Oklahoma tribe originally from the Southeast / FRI 7-12-19 / Advice column query / "This isn't over" / Means of interstellar travel

Friday, July 12, 2019

Constructor: Evan Kalish

Relative difficulty: Hard (for a Friday)

THEME: Themeless

Word of the Day: CHICKASAW (15A: Oklahoma tribe originally from the Southeast) —
The Chickasaw (/ˈtʃɪkəsɔː/ CHIK-ə-saw) are an indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands. Their traditional territory was in the Southeastern United States of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.[2] Their language is classified as a member of the Muskogean language family and in the present day, they are organized as the federally recognized Chickasaw Nation. 
Sometime prior to the first European contact, the Chickasaw migrated from western regions and moved east of the Mississippi River, where they settled mostly in present-day northeast Mississippi and into Lawrence County, Tennessee.[3] That is where they encountered European explorers and traders, having relationships with French, English and Spanish during the colonial years. The United States considered the Chickasaw one of the Five Civilized Tribes, as they adopted numerous practices of European Americans. Resisting European-American settlers encroaching on their territory, they were forced by the US to sell their country in the 1832 Treaty of Pontotoc Creek and move to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) during the era of Indian Removal in the 1830s. [wikipedia]
• • •

Hello everyone! Jenna LaFleur here, filling in for Rex. When Rex gave me a few possible dates I could sign up for, I was glad to see a Friday among them. Friday, in general, is my favorite day of the week for crosswords, so I had my fingers crossed that this would be a good puzzle and give me something fun to blog about. After the last four puzzles in a row all left me feeling somewhere between :-| and :-(, I'm glad to report that I enjoyed this one overall!

The band BATTLES (21D: Much of military history), one of my own personal favorites

I set myself up to stumble early on: I started to enter CHEROKEE for 15A, realized it was one letter too short, thought to myself I guess it's CHEROKEES then?, and proceeded to get frustrated when nothing else in that corner (besides 1D and 2D) seemed to be working. Eventually I gave up and moved elsewhere in the grid to try and gain a new foothold, but I left that incorrect guess in place for way too long.

The long entries in this grid are, in general, prime examples of the kind of fun and interesting stuff I enjoy seeing in Friday puzzles. In particular, TO BE CONTINUED (33A: "This isn't over") and WHAT SHOULD I DO (36A: Advice column query) stuck out to me as the highlights of the bunch. On top of that, I thought the fill here was pretty clean throughout. When stuff like UTE and TAM is the worst a puzzle has in terms of crosswordese, that's a good sign in my book.

36A: If you're looking for serious advice, probably don't write in to the McElroy brothers.

Overall, though, I feel like the cluing on this puzzle was closer to Saturday-level than Friday-level difficulty. For example, REM being clued as (38A: Ad ___), instead of the sleep phase or the band, led me to confidently plonk down HOC in that spot, another mistake that took me a while to correct. Similarly nonstandard cluing angles for other entries all added up to make this a slow solve for me, but others' experience may vary.


  • MARTS (46D: Selling points) — This might be my favorite clue in the puzzle. Fun little bit of wordplay.
  • SKY (5D: Something on the horizon) — On the other hand, here's a clue I didn't like. I don't think I would really consider the sky to be on the horizon, merely above it.
  • SEVEN (49A: This clue's number divided by this clue's answer) — Hey, I came to this puzzle for words, not for math! :-)
  • IN A MOMENT (60A: Shortly) — Did anyone else get this based on some of the first few letters, and then only fill in IN A M_____ because it could also be IN A MINUTE?
I've gotta go now, but it's been fun getting to fill in for a day. I hope to return sometime in the future, so, as 33A says, TO BE CONTINUED!
Signed, Jenna LaFleur, Friend of CrossWorld

[Follow Jenna LaFleur on Twitter]
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 2:13 AM  

East side easy, west side tough, center medium. My biggest problem was putting in V for the first letter of the Caesar boast, which made the NW very slow.

@Jenna - me too for HOC which was my second biggest west side problem, and my solving experience was a lot like yours.

A fine Fri., liked it a bunch!

Harryp 2:17 AM  

This was fun. I hadn't a clue about 1Across, thinking Time Warp or some such. 15Across had me thinking Cherokee, Chippewa, 17Across,tug of war or baseball relief. So I shifted to the Northeast, where I made good headway, went down through the Southeast, West and Center, then got a good purchase in that NW with SWEET TALKED, DWEEB, etc. I really loved the stacked center. Good, solid puzzle.

Mike in Mountain View 2:35 AM  

INAsecond before INAMinute before INAMOMENT. CHerokees before CHICKASAW.

