Fictional land named in some real-life international law cases / FRI 5-24-19 / Euphemism for Satan / Inventor of 17th-century calculator / Horse-drawn four-wheeled carriage / Priciest 1952 Topps baseball card / Cold War opponent informally

Friday, May 24, 2019

Constructor: Stanley Newman

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (6:43)

THEME: QUEEN VICTORIA (35A: So-called "Grandmother of Europe," born 5/24/1819) — actually it's a themeless with this commemorative answers just plunked in the center

Word of the Day: LANDAU (2D: Horse-drawn four-wheeled carriage) —
landau is a coachbuilding term for a type of four-wheeled, convertible carriage. It was a city carriage of luxury type. The low shell of the landau made for maximum visibility of the occupants and their clothing, a feature that makes a landau still a popular choice for the Lords Mayors of certain cities in the United Kingdom on ceremonial occasions. (wikipedia)
• • •

This??? This is your Queen Victoria's 200th birthday tribute puzzle? Just ... her name? Look, do a damn tribute or don't do a tribute, but this half-assed half-themed junk has got to go. I kept looking around for Victorian material. Kept thinking there was some theme building that I just couldn't see. Seriously, when I got to the cross-reference clue at 65A: Some descendants of 62-Across (MEXICANS) I briefly thought "... MEXICANS are descended from QUEEN VICTORIA???" But no. "Grandmother of Europe," ugh, why are we "honoring" her? Was the idea ... what was the idea? Just put her name in the middle and then build a very old-fashioned, very old, kinda mediocre themeless around her? LINDY in a LANDAU, that's what this thing was. For the NONCE. It's painfully hoary, and could not have been more off my wavelength if it tried. This was some classic Maleska-era stuff, complete with your classic crosswordese (ÉTÉ! ODIE! LANDAU!!) and your almost exclusively olde-tymey frame of reference. Who the hell is Manchester, the WRITER (24D: London or Manchester). That clue killed me, and kept me from accessing the NE in a way that had me wondering if I was even going to finish. Satan is The DEUCE!?!? LOL, when? Who? Woof.

But seriously, Manchester? There is a guy I found named that, and he wrote books, but I would submit to you that he is not not not famous enough. Which is why I'm not naming him—I think I must be overlooking someone. But I can't figure out who. [Do so hope]??? I just stared at that going "what does that ... even mean? When would you say that????" The phrasing ... so archaic and forced and sad. Why is an EDGER [Tool used while on foot]??? You might use any tool while on foot. Why would *that* be your clue? The cluing here is perverse in stupid ways—designed to make things hard, no doubt, but mostly just off. If you're gonna go hard, you better be on. And this thing is off fro stem to stern.

OK, since no one has offered a better explanation, it looks like the Manchester in question is William Manchester, a historian and biographer (!?!?) that I've never ever heard of. The idea that you think he is an iconic WRITER on the level of Jack London (or Jack Vance or even Jack LaLanne) is hilarious. Did you really want your English city "joke" so bad, So Bad, that you went with William (??) Manchester!? Every idea this puzzle has about being "difficult" is actually bad. It's sour. It's off. EMAILS are not a "cause" of flooding. They are the substance. Whoever's sending them is the cause. Some bot or spammer or whatever. Or, just, all the people who (still) email you for some reason. (Thanks to my friend Helen for pointing out that particular cluing infelicity). Also, EMAILS with an "S," ugh. Grating. I felt guilty getting ABRAM instantly. I Don't Even Know Whose Middle Name That Is, but I've done enough crosswords to know that it's a [Presidential middle name], ugh. I also felt guilty at having the entire arsenal of carriage lingo at my fingertips thanks to decades of doing dated puzzles. LANDAU! (ask me about the SURREY, the HANSOM, the TROIKA, etc.)

Had KEPT TO for HELD TO (9D: Didn't stray from), AMASS for HOARD (9A: Stockpile), AMENS (?) for SMARM (21A: Unctuous utterances) (had the "M" from ST. ELMO, my first answer in the grid). No idea who Jamie DORNAN is (45D: Jamie ___, co-star in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie). Please stop putting TEC in puzzles, as I can assure you, as someone who studies and teaches crime fiction, it's a non-thing. No one says that. Even re: Spade. At least indicate its datedness, its bygoneness, whatever. Quit passing it off as an ordinary slang term. It isn't.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:04 AM  

Easy-medium. Bottom half easy, top half a tad tougher...but then quite a bit of this was in my wheelhouses...AZTEC, QUATORZE, DEUCE, ST ELMO, AGNUS DEI, ABRAM, LANDAU, DORNAN...

Solid with a nice nod to QUEEN VICTORIA’s birthday, liked it a lot more than @Rex did.

Jamesk 12:09 AM  

Tex is not a thing. Would accept “dick”.

a.corn 12:13 AM  

NONCE?!?!?! In a specifically British puzzle?! Wow wow wow, unreal...for anyone wondering what I’m on about, across the pond they would call Jared from Subway a NONCE.

Joaquin 12:14 AM  

Holy smokes! How could you not know William Manchester? His (probably) most famous and most significant work was "The Glory and the Dream", a major account of US history. His book on JFK was a bestseller, too. Manchester is an important American author and historian, ferchrissakes!

And, I liked this puzzle. Solved more easily than most Fridays.

Jamesk 12:15 AM  

And twice this week “tec”. If there were an index of forbidden words, and what a great thing that would be, “tec” would be a stellar entry.

John Child 12:17 AM  

I happen to be rereading “A World Lit Only By Fire” for the third time, so [London or Manchester] fell easily. But seriously... “The Death of a President,” “American Caesar,” “The Glory and the Dream.” An English professor hasn’t heard of him. Oof.

Harryp 12:19 AM  

I thought this one was easy/medium. I had amass for 9Across and stoical for 13Down which held me up in the Northeast for a while, and as soon as I saw Manchester, I dropped in united, which didn't help either, but everything soon straitened out. Louis Quatorze was easy because I remember Lester from "The Wire" making a minature dresser or something from that period. This Louis was probably better known as the Sun King, but keeping track of the French Louis' is beyond me. It looks like another themeless, so I'll thank Stanley Newman for it and move on.

Runs with Scissors 12:23 AM  

Bit of a challenge to get going on this one, since the NW – my usual starting point – was somewhat resistant. I had ST ELMO as the sailor’s patron, but LANDAU wasn’t rising through cobwebs until I got LEND AN EAR. From there, the only sticky stuff was in the NE.

RURITANIA was odd, but upon reflection I realized I’d lived there. Spent a few months in Millington, TN many moons ago. My roommate was from Southaven, MS, about 30 miles south of there. Having grown up in SoCal in the 60s and 70s, TN and MS were a bit of culture shock.

RED CHINA – I had a fun time in British Hong Kong, 1981. A couple of buddies and I hit the island, went up to Victoria Peak, and proceeded to take the ferry across to Kowloon. Hopped a train to we knew not where, until we were sternly asked to leave at the border with Red China. Saw this hill off in the distance, so we took the shoe leather express up to it. Had trinkets and such for sale; got a t-shirt with a big red star on the chest. It also overlooked the big honkin’ fence between Hong Kong and China proper. HAR. As we headed back toward the train station we saw a guy with his car in the ditch. Helped him get it out, he hops in and drives off. None of us spoke Chinese; they didn’t speak English. Or wouldn’t admit to it. I never played tourist anywhere I went. Got off the beaten path and met the locals. That’s the only way to go.

ALDO shoes are overpriced and no better than what you get at Kohl’s.

Personally, I have never heard of Satan referred to as the “DEUCE.” Many other monikers, but not that one. I don’t deny that someone calls him that, though.

