Colorado's official state dinosaur / FRI 8-2-2019 / Locks that might not be totally secure? / Ones flying in circles / Zymurgist's interest

Friday, August 2, 2019

Constructor: Andrew J. Ries

Relative difficulty: Very Easy (8:29, my fastest Friday time by over three minutes)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: PAPAW (7D: Fruit in the custard apple family) —
Asimina triloba, the papawpawpawpaw paw, or paw-paw, among many regional names, is a small deciduous tree native to the eastern United States and Canada, producing a large, yellowish-green to brown fruit.

• • •

Hi all! Resident radio nerd Matthew here subbing in for Rex — now from St. Louis, where I'm taking a break from pub media and starting a yearlong fellowship teaching math at East St. Louis Senior High! My crossword solving obsession and constructing ambitions — supported in large part by the lovely folks at this blog — have become my de facto ice breaker fun facts, so we'll see how many friends I make among my fellow teachers with my trusty cruciverbalist know-how in my back pocket. To the puz!

I'm surely biased by how little resistance I encountered in this PR solve, but I thoroughly loved almost everything about this puzzle. The grid is wide-open and aesthetically pleasing (contrast with last Friday's, which felt awkwardly segmented). The short fill is all clean and clued on the easier side (looking at you, WAS IOU CPU SYR ... ETC ...), which allows lots of the longer answers to drop right in without any second-guessing. It's a relief to come across a Friday that presents its challenges but doesn't feel like it's constantly out to get you.

I particularly enjoyed the cluing on the mid-length answers — there's a lot of 6- to 8-letter stuff in there, and clue-wise, there are a *lot* of winners. Doubling up on "Put on the line" with both AIRDRIED (16A) and WAGERED (34A) is some A+ wordplay.  "Character raised in 'Rosemary's Baby' " (APOSTROPHE (36A)) made me smile. All told, there are also a bunch of places where answers could go either way (read: ORCHESTRA in for MEZZANINE at 44A) that I just got lucky with whichever option I was able to throw down quicker.

All of the 11-letter downs get high marks in my book, but most of all STEGOSAURUS (23D: Colorado's official state dinosaur). If you know any dinosaur fun facts, PLEASE SHARE IN THE COMMENTS because animal fun facts are the best fun facts (besides crossword-adjacent fun facts, of course ... right?)

Re: dinos, I learned a bunch from this episode of 99% Invisible ... and ... of course ...

You're welcome, and you're welcome.

  • 48A: BBQ offering (BURGER)  — As a native Texan, it is my obligation to say that the circles in the Venn diagram of burgers and barbecue don't overlap. That's it. That's the bullet.
  • 22A: Important thing to know, if you will (ESTATE LAW) — Estate law sounds incredibly boring, but I enjoyed its place in this puzzle entirely thanks to brilliant cluing.
  • 5D: First podcast to win a Peabody Award (2015) (SERIAL) — Podcast love! I have never listened to Serial, but I am pretty sure that everyone I have spoken to in the last four years has recommended it to me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • 57A: Ill will (RANCOR) — Before I knew that this was actually a ~word~ found in the ~real world~, I knew from my definitely very cool ~children's Star Wars encyclopedia~ that Jabba the Hutt's grotestque, carnivorous cave giant from Episode VI is called a Rancor. I almost led with this as Word of the Day for this reason, but hey — I did have to leave y'all something to look forward to.

TGIF, Matthew Stock, Mos Eisley Cantina bandmate of CrossWorld

P.S. Shoutout to my two intrepid friends who made their crossword competition debut at BosWords last weekend! Proud of y'all.

[Follow Matthew on Twitter]
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


JJ 1:00 AM  

How great was that clue for APOSTROPHE? Wonderful wordplay with TOUPEE and AIR DRIED.
This one made me smile several times-- great job by the constructor.

jae 1:11 AM  

Easy-medium except for the NW where I had TressES before TOUPEES for way too long.

Very solid, very smooth, some fine long downs, liked it.

Nice write up Matthew, STEGOSAURUS was my favorite also.

Jeff gave it POW.

Anonymous 1:18 AM  

i thought it was harder than average.

overall clever cluing -- not secure locks, put on the line, etc.

Larry Gilstrap 2:36 AM  

I actually thought it was a Thursday puzzle and was looking for a gambit. It's so tempting now to not want to pay attention, and I've got to shake myself out of it. I enjoyed this Friday effort.

I saw Rosemary's Baby playing only in theaters, what fifty years ago? The cluing offers an out to my fellow solvers who are experientially challenged and leaves me with no advantage. Well done! I see lots of people posting online mangling the use of the APOSTROPHE.

Even with my long history with the San Diego BEER scene, zymurgy never made it into my vocabulary. Pay attention!

Kids love dinosaurs, I've heard. Was it 66M years ago the extinction was triggered? We don't have BUZZARDS in Southern California, we have turkey vultures and if you have ever observed their dihedral wing pattern majestically soaring with the thermals, you realize that not all the dinosaurs were lost.

Matthew, I enjoyed the review and good luck on your opportunity to make a difference in kids' lives. Teaching in the trenches is what I did for many years, and it will challenge you to your core. Kinda what life is all about.

chefwen 2:51 AM  

Maybe a tad bit easy for a Friday, but after yesterday’s mind boggling puzzle it was refreshing. I did finally finish Thursdays unassisted, but it was a stretch.

This one had some tricky misdirects which I enjoyed. Held off on airplane at 19A thinking that would be too easy for a Friday. AISLE WAY was perfect. That’s me in the AISLE racing to the lav to get a final pee in before we take off. Sorry folks,

Loved the little convention of zzz’z on the the lower midsection. TOUPEES at 13A made me laugh.

Fun Friday.

Phil 4:01 AM  

I complained about the NYT cluing a few puzzles ago so I am happy to eat my words on this one.
Thanks Andrew
I subscribe to Andrew Ries puzzles he puts out and most are tough but fun.

I heard rancor before in English context but I have to say the Italian context ‘Addio, senza rancor’ is the memorable one. Puccini pulls all the stops to tug on the heartstrings of his audience in the perennial favorite ‘La Boheme’

first 3 minutes is enough

Loren Muse Smith 4:05 AM  

Matthew, pub media maven and soon-to-be high school math teacher – thanks for filling in and good luck! Standing in front of a buncha teenagers who don’t want to be there is not for the faint of heart. But I can tell you have a good sense of humor and that je ne sais quoi that’ll serve you well.

This has to be one of the best-clued puzzles ever. TOUPEES, WAGERED, ESTATE LAW, APOSTROPHE, SIS, GNU – loved all those clues. Very enjoyable solve this morning, Andrew.

Larry! You’re back! I gobble up your comments.

Yay for TAX EVASION, the ultimate undoing of someone whose many crimes are much more despicable than just not paying their fair share of taxes. Hey – I’ll take it. As long as the pig is punished, hopefully disgraced, and goes to prison, I’m good.

“Colorado’s official dinosaur” – this one brought me up short. Who knew that states had official dinosaurs? Turns out, all of them don’t. We don’t have an official dinosaur in WV, and I feel jealous now. [Insert Robert Byrd joke] Who gets to decide this stuff? Interestingly, in January 2014, Colorado also named a state chip (Doritos) and a state movie (Up in Smoke).

I’ve tasted one, but I had no idea it was spelled PAPAW. Round here, it’s pronounced /pawpaw/. PAPAW, if I had to commit, is married to your mamaw. The fruit’s etymology comes from the word papaya. The grandparent names come from a baby watching speakers talk, seeing both lips move (/p/ and /m/), and deciding to give it a go.

I MEAN fascinates me because you’d think it introduces a follow-up statement, that it amends something you just said. Yet so many people lead with this after being asked something, and they’re not amending anything. It does some kind of semantic work, but I can’t nail it down. Like it sets up your statement to alert the asker that your answer is not quite definite maybe? Or that you’re hedging? I would say this:

Questioner: What do you think about Birkenstocks?
Me: I MEAN, they’re comfortable, but I can’t really wear them with my pencil skirts and cardigans.

But I would not use it here:

Questioner: What do you think about Naot Flirt sandals in black?
Me: They’re a foot miracle, and I buy a new pair every August.

I’m sorry, but portmanteauphile that I am, I just don’t think MURSE works. For a short, one-syllable blend, that first half *has* to begin with a consonant cluster. Think spam, brunch, smog, spork, skort. MURSE could be a male nurse. Or a curse from a warlock. Even a lot of the longer portmanteaux begin with a cluster: bromance and chillax. FWIW, chillax was voted in as Colorado’s official portmanteau in February of 2014.

BarbieBarbie 5:58 AM  

I almost agree about the clues, but AMBUSH was poorly-clued in my book, just didn’t quite stick the landing. Since it was 1A, that was disappointing. The rest of the clues were really fun. TOUPEES was my first firm entry. Overall a really fun puzzle. More please!

My grandmother used to use I MEAN as a stand-alone phrase that could either indicate “here’s how I see it” or sometimes (used by itself) “Amen to that!” As in “This Congress seems especially disorganized,” “I mean!” But she sang it differently. Modern usage sings IMEAN as a rapid rat-a-tat almost without vowels, kind of a grunt with your lips and tongue moving. For her it was clearly pronounced, with an emphasized “I” followed by an even more emphasized “mean!” I’m not sure if it has evolved or was unique to her.

Lewis 6:26 AM  

The ridiculously simple switch from oaT to NUT was the gateway that enabled me to swoosh in my last 20 empty squares in what felt like seconds. Normally that would have made me happy, but I didn't have to be made happy because I was already on a high from the clues to AIR DRIED, WAD, and even more so from the clues to ESTATE LAW, PAYEES, and ITUNES, and especially from the clues to APOSTROPHES and GNU.

Yesterday we had the adjoining MOO GAS, and today it's STY GAS.

Andrew, with THE MUSIC MAN on my mind, seeing [Noted library] in the clue to ITUNES, I immediately thought of Marian, with a capital M that rhymes with gem and that stands for jewel -- what you created today. Thank you, sir.

jammon 6:43 AM  

Aisleway? AISLEWAY?????

Do you drive on a streetway? It's a friggin' AISLE!

amyyanni 7:00 AM  


Eliza 7:19 AM  

With just the "A" I started to write in ANTICHRIST. Loved the actual answer!

kitshef 7:26 AM  

First of all, STEGOSAURUS is not Colorado’s official state dinosaur: it is their official state fossil. Shoddy editing, there. Inexcusable.

Overall, a nice professional job. Difficulty felt about right for a Friday, lots of good entries and good clues. Marred slightly by some ‘trying too hard’ clues like those for SIS and GNU.

No idea why AMBUSH and TOUPEES clues get question-marks, while ESTATE LAW and APOSTROPHE clues do not.

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

As an estate lawyer, I disagree with our guest blogger on one point: Estate Law is not boring.

RavTom 7:34 AM  

@LMS: My recollection, confirmed by a quick search, is that pawpaw is the much more common spelling.

@BarbieBarbie: Agree about 1A: A decent NCO could as easily devise an AMBUSH as could a general.

@jammon: Yes. And what is there particularly about takeoff that requires you to clear an AISLEWAY? Who or what takes off or is taken off on/in/from an AISLEWAY?

DavidL 7:41 AM  

This puzzle rocks. Great answers, clever clues, very little crud fill.
Awesome job Andrew J. Ries.

Plus I learned a new fruit.

PaulyD 7:42 AM  

@Jammon With you all the "aisle way" on this one. In hundreds of flights, I have never heard the aisle referred to in that "way". Not. A. Thing.

That's colored an otherwise completely enjoyable solving experience. 4.5/5.0

Thank you, Andrew Ries, nonetheless for the fun start to the weekend.

Hungry Mother 7:49 AM  

Self-destructed when I thought APOSTROPHE was supposed to be some demon’s name. I totally missed the wordplay. Assisted by my thinking that ENDUP was ENDUr. I had to chuckle when I saw what a chucklehead I’d been.

QuasiMojo 7:54 AM  

My app tells me I beat my average time for a Friday by eight minutes. I'm sure some of you did this in eight minutes. To finish without groaning or scratching my head in disbelief is always a pleasure even if I prefer more of a challenge. Not to raise Cain but I don't get the "raising" part of the Apostrophe answer. Are there apostrophes I don't know if that are not placed on top? Seems a bit tortured. I stumbled a bit by throwing down ESTATE TAX because as someone writing a will, which I did recently (hi SIS), I was more interested in the tax laws than just estate LAW. But seeing Scarface's answer caused me to re-examine that choice. I have no idea what a WATER HAZARD is but I do know it's better not to stand under a circle of BUZZARDS.

Thanks to all of you who offered advice on how to go blue on this blog. I would love to get an avatar but my problem isn't that I can't figure it out, so much as I already have a blogger account and don't want to use it. The sign-in thing seems to insist on linking the two. I'm at the age where I am trying to cut back on extraneous email accounts, having been hacked on more than one occasion by bots, so the notion of creating a new email, google or otherwise, just so I can have my name, fake or otherwise, posted in blue rubs me the wrong way. Less is more these days. I also got rid of my various FB accounts. The biggest selling point to me here seems to be the ability to edit or remove a post. Otherwise what's so different about just keeping things the way they are? If you want to know more about me, such as my favorite movies, etc, I'm happy to fill you in. I will not try to emulate the fascinating @Old Actor and tell you my age.

GILL I. 8:16 AM  

I did it AISLEWAY.....
APOSTROPHE clue was worth the GAS. Hi @Lewis.
THE MUSIC MAN right here in River City...
SIS boom bah and GUNS clued with nary an NRA.

mmorgan 8:32 AM  

Certainly not “very easy” for me, but I did make steady progress on it throughout. I seem to have worked my away all around the perimeters, leaving a massive and intimidating abyss of long-down white space in the middle, dotted only by TAX EVASION and APOSTROPHE. But gradually it all fell, even things I never heard of, such as SELENA GOMEZ. Count me among those who loved loved loved this, with so many great answers and so many terrific clues. I figured BURGER and AMBUSH might cause some RANCOR, but c’mon — such a great puzzle deserves some slack. Thanks for an outstanding Friday, Mr. Ries!

Gretchen 8:37 AM  

Too easy for a Friday. Oh well...there's always tomorrow

Solverinserbia 8:48 AM  

What is the meaning of ATA? Still don't get it and I solved my 5th straight puzzle, a record overall for me.

Rube 8:57 AM  

Sorry Gretchen. Not too easy...way too easy. Was fun but not a challenge. Aisleway is not a thing.

Matthew on earth can orchestra or mezzanine be a 50 50 tossup and you choose one of them without provibg a single letter. This is totally poor solving technique and should he strongly discouraged by puzzle solvers.
Again, the impressive solve is the one where you enter a single answer and then every other answer from then on is crossed with something already entered.CROSSword. not lucky guess.

Nancy 9:20 AM  

Colorado has "an official state dinosaur"??!! Who knew? I'm feeling deprived. Are there any SAURUSes left for NY? Bill de B -- Please stop your ridiculous campaign for president and get us our own dinosaur.

Some great clues in this puzzle. APOSTROPHE (36A) could be Clue of the Year. Also wonderful are WATER HAZARD (20D) and DOROTHY (55A). Re DOROTHY -- I was thinking of "Around the World in 80 Days" rather than "Wizard of Oz".

I've heard the term "Everything Pizza", not DELUXE PIZZA -- but it makes perfect sense.

"Clear the AISLEWAY!!" said no one ever. It's "Clear the aisles!!" I filled in AISLE and then wondered what in heaven's name would come next?

Take out SELENA GOMEZ crossing MIA and I would have loved this puzzle to death.

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

Matthew: “What do dinosaurs use to pay their bills? Tyrannosaurus checks.”

pabloinnh 9:26 AM  

I'll weigh in on AISLEWAY and agree: no. And did that ever slow me down. Seems to me that BURR should always have to r's, but maybe I'm just thinking of Aaron. So the NW took a long time, but that's OK, because it's Friday, and everything else was making me smug. RANCOR and MALICE share a meaning and a number of letters, BTW. Speed bump there too.

What a treat to see THEMUSICMAN pop up.

A pool table, don't you understand?
Well either you are closing your eyes to a situation you do no wish to acknowledge
Or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster
Indicated by the presence of a pool table in your community....

When I was in high school I knew the whole thing, and it's a little scary how much of it I remember, which clearly is crowding out the things I should remember. I'd enumerate, but I suspect many of us have this same experience.

Pretty great Friday, AR. Thanks for all the fun.

TJS 9:28 AM  

@Solverinserbia, ATA simply refers to the phrase "one at a time". This actually was my breakthrough for the NW corner.
Most enjoyable puzzle of the last few weeks in my opinion. I can live with aisleway when it's balanced off with so many great clue/answer combos.
Music Man, first stage show I ever experienced, at about 8 years of age, have never forgotten the eye-opening experience. Parents of young children, try to take your child to a live theater performance at a young age. It can make for a life-long experience.
@LMS, great comment today. Re. your "I mean" discussion, what drives me nuts these days is everyone responding to a question with "So..." Is this just a pause to form an answer ?

OffTheGrid 9:36 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle and the write up. I couldn't grab onto anything in the NW corner so I worked down the east with almost Tuesday ease. The south and west offered more resistance and that NW just ______ me over. I don't get ATA MOI came slowly. Never saw BURr with one R. 1, 13, & 16A were tricky. I hated the APOSTROPHE clue, way too cute. But overall a solid Friday. My time was much shorter than a usual Friday.

"How much are these bananas?"

"Here, I'LL WEIGH them"

From the Google:

In the United States, when someone refers to a buzzard, it means a turkey vulture, a member of the New World vultures. Elsewhere in the world, a buzzard is in the same family as Old World vultures – Accipitridae – in the Buteo genus. In North America, the Buteo genus refers to hawks or buzzard hawks.

Z 9:37 AM  

Can there be any debate that great cluing with great wordplay is orders of magnitude better than a plethora of trivial trivia? We even get gentle misdirect in the PPP cluing. I loved this.

@kitshef - Wikipedia disagrees. Unfortunately, the citation link seems to be dead. However, the article does mention that several states list the state dinosaur as state fossil, too. I’ll let somebody else dig for the facts.

@LMS - I think you hit on it. I MEAN leads the sentence when the speaker feels as though they may be about to state an unwelcome or contrarian opinion, something the listener(s) may not like. For example, “I MEAN, you can’t really claim to be a Christian and support the man.”

AISLEWAY is most definitely a thing, and a thing one uses for emphasis. An “aisle” doesn’t need to be cleared, it is probably already cleared. But when that guy thinks his space extends beyond his seat and his carry-on isn’t in the overhead bin nor under the seat and his crap is preventing the delivery of my tiny bag of pretzels, then he must be reminded to clear the AISLEWAY.

@Solverinserbia - One AT A time - AT A connects “one” to “time.”

LOL at the BBQ is only the thing you eat claim. Matt, may we introduce you to @LMS?

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

two R's.

Tim Aurthur 10:00 AM  

I also got messed up with Antichrist.

Nice writeup. But "wordplay" shouldn't be trademarked. It's been in the language since the 18th c.

RooMonster 10:06 AM  

Hey All !
Almost another X MARKS THE SPOT puz. That X missed by one row.

Nice Z count, bunch of W's clustered together, but guess what? No F's. None. Poor little fellas.

Agree with y'all about the clever cluing today. Nice ones, along with sparkling fill. If themelessepodes keep being this good, I might have to start liking them more.

Jennifer ANISTON, I MEAN. :-)


Joe Dipinto 10:09 AM  

Say "nude gnu" five times fast.

Too easy. I don't get the love for the cluage, especially the APOSTROPHE clue. I mean...overall it's okay. I think that one in particular is kind of forced -- when is an apostrophe *not* a raised character? But the thing is, they go to all the trouble of setting it up -- "hmm, what movie would be clever to use here?" -- and the answer is sitting right above MIA, who played Rosemary, fer chrissakes, and no connection is made. Instead we get a different movie for the MIA clue. Huh? How half-assed is that?

There is no logical exthplanation. But I will try to temper my rancor. Nice audio of the late Montserrat Caballé, @Phil.

DELUXE PIZZA is green paint. And I just don't believe that anyone anywhere has ever used the word MURSE. It's certainly not "modern" anymore, if they have.

Dinosaurs don't really do well as pets in NYC apartments. They need space to stomp around. Which is too bad because I'd definitely have one if I could, either a stegosaurus or a triceratops. While I dream on that, here's 27a (Not 27a) to sing us out:

It was a night like this forty million years ago
I lit a cigarette, picked up a monkey skull to go
The sun was spitting fire, the sky was blue as ice
I felt a little tired, so I watched Miami Vice
And walked the dinosaur, I walked the dinosaur

Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody walk the dinosaur
Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody walk the dinosaur...

[Happy Friday!]

Nancy 10:14 AM  

So many things in common with so many other Rexites today:

@chefwen (2:51) -- Don't know how to break this to you, but I'll be racing you to the airplane lav right before takeoff. Also right after takeoff. Also right before landing. I once was threatened with "arrest when we land in San Juan" by an overbearing flight attendant who was primping in the lav ahead of takeoff, didn't like me catching her, though that was the last thing in the world I was concerned with, told me that the seatbelt sign was on and what I was doing was against the law and that "under the new airline rules since 9/11, I can have you arrested upon landing." I said: "So arrest me. Right now I need to go to the bathroom and that's what I'm gonna do!" Five more times that flight -- stress and worry only exacerbate a problem that's triggered by a plane's motion -- and the seat belt sign was never turned off the entire flight. After my third trip, the two flight attendants switched AISLEs and the male steward left me alone. Worst flight of my life. I complained to American Airlines when I got back home and received a $100 voucher from them as their apology.

@pabloinnh (9:26) -- Just like you, I have a boatload of lyrics from the past that I don't need to remember crowding out all the practical things in the present that I do need to remember.

I see that @Loren made the same comment about WV having its own state dinosaur too that I made about NY having its own dinosaur. But in order to beat @Loren to the punch, I'd have to move to the West Coast and do the puzzle online. Or stay where I am, but with insomnia that starts a bit earlier than hers, and then I'd still have to do the puzzle online. My NYT isn't delivered until around 6 a.m. Sigh.

Ethan Taliesin 10:30 AM  

Slight difficulty in NW corner with AWN for BUR, which crossed nicely with my incorrect SUNDRIED. Also had OAT instead of NUT until I figured out the long, crossing verticals.

Oh boy, I found a nice OAT in my trail mix! Whoo-hoo!

Was surprised that Matthew found it to be way fast. My time was slightly over average, but a lot of that was due to the NW corner. That, and my bad habit of being determined to bleed out from a single spot.

Dynamite puzzle. Also BEER, PIZZA, and a dinosaur! What's not to love?

Solverinserbia 10:34 AM  

Thanks a lot. Now I will be ready next time there's a similar clue. Or more ready. I should have already been ready as I'm fairly sure I've solved similar clues before.

puzzlehoarder 10:35 AM  

A medium time on what should have been an easy puzzle. Like others I fell for a number of the clever clues. In particular the ones for ATA and APOSTROPHE. I didn't get the clue for ATA until going over my grid after solving. Always a good idea to go over that grid. I caught what would have been a dnf.
At 39A I had entered SOS and was, of course, confused by it. 37D could be either SOP or SIP. When I reread the clue for 39A after solving, it became obvious that the answer was SIS. You can add 39A to the list of clues that initially went over my head.

The SW did create a brief final stand. I don't associate grilling plain old BURGERs or hotdogs with BBQ. Once that went in it was easy to see that 43D's clue was referring to a romp and stomp type of romp and the SW cleared up.

kitshef 10:45 AM  

@Z - Wikipedia can be wrong. Here is a link to the Colorado State Archives.

@Nancy - Like Colorado, New York no official state dinosaur but has a state fossil, the sea scorpion.

David 11:05 AM  

One at a time? Interesting. More obscure is this explanation from Wiki: "C8 and ATA Connection are the defunct IATA code designator and DBA name of Chicago Express Airlines, which in its later years was doing business as ATA Connection..."

First two downs I got were "boned up" at 4 and "The Music Man" at 10. I did far better on the East side for the longest time, probably for half the puzzle. Estate Law broke my error apart. I loved the cluing here, and the answers, for the most part.

A cookout is not a BBQ unless actual BBQ is involved. And "aisleway?"

Joe Dipinto 11:06 AM  

@TJS 9:28 → {what drives me nuts these days is everyone responding to a question with "So..."}

I know, what is up with that? The otherwise erudite Mayor Pete is a culprit. I guess it's like starting off with "Well..." But it sounds strange.

jberg 11:15 AM  

This puzzle AMBUSHed me at the beginning and left me with RANCOR. But yeah, great clues, great long answers, beautiful little rhombus of Zs (Hi, @chefwen!), but a little too easy. I'm never sure about whether to pronounce the G in GNU, but good enough.

@Phil, thanks for the Puccini! I used to listen religiously to the Saturday afternoon Met broadcasts, and vividly recall the time when on one of the intermission features they played 8 or 10 different recordings of those three words, "addio senza rancor" and asked the panel to vote their preferences.

As payback, here's a little clip of Way Down Yonder in the Pawpaw Patch.

@Loren, you'll be happy to know that most state insects, state dinosaurs, state muffins (yes, we have one here in MASS) get named because some teacher inspires his or her class to petition the legislature to name it as a civic education project. So the ball is in your court!

nyc_lo 11:15 AM  

Joining the chorus of boos for AISLEWAY, spoiling an otherwise satisfying Friday puzzle.

jb129 11:20 AM  

Loved it especially after some of this week's puzzles which made me think I'd lost my knack (& my brain)!

Jesse 11:30 AM  

Stegosaurus fact!

More time elapsed between the time of the Stegosaurus and the Tyrannosaurus than between the Tyrannosaurus and humans.

I have a 3.5 year old. I am learning a lot about dinosaurs.

Z 11:31 AM  

@kitshef - The Wikipedia page I linked to has a citation that goes to the Colorado State Archives, but only goes to the search page. The most likely explanation for that is that the link once worked, but is broken now. Neither I nor that Wikipedia page disputes that STEGOSAURUS is the state fossil, but the Wikipedia page mentions that the State Dinosaur is also the State Fossil in many states.

I will add that you can find lots of sites alleging that STEGOSAURUS is the State Dinosaur. There’s also lots of sites that cite Lamm’s Executive Order of April 28, 1982 that claim the order made the STEGOSAURUS the State Fossil. Those sites seem more likely to be correct, but what I didn’t find was the text of the actual Executive Order. I’m going to surmise that you are probably correct, but I haven’t found anything conclusive, yet.

frankbirthdaycake 12:00 PM  

Fun and easy puzzle, until I got to the NW. I didn’t know aisleway was a thing, and the clue for ambush needs some work; I’ve seen worse – and far more offensive – but those two items were a blemish on an otherwise outstanding puzzle.

frankbirthdaycake 12:15 PM  

Since I live in an area heavily populated by European expatriates and American hipsters who love their man-bags, satchels, valises and, of course, their man-purses. I hear “murse” all the time – usually spoken by their detractors. I carry a satchel and get murse-related comments on a regular basis. Like it or not, it’s a thing.

Triceratops 12:17 PM  

Hey everyone in Colorado I am running to unseat Stegosaurus as State Fossil/Dinosaur! I was discovered just within the last week, although it may take awhile to find my whole skeleton!

Teedmn 12:20 PM  

Typical Friday solve for me today. It would have been fast but I was stymied like a STEGOSAURUS in the NW. Everything north of ESTATE LAW was blank.

I considered valeT as a job needing a car but that left the General's plan ending with a V. I considered "tactic" for 1A but couldn't turn it into any crosses. I had no idea on the podcast or SErENA, SELENA whoever. Like @TJS 9:28AM, I finally saw AT A and then MOI. I agree that the General is probably not calling the shots on an AMBUSH.

I hear myself say "I MEAN" all too often and I wonder how many times I say it that I don't catch. Does this mean that I'm always saying things to people who might not want to hear them or that I'm not sure about? Ouch.

DELUXE PIZZA (aka a Supreme pizza) is not something I eat because it usually has 3-4 different kinds of meat. I prefer veggie pizza but I wonder why the default veggie pizza seems to consist of green and black olives, onions, green peppers and mushrooms. Who decided those were the "veggies" people wanted? I like cauliflower and sweet bell peppers and yellow zucchini on my pizzas. Cauliflower sounds weird but try it some time.

Thanks, Andrew Ries, nice job!

Joe Bleaux 12:30 PM  

Testing ...

old timer 12:47 PM  

AMBUSHED was just Wrong. A sergeant or lieutenant may plan an AMBUSH though the term is not very military sounding. A General is responsible for the actions of many more soldiers than would be involved in an AMBUSH. Today at least. Andy Jackson planned a fine AMBUSH down there near New Orleans, though at the time he was only a Colonel, I think.

Trust and ESTATE LAW was the easiest course in Law School -- you just need an easily learned set of rules, including how to decide who the heirs are when someone dies without a will. If you do go into general practice, you end up drawing up many a will or trust, and in the case of trusts are exposed to all the pettiness and chicanery we humans can think up. Destroys your faith in human nature. Wills IMO are far safer than trusts, because a probate person at the court will make sure that all the property has been listed and all the instructions in the will are followed exactly.

@LMS, my West Virginia sister-in-law is staying with us this week. Her late husband was a Charleston boy, with a remarkable Southern accent. She has lived there most of her life and talks about hollows. Pronounced that way, not "hollers" like they do in the back country. Of course here we call them canyons, or sometimes ravines.

Speedweeder 1:04 PM  

@Joe 10:09 - DELUXE PIZZA is green paint? Many of the pizza places I have been to offer something called that, as do Domino's and Papa John's. I guess one could argue that that's not real pizza, but it's definitely a commonly used term.

Masked and Anonymous 1:09 PM  

Themeless puzs are fine occasionally, but they normally aren't all that memorable to m&e. This one had a 'tude that kinda stuck with m&e. I'm gonna remember this Ries dude, after this here puppy. themelessthUmbsUp.

* 11 U's. Dangerfield vowel respect.
* Feisty clues. First two Acrosses in the NW had ?-clues, and the third pup in the stack sure coulda rated one.
* Learned/re-learned new stuff: AISLEWAY. State dinosaur. SERIAL podcast. SELENAGOMEZ. MIA a la UMA.
* 22 weejects. Respect for the iota-answers. staff pick: WTS. Plural abbrev meat.
* Puzgrid design, with the luvly Jaws of Themelessness black square blobs.
* We survived the solvequest, at our house. Minimal amount of overturned furniture.

Havin to remember the names of "Pulp Fiction" characters is kinda difficult. Other than for Zed, who had a tagline. ["Zed's dead, baby."] Great flick, tho. Have watched it many times. Theme: Amazin all the bad stuff that can happen to U, when comin out of a bathroom.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Ries. Great job, and U didn't need the car.

Masked & Anonymo11Us

biter with theme:

xyz 1:11 PM  

I found this about the same difficulty as last Friday.

Go figure.

Maraschino 1:22 PM  

Long time lurker. First time poster. Theatre arts major and piano accompanist turned graphic designer. Started NW and wended towards the center, which sliced like a DELUXE PIZZA. So many delicious and gooey long crisscrossing answers. The ZZZZs stand for effortless showmanship.

I loved that the puzzle had an it girl of the boomers in the form of Judy’s DOROTHY and the it girl of the millennials in the form of SELENA GOMEZ. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, she was a Disney channel princess who has since parlayed her reputation as the arm candy of Justin Bieber into a career as buzzworthy fashionista-celebutante-pop singer who has paved the way for millennial celebutantes of color.

Like @TJS, I have fond memories of The Music Man. That said, I was never bowled over by Robert Preston’s rendition of Ya got Trouble. His haphazardly misplaced accents never achieve anything like a groove and methinks he would have benefited from listening to Nuyorican slam poetry and Hamilton. I remember going with friends to see Patti Lupone at a Broadway after hours cabaret hamming her way through “Ya Got Trouble” and making Preston look like a rank amateur with her hairpin phrasing, sassy syncopation, impeccable breathing, and breakneck carnival-barker-auction house staccato.

@Z acc: to the OED, aiselway is “orig. and chiefly American” and the earliest usage examples points to supermarkets or cafeterias with “aisleways of commodious width” or forbidding narrowness. Which I imagine precede plane cabins. But your notion that aisleway has become a microaggressive formality that disdainful flight attendants use to admonish unruly passengers is an interesting one.

All around an excellent puzzle you can sink your teeth into. You’ve got yourself a new subscriber Mr. Ries.

Rogthedodge 1:27 PM  

I used to live in Dinosaur, Colorado on Antrodemus Alley when I worked in Rangely, CO.
The main intersection in Dinosaur was Stegosaurus Fwy and Brontosaurus Blvd. I knew the answer even before I saw the boxes.
True story,+CO+81610/@40.241613,-109.005482,14z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x8745a5fae709b0e9:0x2a9ade53888285be

Z 1:41 PM  

@Maraschino - “Microaggressive?” Keeping that little bag of pretzels from me is pretty macro-aggressive, IMHO. More seriously, one of the oft over-looked limitations of the OED is that they look for written usage. Spoken language changes much more quickly. Their citation may well be amongst the earliest usages, but I wouldn’t bet money on it. As a general rule (with many exceptions), unnecessary syllables seem to frequently be a form of emphasis. The IR at the beginning of regardless comes to mind. Regardless and Irregardless are the same idea, but that extra IR seems more emphatic (and, yes, it grates on my ears, too, but it’s in the language now).

What? 1:43 PM  

One at a time

Anonymous 1:57 PM  

I finished this in lass than half my usual Friday time. That probably means it was too easy. I did spend a little time trying to think of all the many names assigned to the dark lord to answer the Rosemary’s Baby clue. I had the last letters first, so I was digging for some obscure name that ended in ‘ophe.’ I actually groaned when I figured it out. Kind of a silly clue, but a fun misdirect all the same.

Mary McCarty 1:59 PM  

“Old timer” at 12:47: I agree that AMBUSH was clued terribly. Especially atrocious given it was 1A. Anybody can plan an AMBUSH. It was so bad, I went looking for an etymology, thinking the tactic was named after some guy named George AMBUSH. The clue itself was “green paint”; or is there a specific term for that as it relates to clues rather than answers? BTW, it’s not the same kind of ambiguity as “dad” or “mom” or “pop” instead of SIS at 39D (which we’re my first 3 thoughts)

Chuck Chagrin 1:59 PM  

Texas be damned. People had been cooking meat over open fires and calling it barbecoa for two centuries before rejects from the British Isles settled in what became the US. It's just more misplaced Southern culture hegemonizing.

Anonymous 2:26 PM  

I hear “murse” all the time – usually spoken by their detractors.

About 1980 I got a new boss, who'd spent the last decade or so in Rome. He now found himself in DC. Oops!! He had to buy a whole new set of clothes. Pants without pockets, "they ruin the line". Man purse on a mini-strap. The entire Euro Look. He only came back because someone told him he couldn't retire out in Rome; he had to be state-side. When he got to DC, turned out he didn't have to leave Rome. Boy howdy was he pissed!!

xitixen 2:38 PM  

@Loren Muse Smith 4:05A - Thanks for the mental Now and Later with IMEAN. I'll be chewing on that one all day. I think the key to here is how it's slurred - it just falls in like a "well" and gets ignored. Seems to also be used before gathering one's thoughts, like planting a conversational flag claiming the next few moments. Is this a gender trender? I've heard women deploy this one far more than men, but maybe I'm just listening more closely.

@BarbieBarbie 4:58A - I've heard the phrase used exactly the way your gma did, but with Really! as an end tag. Same tune, just a longer remix. I. Mean. Really.

@Eliza 7:19A - I'm guessing you brought the Antichrist to the party as the APOSTROPHE's plus one, and not in lieu of AISLEWAY ("It gets cleared for takeoff"). Unless Blondie wasn't the only rapture rider.

@Hungry Mother 7:49A - First off, love the name. Delightfully ambiguous and coyly edgy, if that's a thing. Second, it turns out APOSTROPHE is not a demon but the patron antisaint of sloth and lazy shortcuts. Gets left out of most compendia, for reasons that should be obvious.

@QuasiMojo 7:54A - Keep working blue. You do you.

@Z 9:37A - Sly of hand, you. I see what you did there. :)

@Joe Dipinto 10:09A - DELUXE PIZZA tastes better than green paint, even the non-latex kind. Trust me on this. I've heard MURSE used in the wild, but only as a passive-aggressive descriptor that never fails to kill my interest in a potential laptop bag. I'm not as secure as I'd like to think, and as a result, neither are my papers.

@Ethan Taliesin 10:30A - "BEER, PIZZA and a dinosaur! What's not to love?" You make an excellent point. To which I can only lamely proffer, the NW corner. Killed some nice momentum for me. I rarely pay attention to time, but this one had me thinking I'd stumbled onto a personal record. Fell into the same TRAPs you did.

@Jesse 11:30A - Keep the facts flowing. Sic semper Tyrannosaurus.

@Triceratops 12:17P - Nice tri. If you're just another carpetbagger flying in to stick it to ol' Steg, be advised: once DIA baggage services have your skeleton, you're ancient history. That claim ticket is false hope. Ask Sasquatch.

@Maraschino 1:22P - Being a Disney princess is no easy job. I saw what she and her family went through to get there, and to stay there. It's beyond daunting. I suspect they'd appreciate your acknowledgement of her cultural trailblazing. That road is far from paved, regardless of color. I certainly wouldn't wish it on anyone I care about. A vanishing minority of even those who are able to stand up on their board are able to ride the wave for very long. It takes blood, sweat and teams.

@Chuck Chagrin 1:59P - Just. Walk. Away. Slowly. You do not want to taunt the Damned. On a topic as sacred as BBQ, you Don't Mess With Texas. You'll both end up covered in sauce, and he'll like it.

To all - We have consensus. BBQ and burgers are not the same. Adjacent, perhaps, but definitely not interchangeable. Just no. I mean. Really.

To Matthew Stock - Good for you on the teaching interlude. Literally. Nothing is better at cementing your knowledge, exercising your curiosity, and diversifying your discourse. Colleagues may become friends, but long term, your bet is better [AIRDRIED] WAGERED on your students. Granted, it was college, but to this day, some of my oldest and closest friends were first met as survivors of my lectures. I think there's plenty of feel-good cinema to back me up on this. It can be brutal, but it will also be a blast.

xyz 2:40 PM  

@Nancy 0920 hours

So you don't feel NY left out - I hereby declare the New York State Dinosaur (Fossil) to be the EGOsaurus, well-earned if even more well-deserved.

From a proud Coloradan. (That was a gimme, BTW)

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

Best of luck at eslh. If you can teach there, you can do just about anything.

xitixen 3:23 PM  

I cannot read the word PAPAW without hearing Phil Harris crooning about the Bare Necessities of life.

Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Well next time beware
Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear
Try to use the claw
But you don't need to use the claw
When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw
Have I given you a clue?

GHarris 3:32 PM  

Every thing good until the NW where I always try to start. That section had so much bad for me. Generals plan ambushes? Yeah, maybe in the Civil War, heists require a car? Not really. Never watch podcasts and don’t know Serial from cereal.Aisleway? Cmon. Finally got it all but wasn’t left feeling good.

JC66 3:48 PM  


It probably doesn't matter to you, but, FYI, you listen to podcasts.

albatross shell 4:43 PM  

@those complaining about AMBUSH clue

Perhaps it's not a plan by a general, but it is just a general plan, not yet made specific.

GHarris 5:16 PM  

Thanks, just demonstrates my complete lack of familiarity with that area of communication.

Anonymous 5:24 PM  

Maybe it should have had 2 "?".

Maraschino 5:50 PM  

@ xitixen I feel the same way about SELENA GOMEZ that I do about RITA MORENO, who also deserve to have her full name spelled out in a puzzle. If you look at La Rita's EGOT-trotting career, she clawed her way out of an inferno of token roles from captive Native American princess to flapper-gossip in Singing in the Rain to Asiatic slave staging Harriet Beecher Stowe to British imperialists in the King and I to Miss Piggy adversary to birthday circuit entertainer to the bathhouse chanteuse of the gay liberation era (You can youtube her Tony winning speech for The Ritz in '76 and sense all the bottled up frustration and resentment at racist Hollywood discharged by wit). And because karma's a b, she's now co-directing with Spielberg the browner revamp of West Side Story. Can hardly wait.

@Loren Muse Smith I've been thinking about your comments regarding the social function of I MEAN. To complicate your theory, I once had a professor who would say things like "By mood, I MEAN a feeling that doesn't have a precise object," and he would do this with any taken-for-granted word that came his way. His anal philosophical precision irritated everyone in the classroom to no end, but that's a case when I MEAN (when used before "by") did serve an actual clarifying function.

GILL I. 6:20 PM  

@Maraschino...You like cherries? Your posts are like those on top of a chocolate sundae. Know what I MEAN?

Anonymous 7:00 PM  

What the heck is 1D: One-time connection = ATA?

Anonymous 7:26 PM  

most white bread suburban folk use BBQ and Grilling as synonyms, thus one can cook a BURGER on a BBQ; it's a device not a food preparation method. if you watch most any of the house shows on cab/sat, adding a BBQ in the back yard/patio is a plus.

Escalator 8:33 PM  

Anonymous @ 7:00PM

ATA is the connector in the phrase “One AT A time”

Joe Dipinto 10:10 PM  

@Maraschino -- Rita Moreno is executive-producing the new WSS, not co-directing. She's also playing a reworked version of the Doc character, named Valentina.

Loren Muse Smith 6:02 AM  

On I MEAN. . . (and @TJS, on so…)

Discourse markers really are interesting when you start listening for them and understand that they’re kinda like blinkers or brake lights in that they’re signals to the listener as to what is coming. Well, You know, Um, So, I MEAN. . . The meaning they carry isn’t semantic so much as it is discursive.

@xitixen - You know, I think I might agree with you about I MEAN being used more by women than by men.

@Maraschino - welcome to the world of commenters! I can see how that professor’s I MEANs could grate after a while.

@TJS – I understand that lots of people have an issue with speakers who begin their comments with So… It never bothers me, though. The one I always notice is the usage where it sets up a part of a story. I gotta tell you what happened last night. It was wild. So we get on the plane, and all the overheads are taken, and I turn to the flight attendant and say blah blah.

@Z – I’m pretty sure I said those very words to Mom a couple of weeks ago. I MEAN, you can’t really claim to be a Christian and support the man.

@BarbieBarbie – a most excellent observation that I MEAN can be used as an interjection all by itself! And you nailed its articulation. The stresses have to be equal to highlight its emphatic feeling.

P.S. - @old timer – round here, *no one* would pronounce hollow to rhyme with follow. But I feel like a poser wannabe when I pronounce it to rhyme with collar.

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

I believe the term for an aisle is ... an aisle. Not an aisle way.

kitshef 5:07 PM  

@Z. The subject is a fact about an action by the State of Colorado government. On one side, you have the official State of Colorado website. On the other, you have unsourced web pages. If you wonder how there can still be Birthers, Climate Deniers, Moon Landing Hoaxers, Creationists, Flat Earthers, etc., wonder no longer.

Bill 12:47 AM  

ATA refers to the Advanced Technology Attachment, the old disk interface used in PCs. PATA was the parallel ATA, SATA was the serial ATA.

Burma Shave 12:37 PM  




spacecraft 12:59 PM  

It seems any more that the great majority of interviewee responses begin with either "I MEAN" or--and this one really gets to me-- "So..."

"So" alludes to a conclusion, not an opening. IT MAKES NO SENSE to start an answer with "So!" And yet people do it all the time. Watch a game show, or a sports interview, or CNN. I just don't get it. "What do you do for a living?" "So, I sell widgets." what does that mean? "I wanted to be a pilot, but I couldn't pass the eye exam, SO, I sell widgets." Too embarrassed to say the first part?? Augh!

Rant over. This puzzle features another gaggle of bendy clues, always fun if they're fair. The one on APOSTROPHE is a loud groaner, but fair, SO: fun. Others are similar.

Leave it to Colorado to actually have a state dinosaur. A bit too much of that legal wacky tabacky?? I'd love to sit in on a session of the legislature; I bet it'd be a hoot.

I found it easy except for a sticky NW; had no idea what to expect for 1-across. Still wondering about the question mark. Was there a General Bush??

SELENAGOMEZ, in all her full-named glory, is DOD. Pretty clean fill, though ATA is awfully awkward to put in the starting block. Birdie.

rondo 3:04 PM  

Mr. Ries must not have gotten the memo – TAR is not road goo!!! Especially when we had a perfectly fine ASPHALT earlier this week.

Otherwise, pretty good. Some of those clues are approaching cryptic clue status.

Since the fully named one has been taken I’ll go with the always Central Perky Jennifer ANISTON. Yeah baby.

Nice puz. Soon time for a SIP or two of BEER.

Chicago Loop 4:46 PM  

Not so fast! Syndicated solver here, better late than never coming to the rescue: What about the one-time thriving airline, which made lots of connections, called ATA??

Waxy in Montreal 5:51 PM  

Wow, quite a few gimmes today including THEMUSICMAN, INDIRA, ANNISTON, DOROTHY, TAXEVASION, IOU, CPU, MOI and UPDATES. SERIAL as a podcast was a newbie for me as was MURSE. Liked GUNs and GNU in the same grid and the plethora of U's.

Without RANCOR, though, would love to nominate 1D ATA (literally a one-time connection as in "one at a time") as an all-time INANE clue and answer.

Diana, LIW 6:15 PM  

I was ambushed by AMBUSH, but got all the rest once I knew that one. Never in a million years would I put that answer in for the general plan - even.

Otherwise - SUCCESS!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 7:05 PM  

Great puzzle.
Does AMBUSH have anything to do with General Custer? Was Custer a General? Odd.

leftcoast 7:31 PM  

NW corner again was toughest. Don't understand 1D, ATA, "One-time connection". What is that? A defunct tech firm? Other than that, an interesting Friday.

Diana, LIW 9:30 PM  

@Lefty - you'll not believe it. Ready? "One-AT A-time" ATA connects one and time, replacing the dashed dash.

Lady Di

leftcoast 9:49 PM  

@Diana -- That was a hyphen? Hmm. Don't believe it.

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