Fictional raiding archaeologist / FRI 8-16-19 / Craft shop item with seemingly redundant name / Best-selling author who used awful lot of commas / Foes of Fido, stereotypically / Hit 2016 film set partly at sea

Friday, August 16, 2019

Constructor: Ori Brian

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (6:05)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: LAD MAG (9A: Maxim, e.g.) —
(Journalism & Publishing) a magazine aimed at or appealing to men, focusing on fashion, gadgets, andoften featuring scantily dressed women (
• • •

The fill here is OK. Nothing I particularly love. Solid C. Fine. Acceptable. Workmanlike—emphasis on the "man" because hoo boy, this thing is comically heavy on testosterone. It's basically muscle cars and AMMO and ... yeah, with the ACNE and the BEER KEGS it's got a very fratty vibe. Also a very ogley vibe, what with the LAD MAGs and Phoebe CATES clued via her role as an iconic image of teenage-boy masturbatory fantasy. There are five ... five! ... different male-gendered words in this grid: MALE (from MALE EGO), LAD, DUDES, MEN (from MAILMEN), and MAN (from MANBUN). It feels like a parody of the fairly typical guy-skewing, exclusionary content that is not untypical of NYT crosswords (considering that they remain overwhelming constructed by male lad dudes). But I don't think the puzzle is having a laugh. I think it's just ... not thinking much about offering a a broader (!) view of the world. I liked seeing ABUELA, and, you know, Jackie JOYNER-Kersee is a cool entry, but even LARA CROFT fits right into the highly sexualized male-gaze vibe of this puzzle. Her sex appeal (particularly to young men) is a huge part of her fame. This is just a fraction of the "Sex Symbol" section of her wikipedia page:
"Publications such as PlayGameTrailers, and PlayStation Magazine listed big breasts as one of the character's most famous attributes. After interviewing players in 1998, Griffiths commented that players regularly mention Croft's breasts when discussing her. In 2008, the character was first and second on two UGO Networks lists of hottest video game characters. GameDaily placed Lara Croft number one on a similar list that same year, and PlayStation: The Official Magazine awarded her honourable mention for Game Babe of the Year." (for more, go here)
The whole "game babe" angle would not have occurred to me were she not (today) swimming in a swamp of dicks up there in the NE. It's good to be aware of the overall balance of answers in your grid, and to correct for ridiculous overrepresentation.

Thought I was going to storm this one, but got significant held up trying and failing to parse DOORDIE (47A: Critical). Also got held up trying to get ADMIT, which just wouldn't come until I had A-MIT, ugh. So that SW corner roughed me up, as did my total inability to understand the basic grammar, let alone the significance, of the clue at 32D: Helps for short people, for short (ATMS). Is "helps" a verb or noun, is "short" a matter of stature or money? I really was thinking "short" as in "small," so even with AT--, I was puzzled. Thought UM, NO was UH, NO, and was ready to accept that ATHS was just some weird short-person-helping thing I didn't know. Luckily, I came to my senses. EROS, also not really a thing I knew. I kept thinking the FILTER of INSTAGRAM FILTER must be wrong because surely this is something to do with EGOS ... but no (34D: Freudian focus). Never think of a reed having "keys," so clue on OBOE threw me. Blanked on the "C" in COB. Still felt on the easy side. Oh, yeah, and lastly, I had no idea (or forgot) that ROGET was a PETER. Had PETER (actually had TETER 'cause I thought 24D: Impertinent sort (SNIP) was a SNIT), and then had no idea. What is this "awful lot of commas"?? That is some weird colloquial phrasing. "Awful." What kind of one-off homespun nonsense is that? Odd.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:08 AM  

I hope I am not the only one who wandered around a bit and then dropped "separation" in at 30A. A perfect fit and a perfect mess.

puzzlehoarder 12:21 AM  

This started out Monday easy in the NW. Then I got down to ART and TALON and stopped cold. The middle section got me nowhere. In the NE even with ABUELA and ABEL in place I was blocked. I thought 9A would probably be MANMAG. For 9D it took me forever to remember the name "Indiana Jones" only to realize it was of no help.

In the SW AMMO and MOANA got things moving again. DOORDIE was a real DOOK. From there it was slow going working from west to east through the puzzles' center.

After LARACROFT went in the puzzle became easy again. By that time the damage was done and this wound up taking a minute longer than yesterday's slow solve. This was tough for me so a good solve in the end.

jae 12:22 AM  

Easy-medium. Having EgOS before EROS added quite a few nanoseconds (@m&a on vacation). Very smooth with some fine corners, liked it.

Swagomatic 12:43 AM  

REM and now Steve Forbert - Rex, you are hitting all the right buttons. I enjoyed the write up as well.��

staydetuned 1:04 AM  

Good lord MAN. It’s almost every other time I come here now that I wonder why I still come here. As I entered MAILMEN I thought to myself, “Here it comes...” And wham!

I thought it was a fresh, excellent puzzle, despite the existence of male human beings.

It’s rants like this and yesterday’s that explain why that guy that grew up in Jamaica Estates is winning.