MEXICANS in the south-southeast. Well, yeah. That’s where they are on the map, too.

26A kinda threw me. I thought the show was simply HOUSE. I’ve only seen it once or twice, more than a few days ago.

PASCAL, ol’ buddy!!! Haven’t seen you in a coon’s age. I foresee much angst and wailing and gnashing of teeth over that statement. Know ye that it is not pejorative to anyone. Look it up.

AS I RECALL, running SLAP DASH into an OPEN BAR can be an experience. No SMARM there.

MAI TAI. Haven’t had one of those since my early 20s. Those, along with Blue Hawaiians, resulted in some technicolored yawns.

AGNUS DEI. A.k.a Agnes Dei, depending on the day and only for the NONCE.

ROADIE. That isn’t a some band setter-upper, it’s a cyclist on a road bike. I am one, when I’m not on the mountain or gravel bike.

Yesterday fourteen points, today QUATORZE BETS.

Liked it!!

Mark, in Mickey’s North 40

Brian 12:38 AM  

Stretch Queen Victoria stuff — ROYAL LANDAU London Manchester

puzzlehoarder 12:43 AM  

Great Friday. I got a good ten minutes more of puzzling from this as compared to your average easy Friday.

The SW corner was the only easy section. My start in the NW was more typical of the rest of the solve.

PEA and DINT were gimmes. This meant 14A had to be STAREINTO (kind of obvious anyway.) However I guessed 19A as TOAT and even though I considered HORNE for 8D I didn't look at it hard enough for that H to then give me SLAPDASH. That happened when I remembered that those cheesy 70s car roofs were inspired by the look of carriages. That was the entry that made things click together up there.

This was surprisingly hard for a puzzle with QUATORZE for its only true debut. I would add DORNAN as a debut due to it's cluing. I had to work around that one too. Most of this puzzle felt solidly late week and all of it was fun.

Phaedrus 12:44 AM  

I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of William Manchester’s books.

What’s wrong with being a historian and biographer?

Not everyone can write (or teach) comics for a living.

August West 12:58 AM  

Good on you, Rex. Spot on.

Anonymous 1:45 AM  

Just last week Rex was incensed that a Friday (or was it Saturday?) had a theme. This week he says it should have a more elaborate theme?

[ begin aside.. ] Several posters have asked why people come here if they don't like what Rex says. Personally, I read what Rex has to say but often don't get much out of it. Frankly, I come as much for the commenters, particularly say @Loren Muse Smith, @AnoaBob, etc. But that said, I greatly appreciate Rex doing this (almost) every day, and sometimes-- unexpectedly-- instead of being cynical, being as joyous and funny as he was 9 years ago when I first started following. [.. end aside.]

Anyway, here in Canada, Queen Victoria's birthday is celebrated by the Victoria Day statutory holiday, and is the de facto beginning of summer. My dad-- who was pretty old-- always called it "the 24th of May weekend". All my life it has been pushed to a Monday so we get a long weekend (oddly this year it was celebrated last weekend; I'm not sure why). She is a fairly big deal up here; in fact of the four western provinces, two of their capital cities are named after her. (Victoria BC, and Regina, Saskatchewan). Almost every town in western Canada has a Victoria street/ave; in fact where I grew up (Kamloops) it is THE main street. She stood up against many difficulties, and pretty much ushered in the modern world. Yes, she was quite something.

Good tribute, Stanley, and Happy Birthday, 'Drina!


newspaperguy 1:51 AM  

Such rage for something inconsequential. The Donald of the crossword world. Much ado about nothing.

Tom 2:02 AM  

Exactamundo RP. And why wasn’t AGNUS DEI clued with a ?. It certainly needed the ? to be legit. Was pretty easy for me, finishing a surprisingly fast Friday time, a third faster. Stupid clue for EDGER, and only poorly played oboes are REEDY. Let’s hope Saturday has more merit.

chefwen 2:34 AM  

I made all the mistakes Rex did and then some. A few, I never recovered from and ended up with a really ugly piece of paper that used to be a puzzle. I won’t go into details, there are too many, let’s just chuck this one into the DNF pile and get on with it. AS I RECALL, tomorrow is another day and puzzle.

32D TIX? What am I missing?

Larry Gilstrap 2:41 AM  

So, back in the day, a kid would call the liquor stores and ask, "Do you have Prince Albert in a can?" And, hilarity would ensue. I heard that table legs required skirts during that era. The Kinks had a concept album that fell flat. That's all I got on QUEEN VICTORIA. I remember reading Lytton Strachey's Eminent Victorians; odd folks.

About that time, I read a lot of the poetry of Alexander Pope and wouldn't associate his major works as being ODES. "The Rape of Lock", "An Essay on Man...", and "An Essay on Criticism" are not odic. Then I discover that his "Ode on Solitude" was written when he was twelve. Dude was a genius. Last time I at looked a Bartlett's Familiar Quotations he was in third place for frequency.

Friday enough for this solver; footholds were few and far between early on. Some help from a gimme like ST. ELMO for this Moby-Dick reader. On the other hand, RURITANIA exists if you say so.

Life problem lives in a puzzle: is it an OPEN BAR or a cash BAR? Is there an ATM in this building?

JOHN X 3:03 AM  

Here we go with MANCHESTER again.

Rex, if you recall your post of Saturday, January 13, 2018 (and I'm sure you recall it, sir, you wrote it) you gave the exact same response to the exact same clue:

"Also couldn't fathom 29A: London or Manchester (WRITER). I know who Jack London is, but who the hell is this alleged writer, "Manchester?" I google [writer Manchester] and I just get some biographer I've never heard of. I resent this kind of trickery. I mean, I love the trickery, but the other city (besides London) should be a recognizable writer."

Rex, are you even trying anymore? Are you plagiarizing yourself? Put down that Arch & Jughead comic and read American Caesar or The Death of a President or maybe even A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance - Portrait of an Age. You might like that last one.

Brookboy 3:36 AM  

Well, as usual, in contrast to OFL’s apparent apoplexy, I thought the puzzle was actually pretty good. Perhaps that is because, unlike Rex, I have, in fact, heard of William Manchester. He was a celebrated biographer and historian who won several major literary awards. He wrote a bestseller about the assassination of JFK called “Death of a President,” not to mention acclaimed biographies of Douglas MacArthur and Winston Churchill (both of whom, I suppose, Rex has heard of).

Rex also takes potshots at various words in the puzzle that he feels are dated or not in common usage, something that always bemuses me. If French or Spanish or Italian words are OK, why aren’t legitimate English words? I am still waiting to see the style book of rules that Rex must be consulting.

Finally, I must’ve missed the label or the tag that said that the puzzle was a tribute to queen Victoria. I thought it was nice of the constructor to give her centerstage on the 200th anniversary of her birth, but I didn’t know that the puzzle was supposed to be a tribute. Or perhaps this is another rule in Rex’s secret style book.

Uncle Alvarez 6:12 AM  

Shriek! Shriek! Shriek!

Abram Manchester 6:13 AM  

This puzzle made me tear my hair out!!!

Lewis 6:18 AM  

This gave me a darn good brain sweat, especially in the SE, where I didn't know DORNAN, RURITANIA, and ABRAM, and the cluing was tricky for me. It did fill in with lovely ahas, and those are shining moments in solving, IMO, when the mind feeds letters from who-knows-where, and the formerly-blind inner eyes see an answer that makes perfect sense, making for an aura of "aah". There were a good number of these moments today, and thank you so much for creating this, Stanley.

As your resident alphadoppeltotter, a role I inexplicably have assumed, I must report to you that today's puzzle has a highly unusually low double letter count -- four, where anything fewer than five qualifies for this distinction. The last time this happened was in January.

A lovely weekend to all!

G. 6:43 AM  

“What the deuce?”
A Stewie “family guy” Griffin substitute for “WTF”

Anonymous 6:53 AM  

An edger is the only garden tool I can think of that requires use of your foot. You CAN use your foot on a shovel, but it has plenty of footless uses, like digging into a pile of dirt. But the edger, you put your foot on it and edge, and if you're not doing that, it's in the tool shed.

OffTheGrid 7:00 AM  

The critique of this puzzle by Rex was 100% on the mark.

QuasiMojo 7:07 AM  

What the Deuces? Rex, you are really embarrassing yourself with these I’ll-considered and apparently rehashed rants. Why celebrate your ignorance? Never heard of William Manchester? As an assistant professor, you should at least try to show an open mind and knowledge of more than just politically correct comic books. I may have to switch blogs. This is getting not only tiresome but downright dotty. I tried Crossword Fiend for a while but the pundits on there make Rex sound like Pascal.

TEC bothered me too but then I heard it in My Fair Lady over and over again. It seems to be from the Victorian or Edwardian era. But not used much by the pulp noir icons. I’ll check and get back to you on that.

I only know Ruritania from the world of operetta. It is used often as a stand-in for one of the Balkan states. Might be in The Merry Widow. Pretty sure Ivor Novello used it too.

I finished this puzzle in Fourteen minutes. I didn’t even realize I was done because I was sure ASIRECALL was wrong. Clever.

I've Got a Name 7:11 AM  

James ABRAM Garfield

You're welcome.

Hungry Mother 7:16 AM  

Quite the slog this morning. Day off from running, so I just hung in there and slowly sipped my coffee as I eked it out.

Unknown 7:21 AM  

Sorry to disagree, but William Manchester IS an iconic author.

mmbeitlermd 7:25 AM  

Angus dei crossing odie ? Ruritania crossing Abram? Sorry but the cold war was with the Soviet Union not China. Get me with interesting challenges not arcane junk.

Jcap 7:29 AM  

Dittos to all the Manchester comments. In RexWorld, "famous enough" means someone known to him.

kitshef 7:31 AM  

Could not see that TEXTED/TIX cross for the life of me, so ended with a DNF at TEnTED/TIn. The former I could half-way justify – when you tent your hands you hold them in front of you.

Discussion late yesterday about green paint. STARE INTO surely qualifies.

Many (around here, all) NEWTS are toxic if ingested, so that is one foolhardy heron.

Newts can regenerate not only lost legs and tails, but damaged spinal cords, hearts and brains.

STELMO dooked me.

Anonymous 7:43 AM  

William Manchester is actually a wonderful writer and biographer. I got the clue because of him, not London.

Small Town Blogger 7:50 AM  

Ditto with other comments on William Manchester - a great writer. I often say my inbox is flooded. What’s it flooded with? E-mails. Hence they are a cause of flooding.

amyyanni 7:52 AM  

Got AS I RECALL from the downs, had to stare at it and then chuckled audibly. Easier than most Fridays for me. Never thought I'd be happy to see a Yankee, but Mickey (MANTLE) was a lifesaver.

pabloinnh 7:55 AM  

I'm with @Lewis in that I found just the right amount of "aha"ness in this one. Smooth enough to be smooth, with just enough bumps to make things interesting.

Put me in the "never heard of William Manchester?!" crowd. Seriously?

On TEC-if we stop using TEC, then we also have to decide which other members of the -Ese Hall of Fame we prohibit. Those of us who have done crosswords for a while expect such terms, fill them in, shrug, and say yep, there's that one again. If I never want to see TEC again, I'll stop doing crosswords.

Many thanks to Mr. Newman. I enjoyed this one very much, even though I probably shouldn't have. OTOH, fun is where you find it.

RavTom 7:58 AM  

As for DEUCE, please see the comments below. “What the DEUCE!” is a euphemism for “what the devil?”, i.e., Satan.

Teedmn 8:02 AM  

I have managed to know as little as possible about "Fifty Shades of Grey", both the books and the movies, but it bit me in the butt (probably a scene out of the books? Ew!) today. I thought maybe 33D was ACTa, giving me aREA map for 43A. Certainly I use my tablet for an area map all the time, but I also use it as an E-READER - couldn't suss that out for anything. Oh well.

Anyone else try to put in "Ruskies" at 12D? Just a bit short. And I had a devil of a time getting DEUCE from DEe_E due to my misspelling of AGNeSDEI.

Louis QUATORZE solved my 62A olmEC or AZTEC dilemma.

Well, Mr. Newman, tripping me up on the Saturday Stumper isn't enough, you have to get me on the Friday NYT too? Après vous, le déluge!

Good ol' Joe 8:08 AM  

I thought it was fantastic puzzle. Laughed at many of the great clues and felt accomplished to finish it in 20:19

SouthsideJohnny 8:11 AM  

OMG, back to junky trivia (huitzilopochtli, QUATORZE, RURITANIA, DEUCE), arcane garbage (NONCE, TEC, ABRAM) and of course, foreign words (ACTE, ETE). Who cares ? OFL is spot on today - there absolutely has to be a better way to create a difficult puzzle. This seems like something that would have been created in the old Soviet Union by someone with absolutely zero accountability. It’s time for an entire changing of the guard at the Times - the message they should give Shortz is “We suck with you, we can just as easily suck without you.”

Wow, that was a REX QUALITY rant on my part ! I feel better though, lol.

Wm. C. 8:13 AM  

@Quasi7:07 --

OFL is a Lecturer, not an Assistant Professor.

Z 8:24 AM  

I know it stinks, but dead historians, even ones that won the National Humanities Medal, just aren't particularly relevant in the broader culture. Crossworthy on a Friday and Saturday? Sure. Cutesy clue worthy? Hard Pass. Want to argue that Manchester should be more widely read and known? I am right with you. But is he? No. And, to Rex's larger recurring point, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Beschloss, Daniel Maraniss, Jon Meacham, David McCullough,... So many historians and biographers that we never see because they are, you know, current. And alive.

@chefwen - I figured it out post-solve, too. A ticket is a "pass" to get into a show or game, so the slangy plural TIX is short for movie passes.

Was the show really HOUSE M.D.? After two or three great seasons it really felt like the writers didn't know where to go. The rest of the family powered through so I ended up seeing all the episodes and I don't recall the M.D. being included in the title ever. It was always just HOUSE.

Worst thing about this puzzle? The Manchester clue causing Rex to post not one, but three Melissa Manchester videos and realizing I know all three songs. What can I say? I was pretty young in the '70's.

GILL I. 8:28 AM  

Well at least we're in this century with MEME TEXTED E READER. Maybe E MAILS as well.
A lot of what @Rex said today, I agree with - except I'm kinder. I just felt that the cluing was a bit off - a little too forced.
I'm always glad for our crosswordese friends especially ST ELMO and his sometimes fire. Did you know that not only was he the patrons saint of sailors but he was also the patron saint of abdominal pain? I asked SIRI.
Do you say "By DINT of" to impress? By DINT of insanity? How sweet that NEWT wasn't clued via the Gingrich . I could've sworn it was "Murder She Wrote" that was inspired by Sherlock Holmes. By the way, a NONCE in London or Manchester is a sexual offender. You're welcome.
I'm going back to bed.

Suzie Q 8:33 AM  

Boy, I sure had more fun than Rex did.
The only bits that raised my eyebrows were crossing e-mails and e-reader. One e- too many. Then my nonce is a British insult as someone above already noted.
It takes a minute to think about it but the clue for edger actually is true.
I enjoyed the solve. Thanks Mr. Newman

I'm a little worried about Rex. He has been so unhappy lately.

