Give a false impression of eco-friendliness / FRI 9-27-19 / ___ Addiction, alternative rock band that headlined the first Lollapalooza / Fruit with a cedilla in its name / What the "E" of Euler's formula V - E + F = 2 represents / Traditional crop grown by a small farm, maybe / Activity for a storm chaser

Friday, September 27, 2019

Constructor: Jack Mowat

Relative difficulty: Easy


Word of the Day: GREENWASH (39A: Give a false impression of eco-friendliness) —
noun: greenwash; noun: green-wash
  1. disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.
• • •
Hello, everybody! It's Aimee Lucido here taking over for Rex for the day to justify me shamelessly using his platform to plug my brand new book that just came out on Tuesday!

But first, the puzzle:

I always let out a sigh of relief when I'm on the hook for a blog post and I end up solving the puzzle relatively quickly. In this case, I solved the puzzle in 28:02 (which is about 10 minutes below my average Friday (please don't judge me for being slow)), but I spent about 8 of those minutes stuck in the NW.

I tore my way through the SW, loving ICEBREAKER and TAG TEAMED, wanting MAKES BANK for MAKES A MINT even though it didn't fit, and figuring out TRACKING before I got TORNADO for 7D. I figured out GREENWASH (great word!) from the straightforward clue, even though I'd never heard of it before, and the NE and center fell from there. But I struggled significantly in the NW because I had LOOS for IANS and refused to put NON-GMO as the first six letters in 3D because of how non-thing-y it seemed.

Overall, I found the grid mostly solid, if a little sleepy, with the only things that I didn't know being ZUNI and TOPOS, but I balked at some of the "green paint" answers in the grid. TENNIS SHOT? Does that mean we can use SOCCER SHOT or BASKETBALL SHOT or LACROSSE SHOT in our grids? NON-GMO CORN could have just as easily have been NON-GMO BEAN or, I dunno, NON-GMO PEAR. CHOCOLATE RABBIT seems to open up the door for CHOCOLATE SANTA or CHOCOLATE EGG or CHOCOLATE HEART. CHOCOLATE HAND? Why not!

These phrases in the grid are by no means bad, and I would even say some are good, but the excitement is lost a bit in the arbitrariness of the adjective/noun pair. By contrast, however, URBAN DECAY is a thing all its own, and replacing URBAN with, say, RURAL completely negates the meaning. This to me is why URBAN DECAY or GREENWASH make me happy, but NON-GMO CORN makes me sad.

I found the cluing on this a little too straightforward, as I usually hope to walk out of a Friday with at least one or two meaty "?" clues, but I did enjoy learning that MR T used to be a bouncer and that "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" was sung by BRENDA LEE.

  • 31D: Like good cakes and bad cellars (MOIST) — I wonder how many solvers cringed when they put this word in. It's never bothered me, but I know a lot of people hate this word. Moist, moist, moist. 
  • 53D: ___ pad (LILY) — I reaaaaallly wanted MAXI here.
  • 35A: Person put in a box  (JUROR)— I enjoyed this clue! It made me think contortionists and I spent a lot of time trying to think of a five-letter synonym for that.

  • 18A: Hand-held anxiety reliever (STRESS BALL) — This was a debut word in all the databases that I have access too, and I really liked seeing it!
  • 100A: Middle-grade book written by Aimee Lucido about girls learning to program computers that got a starred review from Kirkus (EMMY IN THE KEY OF CODE) — Wait, this wasn't in the puzzle! Oh yeah, it's my brand-new book that I'm shamelessly plugging! Check it out here!
Signed, Aimee Lucido, Scribe of the CrossWorld

[Follow Aimee Lucido on Twitter and buy her book on Amazon or Indiebound]
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


beam aims north 12:09 AM  

Popped MARSHMALLOW PEEP right in there. Took a little while to sort that out.

jae 12:23 AM  

Mostly easy. I got extremely hung up in the GOOF ON/ CERES/INTERFACES area. I had INTERsectS then lACES... and deep in the recesses I knew OSHEA but it took a while to surface.

Also @Aimee me too for looS and TOPOS was a WOE.

Solid and smooth with a touch of zip, liked it. Nice debut.

puzzlehoarder 1:16 AM  

Mostly a normal Friday solve but GOOFON crossing TOPOS added at least ten minutes to my solve time. I could see nothing else that would work in their place but they just looked too wrong to be credible. GOOFON, as stupid as it sounds, can be crudely correlated to its clue. TOPOS on the other hand is completely out of left field. I recognize that entry only as a shorthand term for a type of map. The only other instance of this POC version we got today is some pre-Shortz reference to a Venician boat. All the non-plural references are clued as a map or part of the phrase "top o' the morning."

Eventually I had to put those entries in and it's nice that I got a clean grid but it ruined an otherwise fine solve.

Now I have to Google "literary TOPOS" to see if I can make sense of this.

okanaganer 1:18 AM  

Wow, for me so not easy. I nailed the 4 - 4x4 corners, then blundered down several blind alleys/garden paths. ("Cascoed"... is that the term?... remember him?)

For 18 across had RUBBER BALL and then when that didn't work tried TENNIS BALL. Hilarious that this exact word turned out to be correct exactly one row below! Speaking of that slot, was thinking of golf so had BAD TEE SHOT and MISSED SHOT-- and then some others which have since slipped my mind-- in there.

And there's more; for 4 down insisted on INTERSECTS for far too long (it works great with CHOCOLATE RABBIT and whatever plural you put into 40 across). Also for 8 down had ------EE and confidently put in SANDRA DEE which fits perfectly, except she didn't sing it.

Fun fact: Sandra's real name was Alexandria Zuck (ugh). Brenda's was Brenda May Tarpley, which is slightly less clunky, I guess.

"Johns overseas", 4 letters, is always a coin toss between LOOS and IANS.

chefwen 3:11 AM  

What do people find objectionable about the word MOIST? I don’t get it, it’s a perfectly, fine word. I use it to describe my famous banana, mac nut, coconut muffins.

Anyhoo, found this Friday puzzle very easy. Got CHOCOLATE RABBIT (of course I wanted bunny) and TORNADO TRACKING right away which cracked open the entire puzzle. Had NON GMO Crop which messed me up for a while, but not for long, my chocolate bunny set me straight.

Sure could have used a STRESS BALL during that disappointing Packer loss. sniff...

Unknown 4:26 AM  

Yeah Loos instead of Ians tripped me up too, add to that Trope instead of Topos, intersects instead of interfaces, the wrong dang Jupiter sister and that whole section was a mess for me.

Lewis 6:14 AM  

My solve was like the opposite of URBAN DECAY. I started with outposts, which expanded into towns, then quickly into cities and regions, leaving only the NW, which stubbornly refused any population until it was finally overwhelmed.

I liked STRESSBALL sharing a line with the PENT (up), the double-S party in the NE, the unknown TOPOS and GREENWASH saying hello to my wheelhouse, and the EDGES on one.

All in all, una CARA esperienza. Thank you for one heckuva debut, Jack!

RJ 6:53 AM  

I don't usually comment on this blog but 1. so happy to see Aimee here as a guest blogger and 2. got a call yesterday from my IBS that my copies of "Emmy in the Key of Code" have arrived. Yay for her! and 3. I made several of the same errors. I think this was a personal best for me even tho loos, trope, worrystone, and lots or other mistakes. And I'm definitely old enough to remember Brenda Lee.

amyyanni 7:10 AM  

What is TOPOS? Liked the puzzle, even if "Rockin Around the Christmas Tree" is one of my top three most disliked seasonal songs (Holly Jolly Christmas and Blue Christmas round out the trio). Good luck with the book, Aimee. Peppy post!

WeesaSuzi 7:23 AM  

I liked ICEBREAKER over MAKESAMINT because it reminded me of those delightful little minty hotel chocolates that melt on your tongue. I haven’t seen a fifty dollar bill in so long, it could have a picture of my dog on the back and I wouldn’t know. Nice puzzle, fun solve for the most part, about ten minutes under my average. Thanks, Jack!

kitshef 7:26 AM  

Mostly easy, with slowdowns in the NW and SE. Hand up for TOPOS being a WoE.

Never understood people’s antipathy towards MOIST. Short words I like: moist, oribi, winkle, duvet, bongo.

No one asked, but the formula is Vertices - Edges + Faces = 2, an it works for any convex polyhedron. For example, a cube has eight vertices (corners), 12 edges, and six faces:

Anonymous 7:46 AM  

If you are "shamelessly" promoting your new book (congrats by the way) there's no need to "justify" doing so.

Suzie Q 8:02 AM  

Yes, that NW was brutal and topos are maps to me.
I was surprised to see Sharknado and tornado together.
I didn't find this especially interesting and my mind began to wander.
@ Joe Dipinto, I thought of you when I saw radar crossing Brenda Lee. I could hear Golden Earring singing Radar Love.
As far as I know Rex is the only one who hates moist.

Hungry Mother 8:28 AM  

A bit of a slog at a snail’s pace this morning. For some reason the due west was very hard for me. I finished without an error, but it was with a phew.

Hungry Mother 8:35 AM  

Euler’s Formula is key to proving there are only five regular solids, one of my favorite mathematical facts.

Alex M 8:45 AM  

I'm disappointed this is a guest column day, simply because I was hoping Rex would have a rare moment of approval! I thought the grid was clean with lots of sparkle (if easily clued for a Friday). The NW was much harder and more obscure than the rest though. I'm also disappointed that URBANDECAY was not clued "Cosmetics brand with cult-favourite setting spray" or something like that, haha :)

Joel Palmer 8:49 AM  

never ever heard the word topps other than as slang for topographical maps and still cannot find any reference to literary themes or motifs. Will check OED

GILL I. 8:59 AM  

You clue BRENDA LEE with "Rockin Around the Christmas Tree?" No, damn it....It has to be "All Alone Am I." My step mom and I used to sing with her at the top of our lungs. Don't give me no stinkin Christmas Tree.
Well, like every red-blooded American I, too, had LOOS. What kind of first name is OSHEA and why did he change it to Ice Cube...And GOOF ON is something? Looks like I wasn't the only one scratching my head in that one last corner. I hated to, but I just had to Google Ice Cubes real name....
The rest of the puzzle was pretty nifty. I sorta groaned with the JANES SYD and anyone who has ever gone on a Easter egg hunt knows it's a CHOCOLATE bunny. RABBIT will do if it gives me the dreaded MOIST. I like MOIST - conjures up an image of buttermilk biscuits. I've been on a bread roll lately.
I had fun with this. 30D reminds me of our mayor. His challenge is the horrible homeless crisis we have as well as the rising cost of living. The URBANites are fleeing the State.
I'll look into your book, Aimee. Congratulations to you.....

Z 9:10 AM  

DNF in the NW but this is a "Let's trigger Z" puzzle.

First and most egregiously - THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS NON-GMO CORN. Corn and wheat are the most genetically modified crops out there. What the anti-science folk are really scaring us with is the accelerated process of lab manipulation of genes rather than modifying genes through cross-breeding. Look up the latest from the guy who bred the Labradoodle ("Frankenstein's monster" seems a tad hyperbolic) and recognize the concern needs to be with the results of genetic modification, not the process.

Second, and less egregious, is the whole notion of URBAN DECAY. Don't even get me started on how it's racist tax policies and racist land management policies and..., anyway. URBAN DECAY is a term that conveniently white washes systemic racism. Yeah, it's a thing, but it is a term that makes me grind my teeth.

GREEN WASH is definitely a thing, my favorite example being companies that insist on putting their solar panels on north facing roofs because that's the surface that is visible. I guess that's not technically GREEN WASHing, but it comes from the same place - looking like we're doing something is more important than doing something.

Worst thing about be tripped up by the loos -> IANS slowdown? My youngest doesn't live across the pond, but I'm still fairly familiar with the John=IAN=Sean=Ivan=Juan=João thing. Still, it was ZUNI/NON-GMO CORN that was opaque to me.

RooMonster 9:13 AM  

Hey All !
Was kicking ass on this puz, setting a personal record, till I hit the cross of CERE_/TOPO_. In hindsight, (of course!) I should've known CERES. But couldn't make sense of TOPOS. So I had an L for TOPOL. Argh! One-letter DNF on an easy FriPuz.

That aggravation aside, this was a nice puz. Crossing center 15's.

Odd/funny writeover, had SewerpipeS for SUBWAYMAPS first. Har, must be watching too many movies where the bad guys/wrongly accused good guys escape through the sewers. Originally had piña for 55A and ewer for 58A helping out to "confirm" pipeS.

Fell into the looS trap. One of the last writeovers for me. Laughed at myself for not grokking OSHEA as O'SHEA, trying to pronounce it OSH E AH.

No CHOCOLATE RABBIT here, but I do have Hershey's Miniatures that I bought for "Trick or Treaters". What, it's one month away? You don't say.
Well, I can't let them go to waste...


G. Wood 9:33 AM  

And is Non-GMO corn really a thing? I mean, there's corn and there is GMO corn. Do we really need this retronym?

Armchair Editor 9:33 AM  

"for the day to justify me shamelessly using his platform"

SB justify MY .........

Sir Hillary 9:34 AM  

It's almost like the awesome GREENWASH is a sly a comment on the horrible green paint in the puzzle. TENNISSHOT, CHOCOLATERABBIT, NONGMOCORN, TORNADOTRACKING -- oh, PLEASE!

In fact, this whole grid screams "green" -- pretty sure I've seen clothing catalogs with SAGE, MINT, FELT and SURF among the colors.

And so, in true emerald (isle) spirit, a tribute (perhaps written by LILY or SYD OSHEA):
Nice debut, though I really must say
There's a lot here to GOOFON today
I don't MEANTO be mean
But the puzzle's too green
And in need of more URBANDECAY

SouthsideJohnny 9:42 AM  

It’s a sad day - not one, but two vulgar, women hating, violence worshipping rappers being treated as mainstream by the NYT. Very hard to get enthusiastic about a constructor and editor that either explicitly or tacitly condones this type of sexism.

Syd Tha Kyd lyrics - recorded by Odd Future !

Nancy 9:49 AM  

They say that happiness for a writer is not writing, but having written. (I've never found this to be true, btw). But for me, there was a lot more enjoyment in this puzzle having solved than while I was solving.

I don't know the term GREENWASH and I have no idea how someone does that. I've never heard of a STRESS BALL -- is that anything like Linus's blanket? -- but I sure wish I had one. Assuming it works, of course.

Why do you need to know how to figure out EDGES, with a formula or with anything else?

Of course I didn't know any of the rockers, rappers or bands.

I had R AND R at 24A, INTERLACING/INTERFACING with YES I DO at 9D. Only once I looked at the cross-reference did I realize that a TORNADO TRACKER probably needed RADAR more than R AND R.

Was it GUCCI or PUCCI? Only when I changed INTERLACING to INTERFACING (4D) could I figure out GOOF ON. GOOF ON???????????

Struggled. Was happy and proud to finish.

giorgio 10:00 AM  


JC66 10:01 AM  

Hand up for struggling in the NW. Aside from mistakes mentioned by others, had fendI before GUCCI.

BRENDA LEE was a featured interviewee on the Ken Burns Country Music documentary which just aired on PBS.

RAD2626 10:12 AM  

I thought this was a terrific debut and a fine themeless. Reading XWordInfo it turns out Jeff Chen has been mentoring the constructor and it shows. Was like most of Jeff’s puzzles: very little junk, no wasted space and sparking long entries. Fascinating that the constructor started with the grid rather than the seed entries. Overall a fine puzzle.

CDilly52 10:12 AM  

TOPOS, GOOF ON. Tough; I could only think of spOOF ON and have never heard the phrase GOOF ON until today. The Urban dictionary definition didn’t help. “To take delight in another’s folly for a period of seconds or more.” The example was “I’m gonna GIOF ON this wino who is trying to tie his shoes while he is drunk.” Really? Is this a thing? Help me here, neighbors!

I also had INTER- and then tried -sectS, -lACES and finally aha! -FACES, but not in my opinion the strongest answer for the clue. The clue for TOPOS was a tad misleading but fair once I figured out that Mr. M wasn’t asking us to name one of the primary themes in literature but the fact that literature has TOPOS.

I thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle and but for the GOOFON/TOPOS issue, I crushed this Friday. That middle-W block even with all the other squares filled took almost as long as the rest of the solve. Easy but fun and I learned something. Happy, happy Friday!

Ethan Taliesin 10:25 AM  

That middle of the left side was tricky for me and, determined not to cheat, ended up finishing some agonizing minutes over my average time. If I didn't suss out the longer, idiomatic/phrasal ones I'd have been doomed.

Now it seems maybe I should have gotten TOPOS (which is underlined in red as I type) straight away.

TOPOS also has a meaning in mathematics that I don't fully grasp, and there's also the TOPOS Hyperuranion, AKA Plato's realm of ideal forms. That's heady stuff, and a starting point for Popper's (compelling, IMO) "Three Worlds" idea, which, for me at least, is interesting and almost numinous to ponder.

Good write-up, Aimee.

pabloinnh 10:30 AM  

Well ZUNI went right in for me, having owned a book when I was a teenager named "Behind Zuni Masks". You never know when useless information will come in handy. Otherwise, same problems as everyone else that had problems, and same sense of satisfaction in finishing. Makes me feel like a real member of the RP Bloggers Club.

Also knew BRENDALEE right away, and highly recommend Ken Burns latest. Learned GREENWASH, a new kind of shameless, as if we didn't have enough of that around.

Congrats on a nice debut, JM, and thanks to Aimee for the swell critique. Well done to both of you.

Golf, not Tennis 10:30 AM  

Of course I tried to use GOLF rather than the NYT-approved Tennis for 'slice' that slowed me down. NYM is even worse, Malcolm Gladwell HATES Golf and thinks you should, too, so never a GOLF clue there ...

I do loathe song clues, thanks for the f*&^%$g crisssssmaaaassssong earworm, X-Mas songs are musically such rubbish. Arrrrgh.

@Nancy 9.49 AM - - - GREENWASHING with NON-GMO CORN, of course. All is right in the NYT World today!

Newboy 10:53 AM  

I had the same experience as Jae and Puzzlhoarder. When two of the first three comments are MEWLing on the same TOPOS, there’s probably something amiss! The cross of 23d and 25a accounted for half my solve time & TAGTEAMED me in a remarkable frustrating fashion. Having spent 38 years at the front of English classrooms, I would think the 💡 would glimmer, but no. To others equally flummoxed here’s Mr Google: “topos. Also called topics, loci, and commonplaces. The term topoi (from the Greek for "place" or "turn") is a metaphor introduced by Aristotle to characterize the "places" where a speaker or writer may "locate" arguments that are appropriate to a given subject.” Despite the drama I did enjoy today’s TORNADO TRACKING.

TJS 11:24 AM  

Hated moist. No, not the word, but its cluing in this puzzle. Moist implies a softness of texture, imo. I have never heard it aoolied to a solid structure, or really anything other than a food item of some sort.
In the get off my lawn department, who the hell came up with "makes bank"? God, I hate that.
Hey @Z, a rare moment of agreement. I hated this thing too, esp. the corn.
Really looking forward to Rex' review, thinking a rare same-page moment if he hated it, or a rage-inducing response if he praised it. I'll take either one. Wish he could invite the guests on Mondays or Tuesdays when I dont expect any level of quality.

jberg 11:30 AM  

I didn’t know TOPOS either, but a theme or motif is kind of like a topic and (here’s the key point) it’s likely to be Greek! Like ethos or myths, etc. hence TOPOS once you’ve got MR T. Btw, not a POC, it’s singular.

Head, NW. I had PENT, which saved me from iris, but I was fixated on either Hopi or Pima for 1A. What I have to learn is the numbers of fates, furies, muses, and SAGEs; took me forever to get to the last.

Thanks for the write up, Aimee — I always love your puzzles!

Banya 11:32 AM  

I wrote in Marshmallow Peep right away before realizing my error.

Also, I thought moist at first but are cellars really described as moist? I think of them more as damp?

Ryan 11:45 AM  

Given that Syd is a woman and, as it happens, a lesbian, I am going to disagree with the characterization that she is "woman hating".

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Don't laugh... I get RRNs and PPP and POCs.. what is a WoE?
Woe is me

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

Let's see: is there a thread between MOIST and Aimee's preference for maxiPAD? Yes, yes there is. And the objection to MOIST is universally feminine. I'll leave as an exercise for the class to explain why.

As to rural DECAY, it's quite a real thing. In fact, it's the thing that's given us the Dictator President:
TRUMP: "Then I have an Article 2, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president."

The Constitution doesn't say that of course.

The 'original' STRESS BALL isn't singular. I guess this is in reference to what is shown in that GEICO commercial of the fat guy floating on a roomful of same. They're called 'Chinese Chi Balls'. I have a number of pairs.

Whatsername 12:13 PM  

Thanks for guest blogging today Aimee. I read the synopsis of your book on where it already has several five-star reviews. I have a friend employed by the local school district and will recommend they take a look at it for purchase. Wishing you the best of luck.

Overall I agree this was on the easy side for a Friday. Still I almost had a Natick at JANES/SYD because I did not know either name. Problem was I couldn’t see DECAY at 30D because I had fouled up that whole SE corner with sifi for SYFY and howl instead of MEWL at 51A. Finally figured it out once I got the D. Wanted intersects for INTERFACES, loos for IANS and tornado watching for TRACKING. Glad to see I’m not alone in GREENWASH being a new one. As Aimee said, great word! Must figure out a way to work it into a conversation soon. I’ll sound so woke.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

cellars are damp not moist

Carola 12:22 PM  

Just tough enough - a real pleasure to sort out. Unlike others, I had no trouble with TOPOS, thanks to untold years in lit classes. However, I struggled with GREENWASH, GOOF ON, and JANES, and for someone living on the EDGES of TORNADO Alley, it took me way too long to get 7D. Once I had CERES and thus had to abandon INTERseCtS, I saw the U.S. CAPITOL, which, along with the CHOCOLATE RABBIT, got me through the rest of the grid.

Anonymous 12:32 PM  


OffTheGrid 12:41 PM  

@TJS & others, What do you think makes that cake soft? It's............MOISTure. Water. What makes a basement damp?..........MOISTure. Water. Damp and MOIST are synonyms. Who knew?

JC66 12:53 PM  

@Anon 11:54

What On Earth


I agree with @TJS & others. Would you call a cake that's moist watery, or damp?

Joseph M 1:09 PM  

I need a STRESS BALL after solving this puzzle.

YES I AM clued as “Indeed”? PUT BY clued as “Lay aside?” TOPOS??? NONGMOCORN?

That said, the grid had some great fill, such as TORNADO TRACKING, TAG TEAMED, GREENWASH, and URBAN DECAY.

Congrats, Jack, on your debut. And thanks to Aimee for the enjoyable review.

Masked and Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Wanted NONAMECROP/NONAMECORN for way too long. All the while the precious nanoseconds kept a-slippin thru the hourglass. Crosser GOOFON mockinly was of no help.

Also, figured on CHOCOLATEBUNNIE, later on. My bad, there.
GREENWASH was somethin new to learn -- along with GMO [OMG variant?], of course.

Hey -- Any puz with BRENDALEE in it is M and A-ok by m&e. Also, any "Sharknado" reference is a pretty sure thUmbsUp, at our house.

staff weeject pick: ERS. Better clue: {Overly terse terse??}.

They coulda at least put poor Randolph Ross in the puz today, as a honorary celeb fillin, kindasorta like that proposal girl from yesterday's siamese-puzs confusion.

I didn't see a ?-clue in the whole puz -- surely I missed somethin? Liked the MOIST clue anyhoo, tho.

Thanx for the masked-dude-friendly themeless, Mr. Mowat. And congratz, on yer debut.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Masked and Anonymous 1:36 PM  

And congratz to Aimee darlin on:
* Her new book with a real intriguin title.
* Her super-bb-log write-up, with primo bullets. One of them bullets accidentally plugged someone, I noticed.


jberg 2:04 PM  

@Nancy, I was reading comments on the tiny little screen of my phone earlier, and missed your math question ("Why do you need to know how to figure out edges...?). The answer is, you don't need to! It's just kind of neat once you notice the relationship -- and then you can sink into some sort of rumination about why it should be so, and what that tells us about the nature of the universe. Some people find that fun; others don't. That's the great math divide in a nutshell!

Unrelated to that, a TENNIS SHOT question -- I haven't played since I was maybe 18, so I'm not sure -- but my impression is that in tennis a slice is a deliberate move, whereas in golf it is an error that everyone tries to correct. And what is it about the nature of the universe that lets the same word have such different connotations?

Ethan Taliesin 2:08 PM  


Unless I'm misunderstanding you...

GMO refers to things that are genetically engineered, not just selectively bred or artificial selected. Non-GMO corn exists. Correct me if I'm wrong.

VancouverNana 2:15 PM  

It’s TOPOS not topps. (Someone else May have already posted a note.) Just google it and there are multiple sources with same definition. Must admit new word for me, crossing Capitol and chocolate🥴🥴

OffTheGrid 2:15 PM  

You're right. Synonyms can be tricky.

Kath320 2:38 PM  

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree is one of those songs that seems cute the first time you hear it during the holiday season, but makes you want to scream by Christmas Eve.

Monty Boy 2:39 PM  

I liked this one except for the NW, as most have mentioned. I thought of GILA being both river and tribe and that threw me off a lot.

I seem to be the only one who confidently put in INDIANCORN in an attempt to sort out NW. Didn't work with the crosses.

I only know TOPOS from maps (civil engineering) and topology (math) being the shape of the graph of some 3-d equations.

So the NW was a WOE (or WTF - What the heck) for me.

Monty Boy 2:45 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pete 3:05 PM  

@Ethan - I think Z's point is that almost anything you eat these days is genetically modified, by one mechanism or another. The reason your store bought tomatoes taste like cardboard is that they have been created not for flavor, but to be able to be picked green, frozen for transport, then ripened artificially before being sold. How much does it really matter how this "optimization" is accomplished - through successive inbreeding until mutations show up and maybe one of the mutations has commercial value, or through gene-splicing? Nearly all commercial flora or fauna we see today bears little resemblance to their pre-domestication ancestors. What's the difference if this comes about through selective breeding or CRISPER?

OISK 3:55 PM  

DNF- Never heard of topos, and didn't recall non GM?...Didn't think of interfaces either. And so,..nonGMB..interlaces, tipos, and Goblin. Bah, humbug...we don't rock around in my house...

Ethan Taliesin 3:58 PM  


Did you even read what I wrote? Yeah, a Corgi is selectivity bred, as is that white baby living with his KKK parents in the ramshackle trailer, but neither are GMO's.

It's not much of a point if you have to change the meaning of the very term in question. Also, I don't think frozen tomatoes can be ripened--but maybe you're going with your own preferred meaning of the word "frozen" and the problem is still with me.

Anonymous 4:45 PM  

Write Over Error

GILL I. 5:15 PM  

@Z and @Pete.....That's why we have a choice. Organic. I don't know where you live but here in California we have true "certified" farm GMO free produce and I promise you, you can get farm grown NON GMO CORN. You pay more - for sure, but I'd rather have one ugly looking delicious tasting tomato than anything that looks like its been polished with bean wax oil.
My husband has health issues and I take the food we eat seriously. He pooh poohed the whole idea of "Organic" until I showed him several articles on GMO's. They don't scare the pants off of me but at least I have a choice. Milk, especially and add beef. No hormones enter our bodies. I have enough of them raging.

Swagomatic 5:26 PM  

Great writeup, I had many of the same thoughts while solving. And congrats on the book, too.

Johncape 6:14 PM  

Hated the clueing for urban decay. Lots of baggage there. Otherwise, Good Friday puz.

Unknown 7:24 PM  

I am currently teaching the undergraduate topology class at the University of Notre Dame. We just covered Euler’s Formula on Monday. Imagine my surprise when, after I excitedly showed my class that our theorem appeared in today’s puzzle, one of my student’s told me that he’s friends with the constructor’s roommate!

Devon 7:49 PM  


Anonymous 8:27 PM  

Thought box was referring to the sin bin

Nancy 9:10 PM  

@jberg -- Exactly. A slice in tennis is deliberate and can be a very effective shot. A slice in golf is always a mistake and usually leads to disaster. So that...

I had a forehand slice that was pretty damned good, if I do say so myself. I had a golf slice that was an absolute horror and that I could never get rid of.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think when you deliberately rather than inadvertently curve a golf ball to the right, it's called a FADE.

Anonymous 9:37 PM  

golf slice comes in two varieties: the duck hook in the other direction, and the fade (a separate word, but still a slice) which lacks the quack and is the common 'shape' of pros.

Joe 9:56 PM  


First, congrats on your book!

Second, congrats on a lively review, and, third, thanks for telling us your time, which was within a minute of my own, and makes me realize, or at least hope, that most solvers aren’t seven times as fast as I am.

Adam 11:37 PM  

Nice puzzle, nice review.

Bought two hardcover copies of the book, one for my son and the other for my niece. Looks like a great book!

Good luck!

PCCHK 12:03 AM  

Banana shot instead of tennis shot put me in a world of hurt for a while.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

Swiss roll? Swiss roll??? What is a Swiss roll? Who has eaten a Swiss roll? Who has heard of a Swiss roll?

spacecraft 11:11 AM  

Not too hard for a Friday, thanks to uber-gimme and DOD BRENDALEE--whom I actually met and even bought a Coke for, during a concert break. The clue song, though--what a clunker! She was a middling-popular country-rock singer until "That's All You Gotta DO" came out--and some wise DJ decided to play the B side: "I think you're gonna like this. Here's BRENDALEE with 'I'm Sorry.'"

Ooh yeah. He was right.

USCAPITOL just off the -OL ending really helped in the NW. Hand up for WOEs GOOFON (a DOOK?) and TOPOS, which sounds like pure Greek. Had to erase INTERseCtS because of 33a. The LOOS/IANS question was resolved with that funky CORN. I didn't know you could actually GROW that stuff.

CHOCOLATERABBIT? No, no, no. IF you're going to clue it via Easter, you're going to say "bunny." No one has ever said "Easter Rabbit." Ever.

This debut would have impressed me a lot more if PSST and EKES could have been kept out. Interchangeable tens in the NE: STRESS SHOT/TENNIS BALL?

Overall there's some fine work here. I'd say keep at it, Mr. Mowat. Birdie.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

One listen to the Christmas song about some kid buying shoes for his dying mother will make "Rock Around the Christmas Tree" seem like the Hallelujah Chorus.

Burma Shave 2:12 PM  




rainforest 4:14 PM  

When I finished this, I was thinking DNF due to the tangle of those answers in the NW. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that everything was correct. Yay me. GOOF ON and TOPOS, with a helping of CERES made that section a nanosecond trap.

Other than the NW, though, this was a relatively easy puzzle. For a debut, it's damn good.

One write-over: I thought the product we were saying "hello" to was Neon. The date was about right as I recall.

Brenda Lee singing "Rockin' around the Christmas tree" is a nauseatingly annual occurrence in supermarkets and department stores around here.

rondo 5:03 PM  

YES,IAM one of those folks with a STRESSBSALL. It's right here at my desk . . . somewhere . . . I didn't MEANTO get rid of it . . . DAMmit!!

leftcoast 8:36 PM  

Late, but what the hey! Had a BALL here, and no STRESS.

Most time spent in the West middle; the bloc with the cluster of eight O words (including words in the crossing downs) : GOOFON, OSHEA, TOPOS and CHOCO.... Except for that last easy one, all O's lined up as good guesses.

gOtta gOOd kick Out Of this One.

leftcoast 8:43 PM  

Oh, ten O's, including ,,,GMO CORN.

Diana, LIW 11:21 AM  

used a little help - now...on to Sat.

Diana, LIW

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