Rules maven Edmond / FRI 10-18-19 / 2016 film about 1967 Supreme Court case / Hired one is called moirologist / Ulan Siberian capital / Epithet for uninformed / Giant in health beauty products

Friday, October 18, 2019

Constructor: Jamey Smith

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (7:17)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: VOILE (16A: Fabric for a wedding dress) —
a fine soft sheer fabric used especially for women's summer clothing or curtains (
• • •

This was grim. All the things that make a Friday undelightful—not a lot of sparkle, off cluing, weak fill, and (not the puzzle's fault, exactly) just way off my wavelength, both content-wise and just ... voice-wise. Not for me, at all. Hell of a lot of trouble with the top part, from referring to ITEN (bad fill, don't call attention to bad fill!) as a "lower artery" to horrid legal Latin at 1D (IDEM) to TERABIT (not -byte??) to IVORY as an artist's medium (!) to AVOCADO clued in relation to yellow (?) to AMWAY clued via health and beauty (I didn't know it had a focus ... I had ALMAY ... is that something?) to whatever that word for professional MOURNER was (not even gonna look at that clue again) to WINED (ugh) to the weak assertion that rom-coms are "typically" DATE MOVIEs—what does that even mean? I'd venture to say that the "typical" attendee of any movie, rom-com included, is not, in fact, on a date, so the cluing is ... awkward, off, weird, wrong. You mean that a rom-com is a common type of DATE MOVIE; so say that. Yeesh. This whole thing is yeesh. By EMONEY (woof! dear lord, bring back ENOTE if it means I'll never have to see the ridiculous EMONEY again ... that's not a word, that's a recently departed rock star's signature)

I don't believe anyone really says ILLITERATI, and if you do, you're probably the kind of smug I'd rather not know. I misspelled TURNSTYLE thusly, and then imagined that the minor offender was a HOPPER. That clue there, again, woof, no, that pun is awful (54A: One committing a fare-ly minor offense?). There is no such thing as a C-TEAM, truly there is not, any more than there's a Y-TEAM, please stop at the letter B and go no farther. Had SAND for SURF (50A: It's a shore thing). Haven't read Vonnegut since I was a teenager so clue on ELIOT mean jack to me (27D: ___ Rosewater, recurring character in Kurt Vonnegut novels). Elaine CHAO is yet another ghoulish member of this ghoulish administration who probably belongs in jail. And UDE ... what is there even to say about that atrocity? (55D: Ulan-___, Siberian capital). Nothing. Good bye.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:10 AM  

Medium. OUROBOROS did not ring a bell but the rest went pretty smoothly. Liked it more than Rex did but the fill does have problems.

LOVING is worth seeking as is The Hate U Give and Blindspotting.

M. Kondo 12:20 AM  

For your own sake, stop reviewing this puzzle. It doesn’t bring you joy.

Robert 1:10 AM  

"....and if you do, you're probably the kind of smug I'd rather not know."
My all time favorite Rex Parker comment - and by favorite, I mean it showed what an insufferable twat he is - was earlier this year, when he claimed a word was too obscure because he and his wife both have PhD's and had never heard of it. He's the kind of smug that nobody wants to know.

puzzlehoarder 2:11 AM  

A tough Friday. I had a dnf with EUROBOROS. I knew we'd had it recently and I can even recall @lms commenting that it sounds like "you're a Boris" so at least I got the sound right.

As for not knowing the cabinet member, what do you expect. Trying to figure out 47A I confused the word epithet with epitaph and tried to think of famous last words you might see on a gravestone. That answer had to be forced on me.

In that same area I had to change RYCO to RICO because I initially went with the wrong kind of STYLE. Spelling is not my strong suit but once again I got the sound right.

It's late.

Richardf8 2:16 AM  

Oddly, this was an easy solve for me despite the garbage. The cluing, if bad, was bad in ways familiar to me. The pun made Turnstile Jumper an instant fill for me, because I remember when that was a reslly big problem. I’ve no idea if it still is.

Still, I expected to be more puzzled by a Friday puzzle.

ITEN=Interstate 10, really? Well I won’t bother checking an anatomy book for it then (got it on the crosses).

g 2:21 AM  

Ugh I had the exact same problems with this one! I was also annoyed that voile was not tulle. It's like ithe whole thing just wanted to be unsatisfying.

Anonymous 2:24 AM  

As a professional software developer, I would also like to point out that no one ever measures storage in terabits. Nobody stores individual bits (especially on a scale of trillions), so the sensible unit is terabytes.

Robin 3:07 AM  

I still don't understand Rex's speed criteria, but this was a Friday and I finished under 10 minutes, so I call it "easy". TG I remembered running across the fantasy novel "The Worm OUROBOROS" when i was much younger, even if I didn't get past page 10.

BTW, I would class the current scumbag-in-chief as the worst sort of ILLITERATI. But maybe Rex's preferences differ?

JOHN X 3:31 AM  

Okay, first of all, ITEN is a great answer and a great clue. I once drove the entire length of "the ten", from Santa Monica to Jacksonville.

OUROBOROS is a solid Friday word that I can never remember, which was too bad because I kept spelling the Cabinet Secretary's name as CHOI. I tried everything here, even though I knew AHI had to be right. I died on this hill, killed by an Asian woman.

I was a TURNSTILEJUMPER (sort of) in New York last month. I landed in Newark, took the NJ Transit to Penn Station, and then (wow . . . while I was writing this we a bit of an earthquake here in Los Angeles) and then took the E-Train from Penn Station to Sutphin Avenue to get to the JFK AirTrain. HOWEVER. The MTA gates at Penn Station didn't have a handicapped entrance and I got stuck in the turnstile with my big roller bag. I jumped the turnstile with no shame (I had paid) with my bag still stuck, when a wonderful New Yorker came over and just swiped her MTA card and freed me completely from the turnstile. She just did it like it happened every day. What an angel. True story.

Anonymous 3:58 AM  

Seriously Shortz? Giving premium NYTXW space to a scammy multi-level marketing scheme that’s juuuust this side of legal? This is what we’ve come to?

It’s bad enough you seek out every opportunity to name drop corrupt politicians like CHAO and regularly give fawning pride of place to gun thugs and fascists, must we sit through your endorsement of pyramid schemes as well?

Charles Flaster 4:38 AM  

Agree with Rex today.

Z 6:12 AM  

Liked this more than Rex, but not a lot more. I get the “don’t call attention to your crap fill” suggestion, but I liked the I-TEN clue. If you didn’t already know, interstate numbering is systemic, so the clue provided an actual “aha.” I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering what the lower part of the aorta is called.

Hand up for AlmAY. I may have mentioned before that I went to church with Betsy DeVos when I was a teenager. So that was a painful correction. As I’m sure you are all aware, listening to those sermons had similar edifying effects on Betsy and me.

What do you call it when you do the “I’m an expert” thing right before saying something profoundly ignorant in your area of expertise? Just wondering.

Computers still work in binary, so a single BIT is either a 1 or a 0. 8 BITs equally one byte. A little bit of googling will turn up companies that use TERABIT in their company name (I just picked one to link to), the couple I looked at all dealing with memory storage.

Hungry Mother 6:54 AM  

A bit sloggish this morning. I had a problem putting the sound of CHAO’s name into that last letter. A bit of religion today to counter Ron Reagan’s recent ads.

Conrad 7:05 AM  

My problem with the clue at 4D is not only (@Anon2:24) that terabyte is much more common than terabit, but nowadays terabyte is no longer “huge.” The 10 TB disk drive on my desk cost less than $200. A terabit is 1/8 (or 1/10, depending on how you count bits) the size of a terabyte, Huge? No. Not even “Yuge.”

Other than that I thought the puzzle was a good middle-of-the-road Friday. I didn’t know OUROBOROS and I didn’t remember @LMS’s mnemonic, but the crosses were fair. Just about half way between “Average” and “Best,” so medium for me.

kitshef 7:19 AM  

Of all the IRISH CREAMs in the world, they had to use Baileys?

LOVING v Virginia – just spend a half hour browsing the web about that case and interracial marriage and you will see some of the worst in human beings, and some of the best.

Wondered briefly if there was such a thing as bANAna DAY.

amyyanni 7:23 AM  

Perhaps we need a round of Mudslides to accompany this puzzle?(it is Friday)

Adam Cooperman 7:35 AM  

So, 8 bits to a byte means 1 TERABIT is 125GB, which I wouldn't really call a HUGE amount of data. This is roughly the theoretical limit of one Blu-ray disc (or just under 3 current Blu-rays).

Debra 7:38 AM  

I liked it! Just crunchy enough for a Friday. Since every vote counts, I’m voting in favor.

Petri 7:58 AM  

Firmly agree with Anonymous 3:58. AMWAY, CHAO, ILLITERATI, ONTHEDOLE. It's basically a puzzle designed for your slightly racist, temporarily embarrassed millionaire boomer neighbor, who believes the mythical welfare queens are what's wrong with this country, and not predatory opportunists like CHAO, and Devos of Amway. You can huff and puff about people being too PC these days but this tacit approval or at least acceptance is not fine with some of us. Unimpressed by the snootiness of this one.

RavTom 8:01 AM  

Contrary to the thread here, I thought this was a fun puzzle. Nice long answers, solid fill, clever cluing, and teaching me some things I didn’t know. I don’t time myself, but the level of difficulty felt about right.

mmorgan 8:08 AM  

I found it (mostly) on the easy side for a Friday and don’t seem to get as worked up as many folks about less than wonderful puzzles. It wasn’t an unpleasant way for me to spend however much time I spent on it. But OUROBOROS was completely unknown to me and I didn’t quite get the help I needed from crosses.

Suzie Q 8:10 AM  

I died on the same hill as @ JOHN X but other than that I enjoyed the battle. I liked the tough vague clues. It sounds like Rex not only got up on the wrong side of the bed but maybe fell out. Something truly ruined his morning mood.
I learned a few things and that always makes me happy.
I thought the clue for I Ten was devilishly clever.
Fine Friday for me after some easy puzzles this week.

Rhino 8:13 AM  

I could not solve RI—O because all I could think of for PR was Personal Record. So I flinched and put in pANAmADAY for a big ol’ DNF.

Thought rex’s rant about DATEMOVIE made no sense but otherwise I agree with him. This wasn’t much fun.

Suzie Q 8:13 AM  

I died on the same hill as @ JOHN X but enjoyed the battle.
Fine Friday for me after some easy puzzles this week.

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

I wanted damemovie so bad thought Iman was a real thing

Todd 8:32 AM  

Elaine Chao belongs in jail because you don't approve of her politics. Yeah and people worry about fascists on the rights.

QuasiMojo 8:33 AM  

Finished fast. I found it mostly easy. I threw in TAXI STAND JUMPER because back in the day before Uber you had to wait in line to get a cab and if you took one that was not next in line a guard or GUIDE would come after you. I did my FARE share of turnstile jumping but only when the damn thing jammed which was not uncommon in NYC when we had to use tokens.

As for iTen the clue makes no sense (to me.) An "artery" in traffic terms is an extension road that leads to or goes around an interstate, right?

Good to see ELIJAH today even if it was probably a coincidence.

Suzie Q 8:34 AM  

Sorry for the repeat post but Blogger said they lost my first one.

Wm. C. 8:41 AM  

OFL with the PhD needs to learn the difference between "further" and "farther." ... "Please stop at the letter B and go no FARTHER." ;-)

Rube 8:43 AM  

And yet ouroboros goes unmentioned but carved ivory , which was once very popular before tusks became endangered, is somehow obscure. My guess is that even the illiterati in Puerto Ryco don't spell turnstile with a y

Z 8:43 AM  

“Huge” is relative. The first computer I bought had a “huge” 160 megabyte hard drive and 4 megabytes of RAM. 25 years later the slightly dated iPad I’m typing on has 128 gigabytes of memory (roughly 1 TERABIT). The youngs might consider a 1 TERAByTe iPad tiny and commonplace, but it is 1950’s science fiction made real. So sure, TERABITs aren’t as relatively huge as they once were, but that phone in your pocket would have been considered a super-computer not that long ago. Now, the real question is how many MetaBitches* are there in a TERABITch.

*Metabitch is a complaint about a complaint (as well as complaints about complaints about complaints).

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

@QuasiMojo 8:33 - I think you dreamed up your own definition of artery. According to my dictionary, it's "an important route in a system of roads, rivers, or railroad lines", of which I10 is a perfect example.

OffTheGrid 8:52 AM  

@Hungry Mother, Thank you for referencing Ron Reagan's ad. I had not seen it. He is, of course, absolutely correct. The issue in our country is not whether or not you believe but the intrusion of religion into our government and the increasing support for believers who discriminate against non-believers.

I liked the puzzle for the most part. I got nothing first time through in the north but got going at the bottom and worked up. My main objection is "ONTHEDOLE" as an answer for "Receiving benefits". On the dole has a strong connotation of getting something for nothing. I am a retiree who receives benefits. I am not ON THE DOLE.

Close enough: TERABIT, CTEAM

Wondering about "Need for some bypass surgery/STENT". As far as I know (which may not be far) a stent is a tubular support placed in a vessel, whereas a bypass is a graft which bypasses an obstruction to restore blood flow.

Anonymoose 8:54 AM  

You're too funny.

QuasiMojo 9:01 AM  

@Anonymous, at 8:47

I must have been thinking of "arterial" -- pardon me.

According to Wikipedia: "An arterial road or arterial thoroughfare is a high-capacity urban road. The primary function of an arterial road is to deliver traffic from collector roads to freeways or expressways, and between urban centres at the highest level of service possible."

davidm 9:03 AM  

This puzzle was OK. OURBOROS was a gimme for me, except for remembering how to spell it. I don’t know why Rex dislikes coinages like ILLITERATI and TWITTERARTI — they’re neologisms, perfectly acceptable. The main upside of this puzzle was learning a new word, MOIROLOGIST. Not only did I not know what the word meant, I had no idea that a professional mourner was even a thing in the real word. Why would have to hire someone to mourn, or, more precisely, pretend to mourn? So I Googled it up, and discovered that it was mainly a thing in ancient Egypt. Now I’m thinking the profession will have a comeback, at least temporarily, for Trump’s funeral.

GILL I. 9:04 AM  

Well, I rather enjoyed the puzzle. Wasn't all that easy, but I had fun trying to figure out things I didn't know. Like why in the world would you hire a MOURNER? Had no clue what a moirologist is/does. After you've WINED a sot with Baileys IRISH CREAM and enjoyed your R AND R does you skin turn AVOCADO yellow?
I'm a layperson, I guess, because I didn't know pruritus is that ITCH thing.
I only know HAUTE when it follows cuisine. Forgot how CHAO spells her name. So I said bye bye to her. I've seen a dozen pictures of the dumb snake eating its tail and had a vague recollection of the name. I knew it had a BOROS somewhere in its name. Managed to get all the right answers with the patience you need on a Friday.
AMWAY still around? They had a team in Madrid when I was there. It was quite funny, actually. Spaniards were not the least bit interested in ordering anything from a catalogue. No sireebob. They had to see it, smell it and feel it in person before ever buying sight unseen.
I've never been a TURNSTILE JUMPER. I don't want to go to jail. With my luck, I'd end up sharing a cell with Jane Fonda.
I don't mind BONY fish - especially if they are grilled sardines. You pick up the little sucker and eat it like corn on the cob. I had OILY at first.
Seeing IVORY makes me sad. still see IVROY carvings. You also see people still wearing dead animals on their backs. B can come to California because Governator Gavin has now outlawed the use of animal fur for clothing. He doesn't mind alligator shoes, but you can't wear Pepe Le Pew on your shoulders.

Nancy 9:13 AM  

OUROBOROS was unfamiliar enough to me that I was sure it had to be wrong. But all the crosses said it was right. So then I wondered if it was a DOOK and I began to parse it. OU ROBOROS?
OURO BOROS? OUROB OROS? (A new type of OREO?) OUROBO ROS? I finally just shrugged and went back to the AMWAY, MOURNER, VOILE section, where I was having some trouble in what for me was otherwise an easyish Friday.

I was trying to decide between TULLE and TOILE for 16A, but the late-to-come-in AVOCADO gave me VOILE. Somehow all those fabrics -- they are all fabrics, aren't they??? -- blend together into one extremely lacy and frou-frou image. I'm more of an unadorned silk/satin gal myself.

Not especially hard, but enjoyable and engrossing.

VictoRS 9:15 AM  

Off the grid is correct. Bypass is done with a graft (usually from a vein in the leg or the mammary artery). You do a stent instead of a bypass.
If you enjoyed “loving” try “the best of enemies”. True story of desegregation of schools in Durham Nc

oldbizmark 9:31 AM  

I found the puzzle an easy solve... except for the middle ELIOT/OUROBOROS/RADS cross-section. I enjoyed the long answers and found them intuitive enough to enter them in off the bat (and hope for the best). Definitely some wonky cluing/answers but still a pleasant enough solve. I thought it was a much more "day-appropriate" puzzle than we have had in a long time... especially after the stupid easy puzzle(s) from yesterday.

Petsounds 9:36 AM  

Surprised that no one has mentioned the fact that voile is not a fabric often, if ever, used for wedding dresses. Perhaps it was at one time, but no more.

I had a Rex-like moment of frustration and disgust when I finally realized that ALMAY wasn't going to fit in 10 Across and that the answer was the pyramid scheme brought to us by the DeVos family. Same for the egregious CHAO.

Didn't love the puzzle but matched my best time for a Friday puzzle, despite the AMWAY issue, which stumped me for too long, and answering RELS for "Part of P.R." English major, so no problem with ouroboros.

Marco Polo 9:43 AM  

STENT is an alternative to bypass surgery and isn’t needed for bypass surgery

mbr 9:48 AM  

@QuasiMojo: I too noticed the fact that ELIJAH is in today's puzzle....along with MOURNER. Maybe it's not a coincidence after all.

Hey Mods! 9:51 AM  

M Kondo @ 12:20am: For your own sake, stop reading the review. It doesn’t bring you joy.

Robert @ 1:10am: The only "insufferable twats" are the ones who continue to read Rex's reviews by their own choice, and then come to the comments and yammer on about how uppity Rex (and now, his wife) is. Is someone holding a gun to your head to read these...or are you just a troll?

To the mods: Since there is a vetting process to allow posts, you might try to reduce the number of clearly trolling posts by censoring the crap like these posts above...which happen on a daily basis. People who just criticize Rex personally and who don't contribute at all to the conversation about the puzzle. They're trolls and they're annoying AF. People can certainly disagree with Rex, but there is no need for the drive-by personal BS without also justifying why they disagree.

Kevin 9:52 AM  

Elaine Chao is a fine and smart lady as well as the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel. You might want to confine your bad mood comments to the crossword.

Kristie 9:54 AM  

Liked the puzzle. I’d never heard of ouroboros it’s nice to learn things. Agree with Robert that Sharp is the insufferable twat.

Dorothy Biggs 10:05 AM  

I got AMWAY, but under some protest. I seem to recall that they started out as company specializing in cleaning products...before they became Amazon Lite.

VIOLE to me is the Italian plural of the instruments in the string section of an orchestra. Most weddings I've been to, the dress is satin. Or sateen. I don't know what viole is.

TURNSTILEJUMPING is a thing...and the NYPD is cracking down on it. Lots of people are getting caught and cited. However, it is somehow legal for someone to swipe another person in. The only catch is that the swipee can not be asking for the swipe. The swiper must only recognize the person needs a swipe, and then somehow that's legal. But jumping...don't do it.

Agree with Rex about a C-team. In the NFL I think that's call the practice squad or something like that. They don't suit up game day and they aren't really on the team. I could make the practice squad if I there were other 40-something women on other teams that a team would need to learn how to defend against. I'd be a perfect match for that.

However, I'd probably be a C-team moirologist. The motivation just wouldn't be the same. Being paid to mourn is kinda weird.

CANADADAY is a themer waiting to happen.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

Come on! At least get your bitching right. The clue was bygone artist. Your beef left out the big part of the clue. You may not care fro scrimshaw but it sure as hell was a popular art form once upon a time.
On the dole, ouroboros illiterati, were all terrific. As for the clues, pruitus, Episcopates and moirologist are all as good as it gets.

Thanks for the really nice puzzle Jamey Smith.

JC66 10:17 AM  

@Tod & @Kevin

FYI, yesterday's NYTimes had a scathing editorial about Elaine Choa and Mitch McConnell.

A Moderator 10:29 AM  

@Hey Mods! - One of the guidelines Rex gave us was to allow criticisms of him. The individual mods have different tolerances for such “drive-by personal BS,” so some do get deleted since they often have nothing to do with the puzzle. But it does get iffy, where would you have us draw the line?

@Suzie Q and @Joe Bleaux - It looks like Blogger has been upgraded and your troubles yesterday and today may be related to that upgrade. It is not Rex or the moderators.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

NFL rosters have 53 active players. There is definitely a C team on every NFL squad. As for the practice squad, they are very much a part of the team. Invaluable actually. Not only do they practice with the 53-man cadre they often have the unenviable task of acting as the opposing team. That can be tough owing to the varieties of schemes different teams use. In effect they have to be competent not only with their own playbook but a new one each week (though in fairness, the oppo team's sets are greatly pared down). Alos, it's fairly common for a practice squad player to be placed on the active roster at some point in the season, usually owing to injury (though sometimes it's straight up performance based).

Anonymous 10:35 AM  


Twat is allowed? Really?!!!
You might want to reconsider allowing that term to be published hereabouts.

Hack mechanic 10:42 AM  

Yeah, not like she's using the power of her office to further her family's shipping business or anything shady like that 😂

Newboy 10:45 AM  

Enjoyed this one in spite of problems noted above which made this a typical Friday experience. Missed the ITEN aha, so I’m glad I dropped in to find it clarified here. Thanks Jamey, Will, Rex, et vox populi for easing me toward a weekend of RANDR.

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

I-10 is the most important road in the country for those of us who have run the 50 CC. I highly recommend giving it a go. But be assured, the ony way to accomplish it is by using that lower arterial.

**May 23, 2016

David 10:54 AM  

Being a New Yorker I got Turnstile Jumper off the first U and the last E only, and that helped me a lot. @Gill, now that the Giuliani/Bloomberg years are over, you'll get a ticket rather than go to jail.

My wife worked with Literacy Volunteers for years, I'd certainly prefer 47A be "ignorati;" the illiterate among us suffer far too much negativity as it is.

Love the anadada string and every vote actually does count. I do hope there's more to aging than deterioration. I know all the names of the folks currently ruling our country (I use the word "ruling" advisedly; they're certainly not governing, a distinction either lost or embraced on the right, depending on the individual).

So, getting no love at the top I went to the bottom and worked my way up. Found it fairly challenging and mostly fun. Of course I had B Team for too long, having never heard of a C Team. Up top I kept wondering when Agway got into the health and beauty business until I had to change it to Amway, which I've also never heard of. Here in NYC we have "outer boroughs," which helps me remember the ouroboros.

All in all a nice diversion.

M. Kondo 10:56 AM  

@Hey Mods- Au contraire. Love the meltdowns.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:57 AM  

OUROBOROS was the first big answer I got. Like @Robin I tried to read The Worm Ouroboros in high school and could not get into it. I'd get to the bottom of the page and say to myself 'what the heck was that about'? I'd read it again, I still wouldn't know. It seemed to be beautifully written but I could not put the words together to mean anything. It was a book with two or three hundred pages in it, possibly they were all like that. I never found out. I don't know whether it was above my reading level or whether I needed a secret decoder ring.

Tom 10:57 AM  

For your own sake, stop reading this blog. It doesn’t bring you joy.

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

oh, that's right, the Chinese Chaser is married to Moscow Mitch. fit right in with the Putin Puppet President. a fish rots from the head, as someone once observed. so there!

Masked and Anonymous 11:45 AM  

This themeless pup had more words (70) than yesterday's themed puz (68). Today's did have a lot fewer names that I didn't know [ELIOT. FRYE.] Also learned about: IDEM. VOILE. OUROBOROS.

When I looked up OUROBOROS in the official M&A Help Desk Dictionary, it described it as an alternate spellin of UROBOROS. Ahar … a var.
Also sorta learned about: "moirologist". (When I looked it up in the same reference, I got zippadeedoodah.)

staff weeject pick: UDE. Only six weejects to choose from, but UDE is pretty much top dollar, in any case.

best luvly Ow de Speration: EMONEY. ITEN. CTEAM.

Thanx for the feisty but fair FriPuz, Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith went to Washington, for that CHAO entry. Nice Moscow Mitch tie-in.

Masked & Anonym8Us


Gene 11:53 AM  

I read this blog primarily to laugh at Rex's PC nonsense. And also of the commenters. But I found this a remarkably easy Friday.

jberg 11:58 AM  

Haven't read the comments yet. Like Rex, I had ALmAY first -- AMWAY sells soap (and is the source of Ed. Sec'y Betsy DeVos's fortune, surprised Rex didn't go after that!) They probably sell cosmetics too, but that's not how one thinks of them. As for ILLITERATI, I put in ..ATe and never noticed the bad cross. for the wedding dress, I put in t- - - E, thinking either tulle or toile. That E gave me my start in the puzzle, eventually leading me back to VOILE.


It didn't slow me down, but gentry does not mean HAUTE bourgeoisie. The latter are big time industrialists and merchants, the former small-time landowners (or their poor but still genteel relations)--see Pride and Prejudice.

Enough of that, let me read the comments.

Office of Obscurity 12:07 PM  

Today I learned what a professional mourner is and it reminded me of a word I haven't heard in decades: claque. The opposite of a moirologist, people paid to applaud.

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

I liked this puzzle more than Rex--lots of stuff I didn't know but made perfectly good sense when found via crosses. I didn't know Amway and had to run the alphabet on 11D, mourner for moirologist, which was the only word that could make any sense. I don't understand the etymology, since it must be Greek, and moira means something about fate, not tears, unless there is some connection I do not understand.

I knew of professional mourners from history, both in east and west. Do they still exist? There's a nice opening scene in one of my favorite movies, Oro di Napoli (Gold of Naples, the gold being the people), where, in one vignette, the great comic actor Totò plays an abused factotum for a Neapolitan Camorra/boss figure. The opening scene has him as a professional mourner at the tomb of the boss's wife, where Totò has to say some prayers and leave some flowers.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Hey Mods! 12:09 PM  

To the moderator: I think the criticism of Rex is one thing, but with no support and nary a comment on the puzzle itself...then that's the line. There needs to be some kind of comment on the puzzle along with a Rex criticism...otherwise, it's just run-o-the-mill internet trolling 101. It would maybe cut down on the rancor in general if people weren't allowed to just bitch and moan about Rex's critique.

To you like the meltdowns? Your initial post didn't seem to reflect that. What it appeared to be was just a chance to troll. I normally don't feed trolls...because I know it's a no win situation...but I think someone should (at least occasionally) call trolls out for their unbridled assholery.

jberg 12:13 PM  

@Nancy, I'm glad to see I'm not alone in the tulle/toile/VOILE confusion! (And @Dorothy, it's voile, not viole.)

As for professional mourners, there's a great novel by Zakes Mda about the intertribal violence in South Africa, as seen from the point of view of a professional mourner. It's called Ways of Dying.

Anonymous 12:17 PM  

@ Hey Mods- You are just fanning the flames by letting these guys know they’re getting to you. Maybe Rex can provide an avenue to express concerns to the moderators away from the comments section.

@Anonymous 10:35 a.m.- Rex used the word twat in his original post. It is both vulgar and sexist which is probably why he removed it. It’s also out of character my guess is he meant to write twit.

Geezer 12:18 PM  

@Kristy 9:54, Do you feel better about yourself now?

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

I worried about my posting on moirologist and pulled out my larger Greek dictionary, and I now see that moira in Greek does mean fate or destiny. But as one today mourns one's fate, so also in Homer moira often meant ill fortune. Moreover, the goddess Moira, also of course a goddess of fate, could sometimes mean the goddess of ultimate fate, or death. So that must be the connection with mourning.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Quill 12:22 PM  

Ulan-Ude is disappointing only because it wasn’t clued as the home of the world’s largest Lenin head sculpture.

Judge and former attorney 12:27 PM  

Absolutely wrong to say “idem” is used in legal writing. The uniform citation manuals only have “Id.” No one ever uses “idem.” Not lawyers, not judges, not law students.

Alex M 12:30 PM  

May I humbly suggest that any future cluing needs in reference to CHAO be fulfilled by Chao, the world's best vegan cheese? It's delicious, unproblematic, and deserves ubiquity at least as much as Elaine imho...

P.S. @M.Kondo is hilarious and the critics belong on r/whooosh XD

Joe Dipinto 12:47 PM  

Nice segue to Eddie Money, Rex.

Pretty good Friday doings. I remembered from its previous appearance that 37a ended in -BOROS and that the second letter was a U. Hopefully the third time it shows up my memory will be prepared with the entire word. Woe betide ye if you didn't know or couldn't guess CHAO or MUIR in that section though.

This seemed heavy on the proper nouns. FRYE was my first entry; yes, his Nixon imitation is just about the only thing anyone remembers about him. I got momentarily confused in the NE, where I had WINED but, like Rex, I wanted ALMAY for the beauty concern.

C-TEAM? Oh, come on. I overthought 50a by putting in TURF at first, with the rationale that "turf" is the "shore" component of a surf-n-turf meal. I was disappointed to have to change it.

My response to Rex's rom-com clue kvetch was "Huh? What the hell are you babbling about?" The clue was perfectly clear. @John X – Turnstile Angels do rescues daily for those that stand outside the stiles and give the universal "swipe?" signal to exiting passengers. I've aided a person or two since I use an unlimited ride Metrocard.

@jae – I thought "Blindspotting" was the best movie I saw last year. I was shocked it was bypassed at awards time.

Some Debussy to ease into the weekend.

Lozzachops 1:13 PM  

Nooo, don't stop! Even if I hate the puzzle I love your reviews!

Chip Hilton 1:15 PM  

Thanks for adding oUROBOROS to my vocabulary. A good, testing Friday puzzle, in my opinion.

Teedmn 1:23 PM  

I feel like one of the ILLITERATI today. A four-square DNF, due to misconceptions at 1A and 48D, and ignorance at 55D.

I was in the middle of reading an article on titled "We Sought Out Some PR Advice For The White House After Its Very Bad Week ". So seeing P.R. in 48D's clue never made it past Public Relations - as such, I settled for RIpO, thinking it was a trade term. If I had known UDE, I would have realized it was CANADA DAY, not pANAmA DAY. 1867 seems a little early to have been thinking about Panama but...Knowledge lacunae are easily filled with nonsense, I find.

Up top, I was sure 8D was CITI Field. I still allowed myself to put in INITALIze; now that I've just typed this, I realize I still didn't get the INITiALIze I wanted at 1A for "Set off". Sheesh. It didn't help that when GLAMORIZE showed up, I was thinking "mini ze theme, I see you." Sheesh twice!

I did manage to correct my mess at 47D where my bTEAM and Edmond bOYLE were giving off wrong vibes with ITBB. HOYLE, ahem, and then C TEAM.

I agree with those who liked I-TEN with its clue. I was trying to think of every battle description I had ever read where someone's ____ blood vessel had been severed. Har.

Jamey Smith, this was a fine Friday, thanks.

Zelda 1:33 PM  

This whole website is a troll farm. Rex trolls Will Shortz He has given up all pretense of objectivity . People who take exception to this troll Rex. Seems reasonable.

old timer 1:34 PM  

A good puzzle, and would have been Tuesday Easy but for OUROBOROS. Which I felt I should know, but didn't. I never even saw I had filled in ITEN, but I think it is a clever clue. Easily got MOURNERS because I have heard of hired MOURNERS though not moirologists. And I too wondered about AMWAY. It has been forever since one of their folks rang my doorbell.

It mystifies me that some people didn't know CHAO off the bat. Mystifies me even more that she is Moscow Mitch's wife. Who knew the old man had another marriage in him? I keep expecting her to be the chief MOURNER at his funeral.

As a Warriors fan, I always thought there was a CTEAM made up of five or six men who never got to play except when the team was so far ahead victory was assured.

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

"The kind of smug I'd rather not know..." Look in the mirror, Rex! Of all the "if I don't know it it isn't worth knowing" comments he indulges himself in, today was the apex. He continues to fawn over a variety of potty-mouth rappers and today disses Kurt Vonnegut, one of great American writers. I don't think he's fooling any of his current students with his "39 and holding" hipness. Oddly, I found this puzzle kind of easy and I'm no whiz. Anyway, another day in puzzle land.

old timer 1:41 PM  

Oh, gotta say lawyers use IDEM all the time, abbrieviated to Id. If you are discussing a case or document in a brief or memo of points and authorities you spell out the case or document in full, and if your next cite refers to the same csse, you write: "(Id. at p. xxx) or plain Id. if you are referring to the same cited page. (The Id. is in ITALICS).

Joe Bleaux 2:26 PM  

I enjoyed the critique and comments today, and I’m trying again to post

albatross shell 2:26 PM  

I remembered OUROBOROS from the previous time it was in the NYTCW. Mostly solved S to N partly because I misread Baileys as a down clue so I missed the gimmie long one at first.

I admit to liking this one for the selfish reason that it was Friday and I had 2/3 of it filled in under 40 minutes and the rest done in a half hour while watching Houston beat the Yanks. That's very good time for me.

ALTAR gave me a nice haha. ITEN a ha when explained here. FRYE did a great Nixon. Had CANADADie. Realized it must be AY and corrected the spelling on the downs.

Looked up ILLITERATTI after reading Rex. Turns out it goes back to the 18th century. Not a recent coinage.

ILLITERATTI ONTHEDOLE can be used insultingly. CHAO is the slimmest of swamp creatures. AMWAY is a ripoff for most people doing the selling. Just slightly better than Trump U. But despite my opinions I welcome them to my Friday puzzle.
Also I do not care if nobody says something if it's an accurate and logical answer. There are 3rd stringers. College football teams almost certainly have teams of 3rd stringers at practices. Even if nobody calls them that, CTEAM is a good answer.
Not a great puzzle, but solid. An enjoyable struggle, not a slog. Good long answers. A couple nits with the cluing seem justified.

Anonymous 2:28 PM  

Agree with 1:33 post, but only on certain days. The review always sets the tone of the comments. When the review is reasonable and measured the trolls stay away. On days like today however, when the review is off the rails, the crazy commenters are out in force.

albatross shell 3:29 PM  

That's supposed to be slimiest of swamp creatures. I bear no grudge against slim people.

KevCo 3:33 PM  

That's true, old timer, but we never use "IDEM." We exclusively used "Id." I've been practicing law for five years, and I cannot recall once seeing "IDEM" in a brief or anywhere else. I didn't even know until this puzzle what "Id." is short for, so exclusively is it used. I had always assumed it was "ibid," and just now learned better.

All of that is to say that I think the suggestion that a lawyer would ever write "IDEM" is mistaken.

This comment section is bonkers today, which is nice, because I don't have a whole lot going on.

I left a comment somewhere the other day saying that the second season of Mrs. Maisel was a letdown, and people unleashed holy hell on me. At least I can take heart that although people are jerks on the internet, they're doing it for the things that really matter in the world. Here's to Season 3.

Unknown 3:52 PM  

LOL Banana Day - me too

pabloinnh 3:58 PM  

I was thankful for a Friday that made me revisit Eliot Rosewater, which made me look up my favorite (maybe) Vonnegut quote, which is his advice to babies that ends with "... and there's only one rule that I know of, God damn it you've got to be kind", which I think should be the Eleventh Commandment. So many other good Rosewater quotes also that I was even sorrier that OFL had not read any KV for years and years. He (KV) is more relevant and necessary than ever.

I liked today's puzzle just fine (thanks JS!) and have been enjoying the hey Rex, stop writing the blog crew vs. the hey you, stop reading the blog! contingent. This stuff will happen every time. Love it or leave it has always seemed a little simplistic to me.

A little more luck typing in answers online today, and saw a wonderful sign on a church door that said "Please close door to keep out the pigeons". There'll always be an England.

Tim Pierce 4:02 PM  

I enjoyed this one. Lots of nice lively marquee entries here like TURNSTILE JUMPER, EVERY VOTE COUNTS, IRISH CREAM, OUROBOROS. Even ILLITERATI only annoyed me a little bit.

But TERABIT is simply wrong. In the software industry no one measures storage in terabits or gigabits or any other kind of bit. It's all measured in teraBYTES.

What is measured in bits is network bandwidth, and a TERABIT is indeed a huge volume of network traffic. "Huge traffic unit" would have been a much better clue here.

Anonymous 4:41 PM  

Yes, a terabit is a lot of traffic, but it isn't much storage. A terabit is 125 gigabytes, which nowadays fits into your pocket. And of course no one would say they had a terabit of storage; they'd say they had 125 gigabytes.

Anonymous 4:46 PM  

does anyone else remember 1,200 baud? the creme-de-la-creme at the dawn of time.

LorrieJJ 5:01 PM  

Hey, I'm a proud Canadian and even I was going for banana day!!! Thought P.R. was public relations, hence PUBL hence B.

Anonymous 5:13 PM  

I don't understand how they got away with changing the name of the British North America Act. That's what it was called when it was passed. How do you change the name of a law 115 years after you pass it?

ChE Dave 5:24 PM  

Exactly ZERO people say “ terabit”. The term is terabyte. I have a hard time episcopating that has a serious clue.

Z 5:30 PM  

@jberg11:58 - Betsy made her money the old-fashioned way, she inherited it. Same for her husband, Dick. It was a case of the scion of a billionaire marrying a scion of a billionaire. I don’t know who brought more wealth to that marriage. A better case for making any inheritance above, say, $10,000,000 100% taxable cannot be made.

@Hey Mods! - As a frequent target of the trolls - Whatever. The bottom line is that the trolls attacking Rex is just proof that the trolls aren’t really capable of contending with his arguments. Besides, without them I’d have never learned what Fremdschämen means. I mean, I have often felt that emotion for posters like @M. Kando but it’s good to have a good word to describe it.

Blue Stater 5:34 PM  

@John X - Your story about the New Yorker who bailed you out of a turnstile jam is typical -- New York people, I found during 10 years of living in Brooklyn, are the salt of the earth, and I say that as a native Bostonian raised to think of New York as a vulgar commercial settlement somewhere west of Framingham (or Natick, if you prefer). Was I ever wrong. I had easily a dozen experiences similar to yours, caught the vibe, and tried to reciprocate over the years.

The puzzle? Yeecchh. OFL caught all the mistakes that I did, possibly excepting MYNA for "mynah" and the dreadful YESM. WS just isn't paying attention any more. How long will it take Dean Baquet to figure this out? I'm not holding my breath.

Ben 5:35 PM  

Another day, another predictably bland tantrum from Rex

Ben 5:36 PM  

What exactly did you say about today's puzzle?

Andrew L. Rice 5:38 PM  

I can confirm this… My wife is a cardiac surgical nurse practitioner and she informs me that the idea of placing a stent during bypass surgery is stupid.

Doc John 6:04 PM  

Add me to the "STENT is stupid (as clued)" list.

JTR 11:05 PM  

Good on you guys for putting the comments on hold for a few hours. Gives Z and his sock puppets (talking to you Hey Mods!) a chance to catch their (his) breath. See you tomorrow.

Art 11:48 PM  

STENT is an alternative to a bypass. I have 8 bypasses and one stent. STENT cred.

brandsinger 5:26 PM  

Ha ha, Rex, "this ghoulish administration." Keep up the "resistance" at every chance! What about the "I WIN" answer -- wasn't that implicitly Trumpian? Horrors!

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

Don't forget Betsy Devos is Amway money

spacecraft 11:38 AM  

Another one of those daunting-at-first puzzles that eased up once broken into. At the initial clue scan I thought: I don't know ANY of this. But I wormed (!) in at IWIN/WAD and soon had the east. SE was a bit feisty because I went ape instead of MAD. Also hand up for Sand. I do not remember David FRYE at all, but I knew there was some dude who had Tricky Dick down pat. That was David, eh? Sure, OK.

The rest of the grid laid out pretty easily, though it did take some gray-matter exercise to finish off the NW (again, last to fall). For 1a I kept thinking in the sense of detonated (which fits!), so the answer INITALICS meant that the clue "Set off, say" turned out to be a major misdirect. Got it all straightened out, and finished with an easy-medium feel.

OUROBOROS lurks deep in memory from some earlier puzzle, but I still needed most of the crossing letters to jog it. Two ladies in public service share the DOD prize today; if you happen not to like their efforts, maybe YOU could run for office. Or get appointed, whatever. Despite RANDR, the least objectionable ampersandwich I can think of, I liked it. Birdie.

Wooody2004 1:35 PM  

I always put AMWAY INITALICS, since it supposedly stands for The American Way.

When I see a five letter "heart surgery" clue, my X-word reflexes force me to write in "STENT". I never stopped to think that maybe the clue was somehow off. Other X-flexes today were "Avian mimic" = MYNA, "Hitching post" = ALTAR, "Dress fabric" = TOILE (oops).

Learned from X-Word: PLUTO is the Underword leader. Was Mickey Mouse' dog supposed to be evil?

Learned from blog: There's no LOVING for Bailey's IRISHCREAM. There's no C in TEAM.

CHAO should be prosecuted under the RICO Act.

leftcoaster 1:47 PM  

Yeah, OUROBOROS definitely a head-scratcher, but crosses took care of it. Couple of other clue/answer puzzlers: MOURNER, VOILE, ITCH. Also took a BIT of time to parse INITALICS. Liked the long grid-spanners across top and bottom. ITEN clue was a neat misdirection. Relatively easy, and fun to do.

Diana, LIW 3:24 PM  

1A did me in. Sigh. I cheated for that, then finished it off. Boooo! (well, boo for me)

Diana, Lady who doesn't wait long enough

Burma Shave 4:58 PM  


ONTHEDOLE or dotty, why GLAMORIZE that way?


rondo 5:12 PM  

I shall mention nothing further of the LOVING COMING crossing at the G spot. That might only GLAMORIZE it.

There is too such a thing as a CTEAM because I was on one in seventh grade basketball. bTEAM eighth and ninth. aTEAM for 3 years. Loved my hoops.

I've met Senator AMY a coupla times. REAL. Good. Person. Yeah baby.

Clean grid. Nice ONE.

rainforest 6:05 PM  

Except for most of the NW and the SE (save HOYLE), this puzzle played "medium" for me. In the SE, you'd think CANADA DAY would be a gimme for me--and it was, and thus opened up that section. The wedding dress fabric is, pick one, tulLE, tOILE, or VOILE. Don't ask me to differentiate.

I was aware of OUROBOROS, but unsure of how to spell it. Crosses to the rescue. One write-over: RemS => RADS. The last battle took place in the NW where for 1A I was sure it was referring either to an explosive, or to leaving on a journey. I kind if had a double Aha when almost simultaneously I "saw" I TEN, and IN ITALICS. Excellent clues for both.

I tend to avoid rom-coms thus depriving myself of much risibility. I didn't deprive myself of this puzzle, which I really liked. One final thought: do Episcopalians "SEE", and if so, what do they see?

hamlinda 2:15 PM  

WHERE is LMS? She is sorely missed.

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