70 in Nampa 8:34 AM  

Some weird fill, but it went pretty fast.
I prefer "shamus" rather than "tec".
Don't ever recall that term being used except in crossword puzzles.

B. Serf 8:34 AM  

Manchester was commissioned by Jackie Kennedy to write the "definitive" history of the Kennedy assassination, "The Death of a President" and then was subjected to years of a very public legal dispute when Jackie didn't like the result. The book was a runaway best seller, and is still the "accepted" version (i.e., non-conspiracy) of the event. You may have thought you got the narrative of what you know about the "accepted" version from the Warren Report. But you did not. The version we carry is the one from this book.

But, wait, there is more....

He wrote the most widely read biography of Churchill, "The Last Lion" - a massively popular three volume work. Sadly, the though that final volume was unfinished at his death, but was completed by another author using Manchester's notes and incomplete manuscripts, and published in 2012. For better or worse, the reason George W. Bush had picture of Churchill on his wall and conducted his foreign policy as he thought Chruchill would has much to do with the version of Churchill we get from this book.

His narrative history of mid-20th Century US. The Glory and the Dream, is, again, one of the most widely read popular histories of the United States.

"American Ceasar" is the go-to and exceedingly popular biography of Douglas McArthur.

"The Arms of Krupp:" the definitive history of the rise and fall of the military industrial complex in Germany that made World War II possible.

I could go on, but I won't.

These were all huge best-sellers. And highly influential. Even those who never read a word of Manchester have received his version of events in derivative form from these books. His interpretations permeate our culture.

The point being that Manchester, perhaps more than anyone, shaped our understanding of the events during 50 or so years between the First World War and the height of the Cold War, as well as shaping our self-understanding as a country during that time.

Not famous enough? One cannot even have a passing acquaintance with the history of the "American Century" without encountering Manchester as one of the leading narrators and interpreters.

If you have a problem with Manchester in the puzzle, the problem is not with the puzzle, it's in yourself.

QuasiMojo 8:38 AM  

@Z I don’t read writers because they happen to be alive. Nor because they happen to be famous or popular with TV talk shows. I read them because they have something worthwhile to say. I have reread William Manchester’s “The Arms of Krupp” a number of times because there is a lot to learn in it about the world and how we got where we are today, and where we might going tomorrow.

GILL I. 8:38 AM  

Before I'm back to bed: @Quasi there is a very large amount of glue that holds this blog together: Those that comment here. I've peeked at other blogs and they just don't have the interactions that OFL Rex does.
Those of us who come here for our daily bread pretty much know how the Rex wind will blow. I always read him and laugh. (Good for the soul). You won't find that elsewhere - at least I don't.......Stay with us and tell us stories. There are some really good ones here in this very blog. :-)

Nancy 9:00 AM  

I had the same reaction that @Lewis did: the toughest part of the puzzle for me was the SE. When I was in the NW, I was thinking the puzzle might be too easy for a Friday...but it wasn't. While it wasn't especially hard, it was crunchy and well-clued enough to be enjoyable.

Never realized that HOUSE MD was based on Sherlock Holmes. I also thought that the series was just called HOUSE. But when I needed two more letters, I made the most obvious guess. What else could it be?

I've heard of RURITANIA. I kinda thought it was a real place. Don't ask. But the 60A clue is really, really interesting. I learned something very unusual about "real-life international law"-- though I'm not sure exactly what.

Haven't heard the phrase RED CHINA for, like, forever. It was the source of a joke my father liked to tell, though it didn't originate with him. I suspect it was told by many, many other fathers:

"Your mother makes all the minor decisions: Where we should live. Where you kids should go to school. Where we should take this year's vacation. Whereas I make all the major decisions: Should RED CHINA be admitted to the United Nations?"

(A very 1950's joke, I'd say).

Brit solves NYT 9:16 AM  

Thought this was easy-medium overall for a Friday, liked it more than Rex.

As others have commented, NONCE is not a nice word to see in a grid for us British solvers. I've said before (when POOF appears) I'm surprised, given how many international solvers there are, these sorts of words are kept in wordlists.

'What the deuce?' is a very common exclamation for anyone who's ever watched Family Guy - Stewie says it all the time, 'deuce' of course being a euphemism for the devil.

Sir Hillary 9:19 AM  

Overall? Meh.

It never registered that 5/24/1819 was exactly 200 years ago, so the whole tribute thing went over my head. Probably better that way. I did notice the regal sub-theme: QUEENVICTORIA, ROYAL, Louis QUATORZE. And of course Lena HORNE, ROYALty of a different kind.

-- Cool duality of TWIN next to DEUCE.
-- REDCHINA in a grid where XI appears forward once and backward twice? Hmm...
-- One day, I will remember when to use HOARD versus horde. Not today though.
-- Other errors: pUnT before OUST, Pine before PRAY.

From it three to get REEDY or three to get ROADIE?

Not sure yet 9:23 AM  

I’ve only checked out your blog s dozen or so times, Rex, but do you EVER like a puzzle. You are so critical!

Speedweeder 9:31 AM  

@Z 7:55 - I had the same reaction to House MD, so much so that I resisted filling it in until it was obvious it couldn't be anything else. To my surprise, it's listed that way in IMDB. I guess I didn't read the fine print.

I agree, the first couple of seasons were great, after that not so much.

OISK 9:52 AM  

Enjoyed it very much, although it was over much too fast. "The deuce it is" is fairly common old British usage. Any Gilbert and Sullivan fan should know it.I don't know why I knew Ruritania, but I did. Nothing "slapdash" about this puzzle, as far as I am concerned. But I have never eaten Trix. I understand they are for kids...

Z 9:59 AM  

@QuasiMojo - Huh. History didn't stop in 2002 and our understanding of what happened before 2002 has evolved a lot since then. @B. Serf may be very accurate about Manchester's influence on our understanding of events. But if we stop there we are missing out. Once in a Great City, Team of Rivals, American Lion,..., so much out there and you're busy re-reading?

Nancy 10:06 AM  

Don't even think about leaving this blog, @Quasi (7:07)! What a drastic and completely unnecessary thing to do when you can so easily just stop reading Rex. I wish we'd stop losing some of the most cultivated and civilized voices on the blog because of Rex's rants, excesses, and boastful literary ignorance. I'm blissfully unaffected by any of it because I don't read any of it. It's not as though there's a Final Exam on the Collected 2018-19 Opinions of Rex Parker that one must take each year to remain on the blog.

Even if Rex knows I don't read him (does he? doesn't he? who cares?), I'm sure it makes him no more unhappy than I am by knowing that Rex doesn't read me. Reading Rex seems to make @GILL and @Z happy and they should continue to read them. Just as everyone whose puzzle-experience is spoiled by reading him -- such as @Suzie Q from a day or two ago -- would be well advised to stop.


Anonymous 10:21 AM  

"Yes, sure, cluing a Nazi scientist is perfectly fine. Not like there is anything else we could use to clue BRAUN." -Will Shortz

Wood 10:25 AM  

Marooned in the NE. Manchester may be famous enough, but it's still a terrible clue. Not hard, terrible. Even with __ITER I couldn't see it.

David 10:37 AM  

Marcus Welby, MD. House. Just House. No "MD"

Had "amass" and spent far too much time trying to think of something that long we familiarly called the Soviet Union. Cold War was US v USSR. Sometimes, for extra wartime and arms buildup we'd talk about the "SinoSoviet" alliance, of which there was none (just like there's no alliance between Persian Shia Iran and Saudi born, Sunni Al Qaeda). Folks who understand William Manchester was a writer probably know this. That's the point. He's a writer. Jack London was a writer. They're both dead writers. The rest, as Alex Ross says, is noise.

Speaking of Alex and amass, "Mass Movement" needs no question mark. It's the final movement of the traditional mass, the first four being: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus & Benedictus

Didn't really want "Mexicans" to be the answer to descendants of 62A; there are so many different indigenous groups in what's now Mexico, some of which were allied as the Aztec Empire but by no means all. Then, of course, there are the Spaniards. Guess it's okay in a very broad sense.

My favorite spot was 35A/D. Clever.

With everyone else on asirecall, that's very bad looking so it's a very good entry.

Liked it.

Some People 10:38 AM  

@Not Sure Yet: You do understand that Rex's blog is a critique of the puzzle, right? LOL at so many commenters who are [evidently] unironically critical of Rex for being critical. There's nothing wrong with being critical of Rex's criticism, it's a free country (for now, anyway), but don't pass off your being critical as somehow different than Rex's. You have an opinion, you express it. Why fault Rex for doing the same?

I would hazard a guess here that Rex does this blog because he loves xword puzzles and also loves dissecting them. There are a lot of puzzles that he likes...and even then, you might not agree with him. It takes all sorts to make a world.

Also LOL at the number of people who not only know Manchester as an author but think he is the best author on the planet. I have never read his work so it may be really good...I'm not disputing that. But Rex's point is probably more about looking at London vis a vis Manchester, seeing the intentional misdirect, and then pointing out (at least from his viewpoint), that the commoner (me) will know London by far more than Manchester. Just because you know I know Johannes Ockeghem, and like his work, like I do with Ockeghem...doesn't mean everyone does. Sheesh.

I'm surprised there aren't more comments from people who use DEUCE for Satan every day and can't fathom never having heard it.

As for the puzzle, this one was mostly difficult for me, in retrospect, because of things like STELMO, HOUSEMD, USSENATE, and EREADER. ST, MD, US, and E...those made several other answers more complicated than they needed to be.

Also, AGNUSDEI may be a "movement" in a musical setting of a mass, but I don't believe it is called that in a MASS by priests. It's a prayer that happens before eucharist. Not a movement.

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

Is OFL pronounced like "offal" or "awful"?

Lynx 10:58 AM  

Am guessing this puzzle's popularity fell heavily along age lines, with the older demographic finding it more enjoyable.

Anonymous: there are other places the cheerful people can happily go, yet they keep coming here.

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

Totally disagree about your WRITER complaint. Surely William Manchester I’d
S famous enough, at least for a Friday. I don’t know you, but based on your previous writing I’m surprised you don’t know him. Worth picking up. This was actually one of my favorite clues in a fairly dull puzzle.

Malsdemare 11:10 AM  

I haven't finished reading Rex and haven’t even glanced at my fellow bloggers. But I’ve got to get this off my chest.

AHEM! He doesn’t know who WIIIAM MANCHESTER IS? The man who wrote the definitive Churchill biography? I’m embarrassed for him.

This one took some time but then it didn’t. The NW was a total blank for when reckless turned out to be totally wrong. But then the NE fell, and then the SW, followed by the SE. And then I got MAITAI and the NW laid itself upon my crossword alter. Took me three rexes and on a Friday, that’s damn good.

Okay. Now I’ll finish Rex, learn that he apologized for the MANCHESTER gaffe, and then see what y’all think of the puzzle.

QuasiMojo 11:12 AM  

Oh dear. I didn’t mean to be a cry baby this morning. @Nancy, I have to admit though when you said the other day that you posted a comment on another crossword blog, it occurred to me I could keep following you there and take a break from here. But then I would miss the stories and insights of Gill, jberg, kitshef, JoeD, Lewis, LMS, carola and so many other fine posters. I kinda miss Amelia btw. Lol. If I left anyone out I’m sorry but I’m having a hard time reading this blogger typeface thing lately. I might try the dictation option in the future.

@Z, I don’t want to go over my four posts a day limit but I did want to add that I do read living authors too but I would never say a dead one is irrelevant as far as crossword puzzles go. Everything is relevant today because we have libraries, forums, websites, and countless other outlets that keep the past alive and relevant. Plato is just as fair to use as Playdoh. I have no complaints about contemporary things I don’t know, which are legion, appearing in the puzzle, so long as they don’t form a Natick situation, which has been a problem of late. At least for me. The New Yorker puzzle sadly has been bending over backward to be trendy. It undermines its value. I’m hoping the NYT finds a better balance.

Carola 11:13 AM  

Lovely, with one pleasure after another, solved in SLOMO to savor it all: SLAPDASH, DRY-EYED, RURITANIA, QUEEN VICTORIA in her ROYAL MANTLE, the old-timey DINT and NONCE, and learning what "What the DEUCE?!" actually refers to.
AS I RECALL was a nice "theme" entry for the various historical and biographical references in the puzzle.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

As to the House/Holmes metaphor: "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?" was said by Holmes, and by design (may have said it? don't recall) House. Both, in were diagnosticians.

Anonymous 11:21 AM

chris b 11:21 AM  

I rarely agree with Rex, but this puzzle was a turd. Some of my DNF's are my fault. This one was the puzzle's fault.

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

OFL, as I understand it, teaches literature, and thus would be familiar with an alcoholic novelist. Manchester was neither.

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

How is one embarrassed FOR someone else? I guess you have to judge (shame) them regarding whatever it is for which they SHOULD be embarrassed. And since they're not embarrassed you take on the burden? Is that close? Sounds condescending.

Master Melvin 11:38 AM  

Professor Rex's contempt for history never ceases to amaze.

mmorgan 11:39 AM  

Wow, Rex. I thought this was a really good puzzle!

Newboy 11:55 AM  

I’m with you Quasimojo, and it’s good to remember that the past never is really. Wasn’t it Eliot who thought that we lived “in the present moment of the past” or something along those lines?

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

Quasi, b ser et al
Give up. Yesterday z claimed Plato's Republic could be summed up with this gem: Anyone who wants the job (of govdrnment leader) doesnt deserve it. Im afraid trying to convince z of anything is a dead letter. Its a certainty if it contradicts ofl.

For my money, William Manchester is just about the Platonic ideal of a historian. Glad someone else loves The Arms of Krupps as well.

Thanks for tne very fine puzzle Mr. Newman.

webwinger 12:31 PM  

Very enjoyable Friday puzzle IMO, about average time. I found the dead center shout out to QUEEN VICTORIA on her 200th birthday quite classy, nay regal; also liked the clue, which I had not heard before but was fairly easy to figure out. No need for a bunch of drecky QV hangers on to complement it. OFL seems never to like traditional tribute puzzles anyway; can’t understand why this set him off—probably just in a grumpier than usual mood. Liked the QUATORZE cross—cross-referencing yesterday’s FOURTEEN maybe?

My hardest time came in the NE: Started with cache for 9-Across, then changed it to misspelled HOrde after getting ODIE. Somehow confused an EDGER with a weedwhacker, though the clue wasn’t very helpful for either.

Another Nancy 12:32 PM  

Another temper trantrum again. I pray for Rex Parker. I wish that his family, the administration of his school, and his fellow bloggers would have an intervention for the good of the crossword world.

Joe Dipinto 12:35 PM  

RED CHINA -- wow, I think I'd forgotten that term even existed. Is it weird to say it seems sort of nostalgic?

I didn't see this as a tribute puzzle. Queen Victoria occupied center stage and it happened to be her birthday, but I wasn't looking for other connective tissue -- though NOT AMUSED might have been fun to throw in there. It did skew kind of oldish, but that isn't always cause for the umbrage Rex takes.

I find the clue "opening of an account" sorta odd for AS I RECALL. Does anyone really *start* a story that way? Seems more like a musing triggered by a question, or general brain fog. And ARDORS is just a bad answer. (Btw, as I recall, constructor Stanley Newman is the compiler of a crossword dictionary that's lying around my apartment somewhere...)

Outside my window I see that the landau has arrived to take me to a Sherlock Holmes-inspired destination. Happy Friday, all! Careful with the mai tais at the open bar!

Leave you? Leave you? How could I leave you?
How could I go it alone?
Could I wave the years away with a quick goodbye?
How do you wipe tears away when your eyes are dry?

--S. Sondheim, "Follies"

puzzlehoarder 12:38 PM  

Like @Nancy I do not read our host's comments. They always used to throw a bucket of snarky speed solver induced cold water on my enjoyment of the puzzles. I used to waste quite a bit of commenting space complaining about it. If you don't read his comments it's really a win-win solution. Now I adhere strictly to just commenting on how the puzzle was for me. When even our host's most sycophantic fans among the regular commentariat do the same I find their comments as interesting as anyone's.

Amelia 12:40 PM  

@quasimojo 11:12

You said the magic word. (My name.) So this is what happened. After my last set-to, I went through several years of my responses to Rex and whadyaknow, there were all exactly the same. And we do know the definition of madness, right? So I figured why continue telling the guy he should know stuff and he's hypocritical, and he's twitter-mad, etc, etc. when he's not listening and people are annoyed by my comments, which I've excised, by the way.

Also, Mickey Mantle was my favorite baseball player. Period. So how could I not contribute today?

I have to laugh at the Manchester thing, because it took me forever to get it. Even though I remember his last rant about Manchester, which wasn't that long ago, as pointed out by one of the other posters.

As for the puzzle, I wanted ONCE UPON A TIME, but it didn't fit. Everything else was easy.

I wrote to @Nancy on the Times blog about the fact that the puzzle a couple of days ago was on the fold, which was really annoying. But I really wanted to write it here.

Madness, indeed.

Masked and Anonymous 1:09 PM  

The WRITER clue didn't bother m&e much, as I knew London was one. Just figured I was too illiterate to know Manchester, and eased right on down the road. Lost very few precious nanoseconds on the Manchestermeister.
The EDGER clue did seem a little weird. I reckon it means U may have to hop off yer rider mower, to do the edgin part?

QUEENVICTORIA was a nice touch, considerin that the 24th happens to be her b-day. Also, this here is SN's 24th NYTPuz, today. And, hey -- that there WRITER clue was at 24-Down. Rodeo!

staff weeject pick: M&A is torn …
* TEC. Noteworthy, for the cool @RP rant it produced.
* TIX. That X was a tough get -- the ver last puzgrid letter I filled in (yo, @kitshef). Also, rhymes with TRIX.
They are both delightfully desperate, tho.

The stuff I didn't know in this FriPuz was considerable, but somehow I finished er off, error-free. Owe it all to clean livin and cinnamon roll power.
Really liked ASIRECALL & USSENATE together in the puz -- they seem to go together a lot lately, hearin-wise, too boot.

Thanx for the feisty fun, Mr. Nonceman. Congratz on #24.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


GILL I. 1:32 PM  

OK, so I'm going to chime in about William Manchester. I had no idea who he was; should I feel dumb? Oh, he's a non-fiction historical writer - that's why.
I'm an avid reader and it would be a rare day that you'd find me sitting in a comfy chair without my nose in a book. History books are not my thing. I don't even read Mark Twain. Oh, and soprano opera singers make my teeth itch.
There is a wheelhouse thing going on here. Perhaps @Rex's "William (??) Manchester!?" riled many of you who know his work, but he's certainly not of the "everybody knows Jack London" ilk.
I've learned lots by coming here but at times the WHAT.....YOU DIDN'T KNOW THAT, makes me wonder why I never went out and got a PhD. I do, though, have lots of degrees in The School of Living.
Being amazed at someone's lack of certain knowledge is tacky. Coming here everyday and calling @Rex a (fill in your favorite word), is boring. I won't go into my "this is his blog" rant because that, too, is boring.
Yes, @Nancy, I read him because I have a running bet: Will he like it? Does he dislike the author? Does a word upset him no end - like NRA? I actually go hunting for something that will make heads explode and try and guess how many people will object. It's fun. Try it.....Maybe I have too much time on my hands or maybe I like to turn grumpy into a smile. It works for me.
Now, let me go and dust off my War and Peace novel. I might find insight.

JC66 1:49 PM  


The "gruntz" link doesn't work.

Joe Bleaux 2:05 PM  

Um ... Bunker bride Eva?

Laugher 2:06 PM  

He's an idiot.

ghostoflectricity 2:50 PM  

Agree with all Rex's comments except "Manchester," where I agree with the commenters. He may not have been sufficiently high-brow, or high-profile, or whatever, for lit prof Rex's exacting standards, but he was considered to be an important journalist/author of popular history/biography in mid- to late-20th C. America, and his book on JFK's assassination, "The Death of the President" (1967) is considered something of a classic.

I would add that I thought much of the cluing, including the "EMAILS" clue (which Rex pointed out) was ridiculous.

I would also, especially, like to take issue with the cluing for Wernher von Braun, which only one other anonymous commenter has mentioned. He was one of the most morally compromised major scientists of the 20th century. Tom Lehrer nailed the guy perfectly in one of his political-satiric songs back in the '60s:

Masked and Anonymous 3:02 PM  

@JC66 -- ?? -- I tried out the *gruntz* link on my two devices, and it seemed to work ok. Sorry, if U are havin trouble with it -- not sure what could be happenin, there.
@r.alph (keeper of the website) sometimes has me try refreshin my browser screen (usin that little arrow dealy at the end of the top box where U enter urls.) Might possibly help.

M&A Help Desk

Dan Fesperman 3:07 PM  

It's always amusing when Rex gets ticked off because too many items are out of his cultural wheelhouse. I knew the Manchester reference right away, but because Rex doesn't that supposedly means its unfair and horrible? Very entertaining.

FrankStein 3:15 PM  

Perhaps if the clue were “London and Manchester e.g.” and the answer were “Singer” Rex might have known it. Julie London and Melissa Manchester. But I imagine Julie London is as obscure to some as William Manchester is to others.

Anonymous 3:18 PM  

To all those complaining about those complaining that OFL (and acolytes) complains that Manchester is a cypher: it's called a LIBERAL EDUCATION, in the original meaning of the word. And, I know, math is too hard. If you want 'narrow/siloed' training, go to trade school to be a diesel mechanic and vote for idiots to run the damn gummint.

Fred Romagnolo 3:24 PM  

"Ruritania" is the name of a fictional country. It occurs in Anthony Hope's "The Prisoner of Zenda."

JC66 3:34 PM  


Thanks for trying to help.

I can open the puzzle, but the first square is completely red and all the others have red triangles in the upper right corner, and I can't enter letters anywhere.

zephyr 4:13 PM  

Devil is cloven hoofed, hence deuce. Also Nonce is common in Shakespeare, not close to 'A Nance' which is short for a nancy-boy, you can guess that ref.

Anoa Bob 4:14 PM  

This one got off to a great start for me with the evocative SLAPDASH in the opening slot and the spot on "Too fast to be careful" clue. Seems like that could be an apt descriptor of our times.

I got WRITER for "London or Manchester" with just the W in place at 24D, but for the wrong reason. The WRITER I was thinking of was WINCHESTER rather than MANCHESTER, as in Simon Winchester, also an historian. He's probably best known for "The Surgeon of Crownthorne", an
account of the making of the Oxford English Dictionary that was made into a movie "The Professor and the Madman".

Could a MEXICAN private investigator who's a descendant of certain pre-Colombian inhabitants be called an AZTEC TEC?

Masked and Anonymous 4:39 PM  

@JC66 - Oh, now I see. Weird.

Try this puppy out, instead:


M&A Help Desk II

JC66 4:48 PM  



Albatross shell 4:48 PM  

Praise the Lord the streak is dead.
I knew Manchester from The Death of a President that Jackie had censored. Krassner's Realist magazine printed a raw satire of the parts that were left out. Google at your own risk.

I found no STAIN on crossword-dom in the puzzle.Disappointments, yes. I did not finish - NE corner - and I had hope that 41A was going to be Napier of John Napier's bones. But no it was that chicken-ass gambler Pascal. The bones are a set of rods that can be manipulated to make calculations. Probably not as powerful as Pascals but much easier to construct and move. My father made is own set.

The TEXTED and EMAILS clues were solid. If you can find a way they are correct, they are correct. Deliciously misleading yes.
ASIRECALL I had all the crosses but LL before I saw the answer. Similar effect for USSENATE and AGNUSDEI. DINT SMARM NONCE love them all. Could be talked out of NONCE. Thanks to who ever explained the e u variation in AGNUS.

HOUSEMD was the name of the show and the MD was always snuck in except never say always. The show was Holmes inspired as shown by his arrogance and by telling people facts tiny and large about themselves that he should have no way of knowing. And all illnesses are mysteries and never say all.

Anonymous 5:08 PM  

If Rex wants to be cranky much of the time, that's his right. I just hope he doesn't start to dislike the NYT puzzle so much that he discontinues this blog.

I would definitely agree that William Manchester was a distinguished enough writer. Though he and London were such different types of writers, which made it harder to get the connection. For a long time I figured there must be a London unITEd that I'd never heard of.

Had no idea that HOUSEMD was inspired by Holmes, or that that was its real name. So I has dOylEMD instead.

I found QUATORZE to be obvious once I has BRAUN and AZTEC. Before that I could only think of Philippe.

CDilly52 5:25 PM  

Hi everybody!! I have FINALLY been on an actual (almost) vacation this week. My orange tabby (see my avatar) is eating again and I managed to delay meetings and due dates long enough (after two failed tries) to get out of town to beautiful Santa Rosa to annoy my kids (daughter and husband whom I consider my son without the “in-law”).

My daughter has been a mental health professional for ten years in hospital setting, but in order to be able to feed her actor’s soul, and act during the summer months, she became certified to teach special ed and now employs all of her creative and therapeutic skills (she has a BFA in acting and a M.S. in creative arts therapy) to teach 5th and 6th grade special needs kiddos here in Santa Rosa.

On the first day of school this year, the kids came into her classroom to see one half of one wall covered with pictures of famous Americans with a quote above each. From Susan B. Anthony to Harvey Milk, all quotes about truth, justice, facts and self esteem. The board is labeled “Words We Live By,” and her entire year curriculum wove these words into a feeling of inclusiveness, safety, importance of learning and truth and self esteem. As they studied, they challenged themselves and each other and despite their wide panoply of challenges from autism spectrum issues, dysgraphia so serious that it keeps one of the kids from reading and writing, physical limitations and just about any other learning challenge you could imagine, these 12 amazing kiddos not only displayed an sophisticated facility with critical thinking as they created short sentences or paragraphs answering the question “Why did x say ...?” And the answers were featured in a play for parents and teachers yesterday. They recreated their classroom with everyone’s favorite friend, Jasmine as teacher and each student taking other roles as needed. They walked “new student,” Richard through their progress on the WWLB Board to catch him up on their progress throughout the year.

Jasmine asks, “Why did John Adams say, ‘facts are stubborn things?” Oliver says “John Adams wanted everyone to understand that people should be truthful with each other because the facts will either prove it or not.” According to my daughter(and confirmed by his mom) fifth grade Oliver had never formed a complete sentence in his entire school life until this year. He is now reading at a sixth grade level and the pride in both of their faces as he contributed to the play was a real emotional moment. Each of these children had similar showings of accomplishment. And several of the students will be transitioning to mainstream classrooms for middle school. The superintendent of special needs for the district attended at the request (unbeknownst to my daughter) of her principal, and opined to one and all at the end that these students accomplished something equal to or better than the sixth grade “gifted” group. I could not be more proud of my daughter for finding her path and of her kids and families for their accomplishments.

This is a tribute to well funded free public education. My daughter has 12 students and three full time aides. Her counterparts in my home state are burdened with over 20 students often across a much wider age group and often have one or no aides.

All of this to encourage support for public schools wherever you are. The availability of free, high quality public education is perhaps the most important component of the “American Dream,” and is in jeopardy. Without it, students will not be able to reach out for the proverbial brass ring, and without well compensated educators who have resources available to meet students’ needs and encourage them to create their own destiny, who knows how much longer it will take to cure cancer, or attain world peace or end world hunger? I could not be more proud of the Rincon Valley primary school system and will never stop believing.

And this puzzle almost did me in.

CDilly52 5:30 PM  

@chris b 11:21 am. I agree as to difficult, because of the NE (for me). I did finish, barely, and only by running the alphabet!

CDilly52 5:36 PM  

@B. Serf 8:34 am. Well said! I, too am a Manchester fan and have just about lost it completely this week with OFL’s nonsensical (not to mention rude, belittling of this group and downright snarky) comments.

Z 5:58 PM  

@QuasiMojo - I posted my last comment and then realized it might be misunderstood. That is, I can’t keep up with my “To Read” list, let alone have the time to re-read stuff. And I’ll reiterate an earlier point I made that I think might have been lost: I think Manchester himself is late week puzzle worthy, I think the cutesy use of him in a clue is forced. Historians in general just aren’t enough a part of the zeitgeist for the cutesy clue treatment.

@anon12:10 - If you’re going to quote my flippant remarks you might try understanding them first. “Never trust anyone who wants the job” is not the same thing as “anyone who wants the job doesnt deserve it.” Maybe if I had said GoT was 8 seasons of “never trust anyone who wants the job” it would have been easier for you to understand. And yes, GoT is just an extended riff on Plato. Of course they make Bran king, he doesn’t want the job and he’s the closest thing to a philosopher-king in the character list. I mean, it wasn’t me who wrote The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.

jae 6:23 PM  

@CDilly52 - I’m also a parent of a CA public school teacher and I justed wanted to say Amen!

B. Serf 6:23 PM  

Search if NY Times Archives:

Jack London: 359 citations (first citation: May 6, 1905)

William Manchester: 393 citations (first citation: July 12, 1953)

I suppose one may appeal to vague notion of the "zeitgeist," but NYTimes Crossword puzzle solvers read the New York Times.

jae 6:27 PM  

@CDilly52 - I meant to add that she is the one on the left in my blog pic.

QuasiMojo 6:33 PM  

I hear ya, @Z. I usually re-read a favorite after I’ve thrown a new book across the room. And hi @Amelia. Glad I conjured you up. Today’s New Yorker was a good one. By Patrick Berry.

BarbieBarbie 7:14 PM  

OK @Z, I have to ask about your avatar. Last scene in Carrie?

pabloinnh 7:31 PM  

@CDilly 52-That's great stuff about your daughter. You are obviously very proud of her, as well you should be. Special Ed teachers will always hold a special place in my heart, not only because they are some of the finest and hardest working of all the teachers I've known, but also because of all the exceptional work they've done with my son. He was born, we eventually discovered, with a rare condition called ACC, which you can find if you're interested. Way behind developmentally and no idea what his future would be. Live at home forever? Group home?

The short story is that by sheer determination, some great teachers, and two parents who were also teachers, he did surprising things. He got his driver's license. He graduated from high school. He went to college, first a two year school for kids with challenges, and then a real four year university, from which he graduated. He found a great woman and got married. He now has a delightful daughter and is working as a classroom aide, helping with autistic students, and yes it's a public school. We're pretty proud of him too.

Which is all to say, thank God for our great public schools. And teachers. We always hear about "our failing schools". I wish we heard more about the amazing success stories that happen every day.

JC66 7:43 PM  


You need no more reason to stay then @CDilly's 5:25 & @pablo's 7:21 posts. Great stuff!

Anonymous 7:47 PM  

Tickets to a show are “passes” to get in somewhere...

Anonymous 7:51 PM  

Tickets to something are “passes” to get in...

Anonymous 8:04 PM  

Here's a friendly piece of advice. When you're in a hole, stop digging.
Every philosophy major since ~550 BC

Joe Dipinto 8:07 PM  

@JC66 et al --

Quasi's not going anywhere. If he tries, I will hunt him down posthaste and drag his ass back here. Pfft. The very idea.

CDilly52 8:20 PM  

Thanks @jae 6:23 pm. I am so impressed and can’t wait to retire out here!! Hopefully I can volunteer for the schools.

CDilly52 8:20 PM  

I looked and assumed...

CDilly52 8:23 PM  

@Panloinnh 7:31 pm. AMEN!! My Kate will have an ACC student next year and is deep in research. You, too should be so proud of your child’s perseverance, inner strength and accomplishment. Congratulations!

Lewis 9:05 PM  

@cdilly52 and @pablo -- Beautiful posts!

john towle 9:07 PM  

Everybody should read at least two brilliant works about the darkest hour in the history of humankind IMHO: The Rise And Fall of The Third Reich by William L.Shirer and American Caesar (aka Douglas MacArthur) by William Manchester. Unforgettable. Then go visit Auschwitz, Birkenau and Malthausen. Lest we forget.


pabloinnh 9:09 PM  

@CDilly552-Glad to hear about you daughter's research. We have been to CalTech and UCSF to participate in research projects. There's still a lot to find out about ACC, but progress is being made, and we're fortunate to be one of the families who don't have severe problems--some of the ACC kids we have met need lots and lots of support, and I'm thankful that teachers like your daughter are there for them.

Also, my cats say hello.

Suzanne Lander 9:53 PM  

The clue for 24D would have been great as London or France (instead of that other guy who nobody knows).

Joe Dipinto 10:50 PM  

Yes, well, except one's a city and one's a country. That would have been even more baffling.

GILL I. 11:31 PM  

@CDilly...I thought about you being in Oklahoma. Glad you're in Santa Rosa.. Weather is quite nice here, no? My niece is a teacher in Spain...her absolute love is the path she chose with those that have a "challenge." Children - a smile....even when it's difficult. Life can be wonderful when we have people that make it work.

Carole Shmurak 10:45 AM  

House: original title was House MD, but MD was later dropped. Ways it was based on Sherlock: House=Home , sidekick was Dr. James Wilson (John Watson), House was an addict and brilliant thinker.

GARM_77 12:36 PM  

Thank you. Couldn't have said it any better.

FloShoe 12:24 PM  

Now that I’ve found Rex, when I’m in the middle of a puzzle I hate (like this one), I look forward to reading about how much Rex hated it too!

Burma Shave 10:00 AM  




spacecraft 11:38 AM  

Did it, found it Friday-tough, but not inordinately, so...medium. Of course, had no earthly idea of QUEENVIC's birthday, so 100% themeless to me. Lot of never-heards, especially RURITANIA. They really put that in actual cases?? USSENATE was hard to parse, as was ASIRECALL, as I...yeah. The inimitable Lena HORNE is DOD. Some wifty cluing, but nothing I'd call flat-out unfair. Hey man, It's Friday. Birdie.

Diana,LIW 1:43 PM  

AGNUSDEI did me in. Was glad to get all the rest. Lots of fun watching the words appear - you know?

Also had a Natick at EREAdER/dORNAN. Not likely I'll be watching the 50 Shades any time soon. That tricky little "E" hanging out there fooled me.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting to see what Saturday brings

rainforest 3:50 PM  

I'm in agreement with @Spacey on this puzzle, except that I got QUEEN VICTORIA off nothing, verified by QUATORZE.

I found it a lively romp with lots of variety in the clues/answers, and some dandy clues like the ones for TIX, PEND, NONCE, and SMARM.

There was nothing I recoiled from, but lots of enjoyment throughout.

Wooody2004 4:26 PM  

I really PRAYed that they would sneak the word "Secret" somewhere in the puzzle.

Learned from Blog: NONCE is a British sex offender. To indicate that they were to be segregated in Gaols, they were branded with the letters N.O.N.C.E., which stood for Not On Normal Communal Exercize.

Eva BRAUN will not be DOD, unless the first D stands for "DominaTRIX".

leftmost 7:53 PM  

Lots of random odds and ends here, many requiring help from friendly crosses. That's okay, but it results in a kind of scattered solve and a few questions.

Does DRYEYED always mean "not moved at all"? Many grieving and other deeply affected people that I've known don't necessarily shed tears.

Was REDCHINA seriously considered a "Cold war opponent"? Not that I recall. USSR/Russia was the unrivaled opponent during that era.

ASIRECALL seems pretty random and unusual as an "opening of an account", doesn't it?

ABRAM and ALDO are obscure proper names, but crosses confirmed them.

Just a bunch of odds and ends today, but Lena HORNE isn't one of them. She's always been pretty special.

Anonymous 11:23 PM  

to John Towle 9:07 PM - I also would recommend reading "They Thought They Were Free" by Milton Mayer, and visiting Wounded Knee and Waco.

Anonymous 8:26 PM  

I don't deny that Wm. Manchester was a well-regarded and important writer, but he isn't as well-known as some of you think. Your knowing about him is no more valid than RP's *not* knowing about him. More to the point, Jack London has about 27x has many hits, and for the clue to work, the two people noted need to be in the same ballpark.

(I googled each with his name in quotation marks and added the work AUTHOR, to ensure that I got only relevant hits. 101K for WM, 2.7mil for JL.)

@Small Town Blogger: Your inbox contains email (singular, because it's a group noun), and your email is composed of messages (plural). Just as your receptacle for USPS delivery is full of mail (singular), which comprises letters, bills, circulars, etc.

@Brit Solves NYT: I read somewhere, probably around the time of the "beaner" ADO, that Shortz allows some fill that has both a neutral and an offensive definition. He draws the line where he wants to, though, and with tone-deafness: We now see the woman-demeaning TIT often-ish (tit for tat; a type of bird), but we'd never see, for example, the nasty slang for a gay man even though it has a benign meaning (cigarette) in the UK.

@QuasiMojo: TNY puzzle isn't bending over backwards to be trendy; it has commissioned several gifted 20-something constructors in an effort to draw younger people to puzzles, because no one wants the art form to die along with us older solvers. I'm sure that many Maleska fans were fuming as Shortz introduced the innovations that we have loved for 20+ years; now it's our turn to accept that another generation's innovations are necessary.

Overall I'm with RP -- a dull puzzle and a joyless solve, with olde fill (and *I'm* olde, but I don't need or want Maleska-era fill) and clues that were stupidly hard rather than clever or interesting. And either make a tribute-to-QV puzzle, or omit her, but this passing reference on the 200th anniv. of her birth and nothing else -- yechh.

[Syndie Solver, 7 5 19]

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