Slow solve, but fun.

chefwen 2:39 AM  

I had so many incorrect answers to start I’m surprised I was able to claw my way out. SWEETtalk at 9D, NOSEringS at 12D, RIBeyeS at26D, AD hoc at 38A and seri before VANE 50D. That’s a lot of fixin’. Fortunately all the long one were pretty easy, starting with TO BE CONTINUED, so I was able to fix all my mistakes without much angst. Liked this on a lot.

Thanks for filling Jenna LaFleur, love your name.

Texcritic 3:07 AM  

This was a very nice Friday in that I could solve a lot of it on my own, being a less than com-ententes puzzler, but I keep working at it.

Really liked the Severn clue/answer. The Matrix and Relay Race were the type of longish clues that can get me going in a word stack. They are not always present.

Type of Cup for “Dixie”? Sure, but is the mere name of Dixie for the south now verboten?

SJ Austin 5:12 AM  

I filled in all but the NW much faster than normal Friday pace, but having V--I for 7D messed me up for… well, I finished slower than average. I stared at it forever, and finally Googled a list of Oklahoma tribes, got CHICAKSAW, and then corrected 7D, and then it all fell in fast from there.

Fun solve, despite the complete roadblock in the northwest.

Bjorn Kristiansen 5:34 AM  

I think this might be my fastest Friday time ever. I’m not an expert—but I completed it in well under half of my usual Friday time... Even on the difficult clues, I thought to myself, “I think I’ve heard of...(fill in the blank).” The only thing that makes this a Friday puzzle in my book is that it is themeless—otherwise, far too easy.

joebloggs 5:47 AM  

The Caesar boast was a killer! Always thinking a v there. Once I realized it wasn’t the Latin NW fell quickly.

Lewis 6:10 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JJ 6:11 AM  

Really struggled in the NW. I had SUN on the horizon. I moved south and had IM NOT FINISHED, for 33a, this was not a speedy solve, yet faster than a normal Fri. I loved the misdirects for MARTS, and had forgotten about NILLA wafers, which I used to eat by the fistful in my youth.
I thought it was a really fun, and challenging, puzzle, with lots of clever cluing.

Lewis 6:16 AM  

A sparkling gem. The five years Evan put into this (according to his notes) resulted in a polished piece that gave me smiles from inside out. Terrific long answers -- DATAMINER, CHANCED IT, NOSE STUDS, CHEMICAL PEELS, the sing-song CHICKASAW, and TO BE CONTINUED -- all of these are debuts except the last one, which last appeared in 1967. Lovely clues with a sense of play: OXEN, MARTS, MOP, VANE, TEE. Even a backward LATE crossing IN A MOMENT.

A rare solve for me on a Friday, where almost every guess panned out and I felt like I was quick-stepping through the grid. This was a day brightener, and I'm ever so grateful, Evan!

Anonymous 6:42 AM  

I fell for every possible misdirect (including V - - I for the Caesar quote, NOSEringS, PAdS, etc.), so it took me forever. But eventually solved it all. Whew!

Suzie Q 6:45 AM  

I liked the science fiction feel of this starting with star ships and ending with teleports.
Two intersecting questions seemed funny to me. Where am I? What should I do? Maybe consult your Tarot cards?
Throw in The Matrix and a LOTR clue and we have a real fantasy fest.
Nice easy Friday.

Mikey from El Prado 6:56 AM  

Up too early here in beautiful Northern New Mexico, butI really enjoyed this puzzle, I had a similar experience as Chefwen... lots of incorrect entries to start, but at least half of the letters in those were correct and it actually was fun to suss the corrections. From STARSHIPS to TELEPORTS! TOBECONTINUED so... WHATSHOULDIDO? Well, I know! Go for a mountain bike ride, and then my wife and I will head down to The Santa Fe Opera (La Boheme) and spend the weekend in our state’s capital drinking wine, margaritas and stroll the art galleries.
May all of you enjoy a great weekend, too.

kitshef 7:20 AM  

Played like a themeless Tuesday. Had annUl before SCRUB for 1D. And I hesitated over LONER/LOsER and DIXIe/PIXIE, but everything else went right in.

THETA/DATA/FETA. Depending on where you live, they could all rhyme or have three different pronunciations.

Like seeing DIXIE in the deep south of the grid.

Alternative clue for 1A: Famous features for Elvis Presley and Christina Aguilera.
Alternative clue for 34D: It could ruin a Morse code message.

pabloinnh 7:34 AM  

Just right for a Friday, IMHO. Hand up for NOSERINGS, which slowed things to a crawl. Nothing going on in the SW until REM appeared to me from somewhere, which led to THEMATRIX, whose scenes of slomo bullets I could see but whose title was lost in the brain attic somewhere, and CRESTED, which was obvious in retrospect, the best kind of answer.

I dig any puzzle with long stacks, and this one had some very nice ones.

Thanks to EK for a solid effort and to Jenna for a fine writeup.

puzzlehoarder 7:38 AM  

An easy Friday. The mini theme played a part from the get go. I knew sci-fi travel often involves some sort of PORT. I checked the P at 6D and when the answer was obviously HARD, I immediately switched to STARSHIPS. Of the subsequent downs my only write over in the NW was SUN before SKY. As for 9D as soon as FETA gave me the next letter after T, SWEETENUP went right in.

The NW was typical of the whole puzzle. The only entries to come from the crosses were HOLI and SLC. After solving it took me a minute or two to realize what the latter one stood for.

A fun solve but not much of a workout.

Joaquin 7:43 AM  

My fellow blog-readers - you are all such good-looking, smart, and erudite contributors to this discussion. Please raise that perfectly toned arm if you prefer to “sweettalk” someone rather than SWEETENUP others.

Lobster11 7:58 AM  

Seems there are two distinct groups here: Those who fell for every misdirect and found the puzzle very difficult, and those who saw through them all and found the puzzle very easy. Today I was fortunate to be in the latter group.

QuasiMojo 8:05 AM  

Throwing down SHOSHONES didn't help me much. And then plopping in the V and I for Veni, or Vidi, or Vici conquered me. I FELT OFF. But I erased it and made a MESSI new start and was off to the RELAY RACES in my TAM. Smooth sailing afterward except I was sure it was AD REP. And PICK for the gold diggers. Overall this was a fine Friday if a little on the easy side. But I'll take a breezy, well-thought out puzzle over a grueling groan-fest anytime. Loved that FOOLS crossed CHEMICAL PEELS. :-)

GILL I. 8:10 AM  

ELENA/ELF...Oof. Get up...walk around...make some coffee...start over.
MESSI to the rescue. After that, nothing seemed to slow me down. I do want to know, though, what is a celebrity's Q Score? I got the BAD PR bit but is the Q missing its I?
CHICKASAW wasn't a problem. I know my tribes. Ad REM was the HOC of mistakes. MATRIX to the rescue.
TAROT brought on memories of boring cocktail parties where everyone wanted a reading. I was the designated Psychic and could answer life's questions. So easy and so fun until you draw the death card. It's amazing what you can conjure up. Such power with one card. People are so gullible. Tea leaves...on the other hand is fun. If you're an expert you can be called a tasseographer. Imagine that!
@Whatshername from yesterday...HAH, thanks. I told anyone who would listen about the smelly fish...So true!

RavTom 8:11 AM  

Excellent review, Jenna LaFleur. My mistake for REM was “lib.”

Z 8:11 AM  

elena/elf before SONIA/SAM. NOSEringS before NOSE STUDS. INA Minute before IN A MOMENT But I read 15A as “from the southwest, assumed it was some piece of history I didn’t know, and waited for the crosses. That’s one way to avoid a misdirection I suppose.

Even with all my writeovers this felt easy for a Friday. With CHEMICAL PEELS and NOSE STUDS, in the puzzle I’m reminded of my answer to the eternal query, WHAT SHOULD I DO? How about stop obsessing with how you look. What you do is always more important than how you look doing it. I was amused by the serendipity of BAD PR after I linked to that H&M story yesterday. I was less amused by the serendipity of the SCOTUS clue. FWIW, the other puzzle I did in the past 24 hours with a SCOTUS clue had a much much Much better clue.

@Texcritic - I think it is just that “Kind of cup” is a Friday kind of clue, vague and open-ended. Sports? Cooking? Could be a verb. I think it is a much better clue than we got at the top, where 1A and 10A are too direct to lend much difficulty.

FYI - I posted a link to the April 9 write-up late yesterday. If you liked yesterday’s theme you might like that puzzle. Also, I did manage to use “periwig pated fellow” on Twitter yesterday. I told you it wouldn’t be hard.

DavidL 8:25 AM  

Loved this. Fun long answers, inventive cluing.
The misdirects were devilish. The NW was last to fall because, like others, I confidently entered Cherokee, and typed in the "v" for Veni, Vidi or Vici. Lots of backspacing today.
Nice puzzle, Evan Kalish.

bagelboy 8:58 AM  

I thought anot hard for Friday. Finished in below average time. Started out with BLACKHOLE in 1A, but figured wrong with VINI/VIDI/VICI for 7D. Hah- got me there too! also had DATE at some point for 8D. Needless to say, The NW corner was hardest for me. And guessed the 54a/48d cross but there werent a lot of logical choices.

Rube 9:07 AM  

If this is a hard Friday puzzle we need to create 8 day weeks. If you put Cherokees in then you are too reckless because the easiest clue in the entire puzzle is RCA at 4D which blows Cherokees out of the water. Most of the solvers here seem to be so focused on time that they just plow ahead putting in unproven answers to clues. But this is a CROSSword puzzle. After you put in your first answer, each subsequent answer shoukd be based off what you already put in. People who put in Elena prejudicually excluded sotomayor and kavanaugh.

On the other hand CHEMICALPEELS was a gimme and gave you that H and then that W which immediately set up 36D and 36A.
Dear Shortz: More challenge please.

Gretchen 9:14 AM  

Now THIS was a fun Friday puzzle! Hard but left me with such a good feeling of accomplishment when I finished! Did anybody else start out with STRIP MALL for 17 across. Threw off all the NW downs till i realized my mistake. Also in that corner I kept trying to get VENI, VIDI or VISI in 7 down. Who would have figured it was the English translation?

Joe Dipinto 9:19 AM  

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

Just like everyone else, I had a write-over festival with this one. SCRAP for SCRUB, MEZCALS, SWEET TALK, V__I for the Caesar boast. I was about to go for ELENA/ELF, but something stopped me, I'm not sure what now. Maybe it was the probable MESSI at 18a instead of some unlikely person with an "F" name.

Except for TO BE CONTINUED, I don't really like any of the answers in this grid. Or more accurately, the combination of them all in the same puzzle is somehow annoying to me. Not that the puzzle is badly constructed. I just wish it were completely different.

NYCers -- It's Manhattanhenge tonight, at 8:20! I don't know if I'll get to witness it. Also happens tomorrow, but without a full sun. Happy Friday!

burtonkd 9:25 AM  

@texcritic DIXIE is a name brand for disposable paper cups, the kind that get that waxy dandruff if you crinkle them. Think dentist office "rinse and spit, please". Perhaps the brand regional to the south, hence the name, so you could be onto something?

EMI_E crossing with HO_I gave me some Natick-y pause despite having played that song for umpteen baritones.

Had a MINER-MINOR crossing thinking a minor is an unlikely party-goer, despite knowing the opposite is more likely.

I decided that too many of my posts included complaining about Rex’s complaints and vowed to posit more original thoughts. This guest blogger run has been a good chance to set new habits:)

Nancy 9:26 AM  

For me, this was a "keep the faith" puzzle. Keep the faith that if you manage to start somewhere, anywhere, you'll eventually get back to what was baffling you completely and manage to solve it. I found it plenty hard and richly rewarding. It was so engrossing that the world might have been coming to an end and I wouldn't have noticed.

Thank heaven I knew the Pebble Beach PROAM, because that's where I got into the very difficult West. But even the easier East, once I got to it, flummoxed me because I initially had elenA instead of SONIA at 10A. I also had gETS before NETS (22A) and MaitaiS before MESCALS at 30D.

FWIW, I don't watch movies where bullets rip into people in slo-mo (THE MATRIX), so I didn't know this answer. I inadvertently saw one such movie, "Bonnie and Clyde", back in the day and determined never to see another. And if you really want to stump me, just throw in the initials of some airline hub or other. I know LGA, JFK, LAX...and that's it.

One clue felt off to me and that was "felt off" (3D). AILED is an odd answer. When I'm AILing, I don't feel "off", I feel lousy. But other than that, a really enjoyable themeless.

barryevans 9:34 AM  

WARPDRIVE having the same number of letters as STARSHIPS, NW killed me. The rest went OK. And yeah, I don't see no SKY on the horizon, I see a line between sky and sea. Great fill otherwise!

Z 9:36 AM  

@Rube - I generally agree, but I did “confirm” elena with elf. MESSI quickly showed me the error of my ways. I don’t think there is a three letter LOTR character starting with B, so brett was never happening.

Timcj 9:44 AM  

Baffled at 13D. Surround sound is a five channel mix, an upgrade from a two channel mix IN STEREO. I suppose a surround sound mix is actually in quintophonic .

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

seemed very easy except for tossing down "v" and "i" in 7 down which slowed down the NW.

Molasses 10:17 AM  

Hand up in the "this was hard" column, although I solved without having to look anything up. That always counts as a big win for me in end-of-week puzzles.

NW was definitely the hardest. I had AILED and SKY right away but removed them later when I couldn't make V--I work with them, and I was positive about that V. Not sure what alternate universe @Rube is in, where RCA Dome is a well-known thing. Somehow I've never made it to Indiana, although here in Arizona I know plenty of people who moved here from there.

Ad REM was new to me. I had ad man, ad men, and ad rep in there. Kept trying to cram The Patriot in where The MATRIX belonged.

Q score was vaguely familiar, so I had BADPR right away, which helped in the middle section but didn't give me a foothold in the NW because I couldn't come up with SCRUB.

Newboy 10:28 AM  

Never saw THE MATRIX and couldn’t find DIXIE in the Deep South for an embarrassingly long time, yet all the longs came easily. Kleaver Klueing OK! Made most of the misdirects noted previously so kudos to konstructor kompletely. And special thanks to our brave reviewer for taking on a Friday assignment and stumbling along with us; both Evan & Jenna are jewels.

@mericans in Paris 10:33 AM  

I completed most of the puzzle in half an hour, and then Mrs. 'mericans cleaned up the mess I had created in the NW. I, too, had a "V" in the first square, and an "I" in the fourth for 7D. But that wasn't giving me anything that would fit in 1A. Ironically, my very first entry there had been SpAceSHIP. Love the name CHIKASAW.

All the long answers were very fair, I thought. Like @Susie Q points out, the puzzle almost had a Sci-Fi theme, what with STARSHIPS' BATTLES between the AXONS and NILLA in the THETA Cancri star cluster, while grubby HARD DATA MINERS are instantly TELEPORTed IN A MOMENT into THE MATRIX. A FETA worse than SETH.

Thanks for the crisp analysis, Jenna, and for honing the puzzle over 5 years, Mr. Kalish!

Carola 10:33 AM  

A fun one and Just Right on the challenge scale.
First in: elenA x ent (quicky erased); last in: MARTS, with a smile at the clue.
Pleasures along the way: STARSHIPS balancing TELEPORTS, I SAW x A SAW, the WHERE AM I, WHAT SHOULD I DO cross.
Other do-overs: SCRap befor SCRUB, NOSErings, the boast's V and I, and, as Jenna suggested, IN A Min...wait a second....

Ellen S 10:51 AM  

@timcj 9:44 — no matter how many channels of sound there are, you only have two ears. You either hear the same thing in each, in a mono recording, or you hear something different in each.

I didn’t have an objection to any of the answers, except what are “RIBTIPS”??? “Ribs” i know, “Back Ribs” I know, beef, pork, — but tips, I never heard of. However, I’m a vegetarian, so. I may be out of touch with kinds of meat. (“objection” isn’t the same as “Problem” — I had the same writeovers as everybody. I know interstellar travel is possible through worm holeS or warp drIves, and the incorrect “v” from “I SAW” kept me out of that corner until I had everything else filled in.

Fun Puzzle, Evan, keep ‘em coming!

Escalator 10:56 AM  

I am the only one that has not heard of Sport UTE? Had to google it!,,,,

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

Please tell me where you found this information about the constructor.
It if anyone else knows, please share it.
Thank you.

Rube 11:00 AM  

As probably the only person on this blog who has never read a single word of Tolkien, I had no problem. And as you said, you found it quickly before making a messi of the whole thing

McArdle 11:02 AM  

Had a mistake and had to come here to figure it out: turns out it was not DATA MISER and LOSER. Ad REM I have never heard of and needed all crosses, would have gotten it if it was instead in rem, like the jurisdiction. Was stuck up north for a long time due to WARP DRIVE and KEETOOWAH, both correct incorrect answers.

Ethan Taliesin 11:03 AM  

I really enjoyed this one, perhaps because things fell into place without ever seeming like anything was too easy or obvious. I was definitely on the grid's wavelength today. Real close to a record time.

On a tangential and far more crabby note, that "bullet" stuff in Matrix really irritates the hell out of me, with all the Kung-Fu and flying into walls. It's like ordering a sweet new Tesla and having it delivered with a spoiler and big gaudy chrome rims on it.
Great movie otherwise.

jberg 11:08 AM  

Gotta run. I saw the Cherokees / CHICKASAW trap, si I just put in the CH, but totally dell for Elena. (Now SONIA) won’t even talk to me.) I had the E already, so avoided GIC, but was still hesitant about REM for the reasons Jenna explained.

All in all a nice puzzle puzzle and an enjoyable write up. Thanks!

Crimson Devil 11:17 AM  

Took many wrong turns. Seems like at each opportunity, and there were plenty.
Ultimately quite enjoyable.