Adam 1:51 AM  

Anyone else get naticked at the CANNIBAL/COB cross? hANNIBAL is a famous CANNIBAL and also works for the clue and COB is obscure enough that hOB seemed like it may as well be the answer. If only there were another way to clue COB...

Graham 2:14 AM  

I’m not buying SNIP as impertinent sort... the only similar definition in MW is “a small or insignificant person” — a long way from “impertinent.”

Seth Bourque 2:21 AM  

I had to double check Instagram filter after seeing the Freudian clue. As a musician who started on woodwinds, I personally disliked the metal keys clue. It’s not like metal is actually necessary. It’s padding the names contact with the instrument, after all.

turkeyneck 4:13 AM  

ALTA Is not in the Rockies, but in the Wasatch range.

Solverinserbia 5:00 AM  

I consider men and women equally able to know the terms LADMAG and MANBUN. I thought this was a great puzzle with great fill that resulted in a DNF for me because I had PARtiEr for PAROLEEE and couldn't parse DOORDIE or figure out TALON or Moana.

WAYTOGO, CANNIBALS, lots of good clues here but the review is always blinded by any perceived slight to virtue signaling

Anonymous 5:00 AM  

@Adam another near-Natick on C/HANNIBAL here.

@staydetuned must be nice to be so comfortable with patriarchal crap, 2019 says hello please join us.

amyyanni 6:17 AM  


Maleman 6:19 AM  

Pretty easy for me (11:09).

Words have context. Except in crossword puzzles and dictionaries, where they have no context at all.

Anonymous 6:39 AM  

@Bg 4:13 - Per Wikipedia, "The western edge of the Rockies includes ranges such as the Wasatch near Salt Lake City and the Bitterroots along the Idaho-Montana border".

kitshef 7:22 AM  

Good, tough Friday puzzle. Floundered around from the very start. takeACAB, callACAB, hailACAB … nope, none of those. Folkelore? folkTALE? No, neither of those.

DOOR DIE followed by WAY TOGO gave me a chortle.

Oscar winners and nominees who were in Fast Times at Ridgemont High:
Sean Penn (five nominations, two wins)
Nicolas Cage (two nominations, one win)
Forrest Whitaker (one nomination, one win)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (one nomination, no wins)

kitshef 7:25 AM  

@Graham - I think you're gonna need a bigger dictionary. My MW has six definitions for SNIP, including "an impertinent person, especially a girl". I guess that helps address Rex's gender imbalance?

Anonymous 7:29 AM  

Wait, men exist?

Steve Awesome 7:41 AM  

As a white man, I found this puzzle to be delightfully easy, as usual.

benjaminthomas 7:48 AM  

Good grief, Rex, what is wrong with you? It's one thing to be hyper-sensitive to gender (which by the way, I thought wasn't supposed to matter, and why are you calling it out and limiting people to one?), but it's quite another to be so wrong about your %$#@!&^% scorekeeping.


STANLEE, PETERROGET, JESUS (can he get a pass?), MONKS are male.

Females win the REXGAME2000 6-4.

Matthew G. 7:53 AM  

Ultra-easy Friday. Would probably have set a Friday record if I hadn't had a two-year-old climbing on me while solving. Even so, finished in under six minutes.

Don't really understand SNIP, though. Like Rex, I thought SNIT made more sense. I know the phrase "being snippy," but SNIP as a noun (in this usage) is new to me. Which probably means it's not new, but hoary.

Re: PETER ROGET and his commas. It take it this just a reference to the fact that a Thesaurus lists a bunch of synonyms strung together with commas?

Suzie Q 7:59 AM  

Kind of bland except for Do or Die. I was so proud to figure out that one. Somehow I remembered abuela. I think I did because of the label of a hot chocolate mix I have seen at the grocery. The sarcastic Way to go was funny. I could hear that so clearly as I wrote it.

I don't know why Rex feels so strongly about women in puzzles. I'm doing just fine in the world without his help. Catering to his sense of imbalance would feel patronizing. No thanks.

Hungry Mother 8:05 AM  

Plenty of time this morning to slog it out because I’m resting my body for a weekend of racing. It was a worthwhile challenge with few writeovers. The best add-on to digital photos that I’ve experienced lately is the geotag which can produce a map of where the photo was taken. It’s fun to explore the exact location of photos from a trip.

pabloinnh 8:19 AM  

This is one of these four corner puzzles that play separately, stuck together by a nice creamy filling. Don't use an INSTAGRAMFILTER (or Instagram, for that matter), and know of REDDIT just because I'm not totally unconscious. Of course this kind of cluing had me wondering who could have two billion Twitter followers. O tempora....

Nice to see the school down the road show up. Around here, the question is, Big Green what? Very occasionally you will see a "The Indian Will Never Die" t-shirt, but this is rarer and rarer.

Pretty crunchy for me but a satisfying finish. Also I'm nominating DOOORDIE for DOOK of the year.

Thanks for the fun, OB. Nice Friday.

Ed C 8:20 AM  

So, male references are excessive and terrible but LARA CROFT is bad too because she has breasts? Guess when you have an ax to grind, you’re gonna see the problem everywhere, even if you have to invent it. Take note, constructors: if you don’t want to seem sexist and leering, only include unattractive women in your grid.

