Action film director Zack / FRI 6-14-19 / Mythological judge of dead in underworld / Supreme god of universe in ancient Egypt / Banjoist Fleck / 1/746 horsepower / Schooled on field / Royal stand-in

Friday, June 14, 2019

Constructor: Caitlin Reid

Relative difficulty: Mediumish (maybe on the easier side ... I wasn't in speed mode, honestly) (6:01)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Zack SNYDER (14D: Action ifilm director Zack) —
Zachary Edward Snyder (born March 1, 1966) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He made his feature film debut in 2004 with a remake of the 1978 horror film Dawn of the Dead. Since then, he has done a number of comic book and superhero films, including 300(2006) and Watchmen (2009), as well as the Superman film that started the DC Extended UniverseMan of Steel (2013) and its follow-ups, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017). He also served as co-screenwriter for 300Sucker Punch (2011), and 300: Rise of an Empire (2014), an executive producer for Suicide Squad (2016) and Aquaman (2018), and as co-writer of the story for Wonder Woman (2017) and Justice League. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was some kind of ride. A roller coaster. A BEAST! (27D: World's longest wooden roller coaster, with "The"). Actually, not a beast at all—at least not difficulty-wise. But my emotions were certainly getting thrown all over the place. No sooner would I "ugh" than I'd "whoa" and then "WHOA!" In the end, there were more whoas than ughs, so the whoas have it (whoas are good, btw, in case that wasn't clear). Winced at PREGGO (that and "preggers" just ... no) (I mean, good, in-the-language slang, just ... cutesy euphemisms for normal bodily things make me cringe ... whatever, sometimes words just rub you the wrong way ... please don't put BUN IN THE OVEN in youtr grids, thanks. "KNOCKED UP" is a movie, so that's fine). I probably would've winced harder if the constructor had been a dude, but ... yeah, not a pleasant "word" to me. So the puzzle and I got off on the wrong foot right away, but then when I got HARD PASS, I was like "OK, maybe this is going somewhere good." Totally stymied trying to get out of that corner, so I came down via ASIS / RAMS / AMENRA, the last of which made me go "ugh" again (this time, for crosswordese reasons), and then ENROLLEE, another disappointing blow (buncha 1-point tiles strung together), but Then DEAD SEXY and WINK WINK lifted me up again. This pattern kept repeating. But at the finish (in the eastern part of the grid, generally) the good far outweighed the bad.  The NW corner is particularly nice. Overall, a bold, daring, contemporary grid.

Things I thought as I solved this thing:
  • 15A: Reading Fightin Phils, e.g. (AA TEAM) — Eastern League! The Fightin Phils are coming to town to play the Binghamton Rumble Ponies next month. Might catch one of those games.
  • 3D: Put away a sandwich, perhaps (ATE LUNCH) — my go-to example of an arbitrary-phrase (or "green paint") answer is "ATE A SANDWICH." I don't know how much better ATE LUNCH is better, but you can see how ATE ___ can get out of hand. ATE BRUNCH? ATE A SNACK? Where will it all end!?!?
  • 33A: Actors' unions? (SHAM MARRIAGES) — just killed me. Had the SHA- and thought it would be "SHARED ... something" (because "unions"?). Even after getting it, I thought it was supposed to have something to do with actual screen actors, movie stars, specifically gay actors who were trying to present a straight image to the outside world. I think this used to be more of a thing. But of course the "actors" in this clue are simply the people pretending to be (i.e. acting as if they were) married.
  • 8D: Die, as a light (GO OUT) — me, mid-solve: "whoa, GOOUT looks crazy in the grid! It's like someone's shouting "GOUT!" 
  • 25A: "It's no use" ("CAN'T WIN") — wow I hate this clue. Complete sentence cluing incomplete sentence = yuck. Also, I can't imagine someone saying "CAN'T WIN" without a pronoun, specifically the "I." Even if you mostly eat the "I," you're still saying it. I had CAN'T and just ... couldn't. CAN'T BE? CAN'T DO IT? Ugh.
  • 27A: Celebrity mug shot, typically (BAD PR) — LOL. Again? (twice in two days!)
  • 39D: Reply often made with a sigh ("YES DEAR") — not feeling this. Something about the caricature of marriage as some kind of hell hole where your overbearing spouse is constantly harshing your buzz ... nah. Something normatively sexist about it. Don't like it. Not the phrase, per se, but the clue. I'm assuming the "sigh" is put-upon.
  • 57A: Pro QB Manning, by birth (ELISHA) — Me: "Uh ... PISCES?"
  • 4D: Royal stand-in (REGENT) — first thing I put in the grid. I spend a lot of time with kings and queens in the courses I teach, so after "viceroy" (which didn't fit), this was the first thing to spring to mind.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Chris Mc 12:04 AM  

If a man had constructed this, Rex would have bemoaned WINKWINK and DEADSEXY as creating a frat boy vibe. Glad to see they're his favorite entries from a woman.

jae 12:13 AM  

Bottom half easy. NW medium. NE tough, mostly because I had bOwS... thinking violins have bows for way too long.

Some very fine stuff here, liked it a bunch. This is Ms. Reid’s first themeless and Jeff gave it POW.

