Mascot of Winnipeg Jets / FRI 7-19-19 / Las Vegas casino with musical name / Mormon settlement of 1849 / Orange half of iconic duo / One-name singer with 1993 platinum album Debut / Spun wax say / Player of Skipper on Gilligan's Island

Friday, July 19, 2019

Constructor: Peter Wentz

Relative difficulty: Medium (Brutal SW + v. easy elsewhere = Medium) (6:06)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Eudora WELTY (57A: Pulitzer-winning writer of "The Optimist's Daughter") —
Eudora Alice Welty (April 13, 1909 – July 23, 2001) was an American short story writer and novelist who wrote about the American South. Her novel The Optimist's Daughter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. Welty received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Order of the South. She was the first living author to have her works published by the Library of AmericaHer house in Jackson, Mississippi, has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public as a house museum. (wikipedia)
• • •

Ouch. Actually, ooh, nice ... then ouch. Really was enjoying this one until I hit the SW, where I couldn't make anything happen, and even after I circled the entire rest of the grid and came back to it, I couldn't make anything happen. As I was finishing off the SE, I was thinking "ugh, I gotta go back there and I'm already walled in and no help is coming so fuhhhhhhdge." So, yeah, this isn't the greatest thing, this having one corner be drastically harder than the rest of the grid (early Twitter feedback shows me very much not alone in my SW struggles). The problem is that now the SW is all I remember about this grid. Everything weirdly hard about the SW. And ATHIRST (38D: Quite eager). It's like the worst thing in the grid, why would you make the ATHIRST corner your hardest corner?? It just ensures that ATHIRST stays with you instead of drifting away as better answers come to the fore. To be clear, this is a very well-made puzzle that I mostly enjoyed, and ATHIRST is the only thing that makes me go ugh. Just ... don't put the ugh word in your hardest section. It makes everything so much ugh-ier.

Problems with the SW started with the always annoyingly ambiguous ELUDE-or-EVADE dilemma at 29A: Shake off (EVADE). ELUDE is sooooo much better as an answer for this clue. I think of EVADE as going around something and ELUDE as *specifically* escaping from something. I mean, fine, they are roughly synonyms, but ugh. And 60% of their letters are the same, double-ugh. So that went bad. And then MENACE clue was super vague (25D: Shark, to swimmers), so even with the "M," no help. Both long Downs meant nothing to me (and one was a tricky "?" clue). I really hate the cluing on ARIA and EPIC mainly because those are perfectly good ordinary words that have been given proper noun clues (ugh) and (bad luck for me) clues that are specifically from **** I care nothing about. I hate casino names like you wouldn't believe. Resent having to know them at all. Misremembered ARIA as AIDA, so that hurt. And EPIC Games??? Pffft, no way. The entire stack of four proper nouns down there, EPIC / BJÖRK / MOOSE (!!?!!) / WELTY, was utterly unknown to me at first. I own BJÖRK albums so I got her eventually, and I know *of* WELTY, at last, but oof, between all that and the ridiculous ATHIRST, I was most definitely screwed. Oh, and EGG HASH, LOL what? What is that? I'm in diners a lot and ???? Corned beef hash is a big deal. But EGG HASH?! Yikes. I didn't know what a SKIN GAME or what BLUSH PINK (?) was either, but their crosses were super-workable, so ... no complaints. Lovely puzzle overall, just wish it hadn't been so lop-sided, difficulty-wise.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:04 AM  

Dang, tough Fri.! @Rex - SW was the last to fall when WELTY finally bubbled to the surface.

CANTmiss before LOSE
nipS before GUMS
irAN before OMAN
DElays before DETERS
rhNEGATIVE before AB

Nice challenge, liked it. Jeff gave it POW.

puzzlehoarder 12:18 AM  

Another annoying single letter dnf. I guessed KNOPL at 58A. Looks I just don't care for logic. Otherwise an average Friday.

chefwen 2:30 AM  

Must agree with everything Rex had to say. Went smoothly until the dreaded SW corner.

EGG HASH, never heard of it, never want to try it. ATHIRST, no, no, no. Haven’t been to Vegas for a few years (thank God) so ARIA was a new one.

Managed to finish without cheating, but that southwest corner looked like EGG HASH by the time we finished.

I skip M-W 2:40 AM  

The Natick for me was Knope crossing Alan Hale.I don't watch TV comedies much, so it seems quite unfair, much moreso than Welty, Bjork, moose and even egg hash

Anonymous 4:19 AM  

I lived in Winnipeg for 4 years in the 1980s, and went to many Jets games (the previous incarnation which moved to Colorado). I don't think their mascot was a MOOSE at that time but I could be wrong. In fact my high school classmate Tim Watters played for them, and went on to play with Gretzky for the LA Kings.