Teedmn 8:38 AM  

Super fast in the NW and NE, not bad in the SE,but the center to SW brought me over average. My 22D ideal was Perfect and putting in the S at the end of 20D had me looking for MAdcats as Fido's stereotypical foes. My brain finally saw LARA C____ rather than the LA RAC_____ I had been working on. That just left figuring out what 47A, ending in IE, could be to finish up.

Cenobites sounds like a kind of mollusk - could 43D be welKS, I wondered? (That!s “whelks”, ahem.)

Uh, NO at 38A meant that A_hS kept me looking for some kind of loan initialism. At least I interpreted “short” correctly.

Too many fun clues to note. Unfortunately, I've seen a couple of MAN BUNs here at the MSP airport this morning so that hairstyle has not quite been left in the dustbin of history.

Nice Friday, Ori Brian.

TJS 8:42 AM  

Better than anything else this week, so I'll take it. Even Rex doing his "Let me tell you why we are offended" bit was amusing, even laughable. Still hoping for a bit more difficulty tomorrow. Btw, I always thought "man bun" was sort of a derogatory term invented and used mostly by women, but maybe I'm wrong.
@Z, I finally replied to you but it was late last night, so whatever.

Mike Herlihy 8:44 AM  

The "weird colloquial phrasing" of "awful lot of" brings up a mere 9,530,000 results when Googled as a phrase. Time for someone to get out more into the real world it would seem.

GILL I. 9:06 AM  

@benja 7:48..I, too, counted the male/female ratio - only because I thought a head or two would explode. I like anticipating and then finding out I was right. Hah!
If we're going to tote up this week's puzzle, I'd say that so far I like this one a bit better than the rest. I liked the cluing - especially the one for 32D about the short people one. My mind wandered. I'm sorta tall and at the age of 13 was already 5'7 and wondering what I could do with my life. As it turns out, when I first went to Spain and rode the subway, every single MALE MAN DUDE LAD reached under my armpit while I was hanging onto the overhead strap. I thought it was kinda interesting. But it's the ATM
Speaking of INKING and tats and all that, my new avatar is a MANBUN with an INKING gone bad. Probably drawn by NAST. Speaking of NAST...don't you love how he made Santa so cute? Pink cheeks and all. JESUS would probably not approve.
BLIND DATE. I had exactly one. A very sweet LAD. This was in the Palisades and I think I was about 16. My very best friend fixed me up because she needed a double date because her parents insisted on it. He was the captain of the football team....My date was probably related to Fermi. She had fun...I drank.
WAY TO GO. The end.

Nancy 9:11 AM  

Saturday hard for me, way out of my wheelhouse, worked like a dog to finish it and did...almost. Was wondering what a sAD MAG was, never heard the term LAD MAG and thought LARA CROFT was sARA CROFT. WAY TO GO, Nancy.

INSTAGRAM something-or-other was a complete guess, but it opened up the puzzle for me and made finishing possible. I had put in EgOS instead of EROS for the Freudian focus at a time I had no crosses, so it was a lucky mistake that gave me 3 out of 4 correct letters.


I "suffered" a bit too much to say I loved it, but it was highly engrossing and seemed quite original to me.

Ed C 9:13 AM  

For 20D “Foes of Fido”, do you think Rex would accept FEMAILMEN ?

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

Cannibals and monks. Two cannibals caught and cooked two monks. Later, one said to the other his was very tough. He boiled him. “No, no; they were friars,” replied the other.

Birchbark 9:16 AM  

This puzzle is a PARLOR GAME with a PG RATING. The theme is random thoughts of guy in a dorm room scrolling through the "People who watched this also watched" category. About 80% of the answers are themers. He wonders why the algorithm looks at him this way.

ON SECOND thought, it rained much of the night last night. The bee balm in the meadow is muted purple. "That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

Z 9:26 AM  

So are readers obtuse or Rex abstruse? Nothing like a bunch of people missing Rex’s point to start the day.

Ori being an unusual name, I went to just to make sure a woman didn’t slip a parody past Shortz. LAD MAG crossing LARA CROFT along with Phoebe CATES (in case you don’t get why Rex chose “masturbatory”) is enough MALE gaze for any puzzle. Comic books, frat parties, muscle cars, Check, Check, and Check. It was at MALE EGO where I thought, “ this is parody, right?” But, no. And, because so many of you have already demonstrated your blindness, it isn’t that men are in the puzzle, it is that the entire puzzle, even the women in it, exists to salve the MALE EGO.

The solve was Friday normal. UM, NO to UMNO, but otherwise the fill strikes me as clean. Clearly some construction talent here. He looks young in his photo, so here’s hoping for more puzzles that reflect a less sheltered existence.

@TJS - I did see your late post. Sorry for misunderstanding. I’m not sure I understand your question still, but something I learned here from Rex and other constructors is that when it is the grid blame the constructor, but when it’s the cluing blame the editor. That’s the source of Rex’s comment that if the clue was the constructor’s Shortz should have changed it. So I agree with Rex that responsibility for the clue ultimately rests with the editor.

Z 9:28 AM  

I understood SNIP as an “Impertinent sort” of response, not as a person.

mmorgan 9:32 AM  

I found this tough but gettable and fun. I also had SNIt as well as NASh for 26D for a while, so that held me back for a bit (who is TEHER somebody...?). The SW was the toughest and the last to fall, until ADMIT opened the door.

I didn’t notice the preponderance of maleness-of-a-certain-kind, but Rex makes a good point.

OffTheGrid 9:33 AM  

Good to know that the National Association of State Treasurers came up with the modern Santa Claus image.

TJS 9:33 AM  

Hate to reveal this, but is there info on this page that explains how to add a picture to a comment? I can't figure it out, and I don't have a ten year old around to ask.

JustMarci 9:34 AM  

Honestly never knew that cenobites were monks. They were always just the beings in Hellraiser to me.

And to the poor victimized men here, your opinions are noted and shall be given the consideration they merit.

mmorgan 9:39 AM  

@Gill I — maybe I’ll get used to this one but I miss your old avatar

QuasiMojo 9:44 AM  

"Hannibal was a cannibal"?? I thought he just fancied elephants.

I just checked an old Thesaurus. Early edition. Roget used semicolons most of the time in between words.

"Lad Mag" is new to me. We called such rags "one-handers"

Rex I think you left out COB from your list of phallocentricities. And OBOE, metaphorically speaking.

This whole puzzle felt like a Freudian SNIP.

Nancy 9:53 AM  

WAY TO GO, @SuzieQ (7:59). All I can say is [#]Me Too. Like you, I'm doing just fine without his help and my FEMALE EGO remains strong and unaffected by anything the crossword puzzle page of the NYT can throw at me. Rex's near-daily rants on the subject are all so incredibly silly.

Or are they? When I studied Freudian psychology in college, EROS was only one of many principles discussed. Another was "Reaction Formation" -- the response of a person whose real feelings and beliefs are so unacceptable and threatening to him that he professes -- in highly exaggerated form, and that's usually the tip-off, -- feelings that are the exact opposite of his true ones. It's all unconscious: he is completely out of touch with his true feelings and beliefs. (You can look up "Reaction Formation" if you never studied it in school.)

Could Rex be a secret misogynist? Discuss :)

oopsydeb 9:55 AM  

In addition to the overall dude bro vibe of the puzzle, a couple other answers gave me pause:

PARLOR GAME-- Who uses this term any more? And what really makes a game a parlor game? I'd guess the Bacon "game" occurs more often in bars or on long road trips.

CANNIBAL--Just didn't need this with my morning coffee.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

The Wasatch are part of the Rockies.

Newboy 10:22 AM  

JESUS MALE EGO MAN BUN Indeed! This one had me pulling the gray fringe as I jumped from section to section. ROGET was a word I should have plopped down easily, but instead went to Hollywood for a film name—go figure! Enjoyed the clues; any day that stretches from JESUS to STAN LEE to JOYNER can’t be anything but a challenge. I found it medium tough to get started, and then I’d agree with the Rex rating for the finish. Now back to see other assessments.

CDilly52 10:29 AM  

@Graham2:14 I don’t buy SNIP either. SNIPpy as typical behavior of a “snot” which I plugged in and believed, but a hard no on SNIP.

CDilly52 10:32 AM  

@kitschef. Then I suppose my geographic frame of reference is what still makes this completely an unknown, never heard and awkward. Must be a regionalism

Dorothy Biggs 10:34 AM  

Just scroll back up in the comments here and look at the back to back comments by Swagomatic and staydetuned (12:43am and 1:04am). Just let the contrast sink in for a moment. Pretty typical of the kind of world we live in these days.

Politics is extremely pertinent right now in our country and the division is tearing us up. Even a casual read-through of this rather random comments section about something as inane as xword puzzles will show you what is happening to our country. Do we ignore it? To some, that answer is yes, just pretend it doesn't exist. But for others, the answer is no and is pretty much why Rex includes politics in many of his reviews.

I personally am not sure where all this will lead. But if we continue to speak in hyperbole and take extreme all-or-nothing stands about everything from gender dominance to xword puzzles, we're in seriously deep shite. ALL of us.

What's weirdly amusing about it all is how people continue to bitch and moan about Rex's rants, but they continue, day after day after day to read his blog and respond in the comments section. Why? Are you not outraged enough? Do you feel it's important to counter Rex's views by responding to a small, 500-word review of an xword puzzle in a comments section in a small little corner of the internet?

Keep it up, America. What could possibly go wrong?

Joaquin 10:36 AM  

Looks like Rex missed a couple:
56A - ON SECOND - Only frat boys and other males get to "second base".
And how could he have missed 33D - MENu

CDilly52 10:36 AM  

@anonymous. I had the same joke pass through my aged brain and I
Chuckled. That joke never gets too old (for me). Thanks!

IronEye 10:38 AM  

Anyone else have a delayed realization that BUGGY area referenced dune buggies and not how sand dunes at beaches might have a lot of bugs?

Joe Dipinto 10:43 AM  

I embrace the guyness of this puzzle -- it's like boys' night out! Rex, you're too uncool to be invited, so go write a long blog rant about it. On second thought, never mind.

I thought for sure 20d was going to be FELINES. You know, alliteration -- Foes, Fido, Felines. And I LOL'ed at the clue for CANNIBAL. So I had a good time. Way to go, Ori Brian!←not sarcasm. Let's grab a cab to the next bar!

I said Naa, na na na naa,
Na na na naa,
Na na naa, na na naa
Na na na naa
You gotta know how to pony
Like Bonie Maronie

-- Cannibal & The Headhunters, 1965

CDilly52 10:43 AM  

I have no idea about this puzzle. I fell asleep trying to get started and the timer ran all night!! But after copious amounts of coffee, and after correcting “Snot” with SNIP (just awkward at best) and the middle fell with INSTAGRAM FILTER (although i still have no idea what Instagram really does or how it works). I finished is about all I can say. Seemed legit for Friday but not a lot of sparkle or pizzaz. Thanks to my job in college at Twin City Pontiac in 169, the GTOS zoomed in and although I would prefer to GRAB A CAB rather than drive one of those, it certainly (along with the easy TALL TALE and ON TIPTOE) opened up the NW. that’s all a I can muster up.

Newboy 10:54 AM  

TJS @ 9:30ish just go to home page and create your profile (or edit if you’re already being profiled?) the option to add imagery is one of the options provided. There may be a way to embed without having an actual profile, but I couldn’t find it. Better ideas anyone?

Black Conservative 10:58 AM  

Just saw Z comment from yesterday comparing Tim Scott, Ben Carson and Clarence Thomas to Uncle Tom . What a racist. I suppose that applies to Thomas Sowell, Condolezza Rice, and me as well. The beauty of freedom of speech is that it makes it easy to spot the idiots, or in this case, the racists.

David 11:01 AM  

I put in James Joyce, because he's an author who used a lot of commas. Roget was not an author at all, he was a physician, a theologian, and a lexicographer. Joyce didn't last long there though. Acne and Nast killed him and gave me the NS to fill in 35A immediately; and I don't even use instagram much.

I also groaned at all the exaggerated fake caricatures of "maleness" which Americans take as true, and don't really need a blog post to explicate it. Rex does have a degree in literature so it's probably just natural for him to do so. He did, however, forget to mention Stan Lee's place in the pantheon of arrested development.

All (American) men are puerile snowflakes with fragile egos. Right.
I guess it's true that a good number of us are, maybe parents should work on that.

An awful lot of those 2 billion followers aren't really. That's odd too.

Interesting puzzle with decent fill but not really up my alley so it took a while. What I like best about the construction is the three diagonally descending Ps and Rs in the middle.

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

Statistics show that 6.4% of voters in the midwest made their decision for President in 2016 based on crossword puzzle blog comments, so there's that.

RooMonster 11:05 AM  

Hey All !
Rex, your fascination with men being represented/superior to women is frightening. Even when women are in the grid, balancing out the puz twixt men and women (see @benjaminthomas 7:48), you still bash it as male-centric, saying the women are only there for gratuitous sex appeal. Holy cow. How come nothing ranty about PAC? We all know you hate Republicans. No screed about CANNIBALS? They eat people! (Men or women, doesn't matter). Oh, wait, to not offend Rex, Women or men.)

That RANT aside, puz was good, put up a bit of a fight, but was able to ALIGN it all in the end. Liked the clue for JESUS, nice misdirection. Had some writeovers, takeACAB-GRABACAB, Der-DAS, Arbula-ABeuLA-ABUELA, EgOS-EROS, mirE-DUNE, two-DOS.

That EgOS was a tricky one. Once pattern recognition kicked in, the ole brain decided EROS was just as good. But, LADMAG? No. Not a thing. Maybe in England. It's not even MANMAG, or MALEMAG.

MANBUNs are definitely still a thing. I see them all the time when waiting for clients at the airport. 1) It's stupid looking. 2) Be a man, and grow your hair out to get an actual ponytail, or 3) Just get a haircut.

What you yell when you stub your toe on the jamb? DOOR DIE!


Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Am I the only one who immediately put in POTUS instead of JESUS?

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

@Black Conservative: Throughout American history, from Andrew Johnson to Woodrow Wilson to Robert Byrd, Grand Dragon of the KKK, the racists have been progressive Democrats. Z is carrying on a long held tradition. Cut him some slack.

jberg 11:14 AM  

The first thing I thought of was take A bus, which would have given me one correct letter, but I didn't write it in -- my first acual entries were foLklorE and ABUELA. The whole thing was really tough, and I almost gave up and looked up Cenobites (like others, I thought they were a shellfish, or maybe a fossil). Also had PeRfect before PARAGON, and couldn't remember the rules of Old Maid (another sexist stereotype?)

Toughest part of the whole puzzle, and a bit unfair IMO, was French word DANSE, with a French clue, crossing the Spanish word DOS, clued with an English clue -- and of course 'two' would also be correct, so that's what I put in. Thank heaven for JOYNER-Kersee, or I'd still be working on this one.

I think LAD MAG is English usage, but maybe that's just where I first saw the term. And I can well imagine some older lady in a Nancy Mitford novel declaring that she would not accept criticism from 'that little SNIP.'

Like many puzzles, I thought it was good after I got it, but not so much along the way.

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

Dorothy Biggs is a sage.

Joaquin 11:17 AM  

@ Anon (11:02) - For the win!

ghostoflectricity 11:24 AM  

Can't believe Rex let "CANNIBAL" slide. If there is a more racist trope from old cartoons, of white explorers being placed in giant pots of hot water by thick-lipped, bone-in-the-nose, grass-skirt-wearing, dark-skinned natives, I haven't heard of it. Totally unacceptable. Rex, how could you let this slide? You nail every reference to Trump, no matter how obscure, but you ignore this totally offensive clue and answer? WTF?

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Imagine if the puzzle was in a language where all nouns are gendered and adjectives have gendered forms. Rex could have a meltdown counting each word and its over- or underrepresentation. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Susanna 11:26 AM  

@Black Conservative- Clarence Thomas called his hearings a “high tech lynching for uppity blacks who deign (sic) to think for themselves.” Seems about right. Z would rather they stay on the plantation.

xyz 11:29 AM  

... and it continues ...

TJS 12:05 PM  

@Newboy, thanks. I'll see if this works.

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

@Anon 11:14 - Robert Byrd was never a Grand Dragon in the KKK. Nor was he a Progressive Democrat. Without question he was, in his youth, a racist. He outgrew it.

Victor/Victoria 12:12 PM  

You’re cute when you’re mad,

RPM 12:17 PM  

This puzzle put an end to a streak of 169. I'm sorry to see that many others found it easy. It hit too many personal lacunae to overcome. For example Instagram filter, Lara Croft, Moana.

I, for one, can testify that not every crossword puzzle addict has drunk the Kool Aid and is able to render harsh judgement on what can be said in polite society. Rex is breaking new ground in this area and I continue to find it shocking.

Carola 12:28 PM  

A worthy Friday in my book, ending in a nail-biter in the SW. I found plenty of reason for hesitation: take A CAB? circe? folk TALE? vail? Los Altos? The incorrect TenON kept me from seeing ROGET for a long time; also had to redo JOiNER and "two" for DOS. DO OR DIE was an apt final entry.

Definition of provincial: Needing to go to New York to encounter ABUELA for the first time, in "In the Heights."
Help from previous crosswords: CATES, SNIP. Liked the ecumenical JESUS x EROS.

Birchbark 12:29 PM  

@Nancy (9:53) -- I think I recall that you are a football fan. Freud aside, I would like "reaction formation" to mean a timely improvised defensive shift after the quarterback calls an audible. Nobody was covering that guy, but now it's under control.

Frog Prince Kisser 12:49 PM  

@ Nancy 9:53 AM
Re: “When I studied . . . in college,” are you the Nancy who has an entry on page 48 of my recent New York City college alumnae magazine?

Joseph M 12:57 PM  

WAY TO GO, Ori. And I don’t mean that as sarcasm.

Two thumbs way up for this LAD PUZ. Fresh fill everywhere you look, creative and witty clues, enough challenge in the solve to make you feel like you’ve earned your Wheaties.

I especially liked DO OR DIE, ON SECOND, BLIND DATE, GLUE STICK, and CANNIBAL among others.

My only nits (and these relate to the clues not the grid): PETER ROGET was not an author but a lexicographer and Old Maid, as the name of a card game, should have initial caps.

Weirdest cross: JESUS and EROS.

Thought Rex’s review was hilarious, especially in regards to his masturbation fantasies.

Of the comments so far, the one that stands out for me is that of @Dorothy Biggs.

IrishCream 1:25 PM  

Having recently re-read Anne of Green Gables, I can confirm it is valid, if quite old-fashioned.

Joe Bleaux 1:41 PM  

Tough, fun Fri puz

Joe Bleaux 1:43 PM  

Rex’s rants are enlightening and amusing

ghthree 1:48 PM  

A comment on the many mailman references:
Several years ago, the New Yorker ran a cartoon in which a middle-aged woman said to her teen-age daughter:
"Go out to the person box and see if the person person has brought us any person."

Frank 2:06 PM  


Anonymous 2:17 PM  

Rex / Mike,
Whew and Debby Downer should date!
No wonder you don't have that many friends

pabloinnh 2:25 PM  

FWIW, my Mom (b.1917),who hardly ever said anything negative about anyone, always referred to a certain teenage girl in our little town as "that little snip". So it's out there, or was.

Since it looks like no one else is going to, I have to post my favorite cannibal joke:

Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says--I dunno, does this taste funny to you?

My apologies to stereotyped cannibals everywhere.

MarineO6 2:26 PM  

Hey Rex, put down the soy and step away.
Beta males are a embarrassment, and you have a B tattooed on your forehead.
Fun puzzle despite all the references to boys and stuff.

fifirouge 2:28 PM  

I thought this was a great puzzle! Lots of current fill and fun clues. It's so refreshing when I don't come across any fill that's a random actress in the '40s I've only heard of through crosswords.

As to the gender controversy - I DEFINITELY see it as a parody puzzle. A bunch of people checked to see if Ori was male or female (myself included), but there is no reason a man can't make fun of current male culture. Especially a constructor who's on the Millennial/Gen Z border (he was in college in 2016 when he made is NYT debut, so he's probably 25 at the oldest). I laughed out loud at 20A. I'm confident no dudebro is self aware enough to be able to put that answer with that clue in a crossword.

Bernie 2:35 PM  

Those early Tomb Raider games definitely sold at least partially on Lara Croft's sex appeal, but that really hasn't been true for many years. Point taken about the puzzle being awfully male-centric otherwise, but the current Tomb Raider developers Crystal Dynamics have seemingly made it a point to ensure that Lara isn't just a sex object anymore, but rather at least kind of a real, rounded character. They haven't been entirely successful, as she has become kind of a typical video game killing machine, and there were complaints of her deaths being kind of murder-porny, but she definitely isn't just a sex object as she once was.

What a dorky thing to write!

I think this was my easiest Friday ever. Would have crushed my old time had I not had Hannibal instead of cannibal. Didn't know cob and figured hob worked.

Rug Crazy 2:36 PM  

Did anyone else have INSTAGRAMFILLER (35A) crossed with ALMS(32D)

I don't do instagram, so it worked for me

Anonymous 2:36 PM  


careful there bro. before FDR, Democrats were the slavery party, not the party of Civil Rights or Voting Rights or anything such. today's Democrats have no lineage to the folks you name.

albatross shell 2:48 PM  

I did much better today than yesterday when I had to totally surrender to google to finish. Today only for ABUELA,but also to my bookshelf to get Roget's first name. About a third went in easily,NW and SW, a third medium tough and a third with hard work.
I actually appreciated the theme of dude answers and considered MALEEGO to be a sign of parody or at least of self-awareness. I agree with Rex that more female constructors would give us more puzzles that might a more feminine cast to them.

SNIP is defined as a small or insignificant person in informal North American usage. Definition 6. I was leaning to SNot and then SNIt myself but no dictionary I found agrees with the latter.
I liked PARLORGAME partly because it felt so antithetical to the dude theme.

No feMAILMEN, they are all letter carriers these days.

The racists have always been progressive Democrats. No racist conservatives at all. Sure some progressives were racists. But way outnumbered by racist conservative Democrats, now Republicans. Goldwater was not racist, but his states rights banner was picked by people who wanted to protect their states racist practices. Uncle Tom is a tricky label. If you define it as a slave who helped master keep other slaves from escaping or obtaining power of their own. while having a better life for himself, well, it might have some parallels to some you mention. Are conservatives likely to be racist? Not at all. Are black conservatives likely to be Uncle Toms? Not at all. Can they be? Yes. Did I ever hear one conservative complain about Thomas playing the race card to secure his confirmation to the Court? No. Do I hear conservatives use that complaint about any progressive who uses the term racism? All the time.

Anonymous 3:38 PM  

Anon 12:07 PM ...You are correct. Byrd was not Grand Dragon. From Politifact- “ In West Virginia in the 1940s — late 1941 or early 1942, according to Byrd’s memoir — he organized and led a 150-member chapter, or "Klavern," of the Klan as the "Exalted Cyclops." In Klan hierarchy, according to Slate, each Klavern is led by an Exalted Cyclops typically elected by his fellow Klansmen. The Exalted Cyclops reports to a "Grand Giant" (provincial leader), "Grand Dragon" (state director) and "Grand Wizard" (national chair). “ You don’t outgrow that.

Anonymous 3:45 PM  

There are few things more racist than when white people call black people Uncle Tom or compare them to that fictional character.

BobL 4:02 PM  

Rug Crazy - yep. that was my error

Unknown 4:07 PM  

WTF is a doordie and a snip?????????

Anonymous 4:10 PM  

There are few things more racist than when white people call black people Uncle Tom or compare them to that fictional character.

Well, there's that old saying, from Big Ben IIRC, "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."

Solidarity, even erstwhile Poland, is necessary to change economic/political status quo. Traitors to the cause reap the reward. People like Carson and Thomas suck up to the likes of The Carrot King just for their own benefit.

Solidarity is, I guess, OK when 'the group' is defined by anything else but skin color? Why is that?

Dave S 4:36 PM  

Very easy Friday for me, other than I had "uh, no" for 38A and spent far too long wondering if "aths" were a thing. Oh, also took too long for Roget clue to click. Filled in the entire thing from crosses, and briefly had me wondering if Peter Saget had somehow written a comic bestseller. Disagree on frat vibe. If it really had it, author would have realized one never buys beerkegs, one rents them. As, as the joke goes, one does all beer, I suppose.

oopsydeb 4:49 PM  

Anon 4:10

Nothing more racist...

Other than our educational system, our criminal justice system, our health care system, our housing, our banking system...our president, the KKK..

Benjamin Binder 4:53 PM  

@anon 4:10 PM- Most racists try to veil their vile thoughts. It’s nice of you to own yours.

Dave S 5:30 PM  

As a track fan, forgot to give a shout out to the inclusion of Jackie Joyner Kersee. A sport that seems to be disappearing from the national consciousness except when someone is caught cheating, so I'll take any references I can.

Mike Herlihy 6:47 PM  

@Susanna 11:26 - Why is there a "sic" after "deign"? It's a perfect word in this context.

Virginian 7:09 PM  

Still not sure whether Governor Northam (D), aka coonman, was the guy in Klan costume or the guy wearing blackface in the picture on his yearbook page.

