Faux brother of popular rock group / FRI 8-9-19 / Greek city visited by Paul before Athens / Rare-earth element named after where it was discovered / Carrier to Tokyo / Gambling card game that up to 10 may comfortably play at once

Friday, August 9, 2019

Constructor: John Guzzetta

Relative difficulty: Easy (5:19)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: BEREA (15D: Greek city visited by Paul before Athens) —
Berea or Beroea was a city of the Hellenic and Roman era now known as Veria (or Veroia) in Macedonia, northern Greece. It is a small city on the eastern side of the Vermion Mountains north of Mount Olympus. The town is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, where the apostles PaulSilas and Timothypreached the Christian gospel.
Paul, Silas and Timothy travelled to Berea by night after fleeing from Thessalonica, as recorded Acts 17:10. They 'immediately' went to the synagogue of the Jews to preach, and the Bereans were very accepting: the writer of the Acts of the Apostles noted the difference between the Thessalonians' response to the gospel and the Bereans' response: the Bereans were 'open-minded' [1] or 'fair-minded'  and willing to 'examine the scriptures to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth'. Many of the Bereans believed, both men and women, but when the Jewish Thessalonian non-believers heard about this, they came to Berea, stirring up crowds, starting riots, and ensuring that Paul, Silas and Timothy could not preach. Then the believers sent Paul to the coast, while Timothy and Silas stayed behind. Paul was taken to Athens, and word was given to Timothy and Silas to join him as soon as possible. (Acts 17:10–15) (wikipedia)
• • •

[here are some ARPs I saw at the Musée
des beaux-arts in Montréal last week]
Thought I might be headed to a Friday record on this one after I tore through the NW and SW. Was headed up and over to the east with a pretty good pace but then I did the thing that always turns out to be the primary reason I slow way way down: I put in a wrong answer. And a long one, too. Faced with -OO----- at 35D: Clear choice for auto buyers, I put in GOOD DEAL. And that was the end of my potentially record-setting sprint. Tried to convince my self that some of the crosses "worked," like ... thought maybe 49A: Org. that penalizes carrying (NBA) was the D...EA? But mostly I just came to a shocking halt. Didn't help that stupid seldom-used dumb alleged word EMBAR (booo) (48D: Hinder) was ungettable to me from just the "E," thus preventing me from coming at that corner from the other side. ABHORS (57A: Detests) and ARP (57D: One of the first artists to incorporate random chance) ended up pulling me out of that rut. Had to change AH, ME (ugh) to OH, ME (somehow even more of an ugh) (54D: "Heavens to Betsy!"), and then I resumed my fairly torrid clip for the rest of the puzzle. But my great time was shot, and I ended up with just a good time. I get the intended wordplay on the MOONROOF clue (35D: Clear choice for auto buyers), but, uh, MOONROOFs are tinted, so I don't really love "clear" there. Yes, "clear" can mean simply translucent, but you want your "?" clues to land clean and pure and strong. When it comes to car windows of all kinds, "clear" is in fact the opposite of (or the alternative to) "tinted," so it's a boo from me, and Not just because I didn't see the wordplay the first time. The wordplay is off in this automotive context. Thank you for allowing me this time to air my picayune clue wording concerns.

This grid has a couple keepers (DEATH STARE—which I paused over, thinking it might be DEATH GLARE; "HOW RUDE"; and ULTRAHD) but overall it's pretty tepid. There's not a lot here to get excited about. Not a lot that's new or current or colloquial. TWITTERATI probably thinks it's ... something, but I've seen it before and it already feels dated (like something someone might've said in '09), and I'm not convinced people say it (or said it) much at all. Anyway, I don't think it's as hip or current or original as it thinks it is. There's nothing much wrong with the grid. It just doesn't hum and sing and dance the way a great themeless should. More ambition and creativity, please. The only difficulty I had with this puzzle, I already went over, though SWAB / IOWA  was hard for me too. Again, I'm going to object to the wannabe tricksy cluing, this time on SWAB (29D: Stick in a cabinet, say). I knew immediately that 'stick' was a noun, not a verb, so the wordplay wasn't great ... I just couldn't think of what kind of "stick" (beyond maybe deodorant) one would find in a cabinet. The part of the SWAB that matters isn't the "stick" part, which is just a handle: it's the cotton part, which is decidedly non-stickish. No one would refer to SWABs as "sticks." Sigh. This clue is defensible, but still grating. Make your "?" clues perfect!! [Do a school visit, in a way?] is a pretty perfect clue for SNORKEL, for example.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I'm learning from Twitter that a lot of people don't know what BRACE means in today's clue context (47A: Pair). A BRACE of something is a pair of it. Two of it. This word feels ... not common, to be sure, but ... I just thought it was fairly normal. It's possible that a quarter century of teaching Shakespeare has skewed my concept of "normal."

P.P.S. Hey, next weekend (Sat. Aug. 17) is Lollapuzzoola, one of the biggest annual crossword tournaments in the country, and the only one (that I know of) in NYC. There are still some spaces left for those who want to participate in some hardcore, in-person nerddom (actually a very fun tournament with a low-key vibe and hundreds of lovely people). But if you just want to see what tournament puzzles are like without the fear of public humiliation*, then there's also the Solve At-Home Division of the tournament, which you should get in on. Lolla and Indie 500 (in DC) are my favorite tournaments, and the only ones I participate in regularly. So come solve and say hi. Or solve at home and wish you had. Whatever. Just sign up! INFORMATION HERE.