Rex, you gotta admit the long answers were pretty good today. "Type least likely to turn up in a hospital" = AB NEGATIVE. "Type": nice word play!... I was thinking along the lines of ANTIVAXXER,... or maybe MORMONITE (is that a real word)?


Jon Alexander 6:00 AM  

For me, one of my fastest Friday’s every...dunno why, but I was able to just plop down answers in the AVERAGE JOE from the AV, that allowed me to infer BJORK, and the pieces started to fall. MOOSE over WELTY is tough, but I think the downs are reasonable enough (well maybe not ATHIRST) that you can get all the letters from the crosses.

Lewis 6:24 AM  

When I saw it was Peter, I shut the world away and went into high alert. The tussle with him is usually EPIC for me, and today's offering once again was. He dealt feints and knockdowns, balanced by some good counterpunching on my part, shaking loose opaque clues, a specialty of his. And when I unmasked PORTHOLES, I let out a big laugh, and shortly thereafter came the final bell with the decision: This guy is a master. Peter, I love you, man.

amyyanni 6:45 AM  

Fell into many of the potholes mentioned, e.g. elude, can't miss (causing me to throw down monkey instead of lackey, because I am an eejit). Of course, that makes for an excellent Friday. What is treat!

QuasiMojo 7:18 AM  

I happen to like difficult corners. Why else do puzzles unless they challenge you? I finished below my average time so I can't say this one was particularly hard even with the pop names etc. Welty is one of my favorite writers so that went in easily. And I loved the misdirects for esc key and portholes. Dating Pool made me chuckle, although mine of late is filled with SLIME. Only gripe: it's "Alan Hale, Jr." His father, a movie star of the 30s, was "Alan Hale." My granddad was stationed in Provo during the war, designing airplanes. He had already served in WWI. Good one Peter Wentz.

kitshef 7:20 AM  

A SLEW of self-inflicted issues today. My sandals lacked TOpS, to shake off was to EluDE, to get in the end was Nab, harmless bites were nipS, my idea of putting off was DEfERS, my LACKEY was a minion. Minion in particular felt like a CANT miSs answer.

Not knowing EGG HASH at all, and not knowing BJORK, MOOSE, WELTY, EPIC or BMW from the clues given made that SW corner a horrorshow.

Yet … it all came together in the end. I always feel like the best puzzles are the ones you don’t think you can finish, but you do.

And thanks, Rex for posting my favorite Bjork video.

Z 7:25 AM  

That SW corner borders on Clue Writing Malpractice. 19 out of 19 squares being PPP* is bad enough, but 8 of those 19 DON’T HAVE TO BE PPP! Add ARIA and that’s twelve squares that went trivia instead of clever. “Battleship row” is clever. Sport mascot of a small market team that has never even won its own division? The trivialest of trivia. And MOOSE, EPIC, and ARIA all invite cleverness. I bet we, the honored commentariat of RexWorld, can come up with a half dozen clever clues for each of those entries. But NOOOooooO! We get a video game company clue instead. If there’s anything more trivial than Mike E. MOOSE it is video game companies not named Atari. Our challenge is to write some better clues.

Otherwise, I really liked this puzzle. Hand up for looking for an extra-cautious or anti-science “type” (see - clever is good). I also liked “Pilot production?” TV or airplanes? Nope, just nice PENS. Sure, a PPP clue, but with clever to make it less annoying. So much better than a Pittsburgh hockey team reference. As @Lewis said, Wentz is good with the dekes and feints that make solving fun.

*Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns. Any time more than a third of a puzzles answers are PPP some subset of solvers will have an especially difficult solve.

Small Town Blogger 7:32 AM  

Had “ham hash” forever. Egg hash??? You might put two eggs on top of your hash, but that doesn’t make it egg hash.

Norm 7:35 AM  

Thought getting into the SE was harder than filling in the SW. MENACE and AVERAGE JOE went in without a second thought, and that corner seemed no harder than the others. There's a sprinkling of names [my bugaboo] and odd things in every section.

Klazzic 7:41 AM  

Agree with my man, Rex, about the enjoyment level of this puzzle. It was terrific! Had no problem with SW -- BMW and WELTY broke open the dam for me and it was clear sailing through calm seas.and blue skies. Easiest Friday in months. Enjoy your weekend, kids.

Z 7:46 AM  

@davidm if you’re out there, check the link I posted late yesterday.

GILL I. 8:14 AM I'm supposed to know the cast of Gilligan's Island? I know I watched it - about once, since the yuck yuck factor gave me DELIRIA. So I didn't know ALAN HALE. I was doing so darn well until I got to him. I also had the SW angst as the rest of you. That DATING thing was a site. Agree about ATHIRST. Way to wipe the smile off my face. I'll add another oof to @Rex's.
I couldn't get TRUMP out of my head for 18A. Never heard of SKIN GAMES. TOES for the lack in sandals was a bit of a woe. I mean our TOEs are exposed when you wear sandals - so you don't lack them. Be sure to paint them otherwise you look naked.
WET NAP makes me think of diapers. I suppose you could sling one around your neck while gumming your ribs.
I know some pinot Grigio's are DRY but the ones I drink are fruity. A Riesling is probably the driest of the DRY whites. Your taste may vary.
I can count on Peter to make me work for my crossword. He's the pro.

Joaquin 8:24 AM  

I'm a fairly experienced eater of breakfast, having consumed well over 25,000 of them. And never once have I had (or seen on a menu) EGGHASH. And I hope this trend continues because it sounds disgusting.

Z 8:54 AM  

HASH, when talking about food, is basically any dish where the ingredients are chopped or diced and jumbled or scrambled together. I presume that’s where the idea of “making an HASH of things” comes from. While far from the most common HASH, no problem here with EGG HASH.

Nampa old white guy 9:01 AM  

Half my normal Friday time but weird stuff.
I started making up words—like “egg hash”—and they worked.

pabloinnh 9:08 AM  

Now this is a Fridazo. Like some others, I went from WTF? to oh, of course. "Orca" is clued so often as "ocean MENACE" that the shark became obvious. AVERAGEJOE gave me the J and I had the K from LACKEY (great word) and how many singers have those two letters, never mind in that order, so BJORK, knew BMW, WELTY the only five letter author I know that begins with W and ends with Y, and all this is to say that the dreaded SW was a little chewy but really tasty and not that hard to swallow.

Like the feints and dekes comments. Took me forever to decide that "deke" is the short form of "decoy". Great hockey term, and what's a Canadian mascot going to be besides a moose? OK, a beaver. Maybe a loon, or a polar bear. Not that many options.

Great thanks to PW for a memorable Friday. Enhorabuena.

Joe Dipinto 9:24 AM  

I get delirious whenever you're near
Lose all self-control, baby just can't steer

-- Prince, "Delirious"

This puzzle was weird. I liked a lot of the individual answers, but the thing as a whole didn't feel equal to the sum of its parts, somehow.

It was way too easy for a late-weeker, maybe that was why. I didn't have any trouble spots except I started to write in THONGS for the beach party attire, only to realize that its letter count would be too, uh, skimpy.

You can stay there, and I'm sure you will find
Many ways to have a good time

-- the Village People, "Y.M.C.A."

The grid seemed overloaded with proper names, something that typically doesn't bother me -- CABOT, WELTY, BJORK, ALAN HALE (my first entry, little buddy!), LAVER, ORKIN, ERNIE, IKE. I say nope to KNOPE, though. That's a surname?

But as I said there were lots of great answers: ANY TAKERS, NAVAL BASE, SKIN GAME, PORTHOLES (it's always nice to see one of the Three Musketeers), LACKEY, MENACE/ACE-TEN, ADSORB, DATING POOL, CAN'T LOSE, I could go on. Of course, 26d was my fave.

I´m just an ordinary guy
Afrofilipino average sort of guy
That´s what I am, ordinary guy
You left behind

-- Joe Bataan, "Ordinary Guy"

Everyone have a fun and festive Friday! And keep cool this weekend, temperature-wise.

TJS 9:26 AM  

All set to bitch about battleships not having portholes but thought I'd look it up first, and yeah,at one time they all had portholes/windows across the stern to provide scenic views for the captains quarters and weren't concerned about attacks from the rear because there were other boats behind protecting them, so... never mind.
Hated how easy this puzzle was for a Friday, and then hated getting stuck in the SW, so maybe it's just me. Finally nailed it though.
For some reason, not having RP's comments the past days has made me less critical now that he is back. Absence makes the heart etc.?

Sir Hillary 9:28 AM  

Fabulous puzzle.

Pretty much what @Rex said in terms of the solve, only more so. Had I solved with an app rather than on paper, my "red square" would have been exactly where his is. ATHIRST -- yowza.

Until the SW, I was on track for my fastest Wentz solve by a mile, and one of my fastest Fridays, period. In the end, the SW took me twice as long as the rest of the puzzle combined. It's fun reading about others' errors -- mine was CANTmiSs and minion, because how could those possibly be wrong. I had AVERAGEJOE the whole time, and immediately thought the one-named singer would start with A or D. In hindsight, had I just run the alphabet on that first letter, BJORK would have popped, minion wouldn't have fit, and I could have avoided my whole mess down there. Alas, KNOPE.

