Successor language to Common Brittonic / FRI 2-14-20 / Automotive sponsor of Wagon Train in 1950s / Rebus symbol for everything / Grammy-winning metal band with tasty-sounding name

Friday, February 14, 2020

Constructor: Daniel Larsen

Relative difficulty: Easy (very) (4:16)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: KORN (33D: Grammy-winning metal band with a tasty-sounding name) —
Korn (stylized as KoЯn) is an American nu metal band from Bakersfield, California, formed in 1993. The band is notable for pioneering the nu metal genre and bringing it into the mainstream. [...] The band first experienced mainstream success with Follow the Leader (1998) and Issues (1999), both of which debuted at number one on the Billboard200. The band's mainstream success continued with Untouchables (2002), Take a Look in the Mirror (2003) and See You on the Other Side (2005). [...] As of 2012, Korn had sold more than 35 million records worldwide. Twelve of the band's official releases have peaked in the top ten of the Billboard 200, eight of which have peaked in the top five. Seven official releases are certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), two are certified double platinum, one is certified triple platinum, one is certified five times platinum and two are certified Gold. [...] Korn has earned two Grammy Awards out of eight nominations and two MTV Video Music Awards out of eleven nominations. (wikipedia)
• • •

Whoa, there's an *OLD* WELSH? I'm a medievalist and I did not know that. Good thing I have the capacity for inference! I liked this puzzle a lot but then again I *destroyed* this puzzle so I'm not sure how much my warm feelings are due to the intrinsic goodness of the puzzle and how much are due to any solver's natural affection for a Friday puzzle they can take out easily. Do I like you 'cause you're good or 'cause you're easy? That is the question. I'm pretty sure the puzzle is just good, though. Lots and lots of varied, interesting longer fill, from science fiction (HOME PLANET over SPACE OPERA! So good...) to physics to math to music. It's the music that is probably going to separate the very fast solves from the merely normal fast solves, and nothing is going to put solvers into different speed camps faster than 1A: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band led by Iggy Pop (THE STOOGES). Pop culture is always a potential divider, and since this one's in such a prime position, getting it right away is particularly valuable. For me, it was a total gimme, and I got six Downs off of it right away (THIS HINT ETTA ORCA EDSEL SEE). Between knowing that and knowing KORN, I feel like I had a distinct pop cultural advantage today. LONI Anderson and "LA BAMBA" and ELENA Ferrante, also in my wheelhouse. This one just sang to me. I even got the Beaufort Scale answer lickety split, and I wasn't even sure DEAD CALM was a real category, but look at that: real (27A: 0 on the Beaufort Scale). I just got lucky today. Everything fell my way.

["There's no escape / Without a scrape ..."]

Here were my struggles and my irks: I really think the phrase trips off the tongue best as THERE'S NO ESCAPE. "THERE IS" feels oddly formal and off. PALSY is pretty olde-timey and probably needs "-WALSY" to be complete and anyway, it looks more like an affliction than a term meaning "Chummy," so that's mildly depressing. I didn't think we could go lower on the ALEC scale than Waugh, but here's Douglas-Home! Actually, I think he outranks Waugh, as he actually did something noteworthy. But I'm always happy to discover new ALECs. Add him to Guinness and Baldwin and the kid from "Black Stallion" (I think .... [looks it up] ... yessssss!!! Man, I haven't seen that clue for ALEC in eons but somehow that little fact still lives in some dark corner of my head; weird). I can't believe I fell for the old "Capital" misdirection gag, but boy did I (28D: Capital of Latvia) (EURO). That's a pretty cheap gag, as Latvia's actual capital is also four letters (RIGA), but I guess you gotta try to throw speed bumps in here where you can. SUMP is a very ugly word and I hope I never see it in my puzzle again (34A: Basement feature). I actually had AUDIO BOOMS in there at first for 32A: Some road trip entertainment (I think I was thinking "equipment" instead of "entertainment," like maybe some TV show goes on the "road" and brings along boom mikes? I dunno. But KORN saved me. Anyway, that's all. Good work, everyone. Wait, nope, one more thing. ONER is was and always will be atrocious (56D: Remarkable person). Retire, ONER! OK, now we're done.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:03 AM  

When I was in the 7th grade (60+ years ago) I had a science teacher who had a category of (useless) information he called “Red Motorcycle Facts”. This was information one should have just in case some guy on a red motorcycle pulls up alongside you and asks about it.

Red Motorcycle Facts are now my crossword facts, and today there were several:

Queen Victoria collected OPALS.
SPACE OPERAs are a thing.
THE STOOGES and KORN were big deal rock groups.
Han Solo is not a native of Natick; his HOME PLANET is Corellia.

All new to me, all challenging, all *gettable*, and all Red Motorcycle-worthy.

Anonymous 12:25 AM  

Star / Ace ...?

Awl ..?

puzzlehoarder 12:28 AM  

THE STOOGES? KORN? What are this kid's parents letting him listen to? Whatever it is IHOPE they let him keep doing it. He's making excellent puzzles judging by this themeless debut.

Just enough difficulty to feel late week. A couple of minutes faster than yesterday's solve but that's pretty typical for me. I wasn't sure how to spell SCHRODINGER. I wanted to throw an extra E in there. I was probably thinking of the Peanuts character.

Changing IDOL to ICON and OVERLAID to OVERLAIN were a couple of other HITCHes. Anytime I got stuck I could always find someplace easy to restart.

The forced fill is not that bad and I'm surprised to discover that Corellia is not a debut clue. Remembering OPERA was what opened that SE corner up.

jae 12:32 AM  

Yep, easy. The two long downs were gimmes which helped a lot.

Plus, rye before OAT was my only erasure.

Solid with a bit of sparkle, liked it.

That’s a pretty deep dig for an EDSEL clue.

I read the first Neapolitan novel and decided to pass on the rest. The writing was flat (could have been the translation) and I lost interest in the characters as the book progressed. Now the book I recently finished about North Korea (speaking of DESPOTS) is worth a read...”The Orphan Master’s Son”, by Adam Johnson.

chefwen 1:57 AM  

Nowhere easy (very) on my HOME PLANET. More medium/difficult for me. No idea on THE STOOGES, KORN, BREGNAN.
PALSY to me is more of a medical problem than a buddy thing. Once I modestly cheated I was able to finish, not without effort.
Saturday, be kind.

mitche manitou 2:34 AM  

4:16 means 1.3 seconds per white square. Hard to fathom that you could have had "struggles"!

My third fastest Friday ever — about 14 minutes. If I had to fill in the grid again — already having solved it — I still don't think I could do it in 4:16!

John Child 4:20 AM  

Who clues LA BAMBA to 1987? Oh, someone who thinks that was a really long time ago. Ritchie Valens In 1958, now that’s old. ;-)

I loved this puzzle partly, as OFL points out, because I killed it, but also because it’s got lots of good stuff and only a few groans.

Anonymous 5:59 AM  

1A was a gimme, but way over-clued: it doesn't need qualifying. How many bands did Iggy front, and in what musical genre? Instead, double down the 70s rock references: "And they were Iggy's band."

Lewis 6:30 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
amyyanni 6:42 AM  

Aces to you, Daniel. You're a X-Word STAR.
(@jae, agree on the Ferrante Series and the Johnson book is on my To Read list.)

Lewis 6:43 AM  

Many lovely solving moments all in one puzzle:
* Out-of-wheelhouse answers that reason satisfyingly conquers when a few letters fill in (OLD WELSH, HOME PLANET, OPEN SET).
* Deeply-buried answers that pop into consciousness with an "Oh, yeah!" when a few letters fill in (GIACOMO, LA BAMBA).
* A true LOL moment (realizing [No, not that!] is THIS).
* That "Aah" that results when an answer I mentally pencilled in indeed turns out to be correct (PERT, MEME, BRENNAN).

And, of course, the joy of getting it all right. Thank you for all of this, young Daniel. You've got a knack and talent for this. I selfishly hope you continue with it!

Petri 6:50 AM  

PALSY. PALSY?! Had patsy in for some reason, but thankfully knew ETENA was all wrong.

Other than that, enjoyed solving this one. But palsy, good grief.

QuasiMojo 6:52 AM  

This was indeed easy and I was sure it was my fastest Friday but the app tells me I once solved a Friday in 3:08! That's minutes, not hours. I have no memory of that. Lol. Perhaps the app is confusing me with someone else.

I put in Space Spoof first for Flash Gordon. I recent rewatched the campy Dino di Laurentis (sp?) version with Sam Jones. Score by Queen. I wonder if they collected Opals too. Probably Fire Opals.

I also put in "There is no WAY OUT" before Escape. I've been watching episodes of The Wild Wild West from real "old time" TV (poor LONI!) and the villains often said that. Of course there was always a way out. After the commercial.

Re TEXT ALERTS. The other day I was crossing the street on foot and an SUV came barreling through the intersection. They had a red light. Mine was green. Just in time I jumped out of the way (there was luckily an ESCAPE route) and I turned with DEAD CALM to flip the bird at the driver. She was bent over the steering wheel typing something into a phone. I hope I live long enough to see driverless cars become a viable reality. Or else I'll end up like the EDSEL.

Rex, please lay off ALEC Waugh. Saying that he never "did anything noteworthy" is ridiculous. Just because you never heard of him doesn't mean he was a nobody. He wrote and published numerous books including the one I mentioned the other day about a subject no doubt dear to your political heart that caused a sensation in England and was a bestseller. Try not to be so dismissive of people that are not in your wheelhouse Or get a bigger wheelhouse.

Hungry Mother 6:56 AM  

Yes, very easy timewise, but seemed hard while underway. Very nice, doable, Fridayish challenge. Fun stuff.

kitshef 7:17 AM  

Lovely puzzle. THE STOOGES, SCRODINGERS CAT, SPACE OPERA, MICROCOSMS. Just great. A skosh easy for a Friday – but after our recent string, it’s nice to get a break. Rather a lot of plurals, but I’m OK with that as glue needed to keep everything else together.

THA rang no bells at all. My go-to THA is the elephant in The Jungle Book.

To Rex's plaint, I feel like it's "there's no escaping" but "there is no escape".

@puzzlehoarder - yes, wanted SHROEDINGER. That umlauted "O" would normally be written in English as "OE". But of course puzzles traditionally ignore diacritical marks.

pabloinnh 7:18 AM  

Funny, I liked this a lot because, unlike OFL, I could NOT blow through it. It took some thought and led to some aha! moments that make solving worthwhile. Anything I can finish as fast as I can write is no fun. Also why I turn off sporting events that are blowouts. Where's the competition?

IDOL/ICON and OVERLAID/OVERLAIN problems here too. A feature not a bug.

Para bailar LABAMBA- yeah, thanks for that. That probably won't last all day.

Great debut, DL. Hope to see lots more from you.

RavTom 7:48 AM  

Your team’s STAR pitcher is its ACE.

AWL is a homophone for “all,” that is, “everything.”

Z 8:02 AM  

Start with a rock ICON from Michigan and everyone’s favorite “is it alive or is it dead” CAT and, zoom, we are off. Hand up for wondering how the puzzle would deal with the Ö (Ah, going all ano with it (hey, my autocorrect knows about diacritics)), and needing to fix riga to EURO. Biggest slowdown was the IdOl to ICON mishap. DEAD dAL- was a conundrum wasting many precious nano-seconds to resolve. Only other notable pause of sorts was leaving OVERLAI- without its last letter because I never know if it should be N or D. CINEMAX provided the answer.

@QuasiMojo - Good of you to defend the, what was it....? fifth most famous Waugh’s honor. That’s not an easy task.

I never did learn the difference between “metal” and all its sub-genres like “nu metal.” If you told me it was “μ metal” I wouldn’t have argued. (Hey, if you’re going to make awful puns you might as well make them using the Greek alphabet)

@Anon5:59 - Just “Rock and Roll hall of fame band” seems a bit sparse as a clue.

@jae - The EDSEL clue seems downright mundane after CC’s **SPOILER ALERT FOR AN TWO DAY OLD PUZZLE IN A DIFFERENT PAPER** oreo clue. I note that Lewis still has not reported on the experience.

Suzie Q 8:11 AM  

This wasn't so easy for me but satisfying with some sparkle.

@ Joaquin, I love your Red Motorcycle Facts!

Anonymous 8:19 AM  

For some reason, I blanked on MEME and entered MEEE for social media phenomenon. Seems cynically apt.

Rube 8:28 AM  

Agreed. I only consider Rexs times as relative difficulty indicators. The absolute numbers are absurd.

This was easy for me after struggling a little to get started. But he's so fine , I hope, and cinemax opened it all up. A fun puzzle, wish it was harder.

albatross shell 8:45 AM  

Probably as fast as I have blown thru 3/4 of a Friday. The triple 10 stacks and the down spanners went LABAMBA. Got EDSEL from just the E. Started road trip entertainment with raDIO, got to radio books and took a long time to look back. Even though I listen to a lot of AUDIOBOOKS, I totally accepted RADIO, Perhaps because the first audiobooks I listened to were serialized by my local NPR station. So took many MICRO seconds to get to the EURO misdirect. Same thing happened in the EAST where I had MICROwOrldS. Another big snafu causing temporary brain freeze.

Age seemed to be a running gag in this. EDSEL- Wagon Train, LONI old, LABAMBA 1987, thought Douglas before BRENNAN.

But that 3/4 of a puzzle. I was smokin'.

SouthsideJohnny 8:52 AM  

It’s actually very nice to have a Friday puzzle that an intermediate level solver like myself can make some progress on. OLD WELSH crossing AWL was extremely tough. The Arabic letter clue was kind of a downer (unless you speak Arabic, I guess) - especially since the foreign requirements box was checked with ETAS.

There’s a new, younger trending clue for ETTA, giving Miss James a well-deserved day off. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I just don’t consider LONI Anderson “old TV” - Burns and Allen, Jack Benny, maybe even Ed Sullivan - but, no - it’s too soon for WKRP to be old ! !

Can anyone explain how low price gets us to SONG ? That one hasn’t registered for me yet.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

Having a Rock and Roll Hall of fame is antithetical to Rock and Roll. The Sex Pistols refused entry. These people that don’t are sellouts.

Nancy 9:18 AM  

Since I don't know my quantum physics, my Beaufort scale, my Arabic letters, or my billionaire philanthropists any better than I know my Rock and roll bands, my metal bands, or my 1987 #1 hits, I found this an equal opportunity occasion to Natick on arcane knowledge -- not just on pop culture. Only I didn't Natick; I somehow solved this without cheating.

You can't say a puzzle is unsolvable when you solve it without cheating, right?

But I did feel as though I was taking an end of year exam for which I hadn't studied -- one covering every course I'd ever taken. And also not taken.

I had IDOL before ICON for the "much admired person", keeping me from seeing BRENNAN. (I had ----LAN, which looked like HARLAN, but was too long.) The only William justice I could think of was Rehnquist and he didn't fit. IDOL also kept me from seeing DEAD CALM (27A). It didn't help that I thought the Beaufort scale had something to do with elements and that I was looking for an element beginning with O.

I suffered quite a bit in the solving of this puzzle. And not in the way that I most like to suffer.

Lewis 9:22 AM  

@southsidejohnny -- "I bought it for a song," meaning it was gotten at a very low price.

@Z -- The condiment I have; the crossword icon is something I rarely come across, so it may be a while...

Nancy 9:38 AM  

@joaquin (12:03) -- What a great description of the completelyly useless facts that needed to be coughed up in this puzzle. May I use the phrase some time? I love your science teacher -- without ever having met him.

Oh, and btw, I had a DNF. My "trousers part" was SEAm -- giving me SCHROEDINGER SCAm for the "thought experiment in quantum physics." Well, why not? And anyway, I already told you that I didn't know my quantum physics.

Klazzic 9:49 AM  

This Friday's puzzle was so easy that I popped a ONER. Actually, SCHRODERINGSCAT blew off the doors and led to 0 ON THE BEAUFORT SCALE sailing. What a great way to start the weekend!

albatross shell 9:52 AM  

About the Neapolitan Novels. I tried listening to My Brilliant Friend and failed to finish. It remains on my reading list. The HBO series was wonderful. Some of the best acting and casting I've ever seen on TV. Part 2 coming in March.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

Fun. Thanks.

Quibble: wouldn’t Just a simple “η's” have been more elegant and more appropriately challenging than “Greek η's” as a clue for ETAS?

Newboy 9:54 AM  

THERE IS NO ESCAPE for SCHRODINGERS CAT today, but like Rex I escaped today’s grid in near record time for a Friday. OLD WELCH was the hardest entry after irisH and norSE went in on WAGs that clanged badly. SUMP was a neat entry that took longer than it should have. Only ONER as a true OMG not again moment, so a really nice Friday from Mr. Larsen IMHO. Back to see what else OFL critiqued after his “very easy” assessment & how @Lewis, et al responded 😷

Klazzic 9:59 AM  

@Quasimojo: actually 3:08 does seem like an outlier. Perhaps your APP lives in Iowa?

Tom R 10:14 AM  

Easiest Friday ever - record time for me. But Rex and I (and should probably include other posters here with Rex) move in different worlds and pop culture just leaves me cold. I knew nothing of Iggy Pop and the Stooges, nor of Korn - got it all from crosses. Misspelled Schrodinger's cat but knew it right away. Love both science and scifi clues.

Nancy 10:16 AM  

A final word from @Nancy on SCHRODINGER'S CAT:

I decided I ought to fill in the holes in my education as regards quantum physics, so I Googled SCHRODINGER'S CAT. I read the Wiki explanation and I watched a very cute You Tube hand-drawn cartoon-y explanation. I get what's being said, but I emphatically don't agree. Forget Schrodinger. Forget Einstein. That cat is either dead or he's alive. He's not both. You heard it here first. End of discussion. That's all I have to say on the matter.

Gio 10:18 AM  

@JohnChild I tried to write in ERES TU. 1974 baby!!

Joaquin 10:19 AM  

@Nancy (9:38) - You're not the only one who loves my 7th grade science teacher (Mr. Byers). He was a cool, young dude. And ... he was involved in a scandalous relationship with the mother of one of his students after meeting her at a Parents' Night. Divorce and mayhem ensued.

Funny, the stuff we remember from our youth.

Swagomatic 10:19 AM  

The Stooges, oddly enough, and Korn, were two gimmees for me - though they both fall outside the bell curve for my age cohort. I liked the puzzle, though it seemed on the easy side for a Friday.

pmdm 10:23 AM  

Nancy: COMPLETELYLY (?). Can't resist, because I have made typos that others took me to task for.

As for the puzzle, this is the first Friday puzzle that i solved without one reference lookup. And probably the last for quite a while. Even though I had to guess many times, and did not know some of the PPP, I very much enjoyed the puzzle. And m grateful that it took up less of my Friday than normal.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

@Rex, @Rex, @Rex, you really give us a stalking video to watch with our morning coffee? Kinda weakens your complaint that XWord editor is putting bad images in the puzzle. Sometimes a word is just a word. A picture, however, makes sure you understand the word. Stalking is not a game and No does not mean maybe.
Otherwise, I always enjoy your blog.

flaherts 10:28 AM  

I'm surprised no one has yet commented on the cluing error in this puzzle: 12d "Get angled up".
Ravel is not the opposite of unravel; it's a synonym. Look it up!

Whatsername 10:35 AM  

I’ll join the chorus of those saying this was an easy and fun Friday. Struggled with some of the Propers which I did not count but seemed like there were a lot of them. Love the crossing of LOL with TEXTALERTS. (If OFL sent you a message would that be a REXTALERT?) @QuasiMojo, that is a frightening story! I have encountered a few texting drivers while in the confines of my own vehicle but never as a pedestrian. So glad that you saw the danger in time and stepped away. Must have been an angel on your shoulder that day. When I drive I pray for not just one but two angels to guide me because I need one on each shoulder to keep me between the lines. Agree 34A is an ugly word but If you have a basement that requires a SUMP pump, it’s not nearly as ugly as the mess you would have without one.

@Joaquin: I think I would have loved your science teacher. According to what I learned from my former English teacher, OVERLAIN is grammatically incorrect and should instead be OVERLAID which is the past tense of overlay - to cover or superimpose. OVERLAIN is the past tense of overlie - to lie over or upon - and the two are not at all interchangeable.

Marc Kwiatkowski 10:53 AM  

Surprised by the incorrect punctuation for ETAS (58D Greek η's).

Sir Hillary 10:56 AM  

Yep, mostly a breeze, and quite fun. THA is laughable and PALSY (as clued) is horrible, but aside from that I have no gripes. Well, maybe OVERLAIN...nah, I'll let that one go.

I see music, music everywhere:
-- GIACOMO Puccini
-- LUNA (great band!)
-- ACE ("How Long" sung by Paul Carrack)
-- Julian COPE
-- ETTA James
-- Maurice RAVEL
-- ECHO (sans Bunnymen)
-- "HITCHARIDE" (by Boston)
-- "HES So Fine"
-- "SOS" (by ABBA -- both palindromes!)


"Ha! You did NOT make me write Riga! You did NOT make me write Riga!" I totally shouted that in my best John Oliver voice while pointing aggressively at the constructor's name above the puzzle.

For a second, I thought it was SCHRODINGERexAm. Check the resulting crosses -- they could all work.

@John Child 4:20am makes a good point. I think Los Lobos are amazing, but their cover of "LABAMBA" is not why, and the clue takes away from the creator Richie Valens.

Oh wait, one other gripe...cluing AWL as such is cutesiness run amok.

Still loved it though!

dadnoa 10:57 AM  

+1 for Rex’s Old Welsh comment. I, too, think of myself as a medievalist, and I thought ALL Welsh was old. :)

webwinger 11:13 AM  

A nice Friday divertissement. Hand up for SCHROeDINGER, Justice William O. Douglas. Alas, LONI is old. Agree No, not that! is a great clue for 1D. I read it with -HI- in place and thought of a different four-letter word (anagram!) first.

ONER reminds me of the old Tom Hanks movie That Thing You Do! in which an aspiring rock band decide to call themselves the Oneders (Won-ders), but listeners keep saying O-needers.

THIS was one weird week for me: Slowest solve by several minutes was Monday. Still avoiding Google like corona virus. It’s starting to seem normal.

TJS 11:19 AM  

Before I read Rex or any comments, I just want to say I loved every minute of this one, all 25 of them. I know there are going to be a few quibbles, but I had a great time.

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

@webwinger, I had the same thought about ONER. What a ridiculous word.

Z 11:43 AM  

I want to know who is going to tell the Godfather of Punk that he is a sell-out.

@Nancy - Yep. Gob-Smacking. However, if I'm remembering this correctly, the double-slit experiment and variations have basically confirmed that the presence of an observer does matter. Just one of those things that I believe because scientists are able to make predictions based on it. If it's any comfort, I think the story is that Schrödinger came up with this thought experiment to demonstrate the absurdity of the theory. Oops.

@Joaquin - What a beautiful story for Valentine's Day.

@flaherts - I'm guessing you didn't look it up (see definition 3). Also, contronym is a cool concept.

@Marc Kwiatkowski - Are you referring to the apostrophe? I was taught "apostrophe s" was appropriate when writing of plural letters. So "A's," not "As." That would make "η's" correct.

@Sir Hillary - Love the John Oliver imitation. I wish I could have done the same.

zephyr 11:46 AM  

He’s right.

zephyr 11:51 AM  

That Oner is ridiculous. Never used it’s not even colloquial. Overlain Is strained-it’s overlaid, as even my auto correct puts that. Dabs daub. Space OPERA??

TJS 11:52 AM  

If anyone out there has not seen "Dead Calm", I highly recommend it.A young Nicole Kidman. Yum. And the rest of the movie is good too.

@Joquin, Great story about your teacher. I see what i missed being taught by Nuns. I think.

So a medievalist, a comic book professor and F.Scott Fitzgerald walk into a bar...

eddy 11:53 AM  

Amazing to me that Rex doesn't even mention Schrodingers cat in his write up. I must admit to near zero knowledge about quantum physics, but am I exceptional? Do they teach quantum physics in high school these days? Without knowing anything even sounding like it, the entire west side of my solving was thrown into question. Why not Schrodinger Scam? Did not help that several crossings had conceivable variations. Could have googled, I suppose, but that always spoils my fun.

jberg 11:56 AM  

Finally, a puzzle for my age group, what with OLD WELSH, Common Britton, and ALEC Douglas-Home, not to mention Buck Rogers. AUDIO BOOKS are a little too newfangled for me, though.

@John Child, I resisted putting in LA BAMBA because Ritchie Valens died in 1958; but, @Sir Hillary, he didn't write it -- it's an old Mexican folk song.

I fell hard for Riga, not to mention IdOl, so the middle west section was really tough, especially after I finally put in LA BAMBA and saw that William DouglAs would fit. Also, since Star Wars characters have weird names, I was looking for something like daughter-in-law for Han Solo's relationship to Corellia. Somehow, though, I struggled on and eventually came out on top. Unlike @Nancy, I did enjoy the struggle, though.

That's all I've got. Now I'm going to go bone up on the Korean alphabet so I'll be ready for next Friday's puzzle.

GILL I. 11:57 AM  

I loved the 60's pop bands. Jefferson Airplane, Fleetwood Mac but in my go go thigh high boot days, I never once heard of THE STOOGES. NEVER. You know that THE ZOMBIES fits there, don't you?
Wow, what a very fun roller coaster ride this was. Had so many do-overs that I won't bore you; they were the same as everyone else....@Nancy and I had the same thoughts...Did anybody else have SCHOOL OF THOUGHT for that dead CAT thing?
I had to put this beauty down several times. Went to the basement, checked on the SUMP and the floodgates opened. I was off and running. I worked my way back up to the attic and little by little the pearly gates opened. I had a Google go at 5D at that THA because the only STOOGE I know is Curly. So be it.
The first time I heard OLD WELSH spoken was, in all places, Argentina. It is the weirdest language on this planet. It sounds a bit like Arabic, Catalan, German and, frankly, something the STOOGES would sing about.
This is a debut, Daniel? IN THAT CASE, I really want you to come and stay for dinner. I'll make sumpin good. KORN on the cob? WELSH rarebit?
Para bailar LA BAMBA se necesita una poca de "grasa."

Geezer 11:58 AM  

@Rex and others, what is it you think SUMP is? Let me enlighten you.

noun: sump; plural noun: sumps

1. a pit or hollow in which liquid collects, especially one in the floor of a mine or basement.

A sump pump is a pump used to remove water that has accumulated in a water-collecting sump basin, commonly found in the basements of homes.

OffTheGrid 12:03 PM  

"DEAD CALM" is a worthwhile thriller movie.

Masked and Anonymous 12:11 PM  

Happy Valentine's Day, all U sweet Comment Gallery folks. U 2, @RPmeister. Luv y'all like a PEWITless puzgrid [mooch].
Kinda hard to sneak a Valentine theme into a themeless FriPuz, I reckon. INTHERED coulda been clued as {Chock full of Valentine hearts, say??}, or somesuch, tho, at least. [M&A is probably too desperate, for the puz to show some luv.]

I did definitely *luv* the fillins in this puppy, with extra-faves: MICROCOSMS. HOMEPLANET & SPACEOPERA. Also the two grid-spanners, goin Down.
Also grooved on that there OPENSET clue, due to most of my old college courseload.

staff weeject pick: THA. Sounds intriguinly incomplete, somehow. Can kinda runt-roll around the corner to the east, and repeat the THATCASE part of 17-A, which is kinda cool. Sorta roll-of-the-dice-like.

Thanx for the fun but heartless workout, Young Mr. Larsen.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Anonymous 12:12 PM  

No. The question isn't whether the cat is dead or alive. The question, if you want to call it that, is how the cat is dead and alive at the same time. Existing in two opposite states is what makes it quantum physics and not, I dunno, a stupid question.

turkeyneck 12:13 PM  

Too easy, not too interesting. And who the hell is SCHRODINGER?

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

Mr. Larsen,
Wow! Pure genius for getting Erwin's cat so close to ravel
Of course Rex doesn't know verschrankung, nor do his acolytes, but plenty of us do. Very nifty. Ausgezeichnet.Danke viemals.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Agree on ease, fastest Friday ever. And 1987 is really offensive on La Bambi. But folks, if you don’t know who either schrodinger or the stooges are, you shouldn’t publicize it.

Sir Hillary 12:35 PM  

@jberg 11:56AM -- Thanks for the info regarding the origins of "La Bamba". Once again, I demonstrate the limits of my knowledge, cultural awareness and patience to, you know, actually look something up to verify it. :)

Rug Crazy 12:50 PM  

Why can't there be an OLD WELSH if we have a NEW MEXICO?

Carola 12:54 PM  

Medium here, due to mental distraction and basic state of being blotto (TMI Alert: my husband is recovering from a stroke he had on Monday and is doing well; I feel like one of those cartoon characters that has x’s for eyes). Thankfully I knew enough of the names (SCHRO[E}DINGER, GIACOMO, LONI, ALEC, ELENA, BRENNAN, ELI, BLY) to give me the fingerholds I needed to piece the rest together.

Like @Newboy, I loved the parallel SCHRÖDINGERS CAT and THERE IS NO ESCAPE, because there’s no way the cat is getting out of that box...if it’s in the box.

ELI and Edythe Broad have provided fantastic support to the arts in Los Angeles. They built the Broad Museum to make their collection of contemporary art available to the public. Free admission, well worth a visit.

Teedmn 1:15 PM  

My brain was in a DEAD CALM state (i.e. no synapses firing) for too long with this puzzle. SCHROeDINGER CAT made a mess up and down the west side and with the popular Riga and Idol missteps, I just had no traction on that side.

Because SCHRODINGER really needed his possessive state, it didn't take me long to decide the extra e didn't belong but that didn't help get rid of Riga or Idol.

THE STOOGES - I knew I knew that band name but I needed S_OO_S in place before it slowly rose to the forebrain.

I had a MIni hold-up when I splatzed that in at 42A and had to back into MICROCOSMS from the east.

I had the same thought as Rex about THERE IS as opposed to THERE'S in 11D but I decided a villain who was making such a pronouncement would likely be rather formal so it worked for me.

AWL as a rebus symbol or emoji for ALL - now that's the kind of tiny picture I would be looking at and wondering what on earth is that? An ice pick? A turkey baster? Gah.

Daniel Larsen, thanks for the fun Friday puzzle, nice work!

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

alas William (Supreme Court) Douglas before BRENNAN. by some measures, the former more famous. unless your a leftwing snowflake, of course.

Teedmn 1:32 PM  

@jae, I'm surprised at your dislike of the Neapolitan novels - I have read so many sparkling reviews of those books that they are on my list of someday reads. Now I am hesitant. But I will second you on loving "The Orphan Master's Son", though loving is maybe the wrong word given the premise. But it was riveting and I have recommended it to many.

Anonymous 1:53 PM  

Always made me feel better that Stephen Hawking said, "When I hear about Schrodinger's cat, I reach for my gun."

What? 1:57 PM  

Schrodinger agreed with you! He posed this thought experiment to indicate the absurdity of transferring properties of stuff on an atomic scale to macro stuff like cats or anything much larger than atoms or parts thereof. Schrodinger himself called the idea of alive-dead cats “ridiculous”.

Gio 2:29 PM  

I put GIACOMO, HITCHARIDE, OLD WELSH and LONI in first but I had nothing else except RIGA and OMAN and IDOL so I struggled but eventually I worked it all out with only 2 look ups. It took me about 15 times longer than Rex, but I'm no Rex and never will be. I've heard of Iggy Pop but like @Gill I never heard the Stooges except in the case of my IDOLS Moe, Larry, Curly nyuk nyuk nyuk. That was one of my look ups after it was filled to check if Stooges was indeed the right name of that band. It's weird how a gimme for one person is an unheard of to another. I'm not going to fall into that Capital trap ever again. I can just hear Moe- hey knucklehead! As he takes my eyeballs out with an AWL.

Amelia 2:56 PM  

Yeah, it was easy and yeah, it was nice in lots of places. But it's Friday, for goodness sake. Have a heart. (I would write see what I did there, but that's right up there in my dictionary of annoying internet phrases with because x) Make it a bit of a challenge.

And my daily complaint?

What was with that pitcher/ace clue and answer. It doesn't work on any level. As one of you said, your star pitcher is your ace. I get that. Although you rarely say star pitcher. You never say star ace, or ace pitcher. You say ace. We have our ace on the mound today! I just don't understand what they were doing there.

@whatshername I'm with you. Overlain was wrong. But everyone keeps telling me to chill about things like disinterested and literally. Language evolves. So I'm letting it evolve around me. By all the vocal fryers around me.

What a strange and wonderful teacher you had @Joaquin.


Masked and Anonymous 2:57 PM  

Not the constructioneer's fault, of course, that there wasn't any Valentine's Day stuff in his puz. Just luck of the themeless draw. Heartless, but also blameless, Larsen dude.

On the other hand, we do have ONER. har

And yet … actually, ONER might be a real cool word to use in Valentine card prose:

* "You're the ONER in my million!"
* "You're my one and only ONER!"
* "No ONER means as much to me as U!"
* "You're someONER specialer!"

… Others, maybe … ?


Better THA clue: {No! Not quite that! ??}.

Joe Dipinto 2:57 PM  

@Anon 12:34 – why is 1987 "really offensive" on LA BAMBA? For Ritchie V it only reached #22, and that was as the B side of "Donna". The clue is accurate, so what's the problem?

Nancy 2:57 PM  

Wow! So SCHRODINGER posed this "thought experiment" to show that the concept he was putting forward was, in fact, ridiculous??? Yay, SCHRODINGER! Way to go, fellow! And warm thanks to @Z, @What and @Anon 1:53 p.m. for pointing this out and making me feel much better about my reaction, "unscientific" though it may be.

RooMonster 3:08 PM  

Hey All !
So apparently, no one had HITCHhikes first? That makes my answer a ONER. :-)

Nice puz for a themeless. Interesting grid. Two sets of three 10's crossed by a 15, with various other semi-longies thrown in the mix.

The comments today have been a riot. An OPEN SET, one might say. It's too bad I'm not funny to add to the frivolity.

Thanks to those reminding me of Los Lobos, cause I was gonna complain about the date.

Weird cross clues for STAR/ACE. I get it, but weird.

No F's again! ARENT they worthy?


Amelia 3:17 PM  

And another thing. @teedmn and @jae

I, too, could not get past Volume 1. I thought it tedious. I was told by someone that she agreed but moved on to the rest and they were much better. That's nice, I said. And moved on to another writer.

Z 3:31 PM  

@Anon12:12 - Was wondering what you were going on about, but re-read my initial post and see how the language is imprecise. I would complain about you picking nits over what's clearly intended as a toss-off line, but picking nits is what we do here so no complaint from me. What always surprises me is that the real problem with the thought experiment is that the CAT is an observer, so the superposition would get resolved. Schrödinger was a speciesist!

@TJS - Are they alive, dead, or in an unobserved superpositional state?

@Anon12:28 - The stretch from RAVEL to entanglement would be quite the quantum Easter Egg. I suspected it was mere coincidence, but wanted to check. Larsen (OMG - the guy is barely out of middle school) points out (over at the connection between THERE IS NO ESCAPE and SCHRÖDINGER'S poor CAT, but makes no mention of RAVEL. Still, nice catch.

Anonymous 3:52 PM  


Nice try, but the most plausible explanation for your post is a profound misunderstanding about quantum superposistion. No one with any real understanding would use the phrase alive OR dead. That or defeats the whole point. And if you knew that, no amount of speed or haste what allow you to write it.

webwinger 4:09 PM  

I’m a bit surprised no one seems to have noted that SCHRODINGER’s name and the CAT concept have been attached to certain x-words in which two different solutions are possible with the same grid and clues. The most famous is probably one that ran in the NYT the day after Bill Clinton’s re-election in 1996. The central 7 squares across could be filled with either CLINTON or BOB DOLE, clued as the winner of yesterday’s election, and all crossing downs worked for either with slightly different but identically clued answers. Seemed like an amazing feat of prognostication until the gimmick was appreciated.

kitshef 4:33 PM  

@Amelia 2:56: I don't know who this "everyone" is telling you to relax, but I will guarantee there is an equal "everyone" who will tell you to stick to your standards. Ask @Nancy about lay/lie.

Photomatte 4:37 PM  

Pretty easy for a Friday. One of my pet peeves made its way into the puzzle: Schrodinger's Cat (4D, thought experiment in quantum physics). The idea that the cat is both alive AND dead is absurd, just mindless mental masturbation. The cat is either alive or dead; what Schrodinger knows--or doesn't know--is irrelevant. It's the same as the anthropocentric notion of "if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make noise?" Of course it does. Noise existed long before humans; the idea that a sentient being needs to hear something in order for noise to exist is absurd. The capital of Latvia was pretty sneaky...

What? 4:47 PM  

The term “observer” doesn’t necessarily refer to a person. It could be a detector.

Photomatte 4:51 PM  

I have to make another comment on Schrödinger's cat; it's just such a pet peeve of mine (and Schrödinger!). The cat does not exist in two separate states at the same time, being both alive and dead. It's one or the other. Just because and abserver doesn't know which state is correct doesn't mean both are correct. It doesn't even mean both are possible. It simply means the observer doesn't know.

GILL I. 4:51 PM  

@Carola 12:54. Sending good thoughts your way. My husband has had 4 strokes. 2 major and 2 minor. He's doing pretty damn good, though - although he keeps me busy!....Just remember, Kirk Douglas had a big one and he lived to be 103!
@webwinger 4:09...I remember well the CLITON/BOB DOLE crossword. I loved that one. I'm also pretty sure I remembered SCHRODINGER because of x-words but I'll be damned if I remembered his CAT. Poor thing!
Happy Valentines Day. My husband and I had our first date on this day 34 years ago....and we're still going strong! Viva el amor.

Unknown 4:57 PM  

I've figured out that when a puzzle is in Rex's wheelhouse, he loves it. Me, i don't mind a challenge. I thought this was easy for a Friday. The Stooges and 11D fell right away. Loved the misdirection on EURO. This one nade me feel smart, on my birthday.

Anonymous 5:00 PM  

The capital of Latvia was pretty sneaky...

that 'o' will get you every time. even when it isn't there.

Joe Dipinto 5:15 PM  

@Sir Hillary 10:56– excellent list. I couldn't resist adding a few more:

Too Hot Ta TROT – Commodores
ELI's Coming – Laura Nyro/Three Dog Night
HITCHing A RIDE – Vanity Fare
Back In The USSR – Beatles
EBB Tide – Righteous Brothers (& others)
Maria ELENA – Los Indios Tabajaras (& others)
AREN'T You Glad You're You – Bing Crosby
HE'S A Rebel – Crystals
HE'S So Shy – Pointer Sisters
Sweet PEA – Tommy Roe
The EDSELs (doo-wop group)
And too many STAR songs to mention...

DigitalDan 5:37 PM  

I'm old. Never heard of The Stooges (heard of Iggy tho), never heard of Korn, never heard of Etta bat girl. But I got through it anyhow, or so says Mr. pencil. I didn't enter anything until the 20th clue attempt, so it was dicey for a while.

Anonymous 5:41 PM  

IMHO ALEC Douglas-Hume is way more relevant to the history of the world than Alec Waugh.

Waugh was a nobody writer, whereas Douglas-Hume was a genuine Prime Minister of a sizable English-speaking country.

Gio 5:46 PM  

@Amelia I just can't with the vocal fry. Do not watch the Bachelor if you value your ears. Unfortunately it's slipping into mainstream areas like commercials and receptionists at the doctor's office. I love the way everyone spoke in the movies in the 1930's to 1950's, the Mid Atlantic accent spoken in a lovely tone. Compare that to today it makes me want to get into the radioactive box with the CAT. Vocal Fry and Internet passwords are the two things I hate most about the modern world. I can't say I hate everything about the modern world because I love GPS, Uber and the ROKU.

Carola 5:55 PM  

GILL I. - Thank you! I send best wishes back to you and your husband, hoping that he continues to do well.

Amelia 5:59 PM  

@kitshef. Be honest. Have you heard disinterested used correctly in the last 20 years?

(Impartial. Like judges.)

That sucker evolved.

But thanks for being concerned!

@Carola Best wishes for a full recovery.

@Joaquin. The plot (and the science teacher) sickens. Never mind!

jae 6:20 PM  

@Teedmn & Amelia - those reviews were the reason I decided to read the first novel,

JC66 6:25 PM  


Here's hoping for a quick & full recovery.

Whatsername 7:15 PM  

@ La Donna È mobile: It’s interesting you used the receptionist at the doctors office as an example. I actually changed eye doctors this year because of it. I just couldn’t take it any more. Not only that but also her insistence on responding to practically every answer, comment or scenario by pronouncing it to be “PER-fect!”

Unknown 7:24 PM  

KORN is not a "metal band."
That is all

Other Prof. 7:50 PM  

His name was Schroedinger!!

Joe Dipinto 7:54 PM  

I'm not sure which gets on my nerves more – vocal fry or upspeak. Though mild cases of upspeak don't really bother me. I seem to hear more women than men doing the vocal fry thing. I don't even see how one can sustain talking that way. I tried to do it as an experiment and I couldn't keep it going past a sentence or two.

Jeff510 12:39 AM  

As a cat lover, I could never like quantum mechanics. Why not Schrodinger’s Trump?

Anonymous 6:33 PM  

Again NYTXW coming up shortz in knowledge of other alphabets! If you want to write Schrödinger in English, it’s Schroedinger, not Schrodinger.


Anonymous 6:38 PM  

@ Petri 6:50 AM. re PALSY
yes! The clue wasn’t cerebral enough, or at all.


WinthorpeIII 3:43 AM  

1. My app says Get tangled up."

2. Second definition on "To tangle."

rondo 11:56 AM  

This mighta been a Friday record for me starting with 1a gimme THESTOOGES. I don’t know Star Wars trivia, but HOMEPLANET was nearly filled in by the time I read the clue. Wasn’t quite sure how SCHRODINGERSCAT would come out.

SUMP might be an ‘ugly word’, but I’ll bet you’re glad to have one.

In this neck of the woods HHH is Hubert H. Humphrey.

WKRP’s secretary LONI Anderson is from practically just down the street from where I’m sitting. Yeah baby.

This was fun to breeze through.

spacecraft 12:41 PM  

My understanding of SCHRODINGERSCAT is that the act of observation changes the result of the experiment. Thus, when you open the box, you trigger a circuit that electrocutes the poor devil, whereas if you'd just left him alone...

Anyway, a good if easyish puzzle--not as easy as it was for those who knew 1a, though. I'll assume the group is, ahem, a trio? One big fat nit to pick:

Do NOT give me 1987 for LABAMBA!! I HATE covers! The year was 1958, if you please, and even if you don't. Give Richie some props.

HOMEPLANET atop SPACEOPERA: cute. Justices BRENNAN and ELENA make a mini SC theme. Since @rondo beat me to LONI, I am more than pleased to name Daniela Ruah, who plays Kensie BLY on NCIS Los Angeles, as DOD. Birdie.

Stay safe.

Burma Shave 1:37 PM  


in LONI’s EDSEL he’ll HAVE to COPE.


rondo 1:55 PM  

@spacey - very well played on BLY.

Anonymous 2:04 PM  

I can't believe nobody has corrected all the indignant moans about 1987 being the wrong year for the release of La Bamba. It refers to a MOVIE that was released in 1987, starring Lou Diamond Phillips, and it was indeed a minor hit in its day.

fakt chekker 2:47 PM  

@anon 2:04 - The word 'lyrics' is in the CLUE. The definition of lyrics is "the words to a song". Richie Valens' song came out almost 30 years before the half-baked movie. Los Lobos' cover, however, did reach #1 while Valens' original did not. So you are wrong in saying that the clue refers to a movie. The #1 hit (per the clue) was the SONG, even though it is the film's title track.

leftcoaster 3:25 PM  

Sure, relatively easy for a Friday, but look at what you get for your money--if you HAVE It:
Lots of fun and some late-week satisfaction.

Good long acrosses filling out the NW and SW as well as in the middle, and a couple of neat grid-spanning long downs.

And for free you get THIS instead of "that", KORN, OLD WELSH, and ETTA and ETAS to start and end the solve.

I'll take an "easy" like this one any time. Nice work, DL.

Diana, LIW 4:26 PM  

I do know my CATs, but not SCHRODINGER'S, or at least it escaped my memory. Bet it wished it had escaped Mr. SCHRODINGER too.

The usual PPP interference - knew of Iggy Pop, but not the group's name. What ever happened to Larry, Moe and Curley?

This was a fine diversion from you know what.

Diana, Lady in Waiting for Crosswords

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