Nickname in early jazz piano / FRI 6-7-19 / Early Nahuatl speaker / Outline in Arby's logo

Friday, June 7, 2019

Constructor: Michael Hawkins

Relative difficulty: Medium (5:51)


THEME: none

Word of the Day: Earl "FATHA" Hines (5A: Nickname in early jazz piano) —
Earl Kenneth Hines, universally known as Earl "FathaHines (December 28, 1903 – April 22, 1983), was an American jazz pianist and bandleader. He was one of the most influential figures in the development of jazz piano and, according to one major source, is "one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz".
The trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie (a member of Hines's big band, along with Charlie Parker) wrote, "The piano is the basis of modern harmony. This little guy came out of Chicago, Earl Hines. He changed the style of the piano. You can find the roots of Bud PowellHerbie Hancock, all the guys who came after that. If it hadn't been for Earl Hines blazing the path for the next generation to come, it's no telling where or how they would be playing now. There were individual variations but the style of ... the modern piano came from Earl Hines."
The pianist Lennie Tristano said, "Earl Hines is the only one of us capable of creating real jazz and real swing when playing all alone." Horace Silver said, "He has a completely unique style. No one can get that sound, no other pianist". Erroll Garner said, "When you talk about greatness, you talk about Art Tatum and Earl Hines".
Count Basie said that Hines was "the greatest piano player in the world". (wikipedia)
• • •


Very nice Friday grid, for the most part. Lots of colloquialisms, and slang, so it felt very fresh. I'm on record as despising the term ADULTING, but it's a word in the world and I am learning to coexist with it (though I'll neeeeevvvvvver use it). The cluing was off my wavelength much of the time. "ARE YOU GOOD?" in particular felt strangely clued "Is there anything else I can help with?" sounds like something a sales clerk would say to a customer, whereas "ARE YOU GOOD?" decidedly does not. Mostly, though, the clues didn't seem wrong; I just struggled (a bit) to pick up their meaning. Also there was a bunch of trivia I didn't know, like Einstein's wife's name (ELSA) and the Lone Ranger's real ("real") last name (REID). I always confuse Buck OWENS and Buck O'NEIL and did again today. I felt slightly guilty about getting CORY so easily—I really was too old for that show, but that didn't keep me from watching it. A lot. Man I was depressed in grad school. Any way... thank you for not making me spell TOPENGA (TOPANGA!?)


The one huge, obvious, glaring, how-did-you-not-fix-this flaw with this puzzle—an objectively bad spot—is the FATHA / TOLTEC crossing. I have that "T" circled and a giant "YIKES" written next to it on my puzzle print-out. Predictably (I mean, Very Predictably) the first Twitter responses to this puzzle overwhelmingly pointed to this cross as a problem. The fact that I have heard of TOLTEC, and knew FATHA from earlier puzzle failures, doesn't make me feel any more accepting of this cross. Proper nouns are very dangerous, and when you get complacent with them, you create areas where a good chunk of the solving population is going to have to guess. In short, this cross is a total Natick—two not-extremely well-known proper nouns crossing at a non-inferrable letter. Honestly, for the constructor, for the editors, that cross should be glowing neon. It needs fixing. It's a blot on an otherwise good grid. It means that many solver will remember only one thing about this puzzle. Bound to leave a bad taste in solvers' mouths. Not worth it.


I am lucky that the long Downs in the NE (DINE AND DASH, ADULTING) were gimmes, because that section was hard for me otherwise. Couldn't convince myself that ECUMENISM was as word (I know the word "ecumenical," but ... not this weird -ism), and I didn't understand the clue for LEDGES until I typed in the "S" (my last letter in the grid). If I wasn't so annoyed by the FATHA TOLTEC Natick, I'd've had a lot more to say about the ridiculousness that is the "word" NAPERY (47D: Table linens). Who says that? Come on. "Table linens" are table linens. NAPERY sounds like KNAVERY and JAPERY's annoying little cousin. It sounds like hijinks that people get up to specifically and solely in the Chicago suburb of Naperville. It is, in short, a hella dumb word and should go back to the obscure place whence it came. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

101 comments:

Runs with Scissors 11:37 PM  

This one put up a bit of a struggle. 5A, in particular, was a WOE. Last to fall.

10A was nice misdirect. Was looking for a 4-letter ore for the longest.

17A may be in the language, but I can pass on it. Sounds entirely too much like a homeless dude leaving a deposit on the sidewalk. It just does. No breakfast test involved; I have a cast-iron stomach.

26A just seems unfinished….”SON OF….” Missing the “A.” Har.

Yo, PARDNER. Let’s sashay on over to the saloon and have us a sarsaparilla. JUST SO.

Like this. Gave me a bit of a tussle, made me think, had to go at it from all directions.

OPEN DEBATE AGONIES
Mark, in Mickey’s North 40

Harryp 11:41 PM  

I had upraise, then raise up for 8Down, which caused me a lot of time in that section. When I was in the Southeast corner, I put in Alamo off of the A instead of ASPEN. There were multiple cases where I went off the track, but I managed to pull it all together in average Friday time. While finishing up in the North Central, I put in TENT, which I couldn't get from that clue. Good job of trickery there. Kudos to Michael Hawkins for an interesting Friday.

jae 12:09 AM  

Medium-tough. Just about the right amount of resistance for a Fri. Very smooth, fun clues, a couple of fine long downs, liked it a bunch.

Just checked, Jeff gave it POW!

the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד 12:36 AM  

My folks used to talk about NAPERY. Also cutlery and crockery.

puzzlehoarder 12:45 AM  

Once again we're listing the review under the wrong day of the week. This FRIDAY was a little on the challenging side. As is usually the case the start was slow.

On a better day either NORA or DATA would have gone right in. As it was FATHA was my only top row first guess. However I had no chance of supporting ADD at the one end and FUSED did not give me DIET at the other. On just about any other day ALLY would have given me DATA but not today.

I had to check the downs back in the NW to get the OROMEO gimme. This was instantly supported by IMA. Once that "I" gave me NADIRS, NORA popped right up and things started moving.

My favorite clue/entry pairing was for TELLY. I noticed TIP being right after ONEIL in the SE. That's a name people ought to recognize. This was a nice SOLID solve inspite of 17A sounding like e request for a stool sample.

Wood 1:04 AM  

Napery was new to me. Napkin + Drapery? Looked it up, apparently it's akin to laundry and ewery. Which isn't about sheep, it's about ewers. But it would be fun if the raising of female sheep were called ewery. You could run a ewery shop, name it Woolworth's.

Anoa Bob 1:10 AM  

I'm not a big fan of casual colloquial phrases in my puzzle so AREYOUGOOD and DOMEASOLID got me of to a rocky start. (The latter sounds like some kind of pre-bowel movement mantra.) And then along comes DONTIKNOWIT. No help.

Is STORYARC the same thing as plot? Sounds a lot more sophisticated and hip, right? I can top that, to wit STORYTRAJECTORY.

DINEANDDASH brought back memories of restaurant bartending days. They usually would try to sneak out one at a time, rather than making a DASH all at once. I got good at catching them.

Here's Tracy Chapman's FAST CAR.

Anonymous 1:25 AM  

How does one get "diet" from "assembly"?

chefwen 3:03 AM  

DO ME A SOLID??? Sure, I’ve heard that, but are we really going to go that route in the puzzles? Heaven help me now. We did pretty well until we circled around and landed in the NW. Kind of fell apart up there. Puzzle PARDNER filled in ECUMENISM with the few crosses that I had, that was a huge leg up in that area. TOLTEC was unknown, had raiseUP at 8D. Spent most of the time up there trying to sort that mess out. Finally got ‘er done. Phew!

Brookboy 3:49 AM  

I had to read Rex’s blog twice; I agreed with practically everything he said. A rare moment. I can understand what he said about that Natick crossing at 7A/7D, but I’ve enjoyed jazz for much of my adult life, and I was able to infer Earl Hines’s nickname.

I thought this puzzle was pretty much a perfect Friday puzzle. It took some thinking and some guessing, and then some more thinking and guessing.

My first thought about 17A was, “...so what the hell is a DOME AS OLID...” Duh!

When I was a kid back when my father, smelling of nicotine and cigarette smoke, would cut my hair with hand clippers that he squeezed with his hand, thereby cutting some hair and pulling some out by the roots, he would have the radio on so we could listen to The Lone Ranger together. I am sure that I heard his real name on more than one episode, but my mind went blank on that clue. I needed all the crosses. (I hated the haircuts but I loved listening to The Lone Ranger, and the old man’s aroma of nicotine and smoke inspired feelings of warmth and security in me.)

Mica Hilson 4:32 AM  

I loved this puzzle (and finished in a faster-than-usual time), but I'm very curious about the reaction it will get from the blog's regular commenters, because a lot of it is based around long phrases rarely used by people over 50.

Chim cham 5:54 AM  

Great puzzle. Funny, spot-on write-up from Rex.

BarbieBarbie 6:22 AM  

@Mica, it was great. Just because those phrases never leave our mouths doesn’t mean they never enter our ears. Actually the “ARE YOU GOOD” one seems a bit off because it’s rarely used in a setting formal enough to include the verb. “You good?” sounds more natural to me. Maybe I’m not enough over 50. What impresses me about this puzzle is how many ITL phrases could be crossed in those stacks at the top.

Got hung up in the SE after I confidently threw down sOcket for the eye clue. In the end “eye site” for POTATO was my favorite clue. Just great.

This one was a treat. More please.

amyyanni 7:10 AM  

Love it! Lots of fresh phrases and clues. And not only was Earl Hines a fantastic jazz pianist, he's also the father of Gregory Hines, who was one of the best dancers ever. No hyperbole. Nifty including Theresa May and REMAIN (Brexit).

Hungry Mother 7:10 AM  

After failing on a Natick on the mini, I had a long slog on this one. The NW caused much suffering. Slower than usual, but happy to finish, just as I ran the Dexter/Ann Arbor half marathon last Sunday.

Wm. C. 7:17 AM  


@Anon1:25 --

A DIET is a political assembly, most famously that of the Holy Roman Empire.

Anonymous 7:21 AM  

As a biologist, I do not care for the clueing for RNA...it is transcription for a process and RNA is a molecule all on its own which copies part of the DNA to be used, in this context, mostly

kitshef 7:30 AM  

Very unpleasant solving experience for me. AREYOUGOOD DOMEASOLID DONTIKNOWIT and IMA are all terrible. Three of those in the NW, so before I was out of that small section I already hated the puzzle. The good things that came later (DINE AND DASH, TOLTEC, VOICE ACTOR) were too few and too late. On to Saturday.

QuasiMojo 7:35 AM  

"Hoist up the John B's sail..." Liked it, kinda. Some over-phrasing. Found it slow-going at first. Toltec has been in the puzzle frequently and really what other eltec is there? "Story Arc" was a stretch as clued. Or maybe the clue was stretched. Never heard of "Boy Meets World." "Napery" sounds like a fetish. All in all, I'm A Good. "Let me go home..."

Irene 7:47 AM  

Sorry, Rex, but I knew NAPERY but have never heard DO ME A SOLID. Don't assume that all puzzlers have the same references.

Nancy 8:15 AM  

Lively and fun to solve -- though there are some phrases I will never use and hope you won't either, at least not when we're together. I'll get back to that in a minute.

I spent more time on 31D (the questionnaire option) than on anything else. I had the final "S" and I wanted YES. I couldn't see any other possible answer. I had written in YES with a heavy hand. And then PARDNER comes along and spoils everything. Now I have -RS. What on earth...? ORS, as in either/or???? Finally, finally I saw MRS. Nice misdirect.

Back to the peculiar phrases. If you ask me ARE YOU GOOD, I'll say "No -- but you'll be very pleased to know that I am WELL." And if you ever say to me DO ME A SOLID, at first I'll stare at you blankly. Then I'll say "Aha!!", go to the kitchen, come back with some cubes of ice and drop one or two in your glass.

Some awful slang, but it didn't trip me up. And I enjoyed the puzzle a lot.

Andrew B. 8:17 AM  

It's fun that all long acrosses have to do with speech.

pabloinnh 8:25 AM  

So FATHA and TOLTEC went in immediately, but I have never ever seen Boy Meets World, not once, so help me. Different strokes, and all that.

Also I'm way over 50 but heard DOMEASOLID yesterday, so yeah, it's out there. SE corner gave me the most trouble, as the clue for EDITOR struck me as extremely sketchy and not really clever. Plus the aforementioned BMW situation.

In all, a nice Fridecito that had just the right amount of push back. Thanks to MH.

mmorgan 8:26 AM  

Really fun and interesting and just crunchy enough. FATHA and TOLTEC were gimmes for me, but I can see how some might struggle with them. I’ve only heard my 36 year old daughter use the word ADULTING, and in a sardonic way, so I think it’s kinda cute. More like this one, please!

ulysses 8:27 AM  

Enjoyed this puzzle as well but couldn’t parse LEDGES and SEE and MRS. so ended up with a DNF. Thought the full was perfect for a Friday but knew TOLTEC having visited the mounds in Arkansas. Finally a puzzle that matched its day.

Joe Dipinto 8:37 AM  

There's a place for us
Somewhere a place for us


I don't know. The puzzle wasn't the napping nadir of napery, but it didn't grab me the way I like to be grabbed on Fridays. I started at the bottom with A-Side -- always a good sign when your first entry needs a write-over. Most of that area -- LEA, APNEA, ESSENCE, EDITOR or some form thereof -- felt like I'd seen it in the grid very recently.

I saw her again last night
And you know that I shouldn't


It's always fun to be reminded of the DIET of Worms. ASIA is east of a lot of things; that clue was amusing too. I was thinking of Egypt's Sinai peninsula and wondering if it had another name that was four letters. But no, they wanted an entire.continent.

Trivia factoid: John Reid was the name of Elton John's long-time manager and is a character in "Rocketman" (in which Taron Egerton is mind-bogglingly awesome as Elton, btw. The movie itself is entertaining but uneven.) He was also Queen's manager.

Speaking of STORY ARCs, our little green paint project seems to have fallen by the wayside. Last installment was posted Saturday 6/1, if anyone wants to pick it up...

Well, here's hoping for a bang-up Saturday puzzle. 'Til then, mates!

So, hoist up the John B's sail
See how the main sail sets
Call for the captain ashore, let me go home

Birchbark 8:39 AM  

The "T" in FATHA/TOLTEC was half-inferable -- I got it after misinferring "s" and "z" from __OLTEC. Then decided to infer from FA__HA and got the "Congratulations" music right away. I had originally entered mixTEC with no crosses.

Though no jazz master, I'm more familiar with Earl Hines than FATHA Hines. Thanks, @Rex for supplying the nice background music on that point. It seems to reinforce the claims that his style influenced the later piano greats.

Lewis 8:41 AM  

A highly enjoyable beauty today. I like colloquialisms in a puzzle so I enjoyed this one in 3D: DINE AND DASH, DO ME A SOLID, DON'T I KNOW IT.

I liked TIP balancing the restaurant stiffer. When I worked as a waiter in NYC, one of the places I worked had a contingent of Yugoslavian waiters, and if anyone stiffed a waiter, that customer wouldn't get more than half a block away before being confronted by at least three of this group, and the tip always came forth. TIP also does double duty in this puzzle, being right next to the almost-spelled-correctly ONEIL.

On top of this we have the mini-theme of double L's (6), and NORA / FATHA / DATA / IMA / ELSA / HODA / ASIA / OVA.

Most of all, it was clear to me that Michael spent a lot of effort on the cluing, not only coming up with clever ones for EDITOR, O ROMEO, TENTS, TELLY, and POTATO (catch the wordplay in [Eye site]?), but having some beautiful misdirects, like [Delicacy] for TACT, and [Rocker, perhaps] for IDOL.

I see in Michael's notes that this puzzle was redone several times before being accepted. Thank you for the work you put into this, Michael, the polish paid off. This gem sparkled!

Bernie 8:42 AM  

Got a big kick out of the Arby's clue.

70–almost 71–in Nampa 8:49 AM  

Met Mr. Hines when he was playing at an establishment which served adult beverages... Los Altos, CA... “the Golden Hoof”... couldn’t believe it. “Fatha” Hines, in Los Altos... dang...
Almost half again my average time for this puzzle. Nice. I like it.

Jon Alexander 8:52 AM  

Yup...Naticked at the T...guessed correctly on the first try (last letter for me so got the jingle), but that was only after letter running through my brain for something that “looked right”

WhatDoing 8:56 AM  

Please, no complaining about not knowing FATHA when 90% of crosswords expect me to know baseball names.

TJS 8:57 AM  

Great puzzle. Love it when Rex whines just because he doesn't know something, and then cites two twits to prove his point. Earl "Fatha" Hines is as elemental to Jazz as Elvis or Chuck Berry to Rock and Roll. Toltec is a common xword entry.
Want a breakfast test ? How about "The Diet of Worms". It's a thing.
Brookboy, thanks for the reminiscence. Have never thought about how my father's smoke and nicotene smell was so familiar to me, but it came back to me instantly when reading your comment. I'm 70.
Hey, Rex, know what a "hella dumb word" is ? Hella.

Jon Alexander 8:57 AM  

Well for the context of the puzzle you are correct i.e. most people think of DNA as being replicated, but there is RNA replication. RDR (rna-dependent rna polymerase) is an enzyme that does in fact replicate RNA so there is a biological process for it. Did the constructor know this? Probably not.

Rube 9:04 AM  

So here is the problem. If you don't know FATHA and you don't know TOLTEC, then you are poorly educated and that's on you.
Stuff like DONTIKNOWIT is sort of silly but necessary to keep people happy.

What is missing in these puzzles is quality clues. So today there is baseball's buck which is ONEIL. Ok I guess.

But we need more clues like BUCK as a single word clue. BUCK can lead to multiple definitions...money, deer, bucking the trend etc. That's where the solving becomes fun and challenging.

Nancy 9:13 AM  

@Lewis (8:41) -- I hope that large group of angry Yugoslavian waiters following the non-tipping customer weren't too...um...persuasive. I suspect that I never ate at that particular restaurant, I hope.

KevCo 9:16 AM  

I needled Rex about his take on SANSA the other day, so duty requires that I add that I share his grievance over ADULTING. I'm in my thirties and some friends still use it. It's positively wretched. I don't know why people my age need to wink every time we do something we're supposed to do. Just brutal.

Also agree on the TOLTEC/FATHA problem. That square was the only thing in my way for about two minutes.

Thought TELLY was BELLY for a brief moment, and I was all, "Hey man, not all of us have flat bellies, so ease up." Then I realized what the answer was.

Good puzzle.

GILL I. 9:20 AM  

Without blinking an eye I wrote in AZTECS for 7D. It stayed there for an eternity. But then I got to 28A and I knew it was ECUMENISM. Hmmm. something ending in C....of course, the mighty TOLTEC. I love all things religious and these two take a bit of the prize. The TOLTECs loved human sacrifice; ECUMENISts believe in the unity of churches. Don't be surprised if Protestanism and Catholicity comes your way in the very near future. Can you think of one single thing in our lives that isn't influenced in one way or the other by religion?
DINE AND DASH is a sin donchaknow. I did that once in Granada, Spain. There were 3 of us newly graduated students who hitchhiked throughout southern Spain and we were poor. We were sitting in a restaurant ordering affordable tapas when these men approached us and asked if they could join the señoritas. All I remember about them was that they were old and on the fat side. We said yes knowing full well they'd end up paying the bill. We proceeded to order steak (BONE IN) and lots of vino Tinto. I'm glad for Hollywood movies where all the women have to go to the bathroom at the same time. We did. We left. We ran down through cobble stone streets through the Sacromonte passing the charming Gypsy and flamenco quarters and it was the most fun I had had in ages.
So what is DO ME A SOLID? Is that like asking for real money? Then I ask myself why is NATS more than a nod? Why is SEE take in? Why DON'T I KNOW IT? I took lots of breaks (which helped) and little by little I got her done.
I thought the cluing was devilish and delish. Loved the two for THERESA and JEB. NAPERY is very British. Fun to see SIRI chasing VOICE ACTOR.
Yes, I'll have seconds.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

Fatha/Toltec is no way a Natick. Have seen these in xwords many times.

Glenn Patton 9:42 AM  

Ruby @ 9:04 makes a good point. If you've been exposed to anything about the history of Mexico, you'd have been introduced to the Toltecs and the Olmecs as well as the better-known Aztecs and Mayans. Besides Martin Luther and the Diet of Worms, there's the National Diet of Japan (their Parliament). No Naticks for me.

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

I'll pile on with the Toltec/Fatha bit.
I believe Rex's go to cultural source--the Simpsons--even riffs on the Toltec-Aztec-Olmec triad.
And Earl "Fatha" Hines is one of only a handful of seminal jazz pianists that the culture celebrates. I mean come now Tex, if you're going to piss all over white men all the time, at least have the decency to know a little about the one art that everyone agrees is uniquely American and not the provenance of that detestable group I just mentioned.

For the record, adulting is far more offensive than NRA.

Susain 9:44 AM  

No. No he is not Gregory Hines father.

SIRI really? 9:47 AM  

Cluing was brutal AF for me. About half way through I gave up caring.

It isn't that I didn't like the puzzle...or the cluing, actually...it was just absolutely not in my wheelhouse, as they say.

BONEIN, for instance. I grew up in Nebraska and have eaten steaks all my life. I kinda remember "bone in" somehow, but I don't think we ever said it out loud.

The entire SE with NAPERY, HODA, and CORY was made all the more difficult with not seeing POTATO and EDITOR. TACT and SIRI were two more that I just didn't see...SIRI is a "popular assistant?" I think she sucks. I don't know too many people who use that part of their iOS (or regular OS now), and "delicacy" is about 15 words removed for me for "tact."

I had "round table" instead of VOICEACTOR at first, and VOICEACTOR?? Again, I'm not going to take issue with those things, but I just didn't see them.

TL;DR: I cheated to finish the damn thing.

MaxK 9:47 AM  

Legislative assembly.

Simone 9:56 AM  

But, Assembly for Diet? I ruined my time on this puzzle by discarding that answer as a possibility.

Nancy 10:08 AM  

@GILL (9:20) -- Re your DINE AND ASH anecdote: Such japery over the NAPERY! What an impish rascal you were back then!

Nancy 10:25 AM  

DASH. My keyboard skips sometimes (2008 computer) and I invariably forget to check my comment.

RooMonster 10:25 AM  

Hey All !
This puz just wouldn't form itself into the ole brain. Had troubles everywhere. Had to Check Puzzle several times just to finally get going. Actually had no trouble with that T of FATHA Rex complained about. Seems pretty inferable to me.

Read the Assembly=DIET, but have never heard that before. Self-censoring from all things political. I don't watch News, either. Too depressing. I never know what's going on. Makes a more pleasant life.

@Lewis, noticed the LL's.

Overall a decent themeless.

SON OF...
RooMonster
DarrinV

L. Armstrong 10:29 AM  

FATHA was my first entry. It is definitely not one half of a Natick. Earl Hines, more commonly known as Fatha Hines, was a giant in the creation and development of Jazz as an American art form, mentoring folks like Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, while innovating and creating a style that permeates jazz and jazz musicians even today. Just because your knowledge of jazz is limited, doesn't make this a Natick. Just as someone who doesn't know baseball can't claim that the "Babe" of George Herman Ruth is a Natick. Nonsense.

On another note, I so, so, so, so wanted 2D to be STELLA.

David 10:29 AM  

That's funny, Toltec dropped right in and all my brain would say was "Earl Hines, Earl Hines" for a while. Maybe it's a "Natick" for me since I know that place.

Way more I didn't know. Shows I never watched--well, I did used to watch Today until they replaced Jane Pauley with Deborah Norville, then again when Ann Curry joined until the jerk pushed her out. Baseball again, slang and that word Rex hates as well.

If a waiter asks me "are you good" rather than, "can (or may) I get you anything else" I'll probably dine and dash. And stiff as well. "Do me a solid" is something I've never heard outside the world of TV.

I couldn't countenance "Mrs." as a box you tick. Really? They still ask that in places? Is "the Mrs." the naperer as well? And sleep apnea makes its weekly appearance (or is it more often?).

Many small agonies, but made it through.

Zwhatever 10:32 AM  

FA-HA... hmm, “father” is a good nickname, so not all that hard to infer. A natick for sure, but far from the hardest to infer.

Interesting choices on REID and ELSA. Harry seems far more current than a 50’s TV show/widely panned Depp movie. I thought Frozen was the only acknowledged ELSA in Crossworld now. I guess Friday’s have a 50-100 year old pop culture references minimum.

@Runs - hand up for misunderstanding the DATA clue. Worse, I’ve seen it before and still whiffed for many many precious nanoseconds.

@Wood - Good stuff. Now I’m wondering why the lunch counter of my youth never had goat cheese.
@Quasimojo - Maybe a Woolworths fetish?

@Anoa Bob - STORY ARCs are a TV thing. Each episode will have its own plot, but there will be a STORY ARC that many (but not all) episodes are a part of. In GoT it can be said that each character had their own STORY ARC.

@Mica Hilson - 50+ but not 60+ and I hear all of these phrases (well, as was mentioned, not the ARE of ARE YOU GOOD?). I think I mentioned this last time it came up, but ADULTING has already gone into the “only said ironically or sardonically” world.

@Biology experts - You’re overthinking it. “RNA replication” is just fine as a phrase. Google it and you will even find some widely referenced science sites using the phrase.

ECUMENicalISM lost a few letters.

Liked this a lot.

@Anon very late last night - I don’t disagree. But you make it sound like the people are irrelevant.

Michael G. 10:33 AM  

Easier than your typical Friday I thought. But NAPERY was certainly a new one to me! Will have to start (clownlessly) dropping it into casual conversation.

FrostMo 10:34 AM  

Actually didn’t have a problem with FATHA/TOLTEC. All the other downs there were clued pretty well, IMO, and once they fell, I’m familiar enough with the Toltec. But even if I hadn’t, “fatha” sounds like a jazz nickname, so I think it would have fallen.

My trouble came in the SE, where I didn’t understand the clue for HODA, drew a blank on ASPEN, and have never heard of NAPERY. Tried to shoehorn finERY and vicTOR into 47/46 down respectively (at various times). ASPEN finally fell, as did POTATO and I got there.

All in all a good time.

FrankStein 10:34 AM  

"Diet of Worms." "Do me a solid." "Napery Agonies." Sounds like a John Waters movie.

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

There is no discard pile in UNO!

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

Good point. I didn't think of this so I don't think the constructor had either.

Ethan Taliesin 10:59 AM  

I surprised TOLTEC isn't more widely known.

They were a major, early civilization on the same continent that would ultimately give us the NYT crossword. I thought knowing about the TOLTEC was common history knowledge--I mean at least having heard of them.

Didn't know FATHA though.


Newboy 11:35 AM  

Thanks Brookboy for the memories of dads and clippers that anyone who hid underneath their school desk for Abomb protection will surely recall. And your assessment of today’s great puzzle was spot on: “I thought this puzzle was pretty much a perfect Friday puzzle. It took some thinking and some guessing, and then some more thinking and guessing.” Couldn’t have said it better, so I won’t even try 👍🏼

Blue Stater 11:50 AM  

Just *awful*.

jberg 11:59 AM  

First of all, I loved this challenging puzzle. So many times I had to stop and reason something out, write something over (lode before DATA, for example), or fill in only part of an answer (DO ME A ...biggy?) and wait for the rest to emerge. And it took me way too long to think of ASPEN--partly because I was thinking further west than that, but still I should have had it. I was both appalled and excited that I could visualize the Arby's logo.

Second, a Natick is a Natick if someone has to guess and can't. I didn't have any problem with this one, even though I put in mixTEC at first. (The clue calls for the singular, so Aztec and Olmec were out). I've heard of Earl "FATHA" Hines a lot, but for some reason thought he was more recent, and I had the M for Mixtec, so wanted something like lumpy for a nickname -- but I finally saw FUSED, and there it was. But the man is only famous if you pay attention to jazz, and many don't -- just a many know nothing about Mexican history and culture, so it is a Natick even if you knew it.

I always say ECUMENicISM, but apparently all three versions are correct, so I learned that; more important I learned NAPERY. What a great word. I use "cutlery" a lot (it's ridiculous, but I don't like to call it "silver" unless it actually is), so this will go well with it. I've never said ADULTING; but I remember the feeling at my mother's memorial when my brother turned to me and said "do you realize we're orphans now?" It was eerie.

Just what a Friday should be. Let's see more like this!

albatross shell 12:38 PM  

Such cluing fun. POTATO ASPEN SEE LEDGES EDITOR BOOKCLUBS TENTS ASIA AYE OAT NAPS TELLY DATA. Plus the first and my favorite Dr Suess. And Earl Fatha Hines. Difficult but doable. My last tWo fills were changing InA to IMA and surrendering to necessity and putting the I in diet. Just not religious enough, I guess to know those church gettogehers. I enjoy religious discussions but come down on the atheistic side. Religion has never bothered me but some religious people... .

@Gill
Everything's connected to everything, I guess, but fail to see how religion really connects to pingpong, dirt, air, water, mosquito bites, chess including the bishops, stars, radio waves, math and smartphones, my garden. Science is better without religion, but it does need to put ethical brakes on more often than it does. Religion could help with that.


A wonderful solidly clued and constructed puzzle.

The SE was a chore. NAPERY CORY HODA all unknown to me. NAPERY seems to me to be a perfectly respectable word. ADULTING strikes me as a perfectly repulsive modern usage, but I have no problem with it being in the puzzle.

For those who do not know DOMEASOLID is short for Do me a big favor (yes I will owe you for this). No problem with any of the slang. DINEANDDASH the best. AREYOUGOOD is used and OK, but sounds off,I think, because You good? and Are we good? are more common.

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

Hoda whoda?

jb129 12:55 PM  

Loved it altho I didn't finish. Had DIDN'T PAY CASH for way too long.

Flew thru it until the end, so I loved it.

Anonymous 12:59 PM  

How can one grow up not hearing of Fatha Hines? It's like not knowing who Trane is.

One of the best shows I ever attended was Earl Fatha Hines solo at the Berkeley Community Theater around 1980.

kitshef 12:59 PM  

@Anon 10:49. The fourth sentence of the rules of UNO reads as follows: "Next to the [draw] pile a space should be designated for a Discard Pile".

jb129 1:03 PM  

Having grown up in the late 60's, early 70's I knew "do me a solid" which was when we wanted you to pass the joint.

Fred Romagnolo 1:16 PM  

I had "roe" instead of OVA for a long time. There was no problem with FATHA & TOLTEC because I'm old and have been to Mexico. I think VOICEACTOR smacks of green paint. Alas, I have continuing problems with slang expressions; they seem to be regional or generational. Ditto on not ever have watched "Boy Meets World." Otherwise, a good Friday teaser.

Teedmn 1:22 PM  

A lively, tough Friday, similar to last week's in difficulty. I hope that we don't have a similar experience tomorrow as last week, where the Saturday puzzle is much easier than the Friday.

My biggest holdup today was 32A.I went the "nods = greeting" direction, so my answer was HUGS. 23D seemed to lend itself to starting with D'Oh and 33D was an exit "gate".

Another tough area was having a lONdoN broil steak option at 43D. FATHA crossing TOLTEC was easily gettable for me once I got rid of the "raISe UP" at 8D.

A lot of great cluing and answers (though for me, yeah, hold the DO ME A SOLID and ADULTING) so thanks, Michael Hawkins.

Fred Romagnolo 1:28 PM  

As to yesterday's comments from Anons about how the nationality of fighting men make no difference: compare the conduct of the Brits & Yanks with those of the French and Italians in WWII. Throw in what the Soviet soldiers did in Berlin.

old timer 1:32 PM  

As the judicious poet said, "one man's Natick is another man's joy." In other words both TOLTEC and FATHA went right in. But a DNF because I had to search online for that Kolb person. Why I did not guess POTATO eye I will never know. Perfect Friday clue.

My children and their friends use ADULTING all the time, as an ironic way of saying they are the grownups now and have to do all those things only ADULTs had to do when they were growing up. Very much in the language and I think pretty funny. Of course when I was in Catholic elementary school, one of the Ten Commandments was about not committing ADULTery, so for a long while I believed that was what people did (but for some mysterious reason should not do) when they got older.

oldactor 1:41 PM  

I knew napery from which we get "napkins" and did you know "aprons" as well?
Somewhere I read that it used to be "a napron" then devolved or evolved to "an apron". Pronounce either and they sound identical.

Sunnyvale Solver 1:42 PM  

Very nice grid, except for the natick.

Best clue: 21A “Flat screen?” Took quite a while to finally parse it correctly as parallel Britishisms in clue and answer.

Hack mechanic 1:42 PM  

As in "diet of worms" source of many schoolboy titters

Joe Dipinto 1:46 PM  

@amyyanni -- when they were young, Gregory Hines and his brother Maurice Hines Jr. had an act with their father Maurice Sr. called Hines, Hines & Dad. They weren't related to Earl Hines.

Runs with Scissors 1:54 PM  

Jb29 @1:03

We are of an age, but in my 'hood it was "don't bogard."

QuasiMojo 2:15 PM  

@Z I was thinking of napes as in necks. Japanese girls used to cover theirs. I did used to have a thing for Woolworths though.

Solverinserbia 2:16 PM  

Solution for editor on the TOLTEC FATHA cross: make one or both clues have a phonetic hint.

Early nahuatl speaker who sounds like a highway collections expert (I'm going for the sounds of toll and tech there)

Jazz nickname, but don't tease his weight (fat and ha)

TJS 2:24 PM  

@ RWS, Dude !It was dont Bogart ! Referring to how Bogie smoked a cig in many films. Far out, huh ?

Anonymous 2:29 PM  

@Fred Romagnolo:
nationality of fighting men make no difference

Didn't say that and never have. Can't speak for the other anonymice. What I said, and provided documentation, is that the effect of added soldiers from the USofA on ending the war was dwarfed by the effect of added war materiel from the USofA. Read any non-jingoist history.

As to 'nationality': the Japanese soldier fought for the honor of the emperor; the Russians fought in order not to be shot for cowardice; the Germans fought for the Uber Mensch. Non-brained washed European/American soldiers had no similar motivation. Get yourself an American dictator, if you want such soldiers. Wait.....

Zwhatever 2:54 PM  

From the FAQ page: NATICK PRINCIPLE — "If you include a proper noun in your grid that you cannot reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of, you must cross that noun with reasonably common words and phrases or very common names." Go here for the answers that occasioned my coining this phrase.

Can we “reasonably expect” 26% of solvers to know either FATHA Hines or the TOLMEC? Iffy in both cases, making it true that both need to be crossed with “reasonably common words and phrases.” Simply, if you are saying this isn’t a natick you’re wrong. If you want to argue that solvers ought to have more familiarity I’ll agree. But the term describes what is, not what ought to be.

@Fred Romagnolo and @Anon2:29 - What’s the fallacy where one incorrectly generalizes from specific examples? Secundum quid? Generalization from the particular? Inductive generalization? I remind you both of a truth I learned from an R.N. when my wife was pregnant with our first, “there is a wide range of normal.”

DF 3:02 PM  

Sorry, but that T in TOLTEC/FATHA is totally inferable. Based on the clue, TOLTEC was obviously an indigenous Latin American population, so once you had OLTEC T was by far the most likely first letter. And FATHA makes more sense than anything else that might go there

Anonymous 3:02 PM  

So disappointed that 2-down wasn't STELLA!!!

Crimson Devil 3:33 PM  

What Z said re FATHA and TOLMEC: my apparently deficiently educated soul is firmly among the > 75%.

GILL I. 4:03 PM  

@Joe D.....I'm wondering if Jonathan's sumo wrestling daughter offed him....? Or maybe it was that snoopy strumpet who lives next door? Maybe he's holing up in a bar somewhere...!!!! I certainly hope this mystery comes to some sort of fruition....the suspense is killing me.

Joe Bleaux 4:18 PM  

Wow... just realized there *are* indeed exit TOLLs, but the answer to 33D is POLL, which is why the 32A answer, NAPS, isn’t, um, puzzling.

Fred Wollam 4:27 PM  

That'd be "bogart," with a "t," from Humphrey Bogart, who famously went through many of his screen scenes squinting through the smoke of a cigarette butt, too-tiny-to-hold, dangling from his lips.

iamjess 4:37 PM  

At first I had AREYOUokay and I thought that theme was going to be phrases made out of letters--like R U OK for this one. I was about to shred my puzzle at the theme, so I'm glad I eventually sussed it out!

mmorgan 5:02 PM  

There’s a five beach D-Day puzzle in the Chronicle of Higher Ed today. Just sayin’.

Anonymous 6:07 PM  

There seems to be frequent claim that puzzles are skewed toward older people. I am 68 and rarely see that trend. This one seemed aimed at a mix of ages and times.

I have never heard of FATHA, DOMEASOLID, NAPERY, CORY, or DINEANDDASH. I only guessed REID after having REI_ - that's a pretty obscure one.

I suppose BOOKCLUBS and SIDEA are for old people. EUROPOP, SIRI, ADULTING, JEB, and THERESA certainly are modern items.

Joe Dipinto 9:01 PM  

@GILL I - right now Jonathan is at the Clover Club, about to tell Rudy about that strange night when he was seven years old and smelled the paint, and its aftermath that affected so many people.

In other words, @Nancy, I mean Jonathan, is going to clue our avid readers in to exactly *what* the mystery of the title is, before they totally lose interest. :-)

Runs with Scissors 9:06 PM  

@TJS 2:24 PM

No one I knew had enough motivatio to pronounce the t at the end, so it was always "don' bogard, doo. Pass th' roach." Har.

GILL I. 11:01 PM  

@Joe...I'm betting it was the pesto made with parsley and cilantro that he flung at his kitchen wall while in a rage because he had been outed by his ne'er-do-well daughter and her incessant need to re-apply avocado green nail polish on her toes.

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

@Diana LIW, if you see this --

I solve online with a six-week delay, but a five-week delay seems typical for most of the syn. solvers; if you solve online and are OK with telling us where, please do, and thanks.

Or, if other syn. solvers want to share their online sources -- thanks.

[Syndie solver, 7-11-19 -- hoping you'll see this on 7-12-19]

spacecraft 11:14 AM  

First of all, anyone who says "ADULTING..." isn't. Next, re square 7: no problem for me. I thought of FATHA/FUSED right off the bat; waited a while to ink them in because I wasn't sure, but soon confirmed. Two places I did ink too FAST: yeS for MRS. to check the questionnaire box, and OPENDialog instead of DEBATE. These cost several nanominutes.

This was a fine puzzle, with conversational fill all over. In the language, that's what we need more of. Even NAPERY: surely seldom used--but compare "drapery." The NAP is from napkins, presumably, so inferable. More NAPS appear elsewhere. *Yawn* IMA bit sleepy...

Hand up for the Beach Boys' great tune "Sloop John B." John B. REID, maybe? I give props to anyone who can make a career despite being named HODA Kotb, so she gets the DOD sash today. Anyone notice the ONEIL/TIP line? Cool. Wonder if he was ever a MAYOR.

Challenging because of tough clues--as befits a Friday--which would ENTITLE me to extra triumph points. Looking forward to see what @BS does with "BONEIN." One nit: the RRS (random record side). Birdie.

Burma Shave 12:13 PM  

FASTCAR PARDNER

It REMAINs an OPENDEBATE, AREYOUGOOD to try it?
DOMEASOLID you cheapskate, try a DINEANDDASH DIET.

--- MRS. THERESA ROSS, MAYOR

rondo 12:54 PM  

@anon 2:57 – pretty sure we all solve in our local newspapers at the 5 week timeframe (now 2 weeks for Sundays). For me it’s the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, or in an emergency the fishwrapper from the other side of the river, the Mpls Trib.

I had some difficulty in the NW, first trying hedA before NORA even though I was pretty sure the wrong one was spelled Hedda. Doh!

FASTCAR = green paint.

No OPENDEBATE. Yeah baby THERESA. You know who you are.

Kinda tough or IMA SONOF a gun.

BS2 2:01 PM  

@spacecraft: don't think that I didn't consider it.

Wooody2004 4:23 PM  

I only know DOMEASOLID from Cosmo Kramer. If @EvilDoug was still here, he would have posted the dialogue.

The AGONIES and The ECUMENISM sounds like a 60s religious flick.

60s dance craze: The DINEANDDASH POTATO.

Diana,LIW 4:24 PM  

@Anon 2:57 Most of the SyndieCats, as noted by @Rondo, solve with a 5-week lag, and Sunday seems to vary, especially lately! I'm in the great Pacific Northwest - reading the "Good Paper" - the Spokesman Review.

Yeah, I agree that THERESA deserves any honors, and she shall know what we mean.

And I was just listening to Sloop John B, put on the "stereo" by Mr. W, who had no idea of what was/wasn't in today's puzzle. Hang ten, everyone. Used to be a California Girl, sometimes I still manage to do so.

Must go and change the NAPERY now, then go to the gym.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 4:52 PM  

This was a tough one for me. I flailed all over the place, mainly because I try too hard to avoid write-overs. Luckily that wasn't the case with FATHA/TOLTEC, but in many other places. The -RS was a huge stumbling block with no "abbr" indicated. Dumb waste of time.

Elsewhere, there was a ton of excellent, devious cluing which made the whole thing a tussle. I agree with @Spacey that @BS overlooked BONE IN, but apparently it was a contender.
.
ASIA and FAST CAR were so obvious I thought they couldn't be right; cf. "land East of Fresno"=>USA.

Well, I learned NAPERY - that'll come in handy next time I prepare the dinner table. "Sweetie, what colour napery should I use?"

Yes, it was a battle, but I finished. Chalk up the triumph points.

leftcoast 7:05 PM  

Shouldn't this one have been saved 'til tomorrow?

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