I know it's been a FEW days, but seeing LAVER reminded me of my favorite moment from last Sunday's EPIC Wimbledon final. At one point, Rod whips out his phone and starts taking pictures or video. Hey Novak and Roger, when Rod effing LAVER is taking video of your match, you are special indeed! Wonder if they caught that on the Wimbledon JUMBOTRON (which I am guessing does not exist).

Lemon Difficult 9:39 AM  

Proper nouns in this one gave me so much trouble. Alan Hale crossing both LAVER (who??) and KNOPE was just bad. BJORK took me embarrassingly long because I kept erasing answers assuming "BJ___" couldn't be right. Had no idea there was a casino called ARIA. Lucky my girlfriend plays video games, so she supplied me with EPIC. WELTY was my last to drop in, and I still don't quite believe ATHIRST is a thing.

JOHN X 9:42 AM  

Ha ha I made the exact same mistakes in the SW (EluDE, CANTmiSs,, etc) but I looked at and said “there’s something wrong here” so I tore out a few things and suddenly all the right answers appeared. Not once did I blame the puzzle for having too many words I don’t know or don’t like; that’s not the JOHN X way. Failure is not an option. JOHN X delivers.

I’ve never heard of EGGHASH but I believe it exists and I can picture it and I think I’m going to make it for breakfast with my own made-up recipe. All I know is it has eggs and potato, I’ll invent the rest.

I agree that the clue for ALANHALE was wrong, because Alan Hale Jr. was The Skipper while his father was Alan Hale who was in all the great Errol Flynn movies. The clue should have been “The Skipper’s father” that would have been great. There’s still no excuse for not knowing either.

I’m off to go invent EGGHASH. I’m going to add scallions, bell pepper, a dash of Worcestershire, and vodka.

Unknown 9:42 AM  

Easy puzzle, I used to assign Eudora Welty for summer reading. I agree it opened up sw corner

Carola 9:47 AM  

Challenging for me and very enjoyable to grapple with. Ended with a double DNF: KNOPf x ALAN HALf (this looks reasonable to someone who taught German for 30 years) and DATING POlL x MOlSE (defense: it seemed to me you could have options in a teen magazine-style poll - "Would you rather go out with Person A, B, or C?" - and I knew of a Canadian Molson beer, so maybe a sponsor -related "Molse" mascot? Justifications can get a little twisted when you're in the No Idea Zone).

So many grid pleasures! You all know what they are, so I won't enumerate them, but man, what an array of gems.

Do-overs: EluDE, diED for BLED, nipS, ADheRe. sEe before NET. A lightly pencilled in oates? before Oh, yeah, WELTY. Tried hard to twist "AT HearT" to mean "Quite eager."

mmorgan 9:48 AM  

Great puzzle, though the SW was also very, very tough for me, with a DNF at ATH_RST/EP_C. But still a great puzzle!

Dorothy Biggs 9:56 AM  

LACKie v. LACKEY...left me with MOOSi and WELTe. Both of those look okay. I can see a hockey team (ferda!) naming their mascot some cutesy name like "Moosi" and Welte looks like a name. So I supposed, at least for me, I could call that entire section a natick. I probably should know how to spell "lackey," but in a world where you can spell "eenie" or "eeney" or even "nan" and "naan," plus the crosses seemed to check out...well, it could go either way.

I was amazed at how many long answers I got without any problems: NAVALBASE, IMONAROLL, JUMBOTRON, ESCAPEKEY...all gimmes. I got PORTHOLES too fairly quickly, but didn't understand the clue relative to that answer.

As always, looking back at the puzzle after it's done, it looks much easier than it did when I was filling it in.

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

Anybody else love it when you're faced with a tough section ofa puzzle and you crack it? I loved the lower left corner of today's puzzle. I was starting to think i DNf, but suddenly i tumbled to, I think it was Bjork, then the mascot became moose--why not- it's the name of the Cleveland Brown's office dog, etc.
Anyway, I'm genuinely curious how others feel about tough sections. To me, solving them is by far my most satisfying puzzling. I truly don't understand the gripe.

Nancy 9:59 AM  

There are the lovers and the haters of this puzzle today. Guess which category I fall into? For me, there's the same satisfaction when I finish a tough trivia-laden puzzle as when I finish a tough wordplay one. In both cases, I pat myself on the shoulder and proclaim myself Very Smart. The difference is how much fun I had along the way. And whereas the wordplay puzzle intrigues and charms me, the trivia-laden puzzle irks me and makes me very cross. And, of course, I always want to use the "U" word. ("U" as in "Unfair", folks.) In this puzzle, the SE was a little Unfair and the SW was very Unfair. But I did finish, so there's that.

And there's so much non-PPP stuff that's great: AB NEGATIVE; DATING POOL; DEAN'S LIST; AVERAGE JOE. This could have been such a good puzzle if the KNOPE and the ALANHALE and the BJORK and the BMW and the MOOSE (as clued) could have been SCRUBBEd right out of the puzzle. Maybe next time, Peter???

albatross shell 10:02 AM  

I've been reading both Welty and Flannery O'Conner. Very different very good Southern writers who happen to look very much alike. If you haven't seen Huston's Wise Blood (O'Conner) movie, you should.

The eastern half went very smoothly. Something very appealing about the triple stack in the SE. Very connected trio with PORTHOLES falling last to big smile.

EVADE went in to get the past tense of 4D. That and MADEDO got MENACE over danger and threat. The AV on top and the J_E at the bottom got AVERAGEJOE. And slowly DATINGPOOL fell and capitulated to ATHIRST. I guess that about exhausted me because I could not close out the NE. Did not know how to type a tilde, not enough crosses for DEANSLIST.

Damn good long answers. Spelling DELIRIA a small holdup.

albatross shell 10:11 AM  

Also no problem with EGGHASH. Not that it was easy to fill in even with EGG starter, but eggs on hash browns or other form of fried poatatoes. Dig in. May not be on many menus but an easy jump and I'm sure you can find recipes.

kitshef 10:14 AM  

@Z - Using the pattern of my least favorite clue from yesterday:

Herb follower?: ARIA

Which for some reason then made me think of:

What next?: A BURGER

And my favorite:

Go next?: OGLE

Paul Rippey 10:34 AM  

The first email program I used, in the 90’s, was EUDORA, delightfully named after the writer.

Newboy 10:40 AM  

love the puzzle & write up. Rex & Lewis nailed it as did Mr. Wentz, another name to add to Bjork and Knope for today's PPP trifecta.

Hack mechanic 10:46 AM  

All my woes in the NE, had blush tone, then tint then pink. No idea about parks & rec, Gilligan's island etc.
SW no prob funnily enough

Mary McCarty 10:47 AM  

Pabloinnh: actually, for awhile I had gOOSE for a Canadian mascot, but then the Mini-maker steered me towards a different critter.
Agree with you all that SW corner was a doozy!

Joe Dipinto 10:59 AM  

@Quasi and @John X -- it's true the Skipper actor was technically Alan Hale Jr. but he was always "Alan Hale" in the credits of the show. He dropped "Jr." professionally after dad passed away. So the clue is fair as written.

I'm surprised to read that so many people had problems in the SW. That corner didn't seem harder than any other section to me. Getting LACKEY off the "LA" gave me E__C, potentially EPIC or ERIC; _J__K, obviously BJORK; and _E__Y, a safe bet to be WELTY. The rest of it filled itself in from those.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

I'm no pro, but BMW and Welty were pretty easy. After that SW fell into place rapidly. Not knowing anything about yoga and very little about tv, I struggled in the NE.

PHV 11:02 AM  

OK. Go to Google images. Call up a picture of a battleship. Do you see portholes? No, you don't. Not hard to solve, but wrong.

For my generation, the SW is impossible.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

Hands up for all those who've heard of WELTY, but would never think of 1973 as a signature year. 1943, fur shur, but Nixon era? If you do read the wiki article, you'll see most of her writing was the 40s and 50s.

Filliam 11:07 AM  

I wonder if EGGHASH/ATHIRST started life as EGG WASH/AT WORST, which are much more common phrases (at least to me).

Surphart 11:17 AM  

Make ATHIRST..ATWORST. EGGWASH... Culinary term for dipping in egg before breading fish or veal for sautee. And EPOC... Obscure but inferable if ATWORST is clued reasonably ...

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

Egg hash? Athirst?? Really??? I think the constructor made those two up just to fit his grid.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

I really notice my age when I read these comments after a puzzle with a lot of proper nouns. Epic Games was a gimme for me (I don't actually play Fortnite but the name is prevalent enough), but Alan Hale needed basically every cross. Cool to see how different the solving experience can be based on proper noun knowledge, because the SW wasn't too bad for me but the SE took ages to get through (PORTHOLES took me far too long to parse)

jb129 11:37 AM  

Loved it even though I had to cheat - but it was worth sticking with & cheating.

Ethan Taliesin 11:38 AM  

Ouch, that was so hard I had to cheat more than once. Typed my last letter and got the dreaded "So close..." screen. Error was the T in ATHIRST/WELTY.

I don't know what a WELTY is and at the moment, I'm too irritated to care.

Norman Epstein 12:02 PM  

DJ's no longer use wax albums, they use CD's. Hated that clue for being stuck in the past.

OffTheGrid 12:03 PM  


I couldn't get Trump out of my head for 25D.

WET NAP makes me think of puberty.

jae 12:24 PM  

@Sir Hillary - you reminded me that I too had minion off the m in CANTmiss.

oldactor 12:47 PM  

I love mixing leftover potatoes with scrambled eggs. I usually add some onion and jalapenos. Now I know what to call it. EGG HASH. Put that on a flour tortilla and it's called a Breakfast Taco.

Masked and Anonymous 1:06 PM  

(We worked on this pup team style, at the local pancake house.) Just goes to show yah. If AT HIRST U don't succeed … Try the EGG HASH.

Along with that tough SW, the SE corner also put up a fight, at our (pancake) house. Didn't know ALANHALE/KNOPE Wanted WETONE instead of WETNAP. PENS & PORTHOLES clues were mighty feisty. Barely knew ADSORB. And the sun was in my eyes (window booth).

We had not finished yet (HNFY), when the meals arrived. We had our way with the upper puzgrid half, and were about 1/3 filled-in, on the lower 50%. Turned out, it was better for the digestion, thataway.

Had lotsa AVERAGE JOE coffee left over, after the nice breakfast. So, we soldiered on, like a coupla belchy puzGIs. PuzEatinSpouse eventually looked up KNOPE in nat-tick-disgust mode, and then the SE fell fairly quickly for her. … Meanwhile, M&A was doin I'M ON A (cinnamon) ROLL cleanup work.

We both POOLed our nATEs on the dreaded puzSW. ATHIRST gave us so much day-um trouble, we had difficulty keepin our EGGHASH down, without erasin. Finally thought to take BMW on a test spin, and things worked out from there, except …
ATHIRST remained. Had one last halfcuppa, washin it down with lotsa ice water. Left a hefty tip, for tiein up the table for sooo long. Hi-5-ed each other, belched in semi-perfect harmony, and hit the bricks.

Thanx for the ha(r)sh but fun solvequest, Mr. Wentz.

Masked & AnonymoUUs [bruuup]

p.s. BMW saved our bacon, sooo … = staff weeject pick.


Teedmn 1:10 PM  

Oof for me was the SE today. Sure, I had my issues with the SW but that SE...

In the SW, I had @kitshef's Nab for awhile, and 42A, my brain kept seeing CAN cLOSE - if you CAN cLOSE the deal, you're sure to succeed, no? ATHIRST didn't exactly help that, but in the end, I did NET that whole section.

Now in the SE, I surely dug my own rut there with "WET one" and the conviction that 48A was talking about the Battleship GAME. (Having no clue on LAVER or KNOPE helped not one whit.)

So I have ___T______ at 48A and I think, "A position on the Battleship board could be a letter (like Pee) and Twelve as a place on the grid". (Yes, I'd already forgotten the "rows" part of the clue and it's been decades since I played Battleship.) Working with the possibility of Twelve, I see the possibility of LOAF, leading to FEW, leading to SLEW and the rest fills in like magic. I am always bemused when an incorrect assumption leads to success. While I haven't sprained my humerus patting myself on the back for this solve, I'm satisfied that I beat this thing into submission in only a slightly higher than AVERAGE Friday time.

Nice job, Peter Wentz.

Katzzz 1:22 PM  

Egg hash is made up. As valid as rutabaga hash or pastrami hash or chicken heart hash; which is to say that anything can be made into a hash, but that doesn’t make it an actual thing that should be in a xword. I considered egg mash for a while, which sounds about as reasonable as egg hash.

RooMonster 1:22 PM  

Hey All !

O MAN, those FEW writeovers didn't impede progress too much. I MADE DO working through them. Wasn't a SLEW of them. Did seem a SLEW of K's as I was solving. Turns out there's 6. Almost 7, as I wanted bikiNiS for 10D.

Typical themeless for me, a few nice words sprinkled about.

LAVER sounds like someone soaping up in the shower.
At least it wasn't SCREENDOORS for the Battleships.
EGGHASH a nin-thing. It's Corned Beef HASH and EGGs.
Who the hell GUMS someone as a show of affection? That's nasty.
ACETEN could well have been TENACE.
Change that EGGHASH tO EGGwASH, ATHIRST to ATwoRST, WELTY to WEsTY, and EPIC to EROC, and 27D could've been DATING ROOS. Just sayin'. :-)


Cap'n Crunch 1:24 PM  

@PHV 11:02 AM

Here's a photo of the battleship USS Iowa in Los Angeles. Notes the rows of portholes. There's more elsewhere on the ship:

fifirouge 1:42 PM  

Huh. I had very little trouble in the SW. I think the key was probably knowing BMW makes Mini Coopers (I toured the BMW plant in Munich not too long ago...), so I didn't have to worry about who or what a WELTY was. I dropped in AVERAGEJOE from just the two As at 25A and 42A, which solved both the EluDE/EVADE question and made BJORK a gimme. From there it was pretty easy to infer the rest.

Don't get me wrong - I did have to cheat. Just not in the SW. I mucked up the center of the grid by spelling it DELeRIA. I then made it worse by dropping in VenI for no good reason. So I had _ _eME at 28D and B_En at 30A. Had I known the term SKINGAME I could have fixed it. But I didn't. So I had to google :-/.

Oh well. Overall a very nice puzzle with lots of little aha moments as I figured out tricky clues.

Pete 2:17 PM  

I was going to pop in to ask someone to explain Björk to me. Not who she is or what she does, but why she does what she does and/or (happy 'Mericans...?) why anyone in the world pays attention. At least from the video @Rex shared I can see how someone might like her. Not I certainly, nor do I think this example is representative of her work, but I concede the possibility that she actually has an audience.

Other than that head-scratcher, the puzzle played uniformly medium for me. Funny how a couple of lucky guesses make for success.

Dave S 2:39 PM  

Easier than usual. SW was the slowest for me, too, but largely because I couldn't commit to evade/elude or can't lose/can't miss until really late. Everyone has different gimmes and Welty was one for me-needed it for what should have been the much more obvious BMW.Liked deliria and adsorb a lot; but never heard of egg hash, is that jsut hash with eggs? Anyway, nice to feel smart to start the weekend-I'm sure it won't last 24 hours.

Georgia 3:05 PM  

Was hoping to read here why All Available Options = Dating pool ... ?

Crimson Devil 3:47 PM  

SW wore me out as well. Like LOPSIDED, MADEDO and ACETEN.
ATHIRST and EGGHASH not so much.

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

@Georgia - If you were looking for a romantic partner you would be looking someone among the available men or women, your choice. These people constitute the dating pool - in fact that's pretty much the definition of the dating pool.

ZenMonkey 3:58 PM  

I forever enjoy the notion of "I don't know this thing and that makes it a bad clue/answer." Never mind the thousands that know and love it. If ONE SOLVER doesn't know what Fortnite and EPIC Games are, for example, it sucks. Seriously funny.

leah712 5:56 PM  

The SW killed a 75-day streak, so boo-hoo. And why isn't the mascot of the Winnipeg Jets aviation-related? I'm thinking "planey," "Lindy" or some such, but it's just a generic Canadian symbol.

OffTheGrid 6:27 PM  

Yes, and I also enjoy the rationalizations for wrong answers. "It could have been that", "&T%?ZQ" made sense to me", "seemed reasonable". Turns out, the right answer is what the puzzle says it is.

Raoul Duke 6:45 PM  

I'm always amused by the liver-spotted Luddites who hang out at Rex's joint who squeal with outrage every time a tech clue pops up, as well as the blue-rinse brigade that sneeringly dismisses anything that happened after 1950 as "trivia."

It's not like EPIC is some obscure company, either. Fortnight has 80 million players every month, and they've recently been in the business news as well -- they opened up an online store to compete with Steam for digital distribution of PC games. Kind of like going up against Amazon, but I wish them well.

This puzzle skewed way easy for me, I rarely break ten minutes on Fridays but this one took less than seven. Fun puzzle!

bauskern 7:07 PM  

Rod Laver = perhaps the greatest tennis player of all time. Federer? No way. Both Nadal and Djocovic have winning records against him. Laver, in his prime (the 60s), was essentially unbeatable.
I guess if you knew nothing about tennis, that would be a toughie.
And I agree about EGGHASH. I've had a lot of diner breakfasts in my time, but never seen this on the menu.
I don't get the griping about a tough corner. It's a Friday. It's supposed to be tough. In fact, the whole NW corner fell so quickly for me that I was getting a little disappointed. So I would agree w/ Rex that this puzzle was a mix of very easy and some real toughies, but I wouldn't complain about it.

Runs with Scissors 8:11 PM  

Puzzle was fun, not too difficult, long answers were good.

Particularly liked JUMBOTRON and AVERAGE JOE. Knew Alan Hale from my misspent youth watching Gilligan's Island. Camp at its best!!

Liked the puzzle.

A few days ago I scrolled down the page and discovered the Spelling Bee. That little diversion is addicting. On today's I'm at 29 words so far. Gotta hit 30 but it may be tough.

On to Saturday!!!

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

Space Is Deep 8:39 PM  

I had the same experience as Rex. I went through all of the puzzle fairly quickly at lunch, but got stuck in the SW, Picked it up at home after work and finally finished it after much gnashing of teeth. Getting Bjork is what opened it up for me. Very satisfying.

Chip Hilton 8:57 PM  

@bauskern - The Big Three of tennis today is extraordinary, but I agree with you about Rod LAVER. A little guy, left handed, easily the best player of a generation that featured some great talent. Class guy, too.

Runs with Scissors 9:46 PM  

Make that 44 words on today's Spelling Bee...can't think of any more. Brain tired.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

Joe Dipinto 10:17 PM  

@Pete -- Björk cannot be explained. She just bjïs and forever shall bjë.

Z 10:42 PM  

So a few things could be corrected.

Battleships have PORTHOLES. We've been given video evidence.

Fortnite is huge for a computer game. That doesn't mean EPIC is particularly culturally relevant. Also, @Raoul Duke, I can excuse a rounding mistake but fundamental misunderstanding and hyperbole less so. Fortnite's best single month was 78 million users or so (August 2018 according to the source I found), but that is world wide and also not unique people playing the game. EPIC also claims 250 million total users (which sounds like every adult in the US) but that is everyone who ever created an account. So people who heard it was hot and played it once or twice and people who stopped playing two years ago and people who have created multiple accounts (and again, world wide) are all part of that big number. And don't forget, the people reporting these numbers have a significant financial interest in maximizing them.

But, and I like big Buts, that's all Fortnite. Even if 250,000,000 people were actually playing Fortnite right this minute, the percentage of those people who would know the company is significantly lower. A high percentage of people who know about EPIC know Atari (80% I'd guess), but the percentage of people who know Atari that also know EPIC is below 20% (if you know why I chose 80/20 then you also know why those are good guesses). In short, EPIC is trivial trivia.

@Zen Monkey - A single PPP answer may cause individual problems, but it is always about the PPP density. There's a reason I always mention 33% when I define PPP, that's the point that observation has told me that we will see the bifurcated responses - Very easy for some and nigh impossible for others. Same today, some people had no problem with the SW because WELTY is in their Wheelhouse. Good for them, but that really isn't a crossword puzzle, that's a trivia contest. There's a reason the movie is called Wordplay and not Triviaplay. Despite @Raoul Duke not really understanding how relatively insignificant those numbers actually are, I don't have a problem with EPIC as clued per se, the problem is that in a section already PPP dense going with a PPP clue when other, better, clues are possible is unfair to a large subset of solvers. Same with ARIA. Same with MOOSE.

@John X - If you put the vodka in the EGG HASH the alcohol is likely to be cooked out. Otherwise, good recipe.

@M&A - If AT HIRST U don't succeed... Try the pewit EGG HASH.

BobL 10:52 PM  

@Scissors - luvya, but not the place for the Bee

Seth Romero 11:20 PM  

You mean Arizona. The Jets became the Coyotes and the Nordiques became the Avs. Sorry, I love the Avs too much to ignore correcting this.

Doc John 12:29 AM  

I'm surprised that you didn't talk more about SKIN GAME. I (and probably most people who have heard of it) know it as SKINs GAME, which is a golf thing. With the S had a lot more traction on Google than without; the first S-less page being devoted to a book called The Skin Game.

Modern Texas Dilettante 12:24 PM  

Ace Ten is not a Pair!

Burma Shave 11:36 AM  


MADEDO and CAN’TLOSE his cool:


rondo 12:16 PM  

My CANTmiSs answer led to a minion underling instead of a LACKEY, and there was a Nab before a NET, creating an inkfest and many wasted nanoseconds in that SW where so many others had trouble. And nearly a DNF until AVERAGEJOE and Icelandic yeah baby BJÖRK came along to save the day. Per OFL, the rest wasn’t that tough; LOPSIDED in that regard.

That’s actually ALANHALE JR. Spittin’ image of his pop.

Yeah, ACETEN is not a ‘pair’ pair, just two cards or a pair of cards. And it’s usually ‘something’ and EGGHASH, the ‘something’ often ham or bacon, but close enough for me.

Liked most of the twisty clues. On to the WSJ contest puz. ANYTAKERS?

Diana, LIW 12:46 PM  

Even with the "brutal" SW (too many unknown names) I prevailed today! Hope this is an omen of all good things to come! (Had a medical test yesterday and await the results...I don't mind waiting for crosswords, but don't like medical-test-results waiting. That's just me, I guess.)

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting

rainforest 5:04 PM  

Nice, well-made puzzle. Most of it was medium for me, but I ran into trouble when I plopped in CANT miSs, and then "minion" off the "m". That took uber nanoseconds to unravel until I stumbled on to LACKEY. And then, done.

Except for that troublesome section, I enjoyed the puzzle, but wondered about SKIN GAME as a "swindling trick". The longer downs: ANY TAKERS, AB NEGATIVE, NOISE MAKERS, AVERAGE JOE, were key here and they went in quickly.

I think the last two puzzles of the week were excellent. Ready for Saturday.

leftcoast 5:26 PM  

PPP's in the South took me out of this one. (@Diana, hope your test results are all positive.)

William Heyman 1:45 AM  

There are no portholes in a battleship.

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