*there's no public humiliation except that which you heap on yourself, trust me

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:11 AM  

Easy-medium. Plenty of good stuff here, liked it.

The 4K clue was a total WOE. According to Jeff at Xwordinfo it has something to do with pixels...which was why the NW was the last section to fall.

Rick from Dorsey 12:34 AM  

My grandfather used to buy a BRACE of rabbits, which were killed right then and he would bring them home, skin them, clean them, and cook them. While they were roasting he would cut up the various internal organs (heart, liver, kidneys, etc.) and fry them up in a cast iron skillet on the stove, and these were special treats for the children (including my mother). This was during the depression and it was a big deal.

Anonymous 12:46 AM  

Blazing fast solve until the SW corner. Never heard TWITTERATI, so naturally I had GLITTERATI. (Note right now, my Firefox is putting a "spelled wrong" squiggle under the former, but not the latter word). So I thought maybe GROLLS was... possibly a variant of GIRLZ for... I dunno, activist female social media commenters? Stared dumbly at that mess for quite a while.

Note a bonus of the comment moderation is there are not as many 41Downs here as there used to be!

(Note high summer is finally here in western Canada... flirting with 100 degrees on the archaic Fahrenheit scale).

-- Okanaganer

puzzlehoarder 1:03 AM  

I'm happy to say I didn't find this puzzle easy. There were some sticking points that gave me an extra 5 minutes over my average Friday time. That was enough of a slow down to make this feel like a late week puzzle.

To me BEREA is a college. Its biblical origin is news to me. On top of that ignorance I wasted at least a whole minute trying to make TANLINES work at 15A.

In the SE I tried to make CLEARSIL work at 37D. I know that's not how it's spelled but if HEIGL is ok without that extra vowel why not do the same elsewhere.

In the SW I had a GLITTERATI/TWITTERATI write over. I can think of at least one other solver who I'm sure had no problem with that clue. It must be nice having your own personal echo chamber.

Like I said this had enough misconceptions, at least for me, to put this squarely in late week territory.

CAPT Jonas Grumby, USN 1:05 AM  

This puzzle would have been much better if IOWA had been clued as a battleship instead of some dumb tribe.

Dr. Bill Jackson, Scientist 1:12 AM  

You can't have a SWAB without a stick; otherwise it's just two small wads of cotton.

Runs with Scissors 1:24 AM  

Maybe SWAB as in mop...

I thought it was a pretty decent puzzle. Took me the normal amount of mental effort, no major sticking points once I untangled TWITTERATI. Thank (insert favored deity) I am not one of them.

Had a good time with it, finished it, nothing to complain about.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

Clark 1:44 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. Rarely does a Friday puzzle that Rex calls easy feel easy to me. This one did. But smooth in a good way.

I didn't know BEREA as a Greek city, but I knew Berea College in Berea Kentucky. Seemed like the kind of place that would be named after a biblical place.

As for BRACE . . . Some of you will remember that Sam caught a brace of coneys and cooked them over a fire just before Frodo and Sam headed into Mordor. Smoke from the fire led to their capture by Faramir and his crew—which turned out to be a good thing. (The movies didn't do the whole Faramir thing very well. Stick to books for that story line.)

impjb 1:52 AM  

Nice puzzle and a decent review. I often find myself snagged in the same places as Rex, with the same thoughts as well. Today, NW -> SE was easy and i struggled in the NE -> SW.

Moon-roof's are tinted, but the difference from sun-roof's is their transparency. You can see through a moon-roof, but you can't see through a sunroof, though they can be removed..

Sheep Launcher 2:03 AM  

The only way I would know that brace meant a pair is because English soccer announcers use the term to describe a two-goal game. Otherwise I'd be completely at sea on that one.

travis 2:40 AM  

BRACE is commonly used in soccer when someone scores 2 goals.

You can't convince me NONES is a thing. It is short for none of the above, and then made plural. And would only be used in the context of a survery. It isn't something anyone would refer to themselves as. Or really you'd never call a specific person or group of people NONES.

File as fog 2:50 AM  

BRACE is used to describe two goals scored by an individual in a single game of the world’s most popular football game (there are actually several). The classic enumeration is goal, brace, hat-trick

ZenMonkey 3:39 AM  

My husband, formerly of the 82nd, wants it known that the 101st is technically air assault, and are referred to as "dopes on a rope" by the "real" AIRBORNE division.

Affectionately and with all due respect, I'm sure. ;-)

So mote it be.

cseft 3:40 AM  

If you are a soccer (or football, as it’s known in the rest of the world) fan, you know that a player has scored a brace of goals after his/her second (and before he/she gets a hat trick with his/her third).

Loren Muse Smith 5:17 AM  

I agree that this was pretty easy - until I hit the southeast and put in “Oh my” instead of OH ME. No biggie – easily fixed. I had never heard of DEATH STARE, but I really like it. And it crosses EYED. Nice.

I’ve listened to Benjamin Dreyer’s book Dreyer’s English two times all the way through and still can’t get the difference between BORNE and born straight. I’m not soliciting help here; just putting it out there. (When you live in the middle of nowhere, where going to get printer ink is a 3-hour excursion, you listen to lots of books on tape.)

CANOODLE and CAVORT. My life as a hall patrol between classes. Lots of canoodling goes on, and I’m too embarrassed to confront the canoodlers. Last year, I had the brilliant idea to take in a cheap, tiny little squirt gun. So I was standing in the hall with Dr. Gainer (she was in on this plan), as Jeremiah and Cheyenne took up their customary canoodling spot near my room. When they started going at it, I squirted just a tiny stream at them and then put the toy back in my pocket. The effect was spectacular: They jumped apart and both looked up at the ceiling. Jeremiah said, Mrs. Smith, I think there’s a leak in the ceiling here. I tore myself away from chatting with Dr. Gainer and said vaguely, Oh yeah? I’ll let maintenance know. Thanks. In the end, I retired this strategy because I didn’t want to be the next guest on Good Morning America, fired because I had taken a toy gun (albeit neon yellow, plastic, and leaky) to a school. Man, though, it really worked like a friggin’ charm.

BARE ARMS – Any English teacher has read a persuasive essay on Americans’ right to BARE ARMS. The last one I read was when I was teaching in prison, and Jamel M wrote a quite good one. I printed out and then cut out tiny little images of people’s arms in sleeveless tops and taped an image next to each occurrence of his BARE ARMS. He acted all annoyed while I laughed, but that was our little dance. I think he got a kick out of it.

As of today, my ME TIME is go time.

Dan 5:17 AM  

Where is everyone getting the idea that moon roofs need to be tinted? I had never thought that, and Google Image Search agrees with me.

@Clark: that is exactly the reason I got BRACE, though I had never realized until today that it meant Sam had caught exactly 2 rabbits, as opposed to some unspecified small number...

Lewis 6:19 AM  

BRACE was a mini-theme for me; I was seeing pairs everywhere. The NBA clue about "carrying" went with the right to BARE ARMS (Hi, @loren!). Right next to MOON ROOF was STARRY, a night that would look lovely through said roof. CANOODLE paired with "HOW RUDE!". NONES said "nuns" to me, and right next to it was that monk's title. Then there was a BRACE plus one: That plane stranded on the TARMAC, affecting the ETA because it was going to be a backward ETAL.

My haha moment was when I had TAR of TARMAC and was thinking "Why would it be frustrating to be stranded in a TARget store? Then realizing, knowing my sensibilities, that indeed, it probably would.

This seemed to be right in my wavelength and filled in quicker than my usual Friday, which was edifying and fun, and, adding to that, was what seemed to me to be an interesting set of answers from various fields. So I had a grand time overall. Thank you John!

JOHN X 6:30 AM  

I don’t know why I pen-named myself “Rick from Dorsey.”

“John from St. John’s” is so much better.


amyyanni 7:02 AM  

Fun! Especially LEAKED TO. TGIF, all.

Anonymous 7:07 AM  

You may clue it that way in your next puzzle.

Anonymous 7:12 AM  

Tinted or not, a MOON ROOF is clear when it's open. Does that count?

Small Town Blogger 7:21 AM  

No, no, no. Short sleeves do NOT leave bare arms. Sleeveless shirts do, however. What short sleeves do leave is tan lines, which fit perfectly.

pabloinnh 8:11 AM  

Well, I liked this a lot more than OFL, which means it's a crossword puzzle. Several things seemed fresh to me--ULTRAHD, TWITTERATI, even TROLLS.

When my younger son got married, we had his rehearsal dinner here at our place. One refreshment station was an aluminum canoe full of ice and various beverages. I learned enough calligraphy to be able to make a big sign that said "Let the canoodling begin" to put on it, and that's the last time I've seen the word CANOODLE, although as a former teacher I've seen plenty of PDA's. I'm with LMS in thinking they're always just plain awkward.

Thanks for a fun Friday, JG. Just right on the crunch factor.

Suzie Q 8:14 AM  

Perfect Friday puzzle. Tough in spots and fun in the end.
I can't believe Rex did not pick up on the hint of "clear" in the moon roof clue that points to something made of glass. Sounded like sour grapes.
Canoodle and snot in the same grid added some playfulness.
I knew brace would get its usual tiresome discussion and the same will occur for Faro before the end of the day.
Moron is my favorite word to use instead of idiot or something vulgar.
@ JOHN X, I'll play dumb here (except I'm not playing). I don't get the joke even though I usually do. Yesterday was great by the way.
Thanks for the fun Mr. Guzzetta.

mmorgan 8:18 AM  

Nice Friday — tough but not too tough, all gettable, slowly and steadily and with many little pleasures along the way. Had to go through EGAD to OHMY to finally arrive at OHME. And I always enjoy getting things I never knew I knew (SCANDIUM, ORBITAL), even if largely from crosses. And I liked getting TWITTERATI from the first T and the last TI.

@Anon at 12:46 AM: Do you know why Fahrenheit is better than Celsius?

Hungry Mother 8:27 AM  

Had a K instead of C in the NW. DOH! Otherwise, a nice challenge. My time would have been below my average, but DNF instead.

Suzie Q 8:27 AM  

@ JOHN X, Never mind, I see now :)

Z 8:37 AM  

I think TWITTERATI is still current, but as an insult.

