Actress Marsay of Game of Thrones / FRI 10-4-19 / Aspirations for group of friends / Warsaw Pact member west of Poland / Legislative landmark of '10 / Director Irwin famous for disaster films / Unoriginal as comedian / Hangout for Fonz

Friday, October 4, 2019

Constructor: Matthew Sewell

Relative difficulty: Medium to Medium-Challenging? (felt crunchy, but I solved untimed on paper, so not sure)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Irwin ALLEN (25D: Director Irwin famous for disaster films) —
Irwin Allen (June 12, 1916 – November 2, 1991) was an American film and television producer and director, known for his work in science fiction, then later as the "Master of Disaster" for his work in the disaster film genre. His most successful productions were The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and The Towering Inferno (1974). He also created and produced the popular 1960s science fiction television series Voyage to the Bottom of the SeaLost in SpaceThe Time Tunnel and Land of the Giants. (wikipedia)
• • •

Lots of good stuff in here, but let's start with beefs. It's OUTDOOR CAT, it really is, it just is, google it (in quot. marks). It's soooo much OUTDOOR CAT that when I was entering all the answers into the software so I could post the above grid (having already completed the puzzle on paper), just doing all the Acrosses in order, I casually and confidently wrote in OUTDOOR CAT. Again, I had solved the puzzle and entered the "correct" OUTSIDE CAT, but when transferring the answers to e- form, my brain would not let me write OUTSIDE CAT, because my brain knows better. I am overstating my objection here, but only slightly. Exact phrase >>>> defensible phrase, every time. Le(s) mot(s) juste(s)! Next beef: "Game of Thrones" actors. Please stop assuming that literally every name attached to this show, characters and cast, is fair game for crosswords. "Game of Thrones" is the new "Ally McBeal" in that when I started blogging in the mid-late '00s, the crossword was still asking me to know a ridiculous amount about this show and its cast even though it had been off the air since '02. Actually, that's a good comparison only in terms of how annoying I found the clues. In terms of volume, "GOT" clues outnumber mid/late-'00s "Ally McBeal" clues by far. I don't like this attempt to bring alleged freshness to a puzzle by just inserting "name of actor on some currentish TV show." I don't even know the names of actors on the TV shows I *do* watch. Oooh, by the way, the star of the new show "Stumptown" on ABC is named COBIE (Smulders), and since we all know that now, I think her name is cool, so you can go ahead and put it in your puzzles, thanks (and she plays a character named DEX! Seriously, have at it!).

1A: Aspirations for a group of friends (SQUAD GOALS) already feels dated to me. Very 2017. I'm sure it still has a currency, but I wonder if any other extremely online people got a slight retro vibe off this answer. Like maybe the puzzle has been sitting for a while? (Here's a "What Does SQUAD GOALS Mean?" article from 2015). Anyway, SQUAD GOALS was a gimme, and usually 1A gimmes portend fast solves, but not so much today. The number of writeovers I had was impressive. The very first thing I wrote in after SQUAD GOALS was, in fact, wrong (SLOE for SODA at 1D: Gin fizz ingredient). Had the GR- at 32D: Mill fill (GRAIN) and wrote in GRIST. Had the P- at 26D: Inflation fig. (PSI) and wrote in PCT. Had the P- at 47D: What an out-of-shape person might do while exercising (PUFF) and wrote in PANT (of course I wrote in PANT, yeesh ... stoners PUFF). Hey, I got news for you: *in*-shape people PUFF when they exercise. That's How You Know You're Exercising! What the hell? Leave the "out-of-shape" out of this. Anyway, as I say, wrong answers Everywhere. HELLCAT instead of HELLION (20A: Wild troublemaker), perhaps because this book is literally sitting within view as I type this:

I RUE THE DAY felt off, as "rue the day" seems very much like something *you'll* do, or *he'll* do, or *she'll* do, or *they'll* do. That is, it seems part of a prediction/threat. Yes, you could say, in some exceedingly quaint way, "I RUE THE DAY I met you" or whatever, but I had IRUE- at the front of that answer and my only thought was "well I've got an error, I guess" (27D: Expression of regret). The ITEM in LOST ITEM was verrrrry anti-climactic, in that I had LOST and thought "LOST what?! what will it be!? what is the lost item!?" And it was just ... item (21D: Something that might be turned in to security). The Spanish don't have their own constellations, (the stars belong to all of us!) so the cluing there on OSA was very weird (reminder: don't get cute with your worst fill, please) (55D: ___ Mayor (Spanish constellation)). There is very little that is irksome about the grid, per se. The long answers are all solid, if not exciting, and the short stuff is in no way offensively HACKY. I didn't love this, but it was a worthy effort, for sure, and I enjoyed the struggle, mostly. Today I learned that Sirius is a binary star! Have a nice day!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. ACA is the Affordable Care Act, in case that wasn't clear (8D: Legislative landmark of '10)
P.P.S. it's GO space AT (50D: Charge). GO AT. Not GOAT.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Taffy-Kun 6:20 AM  

Nitcito - 48D Spanish key (or cay) is really an Isleta.

Lewis 6:34 AM  

Solid Friday, through and through. Lovely clues for ESCAPE ROOM, HETERONYMS, ELEM, STEER, and WHEN. Regarding that ELEM clue, it's been clued in the NYT [He, for one] before, but here Matthew took it a devilish step farther. As for answers, HELLION, I RUE THE DAY, and ESCAPE ROOM stood out for me. And the puzzle has it's own little Alphabet City with GDR / OCD / ACA filling in a tic-tac-toe area on top.

Overall, strong. High quality. Just what a Friday should be. Nothing very flashy, just a SQUAD of interesting answers clued Friday tough. I can see why Will GREELIGHTed this GRID, and I'm grateful to you, Matthew, for making it!

Anonymous 6:37 AM  

I agree totally about the GoT cluing! For me it's "don't know and don't care," like Taylor Swift songs. Just fill it from the down clues. Made worse because there are so many other ways to clue it: think Alice or Wray ('One on a first name basis with Kong', perhaps). And while we're ranting, can we please put a moratorium on EMO? (Thankfully not in this puzzle.)

Hank 7:04 AM  

I was surprised to finish as the start seemed so slow, but then the top three quarters was done in good time. Lots of my first choice answers were right but they frequently failed to help out on the crosses. When that happens I come to doubt them.

ELEM found it's place but made no sense to me till I saw the NYT write-up.

For the ruthless sort (49A) I kept thinking it was maybe Biblical. That corner was where I had to do the most work. I wanted "MONEYMEN" for Rainmakes til the very end. Also wanted GRIST not GRAIN and RUSH not GO AT (though clearly RUSH was wrong).

I drew a blank on the three names as well. Fortunately they got resolved too.

Favorites = the clue for STEER, some of the longer downs - AS NEEDED, I RUE THE DAY, LOST ITEM, TAXI METER, and the clue for Polish/polish. The longer acrosses seemed less sparkly. Maybe it was just me.

relicofthe60s 7:15 AM  

These demands for currency are getting absurd. I never heard of SQUADGOALS, but something from 2017 is now too old? And Game of Thrones has been off the air less than a year. I did watch Game of Thrones but didn’t know who Faye Marsay was. You could complain that she played a secondary character, but to object to every Game of Thrones reference while lauding obscure rappers strikes me as bizarre.

mambridge 7:19 AM  

Yes, please stop with the Game of Thrones clues. Not all of us can afford premium cable channels.

kitshef 7:21 AM  

I found this very challenging – more so than most Saturdays. Some of that was great – sink your teeth into it difficulty. Unfortunately, some of it was due to non-things like HACKY, UTNE and SQUAD GOALS. Don’t put green paint at 1A is my advice. And find a better FAYE, please – one that some of us might have heard of. And a better clue for HACKY would be “____ sack, wildly popular footbag”.

A pair of cats gave me a lot of trouble: OUTdoor CAT before OUTSIDE CAT (mine’s better), and HELLcat before HELLION (I’ll call that a draw).

[Update: Have now read Rex and see that both of my CATs were issues for him as well, and that he also objected to FAYE, but that SQUAD GOALS was "a gimme" and "dated". Apparently it is a Twitter thing, which explains why I have never heard of it.]

SJ Austin 7:24 AM  

I mostly really enjoyed this puzzle, but came in way over average because OUTdoorCAT was killing me up in the northwest. I finally gave up and asked the app to check that word, thinking to myself, "There's no way that's a wrong answer; it's so obviously correct", and then, sure enough, I got four red slashes, begrudgingly changed it, and breezed through the rest. So yeah, I'm with you on that one, Rex.

Also, do you "do" something to A TEE? Seems like that goes with "fits".

amyyanni 7:28 AM  

So agree as to GOT clues. How do you feel about Harry Potter references? Also had OUTDOORCAT for too long until I was sure of ASNEEDED. Biggest error: had G_____IGHT and thought it was Give a right. Awkward and wrong! TGIF

QuasiMojo 7:28 AM  

I made almost all of the same mistakes Rex did. And agree about G.O.T. perhaps a bit more fervently. I've never seen it. Some fun clues today. The one for ELEM really threw me. I wonder if those Heteronyms are now labeling themselves as cis non-binary.

@GILL et al! Happy to sing-a-long. Fun stroll down memory lane yesterday. And Joe the West Side Diner is still there. I think it was called American Diner back then. Or Vice Versa. My voice teacher and I ate there frequently.

Hungry Mother 7:55 AM  

Good day for a hard one. Fridays are slow starting days for me, so I’m in no rush to finish the puzzle. Quite a slog, but done in the end. Some really nice wordplay. I liked it a lot.

Gary 8:07 AM  

I've always hated heteronyms (words with same spelling but different pronunciations) with a burning passion. It just means that in English's writing system, nothing matters.

I have bookmarked a webpage dedicated to such words, so that one day, once I am President of the Lands and Sea, I can purge all such words to the annals of history.
Fun Friday link:

DeeJay 8:14 AM  

Rex, it is good to learn that, once in a while, you are multi-stumped like regular folk.

Suzie Q 8:27 AM  

Agree with @ Lewis. I enjoyed the solve. It put up a fight but I won in the end. Loved the clue for elem. The clue for steer was clever as well. So many cool words. The only one that gave me pause was hacky. Thanks Matthew S.

GILL I. 8:46 AM  

SQUAD GOALS? HACKEY? GOAT? OUTSIDE CAT? ATEE? What the hell? Where am I? Can someone DESALINATE me. EGADS, this was worse than slathering AVOCADO OIL on my face. O.K. so I don't mind hard and evil and there are lots of puzzles that are just that AND I Enjoy, this was pure hell for getting into Paradise.
The cluing....hoo boy.....Who says Do to ATEE? (19A)? Why clue CANTO for your poem division? Everyone knows Maria Callas is the most famous Bel CANTO, right? Does HACKY need a sack? At least clue PUFF as the magic dragon. A Spanish key is llave...oh, you mean ISLA...haha. OSA MAYOR?
Not my day, I guess. I did like HELLION and DINNER DATE.

mmorgan 8:50 AM  

Interesting that Rex started out with SQUAD GOALS and that it was a gimme for him. It (and the entire NW) was the very last thing I got and couldn’t believe it was right — Ive never ever ever heard it. I guess I missed 2017. Also had Pant and Sloe. I’ve never seen GOT, but somehow FAYE magically appeared. Otherwise this was fun and tough and came very slowly, but each little bit felt like a triumph, and getting the happy pencil song with SQUAD GOALS was quite a surprise.

Suzy 9:15 AM  

Totally agree with @Gill—. never heard of Squad Goals! A very sing-songy puzzle, gettable, but no fun for me!

oldbizmark 9:16 AM  

Your real beef with the "OUTSIDE CAT" answer is that we shouldn't be encouraging such a terribly irresponsible and environmentally unfriendly action such as letting one's cat outside. They are the #2 leading cause for the decline of bird populations in the Americas. They are non-native and invasive when let outside. Stop the insanity. And, if you are going to rant and rave about something not being PC or hurtful, then please apply it in equal measure to something as irresponsible as OUTSIDE CATS as an answer to a clue in the puzzle.

Stop TNR. Prosecute those who abandon their animals, as well as those who let their cats become outside predators.

BobL 9:23 AM  

Huh? Always been "outside cat" in my neck of the woods.

Pretty nifty puzzle.

Sir Hillary 9:25 AM  

Not sure I understand the complaints about this one. I get that some of it may not be in one's wheelhouse, but jeez people, it's Friday -- expect to put in a little work.

Aside from HACKY (as clued) and OUTSIDECAT being much less "in the language" than OUTdoorCAT (more on that later), what is wrong with this puzzle? Good long answers (hello AVOCADOOIL, HETERONYMS, GREENLIGHT, NONFACTORS, DESALINATE) and some superb cluing (looking at you, ELEM, ESCAPEROOM, LIE, OED, STEER, TAXIMETERS, LOSTITEM) -- great stuff!

I had never heard of SQUADGOALS, but @Rex has convinced me that (a) it's not green paint and (b) it's plenty recent. So again, what's the problem?

As for OUTDOORCATS, I have to confess...that's what I wrote in first. But as I was doing so, I was thinking it would need to be corrected. Nope, which left fIb for LIE as my only write-over.

At one point, I jumbled the order of Down clues and thought Medical directive was DIE. YIPE!

Happy weekend, all.

Jyqm 9:27 AM  

I’m not surprised that SQUADGOALS was unknown to a lot of commenters here, though I dropped it in immediately. Maybe the kids up in Binghamton are just that much more up-to-the-minute than those of us here in the rural backwaters of the five boroughs, but the term is still very much in circulation here, including among undergrads.

But then, that’s not really the point, is it? The point is the NYT can never do right. No internet slang = musty, mothballs, “could have been published thirty years ago. Then when a constructor does throw in something contemporary, it’s still stale because the phrase is all of four years old. Well, there’s certainly something stale around here, but I don’t think it’s this puzzle.

Nancy 9:28 AM  

So many things in this very difficult puzzle felt just a little bit *off* to me. Where to begin?


ESCAPE ROOM is not an "activity". It's a place. Or I suppose you can call it a game. But the "activity" is getting out of the ESCAPE ROOM.

An unoriginal comedian is HACKY??? That's a word? Aw, c'mon, give me a break.

You don't "do" to A TEE. You "do" to A TURN. You "suit" to A TEE.

At best, SQUAD GOALS is green paint-y. At worst, it's not a thing at all.

Then add to these woes my own mistakes: Trying to decide between GASP and PANT (47D) and failing to think of PUFF. Having WHOA before WHEN for "That's enough".

I solved this eventually, but without much pleasure. I did love HETERONYMS, though.

Z 9:30 AM  

Okay, first, not an Atlanta Brave fan, but when the count is 0-2 you have a couple of options; bury a slider in the dirt down and away or High Heat. Never EVER NEVER THROW A HITTABLE PITCH DOWN THE MIDDLE!!!!!!! Okay, I feel better now.

Anyway, Yay Me, I saw right through the He not she clue and avoided the incorrect correct answer because “door” was in the clue. But, yowser, did I have a slow solve. Started with lane before AXLE, OSLO showed me I was wrong, but it still took me forever to figure out. I also had to fix WHEw to WHEN, so that little corner was a mess. Yay Me, I also missed whenever SQUAD GOALS was current. I play on a team and we have goals, but I find the application of the team metaphor to other areas of life more than a little trite and HACKY.

I agree with the general notion of fewer GoT clues, but not for the reason some have given. FAYE Marsay has other roles of some note. Is an unnamed character in two seasons really crossworthy? Marsay is probably the most crossworthy current FAYE, but going GoT is unnecessary. Candidly, though, however she was clued, I pretty much stopp at “Actress Marsay” and figure I will need most of the crosses.

When is the last time GOAT got an animal clue. Seems like it’s always GO AT these days, with maybe a G.O.A.T. thrown in (although maybe that’s just from watching too much sports on TV).

Z 9:34 AM  

@oldbizmark - Cats are bird predators, but are not in any significant way responsible for the decline in bird populations. No, full responsibility for that lies with the species you see in the mirror.

Jim McConnell 9:56 AM  

Peer Gynt premiered in 1876 in Christiana. The city was renamed Oslo in 1905.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

Alternative clue for 50D. "Acuna, of the Atlanta Braves."

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Simone 10:01 AM  

I watch Game of Thrones religiously and follow many of the actors on social media and was still flummoxed by that clue. Googled it post solve. Important but minor character who appeared in two seasons. I bet there are cast members who wouldn't know this answer.

kitshef 10:01 AM  

@Anon 6:37 I like your thinking, but alas it is FAY WRAY, not FAYE. Dunaway is probably the only FAYE in my wheelhouse.

TJS 10:12 AM  

@Z, since you saw the game, I assume you heard the home plate ump frequently describing pitches as "Ball In","Ball Up",etc. Thought it was cool when checking on check swings with 1st and 3rd base umps, he pointed and yelled "What did you see?" or "Whatta ya got?"
As to the puzzle, after reading the first ten clues or so, I thought this would be a bear, but then the top right fell after mis-guessing "mess" for "jumble", which gave me the "s" for oslo. Must have had the great wheelhouse effect after that, cause I solved clockwise after that all the way back to NW corner without coming to any dead stops. Really liked the cluing and fill in this one, and thought the Rex review was amusing. Another un-timed effort, eh Rex?

Dorothy Biggs 10:14 AM  

Entertainment-wise, there are a couple of things I'm weirdly proud of: I didn't like Forrest Gump and I've never watched GoT. See also: I loved Northern Exposure and now, Letterkenny. I'm surprised there haven't more Downton Abbey actor clues since that seemed to be the thing there for a while.

TIL that "goat" can mean: A) an animal that sometimes faints, B) To "set to" or attack, and C) Greatest Of All Time. Am I missing anymore for that string of letters?

I did terribly on this puzzle to start, left it to go make the bed, came back, and **poof** it all fell into place. One big hold up was OUTdoorCAT. I do wonder if what you call that area not in your house is colloquial to where you live: outdoors, out of doors, outside, etc. I've lived so many places I don't know what my native dialect calls it.

oldbizmark 10:14 AM  

Z - Yes, humans are the number #1 cause of species decline for birds. However, cats are #2. And, yes, cats are predators of birds when cats are endemic. And, the birds in those regions have natural defenses to these predators. However, birds in the Americas do not because they lived without the presence of cats, an introduced and now invasive species, for millions of years. Humans need to help fix the problem by taking cats off the streets by not having "OUTSIDE CATS."

jrstocker 10:24 AM  

You know what? Sometimes pop culture references show up that I don't know either. How about get the hell over it and solve around that one 4 letter word?

Petsounds 10:28 AM  

Could someone please explain 14D? How is WHEN the answer to "That's enough!"?

William of Ockham 10:31 AM  

Sick of GOT

David 10:42 AM  

I started reading a book on Sunday which kept me riveted, and away from the puzzles, because it's both fascinating and terrifying. "The Enigma of Clarence Thomas." It explains a lot about our current state and our probable future.

Did the Wednesday rebus last night, found it fun. Today I find OK but yeah, outdoor cat, pant, sloe, and I had studied instead of erudite. Made a real hash of things. Oh yes, sallam before shalom. Looking now I see sallam is a verb form, so the proper answer would be salam, a letter short. Learn something new every day.

Even though I'm a Futbol fan squad goals are not a thing to me. Coming here I see it's a social media thing. Okay then, whatever.

Lots of nice stuff here: hellion, escape room, greenlight, raiment, all that and more made this enjoyable.

And OMG! Of course I slapped down GER for 6D because constructors and editors are always using ersatz abbreviations for everything (desc. anyone?) so thankyou thankyou Matthew for using an actual, real abbreviation.

Oddly, I have no problem with people in Spain using Spanish to identify constellations. I did not know Sirius was a star system, another thing learned. I sometimes do things to a tee, and sometimes I rue the day. I'll never get actors in premium channel shows but most are easily sussed out and, afaic, the shows seem to be wildly popular so why not? I don't get baseball answers much either unless they're from the time of Mickey or Yaz.

Nice return to the puzzle, nice distraction from reality.

Everyone 10:47 AM  

@William of Ockham - You know what? People are sick of you. You've been dead for about 700 years, yet here you are - still telling people what to think, how to think, and probably when to think. No one appreciated it 700 years ago, and no one appreciates it now, now when your only identifiable corporeal remains consist of 1000 generations of worm shit.

nyc_lo 10:50 AM  

SQUADGOALS sounds like some Bro-ey corporate speak that thankfully I’ve never encountered before. In fact, I would have to fight the urge to punch someone who said it to me. Which is probably why I have no friends, aspirational or otherwise.

Pete 10:51 AM  

@Petsounds - You obviously never had an older brother pounding on you, telling you to "Say When".

AW 10:52 AM  

Let me pour you a drink. Say when.

Ethan Taliesin 10:52 AM  

Really, really liked it a LOT. It was hard for me, and I'm glad I was doing it on the computer because I would have made an absolute mess out of a hard copy.

Lots of great misdirection today, the most obvious one described thusly by the infallible internet-->

" As nouns the difference between garment and raiment is that garment is a single item of clothing while raiment is (archaic|or|literary) clothing, garments, dress, material. "

I beat my average by just over a minute (though that "average" started when I was just an occasional solver). It's a nice feeling on a day I felt challenged, even though I know what it represents. Life's too short to question my validation and better to just accept it graciously, I say.

Noice fill today. This is the sort of puzzle that ups my crossword game.

jberg 10:54 AM  

@petsounds—. Want some more whiskey? I’ll pour—just say when!

Mr. security man, I’ve lost an ITEM?

Can you describe it?

Well, it had a shape and a weight, and it was a color. Does that help?

Agreed, there was some nice fill—the whole SE, ESCAPE ROOM as clued, PIEROGI, even SQUAD GOALS now that I know they’re a thing. But a lot of clunkiness, as well and that S at the end of EGAD was just too much for me.

Also, I thought Sirius was a single star—was I just wrong about that?

Ethan Taliesin 10:56 AM  

@mambridge 7:19

Cable companies are the worst.

I'm not saying cut the cord and look into BitTorrent, but cut the cord and...

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

Yes, please stop with the Game of Thrones clues. Not all of us can afford premium cable channels.

c'mon. the average NYT reader/puzzler is upper-middle class. at least. but DISH has dropped HBO, AT&T, who stole HBO in the first place is imploding. pretty soon only the 1% will be able to afford the streaming services, since each will have so few customers. the tyranny of fixed cost will drive up price. 'Merican capitalists are quite stupid.

"Say, WHEN!"

SQUADGOALS??? I learned it, and still do, as "There's no 'I' in 'TEAM' "

puzzlehoarder 11:06 AM  

This took me twice as long to solve compared to my Friday average. While the puzzle had it's difficulties this was mostly due to staying up past midnight on a DIY project and then solving. Bad idea. Not only did I keep nodding off but I had a mental block on the word SHALOM for a long time. I'm not sure how to spell SALAAM but no variation of As or Ls was helping. I knew there was another word that applied but it wouldn't come out.

Speaking of my spelling issues I always have thought that 36A was spelled RAIN(n)MENT. Of course it didn't fit and seeing the word 'rain' in the clue for 37D felt like the puzzle was ridiculing my spelling.

All was corrected in the end but it was quite a struggle. Oddly the NW was easy. 1A and 15A are just wrong but when UTNE, GDR and ACA are all gimmes it's not hard to fill in the blanks.

I had HOKEY before HACKY and flip flopped over GRIST and GRAIN. Luckily LIKENS lead the way.

There was much puzzling on getting to a clean grid, which is good. I just wish I'd solved well rested.

Whatsername 11:13 AM  

For the second day in a row, I must point out that a federal government department - USDA - is incorrectly clued as an agency. The clue at 53A should read “Forest Service’s dept” not agcy. The United States Forest Service is an agency of the US Department of Agriculture, not the other way around.

@Petsounds: when you’ve had enough, you say “when.”

I found this to be very much on the tough side, but it’s Friday so that’s a good thing. Wanted SLOE at 1D, tried HOKEY before HACKY, CPI before PSI, and THOUS for mill fill, thinking in terms of the recently clued cool mill[ions]. I agree with @Nancy that the clue for ESCAPEROOM is questionable. I get it but seems like it should have been more logically clued as a place or location. The clue for STEER made me smile and think of my all-time favorite western, Lonesome Dove. If you’ve never watched Gus and Woodrow lead their epic cattle drive to Montana, well it’s one you will remember. Beats all heck out of Game of Thrones in my opinion.

Geezer 11:20 AM  

Why the hell are people PROUD of not liking a TV show, or a movie, or a person? Should I be PROUD of not liking raw celery? not liking Birdman? WTF is that all about?

Anonymoose 11:24 AM  

Sick of people being sick of GOT

What? 11:28 AM  

Can someone explain 52 D

OffTheGrid 11:43 AM  

Z nailed it. Door was in the clue. We who first entered OUTdoorCAT have only ourselves to blame (my words, not Z's). Outdoor cat is probably more common but if someone tells me they have an outside cat I won't wonder what they mean. But outdoor or outside, it's a bad idea. My reasons are different from oldbizmark's. It's bad for the cat! In my volunteer work at a shelter I see lots of nasty effects of living outdoors. Disease, parasites, injury, malnutrition, pregnancy (kittens are cute but they're not an endangered species). Cats really have a better and longer life inside. I don't know the extent of bird loss.

Missy 11:52 AM  

Will someone please explain the answer to 52 down; He, but not she: Abbr.??

WhatDoing 11:52 AM  

I’m all for the ban on GoT clues if we can also do away with all baseball-related clues. Sound too harsh? Then perhaps stick to more commonly known names in both.

And SQUAD GOALS is not a thing, it’s a flash in the pan hashtag. Much like fitspo.

Great clueing on several items but a DNF for me today. This made my brain hurt.

TJS 11:57 AM  

Elementary, my dear @What. Elem is a terrible abbreviation for element. "He"stands for helium, which is an element in the periodic table. There is no "she" abbreviation for an element.

Donald 11:57 AM  

When someone says “rue the day” I usually hear “rue de day.” Which my pun-damaged brain translates into a terrible crossword clue: French street commemorating the events of 6/6/1944. Ugh.

Joe Dipinto 11:58 AM  

My long-deceased calico cat Bongo was, I guess, a STAIRWELL CAT. She spent all of her time trying to get outside. When I'd come home from work she'd wait right inside the door so that as soon as I got it open a crack she could rush into the hallway and race down the stairs. Then she'd look up at me from two flights below and meow – playtime! So I'd humor her and start going downstairs, at which she would race back up past me and meow at me from the top floor. When I got tired I'd go inside and shut the door, and get the can opener going very audibly. Sure enough, moments later she'd be clamoring to get back in. Food took precedence over playtime.

I agree with Rex almost totally today. OUTDOOR CAT, check. Never heard of SQUAD GOALS, never seen or heard HACKY. I thought NON-FACTORS was going to be "something ACTORS". Fortunately I didn't have a DNF, but I think putting three abbreviations side-by-side (GDR/OED/ACA) is not cool. But, I rather liked the puzzle overall.

Now let's all go ♪ frolic in the autumn mist in a land called Honalee ♪

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

@Petsounds - You obviously never had an older brother pounding on you, telling you to "Say When".

Nah. I always asked, "Say UNCLE!!!!"

Carola 12:12 PM  

Pleasingly tough - and just all-around pleasing. Finding the NW impenetrable, I went for STOp x TAXIMETERS and from there managed to pick my tentative way through this gallery of grid treats, finishing with the unknown-to-me SQUAD GOALS. Especially loved HELLION and the professor's ERUDITE RAIMENT (picturing Oxford dons in their flapping gowns).

Anon 12:15 PM  

Anon @11:02am...There might not be an I in TEAM, but there is a ME.

Jyqm 12:17 PM  

@Nancy -- Yep, an unoriginal comedian or writer is indeed HACKY. It's definitely a word. Probably most commonly heard in, say, a sitcom or late night talk show writers' room: "Can we quit doing jokes about how Trump's weight? Fat jokes are just so hacky."

@nyc_lo -- No, SQUADGOALS isn't "corporate bro" speak, quite the opposite. The phrase is probably most common among women in their twenties. Think of a scene from a show or movie where a group of friends work together to take down a bully, win a competition, help one of their own to get over a bad breakup, etc. That's "squad goals," i.e. "This is what I want my group of friends to be like." This phrase is the origin for the self-description of a certain group of young progressive congresswomen.

@What? -- "He" is the chemical symbol for the ELEMent helium, while "she" is not a chemical symbol for anything.

kitshef 12:18 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sgreennyc 12:19 PM  

Re outside versus outdoor cat. Either one fits the clue. Where is it written that the answer must conform to an overused cliche?

Z 12:22 PM  

@Petsounds - Yeah, I wasted many precious nanoseconds on that, too.

@OffTheGrid - Thanks for clarifying.

@What? - He is the symbol for the ELEMent helium. “She” is not an ELEMent.

@Geezer - Did anyone say they were proud of not knowing something? I guess @Dorothy Biggs said she was “weirdly proud,” but I didn’t read that as the same as “proud.”

@TJS - Actually, only a couple of innings and I tend to tune out the audio because most national announcers are so bad. Glad, too, because the totally unnecessary “in” and “up” would have bugged me. Seriously, the only people who need to say “in” or “up” or “OUTSIDE CAT” are radio announcers. Those of us watching already know. In fact, it doesn’t take long as an umpire to realize that “Where was that?” from a catcher or batter is really, “you missed it Blue” (even though I did a lot of USSSA umpiring and we wore red shirts we were still called “Blue”).

@oldbizmark - You’re not wrong, but that is still a little like blaming Acuña for not running out his long fly for that loss when the real problem were those horrid 0-2 pitches. Picking just one notable example, you can’t blame OUTSIDE CATs for the extinction of the passenger pigeon.

jb129 12:36 PM  

Yes, ENOUGH with Game of Thrones & Harry Potter!

I had Sloe & Pant too.

This was harder than the hardest Saturday. For those of you that enjoyed it, I'm glad. I'm always up for a good (ENJOYABLE) challenge, but this wasn't it.

Tomorrow is another day.

jae 12:51 PM  

NE easy, the rest was tough. I pretty much made all the mistakes that Rex and many of you made. Add to those a bit of trouble spelling PIEROGI (I swear there are about six ways to spell it some of which have an H somewhere).

Stumptown is maybe the best new show on TV. You’ll recognize Cobie if you watched “How I Met Your Mother.”

Nice Fri. workout with some zip, liked it.

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

Aspirations for a group of friends : SQUADGOALS (xwordinfo)

How many 'friends' do you know who have any shared goals? Certainly not "Friends" or "Seinfeld" or "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia". Any, in every team sport ever played, the players are never all 'friends'. Lots of times some of them hate some of them. IOW, 'friends' do not a SQUAD make. Even more, a SQUAD is not of 'friends' made.

old timer 1:07 PM  

Total DNF here. At the bottom I did not see STAR SYSTEM having forgotten Sirius is a double star, and not knowing a CAR was a token in that game. At the top, I confidently put in DDR, the more usual (to me)
abbreviation. So I tried to shoehorn in "squaredeal", having never once in my life heard of a SQUADDEAL.

We had a couple of sister kittens when our kids were growing up. Both were indoors most of the time, but one was an inside cat, who looked out the window most of the time, and the other was an OUTSIDE CAT, who loyally stood guard on our front porch, protecting us from stranger cats, at least, and birds. Who were in no danger at all if they could fly. Mice were her occasional victims.

I very good puzzle, Friday tough. I liked that even if I could not finish perfectly,

Logan 1:11 PM  

How does exempli gratia translate to lat? I don't get it. Thanks

RooMonster 1:15 PM  

Hey All !
Quote Rex: "The ITEM in LOST ITEM was verrrrry anti-climactic, in that I had LOST and thought "LOST what?! what will it be!? what is the lost item!?" And it was just... item.". Unquote.
Har! I thought the same thing! Wanted keys or something, searching the ole brain for anything __E_, and then, Oh, ITEM. Wah wah. *Insert killed Pac-Man sound*

For I RUE THE DAY, wanted it first without the I, but ended up with an extra space. So then wrote in ruesTHEDAY, until I finally saw IDEALS. Aha, I RUE, said I ROO. :-) Plus really wanting medAl,then meTAl for IDTAG (even though meTAl made no sense), so that took a bit to see, with strange clues for ELI and LIE.

Funniness in SE, had 56 & 57D, which gave me ___AL_____ for 60A, Make drinkable, in a way, and wrote in addALcohol. Har 2. But couldn't figure out OSA, so I had aSA, and kept reading 54A as one word, AVACADOOIL, as in AVAC A DOO IL. Har 3. Even when I finished and checked the grid to see my wrongness, I still didn't parse it as AVOCADO OIL. I said, "what in tarhooties is AVOC A DOO IL?"

That was it for writeovers, but 1A did me in also by having SQUADcalLS, because I would've sworn 7D was AED. You know, the defribulator thing. It is for your heart...

Even after all that, I did enjoy this puz. Fun clues, as others have noted. Words I never hear before, RAIMENT, e.g. AVOC A DOO IL...


Teedmn 1:31 PM  

No single answer held me up today but my time was 10 seconds short of 20 minutes so tough for a Friday, at least as recent Fridays go. As is often the case, the NW was the last to fall. I had DIE, LATHE and STEER going down, but the incorrect "zine" for 3D kept me from getting much else there.

On to the NE, where HELLION led the way. When ___N did not immediately elicit WHEN in my brain, I nearly changed to HELLcat but then what belongs at 14D? 11D, 12D and 13D cleared all of that up. But I'm still rolling my eyes at how long it took me to get SMELL from _MEL_.

My only writeovers are LIKENS (I put it in, I took it out, I put it back in again so lots of black ink) and zine to emag (oops, magazine is in the clue, oh, that goes for zine too, oops twice) to UTNE. SQUAD GOALS - I fail to see that as a very utile phrase but Urban Dictionary explains it so it must be (have been?) a thing.

I had to look up which character FAYE Marsay played. The Waif, okay.

I sound like I didn't like this puzzle but I did so I'm not sure why I'm complaining. I like ELI crossing its anagram LIE. I love PIEROGIs so that confirmed my "hUFF or PUFF" guess at 47D. I liked the rainmakers = MONSOONS and my always spoken as RAInMENT (not that I use the word often) at 36A.

And then there are the words I see in puzzles where I come up against a lacuna in my knowledge. How can I have read the word "paradigm" dozens, hundreds?, of times and yet have such a weak grasp of its meaning that I needed a bunch of crosses to fill it in? I can't say the online MW definition would have brought me to "ideals" either:

1 : example, pattern especially : an outstandingly clear or typical example or archetype … regard science as the paradigm of true knowledge. — G. C. J. Midgley
2 : an example of a conjugation or declension showing a word in all its inflectional forms
3 : a philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within which theories, laws, and generalizations and the experiments performed in support of them are formulated the Freudian paradigm of psychoanalysis broadly : a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind.

And so, Matthew Sewell, thank you for providing some grist for the grid and for contributing to my ongoing education in the English language.

Frantic Sloth 1:35 PM  

I’ll just say this: if knowing the term “squad goals” or watching Game of Thrones is the price to pay for coming out from under my rock, I’ll happily wear the moss.

Kathy 1:39 PM  

What odes LAT men in 30D? Thank you

Fansince1939 1:41 PM  

I thought the ump was talking to the batter when he added to his call.

Missy 1:43 PM  

Thank you!!!!

Glinda 1:44 PM  

Where I come from it *IS* an outside cat. And I come from about 150 miles from Rex. "Outdoor cat" is so ... so ... so ... "suburban".

As for the GOT actress: it was a particularly good clue since no one knows that actress unless you are an over-the-top GOT geek. So it was perfect for the normal GOT viewer AND the person who's never seen it. The concept that a show has to be current to be fair game for a puzzle is laughable.

Jstarrracewalker 1:44 PM  

I thought the comments were for the benefit of the batter.

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

Thought about it for a while, still don't understand LAT for Exempli gratia. E.G., for example, got it. So what is LAT? (Feeling very dense because no one else has asked for an explanation.) Help, please.

Kathy 2:03 PM  

Yeah, I asked for an explanation of LAT also. So far, that makes 3 of us.

Whatsername 2:17 PM  

LAT = abbreviation for Latin.

Georgia 2:17 PM  

Lat for Latin ... ?

Georgia 2:18 PM  

I think Lat must stand for Latin.

Simone 2:32 PM  

I don't know how to reply directly to a comment but Petsounds (love the username): You know, When, like when you're pouring somebody a drink and you tell them, "Say when!"

Rex and others: I totally agree about the outdoor/outside cat. I had outdoor cat for the longest time here. I have an INDOOR cat myself.

Matt Messinger 2:43 PM  

Just brutal. I did learn that a heteronym is a homograph that is NOT a homophone. Sadly, I think I will remember that piece of trivia.

LorrieJJ 2:51 PM  

Yes, please! I don't get it either. Anybody?

LorrieJJ 2:52 PM  

Still waiting for this answer!!!!

TJS 2:55 PM  

Last two baseball commenters : I don't think so. If the calls were balls, not strikes, I doubt the batter would need confirmation from the ump, I mean he's the one that didn't swing. Maybe just letting the catcher know what he sees, but it seemed to me that the ump was loud enough that the pitcher could hear him too. Anyway, looking forward to a great post-season. Unfortunately, I was born a White Sox fan.

Fred Wollam 3:15 PM  

He (Helium)

RooMonster 3:16 PM  

Others have answered, but that won't let me stop from also answering!
LAT is short for Latin, for this clue, which is clued using a Latin phrase. So Exempli gratia is a phrase in Latin. Apparently the e.g. is enough to let you know it's an Abbr.
Could've used any Latin phrase, Semper Fidelis, e.g. e.g.

RooMonster Sounds Like He Knows Latin Guy

Fred Wollam 3:19 PM  


ghostoflectricity 3:23 PM  

Figured 1D was a trap, so waited until I got the crosses and wrote SODA, avoiding the temptation of writing SLOE.

Otherwise, this puzzle to me was the height of brazen, in-your-face Trumpism, characterized by all the hallmarks of that digital-age version of fascism, just as the Trumpistas themselves have publicly abandoned all semblance of respect for the rule of law, human decency, legal and political precedents, or the plain and simple truth.

The philosophy of Will Shortz, and of this puzzle, are the epitome of Trumpism: I do whatever I want, I have contempt for my target audience, I am intellectually lazy, and to hell with the rules:

There is no such term as "outside cat." Domestic cats are "indoor" or "outdoor" cats, no matter how convenient it is for you to make up a term out of thin air because you're too lazy and/or untalented and/or lacking in intelligence to design a puzzle with elegant, real words in the fill.

Similarly, "SQUADGOALS"??? WTH? Rex tells me this expression had some vogue a couple of years back, but I read the (dead-tree) NYT cover to cover every day, subscribe to The New Yorker, read about 75-80 books a year, and check a number of websites on a daily basis as prophylactic of turning into an out-of-date old fart, and I've never come across this phrase, written or spoken.

Similarly, "HACKY"??? Out-of-date or poor humor is unclever, stale, trite, or HACKNEYED, but I have NEVER come across "HACKY" as a free-standing word meaning "adjective for something a (non-taxi-driver) hack engages in." I've only encountered it as the first word of HACKY SACK, a game for one or more players seeing how long they can keep a small ball in the air without falling to the ground using only their feet.

Similarly, EGADS. In French, they would say ça n'existe pas. EGAD is the word and EGADS is for lazy, lacking-in-intelligence and/or -talent, self-indulgent, I-make-up-my-own-rules-and-Will-Shortz-enables-it-as-surely-as-GOP-Senators-enable-Trump's-fascism/behavior.

The Trump regime-I-refuse-to-call-an-administration has gone full rogue; now, so has the NYT crossword.

Rick 3:25 PM  

This write-up reminded me of what an entertaining writer Rex can be when he's not on one of his ridiculous PC rants.

ghostoflectricity 3:26 PM  

This is acceptable: Cream in 1967 tearing it up on an old blues standard written by Blind Joe Reynolds. "OUTSIDECAT"? No.

Phil 4:03 PM  

Everyone seems to give Electricity GRID a pass but I’ve only heard of Electric Grid or Electrical Grid. Duckduckgoing it pops up the correct term as well.

Z 4:30 PM  

@Phil - The clue in the paper is “Electrical _______l

@RooMonster - You didn’t point out the extra level of cuteness that “e.g.” is the abbreviation for Exempli gratia. I agree with you that the “e.g.” made the “:Abbr.” superfluous.

Hank 4:30 PM  

He = the symbol for helium
Helium = an element
ELEM = abbreviation

He is an element but She is not. Kind of an "ugh" clue but apparently it's been done before in some other variants.

Fred Romagnolo 4:36 PM  

@Gil: There is a difference between bel canto and coloratura. @ghostofelectricity: But, how do you REALLY feel about the current president of the United States? 13 Down didn't ask what the city was called then, so Oslo is correct. Yes, ESCAPEROOM is a place, not an activity. "HACKY" is a very bad reach, even for a Friday puzzle.

RooMonster 4:50 PM  

Har, that's because I didn't know that e.g. meant that! *Red faced* Apparently I don't know Latin. (Y'all should know that by now!)


GILL I. 5:35 PM  

@Fred, my friend. I know the difference. Bel CANTO was written for coloratura.

Kathy/Logan 8:23 PM  

Thanks to all of you who responded with the explanation for LAT! It did not occur to me that it was the abbreviation for Latin.

Kathy aka Logan

RockDoc 10:19 PM  

Holy wow. I could not parse GOAT. Thank you, Rex, I really needed that one!

Flying Pediatrician 11:33 PM  

I learned how to fly helicopters with the HELLIONS of HT-28! Our morale patch (see profile pic) featured the motto “HELLIONS get lucky,” which is about how I felt to finish with a correct puzzle today. I had all the same writeovers as @Rex, but I got it done.

Anonymous 5:07 PM  

If He is an element( as in Helium), and the misdirection to she, then she should be She, capitalized because all elements are proper nouns..small but critical faux pas....n'est-ce pas, oui?

Curmudgeon 5:24 PM  

While Irwin Allen directed some films, he earned the Moniker of Master of Disasters by Producing Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno. He directed neither.

OISK 6:02 PM  

I agree .

Hennytoot 10:46 AM  

Her “name” was The Waif. Terrible clue

Unknown 11:27 AM  

My God!
Eli isn't a Hebrew translation of "MyGod!". It's one of the English meanings of the name 'Eli.' Eli, loosely translated from Hebrew is 'to me.' The Jewish religion doesn't actually have a name for a physical God and would never write it's name.

Burma Shave 10:25 AM  


are a LOSTITEM, we’ll FLAT out miss ‘em.


make D.C. great again

spacecraft 11:23 AM  

GOAT is a DOOK; last letters entered. A few other hiccups,* but mostly smooth sailing. I found this easy-medium for a Friday.

*Hand up for GeR, and I should know better: I traveled through the GDR once.

*Other hand up for Pant. I sense that was a very popular miss.

*EXit before AXLE. It took an extra beat or two to suss ("Say") WHEN. Cute.

Although the only HACKY I know is the Sack (I'm not very good at it), I suppose the term as it applies to comic material can be inferred. As to 1-across, I never heard of that beast, and its early exit (?) from the language is understandable. Goals are individual. The phrase makes no real sense. The outdoor/OUTSIDE flap (hah!) means little to me; they're interchangeable. This was a NONFACTOR.

I'd like to go on a DINNERDATE with DOD Faye Marsay. Maybe we could find a use for some of that AVOCADOOIL.

Overall solid work; ATEE notwithstanding. Birdie.

rondo 11:29 AM  

SalaaM before SHALOM (figuring all those As would work out better), otherwise clean. And as @D, LIW says, ya gotta know your periodic table, whether you eat there or throw all your cards on it. WHEN, if ever, will PUFF be clued as the magic dragon? SHALOM.

rainforest 6:05 PM  

I found this hard/medium. I just couldn't get started, save for OSLO up there, isolated for a long time (as it is in real life), until I cottoned onto ELEM way down there, contrarily, because HElium has a tendency to go up. Figured out that some kind of oil was involved in the cosmetic. Then, that whole SE section came "relatively" quickly.

Some things I wanted, but didn't put in: yikeS, keratin OIL, modeLS for IDEALS, HoarY for HACKY. Struggling, clearly. But things came together eventually and I stumbled up to the NW and when I saw that SQUAD GOALS was the answer for 1A, I simultaneously thought "yahoo" and "wha?". Never heard that term, and it sounds very cutesy to me. I have a group of friends - not a SQUAD.

Anyway, hard not to like this one, hard as it was to get into.

leftcoaster 6:48 PM  

After getting a foothold, which took a bit of time, it was a pretty straightforward solve.

Virtually all the long acrosses and downs fed on each other and contributed to making this puzzle gettable. Outliers PIEROGi, HACKY, and ELEM benefited too.

Nothing to complain about and much to like.

Anonymous 6:49 PM  

I went onlne to check Aspirations of groups. Squad Goals… hmmm…never heard of it and you say its already passé! Had some of the same write-overs you did: Grist for grain, (grist for the mill) I thought was better and of course Outdoor cat. I already had “flat: and “ Faye so huff or puff was obvious. I thought an item turned over to security would have been found…not lost.

Diana, LIW 7:21 PM  

@Rondo - after you memorize the periodic table and the rivers of the world, start working on the OED. That'll keep ya busy!

But you won't find SQUADGOALS therein.

Finished this with my "indoor" cats. Neither of who is named PUFF, tho I did have a cat named Spot.

Spot on!!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Unknown 2:44 PM  

I can't for the life of me figure out how "lie" equals "something fabulous"! Sadly, I'm the only one. Please throw me a bone! Thank you. It's making me nuts!🙂

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP