy dark North High maroon 1952 Studebaker Champion headed to the White Castle for sustenance (anyone else remember that you could get 5 Sliders and a Frosty Malt for 50 cents??). I’ll never forget just after we heard the cla-thunk sound as we tooled down Summit Road, Carl C shouted “manhole cover!!” Everybody else screamed YES!!! And we had identified our trophy.

If anyone would like to know just how heavy a manhole cover vintage 1960s is, I’m just guessing that it takes several high school kids to lift and carry it. I will also guess that it just barely fits in the trunk of a ‘52 Champ if you “squop” it (rest it semi-vertically).

Spray painted gold, it made a wonderful trophy.

Thanks Mr. Ries, for a wonderful puzzle that triggered a very pleasant memory.

albatross shell 2:43 PM  

gETOFF before SETOFF. Would have been a nice pun.
Puzzle filled slowly for me from SE to SW to center and NE before NW.
Had INCHup and INCHed before INROAD, which led to DECIMETER. If I had not known LENAHORNE I think I would have been dead meat. As it was the ROSEDALE RONRICO cross was brutal. Knew INDIRA with a single cross.

Thought BEDSORES was well-clued and I would rather laugh at them than cry about them. So I did.
ODOREATERS I got on a single cross after blank-insoles showed no promise. ARETHA showed my inherent sexism because I went through 5 male singers before going female and getting it instantly. Also kept trying fighting terms and box seat terms before thinking of AMPS. PURPLESTATES STEPPE ENABLERS all took me way too long.

UNMOOR may not be sailorspeak or even common usage, but I don't think that makes it unfit for crosswords. In fact it fit right in and was one of the easier answers for sailors and non sailors alike.

A solid puzzle, very hard for my current skill level, but fair and doable. Amusing clues and answers that exercised the mind.

RooMonster 2:46 PM  

@CDilly 52,

See how the @whoever thing works and grabs your attention? That way you know (and others know) who you're referring to.

When you post a reply to someone on your phone, it goes directly under that post. However, people following the blog on a computer, as in not on a phone, do not see the reply directly under the intended post. They see it in linear fashion, so when they read the blog in order, they see your post that says, "Hey, I love that to!" and have no earthly idea as to who or which post is referenced. It looks like just babble.

@Z said something in similar fashion to you the other day. It's not a dig or a slight, we're just trying to get you to tag your post for the intended person, because no one who uses a computer knows who you are talking to.

You might even get responses from the wisdom you're departing by those who you reply to.


Fred Romagnolo 2:49 PM  

@Suzie Q:I believe the phrase "Don't touch that dial" originated in radio days, before TV's. I have to agree with the objections to not indicating that Brahms was one of the 3 B's. In the high school I taught, it was Senior Sneak. I never heard of Depeche Mode, either the magazine or the group. I agree that the use of the word "classic" has become a little too careless. Does Mr. Ries really think that we should all know Minnesota county seats? Sorry, not a fan of this puzzle.

Joe Dipinto 3:13 PM  

Well, that was easy. First time in a long time I actually started in the NW and wended my way around.

In college I had a friend who lived in ROSEDALE. Coincidentally it's almost right across the Nassau county line from a neighborhood called FLORAL PARK. (And BELLEROSE is nearby.)

Berlioz was originally one of the 3B's, but he got fired for being French, and they gave his job to Brahms. Just as well -- who wants to hear a symphony where a viola named Harold is the protagonist?

In the movie "The Bad Seed" the sociopathic Rhoda leaves CLEAT-marks on the hands of Claude, the hapless classmate from whom she steals the coveted penmanship medal.

I agree BEDSORES is pretty skeevy. I have to laugh again at the clue for 19a, wherein "two people, for example", are a DUO. And STEPPE(S) and LENA can go home for awhile now. But overall, a splendidly solid, or solidly splendid, Friday diversion.

Joe Dipinto 3:24 PM  

Oh, btw -- @Lewis, I didn't have a chance to post yesterday but I really enjoyed your puzzle (even though I didn't comprehend it while I solving it). :-) TIE A TIE and HARBINGER were my two favorite answers.

pabloinnh 4:08 PM  


Our high school also had the custom of each student presenting the principal with some identical item at graduation.

One year, a small group of well-organized seniors broke into the school and stole some midterm exams. This wasn't easy, as it involved entering a locked building, a locked classroom, and opening a locked filing cabinet.

At graduation, each of the 200+ plus seniors gave the principal: a key.

Aketi 4:44 PM  

I still enjoy the Cornell Clocktower pumpkin PRANK

Monty Boy 5:09 PM  

I liked this one a lot. I was able to complete without a lookup, but did have a lot of head scratching to do.

Our senior prank was to remove all the numbers from the lockers. At our 50th, we toured the old high school, now used for admin offices. We were surprised that the lockers were still there, and still missing the numbers. As "pre-baby boomers" (1944), our old high school was soon replace by a shiny new one for the real boomers. I guess replacing the numbers was a low priority.

@Nancy 9:43 - I googled Donner vs Donder and found a site with a nice analysis of Donner vs Donder. It appeared both ways in early publications but Moore gave a hand written copy to the New York Historical Society with Donner. One other interesting item is that Donder is Dutch for thunder, while Blitzen is lightning in German, a nice tie-in. No matter, I sing so poorly, no one can tell what I'm saying; could be either.

Some commenters yesterday thought there should be a tie between the answer and the off-side end letters, with the clue perhaps reflecting both words. With apologies to @lewis, I offer:

12A. I don't like being alone by myself.
14A. Bad drawing of a vessel.
26A. What the absent minded blacksmith said.
45A. What's my favorite fruit, perfect child?
59A. What singer Baily must do to catch worms.
60A. How to sass a significant one.

Clearly, I'm not a constructor, so feel free to boo and hiss.


CDilly52 6:13 PM  

@RooMonster 2:46. May all the dirties and other not yet deified entities bless you forever! I am (as you obviously deduced) tech-challenged and I sincerely appreciate the help (assuming this reply actually demonstrates the understanding that I think i gleaned from your post).

JC66 6:23 PM  


Way to go!!!

jae 7:11 PM  

Easy-medium. Smooth with zippy center. Liked it.

KNEE pad before CAP plus I had some problems parsing BISHOPS which made seeing AMPS difficult.

@ GIL I from yesterday: Five somewhat under the radar comedies that are worth a look and that are currently running or have just wrapped up: The Good Place on NBC, Brockmire on FX, Catastrophe on Amazon, Schitt’s Creek on Pop, Life in Pieces on CBS.

RAD2626 7:26 PM  

Wonderful puzzle. Such novel cluing. PESO clue so different. Favorite was clue for BISHOPS even if I might grimace a little at it's real-life rather than chess applicability. PURPLE STARE also fun. Sword before SABer before SABRE. Biggest glitch Idl for Idlewild Airport ( JFK). Cost real time. BACARDI before RON RICO. Also cost me time. Just a great Friday puzzle.

Z 8:06 PM  

@CDilly52 - W00T W00T!!

RooMonster 8:24 PM  

@CDilly 52

Yep, that's it! Thanks for not taking OFFENSE. I tried to explain it without being harsh or condescending. I impressed myself!


Runs with Scissors 11:40 PM  

@Z, @RooMonster, @Whoeverelsetriedtohelp

Y'all done good. No condescension to @CDilly52 at all, just a nudge in the right direction. We need more of that here.

Runs with Scissors 11:44 PM  

Lastly, @Nancy and @otherswhomentionedit

The clue for SABRES was specific to the British, so the British spelling should have been at the forefront. Minor details, but important in the grand crossword scheme of things.

Joe Dipinto 12:24 AM  

@QuasiMojo 9:11 -- I completely forgot about Rosedale Avenue in the Bronx! Growing up I had an aunt and uncle who lived in Parkchester on E. 177th St., which was actually the service road of the Cross Bronx Expwy, and we would get off the CBE at the Rosedale Ave. exit when we went to visit them.

rondo 10:12 AM  

One write-over, the popular KNEEpAd. RONRICO actually quite popular and I would buy it before Captain Morgan. Thought about Bacardi first, but wisely held OFF.

In these parts ROSEDALE is a shopping mall in the first ring St. Paul suburb of ROSEville. That mall is just one of the ‘DALEs’ around the Twin Cities which started with Southdale in the 1950s, purportedly the first indoor shopping mall ever.

LENAHORNE crossing ARETHA? Take your pick of musical yeah babies there. More talent in their pinkies than BIEBER will ever have.

Mr. Ries PENNED a good one.

spacecraft 11:18 AM  

Had to laugh at OFC's persistent spacing of RON RICO. Close it up, big fella. It's RONRICO. And (they tell me) it's good.

Had some trouble as I SETOFF on this one, but gimmes ARETHA and DECIMETER got me going. And yes, @rondo, I agree 100% with your entire yeah-baby paragraph.

More trouble in the center as I tried to recall famous battle sites. With ..LE.. in place I tried LITTLEBIGHORN, but unless there was rebusiness afoot, that wouldn't go. Had to fill almost everything else in the neighborhood before seeing PURPLESTATE. Obviously a political map term, but I didn't know that one. Makes sense though; red + blue = purple. Duh, okay.

Bleedover: STEPPE. Had fun doing it; some spots easy and some hard. Guess it works out to medium for the day. Birdie.

Burma Shave 11:40 AM  


I CLAIM that ENABLERS will scoff at BREECHES molested,


Wooody2004 2:18 PM  

Liked the NEW clue for ELO. If they do a ELO rating for Crossword solvers, I would be in the TORPID zone.

My TASTEBUDS cannot handle RONRICO.

The Three B's of Crossword Constructors:


Anonymous 3:40 PM  

Captain Morgan is a flavored rum. Ron Rico is a light Puerto Rican rum, and because of local laws, identical to all other light P.R. rums....

leftcoast 4:00 PM  

Good to have a lots-to-like puzzle on Friday, and good for an ego bruised a couple of times this week. Moved slowly but steadily through this one from bottom to top.

Stand-out good stuff: PURPLE STATE, BISHOPS, POODLE, all as clued.

B for Brahms? Okay, but it's the Three B's, with the bigger Bach and Beethoven.

BEDSORES are not to be fooled with or euphemized as "resting spots".

"Fequent losers at casinos": Hesitantly wrote in drunks before the kinder DEUCES.

DEPECHEMODE is an unknown outlier here, at least to me, but crosses came to the rescue.

On balance, liked it.

Diana,LIW 5:03 PM  

Quick start, slow middle, satisfyingly "come together" ending.


This constructor always manages to go way beyond my wheelhouse into another universe altogether.

Diana, LIW

PS - I see there is another LADY DI in the Futurelanders. How did that happen????

leftcoast 9:20 PM  

@Burma Shave -- One of your more serious and disturbing observations.

BS2 10:15 PM  

I have to work with the words presented in the puzzle. It's not always doggerel, which is more fun.

Blade 5:25 PM  

Cream’s version is the famous one.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP