Island of myth in Homer's Odyssey / FRI 8-30-19 / Alternative to Mountain Dew / Related to hip / Longest continuous sponsor of Olympics since 1928

Friday, August 30, 2019

Constructor: Trent H. Evans

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (5:13)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: AEAEA (50A: Island of myth in Homer's "Odyssey") —
Aeaea or Eëa (/ˈə/ ee-EE or /əˈə/ ə-EEAncient GreekΑἰαίαAiaíā [aɪ.aí.aː]) was a  mythologicalisland said to be the home of the goddess-sorceress Circe. In Homer's OdysseyOdysseus tells Alcinousthat he stayed here for one year on his way home to Ithaca. He says that he could not resist the need to be on this island, not so much for Circe but so that he does not resist the pull. The modern Greek scholar Ioannis Kakridis insists that any attempt at realistic identification is vain, arguing that Homer vaguely located Aeaea somewhere in the eastern part of his world, perhaps near Colchis, since Circe was the sister of Aeëtes, king of Colchis, and because their paternal aunt the goddess Eos had her palace there. (wikipedia)
• • •

OK, so OFFICE WIFE (1A: Certain "work spouse") isn't *necessarily* a sexist concept (if it's playful, open, mutual, and "wife" here doesn't mean "person who does stuff for me so my life can be easier"). And the clue on "DO I LOOK FAT?" (64A: Question always best answered "no") isn't *specifically* gendered here but ... the two together give the grid a pretty bro-y, locker-roomy, "chicks, man"-type vibe that made me roll my eyes. This is very bad news for a puzzle in which those are actually two of the more interesting / original answers. And since it already has to make up for junk like ILIAL and AEAEA and EATETH, the puzzle really can't afford to be fumbling away its longer answers. There's really nothing very special or entertaining about the other marquee answers. Hard to get excited about EIGHTPM or USGRADEA. Those are acceptable answers, for sure, but they should be propping up greatness. Instead, they're posing as greatness. And not well. Again, you dig yourself a hole when, on a Friday themeless, you trot out EDDA EKE ELS STR SNO LEN GEN EOS CBER etc. Hard to come back from that.

The nerdiest thing about my reaction to this puzzle is repeated giggling when thinking about CECE living on AEAEA (you know, as opposed to "Circe" living there). I imagine she lures Odysseus there with her gospel singing, and then turns his men into, let's say, EWOKs until Odysseus agrees to sleep with her. (I was talking about The Odyssey in class earlier today, so you'll pardon my gospel / Star Wars retelling ... or you won't. SUE me, I guess) Only struggle today involved getting some of those Downs in the NW. Even though I got OFFICE WIFE first thing, ambiguous clues held me back on 2D: 101, 102 and others (FEVERS), 3D: Draw back (FLINCH), 6D: Things in orbit (EYES), and 9D: Set at a cocktail party (FLUTES). I also wrote in AEON for AGES at 18A: Years and years, so that created a minor snag as well. Bottom half of the grid didn't provide much resistance at all.

Gotta get some sleep now. Not at all adjusted to this whole "blogging late / getting up early for work" thing yet. Love writing, love teaching, but ... I dunno, getting stuck for an extended period on AEAEA also sounds pretty good to me right now. I *would* miss my (non-office) wife. And my dog. Maybe I'll just plan to rent a cabin near the Finger Lakes once the fall foliage finally comes around. Less exciting than AEAEA, probably, but it's close to home, and, you know, non-fictional.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:54 AM  

Very easy with some zip, but it was more Wednesday than Friday. No erasures and I had a bit of scotch before the solve.

Liked it, slightly more than Rex did.

puzzlehoarder 1:01 AM  

Mostly an easy solve with the exception of EUROPE crossing AEAEA. Once WENTFREE showed me that TIERS at 32A was wrong I erased those incorrect middle letters and stared dumbly at 29D for several minutes before the lightbulb went off. I was convinced it was going to give 50A that much needed consonant.

If EIEIO has been used over 50x in the Shortz era why has this AEAEA vowel string languished in the dustbin for thirty years? I think it's more interesting but maybe it just doesn't lend itself to construction as readily.

I resisted the urge to spell MOHEL with an H and it was SCATHE to the rescue. As I said most of the puzzle was easy.

Harryp 1:13 AM  

It didn't seem hard, but took me into challenging territory time-wise. I stared at 6down E_ES till I saw EYES. 13down EVERDEEN was unknown to me, as was 50across AEAEA.
Otherwise an easily doable puzzle.

Roth 1:40 AM  

Naticked by EVERDEEN and LEN (though I guessed it). I need to get out more!

JOHN X 1:54 AM  

What’s the point of having an OFFICE WIFE if she doesn’t do stuff for me to make my life easier?

Oh wait, I just looked at the helpful books that Rex posted. An OFFICE WIFE is there so I can get laid, hopefully without having to talk to her too much. Thanks Rex!

As for DO I LOOK FAT being male “locker room talk” I have to wonder if Rex has ever been in a locker room. Forget a cabin in the Finger Lakes region so you can look at leaves, son; come with me to a Dallas whorehouse and those gals will cure you of these ailments and show you what “moist” really is.

Solverinserbia 3:41 AM  

Handle on transportation industry? CBER

Anyone care to explain?

Joaquin 5:15 AM  

Remember when Trump got in trouble for his locker room talk. As I recall he asked Billy Bush, "Do I look fat?" ... And Rex thinks he rolled his eyes!

For me, a Wednesday easy on a Friday. Time was I could keep track of the days of the week by the puzzle. No more.

Jstarrracewalker 6:20 AM  

Rex, you do work hard to make sure you’re continuously offended by almost anything!