Harryp 12:37 AM  

I had no idea when I typed in the "A", that HARD PASS was a thing, but got the happy tone anyway. I didn't know a whole bunch of stuff in this one, PREGGO, ELISHA, etc., so it was challenging for me. That said, I give Caitlin Reid a solid YES, GREAT JOB, for this one.

puzzlehoarder 1:10 AM  

The way Jeff Chen gushes over this puzzle over at xwordinfo you'd think this was the future of late week solving. I certainly hope not because it was an early week experience. This only took 9 seconds longer than yesterday's solve which someone succinctly described as a "nice Tuesday." Actually this was Wednesday time for me but still a big disappointment.

This may be the most user friendly, self correcting, telegraph it's answers from a mile away late week puzzle I've ever solved. Even PB1 puzzles seem sadistic in comparison.

A nice looking puzzle but after Thursday I want to play the pros not the AATEAM. Speaking of sports I think I've figured out the meaning of the 50A clue. I'm thinking it's a sports thing where you so OWN your opponent that you're actually "schooling" them. Don't take my word for it I wanted to spell 1D CAPEESH. Sort of like sheesh which is of course my response to my own spelling once the puzzle shows me the errors of my ways (see the above comment on self correcting.)

chris b 1:37 AM  

ARES/MINOS = Natick for me.

Also, here's some Bela Fleck for ya!

Jyqm 1:44 AM  

Glad I’m not the only one who noticed the lame explanations giving the lie to Rex’s shallow performative #wokeness

Loren Muse Smith 3:23 AM  

Nice write-up, Rex. Lots to love here. I see what you’re saying on ATE LUNCH’s green paint status. But it feels a lot more like A Phrase than ate brunch or ate a snack, but point well taken.

@puzzlehoarder - me, too, for trouble with spelling CAPISCE.

I used to love roller coasters, but something happened after I had kids. I lost my love of slasher movies, lost my love of roller coasters, and gained the ability to untie any knot anywhere anytime. When I chaperoned the senior trip at Cedar Point, I kept looking at this (phallic) roller coaster and feeling sick with fear. It basically shoots you out like a rocket in order to build up the speed to get to the top and then straight down. Sometimes the car train makes it almost to the top but then slowly reverses and rolls backwards to do the rocket start again. I get weak just thinking about it.

Someone asks you a question. You ask why they want to know. They say NO REASON. Alarm bells should be going off in your head. They’re not just curious and you better believe there’s a reason. I set my husband up like this all the time. And he steps in it every time. Speaking of which – Rex- funny that you get a sexist vibe with YES DEAR. In my marriage, I’m the one doing the yes dearing. He’s way too pugnacious to go there. Not me, buddy. There’s not a pugnacious bone in my passive aggressive, patronizing, sneaky-mean constitution.

WILMA – when we got a puppy companion for our dog Fred, we almost named her WILMA. Went with Ethel in the end. What a pair they made: Fred, a regal dignified Great Dane mix and Ethel, a crass head-too-small-for-her-body lab/possum mix. Once, Ethel was so excited that she was going in the car that she launched herself toward the still-closed rear door to our Excursion, splatted, and slid down to the ground.

I posted a comment at the end of yesterday’s bed-wetting flap. So today I’d like to shine a light on another issue, the HARD PASS. A few years ago my husband had a kidney stone. . .

. . .just kidding calm down people take a deep breath.

Caitlin – what with WINK WINK, DEAD SEXY, YES DEAR, EGO BOOST, HARD PASS, SOB STORY…. What’s not to love? Great job.

chefwen 3:36 AM  

DEAD SEXY doesn’t sound SEXY at all, sounds kind of morbid. I had Damn SEXY until it didn’t work.

Off to a rather slow start, puzzle partner gave me a foothold with AA TEAM and HARD PASS, new ones to me. Then he messed me up with SEALpupS at 37A. Messed myself with I GOT thiS at 7A. Finally fixed all of our mistakes and finished.

I’m with Rex with “bun in the oven” “preggo “ etc. Just say it.

Suzie Q 5:09 AM  

I guess I'm just an old timer but this had too many slang this and informal that answers. There was nothing to tickle my brain cells except Minos and isopod.
I would like a ride on The Beast, though. Now that sounds like fun!

Dave K 5:53 AM  

Fun puzzle, but definitely on the easy side for a Friday. Felt much more Wednesday-ish...

And how in the heck hasn't Eli Manning's full first name become more widely-known over the course of the past 15 years? Elisha?? One would think Eagles, Cowboys, or Patriots fans would have had mercilessly mocked that name for quite some time now. I'm all for men with names that are more commonly associated with women, or vice versa -- I mean who cares -- but . . . well, I guess that IS my point: I thought NFL fans would care more, given the overly testosteroned culture of American mainstream pro sports, especially football...

BarbieBarbie 5:53 AM  

Nobody has commented on the mini theme of double letters, so I will, and even a revealer in WINKWINK.


I loved this puzzle. It was just fun to solve, and the clues were out-loud great. I hope we see a lot more from this constructor.

QuasiMojo 6:47 AM  

I can't dislike a puzzle that steers clear of Hogwarts and all, even if it slips in a little Emo. Overall a much better Friday than most lately. Still, I cant disagree with @puzzlehoarder either. Some of the slang here is coarse. I can just hear someone in a bar yelling "Leggo of my Preggo wife." As for bars, I was thinking TABS not DIBS for the "Mine" clue. I guess I had MARGaritas on my mind. That held me up. As did Mao, referring to Atlas-like women holding up the sky. I was thinking of the Himalayas and first wrote in Nepal. So my time was longer than my usual easy Friday. I enjoyed seeing EGO BOOST next to SUN BATHE. Wink, Wink. Loved writing in ELISHA. That's the name of the actor who played everyone's favorite gunsel in "The Maltese Falcon." His relationship with the character played by Sydney Greenstreet did not feel like a "sham marriage." Yes, dear. It's Pride month.

Anonymous 6:54 AM  

NE corner tough. Rest was Friday normal.

Anonymous 6:57 AM  

One of the best NYT puzzles in a long time. Bravo Caitlin Reid.

Anonymous 7:03 AM  

Agree with @Chris Mc .....

Had this been a male constructor, Rex would have been apoplectic over PREGGO and WINKWNK and especially over DEADSEXY.

Ω 7:20 AM  

Right with Rex with the roller coaster effect. AA TEAM was the wince-inducer here. Double A TEAM is how it is said, so seeing it written just bugs me. MOUE is another word that just makes my eyes cross. What? “Pout” isn’t sufficient? We need a fancier word for some reason? As for PREGGO, for me it’s all in the context. Used joyously among friends it is fine. Whispered behind somebody’s back, not so much. As for ARES/MINOS, ARES should be inferable but it is a little naticky.

On the other hand, love the NE and SW corners. Lots of fresh phrases and fun cluing. The “It’s only skin deep” clue was a real groaner, and I like groaners. I agree that the goods outweigh the bads by a good deal.

Yesterday’s nocturnal enuresis kerfuffle calls to mind a new favorite term, Schrödinger’s Douche. This is a GUY (it always seems to be a GUY) who says something offensive and then waits for the response to decide whether or not he was “just kidding.”

jberg 7:20 AM  

I thought 33A was where you pay someone to marry you for immigration purposes. Fun entry, anyway. And while I agree that PREGGO is overly cute, preggers is said all the time in the UK.

@Dave K— Huh? ELISHA is an OT prophet, definitely not female.

amyyanni 7:26 AM  

Panicked at the start as I couldn't find an entry, until AS IS crossing BRAIN appeared, pshew. Really fine Friday. SOB STORY & EGO BOOST are swell (also kept me from guessing BOOST for the BEAST, as I know 0 about rides).

Geezer 7:44 AM  

Along with preggers and PREGGO can we ban:

Baby bump

Baby daddy

and most of all, "We're pregnant" spoken by the father to be. This one irritates me the most, too cute by 3/4.

Hungry Mother 7:52 AM  

My usual Friday slogfest. Luckily for me, I’m taking a break from running on this day of the week, so I can sleep in and then take my time over coffee. The NE was my biggest struggle until it wasn’t. Great exercise for the old BRAIN.

pabloinnh 8:05 AM  

The doors opened with Dr. SEUSS and WILMA and the rest of the answers came in and sat down in an orderly fashion and bang I was done, too soon, as I was having fun.

Thumbs way up to any puzzle that makes me think of Monty Python, in this case Eric Idle as the guy making all the insinuations to his stuffy pub companion with the "Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more! A nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat!" spiel. Brilliant stuff, as usual.

Yeah, PREGGO, no thanks. I always have trouble with "passed" as a synonym for "died". Yes, he was failing for years, but then he passed. What?

Hearty thanks to Ms. Reid, possibly of the Lone Ranger family, for a swell Friday.

Stanley Hudson 8:17 AM  

Am I the only person who initially wrote in JUGS for the “Hooters” clue?

Nancy 8:39 AM  

This took me forever and I have love/hate feelings for it. There was so much in it that was great and there some things that just made me go "Huh?"

Here's what I loved:

The skin-deep BEAUTY trap at 44D where DERMIS was meant to go. I fell right into it. I also really liked WINK WINK; SOB STORY; EGO BOOST and SUNBATHE.

Here's what I hated: REKEY. MARG. PREGGO (The slang word is preggers, I do believe). And the following (slang, I assume) made me go "Huh?": A HARD PASS is a definite No? When did that happen? And DEAD SEXY is the new way to describe a hottie? When did that happen? OWNED means "schooled on the field"? You can be thoroughly drubbed in a sports event without actually learning anything much at all -- other than the fact that you're probably not very good. And while SHAM MARRIAGES is a lot of fun, it does seem an awful lot like Green Paint.

Mao said that about WOMEN (26D)? An early feminist, obviously. Good ol' Mao!

Matthew G. 8:46 AM  

Been a long time since I’ve seen the AMEN-RA spelling. I think both AMON and AMUN are more common. Had AMON and didn’t look at the cross until I got no happy pencil. Not a fan of that entry but otherwise this was great but easy. Some tougher cluing would have spiced things up nicely.

GILL I. 8:48 AM  

@Stanley 8:17...Your JUGS gave me a belly laugh. I mean who comes up with these thing?
Fastest and most enjoyable. Friday in a long time. My only write-over was that little insect instead of ISOPOD at 12D. The rest breezed in.
I agree with some of @Rex's ughs.: PREGGO is about the ugliest word on this planet. Add hubster and that will make my day. @Geezer: I remember the first time I heard "We're pregnant" and I think I went around ranting for a week. WE ARE? No, you dumb shit....I AM. You discharge a bowling ball from that area and then let me know what part of WE you want to enjoy.
I LOVE roller coasters. I usually end up going alone, though. My first real date with hubster was at Disneyland. We waited for about an hour to go on Space Mountain. When we got through, I think he did something in his nethers but we never spoke about it. DEAD SEXY doesn't enter my mind.
Remember when WOMEN wore T-Shirts that said they held up half the sky? Tru DAT.
@Loren: Last night: Class act.
This BROAD is off to make another coffee BREWED with Pete's.....

Larry Levinson 9:07 AM  

My answers disappear any time I change focus on my Android. Anybody else have that problem?

Ω 9:10 AM  

@Geezer and @Gill I - I get the whole “I want to be supportive” and “we’re in this together” thing but I’m with you with just wanting to slap the person who says “we’re pregnant.” No. (plural) You. Are. Not. And it is only slightly less cloying and delusional when the woman says it. But then I remember “knowing everything” and just smile sweetly and offer congratulations while internally shaking my head. Some things can only be learned by experience.

Nancy 9:13 AM  

Nice comment, @Dave K, that Eli would have been teased unmercifully if any of his opponents had found out that his name is ELISHA. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool NY Giants fan and I certainly didn't know it.

DEAD SEXY sounds morbid to me too, @chefwen.

You found this an "early week experience", @puzzlehoarder?? You're not exactly giving me an EGO BOOST. This was a very Friday-ish puzzle for me and I struggled like hell.

@GILL -- I love, love, love your over-the-top rant about the perfectly ghastly male "We're pregnant" declaration!!

Clrd2Land 9:16 AM  

The only wtf moment I had with this puzzle was "marg." Does anyone call a margarita a marg? Never heard it said by anyone, ever.
Otherwise a solid but fairly easy Friday.

SJ Austin 9:23 AM  

Loved this one. A perfect Friday challenge level for me: had to work at it but was able to solve without Google. The fresh vocabulary just added to the fun. Very much on my wavelength.

Wood 9:26 AM  

Totally crashed in the NE corner. Had 9 empty squares (DAT ISO SNY) and somehow could NOT see any of the long acrosses. Had to put it away and go to bed after twice my normal Friday time. Pulled it up this morning and filled em in in 30 seconds. Weird how that happens sometimes.

Clue on DAT was brutal. Does anyone else HATE the phrase "True DAT?"

Mom of Thing One and Thing Two 9:26 AM  

Luv any Thursday/Friday I can (almost) finish, so as happy here as yesterday.

I'm with the folks who wince at "we're pregnant." Credit to dads for what they do, but I think women got dibs on the delivery system.

Dad, tell me you're preggo when you're in a hospital bed making ready to push a baby down through that opening.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

Recovering alcoholic here. After martinis (gin, up, with a twist in summer, olives otherwise), margaritas were probably my second favorite drink (frozen or rocks, no salt). Only saying this to (possibly) build cred for my comment, which is this: I have never heard anyone anywhere call a margarita a "marg."

Sir Hillary 9:33 AM  

Yeah, a super grid. Clued a bit too easy, but that's fine.

-- Don't we need to add GOOUT to the DOOK list?
-- I took Actors' unions too literally and put in filMMARRIAGES. Which of course is the greenest of paint.
-- Enjoyed the clues for ESC and ORBS.
-- We say MARG all the time at home. Doesn't make it right.
-- EGOBOOST sounds like something you'd get at the same time as a flu shot.

I've never said "We're pregnant" but I do like to say that I don't get all the hullaballoo over how difficult childbirth supposedly is because, after all, I never felt a thing. :)

For some reason, I find SEALIONS fighting for space on sun-drenched rocks to be some of nature's best comedy. I once spent two hours sitting IDLE in a kayak in Monterey Bay watching the show and laughing so hard my stomach hurt for three days after.

@LMS -- Nice saucy avatar! Gonna disagree with you on coasters though; I could live 24/7 at Cedar Point quite easily (my A-Fib, not so much). Haven't ridden the giant phallus (easy, people!) because it kept shutting down due to mechanical issues the last time I was there. That can't induce confidence from already-queasy patrons.

@pabloinnh -- Thanks a lot for ensuring my total lack of productivity today, as I am about to embark on some Monty Python YouTube bingeing. Know wot I mean?

Wood 9:39 AM  

Yep, heard it. Wouldn't say it though. Things me off "Real Housewives."

Marg Helgenberger 9:43 AM  

You don’t say I’ve got dibs you just say dibs.

Larry Levinson 9:52 AM  

My answers disappear any time I change focus on my Android. Anybody else have that problem?

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

What is the current male constructor verses female constructor tally that the blogger was so het up about earlier in the year? Is it “old hat” now, or not worth complaining about?

JeffE 10:27 AM  

Rex do you even like crosswords?

Steelkilt 10:28 AM  

I'm with you, Suzie Q. Can one be pregnant in a slang manner? And I've been around people making, ordering, drinking, and thinking about margaritas for many decades, but I've never heard or seen "marg" as slang for that cocktail. "'Rita", maybe; but not "marg."

RooMonster 10:49 AM  

Hey All !
This GUY also didn't know Manning's real first name was ELISHA. I agree as to how that's not well known (and not taunted to him), since he's been a QB many a year. I always thought it was Elias, or Elian. Strange how names change gender. Leslie is another, years ago it was a male name, think actor Leslie Nielsen, now it's a female name.

That AA TEAM clue was evil! Kept reading Reading as, well, reading, as a book. "I've never heard of the book 'Fightin Phils'", the ole Brain said. Only after reading (har) Rex, did I see it was the town in Pennsylvania of Reading (pronounced red-ing).

DEAD SEXY and HARD PASS are older sayings, no? @Nancy, I think they were popular years ago, but not in the zeitgeist for a while. Anyone want to correct me on that?

Gonna do a @Lewis, as he's not here. There are 14 Doubles today. 9 Across, 5 Down.
Aren't MARGarita's commonly slanged to Rita's?
AMEN RA - full name! Remember the poster who was tracking the use of that at the beginning of the year? I believe this is only the second time this year any or all part of that name has been used. What happened to that poster?

Took me almost 4 Rexes, but I don't go for speed (apparently Rex didn't either, and still came in at 6 minutes!). So gOT DONE fairly quick for me for a FriPuz. Slowed down in a few spots, but sussed out KEY words to continue the journey around the grid.

And here is the Monty Python WINK WINK skit. At least I hope. I believe the 0 in the link was a zero, not an O.

Liked the puz. Fun words, nice clues.


JC66 10:51 AM  


After yesterday's big todo, loved your "HARDPASS/kidney stone" comment.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

If Rex continues to PC out the language, we’ll be left with the King James Bible and the Bronte sisters. Take a breath, dude. It’s a crossword puzzle.

David 11:05 AM  

Nice puzzle with much far outside my experience. Never heard of Dead Sexy, same for Hard Pass, no clue what "KOD" stands for, haven't heard about Dibs since I was about 12. Heard about "Bad PR" much more recently.

Who gets to make up slang words or "informal" ones? Marg? no. Ped means to be on one foot? How is that either formally or informally? Not a thing I've ever run across.

7A had me thinking of one of those American games you play with a ball, "I've got it! As for 57A, when the name of a football player is in my brain he's got to be mighty famous. Eli I knew, to few squares for Elias so must be Elisha (I did not know some folks pronounce Eliza that way?).

Preggo? Ick. We were brought up by a nurse and used no such euphemisms, cutesy or otherwise. Pregnant. Our loved ones died. etc. I think this gave us a very healthy relationship to sex and sexuality as well as life and death. She was also a Yankee, so we were also taught that what other folks do with their sex and sexuality is none of our friggin' business unless they want it to be.

Men who say "we're" pregnant are like investment bankers and stock brokers. They make a deposit and, if all goes well, take credit for the result.

Amen Ra. Yeah, transliteration allows as much leeway to a constructor as what type of ending to use. Take your pick: A E O U; what. ever.

Inside my wheelhouse: watt, moue, Bela(!), Ares, Minos, Seuss, esc. Oh. And Sunbathe, something else I associate with my mother.

I liked Sham Marriages not just because of screentime, but because of the way the studios have always started and fanned rumors about the stars becoming romantically involved. And sometimes they do, and that can lead to real-life sham marriages which end a year or two later.

Hard for me but a really good puzzle, I think.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

That Reading team is (in the) MINORS. Accept no substitutes.

tkincher 11:32 AM  

This one definitely skewed easy for me outside of the SW corner (AMEN-RA in particular), several minutes below my average Friday time.

@Clrd2Land: I don't think I've ever heard anyone use "marg" in real life, but I do remember hearing it in an episode of Parks and Rec (the filibuster episode).

Clrd2Land 11:36 AM  

Hello Anon @ 9:32. So sorry to hear about your illness. But you also seem to have a credibility problem. Besides hiding behind your cowardly anonymous tag, you are also taking credit for posts you didn't make. Just to be clear, I made the "marg" comment, and I always sign my (infrequent) comments using my identity. But, thanks for playing.

Joe Dipinto 11:37 AM  

Not a buoying solving experience. Kinda dull for a Friday, imo. The only answer I sorta liked was WINK WINK.

Wiggle, wiggle, turn like a cat
Wink at a man and he wink back
Sea lion woman

Hack mechanic 11:54 AM  

Yep, had Botox for celebrity mug shot, never heard of Zack snyder

GHarris 11:57 AM  

His noble statement notwithstanding, Mao was a notorious serial abuser of young women. So Rex, why no complaint?

albatross shell 11:57 AM  

If someone said to me they were going down to the bar for a couple of MARG's, I sure wouldn't think they were talking about drinks. Did not know MOUE, so at the end an M looked more likely than an S.

Also did not know PREGGO, but did know preggers, so eventually it was inferable. Both seem repugnant in most usages, but used in joy or puzzles seem OK.

Definitely, a hard Friday here, even with 2 Google cheats.

My first key to a quick exit was EtC. Thought it was a clever answer, but a bit less accurate than ESC.


ATELUNCH with a decent clue doesn't bother me. Not worthy of its own mystery.

Ethan Taliesin 12:06 PM  

This one I found a little harder than average, largely due to typing STARmarriages instead of SHAM, complete with some perfectly reasonable looking incorrect down-crossings. WOMEN hold up half the sky, so I realized I was wrong.

Reading Fighting Phils was unknown to me. I kind of like their logos and branding--very old school. I thought it was a book at first, maybe a self-help book.

MARG makes me think of a group of slightly overweight, sexually frustrated, 30-something suburbanite women who harass the guy who comes to clean the pool with inappropriate innuendo.

Perhaps that's a totally sexist mental image, Rex?

jb129 12:15 PM  

I loved this puzzle even though I didn't finish it. It was lots of fun getting close & trying though.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

Hey, Clrd2Land, I wasn't trying to take credit for your genius observation. In my comment, replace "my" with "the following" and you'll see I was just echoing the point you were making just minutes before I hit "publish." That is, I was agreeing with you. As for calling me cowardly, well that's just weird and obnoxious. "Clrd2Land" tells us just as much about you as "anonymous" does about me.

old timer 12:29 PM  

I'm here for NO REASON other than to thank Caitlin Reid for making me, literally, the centerpiece of her puzzle.

Good puzzle too, though maybe a bit too easy for a Friday. Perhaps tomorrow's will be a real BEAST.

Oh, and add me to the crowd who have never heard of MARG. And let me join the chorus of praise for what @LMS contributes to our little cabal.

Oh Please 12:37 PM  

Preggo bothers you? You have some weird issues.

I've never seen it in a puzzle before & I've often heard it, so I consider it great addition.

OffTheGrid 12:40 PM  

Someone had a question about PED, clued "One on foot, informally"

One means a person. One who is walking is "on foot", thus a PEDestrian.

Crimson Devil 12:53 PM  

Excellent deke, at first blush, but this is Friday, with Manning. Peyton has same letter count as ELISHA. No fit with downs, obviously.
Like EGOBOOST & YESDEAR; PREGGO not so much.

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

When I was a kid, living in the projects, most of the teenage girls were PREGGO most of the time.

burtonkd 12:56 PM  

@Hack Mechanic, BOTOX for celebrity mug shot is brilliant!

I was teaching a 6th grader piano. She was holding her arms and wrists at a very awkward angle, so I launched into an explanation of carpal tunnel syndrome. She straightened up and told me she would take a HARDPASS on that. Coming from someone that age, it must be in the language. The term sounds like a Hollywood exec going through script submissions.

Didn't Mike Myers' Austin Powers character refer to himself as DEADSEXY? Just looked it up, it was Fat Bastard, also played by Myers. Was definitely a catch phrase for a while there.

Does PREGGO have an implication of unintended conception?

OWNED means "schooled on the field"? Yes, it does. Both obviously slang. This year, a common phrase came out of James Harden's (annoying) ability to draw fouls: "You reach, I teach". As Nancy said, many players didn't learn...

@LMS, nice to have you back. How long do you spend finding these avatars???

Whatsername 1:03 PM  

@GILL: I almost hurt myself laughing at your “we’re pregnant” remarks. You expressed it perfectly and it is exactly what I want to say every time I hear the expression. It absolutely makes me GAG but what can you do except smile and say mazel tov

PREGGO always makes me think of the spaghetti sauce. Eat it with enough pasta and you’ll look PG even when you’re not. Preggers is kind of sweet but “knocked up” most definitely is not. I don’t care if someone made a movie with that as the title, it sounds coarse and demeaning IMO. Especially if - as @Z pointed out - it’s said furtively behind one’s back, it has a definite WINKWINK not-nice implication.

Back in the days of modesty and decorum, even the word “pregnant” was considered vulgar and just NOTDONE. The genteel expression was to say a woman was expecting, in a delicate condition, or she’s going to have a baby. When Lucille Ball’s pregnancy was written into her TV show in 1952, they were not even allowed to say the word on the air for fear of scandalizing viewers. In a nod to Desi Arnaz’s Cuban heritage, the episode was titled “Lucy Is Enceinte,” My all-time favorite, it’s one of the most well written, beautifully executed performances in that brilliant sitcom’s entire run.

Masked and Anonymous 1:13 PM  

Seed entry bets? Hard to spot em, when almost everything has several others of the same [8-or-less] length. Not that there weren't lotsa primo entries -- this was a nice, solid themelessthUmbsUpper puz.

This leaves SHAMMARRIAGES as the one long-winded outlier. Wasn't aware of it, as an in-the-lingo viable entity in the wild, but wasn't real hard to figure it out. {Actors' unions?} clue did try to put up a fight, tho. I don't think sham marriages are supposed to have anything with film actors, right? Just that the happy couple are sorta puttin on an act.

Zack SNYDER is a schlock flick maker/writer. So, kinda knew that dude. Not so much, on MARG & PREGGO & ISOPOD & MINOS. Didn't know BELA Fleck, but do know some BELA flicks -- can't recall Dracula ever playin on the banjo, tho.

staff weeject pick [of a modest 9 choices]: KOD. Better clue: {Kape ___ ??}.

Just had a deer and her fawn stroll through our back "acreage". New. Usually, we mostly get squirrels and munks. And rugrats.

Thanx for the kool FriPuz, Catlin Reid darlin. Congratz on yer DEADSEXY first themeless!

BADPR. har

Masked & Anonymo4Us
"Now Acceptin Help from Foreign Signs of Intelligence"

de-sexed runt:

Teedmn 1:17 PM  

Normal Friday time for me so not overly easy here. I blame the NW. I couldn't get traction there (even though, in retrospect, REGENT should have been a gimme considering the large number of fantasy books I read where REGENcy is a plot device - I just couldn't get past the idea of a body double.)

I mis-tensed my 3D once I did start filling in the NW - I don't know my AA from my AAA teams (didn't know what the second half of AAA___ was going to be but I was willing to find out.) So "eat" before ATE.

StArMARRIAGES didn't help that section emerge either.

GOOUT puzzle, Caitlin Reid!

Teedmn 1:21 PM  

Oh, and DEAD SEXY is creepy to me also. It brings to mind the phrase, "Pretty girls make graves" which was a line in a Smiths song and inspired the name of another band (and Wikipedia says was originally a Jack Kerouac quote). Creepy, I tell you.

JC66 1:29 PM  

re: "We're pregnant"

Many years ago, in my callow youth, I dated a long distance operator. One morning, after waking up sick to my stomach and kneeling over the bathroom throne for 15 minutes, I was relieved when she told me she hadn't reversed the CHARGEs.

The above joke is in honor of the upcoming Father's Day.

Anonymous 1:35 PM  


Think of the phrase 'the boxer was Knocked Out', or KO'd.

Some similar experiences to Rex and others - flew through lower half, after realizing Elijah would be a very tough cross for the down which turned out to be EGOBOOST.

Tougher up top, especially the NE. Had to adjust from IGOTthiS too.
Finished, but had to Google the director, as almost all of New England was impenetrable.

Hesitated to put in BAD PR, since it was just an answer yesterday, but that does happen, although BOTOX answer by @Hack mechanic was damn clever - maybe a Saturday answer though.

Thought 37A might be SEALpups but waited for crosses.

Have to wonder about Rex's object-o-meter - most of the times cruel dictator types like Idi Amin, Mao and Stalin are called out as not being puzzle-worthy, and today Mao gets a pass. Too bad crosswords can sometimes lead to cross words, or even crossed swords.


Uncle Alvarez 2:16 PM  

Did anyone wet the bed last night?

Hartley70 3:13 PM  

Lots that was unfamiliar here. The toughest spot for me was WINKWINK because KOD made no sense to me. Kids on Drugs? Weird.

Speaking of kidney stones, and who wants to, I’m having an intimate relationship with one as I type. Worst date ever.

@Gill, Woohoo! You’ll make a gorgeous MOB! Don’t stress about the rehearsal dinner. I did my daughter’s too and with the wine and laughter everyone has a guaranteed swell time. I’m so happy your family has a day of total joy approaching!!

Doc John 4:50 PM  

Nice clue on BEAST. They actually got it correct that it's the worlds longest WOODEN coaster but not the world's longest coaster. That would be Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima Spa Land in Japan (and, coincidentally, my 1000th unique coaster ridden).
BTW, Beast is better than both of the coasters that are longer than it, especially at night!

Runs with Scissors 4:54 PM  

Glad many of you found this easy. I got the NW, some of the SW, and came to a screeching halt in the center.

Had SHAMM____ES and that was a head-scratcher for the longest.

In the NE 7D and 8D were gimmes. 9D "round figures" were, of course, "estS." Because giving a quote in round numbers means an estimate. That killed me forever.

Finally, after longer than I would like to admit, they began to fall. No DNF, no cheats, but it was a close one.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

@Anonymous 10:54 AM

The King James Bible is anything but peaceful, serene, and PC.

Cassieopia 5:14 PM  

Fantastic puzzle, and I was on pace for a record breaking Friday until the NE corner. Finished the puzzle around midnight last night, but no happy music for IGOTthiS crossing tAT, hSOPOD, or iOREUP. And for the life of me, I could *not* see past IGOTthiS. It was sooooo perfect for "Mine!" So, I slept on it, and despite copious cups of coffee the next morning, brain cells wouldn't budge. Embarrassed to say I ended up having to cheat by coming here, very disappointing to have gotten hung up on DIBS for NOREASON.

MOUE went in right away, a silver lining from my guilty habit of consuming Georgette Heyer Regency romances where people are forever indulging in deprecating moues. ENROLLEE was another "plop it in and see what happens" and I was rewarded with that ineffable thrill of having actually guessed correctly.

My son fishes with a nearly twitchy passion, and he took a great video of him reeling in a silver salmon with a SEALION in fast pursuit. There's combat fishing, then there's combat fishing with sea lions.

I'm with @LMS; a wise comment that deescalates parental angst is always welcome.

Cassieopia 5:19 PM  

p.s. love roller coasters although my inner ear is getting too ossified to handle them well anymore. But my brother and I once rode the Gemini at Cedar Point 13 times in a row; it was a weekday, there was no line, and it was pure heaven.

albatross shell 5:44 PM  

I can understand why you could call Zach Snyder a schlock filmmaker; his movies are horror and comic book based. However, they are also expensive and meticulously made with cutting edge technology. I thought his Dawn of the Dead remake was half decent. 300 I really enjoyed. The scene when the Persian emmisaries come under a flag of truce to propose terms for Sparta's surrender King Leonidas looks over at his wife wordlessly asking "you know what I want to do with these insulting idiots, should I?", and she lowers her eyes with the slightest of nods, before he pushes them into the bottomless pit was a superb bit of filmmaking. His next movie was The Watchman. The opening credits create an alternate history of the USA in the length of time it takes Dylan to sing "The Times They Are a-Changing". But taste is taste, film or soup. Doesn't bother either us I'm sure. Or is that like LMS telling hubby she was just curious.

I see PED in PEDcrossing traffic signs somewhere.

IGOTDIBS and mine seem just slightly off. Maybe: Laid claim to. Or is laid wrong there?

bauskern 5:55 PM  

I didn't like the cross or ARES and MINOS. The S was a total guess on my part. And MARG for a margarita? Does *anyone* use that term? WINKWINK was cute, and I liked BADPR, but overall I thought this puzzle was kind of meh, especially for a Friday.

pabloinnh 7:39 PM  

Just catching up with y'all, or all y'all, to be more specific, but have to say to @Whatshername that if there was an episode of "I Love Lucy" titled "Lucy is enceinte", then Lucy must have suddenly become married to a Frenchman. The Spanish term is "encinta", although another word for the same condition is "embarazada", which can be misused by female English speakers in ways that lead to hilarity. Been there and heard that one.

Anonymous 7:43 PM  

@Doc John:
BTW, Beast is better than both of the coasters that are longer than it, especially at night!

That's because wood coasters 1) feel like they'll fall down on the least sideways G and 2) feel like they'll toss you to the ground on the least sideways G.

But each to his own.

GILL I. 7:56 PM  

@pablito...@Whatsername is correcta mundo. The episode is called "Lucy es Enceinte." Maybe the Cuban Americano translators were doing the "Cierra la window que eta reinando bit.
@Hartley...It seemed liked just yesterday you, too, were the MOB. How time flies!!!!

Aketi 8:03 PM  

@Pablo, @Whatshername is correct. The episode is actually oddly called Lucy is Enceinte. She acknowledged that it didn’t make sense.

pabloinnh 9:14 PM  

@GILLI and @Aketi--I'm sure you're both right, along with @Whatshername. Thanks for the info, but I still wonder why they would do such a thing. I know there's espangles (sorry about the lack of an accent mark), so I guess we have to chalk this one up to frampanol (sorry about the lack of a tilde). Where did the French guy come from that worked at Desilu? Strange days indeed.

Whatsername 9:23 PM  

@pabloinnh: I knew the word was enceinte but also knew it was not the proper Spanish so I google checked just to make certain. I thought if anyone was going to question the discrepancy it would be GILL but as usual she is right on top of things, even in the midst of MOB activities. Good luck with all that @GILL and mazel tov.

Joe Dipinto 11:56 PM  

"Enceinte" was pretty well Americanized as a euphemism for "pregnant" back then -- it didn't reference the nationality of the person. I guess everything just sounds classier in French.

Masked and Anonymous 12:06 AM  

@albatross shell: yo.
M&A is a big schlock flick fan. FYI, My bro-in-law and I tend to lump anything horror/fantasy/sci-fi/comics-superhero/cliffhanger-serial into our ultra-inclusive "schlock" genre. We hold schlock Friday flickfests regularly.

We luved "The Watchman", btw. Haven't caught the Dawn of the Dead remake, yet. Sucker Punch was … well … at least a Friday night well wasted.

Take care and keep on schlockin' …


Marina 1:19 AM  

I do not understand why so many people don't like the word pregnant! As a late 20s woman who has many preggo friends, it's really a standard word we use to describe pregnancy. It's a way of dealing with this new stage that's going on in our lives that we don't in any way feel emotionally ready for and yet somehow is happening anyway.

Also, I feel like there are many man-specific or male-leaning words in crosswords. I was extremely pleased to see this female-specific!

joebloggs 4:20 AM  

Couldn’t agree more. NEVER MARG

rondo 10:44 PM  

As of Wednesday I am officially an orphan. Mom passed after a brief but difficult physical struggle and a longer fight with dementia. My ultimate yeah baby is gone. I'll be back at some point.

Burma Shave 11:00 AM  


TESS would GOOUT to SUNBATHE and think,
"My SHAMMARRIAGES caused BADPR and apoplexy,
and my WILE's still NOTDONE, WINKWINK."


spacecraft 11:28 AM  

Hand up for filMMARRIAGES. NW came along later for me, as I wasn't sure of the CAPISCE spelling, and never heard of a HARDPASS--which to me is a short bullet pass over the middle to the tight end just before he gets creamed. This Phillie fan knows well that Reading is their AA farm club; just hesitated to put in the AA (though why should I?). As to PREGGO? Nah, I don't buy it. Leggo my PREGGO! Seriously?

I don't know why MARG wasn't clued as CSI actress and DOD Helgenberger instead of some half-baked--and never-heard-of--abbr. for a margarita. The most honorable of mentions for the DEADSEXY TESS, by now well known as "the best part of my day."

This again was an uncomfortable puzzle to do; a lot of funky clues which don't really fit. E.g.: "Mine!" for IGOTDIBS. This phrase is more about taking turns, being first, etc. than about objects. "Mine!" sounds like a kids' fight over a toy.

Anyway, I did it, and overall it was fine. Par.

leftcoast 3:56 PM  

Couldn't get with the general tone and feeling of this puzzle, unfortunately.

Dragged down by MOUE, BADPR, SHAMMARRIAGES, DEADSEXY, and WINKWINK, as well as its surfeit of PPPs, slang, informals, and oddities like OWNED for "schooled on the field", SANDAL (just one?), and others.

Did slog successfully through most of it except for the spelling of CAPISCE, which led to a small cascade of errors in the NW corner.

All on me, not the puzzle.

Diana,LIW 4:20 PM  

@Rondo - all my condolences.

The puzzle was lost as my PR was forPR rather than BAD. And my mythological gods and judges remain nameless, so that would be no help.

However, for the part I got, I am feeling like MASTER of the universe.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 5:56 PM  

This Friday offering continues a week of interesting puzzles. A few things of note here:

I've never heard the term PREGGO - preggers, yes, but I think either is OK. Agree that "we're pregnant" is just too too.

I didn't see if it was explained, but is the phrase HARD PASS a blackjack term, or is it another urination issue? Also, the only usage I'm aware of, of DEAD SEXY, is that it was uttered in an Austin Powers movie.

@rondo - my sincere condolences. Losing your mother is truly a tough loss.
Liked this puzzle.

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