1870 tax evasion scandal / FRI OCT-11-19 / Parvenues with a certain je ne sais quoi / Coca-Cola offering from 1974 to 2001 / Kidspeak animal mentioned in first line of Portrait of Artist as Young Man / Toyota sedan since 1994 / 1944 Gene Tierney classic

Friday, October 11, 2019

Constructor: Andy Kravis

Relative difficulty: Apparently easy for others, but on the harder side for me (untimed clipboard solve at 4:30am)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: WHISKEY RING (34A: 1870s tax evasion scandal) —
In the United States, the Whiskey Ring was a scandal, exposed in 1875. The Whiskey Ring began in St. LouisMissouri but was also organized in ChicagoIllinoisMilwaukeeWisconsinCincinnatiOhioNew OrleansLouisiana and PeoriaIllinois. The Whiskey Ring involved diversion of tax revenues in a conspiracy among government agents, politicians, whiskey distillers, and distributors. //  The scheme involved an extensive network of bribes involving distillers, government officials, rectifiers, gaugers, storekeepers, and internal revenue agents. Essentially, distillers bribed government officials, and those officials helped the distillers evade federal taxes on the whiskey they produced and sold. Due to the increase of liquor taxes after the Civil War, whiskey was supposed to be taxed at 70 cents per gallon, however distillers would instead pay the officials 35 cents per gallon and the illicit whiskey was stamped as having the tax paid. Before they were caught, a group of politicians were able to siphon off millions of dollars in federal taxes. (wikipedia)
• • •

This one veered wildly between total gimmes (like "TAINTED LOVE" and EMMYLOU Harris) and ????! (WHISKEY RING and MULETA and KYLE and HOLT). The grid is quite beautiful, with hardly any yuck in it. The cluing missed for me a bunch of times, but NYT cluing often does ... I don't know. NYT house cluing style is stiff and dull much of the time, largely because the resale market determines cluing (i.e. clues have to be "evergreen," i.e. viable not just now but years from now—if you ever wondered why the clues in the NYT feel noticeably less fresh than those in indie markets, now you know). By "missed" I mean mostly that it was over-literal. Felt like a trivia quiz. And the one "look at me!" clue, 41A: Not be oneself, but rather be one's elf? (ROLE PLAY) was corny, and also annoying because it looked more like WORD PLAY was what was happening (i.e. I went looking for something having to do with reparsing / repunctuating). But the good here was very good. The middle stack is lovely, with "WHO ASKED YOU!?" being a real standout. I'd never heard of WHISKEY RING, but it's obviously a real thing and a nice-looking answer to boot. Nice symmetrical pairing of EMILY POST and EROTIC ART. Have you ever seen the EROTIC ART of EMILY POST? ROLE PLAY, PUMPS, IT GIRLS, ECSTASY—it's all in there!

Speaking of IT GIRLS (20A: Parvenues with a certain je ne sais quoi), I'm not sure I like it in the plural, just as I *know* I don't like COOTIE in the singular. No one ever got a single COOTIE, never, not once. Not being a real estate aficionado, PRE-WAR eluded me (54A: Like apartment buildings with fireplaces and hardwood floors, typically). I basically inferred it after getting WAR, as it sounded like something I'd heard someone say before about an apartment. My house has hardwood floors and a fireplace, and it is exactly WAR (built in '40s), so those specs didn't speak to me. Also, I've never lived in a densely populated urban area, so there's that.

  • 15A: Kidspeak animal mentioned in the first line of "A Portrait of the artist as a Young Man" (MOO COW— the other English class, the AP Lit class, read this. We didn't. What did we read? Shakespeare, for sure, maybe Donne? I definitely read a sh*t-ton of Hardy for my final paper. Anyway, missed "Portrait of the Artist..." Still, this was a fun answer to uncover. (And still never read Joyce)
  • 26A: Queen ___ (nickname in pop music) (BEY) — I actually went with BEE and then BEA or BAE ... I knew the pop star in question, obviously, but I was like "what is that abbr. again?" Fun fact: BEY used to be horrible crosswordese—a regional governor of the Ottoman Empire. Anyway, I like Queen BEY's sister's music a lot.
  • 1D: Coca-Cola offering from 1974 to 2001 (MR. PIBB) — wow I really forgot this existed. Had M----B and thought "... some kind of TAB?"
  • 55A: Otter's lair (HOLT) — got HOL-, wrote in HOLE, and thought "well that's a terrible clue for HOLE."
  • 50A: Matador's cape (MULETA) — crosswords are entirely too obsessed with and reliant on the truly horrific cruelty-fest that is bullfighting. TORERO, TOREADOR, EL TORO, and now (apparently) MULETA? I'd be happy never to see a bullfighting clue again. cc: SPCA (27A: Persian defense org.?)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:20 AM  

This puzzle had an everyday-life comfy-cozy vibe to me, like a beloved jacket, or a PREWAR apartment with a WALL UNIT.

My brain was right in Andy's zone, giving me immediate side-eye at "lab", "Persian", and "handle". And, with stutters here and there, it filled in on the quicker side for a Friday for an exhilarating solve, but not TOO SOON, as it easily passed the tussle-test.

I loved the double-O fest in column two, the tribute to tykedom with COOTIE, MOOCOW, and IMP. Happy that the puzzle had a backward SODA to go with MR PIBB, a colloquial BIG GUY along with BRAHMA, and, as an oblique partner for SANEST, there was NO MAD.

All in all, a vibrant crackling piece of fun. Thank you ever so much, Andy!

Hank 6:27 AM  

53A Coy comeback 53A = chefwen's raccoon from yesterday's comments !

amyyanni 6:43 AM  

Sparkly puzzle: lots of good music (the song LAURA from the movie is hauntingly gorgeous) as well as the Joycean clue. Rex, PORTRAIT is such a wonderful piece of writing. And much more accessible than Ulysses (well right, most books are). We had an etiquette book in my childhood home but can't remember if it was Ms. Post or that Vanderbilt lady. Whiskey Ring also new to me even though I was a history major. So I had fun and learned something. Happy Weekend!

Music Man 6:44 AM  

I, too, thought the Coke drink was some form of TAB. I also had WORD PLAY at first, instead of ROLE PLAY. Good puzzle!

Hank 6:49 AM  

Also, we had GIRLs right above above GUY and HAND DYES above ENDS WELL.

QuasiMojo 6:50 AM  

Doesn't a BOLT precede thunder? Or is it just that we hear the thunder after seeing a bolt?

I have no idea what a Wall Unit is? Frank Zappa's granddaughter?

And since when are It Girls parvenues? Most that I've heard of --Edie Sedgwick and Paris Hilton for instance -- came from money.

Finished this in near-record time. I was annoyed by the pop stuff. Sodas and Toyotas and clunky clues for celebs. I think Dolly and others feel they are singing 'with' Emmy Lou, not the other way around. But I liked the Guide Dog clue. And always fun to recall Gene Tierney. Especially in "Laura." Lee Radziwill attempted a remake. A poor cousin to the original.

Rex, never read Joyce? If you like word play (astute comment re the elf clue today) give "Finnegan's Wake" a go. Speaking of literature, Inwas perusing the name of past Nobel recipients. One of them was named Quasimodo. Who knew? :)

LHS 888 7:25 AM  

Natick at ROMe/eLIG

kitshef 7:25 AM  

I had no idea they no longer make MR PIBB.

LAURA and MULETA each needed every cross – which was a bit of a problem since they cross each other. Fortunately, “U” was the most reasonable possibility there.

Exactly what WAR is 54A referring to? I’m guessing the civil war in Yemen.

Parliment of Owls 7:25 AM  

I have never heard of holt either.

Hungry Mother 7:46 AM  

Had MRPIBs for too long, otherwise pretty easy except for the SE, which was a slog. Very nice puzzle, two cups of coffee’s worth of entertainment.

Suzie Q 8:08 AM  

Good fun today. The SE took the longest because of Indeed instead of I Never for a bit.
End Swell makes your jeans too snug.
Cootie in the singular doesn't seem right. I do remember a game as a kid called Cootie during which you assembled the plastic parts to make a cootie bug so maybe...
We never played the game more than once. I just wanted to play with the finished bug. Sorta like Mr. Potato Head.
Disappointed that Rex did not choose a video of Emmy Lou singing.
Wall unit! Good one @ QuasiMojo.

Manoleto 8:12 AM  

Imposing your own cultural values on another is taboo nowadays isn't it Rex? I don't think you know enough about the deep traditions of bull fighting to voice such a shallow one-sided opinion.

Joe Welling 8:15 AM  

Anonymous QuasiMojo said...
Doesn't a BOLT precede thunder? Or is it just that we hear the thunder after seeing a bolt?

I think the clue refers to the terms "thunderbolt" and "lightning bolt."

Ferdinand 8:28 AM  

His opinion is that he prefers that crosswords don't have bull fight references. Why do you have a problem with that? How about describing the positive aspects of bull fighting?

GILL I. 8:44 AM  

Well...I give myself at least a leisurely hour for my Friday puz-fest. I was finishing this lovely thing way too fast. If I had just sat my fondillo down and not gotten up a million times, I'm sure it would have been over in 15 minutes.
Had so few head scratchers today. I just said to myself not to overthink the clues. Lab assistant, maybe? and Persian defense org. were two that made me squeak with delight. Then we have the memories....We have the ANT again; this time not being eaten by a Toad. (Hi @kitschef)...My all-time favorite LAURA and watching the lovely Gene Tierney and my absolute favorite, Vincent Price in that movie. Then remembering the song and Carly Simon making you want to dine on caviar after she sings the song. ECSTACY, indeed. And speaking of EROTIC ART and EMILY POST, I went hunting for her quotes, @Rex and I found this:
"If God had intended for women to wear slacks, he would have constructed them differently." Now let your imagination run wild with that one. Just how would she have made them? Hmmmm.
I wanted CAPOTE for the bullfighter cape. The MULETA is the red one with the stick of death in it - used at the end of the poor bulls life. I was a bullfight aficionado at one time in my youth while living in Spain. A bunch of friends and I went to Pamplona for the running of the bulls (San Fermin) and we were to meet up in a bar after the bullfight. I was alone for a while minding my own business when El Viti came up to me and asked if he could buy me a drink. He had an entourage with him. Surrounded by BIG GUYs. I looked at him and almost fainted. He was shorter than I and had a small frame but he had the most gorgeous eyes on this planet. I drank with him. I've since changed. I would rather eat pig caca than ever see an animal harmed. BUT DANG, EL VITI TRIED TO PICK ME UP IN A BAR!
Alls well that ENDS WELL.

pabloinnh 8:47 AM  

This was going nowhere and then I was done. Funny how that works sometimes.

Nice shout out to M&A with MOOCOW, from a book by Joyce I've actually read (and enjoyed).

There are actually two different capes used in a bullfight, the other one being a CAPA, and no, I don't like bullfighting either. (Oye "Manoleto", I think you mean Manolete.)

Hand up for WHISKEYRING being a WTF. Learn something every day.

All in all a nice crunchy Friday, for which thanks to Andy.

SouthsideJohnny 8:56 AM  

The parts that were clean and reasonably straightforward were actually pretty enjoyable today. Unfortunately, a little too trivia-laden as Rex pointed out (and obscure trivia at that - TAINTED LOVE ? ? I believe that barely made it into the top ten like 40 years ago. And of course WHISKEY RING is in everyone’s wheelhouse (it was in all of the papers, remember ?).

@QuasiMojo - the Thunder and Lightening occur at the same time. Yes, we can see the bolt first because the speed of light is much, much faster than the speed of sound. In fact, you can compute how far away the lighting bolt struck by counting the number of seconds before you hear the thunder (5 seconds would be a mile, etc as sound travels at about 767 mph which is roughly 2/10ths of a mile per second).

Z 9:05 AM  

I briefly thought chess might have a Persian Defense opening, so fide before SPCA. That’s what I get for being too clever.


I don’t know why, but I assume the taking down of the WHISKEY RING involved a story of TAINTED LOVE. Imagine, politicians using their position for personal financial gain. Thank BRAHMA that would never happen today.

Now I’m wondering if HOLT, Michigan was founded near an Otter HOLT.

@QuasiMojo - Parvenu can also have a connotation of uncultured, and/or uneducated. Lots of dictionaries still only list the “newly rich” meaning, so maybe this a recent usage.Anyway, Elvis Costello has an appropriate song.
And did someone ask for a video of EMMYLOU singing?

@kitshef - I was thinking maybe the First Punic War.

davidm 9:07 AM  

There were so many scandals during the Grant administration that I couldn’t even recall them, though I had heard of Whiskey Ring. The only one that immediately came to mind from that era was the Credit Mobilier scandal, but that did not fit the number of letters.

I had RAIN instead of BOLT, and the clue for BOLT is just plain wrong. First, a bolt just IS lightning, and second, it does not follow thunder, it precedes it. Light travels faster than sound! I mean, sure, there could be further bolts following an earlier bolt and thunder, but this surely is not what the clue implies.

MOO COW was the very first thing I got. Rex hasn’t read Joyce? Whoever has not read Joyce, drop what you are doing, and immediately read Joyce, especially Finnegans Wake, with its legendary wordplay and byzantine sentences. Perfect for crossworders! ;-)

Carola 9:08 AM  

I'm currently functioning as a viral replication UNIT with brain power registering in the sluggish zone, and I found this one plenty tough. Little bits of knowledge helped with some higher-yield entries: MOO COW's M got me EMILY POST, while the H of HON got me BRAHMA and UMA's M EMMY LOU, but the central area was unknown territory requiring a square-by-square struggle. Last in: CAKE x WHISKEY.
I liked the BOLT of lightning complemented by the following thunder CLAP.

Sir Hillary 9:13 AM  

Oh my word, thank you @Rex for what may be the most beautiful song you've ever linked to. How can INEVER have heard of it before this morning?

As for the puzzle...I don't know, maybe I'm jaded or maybe @Rex is right about middling quality, but the NYT puzzles are just feeling limp these days. Today is a case in point -- nothing at all "wrong" with it, but nothing about it sizzled. I did this week's WSJ meta yesterday, and I got goosebumps solving it online and was so excited afterward that I printed the empty grid and re-wrote the answers, just to show my wife how cool it was. That never happens with the NYT puzzle. Maybe I should just step away for a while, because this is feeling a bit rote at the moment.

EMMYLOU did move me though. A voice from heaven.

My 80-year-old dad has called me BIGGUY since forever, and still does to this day. His dad called him Slugger, which is more apt because my dad could really hit a baseball back when.

When I was a kid, every August my family and our best friends would drive from Orange County down to Tijuana to watch a day of bullfighting at the Bullring by the Sea. The color and pageantry appealed to my 10-year-old self, but even then I knew the "fight" wasn't fair. Today, I see no reason for the "sport" to exist -- it is literally butchery with fanfare.

Satisfied customer 9:14 AM  

@Quasi, I felt the same way about “parvenu” but then looked up the definition of “it girl.” Very much in keeping with your examples although parvenu is more derogatory, so would add Kardashian(s) to the list because I really “don’t know what” they have!
I very much enjoyed this puzzle for the reasons @Rex said (Wow!) plus I “honestly” solved, and solved quickly according to my time (which I don’t care about and for me is the downside of a puzzle I enjoy).
More please Mr. Kravis!

Z 9:30 AM  

@LHS 888 - The Italian place name in the clue signaled ROMA instead of ROMe. ALI G lives on in Crossworld even though Sacha Baron Cohen mostly retired him 15 years ago. Another example of how puzzles get easier with more puzzles solved.

@SouthsideJohnny - Wow, TAINTED LOVE was automatic here. It was fairly ubiquitous my junior/senior years in college. I’m a little surprised the duo hasn’t disavowed that video, though. Yikes.
You do raise an interesting issue. While thunder and lightning originate at the same time, I don’t think they occur at the same time. The lightning has come and gone while the thunder is still occurring.

I was just reading up on the Whiskey Ring Scandal. The story of a Republican National Hero tarnishing their legacy through later false loyalty and incompetence? Yikes indeed.

Teedmn 9:33 AM  

This was a fun Friday (read "easy-medium") for me. I didn't find the cluing boring or dry at all. I thought the clue for 41A was a "sly" reference to the Sly and the Family Stone song title.

I loved finding out James Joyce wrote about moocows. I trudged my way through "Ulysses" but only by using SparkNotes for every. single. chapter. Way over my head. I thought I would tackle "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" someday but after reading the first line, post-solve, “Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo”, I've decided it might best be a project for my retirement.

I daSHed IN before RUSHing IN but otherwise my grid is pretty inkblot-free. I entered in at 38A's ARC because that clue was at the top of my page and was easy. But then looking at 40D yet reading the clue for 38D, I thought my Toyota car would be a Camry or Corolla. Neither fit. Well, I NEVER got me my first cross, leading into the CRYPTS and I never looked back.

Nice puzzle, Andy Kravis!

Not one of Z’s sockpuppets 9:34 AM  


Z 9:35 AM  

Because two people already have been tricked by the BOLT clue, thunderBOLT.

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

I hope I'm not the only one who thought first of the holy trinity of Bach, Beethoven, and BRAHMs.

Nancy 9:45 AM  

If you wouldn't know MR PIBB if you fell over him (and thought he might actually be SPRITE)...

If you wouldn't know Queen BEY if you fell over her, either...

If you dismissed the very easy 1A MCS because you couldn't think of any soda pop then or now beginning with an "M"...

If you thought of BIG GUY, but couldn't come up with a 1D answer with a "B" in it... And thus went with THE GUY (because of SPRITE, you see)...

Then it won't matter that you somehow managed to solve the impossible middle section with the unknown to you TAINTED LOVE, KYLE and DWAYNE...

This was a bear for me -- and not in a good way. I struggled, but I knew it wouldn't END WELL...and it didn't.

jberg 9:54 AM  

A tough but enjoyable struggle. Much of the toughness because I wanted nirvAna before ECSTASY and colors before WHITES. And because i didn’t want to accept ADOS.

LATELY, the EMILY POST Institute has been working on the etiquette of marijuana.

I object to CRYPTS— not another name for catacombs, but something you find in catacombs.

Petsounds 9:56 AM  

Not a fan of this one. HOLT? NES? WHISKEY RING? Having grown up watching the Howdy Doody show with Buffalo Bob and the Peanut Gallery, I was looking for something close to "Hey, kids! What time is it?" Not something rude like "Who asked you?" And there are a lot of clues for AVALON that are better than the ubiquitous, and boring, car model.

But the overripe cherry on top of this particular icky sundae was the clue for EWE: Queen of she-baa? That tips the trying-too-hard-to-be-clever-and-cute scale all the way over. If you're going to rely on a clue used in 75% of crossword puzzles this week, just define it. Don't try to make it look adorable.

SouthsideJohnny 10:01 AM  

I see @Z’s slightly different interpretation re the thunder and lightning. I used the word “occur” to mean that they “commence” or “happen” at the same time, so we agree there. It is true that they are different animals with different lifespans and that the thunder will take longer to dissipate. In fact, if we really, really want to nitpick - the lighting bolt actually causes the sound of thunder by creating an air channel, so the lightning predates the thunder by the scantest fraction of a second, lol.

Dorothy Biggs 10:40 AM  

The Doja Cat video Rex linked is NSFW...maybe even NSFL. Gotta love the dark corners of the internet...though I'm sure this isn't all that far down the rabbit hole judging by the comments on YouTube. I did like MOOCOW however, in spite of this video.

10A Come together was wEd, then mEt, and then finally it came together with GEL.

I had ROtA for a while instead of ROMA...Rota, Spain has a base there which seemed like it might be named Campo de Fiori...but upon further review, not only is that Italian, but the base in Rota is just a Naval base named something really creative: Naval Station Rota.

I used to drink MRPIBB (well, mostly Dr. Pepper and only Mr. Pibb in a pinch)...it was the only thing that competed with Dr. Pepper and in restaurants that only sold Coke products (see: McDonald's), it was an acceptable substitute. I could be wrong on this, but from the countless pizza parties I've been to in the last several years, the soda selection is basically a cola, a diet cola, a lemon-lime flavor, and orange. Rarely you'll find a root beer and even rarer will you find the Dr. Pepper equivalent...a cherry-ish, prune-ish, spicy-ish flavor. I live in the southeast, so Coke rules supreme...but I've seen this narrow selection in the northeast as well.

I don't drink any sodas these days, diet or otherwise, so I don't much care about the loss anymore...but Mr. Pibb was definitely a thing from my college days.

TJS 10:43 AM  

Thoroughly enjoyed this one. Agree with Rex about the yucklessness, and loved the fact that the cluing had a consistent level of misdirection, forcing some real thought process.

Also grateful for the Polar Award clip, referencing something I had never heard of, but which is on my list of things I need to explore further.

The Emmylou Harris appearance reminded me of the recent Ken Burns history of Country Music shown on PBS. Like every other effort of Mr.Burns, I highly recommend it to fans of any type of music. Would love to see him take on Classical music or Opera.

RooMonster 10:45 AM  

Hey All !
Found puz easy, for me, on a Friday. Trouble spot was NE, had MCS, ALIG, but couldn't get anything happening. Now that I'm done, I can't see why it boggled me so much. Once I succumbed to BEe (for BEY), I finally saw what I should've got right off the bat, MR PIBB. I loved that soda! I believe they still have it at Arby's. So someone is still making it. Unless they're just pouring Dr. Pepper in there.

Finished up that corner after that, with COOTIE getting a chuckle. Odd clue for SMOGGY. Could've used L.A.

Easy rating based on the ole brain not being tasked too much, and only two writeovers, rain-BOLT, and putting an A for first letter in 52A, thinking either abet or aide. Rare to have a FriPuz grid with hardly any ink splotches.

Got another chuckle from MOOCOW. Shout-out to @M&A.

Noticed the OO's again today, as @Lewis pointed out. COO, POO, MOO, TOO, SOO. No Roo today, but it's been popular lately. And alas, no F's. POOr GUYs.

LOL! Zappa's granddaughter.


Richardf8 10:45 AM  

There have been a couple of reminders this week that this is the NEW YORK Times crossword, like yesterday’s Syosset (reliance on geography) and today’s prewar which maps an architectural style’s concurrency with an era and locale. Prewar Apartments in Minnesota do not have fireplaces. I wonder what my neighbors who will be solving this six weeks from now in the local papers will make of these?

David 10:49 AM  

And, of course, the electrons travel from the earth to the sky.

Pre-war buildings were built between the two World Wars (of the 20th cCE). Before WWII. Any New Yorker can tell you. People in DC as well. Not sure about other places though.

This was far too easy for me so I must be in Andy's head. "Who asked you" Whiskey Ring Tainted Love all gimmes. What really slowed me down was the NW largely because I have no clue about Coca Cola and their various offshoots. Also had Bea, there. In the opposite corner, "Avalon" is an automobile? Who knew?

Agree with Rex that there was some too literal cluing as well. In Peanuts they were role playing and someone got shot, Charlie Brown asked Linus, "Where was he shot?" and Linus replied, "Behind the Divan." That is the only way I even know there's a piece of furniture called that. Finding out that they have no backs shows another dimension to Sparky's humor there.

Moo cow. The wife and I are both very fond of Joyce's writing. If you haven't read Portrait... do go out and get a copy. Then move on the Flann O'Brien, whom Joyce called the greatest Irish writer of the 20th century.

All we're missing is an "all's well."

It worked for me, thanks.

Anonymous 10:59 AM  


For those who watch a lot of late night cable TeeVee, I'll guess you've seen those heart-tugging adverts from the SPCA, with an empathic male narrator behind a litany of video of downtrodden dogs and cats. If you watch really, really closely, you'll see in the fine print that your 'donation' does not go to the care of such creatures, but into the pockets of the central office. Just so you know. If you really, really want to help:
1) adopt from a local shelter
2) donate to a local shelter

puzzlehoarder 10:59 AM  

My damn phone keeps losing my comments. For the sake of brevity this was only a notch over a routine solve.

Here's hoping this comment makes it through.

Stormy Daniels 11:20 AM  

This bears repeating. @Joe Welling posted earlier:

"I think the clue refers to the terms "thunderbolt" and "lightning bolt.""

And here's the clue for easy reference, What often follows thunder and lightning

Joe Dipinto 11:27 AM  

LAURA and the IT GIRLS last met up in the July 30th puzzle. This puzzle was almost as good. I never saw the beverage called MR.PIBB irl, I don't think – I only know it from its random appearances here. I really should get a new wall unit, so it maybe this was a little nudge.

Friday music trivia: the word ECSTASY is in the lyrics of three consecutive 1967 hits by the Young Rascals:

Now look at me
Gliding through this world of beauty
Everything I do brings ecstasy

Life will be ecstasy
You and me endlessly

(Or if you prefer: Life will be ecstasy
You and me and Leslie

Every time I'm holdin' you close to me
Trouble's gone, it's gone, I'm in ecstasy

The great Cootie Williams will take us out. Happy Friday all!

Masked and Anonymous 11:28 AM  

{Queen of she-baa?} = EWE? … Andy, Andy Andy. hehar shehar ithar.

Mostly smooth and eazy-E FriPuz solvequest … Had a slight nanosecond burp at (ALLEN+LAURA)/MULETA, tho. Mighty cool & feisty ALLEN clue, I'll grant.

fave fillins included: MOOCOW. CRYPTS. WHOASKEDYOU. ROLEPLAY (clue was another Andy, Andy, Andy moment). GUIDEDOG. MRPIBB [Like most folks, wanted somethin with TAB or ONE in it, and lost precious nanoseconds]. ECSTASY/EROTICART.

staff weeject pick: MCS. Plural abbreev meat, right outta the 1-A rodeo gate. Nice weeject stacks in the NE & SW, too boot. A whole HOLT-full of the lil darlins.

Thanx, Mr. Kravis. Fun stuff. Real good job.

Masked & Anonymo6Us

moo-cow hard:

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

I'm with @Joe Welling - the BOLT answer makes the most sense if you think the it sometimes but not always being added at the end of thunder and lightning.

Plowed through this puppy and struggled most with the northwest until I gave up mall in favor of POOL in front of the Lincoln Memorial. I thought the entire park surrounding the pool might be called a mall. Had to accept singular COOTIE, which as RP mentioned 'said no one ever'.

Technical DNF because I failed to notice the tense at 25D and had EASEsBY, which made no sense on the song title, but an enjoyable Friday nonetheless.


Anonymous 11:46 AM  

Persian cat defense. Spca

Newboy 11:48 AM  

ROMe pour C’esr MOI los amegos! I’ve always had a problem with foreign words and even English seemed like one today. KYLE, ALIG & DWAYNE were all BIG GUY(s) for our sons as they matured, but MULETA brought no ECSTASY....more like a bad batch of acid. Still, IM GAME for any Friday that teaches me otters live in a HOLT. Thanks Andy for a perfect balance of most everything.

QuasiMojo 11:56 AM  

Thanks to all of you kind souls who elucidated the nuances in the clue for BOLT. I get it now. Also re parvenu and It Girls, we had something similar a few weeks back. I guess the term has evolved since the days I used to see Cornelia Guest and her entourage traipsing across the Big Apple, leaving tongues wagging in her wake.

@GILL I enjoyed your tale of the bullfighter who flirted with you. I'm not surprised! :) Years ago I was in Nimes, France and I was told the French bullfighters never killed the bull so I went to the arena and was shocked when the bull was indeed slain at the end. Oh and btw, Vincent Price is one of my favorites too. He could steal any picture he was in. Very underrated actor with one of the longest and most diverse careers in show business.

bagelboy 12:18 PM  

I had BRAHMS also. My last fix to get the music on the app.

jb129 12:37 PM  

This week has been a horror (as in disappointing in my performance) for me. Didn't finish one without cheating since Wednesday.

ASPCA - those commercials are heartbreakers,. Can't watch them.

BTW - I've been a member & contributed for over 20 years & when I called the ASPCA to inquire about not receiving my 2020 calendar, the rep (probably younger in years than I've been a member) told me they had no record of me & couldn't send me a 2020 calendar.

I prefer North Shore Animal League anyway.

old timer 12:49 PM  

The problem with CRYPT is it's not a catacomb. The Catacombs in Rome are essentially underground cemeteries, while a CRYPT is the stone basement of a church. Bodies can be entombed in a CRYPT, but you won't find any long passages lined with dead saints. And in a CRYPT you are liable to find all sorts of holy stuff stowed in the basement and taken out for use on special occasions. such as the objects that hold candles in a procession. The ecclesiastical version of the basement you might have in your American house.

The puzzlE was tough but fair for a Friday. It helped I had just re-read a biography of Grant, where the WHISKEY RING was one of the scandals.

Of course if you see lightning, you see a BOLT up in the sky, but I think what the constructor had in mind was the BOLT you see reaching the ground near you sometimes. It almost always follows the thunder and lightning you hear and see in the distance, and produces a thunderCLAP that can rattle your windows.

GHarris 12:52 PM  

I, too, w,as pissed at first by the thunder and lightning clue having written in bolt then, on reflection, changing it to boom on the perfectly logical assumption that the bolt is lightning and what follows is the boom. But Mr. Welling has cleared up the confusion. Thanks.

pmdm 12:56 PM  

After my read of the clues, I decided I hated the puzzle. Way too much PPP for my liking. After [almost] solving the puzzle, my opnion did not change.

It is interesting that the write-up correctly characterizes the NYT puzzle as one whose clues must be as relevant in 100 years as they are now (or something like that). Based on that criteria, I doubt this puzzle will pass the test of time. That said, even if a lot of solvers found it on the easy side.

The comments by the constructor read more like ad copy than constructor comments. An unusual day for me: didn't like the puzzle and didn't like the constructor comments. And I do not mean to malign any group.

davidm 1:38 PM  

Ah, thanks, I get it now. BOLT may follow lightning or thunder in the linguistic, not physical sense. Still, not crazy about the clue/answer. It’s misdirection, which I generally like, but to me, a good misdirection clue has two or more valid answers. The physical sense of the clue is just wrong.

Richardf8 2:04 PM  

Ah, Tainted Love. Last night, when I first looked at this puzzle I couldn’t remember Soft Cell’s catalogue. This morning I looked at it and git an earworm.

Nancy 2:10 PM  

Everyone seems to get @Quasi's WALL UNIT/Frank Zappa's granddaughter joke except me. I know what a WALL UNIT is, but I wouldn't know Frank Zappa's granddaughter if I fell over her. Can someone please explain the joke?

And I must thank @Quasi for letting me know that the El Viti who tried to pick up our @GILL is a bullfighter. Since I'm not a bullfight enthusiast, I wouldn't know El Viti if I fell over him. So I went to Google him. AND NOW I WOULD JUST LOVE TO FALL OVER HIM!!!!!! Or at least I would have loved to back in the day when he tried to pick up our @GILL. HERE HE IS!!!!!! No, don't look at the old man photos. Look at the back-when-he-was-a-young-man-trying-to-pick-up-our-@GILL photos. Yum. Lucky you, @GILL!

Frog Prince Kisser 2:14 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle in Tarzana, which is adjacent to ENCINO in the San Fernando Valley!

Suzie Q 2:21 PM  

I don't usually watch Rex's videos but @ Dorothy Biggs commented on the Dojo Cat so I gave it a try. I should have realized that anyone who puts French fries up her nose probably will not amuse me but I was bored so I looked. I wish I could un-see it now. What in the world?

Geezer 2:54 PM  

I think this has been covered.

Unknown 3:16 PM  

wow I just love this constructor the clues are jewels they tickle the brain its one lovely surprise after another!

RooMonster 3:31 PM  

Hey there! Got a hearty laugh out of your El Citi comments. I looked at the pics, to me he aged very well. Looks close to the same, just gray hair.

To answer the WALL UNIT funny, one of Frank Zappa's kids is named Moon Unit.

RooMonster Hopefully Not The Tenth One To Answer Guy

GILL I. 3:46 PM  

Oh my, @Nancy....you are so good at finding these gems. Yes...the younger ones are the flirtatious times!!!!
However, the one I actually drooled over was "El Cordobes." I hope this shows up: The Beatle of Bullfighting
All you animal lovers...please note I hate bullfighting now but a girl can drool over the matador, can't she?

Fred Romagnolo 3:47 PM  

Vincent Price! One of the greatest purposely over-actors in the biz. Try stealing a movie from the legendary Ronald Colman, Price did it in "Champagne for Caesar." When he was young he played a supporting role in the superb 1939 "Tower of London" At the peak of his career, he had it remade with himself in the leading role. He ended his career playing with the likes of Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, and Johnny Depp! I doubt if we will ever see his like again.

Z 3:50 PM  

@Southside Johnny - Just remember that every nanosecond is precious. I had thought of the same sequence but decided pointing out that the lightning preceded the thunder by said preciousness was a tad too precious.

@Nancy - Frank’s oldest child is Moon Unit Zappa. As far as I know, Moon did not name any of her offspring “Wall Unit.”

@Joseph Welling - I saw your comment initially, then saw two more comments after I posted so posted my link, forgetting that you’d already clarified the clue.

Regarding CRYPTS - I had the same thought as others, but a little internet searching says it is an okay clue. Wikipedia goes so far as to say, “Any chamber used as a burial place is a catacomb,” although I noticed no citation for the claim.

Nancy 5:12 PM  

Thank you, @Roo and @Z. The Zappas named their child MOON UNIT ZAPPA???!!! I would never have guessed such a thing in a million trillion years. Really, some people shouldn't be allowed to be parents, they really shouldn't be.

jae 5:29 PM  

Easy-medium. Top half easy, bottom half a tad tougher (e.g. HOLT was a WOE). This was delightful, liked it a bunch.

Anonymous 5:59 PM  

I agree that COOTIE misses as clued, but it could have been a valid answer in singular form with a better clue e.g. "The one kind of shot kindergartners want." (Or as other commenters suggested above: the vintage build-an-ant game COOTIE or Duke Ellington's screaming trumpet soloist COOTIE Williams).

I too got hung up at 1D with M----B, forgetting about MR PIBB.

mmorgan 7:05 PM  

Rex, you probably won’t see this, but please please please do yourself a favor and read some Joyce. Start with Dubliners, maybe The Dead. Then the rest of it. Then Portrait. Then spend a year or three with Ulysses. Then just pick a page or two (any page or two) of Finnegans Wake (the absence of an apostrophe is critically important) and ponder it for a few days. Rinse and repeat. Repeatedly.

Oh, the puzzle was pretty good but I had a tough time in the NW.

Anonymous 7:12 PM  


The/an other is Dweezil (spelled some way).

konnofromtokyo 7:39 PM  

still don't get why etas would be in airport windows. screens, yes. windows?

Joe Dipinto 11:31 PM  

@jb129 – North Shore Animal League rocks.

Burma Shave 10:32 AM  


“I’MGAME for ITGIRLS, what say?”


spacecraft 12:08 PM  

UMA! Where ya been? Here's your old DOD sash; put 'er on. Ah, but the lovely EMMYLOU intercepts!

Okay, to the puzz. Natick in the NW: was it ALIG or ELIG, ROMA or ROMe? I flipped a "kern," a la Ed Norton, and it came up A. Yay for me. You're not going to chide me for not knowing a character of that idiot SBC, are you? Not a shred of talent, and yet somehow famous. Go figure.

I found this fairly difficult because of tough cluing. Never heard of WHISKEYRING. My cups get coffee rings...

ASUSUAL, the NW was the last bastion of defense--and it put up a hell of a fight. It took forever to remember MRPIBB; surprised it lasted even that long. It was awful. They tried to emulate Dr. Pepper (WHY???) and partly succeeded. The wrong part. However, no need to penalize the constructor for all this. Medium-challenging; many triumph points; birdie.

P.S. Nice shout-out to @M&A with MOOCOW.

rondo 5:42 PM  

After EdgEDBY became EASEDBY things went more quickly. Gotta work on my HANDDYE coordination as well. Har.
Have had TAINTEDLOVE earworm all day thanks to the puz.
EMMYLOU, one of the greatest of all time. Yeah baby.
Good puz. Recommend the WSJ contest puz today. Easy meta.

leftcoaster 6:31 PM  

Combination of PPPs, odd-ball cluing, and malaise took me out of this one.

Diana, LIW 8:51 PM  

ALIG did not give me a leg up, and created a Natick for me. As did the RING of WHISKEY. Oh well.

Did remember MrPibb, but not the TAINTEDLOVE.

Diana, Lady in Waiting for Saturday to come to the rescue

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