Space Is Deep 7:18 PM  

Saturday hard for me. Really struggled in the center and NE.

Bauskern 7:49 PM  

Re the comment about Jackie Joyner Kersee, I doubt she competed clean. And didn't her sister in law [?] Flo Jo die in her 30s of a drug-related heart condition? I can't watch T&F any more. They're all doped up. FWIW, I thought that the cluing in today's puzzle was tough.

PHV 8:43 PM  

Other than keyboard instruments, are there any musical instruments that have keys not made of metal?

RHopkinson 9:00 PM  

I had it sitting prominently there at 30A for half of the time, until I finally resigned myself to the fact that nothing would fit with it.

Nancy 10:02 PM  

@Frog Prince Kisser (12:49)-- While I happen to have entries this year in both the Smith Alumna Mag and the Barnard Alumna Mag, I have no idea what page they're on and they have nothing to do with my studying Psychology, (which I didn't major in, btw, I majored in Govt.) The entries were links to some of my theater lyrics. So I doubt I'm the Nancy you're thinking of, but thanks for thinking of me anyway.

VancouverNana 10:04 PM  

USPS actually IDs them regardless of gender as “Carriers”. 😇

VancouverNana 10:12 PM  

Do or Die😎. Took me awhile too. See discussion above in Al Gore said to George Bush when Gore rescinded his concession in 2000, “You don’t have to get snippy!”

Joe Dipinto 12:44 AM  

@Mike H. 6:47 -- not really. "Deign" means "condescend" or "stoop", which doesn't fit the thought. It seems like he meant "dare to think for themselves."

Frog Prince Kisser 3:04 AM  

@ Nancy 10:02 PM

Yes, I was talking about the Barnard magazine, as I noticed your entry after I finished reading about my class - I graduated 4 years before you did. (I mentioned only the page and was deliberately vague because I didn’t want to reveal any of your personal information.) I will contact you at the email address you provided. Fun coincidence!!!

Music Man 3:09 AM  

I was surprised no mention of 41A: AMMO (it might be found on a belt) by Rex, given the recent shootings. I was surprised to see that in a puzzle after such horrifying events.

rondo 9:52 AM  

@Rex – you missed MENU. For gals shouldn’t it be womenu? JESUS. And he provides a pic of yeah baby Phoebe CATES in her iconic red bikini, which she proceeds to lose. WAYTOGO.

I had a UMNO. once – my student NO. on my U of M ID card.

Still see the occasional MANBUN. That’s a really bad look.

If my PARAGON wouldn’t have started out PeRfect, there wouold have been no INKINGfest. Fine puz ending with BEERKEGS.

Burma Shave 10:09 AM  


It’s a PARLORGAME, ADMIT you try,
if you’re ABEL to on BLINDDATES.


spacecraft 11:04 AM  

Hand up for PeRfect: UM, NO. That alone threw this one into the medium category. Killed the NW (!), SE and SW soon followed, but leads into the center all PETERed out. (Oh yeah: PETER: another male reference) Was trying too long to fit INDYJONES into the raider slot; silly me. Once I had -ILTER I figured it had to be [something] FILTER, thus LARACROFT played by DOD Angelina Jolie. Most honorable mention to Phoebe "Doesn't anybody ever knock?!" CATES, also to extraordinary athlete Jackie JOYNER-Kersee.

Thence to the NE, where flat-out guesses let me finish. Is LADMAG an actual term?? ABUELA needed every cross. Nor do I know REDDIT, except that I see the name when I Google anything starting with R. So, medium with a spoonful of challenging in the NE.

A mostly fun DO (ORDIE). Yeah, that was a definite DOOK. Someone took the gender terminology for letter carriers a step further: because "person" contains "son," the proper term should be "mailperit." Enough of that. Birdie.

rainforest 4:45 PM  

So, after yesterday's massive DNF (I blame my wine-bottling efforts earlier), I was determined to avoid that today. I found it easy (NW, SW, SE) - challenging (everywhere else, except for maybe the middle West).

Of course 24 D is correct, you little SNIP!

LADMAG, is that a real term? My son-in-law reads it, so I know what it is, but not by that appellation. Got ABUELA only from crosses. Learned that ROGET has a first name, didn't notice a male bias (come on, now), wrote over EgOS and Uh NO, and crawled through the centre to a fine finish.

I agree that a MAN BUN is unfortunate. Wear it long or cut it. Good puzzle, and not just because I finished it.

Diana, LIW 5:37 PM  

The erroneous SEPARATION kept me from the correct PARLORGAME for a long time. And then the LAD/LARACROFT Natick did me in in the end.

But hey - 90% on a Friday ain't bad. Won't hurt my EGO.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoast 7:13 PM  

Coming late, but here it goes....

Got all of the West and then some, and especially liked PETERROGET.

Some WTFs in the East: LADMAG, ABUELA, UMNO, DOS, WAYTOGO. And isn't Fido the aggressive foe of the MAILMEN instead of the other way around?

Wanted bALd EGO before MALEEGO. Ate up CANNIBAL.

West is best.

sdcheezhd 7:41 PM  

ALTA is not in the Rockies, that's a fail.

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