Lewis 11:17 AM  

@anon 10:57 -- Puzzle constructors leave comments on xwordinfo.com and the WordPlay blog in the NYT. They are usually identical, though occasionally the comments are more detailed on xwordinfo.

BJD 11:34 AM  

I’ve never once used, heard or saw the phrase SPORT UTE. I almost didn’t believe it even when all the crosses were correct.

Nancy 11:50 AM  

@GILL (8:10) -- Re your comment about people being so gullible about TAROT and other psychic readings. Well, I must be the world's biggest idiot. I imagine I could be very rich right now if I'd taken advantage of a situation that Fell Into My Lap maybe 20 years ago.

A psychic with my full name was written up prominently in the NYT. She got a ginormous amount of ink. I had never heard of her previously, but then I am not a psychic-following sort of person. Evidently, she was unlisted and unfindable by those who desperately wanted to find her, whereas I am both listed and findable. And the telephone calls started coming in daily. They went on for at least six months. "Are you Nancy____, the famous psychic?" they asked. And stupid, stupid me said "No!" Followed by "No, I have no idea how you can find the psychic with the same name -- no idea at all!" Here's what I should have said:

"My child, let me help you. I'm feeling a strange and very special connection over the phone with you right now. I know I can enlighten you. That I can tell you...things. There's a strong vibration coming through the receiver right now. Yes, yes, a vision is coming to me. There's an item in your closet that's white. Okay, off-white, then. It's something you used to wear, but you don't wear it as much as you used to. You do wear it? Yes, but not quite as much as you used to, am I right? I want to explore this with you, as it may have implications for your future. My charge used to be quite reasonable, but ever since the Times write-up, my phone has been ringing off the hook. My fee is $500/hour. I know this sounds a bit steep, but just remember, you called me..."

Sob. If I'd only done this, I might be in Lake Como right now with @mericans.

Birchbark 12:14 PM  

MezzoeS --> MAIDENS (turns out it was 4/9 correct, even if misspelled), zestA --> NILLA, MEzCALS --> MESCALS.

ERGO, for a while it seemed that the triple-stack in the middle was brought to us by the letter "Z." But a FOOL and his Zs are soon parted, and in the end we have none to show for it.

Or do we? On reading Evan Kalish's notes, we learn that the puzzle's inspiration was a 2013 triple-stack with a prominent "Z." Hmm. Possibly some sort of phase-shifted-Z afterimage crept into today's solution before moving on to wherever these things go? It's basically the same physics involved in TELEPORTing, only with Zs traveling across puzzles.

kitshef 12:30 PM  

@Z - well, SAM isn't really a character either, since it's short for Samwise. So why not BOR, short for Boromir?

With tongue out of cheek [hey! which came first - "cheeky" or "tongue-in-cheek"??] - Bob appears in the first book (as does his counterpart, Nob).

jb129 12:32 PM  

Give me a "Hard for a Friday" themeless from Mr. Kalish over a "medium" self-congratulationatory puzzle from Alex Eaton-Salners any day! Thank you Mr. Kalish for helping me to recover!

Long Time Lurker Slapdown 12:40 PM  

@Rube...what the heck is prejudicial about putting in ELENA because it “sets up” ELF?! Perhaps you mean it is a rash decision to plop it in right away. For whatever reason (and incorrectly) I took the term “character” as not specific, i.e. elf, orc, hobbit, etc. RCA Dome a gimme?! I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed your posts in the past but reread your own comment today to see how condescending you sound.

Z 12:41 PM  

@Rube and other Non-Tolkien readers - A quick primer:

Three Letter Tolkien Clues
Bad guy - ORC
Good Guy tree - ENT
Good Guy non-tree - ELF
Good Guy - SAM (late week only)

Five Letter
MERRY (late week only)
SHIRE (a place)

Six Letter
SAURON (very bad guy)
PIPPIN (late week only)

Seven Letter
Aragorn (late week only)

The three letter answers will take care of roughly 80% of your LOTR puzzle needs. The rest will take care of another 19.5% of LOTR puzzle needs. The other 0.5% of answers are probably Saturday only and almost everyone will have to get the answer from the crosses.

nyc_lo 12:43 PM  

The NW corner was my stumbling block. Had to skirt around it completely until there was nothing left to fill. Stupidly had STARDRIVE in there for too long until I saw the obvious STARSHIPS. Then SWEETENUP nearly did me in. I had the UP, so really wanted the rest to be buttered or softened, but neither fit. I’ve never heard “sweeten up” as a phrase in that context. Sweet talk, sweeten the deal, etc., but not “up.” Maybe it’s a regional thing. But once I had the W, CHICKASAW came easily, and the rest fell into place. Pretty decent Friday overall, (the dreaded UTE notwithstanding).

RooMonster 12:46 PM  

Hey All !
Yes, V__I for 7D.
Yes, MaitaiS for MESCALS.
Yes, AD REM a WOE.
But got SONIA/SAM. :-)

With not only 7D wrong, but I also had feet for 8D (Something to set or pick up). Makes sense, no? So my NW was a MESS(I). Started with STARcraft, and wanting CHICago____ for CHICKASAW, and not being able to get RELAtion___ out of the ole brain almost got me to cheat. But I persevered and got it correct!

But, Argh! I still got my one-letter DNF. TAROs/sEE. Dang it! 55D, Driving aid. SEE. See? You have to be able to SEE to drive. TAROT, ugh. Thinking steeping tea leaves, not "reading" them. Bunk

Did like this puz, not usually a huge fan of themelesses, but this had some fun answers, and gave me a fat lip from it fighting back. Maybe I'll go get a CHEMICAL PEEL.


Dave S 1:10 PM  

Like others I got messed up in the northwest since the first thing I filled in was because I "knew" 7 down had to begin with a v and end in an i. So I spent a huge amount of time wondering whether there were star rovers and missing what should have been a gimme in "relay race" since I coach track (loved the clue once I got it). Plus while 7D was English instead of Latin, took me too long to glom on to 2D was Greek instead of English Didn't really click in that whole area until I gave up on trying to add too many Ts to "soften up" and "butter up." Fun puzzle.

Lewis 1:21 PM  

@Z -- Thank you for the Tolkien tips. That is pure gold.

Teedmn 1:32 PM  

SW, SE, NE, NW - Now this was a Friday puzzle such as we haven't had in some weeks. Hard in a good way. Thanks, Evan Kalish!

OXEN saved me right after I put in ELENA at 10A - I had plans to put in ENT in 10D but changed directions after SONIA (SONyA first). And my NOSE ringS made that quadrant even MESSIer. I see I wasn't alone in flailing around in that section.

Similarly, CRESTED made short work of my "hoc" at 38A. But even after being sure of my crosses, SLC was a WOE - I had to look it up to figure out Salt Lake City as the Delta hub - I thought I knew my Delta hubs but I guess I was wrong.

CHEMICAL PEELS sure don't sound like something you would want on your face. I was leaning towards a fruit or veggie peel option but what? CHEstnuts?

I'm trying to think whether I have ever said, "Where am I" upon opening my eyes. Certainly, I've said it on a dark road, staring at a map by the dome light. There's the time I was driving north and saw the sign for Cleveland when I thought I was 40 miles north of the Iowa border, I wondered if I had been TELEPORTed. Turns out there is a Cleveland, MN.

Chip Hilton 1:34 PM  

@McArdle - You are not alone on LOsER/. . . MIsER. I knew data miser sounded silly, but settled. Alas . . .

V—I, like everyone else. HOC, too. DOVeR before SALEM. Never heard of HOLI.

In all, a wonderful Friday. Thanks, Evan.

burtonkd 1:40 PM  

@bjd sport utility vehicle shortens to sport UTE

Unknown 1:41 PM  

I wanted warpdrive in the worst way. Puzzle very enjoyable. A satisfying solve what more can u want

Fred Romagnolo 2:05 PM  

I had all of the initial mistakes most of you did (v--i,cherokees, etc.). Some time ago I made a suggestion for you paper solvers: do it with a red pen, then write-overs with blue or black ink; it helps me a lot. @Texcritic: things are verboten only to PCers.

Frog Prince Kisser 2:26 PM  

@Z 12:41 PM

Thanks lots for the Tolkien Clues! Now please do the same for Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter! 😄

Frog Prince Kisser 2:44 PM  

@Z 12:41 PM

Sorry, meant to say “the rest of the” Lord of the Rings characters - Arwen, Eowyn, Balrog, etc. Gobblydegook! 🤪

Z 3:15 PM  

@Frog Prince Kisser - The rest of LOTR characters almost never appear. We’re far more likely to need to know, say Mambo! singer than, say, Celeborn. I usually say that to solve crosswords one needs knowledge a mile wide and an inch deep, but maybe 3 letters deep is more accurate.

DigitalDan 3:25 PM  

Caesar said "Veni, vidi, vici" and no one can tell me otherwise. That slowed me down appreciably. By the way, had he said "Vidi, vici, veni" we would have washed his mouth out with soap.

Runs with Scissors 4:47 PM  

Late to the party today. Car to the shop at 7 am, various other duties.