Lewis 6:22 AM  

Lovely horizontal long stacks with all of the answers, save ARROWHEADS, having spark, anchoring and perking up this Friday edition. There's a SMART echoing GENIUS; an EVIL and a backward EVIL; MULLET crossing its semantic cousin AMULET; the lovely palindrome AEAEA; the legal SUE, SUIT and STAY in the SW, and SUE/TRUES/RUE (which should please M&A).

The puzzle, IMO, skews neither young nor old, flashy nor bland. Simply a focus on words and phrases in our rich language, with enough resistance to get the brain cranking. A lovely puzzle and solve. Thank you, Trent!

Sballan 6:38 AM  

Truckers would talk on CB radio (before cellphones)
The radio user would use a handle or name to identify themselves.

OffTheGrid 7:03 AM  

A CB (citizen's band) radio operator uses an identifying name referred to as a "handle". CB radios are used by truckers and some other drivers. Very popular in the 70's(?) I thought the clue was awkwardly written.

OffTheGrid 7:10 AM  

I liked "playing" this crossword. For me it was easier than most Fridays but still more challenging than M-Th. I really got a lot from reading @Rex and @Lewis. I respect them both and saw validity in each perspective. This is very interesting and helps me learn more about crosswords. Thanks!

Small Town Blogger 7:16 AM  

As in a user of a CB radio, whose name is referred to as a “handle”

Conrad 7:21 AM  

@solverinSerbia: CBers are people who use CB (Citizens Band) radio. They often have "handles" or aliases that they use on air.

Hungry Mother 7:32 AM  

It seemed like a slog, but it went pretty fast. Some nice long meaty entries kept me sweating it out to the end (CBER).

Anonymous 7:33 AM  

solverinserbia….people on CB radio have "handles"...names or nicknames that they go by over the air..think "Smokey and the Bandit"

Unknown 7:35 AM  

Take a listen to the song Convoy - Rubber Duck was the trucker’s handle over the CB radio.

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

Handle = name people use when using CB radios (CBers), who are most frequently truckers, i.e. transportation industry people.

Eliza 7:48 AM  

The cber is the truck driver. The handle is his/her nickname.

Eliza 7:50 AM  

Correction. Doesn't have to be a truck driver. Anyone using a citizen band radio will usually have a handle.

pabloinnh 7:52 AM  

I haven't SCATHEd anything that I know of, so finding that as a verb was somewhat surprising.

Like many, I suspect, I would think AEAEA would be where Old MacDonald would have his farm.

CRINGE before FLINCH, RUDE before RUED (nice one there), otherwise a really nice Friday. Thanks for the fun, and keep 'em coming.

Teedmn 8:03 AM  

This seemed quite easy but my time wasn't superfast for Friday. Probably because, like @puzzlehoarder, I had TierS for TRUES at first. Though that didn't stop me from filling in other sections, so I can't explain it.

When I was finished, I stared at the AEAEA area for a while, convinced that I had an error somewhere. I finally sighed and came here to see where my DNF occurred. Oh happy day, not an error.

As Jeff Chen points out, there's not much wordplay here. The puzzle is fine, but not sparkly. I did get a laugh out of SHA_____ for "Lad" at 29A. SHAggER didn't fit (thinking of Lad Mags, sorry if that's RUED).

Trent Evans, a fine Friday puzzle.

DavidL 8:20 AM  

Oh please. Only Rex Parker on a grumpy day could complain about a "bro-y" vibe in this nice puzzle. Are any actual women put off by OFFICE WIFE and DO I LOOK FAT?

Solverinserbia @3:41, truck drivers use CB radios (stands for "citizens band") to communicate with each other while driving. And they identify themselves with a nickname, or "handle". CB radios were a hot item in 1976. I have no idea if they are still a thing.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

Much faster than usual for me. I'm surprised you aren't' complaining about something as obscure as Aeaea, Rex. Many ancient sources actually identified its location in Italy, on the coast between Rome and Naples,
modern Circeo. While not an island, Circe is alleged to have lived there and to have had three sons with Odysseus. Totally epic that you would miss your dog, Rex.

The only answer that bothered me here was SCATHE, which I have never personally used as a verb. I had INTROS for '101, 102 and others' at first and RECEDE instead of FLINCH, for 'draw back'. Otherwise, it was smooth going. I did cringe a bit at DO I LOOK FAT. Now that I think about it, ARROWHEADS for 'old Native American carvings' is off too, You don't carve an arrowhead.

QuasiMojo 8:23 AM  

I was excited about these curious Indian designs called ARROW BEADS. Then someone BOPped me on the HEAD. Quaint puzzle from AMULET to OMEGA and all that Rex pointed out in between. But nostalgia, even if a tad sexist, can be fun. Why else was MAD MEN so popular? I wonder if men ever asked their wives or girlfriends "Does this MULLET make me look SMART?"

Rube 8:23 AM  

For Serbia....About CBER, the implication is that people who us CB radios are truckers and have handles rather than names. But this is false because plenty if people sit in their homes with CB radios.

Really wanted not to have AEAEA, an answer with no consonants. Tried really hard to make it agaea like the Aegean sea. That gives you euro PG as a watered down wall st. Journal edition. Maybe inaccurate but more reasonable in my opinion.

Crimson Devil 8:49 AM  

Re: CBER = one who operates CB radio, whose HANDLE is his/her “call name”.

SJ Austin 8:50 AM  

Probably record time for me (can't tell because my Friday stats show an obviously erroneous 2:35 time in July for some reason), EXCEPT…

EDDA crossing RADS killed me. I had to guess at the A (guessed E), so I get a FWE (finished with an error) today.

RooMonster 8:58 AM  

Hey All !
Well, I think the CBER question is thoroughly answered. Over and out.

Found puz on the easy side. Dis have some writeovers, iOS-EOS, lEVElS-FEVERS (didn't even change it when I saw Levels in 32A clue), aeon-AGES, EVERDEne, RUde-RUED (Har, and weirdly phrased clue), pOP-HOP, _OopS-POSTS (thinking loops or hoops).

28A, Lad, was a mystery. Ended up with SeAVER, not noticing that my FLINCH was FLINCe. So you know what that means. Yep, one-letter DNF. And I was on a roll for a couple of days. What, BTW, is SHAVER for Lad? Anyone?

TRUES took a second. Had the DVR in, was trying to think of something else that ended in I, but finally the ole brain saw it from _R_ES. Is EATETH actually in the Bible? AEAEA is awesome and bizarre at the same time. As not well read, that was a mystery, but the crosses confirmed it. Does one sing EIEIO on AEAEA? Do they have MRIs, ATMs, or the NASDAQ there?

I could go on with that inits. thing, but even I got bored with it! :-)

So a nice FriPuz that didn't fry the brain cells much. I have so few left. Har.


Nancy 9:09 AM  

Rule for solvers: Always assume that companies will misspell the words in their product names as glaringly as humanly possible. In MELLO YELLO, whatever that is, they've misspelled two.

Warning to male co-workers: Call me your OFFICE WIFE and expect to have hot coffee spilled all over you. Especially if you're beautifully SUITED UP that day.

I thought I was having hallucinations when AEAEA came in. Wondering if Homer's island of myth was (very loosely) the inspiration for Old MacDonald's Farm.

After having solved, the puzzle looks sort of easy. But I didn't find it so along the way. Many of the clues were quite puzzling and I left the NW with only COG filled in before going elsewhere. OMEGA probably should have occurred to me at the outset -- but it didn't. Of course if I'd known MELLO YELLO... At any rate I found this quite enjoyable.

Mama Cass 9:17 AM  

Do I look fat ? isn’t something anyone asks, in my experience. The right answer to the clue is Does this dress make me look fat?, but it didn’t fit.

Breaker One-Nine 9:18 AM  

Can anyone tell me what a CBER is?

Oh wait...most of you did. If there was any doubt what a CBER is, there can't be anymore. Pretty exhaustive take on CBers, handles, trucker v. anyone using them, whether they use them on the road or off, places to find CB references in popular culture, etc. We just need someone to get a 10-36 and we'll be all set.

I have been called a "work husband" before...which I take to mean is someone you spend as much time with at work (or more, sometimes) than you do with your actual spouse. Also, in the case of me being a "work husband," I am a subcontractor and so there is a choice involved in the relationship that mirrors an actual marriage as well. She chooses to work with me, and I with her, and at work, we look like a married couple (even fight like one sometimes!). I think the phrase does more to point out the absurdity of the concept of marriage rather than denigrate the "husband" or "wife." It has zero to do with sex, you dirty minded people.

xyz 9:32 AM  

Easy if you don't know your pelvis from your hip and write in ILIAL instead of COXAL. That really bogged me down, Will gets me yet again! Screw me for actually knowing skeletal anatomy.

ILIAC is a very specific word as is COXAL, although it has been bastardized in colloquialisms as the correct: INNOMINATE is just too much for some to remember - although it is the actual name for the fused tri-bone consisting of ILIUM, ISCHIIUM and PUBIS.

Maybe someone could actually work those into a proper puzzle.

Fairly easy nonetheless.
Runs or walks, I just figured out as I wrote is related to baseball, not an exercise STAT.D-oH.
Even though it is Friday, there is some other classic rote (Other than a bone or anatomic term used wrongly in the name of the NYT) worked into there that really makes it easy for chronic, time-obsessed solvers. I was surprised to see such a highbrow, non-proletariat answer as [champagne] FLUTES, at this. MOHEL, I had trouble remembering what constituted the middle letter.

FLESH out probably gave me as much trouble as anything, lol. It is to FILL out not to amplify. weak.

I've really come to enjoy Fridays as my solving eventually reached a certain level, too bad this one is so run-of-the-meh with these wincey-bits.

I have to remember how much is often dead wrong, worthless proper names, Biblical & Judeocentric, Mythological trivia, anti-white male and I'll be up to where I too can just write in a Friday (Saturday??) line-by-line in pen.

Cheers, on watch for hurricane track-chance at this time

Nancy 9:34 AM  

@pabloinnh -- I see you had the same reaction to AEAEA that I did. Great minds and all that...

Anonymoose 9:38 AM  

Whoa! That hot coffee threat. Chill! It's just a crossword puzzle.

Chris 9:50 AM  

Rex's pulp covers not withstanding, the only people I ever hear actually use the term "work wife" (never heard OFFICEWIFE) are other women talking about colleagues who they collaborate with a lot, have each other's backs, etc.

Newboy 9:57 AM  

Off the grid nailed it today. Amazing how often I find the comment that rattled in my head succinctly posted by puzzle brethren who live on eastern standard time or perhaps suffer insomnia. I vacillate between reading others before commenting myself and saying “me too” or posting before reading a dozen likeminded responses—sigh. Lewis inspires me to look for life’s unexpected Easter eggs which abound; Rex’s curmudgeonly donned persona opens my eyes to the wide and wry reality I tend to ignore. But in spite of LMS, Nancy, RooMonster, Jeff Chen, etal, I still miss EvilDoug😈

pmdm 10:02 AM  

Elsewhere, the constructor says he heads and considers feedback thats posted on the blogs, so pile it on here.

Interesting that there is a long NYT queue for themeless puzzles. Maybe the best constructors are too lazy to bother with coming up with good and novel themes.

I dislike obsolete words like eateth, fictitious names like Aeaea, slang or hip stuff like PDA (not the file format), and PPP in general (like Cece). Odd that I did not dislike this puzzle. I must be in a mellow mood, knowing I won't be after the refrigerator repair man does his thing (if he shows up).

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Breaker- Agree w you re OFFICE WIFE. I think the sexual version is old school. Note the vintage of Rex's references. Btw, Rex, I was not bothered by the puzzle but was offended by your images. Disturbing.

jberg 10:15 AM  

@DavidL, see @Nancy 9:09.

@Roo -- you have to prefix SHAVER with "little," to make it =lad.

I was sure the levels at 32A had to be either tiers (n) or razes (v).So when TierS didn't work, it dallied with the notion that the WSJ put out a midday edition they called the zeROPm. But eventually the crosses forced wENT FREE on me, (Sort of Rousseau-like), and I was done.

FWIW, my butter tells me that it's US GRADE Aa, so there's that. And I'm not sure chipping off pieces of stone constitutes carving. Most annoying of all (though it didn't interefere with the solve) was the idea that people in the Bible actually spoke Jacobean English.

If you go to Iceland and call the EDDAs "ancient Norse work" you may not be invited back.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

CB radio by truckers is sooooooo 70s. remember "Convoy"? the perfect redneck radio play. so, not having a 70s mind, I took the indirection a step or two farther to TBAR, as in transportation up a bunny hill. you know, the kind they have in the Effete East where OFL hangs out.

"'Convoy' is a 1975 novelty song"

"Written by McCall and Chip Davis, the song spent six weeks at number one on the country charts and one week at number one on the pop charts."
[the wiki]

jberg 10:18 AM  

I was going to complain about SCATHE, but it was first used about the time of the EDDAs, so I guess it's legitimately a word.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

Oh, yeah. if the xword folks actually read the NYT, I suppose it's just a coincidence that the Business section has a long-ish piece on an Uber-ish app for truckers. what's that ting you call a CB, again?

Anonymoose 10:26 AM  

A sign I've seen in bathrooms of cottages with sensitive septic systems:

If it's YELLO(w) let it MELLO(W),
If it's brown, flush it down.

My apologies.

Cassieopia 10:28 AM  

That's a big 10-4 and Affirmative for @breaker one-nine on the OFFICEWIFE comment. There's work wife, work husband, or work spouse - someone in the office with whom you work very closely and have a good relationship. I have only heard it used as a term of friendship and strong teamwork. Any coffee fetching is mutual and done out of consideration, not subservience. I've had a series of work husbands, all great people and great friends in an office context. But from the perspective of the book covers shown in Rex's review, apparently I have not sufficiently leveraged those relationships.

GILL I. 10:31 AM  

I ateth some humble pie. So much I never heard nor knew. CECE and SENDAK I at least got through crosses but sweet EVERDEEN took me to one Friday Mrs. Googs.
@Teedmn your SHAGGER error could've been a subtitle for one of @Rex's OFFICE WIFE paperbacks. You and @Quasi's ARROW bop/BEADS made me laugh. I also had ARROW bEADS and thought what a strange thing to make.
Well I looked up OFFICE WIFE....I used to joke with my secretary about how we spent more time together that with our spouses. She was a Union member and that was her title. I would always refer to her as my right hand left hand maid-of-honor. Without her, my life was just like people who explain what a CBER is.
I enjoyed this, Trent. Except for EATETH and the oink oink of Old MacDonald's farm, AEAEA.
DO I LOOK FAT...something I've never uttered in my entire life. Why would anyone ask that question? Do I sound like an idiot? yes....I've asked that many times. My sweet husband just rolls his EYES. I also never say BE SAFE. Mine is "drive carefully." BE SAFE is too ominous. Like "do you have your shiv with you...just in case..."
We have a lot of casual cocktail parties and I've never trotted out a pair of FLUTES. Cheese, yes, but the FLUTES are for celebrating another year.
MULLET's (dear god) are making a comeback. WHY? Aren't you happy enough with a man bun?

Why are CLAMs happy?

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

behold, the wonders of the wiki:

1930!!!!!!! and I recall first hearing the epithet on one of the many cop shows a few years ago.

Joe Dipinto 10:41 AM  

...giggling when thinking about CECE living on AEAEA (you know, as opposed to "Circe" living there). I imagine she lures Odysseus there with her gospel singing.... ←←Rex

Good one, Rex. Nothing slays an audience like Greek mythology humor.

Mostly I liked the things Rex doesn't like. I had two writeovers: EVERDENE first instead of -EEN, because I thought it was spelled the same way as Bathsheba Everdene in "Far From The Madding Crowd" (memorably played by Julie Christie and later Carey Mulligan); and MOTEL instead of MOHEL -- I must have been thinking of the tailor character in "Fiddler On The Roof". SUITED UP, OFFICE WIFE ("You don't need a temp, you need a wife!"), WENT FREE, FLINCH, SCATHE, SCAMPER, all good stuff. Will the Orange One fly into a rage because MACRON is in the puzzle and he isn't?

It's Friday. Don't worry about looking fat.

How come you're always such a fussy young man?
Don't want no Cap'n Crunch, don't want no Raisin Bran
Well, don't you know that other kids are starving in Japan?
So eateth
Just eateth

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

How cis- gendered and boringly binary of of Rex to think only a bro could have a work wife. Some of us in the LGBTQ community might get offended at that assumption. Not me. I'm woke and team Rex. Buts some folk would.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

my wife, Twiggy, has on occasion expressed it thus: "do I look fat " so it's OK, if distant.

David 11:03 AM  

This one was not for me at all.

What I liked best was the rude/rued feint. Very clever.

No idea what mello yello is, no clue about any of those hit shows involving fantasy kingdoms and such. Dislike the whole "Gen" thing. Yes a "Hail Mary" pass is arced, it's also a desperate attempt. Had Matinee before the EightPM because there's nothing specifically Friday and Saturday about that time. I know clues are supposed to misdirect but these seemed so incredibly out in left field.

I've never heard anybody who grew up here call it "the Big Apple" but I suppose a Mayor or two may have said that for the sake of publicity; it's like the tour guides who refer to One World Trade as "the Freedom Tower," a name abandoned by the PA way back in 2006, before digging the foundation had even started, because we hated the jingoism of it. The tourism and real estate industries sure do build up many weird ideas.

Office spouse. That's somebody one develops a close and trusting relationship with in what is often a hostile or overly political environment. Some person who can be confided in. There's nothing sexual about it. There're a few definitions of "wife" above which are as archaic and obsolete as using "scathe" as a verb; just so.

"Europe Edition" just sounds so odd, but it's what they use.

Oh. And it's "reboot" not "restart."

Looking back there are lots of words to enjoy, but still a big fat DNF (i.e. about 20% cheating) for me.

fifirouge 11:06 AM  

Pretty easy puzzle in general, though I did get naticked on the AEAEA/EURPOE cross. I put in Pm at the end of 29 down thinking it was an evening edition of some kind. Eventually I filled in EURO PM, which seemed plausible. Looking back I now see that would make EIGHTPM cross with another PM, which is highly unlikely. But didn't see it at the time.

@Rube - I like EURO Pg too. Everything is raunchier in Europe, so maybe they have an "adult" version of the WSG. I was going to say that maybe we need the US version to show the sexier side of business, but then I thought of Jeffrey Epstein and our current President and..well...maybe lets leave it the way it is.

I'm with RooMonster. Never heard of SHAVER for lad, with or without "little" in front of it.

@Breaker one nine - I agree. OFFICEWIFE and office husband are terms of endearment for someone you work closely with and have a good, almost relationship-y rapport. It has nothing to do with sex (well...unless the camaraderie turns into attraction and then to something else, but then they're no longer your office spouse, they're your side piece, and that's a whole different thing)

Ellen S 11:18 AM  

I never saw any of The Hunger Games movies, nor read the books, but I remember Katniss Everdeen’s name because (a) it’s weird, and (b) there’s a character either named Katniss or last name of Everdeen in some classic novel which I have also not read, but read about, so it stuck. Not enough for me to remember the other novel. There is an “Everdeen” character mentioned in Harvest Home, by Thomas Tyron, according to Google Books but that’s not what I was thinking of. Google Books has screen after screen of books and articles about The Hunger Games so that’s no help. I wonder if I can do Boolean searches in Google, or even better, Google Books. Everdeen AND NOT Hunger.

Other than that: I really didn’t notice all the dreck in this puzzle. I found it just the right amount of difficult, pleased when I got the answers. Not super-clever but clever enough.

Carola 11:35 AM  

Enjoyable, and I'd say "easy," except that I had a DNF, with. my X-ray units being RAyS (yeah, I know), yielding a cross with RUEy, which I thought was execreble but never questioned. No idea about OFFICE WIFE, so I started with CBER and circled back around to the NW. Smiles for SHAVER and the nice correspondences noted by @Lewis. I liked AEAEA clinging to the bottom of EUROPE.

Speaking of AEAEA - Having recently finished reading Emily Wilson's new(ish) translation of The Odyssey, I was annoyed with myself for not being able to remember Circe's island. I could only come up with Ogygia, which didn't fit and which, I needed to be reminded, is where Calypso lived, I recommend the translation; quite spare in style, it zips right along, impelling one to keep reading.

DrBB 11:42 AM  

I've heard "office spouse" used as the gender-neutral form, so I assumed they were looking for the literal term not the idiom, and had OFFICEMATE up there for a good long while. NE kept me from having a medium-time completion thanks to the 27A/13D cross. Kind of a Natick for me--really needed the cross to dredge up that last missing letter in Katniss's last name, finally had to take a guess on the D. But PDA is still not a thing to me.

Ellen S 11:48 AM  

For future searches - Google off course defaults to AND. you can also do OR (allegedly), and you can do NOT by putting a hyphen in front of the word you want eliminated.

No luck searching on Everdeen or Katniss and NOT Hunger. Lots of stuff just refers to Katniss Everdeen and not the books.

Joseph M 12:15 PM  

Rex’s Offense-O-Meter is working overtime if this puzzle makes him REACT with rolling EYES.

It actually would be pretty funny to see him rolling his TEARY eyes and fanning himself with his crossword puzzle as he thinks about all of the different ways in which he was offended while filling out the daily grid. Be SMART and keep the smelling salts on hand for emergencies. Maybe a COCA COLA would help as well.

Only an EVIL GENIUS could come up with that clue for FEVERS, which made the NW for me the last part of the puzzle to fall. Also got tripped up by MELLO YELLO and AEAEA, neither of which I have ever heard of. But overall this puzzle was U.S. GRADE A.

mathgent 12:21 PM  

Since Trent Evans has asked for feedback. I enjoyed it very much. Especially liked the unusual entries (MOHEL, EVILGENIUS, DOILOOKFAT, AEAEA). Happy that the grid was not choked with Terrible Threes, only ten. The cluing was accessible but smart. In high school, I took three years of classical Greek and read many excerpts from The Odyssey. I had forgotten the name of Circe's island, glad to be reminded.

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

it's, mostly, not even REboot but warm boot (don't turn off the damn machine) and cold boot (do turn off the damn machine)

old timer 1:06 PM  

Any (at-home) wife to any husband: "Does this make me look fat?" Or sometimes, "Do I look fat"? Wanna stay married? Answer must be in the negative. Really, the one question your OFFICE WIFE will rarely ask, since she has already chosen what to wear, and knows damn well if she looks fat or not. Of course, a secretary or as they now say a PA may be your OFFICE WIFE, just like Della Street was to Perry Mason. But more often these days, she is your colleague at work, and often your lunch companion.

I like to learn something new in my puzzle, and today it was AEAEA. I thought it was an excellent piece of work, maybe a skosh too easy. I had no writeovers because there were no misleading clues, rare for a Friday. Enough tough clues to make it hard to get a foothold. My only criticism is that some answers smelled of the old green paint, like WENTFREE. If it had a theme, it could have run as a rather tough Wednesday.

Hey @LMS! Come back. I miss you. You are my Rexworld WIFE! (Though I think dozens of we regulars here could say that).

Z 1:16 PM  

Seriously, do people read or just assume? Most amusing and ironic is the alleged LGBTQ community member since Rex in no way suggests that only a “bro could have a work wife.” I miss @Evil Doug, too, because he actually disagreed with what was actually written. It’s mostly a waste of time to even point out that many of the posters are disagreeing with something Rex never wrote. No wonder he skips the comments. And let me suggest that if you don’t recognize how this ends up feeling a little sexist even though nothing is specifically inherently sexist you might have an uncomfortable meeting with HR in your future.

I know people like to pretend that OFFICE WIFE, OFFICE spouse, work WIFE, etc are all platonic relationships. Let me just say, capital bull capital shit. I’m not saying it’s impossible for those relationships to be sex free, I’m not saying it’s inevitable that sex will happen. I am saying that intimate relationships have a way of becoming intimate. I remember taking a leadership course where every meeting the prof brought in a recent article about a school leader and their secretary absconding with school funds. The prof’s point being that just because people are in respected positions does not make them immune to temptations, especially in positions where one spends more time at work than with one’s family. The best way to have something happen to you is to think it could never happen to you.

CB’ER and MELLO YELLO gave this a very high school feel to me. Go ahead, bite the BIG APPLE.

Whatsername 1:24 PM  

@QuasiMojo at 8:23 — Why was Mad Men so popular? Because nostalgia, even if a tad sexist, can be fun. That series is my all-time favorite TV drama and I still watch the reruns to this day. It was a bit before my time but the reason I love it? Because from the hairstyles and wardrobe to the blatant sexism and ever present fog of cigarette smoke, they hit the nail on the head every single episode.

I thought this was a fine themeless, unusually easy for me but that’s a good thing. Gives me confidence to finish an occasional Friday without a single google. Speaking of nostalgia, CBER brought back fun memories of the days when every guy with a handle and a radio jammed under the dash secretly believed he could drive an 18 wheeler. And thanks to Seinfeld, another great bygone TV series, I knew what a MOHEL was but needed the downs to figure out the spelling.

Normally I would not comment on Rex’s review because it is the Rex Parker blog site and he can write what he wants. However, I must just say it seems hypocritical to state that the term OFFICEWIFE is not necessarily sexist and then as examples of it, publish two extremely sexist photos of half clothed women in compromising positions with men. Yes, the images may be old-school and yes, we’ve come a long way baby, but the same point could have been made just as effectively without them.

JC66 1:34 PM  


Most amusing and ironic is the alleged LGBTQ community member since Rex in no way suggests that only a “bro could have a work wife.”

Check out the paperback covers in @Res's post and @Whatsernames's last paragraph above.

oldactor 1:35 PM  

Totem poles fit before Arrowheads. They're certainly carved but methinks they were Inuit. I've only seen them in Alaska.

I too thought of matinee for showtime, but they are never on Fridays. Always Wed. and occasionally Sunday

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

OK, so OFFICE WIFE (1A: Certain "work spouse") isn't *necessarily* a sexist concept (if it's playful, open, mutual, and "wife" here doesn't mean "person who does stuff for me so my life can be easier"). And the clue on "DO I LOOK FAT?" (64A: Question always best answered "no") isn't *specifically* gendered here but ... the two together give the grid a pretty bro-y, locker-roomy, "

Z, that sure looks like he's assuming ioffice wife is hetero to me.

What am I missing Z, JC66?

Mary McCarty 1:49 PM  

Apologies ( “do I look stupid?”) but can someone explain why Rex has linked 2 versions of The Crane Wife to this blog? Is it simply a tenuous connection to The Office Wife? because, other than the simple and meaningless fact that both have “WIFE” in their titles, I see no relevance. Beautiful song, tho’.

kitshef 1:52 PM  

The correct answer to 'DO I LOOK FAT' or 'does this sweater make me look fat' or anything similar is honesty. If you can't be honest with your OFFICE WIFE/spouse/partner/friends, your relationship is not all it could be.

Ever notice that "nostalgia" sounds like the name of a disease? Well, it once was considered one - along the lines of homesickness. Over time, the negative "disease" connotation was replaced by a positive "good old days" connotation.

JC66 1:59 PM  


Sorry I wasn't clear.

My first sentence was a direct quote of what @Z posted.

My second sentence was a refutation.

Anonymous 2:03 PM  

strictly speaking, ARROW HEADS are chipped not carved. there usually made from flint, which is soft enough to be crafted into the proper shape by being mashed with a harder object, like granite.

Anonymous 2:04 PM  

this frecking captcha is getting really annoying.

Masked and Anonymous 2:05 PM  

Slightly on the easy side, for a FriPuz. Like most folks, was a little worried about whether AEAEA was gonna hold up, when checked.

Top Popular DO I LOOK's …
* … FAT?
* … TOO FAT?
* … OLD?
* … HAPPY?

staff weeject pick: STR. But, even the totally consonant-pated STR won't combine with AEAEA to anagram to much of anything decent -- I mean, we're talkin TEA AREAS as a high water mark.
Honrable mention to SUE (yo, @Lewis).

Fave false M&A starts: CRINGE before FLINCH. EATSOF before EATETH. EUROPE, which was right, but erased it after a while, onaccounta EATSOF foulin m&e up. ILIAC before ILIAL. MOWER before MOHEL, cuz didn't know MOHEL and got desperate. Lotsa gawpin at crossers, before the mysterious SENDAK.

Some fave xword words today: EVILGENIUS. BIGAPPLE. SUITEDUP. COCACOLA. EIGHTPM [nice consonant run].

The ?-clues seemed slightly desperate. Nice extra touch. Admired the EYES clue, also.

Thanx, Mr. Evans.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Anonymous 2:32 PM  

Office wife is mo more, nor no less, sexist than office husband -- two common modern terms. Duh.

OffTheGrid 2:42 PM  

@Ellen. "Harvest Home" by Thomas Tryon is the spookiest book I ever read. And I've read a lot of King.

@David. "RESTART" is an option on my Start menu that I use frequently.

Anonymous 2:45 PM  

Nowhere in Google can I find any indication that ILIAL means "related to the hip." It means "pertaining to the ilium," and the ilium is most definitely not the hip.

TJS 2:47 PM  

James Thurber cartoon:

Wife, built like a linebacker, checking out her new dress in the mirror. Turns to husband, questions "How do I look ?"
Hubby replies, "It makes you look effeminite."

Atleast that's how I remember it.

Joe Dipinto 3:14 PM  

@Ellen S -- see my post of 10:48, you're thinking of Thomas Hardy's "Far From The Madding Crowd." In which the name is spelled EverDENE.

Anonymous 3:21 PM  

Look at that post at 1:16 PM and tell me that “Z” isn’t Rex. It’s never been disproved either.

Hobbyist 3:23 PM  

I, along with NEWBOY, miss that Evil Doug and his scathing unrued input.

RAD2626 3:52 PM  

Threw down Stay At Home right away for 1A, which held its place for about twenty seconds until I came to COG. Thought it was a clever answer to the presented clue and would have avoided controversy. Oh well. Nice to see my initials; plus that they are radiant.

Liked the puzzle a lot. Zippy fill: BIG APPLE, ARROWHEADS, SUITED UP, EVIL GENIUS all fair and different. Like others, had to guess at the N in EVERDEEN/LEN but consider that my gap, not the constructor’s. Average Friday time.

Joe Dipinto 3:55 PM  

Oops, I meant my post of 10:41.

RooMonster 4:58 PM  

Har @Joe Dipinto! Love me some Weird Al!
Have a banana
Have a whole bunch
It doesn't matter
What you had for lunch
Just Eat It

Ever see the videos of Michael Jackson's Beat It and Weird Al's Eat It side by side? Brilliant stuff by Al.

Surprised so many never hear of MELLO YELLO. I (used to) love that stuff! Well, still do, but cut out most sodas. I grew up in NE PA, so it surprises me that you east coasters don't know it. Wheelhouse, and whatnot.

If you take your friend Edith out for a bite, and she finishes everything, can you say EDITH EATETH the whole thing?


Anoa Bob 5:15 PM  

I liked 15A EVIL GENIUS as an early treat in the solvequest (tm$ on the way, M&A) but gave the side eye to the clue "One who might cackle 'Mwa-ha-ha-ha'". Cackle? I'm thinking wicked witch or something similar for cackle.
Mwa-ha-ha-ha sounds more like a bellow or a guffaw or even a roar than a cackle.

One of the reasons a lot of you folks found this on the easy side may be the number of POCs (plural of convenience) in the grid. For every POC you get a free letter S. That can often be helpful in getting the entry that crosses that S. 2D FEVERS, e.g., tells me that 28A starts with an S. That's a big help. There are several in the grid of this type.

Of special note to the POC sensitive solver (and we are legion, right?) are the two-for-one POCs in the SW and SE where an Across (SPAS & SNEAK PEAKS) and a Down (RADS & POSTS) share that final S. That's super helpful in filling the grid. I would rate the grid POC assisted. Some might say POC marked. Still waiting for a aPOCalyptic grid, maybe Sunday sized.

I was never much of a soda drinker, but when I began to see research pointing to drinking MELLO YELLO, COCA COLA and other sodas as a major contributor to obesity and diabetes (at younger and younger AGES), I quit all together. No beverage passes these lips except coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon, and beer at night, usually after EIGHT PM.

KMS 5:21 PM  

looks like attention paid to AEAEA...with good reason and not sure why so seldom me very impressive and could be held for a more cruel, total show-stopper Saturday...loved this puzzle..and thought Freudian to answer kissing on a bus as a PSA...great diversion from the Cone of Uncertainty here in South Florida

ChE Dave 5:42 PM  

Filled in AEAEA with the crosses, something made me think it was correct (this is not my strength).

Blew through this puzzle in nothing flat. Felt there was way too much crosswordese.

Fred Wollam 5:43 PM  

We used that expression in the '80s in CA to encourage water conservation.

OffTheGrid 6:11 PM  

Anonymous 3:21 wrote, "Look at that post at 1:16 PM and tell me that “Z” isn’t Rex."

OK. Z isn't Rex.

pabloinnh 7:30 PM  

@old actor-

I've never seen a totem pole in Alaska, because I've never been there, but I have seen them in museums in Canada. They were produced in Washington State and British Columbia as well as Alaska.

Anonymous 7:33 PM  

Z’s a fat guy from NC via MI and Sharp is a skinny guy from upstate NY via CA. Pretty sure they’re not the same guy.

Joe Dipinto 8:05 PM  

Ever see the videos of Michael Jackson's Beat It and Weird Al's Eat It side by side? ←←@Roo Monster

I just watched them both for old times' sake. God, that "Beat It" video was *so* silly. Weird Al's facsimile was totally on point. I like when "Eddie Van Halen" explodes before he can finish the guitar solo.

GILL I. 8:33 PM  

@Quasi...Are you anywhere near the path of Dorian? Hope not. I've been through one hurricane when we lived in Miami and it wasn't fun. All you Floridians....stay safe. Remember the orange popsicle has your back....

albatross shell 9:03 PM  

I agree the puzzle was USGRADEA cause it was an enjoyable solve as in fun. Some good clues, good answers good words. Too much crosswordese? Looking back? Maybe. Doing it? Hardly noticed. Too many pleasant distractions. Mostly solved South to North, out of necessity. Loved the finish in the NE where there were several competing dual answers, and deciding which were right, to get the unknowns amused me.

Tribes on the Washington coast, B.C., and
certain Alaskan tribes did totem poles. Inuit did not. I had ARROWHEADS with no thought of anything else because I had ADS COCA-COLA MACRON EERIE SEND AN in before I looked at the clue. Carved is associated with stone and sculpting so I did not worry about the clues accuracy.

MELLO YELLO is a citrus caffeinated soda that was discontiued Coke product that keeps reappearing in various forms.
@Nancy: The drink is a commercial product. Would not be surprised if Mellow Yellow might cause some copyright problems with Donovan. A business reason for misspelling. Best not to take pet peeves too seriously.

The puzzle was easy for a Friday because I finished it with only one Google lookup. Even got MOHEL from crosses after confidently putting RABBI first and at one point trying MOSES for the heck of it. I mean he might have, or probably did? Also got AEAEA, which was worth the price of admission by itself.

If you want to convince me Z is Rex, first show me Rex can play competitive Frisbee and can run around a large field for an hour at a time.

Tracy Matt 10:49 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
albatross shell 11:12 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
cmp00001 11:28 PM  

What. The actual. Duck.

This one clue broke a 106 day streak.

If I ever see CBer in a puzzle again, heads will roll. "Trent h. Evans" should never be hired as a puzzle maker again. I'm shaking with rage.

albatross shell 11:41 PM  

Forgot to mention: I found the bris-MOHEL
clue-answer a clever faint echo of Wednesday's SPAYS CASTRATI. Made me want to cross my legs again. Har har.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

I have enjoyed the comments on this blog for a long time, but haven’t thought I had anything of vale to add until now. 15A “Alternative to Mountain Dew”. My line of logic:

Mountain Dew is brand name for a beverage.
I need a different brand name for a beverage.
Hmm, the mountains or the ocean for vacation this year— yup that sets up one alternative.
Dew is water just sitting there. Spray is water in motion — and there we have the second alternative.
Put the alternatives together and we have Oceanspray, AND it fits!

I so wanted that to be the answer.

Thanks to everyone who posts on this blog.


spacecraft 11:44 AM  

Hand up for the homophone at 63a, my only inkblot. That one was expertly clued. There were several other clues that were meant to fool me but somehow didn't. I must be getting better at this. Call it medium for a Friday.

I was so incredulous of AEAEA that I just had to look it up--after finishing, of course. Talk about your desperation! Oh well, ya learn something new every day...

I have to agree pretty much with OFC on this one; he has cited the fill owies for me. The WIFE part of 1-a came easily; the rest needed downs. Never heard of OFFICEWIFE. The term kinda makes my nose wrinkle, taste-wise. DOD is the lovely Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss EVERDEEN. Par.

Burma Shave 12:06 PM  


she’s SMART to have me REACT:
SNEAKPEEKS at her FLESH cause FEVERS and strife
when SUE asks, “DOILOOKFAT?”


rondo 12:27 PM  

I can’t believe that *nobody* mentioned SAM the SHAM (and the Pharaohs); SAM and SHAM are only three squares apart. Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a MOHEL? One writeover and hand up for TierS before TRUES.

Second favorite scene from ‘Married with Children’:
Peg: “Al, does this dress make me LOOK FAT?”
Al: “No Peg, your FAT makes you LOOK FAT.”

MN Twins are in the BIGAPPLE tonight to play the Yanks. Two 100+ win teams, top two for the most HRs in baseball history. Could be a HR fest for the AGES.

@spacey hit it on the nose with yeah baby JLaw as Katniss EVERDEEN.

EZish but fun Fri-puz.

rainforest 2:38 PM  

I saw no sexism in here, though I did see AEAEA which was crying out for a "G" but I couldn't get one in there. That final E was my last filled square.

Liked this puzzle with its good cluing and playfulness. Some parts easy, some a little daunting.

leftcoast 3:32 PM  

"Easy-Medium" again? C'mon, Rex. Oh well....

NW, as is often the case, was the last to go. MELLOYELLO rang no bells. EVILGENIUS is a fun answer, but the "laughter" clue was was pretty vague. EYES may be "things in orbit", but again the connection was a bit vague. ILIAL emerged from the crosses.

CBER (not Uber), MOHEL, and TRUES (not tiers) also took a bit of extra time. AEAEA was a pure unknown.

SE stack was a solid toehold and got the whole thing going.

Felt good to finish.

leftcoast 6:19 PM  

@Burma Shave -- Another good rhyme'n mini-story. Keep'm come'n.

wcutler 8:16 PM  

@Anonymous 2:04 PM wrote:
this frecking captcha is getting really annoying.

Y'know, there is such an easy answer to that - get a handle.
Then you can skip the captcha.

I'm sorry I'm in syndiland, you won't be reading my comment.

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