FARO - A learned from crosswords moment that always feels a little like cheating. I don’t actually know anything about FARO other than it is a card game that occasionally appears in crosswords. Put it in with nary a wasted nanosecond off the A in AMAs.

There’s only one way to eat a BRACE of coneys, is a pretty famous scene from the second LOTR movie, leading to hundreds, probably thousands, of interesting mashups.

DOM was fra, AMAT was AMAs, OH, ME was OH no then aH, ME, WE’RE was i’m so, and ANA was klm. So lots of D MINOR writeovers, but no real stumbling blocks. I did wonder if there is anywhere that isn’t frustrating to be stranded. “Frustrated” is pretty much understood with the word “stranded.” No one ever gets stranded at the bar or stranded at the beach or stranded at the spa. I’m sure @John X has never been stranded at a Texas whorehouse.

Nancy 8:44 AM  

So you want to fool me -- and you did -- by glorifying not one but two dislikable groups that don't deserve glorification and I say Not Okay.

I wrote in glITTERATI at 41A for the media celebs without a second thought. Some of them may be famous just for being famous, but they're still famous, whether I think they should be or not. But TWITTERATI??? Celebs??? Any MORON can twitter and it seems most of them do. Hardly "celebs". If I get myself a Twitter account am I an instant celebrity?

To make it even worse, TWITTERATI crosses TROLLS and just look how TROLLS is clued! The completely nonjudgmental "some social media commenters". Not the way they should be clued, which is " really sick people brimming with hatred for perfect strangers and with nothing better to do with their empty and pathetic lives than stir up trouble and misery online".

I might not have been so up in arms about these two answers if they had been clued more pejoratively. But they served to spoil a puzzle that was otherwise quite interesting and involving and that I enjoyed.

Sarah 8:48 AM  

When I think of "brace" meaning "pair," I think of Samwise Gamgee talking about the brace of coneys he's procured. (Leading him to wish he had a few good taters, leading him to explain to Gollum the various manners in which taters may be prepared.)

JOHN X 8:52 AM  

@Suzie Q 8:27 AM

Hey there SuzieQ we should go down to the museum together, one day..


GILL I. 8:54 AM  

OK, so...you know what it's like when your mate says to you... "why don't we go to your favorite restaurant tonight and you order whatever it is you want and we won't worry about the bill or anything else." And you do. And you order these really fresh scallops and they're seared to perfection and the butter sauce isn't burned and you feel OH so satisfied and then you look at your mate and he lets out a loud belch? That's what I feel @Rex did. I loved this puzzle. I kept thinking that I want all my Fridays to be like eating at my favorite restaurant and I don't want anyone squawking while I savor each morsel.
SNOT has @M&A immunity.
I absolutely love the word MORON. I probably use it daily. I could be called a moronicaltertati. I learned CANOODLE from this blog. I'm not much of a PDA person but I like holding hands and I'm also a peck on the cheek kinda girl.
I can't even brush my teeth in 5:19. I want to take my time getting every single morsel lodged in a crevice out and lovingly dispose it in the sink. That aha moment when you rinse and use your final CLEANSER.
You can visit me every Friday, John Guzzeta.

Crimson Devil 8:54 AM  

Excellent Fri puzz.
BRACE also refers to a pair of field trial bird dogs, usually setters or pointers.
CANOODLE is great word.

Hartley70 8:56 AM  

This puzzle felt current. HOWRUDE, SNOT, TWITTERATI, HOTMIC, CANOODLE, METIME don’t scream days of YORE. They’re right out of my vocab so the solve was a good bit faster than usual. Of course when I say HOWRUDE or SNOT it’s usually to myself because I try not to be either.

OffTheGrid 8:57 AM  

I am in no way trying to be PC or passing any kind of judgement. The following is for educational purposes only:

From the WIKI-
"Moron" was coined in 1910 by psychologist Henry H. Goddard[4] from the Ancient Greek word μωρός (moros), which meant "dull"[5] and used to describe a person with a mental age in adulthood of between 8 and 12 on the Binet scale.[6] It was once applied to people with an IQ of 51–70, being superior in one degree to "imbecile" (IQ of 26–50) and superior in two degrees to "idiot" (IQ of 0–25). The word moron, along with others including, "idiotic", "imbecilic", "stupid", and "feeble-minded", was formerly considered a valid descriptor in the psychological community, but it is now deprecated in use by psychologists.[7]"Moron" and other words like it—such as "idiot"—were used to support racist, classist ideas and to advance white supremacy behind the mask of scientific advancement.

xyz 9:24 AM  

49A ironically untrue
53A couldn't make CHEETOHEAD fit ... (I'm sure you get my DRIFT)

Easy but I had a SE slowdown, had DEAR instead of OHME, turned me down some dead ends for a bit, MOONROOF was a holdback, too, I wish I could get an auto without one, they take 3-4" of headroom

29D just awful, ugly, unseemly and just wrong, you could poke out a tympanic membrane with a stick ... (Hint: use a syringe instead)

If you think there are less TROLLS, you're not discussing the right topics with a broad enough group of people

Fastest Friday evah

Teedmn 9:25 AM  

Prettttty easy for a Friday. I had some type-overs (I had to solve online today and if my usual rule holds true, that my online solves take 25% more time than by hand, this puzzle would have taken me 9 minutes by hand, surely a personal Friday record).

Maybe I'm lost in our times but with _MBR___ in at 40A, I decided to EMBRace the controversy. That made 35D start with MaO and I have yet to be presented with any car choices from China. EMBROIL it is. And then there's the clue for 14A, "Frisk". I couldn't get away from police/TSA actions and _A_ORT had to fill in from crosses. Sigh.

The clue for SNORKEL was cute. ULTRA HD was a WOE.

John Guzzetta, thanks for an enjoyable interlude on a Friday.

QuasiMojo 9:48 AM  

OH MY! I mean OH ME, I guess I'm not much of a LOGICIAN since I thought this was challenging! I wrote in WORRIER for the "If...then" dude. I am one. Does that make me a MORON (awful word in any context. Reminds me of that old joke about the mean bus driver.) I also confidently wrote in LAYER for the "Single-" thingie. Which gave me CRILL for the Brit fry. Lol. Okay a stretch, but a poetic one. NON EL sounded like it might be Non L for Non Liturgical. See how my brain works, or doesn't? A big fat DNF today. But I didn't mind. I enjoyed the challenge, even if I ABHOR the increasing use of ULTRA to mean Extra.

Joe Dipinto 10:01 AM  

It's part of a trilogy, a musical trilogy I'm working on in D minor which is the saddest of all keys, I find. People weep instantly when they hear it, and I don't know why.

This was pretty fun. Tea and sconces for breakfast! #21 and #18 in the same puzzle! The disappearing K's ending KIRK and EMBARK and G's starting GNOME, GORES, GRAY and GESTATE! I filled them in outside the grid, which is I guess what we were supposed to do. Grateful they didn't use "___ pregnant!" for 9d.

I'm tired of Edie Falco though, can't we find someone else? Adams is probably too old-school, but there's Brickell. Also Mr. Grant's wife from TV.

Well, you went uptown ridin' in your limousine
With your fine Park Avenue clothes
You had the Dom Perignon in your hand
And the spoon up your nose

Later I'll be eating farro while playing faro with a Pharaoh on the Faëroe Islands. Happy Friday!

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

Hey Rex, if you are going to include promotions for Lollapuzzoola, "solve at home...just sign up", you could include the fact that it involves $15 and an in-home printer. Just sayin.

jberg 10:13 AM  

OH My, what a tricky puzzle. I love the EM words, like EMBAR and EMBROIL, so I’m glad to see them being kept alive.

I’m off to take my computer in— I may be back later, if it’s a quick fix.

JOHN X 10:16 AM  

@Z 8:37 AM

I’m sure @John X has never been stranded at a Texas whorehouse.

Oh, but I have been, old chap. I most certainly have.


Nancy Nurse 10:20 AM  

Not all swabs are two-headed nor is cleaning your ears their only use. Look around an exam room sometime and you might see long single headed swabs that have many uses.

Birchbark 10:33 AM  

@Joe Dipinto (10:01) -- Your discretion is noted in leaving out the Spinal Tap punch line. A nice counterpoint to Mozart's "Requiem."

We lived in URBANA for a summer when I was three or so. My dad was a visiting teacher at the University. I remember skinning my knee on the sidewalk. Also, the words of the old lady next door who had a bowl of nuts: "They're very rich."

The puzzle provides a balanced presentation of RAMONE, between ABHORS and PREFER.

oldbizmark 10:35 AM  

NONES is garbage. Otherwise, clean, enjoyable solving experience. Easy-Medium.

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

Am I the only person who detests the word SNOT and thinks it doesn’t belong in a crossword puzzle or anywhere else?

David 10:38 AM  

Yeah, I used to cook and serve a brace of quail in one of the many restaurants I worked at.

Pretty much blew through this for a Friday and didn't crack a smile until I got to the clue and answer for 60A. I rather abhor the word "moron." Twerps are annoying, Snots are arrogant, which is annoying, but different.

I like that Americans say tarmac for runways but macadam or pavement for roadways. Why is that?

Is the Skipper up there at 1:05am just a troll with his comment? I think so.
Hey litt'l buddy!

Ethan Taliesin 10:49 AM  

Did not know of Katherine HEIGL.
Did not know BRACE.
Did not know BEREA.
Blanked on SCONCE for some reason.
Misread R&R as "railroad."
Made a few preliminary errors, but crossed everything in the end and finished without errors, though my time suffered.

Would have enjoyed it more if I'd dominated it.

I think it was a good puzzle, though. Really liked the ULTRAHD on top of METIME, and it is nice to see the NONES getting some visibility. They're as large a demographic as evangelicals or Catholics in the US now, btw.

My aforementioned struggles makes Rex's time all the more impressive to me!

PaulyD 10:52 AM  

Wrote in SCONCE immediately, then wasted a minute trying to make SELENIUM (with sincere apologies to my 8th-grade chemistry teacher, Mr. Rissinger) work for 1D. That was self-inflicted, but ultimately surmountable.

What brought me to my knees and triggered a visceral revulsion, one that could only be surpassed by the introduction of the designated hitter to the National League, was HOW RUDE and its inescapable association with Jar Jar Binks. The psychological scars reopened by this monstrous inclusion will take a team of professionals years (and thousands of dollars) to heal. Thanks, John Guzzetta - you'll be hearing from my attorney.

Dorothy Biggs 10:55 AM  

I was thinking a "stick in a cabinet" would be "stir," because you know...don't you call those things "stir sticks" that are in liquor cabinets? I like my answer better than SWAB.

I had tAnlineS before BAREARMS (which I have a right to), CoVORT and CoNOODLE seemed okay, and I had the GL before the HEI-GL...so I doubted ARGON.

SNOT is my favorite word in the puzzle including the way it was clued.

PaulyD 10:59 AM  


I think the most common American term is "blacktop", but perhaps that's regional. It is synonymous with "macadam", but "pavement" typically refers to concrete roadways.

Bill 11:11 AM  

My moon roof is not tinted.

Carola 11:14 AM  

Super easy from SCONCE x SCANDIUM to the midsection; but it took ME TIME to negotiate the passage from ULTRAHD (no idea) to EMBROIL and then hopscotch to the bottom.

Like others I knew the name BEREA only from the college and was interested to learn of the apt apostolic connection. I'm not sure this is still true today, but years ago the college restaurant, staffed by students, had some renown. On a just-passing-through road trip, my husband and I snagged a lunch reservation, and decades later I still remember my delectable creamed chicken in a "bird's nest" made of the thinnest, CRISPiest potato sticks.

Help from previous puzzles: BRACE, HEIGL. Favorite entry: CANOODLE.

Crimson Devil 11:28 AM  

Yo, PaulyD
DH is unconstitutional and they’d better not try to introduce it to NL.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

For me a sconce is a bracket that holds a wall light, it is not the light itself. Too literal?

CDilly52 11:33 AM  

Tan lines is my story too and I’m sticking to it, or certainly did for waaaay too long, and for exactly the same reason you cite: short sleeves do not leave BARE ARMS!!! Thanks @small town.

albatross shell 11:49 AM  

The NW went pretty fast once I realized 8D was the reverse of my initial interpretation and singular,CRISP not fRIes. Also resisted NONES as long as possible. The rest was much slower, but with many wonderful words, BRACEs of words, and ahas.


And TROLLS hanging onto TWITTERATI,as they actually do in the digital world, is great CW humor. Of course the best wordplay on literati was by Zora Neale Hurston.

Am I missing your humor again?
The clue Some social media commenters is glorifying? And the clue is a non-directional aha? And being in the puzzle is glorifying? When both names are insulting to start with? There are also many TWITTERATI who are famous only for their Twitter accounts. They earn money off it. But they are not celebrities who just happen to tweet. Of course, that does not mean they are anything you should care about one way or another. Or were you doing satire.

And Rex wasted a rant. My clear sliding panel was called a moonroof by the dealer. Sunroofs tilted to let air in but were opaque. Moonroofs are now what most cars have and the terms are used without distinction these days. Some definitions vary but they all agree on that last point. Especially ironic since he saw little modern in the puzzle.

CDilly52 11:53 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
albatross shell 11:59 AM  

@Anonymous 1036am
Could be.

Joseph M 12:02 PM  

When it comes to religion: NUNS, yes. NONES, no. Otherwise this was a pretty good puzzle, (though DEATH STARE is a little creepy, especially crossing EYED.)

SNORKEL gets the favorite clue award and SWAB gets least favorite. SINGLE PAYER reminds me of Bernie Sanders and STARRY reminds me of Vincent van Gough. But who the HECK cares about the TWITTERATI and what conclusion might a LOGICIAN reach about TROLLS?

Thanks for the entertainment, John G and John X.

Hack mechanic 12:14 PM  

What about the cluing on swab?

CDilly52 12:18 PM  

Like so many others, I got started with SCONCE and then . . . nothing. Roamed around and my toehold was HAVARTI (I do love it with dill) which made me even more sure that”tan lines” was the answer to 15A and for the very same reason that @small town blogger 7:21 am posits. Only sleeveless shirts actually leave BARE ARMS. Tried “good deal” because I already had EMBROIL AND YORE. Cured by the gimme NBA so MOON ROOF slid in and I swept through the NE, SE and SW. I get Keno and FARO confused because I am no kind of gambler. Get too distracted by the noise and the spectacular people watching when I go to Vegas so I just watch others lose money!

My daughter teaches special ed and until she started teaching, I used the word MORON derogatorily. And my dad was actually a professor of special ed. I should be mindful of exactly what @offthegrid 8:57 shared.

I lived inn Tulsa for a decade and did the giant pressure cooker big firm thing. One of the best things about Tulsa OK is the Coney I-lander (check it out at coneyi-lander.com). Since 1926 they have been serving up these tiny little hot dogs typically 4 to an order with spicy chili and angel-hair quality shredded cheese (please, go see the pictures!) and onions (optional). Instant heartburn but so so SO tasty. All to say that my husband, a Tolkien fanatic, from the first mouthful from the I-lander said “this gives new meaning to Sam’s ‘brace of coneys’.” And forevermore we called the typical 4-plate a “double brace.” Bring the Prilosec.

Getting the NW took me almost exactly the same time as the rest of the entire puzzle. But I finally finished by wild-ass guessing SCANDIUM and OVEN MITT and ULTRAHD. This was a good Friday tussle and I’m always so intrigued when the group has similar reactions to difficulty but not in the same spots. Have a great weekend everybody!!

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

Thought of tan lines too but I knew it couldn’t be right because not everyone tans and the social justice mob would’ve been calling for Shortz’s scalp. It’s only been an answer once in the last twelve years and the clue was “wristwatches may make them.” The operative word “may” would have kept the nuts at bay. Three other times it was used in the Shortz era without the qualifier but that was before the current lunacy began.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

@Anon 10:36


DevoutAtheist 1:37 PM  

NONES is the right term for the clue "religiously unaffiliated". This has been around for some time. On surveys it's an out for those nonbelievers who can't quite call themselves Atheists. I subscribe to "Free Inquiry" (Celebrating Reason and Humanity) published by the Center for Inquiry in association with the Council for Secular Humanism. A long name but a great publication with intelligent analysis and opinion on all things nonreligious. There have been numerous articles discussing the implications of the growing numbers of NONES in the U.S. and worldwide.

relicofthe60s 1:42 PM  

So this week we learned that a puzzle from four years ago is “recent” but something that might have been said as far back as 2009 is “dated.” We’re closing in on the sweet spot for timeliness.

Fred Romagnolo 1:43 PM  

I've always seen the term BRACE used for a pair (a BRACE of oxen). D minor is also the ominous chord that begins the overture to his Don Giovanni. It was prominently used in the movie "Amadeus." I learned as a freshman in college (1949) that the term MORON was taboo to anyone sensitive to the idea of not disparaging others. HEIGL is yet another example of a personal and illogical spelling that defeats the whole idea of crossword puzzles: that crosses will enable you to logically infer a word (super example: rock& roll names and/or groups and/or albums).

Rug Crazy 1:43 PM  

I only know ULTRAHD because I'm a videographer. It's otherwise a difficult infer, I would imagine.

Ed McNierney 1:50 PM  

Disappointed by ARGON, which is NOT the “Most common noble gas”. It’s the most common noble gas . Helium is the second most common element in the universe and is by far the most common noble gas.

oldactor 1:51 PM  

For 34A I had TAR and almost wrote in PIT, thinking of LaBrea in LA. I'm sure the mastodons thought that was a frustrating place to be stranded.

@CDilly52: I remember Summer vacations visiting relatives in Ada, OK and eating Coney Islands at the local drive-in. They were unforgettable! Today we call them chili-dogs but they can't compare. That was about 75 years ago. Glad to know they're still around. Thanks for the memory.

kitshef 2:00 PM  

You know that alternative to belts that we call suspenders? In England, they call those BRACEs. Always seemed an odd word to me. Since a BRACE is a pair, Shouldn't BRACES mean four or more?

Much too easy for a Friday. search before CAVORT and aLoevera before CLEANSER were the only serious errors. SWAB took me a loooong time to see.

Some really, really nice clues, highlighted by SNORKEL.

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

This puzzle would have been much better if IOWA had been clued as a battleship instead of some dumb tribe.

Well, that's of a piece when Trump said, "What're you gonna do?" And the crowd yelled, "Shoot 'em!" and Trump just smirked.

Joe Bleaux 2:40 PM  

Hi, all. Bleaux here, trying to be readmitted

Joe Bleaux 2:41 PM  

Joe Bleaux, seeking readmission.

oldactor 2:59 PM  

@Grumby: I don't think there has ever been such a thing as a "dumb" Indian Tribe, except for the fact that they trusted US Treaties.

LorrieJJ 3:15 PM  

I had a heck of a time getting a foothold ... I worked at every corner like it was a very tall mountain and once at the peak looked around and just saw more peaks ... I don't time myself but I'm sure this was my slowest Friday ever. Nevertheless I loved it! Thanks Mr. Guzzetta ... good job!

Anonymous 5:43 PM  

Learn something new all the time. 50 years ago a friend of my parents lived in Berea, OH. Now I know where the name came from.

Don't short sleeves only show foreARMS rather than fully BAREARMS?

Malsdemare 5:46 PM  

I liked this just fine; only quibble is the unfortunate MORON. I think It's Stephen Jay Gould's "Mismeasure of Man" that introduced me to the origins of moron, idiot and imbecile, words we banned in our house after I read that. But I will share that I have two 18th century French ancestors named Morand and Meinrad. Once they arrived in Ohio, these names were often given pretty creative spellings. And so it turned out I had a Moron and a Nimrod in my family tree. Ah, genealogy! Keeps 'em rolling in the aisles.

It’s always nice to know that sometimes folks remember those of us on the flyover states so I liked seeing URBANA in the grid; it’s the gown portion of the twin cities locally known as Shampoo-Banana (Champaign-Urbana). Lots of good clues and fun misdirects. ULTRAHD almost did me in.

Thanks, Mr. Guzzetta!

Joe Dipinto 6:37 PM  

Gah such a pointless fuss. I'm wearing short sleeves and my arms are 2/3 bare. The clue does not say "fully". Yes, short sleeves leave bare arms, to whatever degree. NEXT...

Dad Joker 7:10 PM  

Believe in right to bare arms.

Anonymous 8:55 PM  

Don't short sleeves only show foreARMS rather than fully BAREARMS?

depends. most short sleeve t-shirts cover only the top 2 or so inches. some 'half-sleeve' dress shirts end, or should, at the elbow, but most 'short sleeve' dress shirts cover about half-way between shoulder and elbow. end of sartorial lesson.

Runs with Scissors 8:56 PM  

@kitshef 2:00 PM

I think the suspenders as BRACES are more evocative of something that braces - supports - rather than the BRACE in the sense of a pair.

The Critical Mind 11:17 PM  

Everyone who shoots pheasants - and isn't that everyone? - knows what a brace is.

Anonymous 11:41 PM  

I believe moonroofs difer from sunroofs in that moonroofs don't open, whereas sunroofs do. Why would u open a car's roof at night? Tint is not a factor.

Anonymous 4:54 AM  


Unknown 10:40 PM  

As yet you have never encountered a crossword you actually liked.Still batting a thousand.

Thursday googler 12:28 PM  

Did anyone else enjoy the religiously unaffiliated "nones" homophone of the religiously affiliated "nuns"?

spacecraft 12:31 PM  

There he goes again. I struggle mightily, finally get it after 1+ hours of HARD work, and he puts up "Easy." Grrrrr!!

Had to change glITTERATI, and fra to DOM, to make sense of the SW. I'm glad OFC "tore through" the NW; for me it was the last to go. Re "EMB-" words, EMBROIL is perfectly fine; people actually USE it. As to EMBAR, I have to agree with OFC on that one: a loud "Boo!" This one people do NOT use. Ever.

Triumph points through the MOONROOF! Plus, a perfect DOD in Katherine HEIGL. Birdie.

rainforest 2:29 PM  

I liked this fun, if relatively easy *for a Friday*, puzzle. Very lively in many places. Some notes:

To those tinted MOON ROOF complainers, "clear" does not mean "colourless".
A SWAB *is* a stick with tufts of cotton on either end.
What does @rondo think of the word TARMAC?
I loved SNOT for "twerp".
My understanding is that EMBAR has a separate meaning from "bar".
Even with the iffy WE'RE "sorry", and OH ME, the fill was just dandy.

Finished with no write-overs, and with a satisfied feeling.

Diana, LIW 2:52 PM  

I agree with @Spacey - even down to the fra/DOM mixup. I never thought I'd finish this! I did check on two (wrong) answers, but then was quite delighted with finishing the rest.

Mr. W is from IOWA, so he'll be happy to see that, even if Ames isn't present for once.

Easy? Not for this lady.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoast 4:04 PM  

Yes, relatively easy Friday, and a good mix of the clever and the dull, the bright and the dark, the known and unknown.

Opened at the NW corner where SCONCE and SCANDIUM and CANOODLE made for a good, quick start, but NONES was almost a dook. BARE ARMS in the NE was so simple, it was cute, and BEREA was an unknown needing every cross.

The middle and most of the South had something accessible to offer, including a mix of easy, clever, misdirecting, and obscure clues and answers: ULTRA HD, HOT MIC, TARMAC, SNORKEL and the BRACE/EMBAR cross. Might also mention HEGeL(!) before properly spelling the name of the lovely Ms. HEIGL.

TWITTERATI (including the celebrity-in-chief) and DEATH STARE were downers, but not enough to darken what otherwise was a bright day.

Diana, LIW 4:29 PM  

Forgot to mention - I had a Civics teacher in high school who told us we could remember the Second Amendment (of the Constitution) by thinking of it as the "right to wear short sleeves." (BAREARMS)

now you know

Lady Di

Burma Shave 5:03 PM  


The LOGICIAN who ABHORS violence?
he PREFERs such METIME silence
EVERYBIT as much as YORE right to BAREARMS.


rondo 5:29 PM  

@rainy - I knew this one, but here are the citations:

TARMAC is short for TARMACadam (tar + macadam)

John Loudon McAdam (23 September 1756[1] – 26 November 1836) was a Scottish civil engineer and road-builder. He was the inventor of "macadamisation", an effective and economical method of constructing roads - broken stone of even size used in successively compacted layers for surfacing roads and paths, and typically bound with bitumen.

In British terms they commonly use tarmac like we in the USA would use the word "Asphalt".

There is no official definition for “TARMAC” in aviation.

SO, . . . more misuse of the word (or prefix) TAR.

Hand up for 'tAnlineS' for far too long. and the fra/DOM. We are missing the hockey great's family with a row boat implements (ORRS' OARS), but we do have ORS and ORES. And OHME, METIME.

Crossing yeah babies EDIE Falco and K. HEIGL.

Pretty good puz even with a RMK. And DMINOR is so sad (you'll get that with a MINOR key).

leftcoast 7:05 PM  

@rondo -- Bill Butler's comment on the tar issue:

The terms “tarmac” and “macadam” are short for “tarmacadam”. In the 1800s, Scotsman John Loudon McAdam developed a style of road known as “macadam”. Macadam had a top-layer of crushed stone and gravel laid over larger stones. The macadam also had a convex cross-section so that water tended to drain to the sides. In 1901, a significant improvement was made by English engineer Edgar Purnell Hooley who introduced tar into the macadam, improving the resistance to water damage and practically eliminating dust. The “tar-penetration macadam” is the basis of what we now call tarmac.

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