I pretty much fell into the same traps as most everyone else. Cherokee didn't fit; have no clue who/what MESSI is and FIFA wasn't tip of the tongue (synapse); DATA MINER was a gimme, so there's that.

Looking back at it nothing was particular wonky or unknown. I'd heard the name MESSI somewhere because eventually it dropped. But AS I SAID, during the solve I was getting worked. That's a good thing, by the way.

I'm a sci-fi nerd, so seeing STARSHIPS and TELEPORTS in the grid was fun. My AXONS were aching for hyperspace to join in.

More than once I've awakened in a strange place and asked myself WHAT SHOULD I DO? Usually preceded by WHERE AM I. No CHEMICAL PEELS or OVA involved in those stories, though, and thank (insert favored deity) none of them ended up in DIXIE. Memories of Tennessee and Mississippi - those states have some BAD PR...

Raise your hand if you've ever seen yoked OXEN in the wild. I have.

I CHANCED IT. Liked it. Enjoyed the write up also. Shoulda been IN STEREO.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

JT 6:51 PM  

Can someone explain how the answer to 52D can be the singular NAME, given that the clue for 51D is "abbr. after a series of 52-Downs)? Since when do we talk about a series of name, rather than a series of names, plural???

GILL I. 7:30 PM  

@Nancy 11:50. HAH! You, my dear, are a natural....You let a golden opportunity slip through your fingers. I'm betting you could be sipping some Cava in Paris right now, overlooking the Louvre had you continued your God-Given-Talents. Let me add a few other pointers:
EVERYBODY is either sad that someone is dying or is being jilted by a lover. You have to start with the: "I see sadness in your life." "I'm sensing deep sorrow........" Then, because people love to talk about themselves, they'll tell you everything you need to know. We're all dying sooner or later, right? You just need to sympathize and tell them that it will soon be over and there will be no pain at all. Works every time. You just have to know the moment to strike with your $500 fee. The Nigerian Prince knows how to do it without paying taxes.
You're welcome.
I see a heat wave heading your way.

Anonymous 7:47 PM  

@JT - The plural is provided in the clue (series of 52-Downs).

Adam 8:53 PM  

By whom? Other than crossword constructors, I mean.

kfja 10:50 PM  

Wordplay column, NYT

Burma Shave 10:24 AM  


came from THE famous MAIDEN’S lips.


spacecraft 10:33 AM  

A fun Friday, with the sci-fi bookends. Trouble was, there are so many kinds of interstellar travel--and of course I had inked in (viciously heavy, because I KNEW...) the V and the I of 7-down. Was thinking some type of waves. So once again, ASISAID many times, the freakin' NW held me up. What IS it with the NW's of my life??? WHATSHOULDIDO? My NW TAROT card is surely DEATH, or at least THE HANGED MAN.

My other inkblot was MaitAiS before MESCALS. Hey, I'm not a big drinker, so I don't know these things. All the rest of this seemed about easy-to-medium for a Friday, so I guess a straight medium. It was quite the aha! MOMENT when I finally dislodged the Latin and put in the English translation. After that the NW fell quickly and I was done.

BTW, the MOMENT/minute thing never confused me, because my SE start was OVA/EVENT. (MARTS came much later.) SONIA Braga for DOD; a solid birdie.

rainforest 3:24 PM  

Tough Friday. Well, actually tough NW, where I spent as much time as on the rest of the puzzle. Yes, I did the v--i thing, too, and it was only at the bitter end, on the verge of accepting a DNF, that I saw that I SAW was called for, thanks to RELAY RACE.

The rest of the puzzle was easy-medium except where I lost many hectoseconds in figuring out CHANCED IT. I assume SLC is an airport code for somewhere in the Mountain Time Zone (maybe Salt Lake City?).

I'm not sure about the accuracy of SWEETENED UP, but it couldn't be anything else. Also really glad that Schlitz Kavanaugh (er, Brett) wasn't the SC Justice.
Tough but enjoyable puzzle.

rondo 4:16 PM  

My ad hoc answer in the SW kept that area from finishing cleanly; that WHo__ was looking like the start to something. Hadn’t realized it was 20 years ago that ISAW THEMATRIX, HOLI cow; that was the answer that turned things around down there.

Not many MAIDENS in the yeah bay competition; SONIA by a landslide.

Could easily have had a DNF in that SW, the rest not too tough and kinda fun.

Old Al 5:19 PM  

I can't be the only one who feels that "Lord of the Rings character" crossing "FIFA Player of the Year" is a textbook Natick. Can I?

BlatantOctopusHouse 9:09 AM  

I thought the same thing

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP