1936 summer Olympics icon / FRI 4-17-20 / Castilian knight in medieval spain / Lucy Hayes 1800s first lady / Tune with syncopated rhythm / Fox in Fox and the hound / Some nose-to-tail cuisine

Friday, April 17, 2020

Constructor: Robyn Weintraub

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (untimed)


THEME: none

Word of the Day: Lucy WEBB Hayes, 1800s first lady (38A) —
Lucy Ware Hayes (née Webb; August 28, 1831 – June 25, 1889) was the wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes and served as First Lady of the United States.
Hayes was the first First Lady to have a college degree.[1] She was also a more egalitarian hostess than previous First Ladies.[2] An advocate for African Americansboth before and after the Civil War, Lucy invited the first African-Americanprofessional musician to appear at the White House.[3] She was a Past Grand of Lincoln Rebekah Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, together with her husband.
Historians have christened her "Lemonade Lucy" due to her staunch support of the temperance movement; however, contrary to popular belief, she was never referred to by that nickname while living. It was her husband who banned alcohol from the White House. (wikipedia) (my emphasis)
• • •

This puzzle had me at "EXIT, pursued by a bear" (the greatest stage direction of all time). I don't think I've done a bad Robyn Weintraub puzzle. Today's was probably just average for her, but just average for her is a huge step up from typical fare. Just average for her is a delightful and fresh Friday puzzle. This one eschews Scrabbly letters for sturdy answers and snappy colloquial phrases (always the right choice), and though I found it easy, the clues had enough teeth to make the experience Friday-worthy. The things I might normally pick on in an inferior puzzle (ASI CID TOD TAE STET) just doesn't register as remarkable in a puzzle this loaded with good stuff. You only notice the cracks and the dust when there's nothing great to notice. I'm marveling at how much mileage (not SILAGE) she gets out of simple phrases like "IT'S A START" and "ANY TAKERS?" and "ARE WE THERE YET?" and "NO REASON" and "LET'S ROLL." You see the pattern there—things people say all the time but that feel fresh and lively in grid form. Robyn has a great ear for the language as we speak it, and her puzzles really demonstrate the potential cruciverbial value of simple expressions. And then there are at least half a dozen other unimpeachable longer answers, including PROPOSE A TOAST over LIFE LESSON, TOP SCORE, PEABRAIN, etc. It's hard to be mad at any of this. And it turns out, I don't actually *want* to be mad. I want a puzzle to give me a reason to love it. And Robyn always does.


Hardest part of the puzzle for me today was the PLOW / WEBB crossing. Did not know WEBB (though I ended up inferring it after I got one of the "B"s) and I just couldn't see PLOW even after getting the first three letters (!?) (25D: Get off the street, in a way). Me: "PLOD? PLOT? Huh? Is it PLOW? How do farmers get ...? Oh.... snow PLOW. Of course. Gotcha." Despite being married to a KIWI I had no idea that a KIWI was a "berry" (49D: Fuzzy berry), which is bizarre, given that I know they used to be called "Chinese gooseberries." I had the "K" and wrote in KOLA (!?), which is ... a nut. Loved the clue on ELECTORATE (39A: Seasonal pickers). That is my kind of misdirection—I'm baffled because I'm thinking of some wrong but completely plausible context, and then when I figure out my error, I groan but I do not grouse because the clue is actually spot-bleeping-on. Clever. Not torturous. Nice job. See also the clue on NINTH (61A: Finish on a diamond?). Speaking of diamonds, I am off now (early in the morning) to watch baseball! The Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL)! Live! From Taiwan! It is the greatest new thing in my life since this whole horrible lockdown phase of existence started. Real baseball. Real (if mostly empty) stadiums. Real mascots real songs real celebrations. Real joy. Here's how to watch. If you are a baseball fan, I promise you won't regret it.

I hope you're all staying well.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

149 comments:

Loren Muse Smith 6:14 AM  

Yay! A Robyn Weintraub Friday! Totally agree with Rex - so much to admire here: LET’S ROLL/IT’S A START, ARE WE THERE YET, LIFE LESSON, ANY TAKERS, OFF BALANCE (crossing ELECTORATE, ahem), CALL IT A DAY, GARAGE SALE. . .

Loved the clues for ROAD ATLAS and ROE.

First thought for a five-letter giraffe food – “celery.” My avatar is a Facebook pic of my daughter. The caption is I thought was true love until I ran out of celery. (@webwinger – she’s finishing up her second year of vet school at CSU. So she lives in Fort Collins, too. I tried to email you to tell you this, but it didn’t work. Why this is so important that you know this, I have no idea.)

“All THAT” meaning “really cool” is great. Up the ante with all THAT and a bag of chips. Lucy Webb Hayes thought she was all that and a bag of chips.

I get a kick out of the expression to WIG out. (See also: flip your wig.) Wonder if big wigs have, well, bigger freak-outs.

First thought for a four-letter Shakespeare entry – “Iago.” I kept trying to remember a bear in Othello. Dumb.

“Enters without looking, say” – I had the ridiculous thought of backing into a room full of people. That would flat get people’s attention, right?
RUNNERS UP – the plural marker S goes on the noun.
The runners up need to accept that they don’t get a sash.
But make that S a possessive S, and it goes on the whole thing:
That’s the runner-up’s prize. Not *That’s the runner’s-up prize.
Same with stuff like mother-in-law and attorney. Where’s Ben Zimmer when I need him?

“One who needs to go” – coffee drinker on a school bus for three hours delivering food to students. Oops.

ARE WE THERE YET? Back in the pre-watching-movies-during-car-trip days, our annual drives to Cherry Grove from Chattanooga began for my sisters and me at least an hour early. We’d go out to the car with our stuff to stake out “my spot” (with masking tape) and start bickering well ahead of pulling out of the driveway. Ten hours later, we’d start fighting about who saw the water first and who tasted the salt on their lips first. Good times.

Liked LIFE LESSON/GARAGE SALE. No. You do not need to pay for other people’s crap they don’t want anymore. There’s a reason it’s on that table with a sticker that says 25ȼ.

CORPSE flower. Man. Talk about unfortunate juxtaposition. Those two things just don’t belong together. Is there a diaper rash birthday cake? An irritable bowel rainbow? A misery kitten? A nausea puppy?

Robyn - excellent, as usual!

David Sinclair 6:28 AM  

Thank you Robyn! This is the best NYT xword I’ve solved in a really, really, really long time. Job well done.

Paul Emil 6:41 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:45 AM  

What Rex said. Word for word.

When I see Robyn's name on top of a Friday puzzle, I feel like doing cartwheels. If puzzles had eyes, there'd be a twinkle in Robyn's. I know there will be a good number of clues that will make me smile. And, as icing, a good number that will make me feel clever when I figure them out.

I love how in her cluing, Robyn comes up with words whose meaning you don't think of at first: [Meet at a poker game], [Enters without looking], [Seasonal pickers].

And so today another gift, another visit to my happiness zone, via this kindred crossword spirit. As always, I'm extremely grateful, Robyn.

Diver 6:46 AM  

Ditto, finally agree with Rex. This was a delight of entertaining misdirection, full of aha moments. Took a full cup of coffee, which is what I look for in a Friday puzzle.

Paul Emil 6:50 AM  

A good puzzle for any day.

Scott Thomas 6:53 AM  

Meanwhile ... watched an inning of Taiwanese baseball. Great stuff! Cheerleaders! Paper cutouts of fans in the seats! And why is the pitching rubber so enormous? Go Monkeys!

webwinger 7:03 AM  

Great Friday puzzle! Female constructor! All’s right with the world! (Well, IT’S A START...)

OffTheGrid 7:13 AM  

Great puzzle. Fun time. Wishing more were like this.

I had TRUMP at 14A "one who needs to go" Here's hoping the ELECTORATE will make that happen. There's NOREASON to keep this PEABRAIN in office. The country has been OFFBALANCE under his non-leadership. EWE!

JJ 7:18 AM  

I agree with everyone else. Loved it smile, after smile, after smile.
How about that great clue for TOUCH TYPES?
So many great clues, Thanks for that.

ss 7:24 AM  

As Rex said, the clue for ELECTORATE was top notch, grade A stuff. Really enjoyed all the colloquial phrases. My one issue was with TOP SCORE -- it's usually a high score that you are looking to get on Ms Pac Man. I'm not sure if top score is so much of a thing in arcade/video games, but I don't play them much anymore so maybe I'm wrong.

kitshef 7:34 AM  

I was the outlier yesterday, and here I am today.

Very dull. All the long answers were clued too directly, so I kept filling in huge swaths of the grid without much effort. The only thing that gave me any trouble was the crossing fill-in-the-blanks in the top central, with TAD messing things up up there, too.

Phrases like ITS A START, OFF BALANCE and CALL IT A DAY don't feel "fresh and lively"; they feel like filler stretched to the extreme.

Oh, and it is high SCORE, not TOP SCORE. TOP SCORE is green paint.

There was some stuff I liked, although it did set an odd mood for the puzzle: SILAGE, OFFAL, SORES, TASE.

TokyoRacer 7:49 AM  

The only clue that was off-base was: Home to zero winners of the FIFA World Cup, surprisingly. That's not surprising at all. The European and South American teams are and always have been, far superior to Asian teams. Asian teams have to be quite lucky (with the draw) to get out of the group stage, and never make it any further, much less to the finals.

amyyanni 7:54 AM  

Please could Will offer Robyn a Friday Contract? She would be able to submit puzzles for other days but she has every Friday, with occasional days off for an Outstanding Guest Puzzle.

Hungry Mother 8:03 AM  

Very fast here this morning. Tough enough, but very fair perps. Shame on me for not getting JEDI immediately.

QuasiMojo 8:06 AM  

I'm afraid I'm in the unimpressed camp today. A lot of this seemed forced and OFF BALANCE. I found the language to be like one of those computer translations that don't quite get the essence of idioms. BEAUT to me might possibly be a "gem," in a bad pulp novel, but a jewel? Not to my recollection. A Road Atlas is not "bound" to "show you the way" since it is bound in order not to fall apart when you are reading it. LET'S ROLL to me is said when one is starting out, not when one is bored and wants to leave a snooze fest. The venue is the "garage," not the "sale." One is LOOKING at the text when one touch types so "without" isn't exactly le mot juste here. And Rex seems off his game too. . "Dope" or "Peabrain" is cute, but last week's "idiot" raises hackles? The Old South gets a basta rant recently, but ELIA Kazan today is cool? And enough of the flipped jargon. We all know it's A-Side. Not "Side A." Besides the B-Side is always better. At least in crosswordland. STET means to override an edit, not "nevermind." And finally, if only baseball games ended more often in the ninth inning.

Anonymous 8:10 AM  

Love this puzzle but TOP SCORE is very much not a thing. Arcade games have "high scores", and will occasionally list a Top 10 or Top 5 instead. Based on the first 100 google image searches of "arcade score" and my life of playing arcade games, TOP SCORE isn't in the vernacular at all.

puzzlehoarder 8:14 AM  

Seeing the constructors' name I dreaded another unsatisfying pushover. This turned out t be a pleasant surprise and the first of her puzzles I have any respect for.

It wasn't challenging. The material is mainly common phrases but the cluing brought it up to average Friday resistance.

TOUCHTYPES was the oddball long entry for me. I don't type and now always print out the puzzles and do them in pencil. Being OCD I buy special pencil sets and use each individual one exclusively until it's a nub.

I really enjoyed this solve. For some reason the NE corner stood out. The clue for 11A briefly made me wonder what the translation of "CID" would be. I went with it anyway and DISCS confirmed my instincts. That little cross shape of the 16A partial and the 12D Mimi phrase once again gave me pause. COLIC, ACACIA and LIPIDS were the gimmes and that corner fell. Still like the rest of the puzzle it wasn't a complete softball and it generated interest.

Suzie Q 8:15 AM  

Tons of fun.
I wonder how a puzzle like this plays for non-native English speakers. I marvel at those folks.

Joe Dipinto 8:22 AM  

@Quasi – You should have subbed for Rex today. Spot-on assessment. (See also: @kitshef.)

TJS 8:33 AM  

WOW. Are we really so hard up for a decent puzzle that we are rapturous over what might be an easy Wednesday ? Did anyone spend 2 seconds of hesitation before filling in any area of this ? Just not up to my expectations for a Friday in any way. Off to the archive. Bye and be safe.

bauskern 9:16 AM  

Well, TJS, I wouldn't call this an easy Wednesday. I thought it was the perfect Friday. It had teeth. I knew from the get go that Rex would love it b/c it had a (spoiler alert) female constructor. Random question: When did "Robin" take on the alternate spelling of "Robyn?" Just curious. I'm surprised Rex didn't get upset over TASE (criminal charge), as almost everyone knows that people of color are tased much more frequently than people of no color. https://www.npr.org/2016/06/30/483829855/who-gets-tased-first-statewide-study-reveals-racial-disparities

Barbara S. 9:17 AM  

I'm with the people who liked this puzzle, but I didn't find all the sparkly charm that Rex did. I felt it was solid but too easy for a Friday.

I liked the witty misdirection of several clues. My favorite was the one for ROE ("School of the future?"). A spot of trouble here, as it crossed "Printed fabric" and I'm never sure whether that's going to to be TOILE, or tuile or tulle. (Although, come to think of it, tuile and tulle may be what wedding veils are made of, so not printed at all -- I must look this up.)

Is NODAT a DOOK? Alternate clue: Possible answer to "Dis or Dat?"

53A People who place. RUNNERSUP and RaN sEcond have the same number of letters.

Also liked the clues for EDEN and TASE but maybe they're crosswordese so I shouldn't bother.

Z 9:19 AM  

I was slow getting onto this puzzle’s wave length. Had nothing until ROAD ATLAS, but didn’t write it in because the only cross I got was TOP SCORE. That got me some anchors, with NO REASON getting me into the SE corner, then the entire south, and back to the north to finish in probably around average Friday time for me. Once I got the SE done I didn’t have any real hang-ups except balking at OFFAL and “the CID.” Since OFFAL is what you don’t eat, the waste, the use of “cuisine“ seemed malodorous to me. And, of course, el CID is fine but “the CID” clangs.

I do think “high SCORE” is more common. Still, I’ve heard and seen TOP SCORE. It probably doesn’t hurt that the company that provides registration and scheduling software for about 75% of ultimate organizations in the US is TOPSCORE, but I do remember the term from my days of wasting quarters in Space Invaders and Joust and Tempest and Galaxian.

Put me on the “likes this a lot” team.

Petsounds 9:24 AM  

@TJS: Yes--I spent much more than 2 seconds on filling this in. In fact, my time was rather high for a Friday. But that doesn't matter because solving this puzzle was an absolute joy. As Rex said, the misdirections took some pencil chewing and heavy thought, but getting the answers on those clues made me smile, rather than groan as lesser puzzle clues do.

Perfect example of why this puzzle was so good, compared, let's say, to yesterday's: The clue in this puzzle for EGRETS ("Wetland predators") compared to yesterday's lame "Snowy in Florida." Too many favorites to name in this puzzle, but a standing O for "Finish on a diamond?", "Seasonal pickers," and "[Never mind]."

Robyn, you had me at EXIT, pursued by a bear. Thanks for a delightful solving experience.

Nancy 9:33 AM  

In a reversal from the norm, it was the longer answers that helped me get the shorter answers, since I found the short fill mostly pretty hard. Fabulous clues for STET (34D); TOUCH TYPES (30D); EDEN (50D) and ROE (54D). Lots of things I didn't know such as Lucy Hayes's middle name and what giraffes eat.

toPS before CAPS at 32A had me looking for an arcade StORE -- So I was baffled there for a while.

Thought for the day: Once an ARE WE THERE YET? sort of person, always an ARE WE THERE YET? sort of person. Some LIFE LESSONS just can't be learned. At least not by me. I hated being in a car as a child and I hate it just as much today. No sooner do I climb into a car than I want to climb out. One of my biggest achievements is having managed to spend a tiny, tiny, tiny number of hours over my entire lifetime in cars. It helps, of course, to live in NYC.

I don't know if the one-D TOD fox in "The Fox and the Hound" is a villain. If so, he's well-named. I'm pretty sure that TOD is the German word for "death".

A crunchy and enjoyable puzzle with a lot of fun stuff in it.

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

Agree wholeheartedly with TJS. After breezing through the top I expected resistance somewhere in the bottom, but alas it never came. I paused exactly twice in the entire puzzle, on "acacia" and "silage" but both were easily gettable from the crosses. Sure it was a fun fill, but I managed to polish it off in less than ten minutes, which is under my Wednesday average. By far the least challenging Friday I have ever done.

Newboy 9:42 AM  

Got sidetracked with sprinkler system reboot and never got to post a couple afterthoughts, so....
@Nancy “you have a sensational puzzle on every level -- pun intended.” You would have been my Personal Email of the Day winner had you added that gmail link🥴you note elsewhere.

@Bax’N’Nex welcome to the world of blue. A good profile, and anyone who enjoys Tull, Meany and The Princess Bride probably is worth sharing a beer with. I promise no stalking, but I missed your link too.

I appreciate all the commentariat—even those in black or even @anonymous. Now to today’s solve 🤒

LeaveItToYourGoat 9:47 AM  

I learned a LIFE LESSON when I went with TOD to SEE JEWEL perform in ASIA. He picked up a ROAD ATLAS from a GARAGE SALE, which had a peculiar ODOR to it... probably why it didn't have ANY TAKERS. "IT'S A START," TOD said. "LET'S ROLL."

Six hours later, after the NINTH 'ARE WE THERE YET?' A RENT-a-cop pulled us over and proceeded to TASE TOD for NO REASON, giving him some nasty SORES, and took us to a gulag.

AS I sat in that dank cell in Siberian EXILE, listening to TOD lament his missed JEWEL concert I SAID, "Next time, just buy the DISCS."

pabloinnh 9:49 AM  

Found the hardest thing in this one to be the start--JEWEL and JEDI, so I started with The CID, which is jarring. BTW, @puzzlehoarder-CID is usually translated as "leader", which strikes me as excessively generic, but I'm not sure how to improve it.

All the long phrases were first-guess wins for me, and I liked them fine, as I did many of the clues. I was very happy to see that "seasonal pickers" was not "braceros", those poor guys.

Lots of fun for me, RW. You can be a starter on my all star Friday team any time. Just a little too easy to be a Fridazo, and was sorry when it was over.

Bill Foy 9:53 AM  

LMS - Love your commentary. Look for it every day.
OFF BALANCE doesn't cross ELECTORATE, but ASSET, NO REASON and TOP SCORE do!

Nancy 9:54 AM  

Hi, Newboy (9:42) -- I didn't even know that you had a "Personal Email of the Day winner", but thanks so much for the compliment.

It's true that I don't have an email address posted on my profile. I feel safer that way. But I see that you do, and later today, when it supposedly will be raining, I'll be delighted to email you. Right now the sun is out, so I'm going out too.

RooMonster 10:02 AM  

Hey All !
I'm in the Liked It camp. Wasn't (for me) super easy, had hold-ups in every area. But kept chipping away, and got it all 100% complete!

Couple writeovers, score-NINTH (thought how clever am I with score), TimE-TASE (which messed that section up for a bit), jiG-RAG (because of TimE), ELIe-ELIA (every time), LuPIDS-LIPIDS (probably thinking of Monty Python's Lupins), ESp-ESC (what's ESC?).

Also, explain PATE as Crown? Those are the two that are still Huhs? to me.

SILAGE is new to me. Your mILAGE may vary.

OFFAL sounds AWFUL.

GARAGE SALEs are called Tag Sales in Connecticut. See also: Yard Sale.

PEABRAIN, har.

JEDI clue was very ambiguous, until you got the J of JEWEL. I was like, "There's only been about 37,629 knights in films."

So a fun FriPuzDiversion, now to try to do something. Ya know, you always complain about not having time to anything (house cleaning, yard work, hobbies, etc. etc.), then you are quarantined for well over a month and don't feel/want to do it! The ole brain is a mysterious thing.

Three F's (all huddled together. Six feet, please!)
WIGS for NO REASON
RooMonster
DarrinV

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

Didnt rex have a conniption recently about idiot being in the grid? Today he loves peabrain. Hmm. Its almost as though he has an agenda.
I'm shocked, shocked that a female constructor gets a pass for the Cid. Lol!!!! Side A?!!! Rex has ripped that crud a couole of times. Does offal pass the breakfast test?
Can't believe he didn't call road atlas dated. I'd bet my bottom dollar if say Brice Haight had used it, Rex would scream about GPS, or Waze etc.
I could go on, but the amen chorus here loves their boy. And their boy loves constructors with a vagina.

QuasiMojo 10:03 AM  

@Joe DiPinto, Well thank you. I'm sure I'm in the minority. Great to know @kitshef is of the same mind. But then we usually agree. Joe, O bet we crossed paths way back in the day when I lived nearby. Do you remember that tiny takeout burrito place just up from where Barnes and Noble ended up? Across from HMV? I used to stop there a lot. And then the arty movie theaters across from Lincoln Center.

@Nancy, I got rid of my car six years ago and have never regretted it. We miss so much when driving. Walking is my favorite hobby after crosswords.

Rug Crazy 10:09 AM  

GREAT.

GILL I. 10:12 AM  

I'm going to scoot on over and join (if they'll have me) @kitshef, @Quasi, @Joe D and @TJS. I'm a big fan of Robyn's crosswords but this felt mehish. I suppose it started with "the" CID. Does anybody really say it that way? Do Spaniards say El Sun Also Rises?
I didn't have too much trouble finishing but it really felt like I was in one of those Friday bars playing trivia pursuit. SILAGE OFFAL LIPIDS NO DAT gave me pause. Then my mind wandered to ARE WE THERE YET. I guess I was blessed with two great kids that never uttered the phrase. They both would read in the car, get sick and promptly throw up somewhere In the middle of a busy highway. Such fond memories.
I've never had a GARAGE SALE but I like going to them and snooping around. I've bought a few funky paintings hoping that the Antiques Road Show would tell me they were really Picasso's during his very Blue Period.
So a giraffe eats ACACIA and not a carrot? I'm guessing that TEAT drinking kid is a goat and not something else.
It's going to be about 80 degrees today. The birds are happy because their air isn't polluted. One good sign.....

Crimson Devil 10:18 AM  

Very enjoyable Fri, especially liked ADHOC, TOAST atop LESSON, ELECTORATE, no-look enters, Emily Littela reference, and FUTURE SCHOOL.

Z 10:21 AM  

@Roo - PATE. It seems a little old-timey to me. Maybe a term used by a snoot.

Another Anon 10:24 AM  

Please stop. You're giving us all a bad name.

jberg 10:25 AM  

Big day for National epics—Roland in a clue for Jeopardy, the CID in the puzzle. Then that guy on the sea coast of Bohemia getting chased by the bear. Fun puzzle all around. But I’m sorry to learn that she was also know as Lucy Ware Hayes— that seems unfair.

Giraffes eat leaves, too

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

Almost everything fell right into my wheelhouse, from ACACIA to SILAGE. That made the easiest Friday in memory.

Barbara S. 10:27 AM  

According to the Oxford dictionary (and hey, it doesn't have to eat the stuff), OFFAL is edible.

Meaning #1: The entrails and internal organs of an animal used for food.

You have to go to Meaning #2 to find: Refuse or waste material.

Pete 10:28 AM  

@Quasi - You're entirely entitled to your opinions, but other than it was on the easy side, I can't agree with a single on of your posted complaints. BEAUT = GEM = JEWEL - It's a two step process, not a one step one. Perfectly suitable for Friday. LETSROLL is said whenever it's time to leave, not just to start a trip. "This party's a bore, LETSROLL" is perfectly in the vernacular. Bound gets you ATLAS rather than a single map, so the phrase "its bound to get you there" clues ROADATLAS perfectly. TOUCHTYPing is specifically not looking at your fingers as you type. You type without looking (at your fingers), not type with your eyes closed (though I am doing that right now). A GARAGESALE is a venue as much as a farmers market is. What did Elia Kazan ever do to offend you? Glorify the gilded life enabled by chattel slavery? The rest is "Rex always looks for ways to get offended but didn't get offended at [...] why not?" nonsense.

Joaquin 10:30 AM  

Is "Time to blow this popsicle stand" really a "snappy colloquial phrase" as Rex alleges? I've never heard it uttered once in my life.

And I was looking for some sort of abbreviated word at 1A, as "Beaut" seems to me to be in that category.

All-in-all, a rather easy but enjoyable Friday.

kitshef 10:32 AM  

@Gill I - always glad to have you over and so far we are way under the 10-person limit currently in place. The only booze in the house is cheap bad wine, but at least there is a lot of it.

I loved Robyn's last puzzle (March 7), so I know she has it in her. Today just didn't work for me, though.

JC66 10:33 AM  

Hey @Roo

The ESC key is right above the ~ (tilde key) in the upper left corner of your computer keyboard. What's ESp?

Newboy 10:34 AM  

POW for me! Such great clues for PLOW & EDEN make up for some rather obvious three letter gimmies. Thanks to Robyn for allowing me the opportunity to shift my focus and think like a girl for that rare moment Rex will no doubt celebrate. ARE WE THERE YET for gender equity? Maybe not, but I PROPOSE A TOAST to this JEWEL that should teach Mr. Shortz a LIFE LESSON. Cover that 😷 & be safe out there!

David 10:35 AM  

Wow. What a wonderful puzzle in every way. Thanks, Robyn, for getting Rex to write a sentence such as:

"Robyn has a great ear for the language as we speak it, and her puzzles really demonstrate the potential cruciverbial value of simple expressions."

I thought for sure it was a guest reviewer writing today. And thanks for this puzzle as well. I can't add to what's already been said here except to second the idea this is the best NYTXW I've seen in some while.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

You may; certainly not everyone likes inane spouting off.

albatross shell 10:52 AM  

Wonderful puzzle. Clues to love. EXIT, of course, was amusing and easy. How many four letter stage directions did Shakespeare use? Same with predator EGRETs. Best EGRET clue of all time.

Flashback to yesterday: I see predator great blue herons at the man-made swales of local malls. Nice bit of birding in the land of bricks, concrete and asphalt.

Yes, one could argue the longs were so perfectly commonplace they were easy. The letter pattern of GARAGE SALE jumps out.
A perfect tough Wednesday even. Did not know WEBB, coBB first. A Friday I did with no aids. I'll take it. Maybe my third or fourth ever, so ole for me.

Too much fun to complain about easy or hard. And please: No "if a man constructed this..." from the annoymice or anonympodes.

MR. Cheese 10:52 AM  

Loved so many items but have to give TOUCHTYPES the gold star.
@ OffTheGrid: Amen... EWE
Sad that schools are closed. Silver lining is that @LMS comes here more often

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

Please explain why 39. Seasonal pickers has “electorate” as an answer.

Speedweeder 11:03 AM  

I wish Rex would write his review before looking at the constructor's name. Then it would be based solely on the merits of the puzzle, and not be influenced by expectations based on the constructor's age, gender, or prior work.

I thought the puzzle was OK, but too easy for a Friday, and not deserving of such a rave review. I am, however, glad to see Rex in a good mood for a change.

Okoume 11:06 AM  

I, like many others I'm quite sure, come to this blog mostly for Loren's posts at this point and I'm disappointed if she skips a day. Reading her post is my reward for finishing a puzzle. So thank you LMS and please keep them coming!

Raphael 11:07 AM  

Easy puzzle but was not sure about Tod. Is that the fox's name?

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Please explain why 39. Seasonal pickers clue has “electorate” as an answer.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

@bauskern:
When did "Robin" take on the alternate spelling of "Robyn?"

At birth? Lots of wimins get the 'y' version of gender cloned names.

OFFAL isn't nose to tail, but rather the guts that Americans toss out. Europeans, famously the French and English, make gourmet recipes with it. nose to tail includes all the fancy parts that anyone will eat, including the rich and famous. speaking of which, go find some Bourdain shows to learn about all that.

the answer should be hardLESSON, after all.

Sir Hillary 11:15 AM  

My daughter graduated from the same university as my wife and I did, and yesterday she forwarded me an email she got from an alumni group. It noted that Robyn Weintraub (a fellow alum, which I did not know) had authored the next NYT crossword (i.e., today's) and that she would be featured on an alumni webinar next week. I told my daughter how Robyn was about the best thing going in NYT crossworld these days and that she had become my new Friday favorite and a worthy successor to Patrick Berry in that role. So I was really looking forward to this.

I have to be honest -- I was disappointed. But that's because I am grading her on the "Weintraub curve" just as I do with PB1. Stepping back, this really is a fine offering. It's just not as "fun" as recent Fridays she's given us. I realize this is slightly unfair criticism.

I always think of ADHOC as slightly pejorative -- meaning, say, "hastily organized" rather than "having limited focus". Good to be corrected on that.

Anyone else read the clue for 55A and think, "They can't mean Melania, can they?"

@Z -- Thanks for the response late yesterday. Huge Klopp fan myself, and hoping Liverpool gets a chance to win its title on the pitch. With rumors of MBS's sovereign wealth fund buying Newcastle, I am suddenly feeling as if the devil has asked me to dance.

andy 11:22 AM  

Rex is going to lose his rep as a curmudgeon if he keeps this up.

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

As a video game-playing youth, I strongly agree that it should be a high score, not a TOP SCORE. Otherwise great puzzle

Malsdemare 11:29 AM  

I loved it. 'Nuff said.

albatross shell 11:33 AM  

@anonymous
The ELECTORATE pick winners in election seasons.

Joaquin 11:41 AM  

@ Sir Hillary (11:15) - Yep. I assumed "45" was a reference to the Orange Menace and figured there would be an automatic Rex rant. Seeing only five spaces set me straight (although "Ivana" or "Marla" would fit!).

AlsoBrien 11:44 AM  

I’m with you Okoume and Bill Foy. Thank you LMS for making this blog a joy.

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

@Joaquin:
"Time to blow this popsicle stand"

I'd time it to up through the late 50s. Kookie would be the last time I can recall.

KnittyContessa 11:51 AM  

I agree with you @QuasiMojo - especially SIDE A. That one really irked.

Tale Told By An idiot 11:52 AM  

I propose a toast to those of you who are in exile. Whether you get top scores or are runners up, remember that however little you do today, it’s a start. And when you feel off balance, it’s time to call it a day. There is no reason to look for a life lesson every single day.

ghthree 11:56 AM  

My wife Jane played the role of Lucy Webb Hayes in a local Patriotic Pageant at several successive July 4 celebrations. Neither of us remembered the name"Hayes" but "Lucy" rang a bell for of both of us.

egsforbreakfast 11:59 AM  

Liked the puzzle. It took me forever to finish because I started after attending my first Zoom cocktail party. No Quarantinis, but one or two more wines than necessary. The only things that bugged me were CID (the clue is redundant and tangled. Why not just say Castilian knight with “the”? Or better yet “El Castilian knight”.) and SIDE A, which no one ever says. Perhaps it should have been clued, in the spirit of The CID, as “South of the border yes to a US anti-narcotics organization”.

Anonymous 12:05 PM  


Need help with the concept of 'green paint'.

See @kitshef at 7:34.

Whatsername 12:06 PM  

The clues for TOUCHTYPE and ELECTORATE were brilliant. Did not know Lucy WEBB Hayes but I think I would’ve really admired her. She sounds like a very open minded and forward thinking FLOTUS. Had no idea a KIWI fruit is classified a berry - a Chinese Gooseberry to be precise. A kiwi does resemble a strawberry and I love both, but you can have the gooseberries, including the pie. Sour sour sour. I’d rather eat SILAGE.

I’d say a ROADATLAS is pretty much a relic in these days of GPS and electronic devices. I still have an old one from the 90s and occasionally use it to look up something. It always takes me back to the olden days when I was the navigator for my dad on the rare vacations we took as a family. Many a LIFELESSON was learned along the way, especially if you made the mistake of being that whiny kid in the back seat. I did a pretty good job of keeping us out of EXILE, but I have to admit that Google’s little blue dot is much more efficient.

Thank you Robyn, this was a JEWEL.

QuasiMojo 12:07 PM  

@Pete, thanks for the response. As you say, these are just my opinions. I enjoyed reading yours. I was kinda kidding about the touch typing. As for ELIA Kazan, I have nothing against him, other than that his movies are very overrated. Yet he was a much-maligned figure back in the day for "naming names." I was simply pointing out that Rex's political correctness, or virtue signaling as someone else put it recently, which has increased in frequency and ferocity, is strangely arbitrary. I don't think doing that is "nonsense."

What? 12:22 PM  

Pretty easy for a Friday but much fun. I marvel how Robyn puts colloquial phrases in a crossword. Special talent.

tkincher 12:23 PM  

TOP SCORE is different from "high score". It's the one at the very top. I think it's fine.

Loved the puzzle, but it went quickly for me. Record Friday time at 9:42.

Kathy 12:40 PM  

Rex’s comment “eschews scrabbly letters” is spot-on.
I love puzzles where so much of the joy comes from ordinary words you have to work for by twisting and turning the clues.
Faves ROE, ELECTORATE

How road trips have changed from the ARE WE THERE YET and ROAD ATLAS days of yore to the kids having their friends, personal entertainment systems and a Google map right in their laps. Anyone who vacationed by car in the Fifties and early Sixties will remember how difficult it often was to find a decent (clean) motel or a place to eat. My parents would pull into a “AAA rated” motel and they always asked to see a room first. If it didn’t pass muster with my mother, we would pile back into the car to the plaintive cries of my brother and me “but we’re tired, we’re starving, they even have a POOL!”

CDilly52 12:44 PM  

@Sir Hillary: I agree entirely with the esteem in which you hold Ms. Weintraub. She has risen to my “favorites” rank of late as well.

Z 12:54 PM  

@Barbara S - No doubt, which is why I use “malodorous” rather than “wrong.” I will point out that the American Heritage Dictionary makes no mention of edibility.

@Nancy - Apparently TOD is one of the heroes.

@Joaquin and @anon11:47 - I have never seen a popsicle stand, but I have said, “let’s blow this popsicle stand.” I’m pretty sure I’ve either said or heard it within the past year.

@Sir Hillary - AD HOC can definitely mean “hastily organized,” but I know it mostly from the “temporary committee that exists to accomplish one task and only one task” sense. Easy here, but I’m not surprised it caught some people.
Also, I hadn’t heard that. There are good owners and bad owners, but rarely owners who are evil incarnate. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to pass.

@Whatsername - I still buy a ROAD ATLAS every few years, even though I’ve used GPS for more than a decade now. GPS has limits, especially if you are planning a road trip. GPS is not good at giving you an overview or giving you options. It gives you a “best route” based on its programming. This is great for the morning commute where you may want to miss a traffic jam. But if you know from experience that crossing the Ohio in Cincinnati at 5:00 pm is something to avoid, a ROAD ATLAS is the way to see your choices before you get in the car.

@Anon12:05 - Stole this definition from BEQ - “Green paint" is industry shorthand for a crossword answer that while it definitely exists in real life, doesn't feel "conversational enough" to be a tuly legit entry in a puzzle.

CC 12:58 PM  

Japan won the 2011 Women's World Cup. Does the clue on ASIA imply that we are only discussing the men's competition?

Smith 12:58 PM  

@Z 9:19
As odd as it may sound, there are in the world "offal restaurants" which serve, you know, exactly that. Google it...

CDilly52 12:59 PM  

So, so, SO much to love about this puzzle!! You have all as usual beat me to the punch on the brilliant clues, so I won’t repeat. Ms. W’s puzzles (to me) demonstrate the best in the constructor’s art. You have deft word play that requires thought and analysis, and you have some just plain difficult entries that require one to employ the crosses and all one’s knowledge of word construction and crosswords, but mixed in, you always have some de
craftily clued yet easily gotten entries that keep you from getting stumped entirely. I actually thought I was struggling mightily until I finished and discovered that I was well under my typical Friday time. What a pleasant surprise!

Learned that giraffes eat ACACIA (@LMS, your celery comment made me laugh) and learned President Hayes’s wife’s maiden name. Adored the clue for ELECTORATE as well as NINTH; just a nice twist on the typical baseball clue that gave me a moment’s hesitation. That, to me is a Weintraub hallmark; the expert care she takes to clue common crossword answers in fresh ways. That, my friends is professional polish! Job well done and a wonderful Friday.

Take care everyone, and have a good weekend-in whatever way you can.

CDilly52 1:02 PM  

@Whatshername: good comment about Ms. WEBB Hayes. I did not k ow her maiden name but since her husband and his presidency has been so maligned (not unjustly, IMO) I have read some about her and agree with you. In fact, I think she may have been the most positive contribution to his presidency!

Smith 1:04 PM  

@Z @Roo

Or British (see Lord Swell in The Giant Jam Sandwich...)

Teedmn 1:14 PM  

Like so many here, I am a big Robyn Weintraub fan. She makes great puzzles and she's a lot of fun in person. (A reason to go to the ACPT or Lollapuzzoola - meet Robyn).

That said, I was pretty sure this wasn't a Robyn Friday. I try not to look at the constructor's name before solving to avoid being biased. And I had enough trouble getting a start in this puzzle that it seemed harder than most of Robyn's work. 54D has been seen often enough now that it went right in to give me a start, and I ended up finishing in under my average Friday; by the end, I was not surprised to see her name at the top of the page.

A little problem in the NE. I assumed the CID was correct but the brake components were Drums and that didn't help anywhere else in that area. 16A, I couldn't come up with any Do-do connector besides do-SI-do - obviously incorrect. When I finally got rid of Drums, I went with DISkS. I think COLIk would be worse than COLIC!

49D, could it be our favorite berry, the ACAI? Are they fuzzy? How the heck would I know what an ACAI looks like? Thank goodness for Jesse OWENS.

15A, I was going in an ADHD direction and if TdD had made any sense for the Fox, I might have left it in and wondered when the C got tacked on. AD HOC, oh, that kind of limited focus.

Thanks, Robyn, for the newest JEWEL in your Friday SASH!

jb129 1:20 PM  

Not to repeat mostly everyone else, but I love Robyn's puzzles!

DigitalDan 1:21 PM  

Rex, do yourself a favor and try a kiwi. Familiar but different. Lichi too.

Anonymous 1:25 PM  

Some times going to the wiki confirms one's failing memory - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Whole_Beast and offers some interesting backstory.

"The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating is a 2004 book by Fergus Henderson that deals with how to cook every part of a pig, including parts rarely used in American cuisine, such as offal. It was originally released as Nose to Tail Eating: A Kind of British Cooking in England in 1999, but was updated and revamped to be more comprehensive for the American edition,[1] which was also re-released in the UK.[2] The updated release featured a foreword written by Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential."

Henderson was a favourite of Bourdain. But it does make clear that offal isn't nose-to-tail per se, but just the bits that civilized folks avoid.

Z 1:25 PM  

@CC12:58 - Oof. I just checked and neither xwordinfo.com or Diary of a Crossword Fiend caught the error. Definitely wrong as clued. Thanks for pointing it out.

@Smith 12:58 - Probably British
@Smith 1:04 - I had that thought but went with “snoot,” a person I always picture as Pythonesque.

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

Which of my assertions do you disagreee with?
I say with renewed confidence the fix is in.
Popsicle stands are only blown with a full gust of irony. No such indication in the clue. Rex often exoriates out of date or ironic phrases ad either musty or hopelessly tin-eared, in that no one rrally says that.
Pate is another example. I'm a lifelong birder. To me, what folks call a wigeon will lways be a bald pate. But pate itself? Come on! That's fusty, musty fill at best.
I say Rex has a group of most favored nations. They're his pals. And they can do little wrong. And conversely, there's a group of foes. They can do nothing right.
I don't think lies. Except to himself. But I'd like to see a week's worth of reviews where he doesn't know the author's identity.

GILL I. 1:55 PM  

@Kathy 12:40...Your ROAD ATLAS and Mom story brought a huge smile to this face. When we moved from Florida to California, my Mom drove my sister and me cross country in our big green Chevy Impala. We certainly had that big atlas to tell us which route to take. Mom didn't care as long as we stopped at a Howard Johnsons. They always had a pool for me and my sister and a bar that made a good martini for Mom.
@Kitshef. Cheap bad wine? Ay Dios mio. I'll bring some expensive Thunderbird..... :-)

CaryinBoulder 1:58 PM  

The “nose to tail” clue had me thinking of dogs sniffing each other’s butts, which was pretty OFFAL. My fave clue was the one for EDEN, which gave me a chuckle. I’m always up for a ballgame (even Taiwanese? I’ll have to check that out) and given the placement of the answer, this one ended in the bottom of the NINTH.

I can never guess what Rex will like or not like. I enjoyed solving it but it didn’t seem particularly sparkling. Although it definitely wasn’t one of those that has me tearing my dwindling hair out going, “Is this supposed to be a Friday or a Saturday”?

I just checked and my AAA ROADATLAS has a date of 1990. I suppose most of those roads are still around.

BTW, somebody yesterday commented on my sparkling new avatar. It’s a shot I took during Dia de los Muertos in Oaxaca last year, somewhere I truly wish I could be right now. Mi maestra de español en Oaxaca reported that it was so warm there she slept in a hammock out on the porch. We had 17” of snow here yesterday. All I can do is stay inside and drink mezcal.

jae 1:59 PM  

I’m in between @kitshef, @Quasi, @Joe D, @TJS, @GILL I...and @Rex et.al. on this one. @ Barbara S’s opening line

“I'm with the people who liked this puzzle, but I didn't find all the sparkly charm that Rex did. I felt it was solid but too easy for a Friday”

pretty much sums up my take i.e. a tad too easy, but solid and reasonably smooth.

My only hang ups were in the OFFAL/PLOW/WEBB area and I finished in medium-tough Wed. time, which was much faster than yesterday’s outing.

Bax'N'Nex 2:14 PM  

Best Friday time ever...I think, since I don't really pay attention to that. Was this a Friday because it was themeless?? Because Wednesday's was much tougher than this.

So we had a Thursday on Wednesday, then Thursday and now another Thursday. Love it! Thursday is my favorite day of the week.
a) because that's my favorite Crossword day
2) I get to play golf and the refreshments that go with that
iii) I watch Survivor from the night before.

That's a perfect trifecta in my book.

Really fun puzzle. But easy for a Friday. Thank you, Robyn.

I am still working and telephoning with folks. I'm getting tired of "Have a great day!!" I haven't had a great day in a month...so hope you all have a tolerable weekend.

Peace and love, peace and love...

kitshef 2:19 PM  

@CC 12:58 - The official name of the men's tournament is the FIFA World Cup. The official name of the women's tournament is the FIFA Women's World Cup. The clue uses the former, so only the men's tournament is described.

Similarly, Saudi Arabia's win in the U-17 World Cup or North Korea's in the U-17 Women's World Cup would not match the clue.

Nancy 2:26 PM  

Me, too, @Sir Hillary. My first thought was Melania as well. If she'd fit, she would have gone right in. Not because I'm a Melania fan, but because anyone would be "45's better half."

@GILL -- Like your kids, I always get carsick from reading in a car. Which is why I never did read and still don't. Which is why, from the moment I enter a car, I can't wait to get out. I'm bored to death and eager to be outside in the fresh air. Walking, like @Quasi. Question, GILL -- Would you rather have kids who persistently grumble ARE WE THERE YET or would you rather have kids that persistently throw up?

@Teedmn (1:14) -- Is the JEWEL in the Friday SASH any relation to "The Jewel in the Crown"?

Joe Dipinto 2:31 PM  

@Anonymous 12:05 – Re "green paint", I have an unfinished manuscript I can send you. (On second thought, it probably wouldn't explain much.)

@CC 12:58 – it appears the FIFA World Cup is the official name for the men's games; the FIFA Women's World Cup is the official name for the women's games. (I report, I don't condone.)

@Quasi – I know the Lincoln Center movie theaters. I think the Barnes & Noble is now a Century 21. Or a Bed Bath & Beyond? (I haven't been up that way in awhile.) @JC66 would know. Don't remember a burrito place, but then I'm not big on Mexican take-out joints.

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

Kitshef--
Don't bother w facts. Women get special treatment. Well, not Tara Reade, but you know, soccer players. Lol
FYI,the US women's national team practices against prep school boys. And didnt do that well. They won the 07 Cup, but they practiced against high school boys. Who were at least as good as they were.
Calling the wonen's world cup the world cuo is beyond insulting to the men who play the gsae at the highest levrl

Petsounds 2:39 PM  

@ghthree: My freshman year, I lived in a dorm named for Lucy Webb Hayes. Gave me a significant leg up on that clue!

chefwen 2:49 PM  

I don’t time myself, but I can’t recall ever getting through a Friday puzzle this quickly. Much to his dismay, puzzle partner didn’t even get to add his two cents. One write over TOP level before TOP SCORE. I’m in the nice puzzle, but too easy for a Friday camp.

What? 2:54 PM  

You just did!😛

vanawrey19 3:24 PM  

Puzzle was relative difficulty of Tuesday. Disappointed, as I look forward to a tough Friday puzzle.

TJS 3:31 PM  

Glad to see no one taking the bait. I'm proud of all of us.

Whatsername 3:37 PM  

@Z (12:54) I couldn’t agree more, and that’s exactly why I still keep actual road maps in the map pockets of my car.

@CDilly52 (1:02) That’s interesting and thanks for sharing.You know what they say: “Behind every great man is a woman… rolling her eyes.”

john towle 3:43 PM  

A Jim Dandy if there ever was one…one across sums it up. Needs to be framed & hung on the wall. Brava, brava, brava Rockyn’ Robyn!!!

Unabashedly yours,

john

Unknown 3:57 PM  

I like to read your thoughts as well. Keep it up!

Masked and Anonymous 4:09 PM  

Pretty darn good & offal easy.
Everybody else got here early(er), while I was watchin Netflix with the PuzAbstaininSpouse. Watched "In the Shadow of the Moon" -- a sci-fi flick that kinda sneaks up on U, as a schlocker. Recommended. But, I digress…

staff weeject pick: CID. Better clue: {Cisco Kid wrapper??}.

Everything else has been pretty well covered, pre-m&e, I reckon.

Sooo … is it ok to take showers again, yet? … or are we still just doin the washin hands and such?

Thanx for the fun [except for LIPIDS/ACACIA, maybe], Ms. Weintraub darlin. U seem to be a superb FriPuz replacement constructioneer for the long-gone PB1. Might have to start callin U RW1, if that's ok.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


**gruntz**

Z 4:15 PM  

@kitshef2:19 - You’re right, of course. The clue is still wrong. That FIFA, and most of sports, acts like it is the 1950’s and women should know their place doesn’t mean the rest of us have to act that way. ASIA is home to 60% of the world’s population, it seems like finding a clue that doesn’t reinforce gender stereotypes would be possible. Let me be clear, this is an “oof - I cant believe I missed that” moment, not some huge deal. Just a “micro-aggression” as it were. But it’s the sort of small assumption so built in to world views that occasionally ends up costing people jobs.

Anonymous 4:22 PM  

Huh?
The clue is wrong?
That's nuts. The clue is. It doesn't care about your theories,politics,agendas, or any other nonsense.

Heidiho 4:23 PM  

Also love the effort you make to change your avatar everyday. Brings a little humor and joy into my day thanks

cjb 4:29 PM  

47 Down should have been *Men's* FIFA World Cup. The Japanese women won in 2011.

JC66 4:33 PM  

Should the mods not post comments from people who obviously haven't read previous posts?

webwinger 4:47 PM  

ROAD ATLAS and ARE WE THERE YET comments reminded me of my very favorite story from my daughter’s early years: In an unfamiliar city to which we would soon move, pre-GPS, I was driving with the little one, then age 3-1/2, back in her car seat, absent her mom who usually handled directions. She suddenly insisted that I hand her the partially unfolded STREET MAP (hey—we had that one too just a few days back) at my side, saying “you need me to navigate!” A minute later came her first instruction “OK, daddy, when you come to a red light, stop!”

pouty 5:07 PM  

I am astonishing myself! Fastest ever Thursday yesterday, and fastest ever Friday today (less that 30 mins). I did think it was very easy for a Friday, but had some great answers.

Anonymous 5:19 PM  

@Joe Dipinto
at 2;31

Are you riffing on your avatar?

RooMonster 5:39 PM  

@JC66 10:33
Late response, bit I tend not to read comments till way after I post. Not sure if that some sort of being conceited? ☺️

ESP is short for Español, at least in my brain. Convinced myself it made sense. Har.

RooMonster Response Guy

Joe Dipinto 5:44 PM  

@Anon 5:19 – I suppose you could look at it that way.

JC66 5:47 PM  

Hey @Roo

Aha! Makes sense to me (now).

Anonymous 6:24 PM  


I'm back. I get the BEQ definition of 'green paint' supplied by @Z at 12:54. But why is it called that?

@Joe Dipinto at 2;31 and 5:44
Does your nom de blog mean 'I painted'?
You have a green paint avatar.
Your profile says your favorite book is The Green Paint Mystery.
Are you a painter? Are you an author?

Previously Anonymous, now Sherlock Holmes

Paul Mazur 6:28 PM  

Nothing clicked for me. Perhaps I've been shutttered up for too long, but this was particularly difficult.

Crimson Devil 6:35 PM  

It’s late in the day, and I admit to not studying all comments, verbatim, but has anyone commented on LET’S ROLL and TOD, and recalled that those were words attributed to Todd Beamer, hero passenger on Flight 93 on Sept 11, in rallying fellow passengers to charge hijackers and crash plane, diverting it from target??

Not Pelé 6:38 PM  

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. Seems like an accurate clue/answer.

Anonymous 6:44 PM  

Is there some bylaw prohibiting women from participating in the FIFA World Cup ? If so, that ain’t right.

Anonymous 7:06 PM  

Love to see US Women’s and Brazil Men’s team play each other. Would be an epic match.

Anonymous 7:42 PM  

Anon 7:06,
Are you serious?
Any nen's D-1 school in the US would run the US women's team off the pitch.
Any club team on the European continent would make them quit within minutes.

Anonymous 8:04 PM  


@Anon 7:42

Did you consider that @Anon 7:06 was being facetious to make a point (that I don't, BTW< agree with).

GILL I. 8:15 PM  

@Nancy 2:26......What a conundrum you present me....!!!! My kids never ever said ARE WE THERE YET....Getting sick in the car was a given. All I had to do was look and listen to the a) green face and b) the forthcoming sounds. Pull over dear husband....its about to happen.
I love soccer. I would never ever want to watch a match between the women and the men. They both are different and wonderful to watch. Why mess up something already special. Do you really want to see Megan Rapinoe kill Lionel Messi?

BobL 8:16 PM  

Wow

Now there is some dialog- the 'mice from 7:06 to 8:04

Z 8:17 PM  

@Anonymous Sherlock Holmes -I’ll answer the one question I can. The Green Paint Mystery is a group work created, but never finished, by various members of the commentariat.

Anonymous 8:41 PM  


I'm blown away! You guys have collaborated on a book -- who cares if it's unfinished. That's seriously cool beans (as @G.I. would say). Is it an Xword mystery? I do hope I'm in it.

Anon. Sherlock Holmes

Joe Dipinto 8:43 PM  

@Anonymous aka Sherlock 6:24 – My, such a lot of questions.

My surname is the past participle of the Italian verb meaning "to paint". However, any correlation between my surname and my current avatar is pure happenstance. I am neither a painter nor an author by trade.

Anonymous 8:45 PM  

You should agree with 706 if he was being facetious.
Women cant compete w men in almist every sport.
Thats why womens sports exist. Othetwise, you know, we'd just have sports.

Anonymous 9:44 PM  

BobL
Youre quite the conversationalist yourself. Be proud. People like you. Lots of them.

Nancy 11:13 PM  

For the opening scene of the late, lamented and, alas, unfinished "The Green Paint Mystery" go to @Joe Dipinto's post at 10:03 p.m. on 5/27/19. It started the ball rolling. Or the paint dripping, as it were.

Thanks to @Z for reminding everyone that this work-in-progress was a group collaboration. I've tracked down the opening scene. Now it's up to @Sherlock Holmes and other interested parties to read the Rexblog daily over the next number of weeks beginning on 5/28/19. Why "The Green Paint Mystery" is absolutely everywhere! The work proceeds in many interesting and unpredictable directions, not to mention some wildly contrasting prose styles. In addition to the very prolific Joe D, some of the other contributors were @GILL, @Quasi, and yours truly. Wish I could remember everyone who participated, but there were quite a few.

Charles 11:42 PM  

Wow, I got little behind on my crosswords and had to do a couple today to catch up, and I noticed that RAG was in Wednesday, Thursday and Friday's puzzles!

Joe Dipinto 12:08 AM  

"The Green Paint Mystery" ran from 5/26/2019 to 6/1/2019. It had accumulated 12 sections by the time everyone lost interest. I'll post the whole thing below.

Joe Dipinto 12:12 AM  

THE GREEN PAINT MYSTERY pts 1-3

Part 1 (Nancy) 5/26:

Long before anyone saw it or touched it, Jonathan smelled it. It was a very faint smell because it was still wet. Paint smells the worst when it's drying -- not when the paint has just been applied. It's counter-intuitive, but it's something most people are aware of. But not Jonathan. How could he have known such a thing back then? He was only seven.

Years later he would think: Such a tiny, seemingly insignificant detail. And yet the anguish that was to come to so many people over so many years could have been avoided. If only the smell had nauseated him. Choked him. Suffocated him. So that he didn't simply roll over and go back to sleep...

•••••••••••••

Part 2 (Joe D) 5/27:

He was thinking about that on a May afternoon, as he slipped his favorite Claudine Longet album out of its dustjacket onto his Dual turntable and poured himself a glass of prosecco. He had invited his good friend Rudolf Steiner to stop by his apartment in Red Hook that afternoon. Rudolf was a crack piano salesman -- he once sold an Imperial Bõsendorfer to internationally famous concert artist Henry Orient -- and a keen adventurer, and had also acquired a reputation as a bit of a sleuth.

Jonathan wondered why he had never told Rudolf about that night. Now, Jonathan felt, Rudolf might be useful in helping him uncover what the police had never been able to piece together about the events that had transpired.

"Sunday best, I'm dwessed to kill the afternoon / You know how dwaggy afternoons can be sometimes..." Claudine's endearing breathlessness wafted through Jonathan's living room. As he poured himself another prosecco the doorbell rang. Knowing that Rudolf was due to arrive at just about that time, Jonathan pressed the buzzer that unlatched the inside door of the building and stepped into the hallway. "Hey, Rudy--" he started to call out but almost immediately the words caught in his throat.

For in the entranceway was a person from out of Jonathan's past memories that he had not expected to ever see again. "Hello, Jonathan," said the apparition calmly. "It's been quite a long time, hasn't it?" Jonathan started to speak, but before any utterance could sound he fell to the floor in a dead faint.

••••••••••••

Part 3 (Mo-T) 5/28:

It's said that people who have lost consciousness are unaware of what is going on around them. Not so with Jonathan.

The ghost knelt down next to the prostrate body in the foyer and cradled Jon's head in the crook of her arm. Jonathan struggled to regain his ability to speak. He struggled to open his eyes. And all the while, the ghost held his head and rocked slowly back and forth, singing that old song. Memories came back in a torrent to both of them. The smell of Shalimar. The taste of Pinot Grigio. Warm grass under bare feet. Aqua water in clear ponds.

Jonathan opened his eyes and blue eyes stared back. He opened his mouth and tried to form the words he had waited for so long to say.

•••••••••••

Joe Dipinto 12:16 AM  

THE GREEN PAINT MYSTERY pts 4-6

Part 4 (GILL I.) 5/28:

I had been walking down the hall, waiting to get into my apartment, when I heard a commotion next door. My cheapskate neighbor, Jonathan was up to no good I thought. Being nosy as I am wont, I strutted right over and let my self in - I was determined to straightened him out once and for all. He was lying on the floor; a glass of Prosecco still in his hands. The window was open and a breeze wafted in....was that a ghost? Of course not says I...they don't exist....yet the smell of Shalimar kept bringing back sordid memories of Jonathan and Pesto.

I remember when Jonathan first invited me for dinner. He was busy making something green in a pan. A lot of it ended up on his kitchen wall and ceiling. To this day, it looks like green paint...

Jonathan began to stir and he opened his blue eyes. They fluttered. I was about to run over and help him get up but something made me stop. Was it the smell of fried onions? Is that garlic? what is that odor? I went over to the kitchen and yes....he had been making lasagne. The noodles were still in the noodle maker. What had made him stop mid-pasta making and walk over to the window? Was there something lurking out there? I went to look and yes....outside the window was a young lady getting on her bike and peddling a mile a minute. She looked liked she was trying to get away. Look...she's heading toward Central Park...and she's not even using the bike lane.....what oh what is going on...... I turned to those beautiful blue eyes for crucial answers...He looked so forlorn. Was it the smell?

••••••••••••

Part 5 (Aketi) 5/28:

Why did Dad have to faint and a nosy neighbor to show up before I could jack myself up to do it? If I still had to rely on my Citibike instead of my new green racing bike that I was able to buy after winning the Abu Dhabi Open, that neighbor would have been able to identify me for sure. Of course, its not like I actually fully carried out my full plan for revenge. So I don’t have that much to worry about.

Ironic that Dad mistook me for Mom when he briefly woke up while I was holding his head contemplating which choke hold to use on him. I guess I do look like her. The woven bracelet I made out of scraps from Mom’s scarves must still have a hint of her perfume since he started babbling about Shalimar. I admit that I enjoyed singing the macabre lyrics from the Dead Space version of “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star” when I sang him back to sleep with a rear naked choke hold. I despised the original version of that song because he always sang it to me before bed, as if a song could make up for all his abuse.

Its probably for the best that I merely put Dad to sleep rather than taking it further. Tartaruga Pintado de Verde did threaten to take away my black belt if I dislocated Dad’s arms and legs and left him as helpless as he left me the night of the accident when he abandoned Mom and I for dead. If Tartaruga hadn’t found me in the ditch next to his dojo after I managed to crawl away from the burning car despite having four broken limbs, I probably would have died. And then to help me through the years of physical therapy and training in Martial Arts and adopt me. He’s more of a Dad than my Dad could ever hope to be.

••••••••••••

Part 6 (JC66) 5/28:

Then Jonathan mistook the green paint for a bottle of Martini & Rossi vermouth.

••••••••••••

Joe Dipinto 12:19 AM  

THE GREEN PAINT MYSTERY pts 7-9

Part 7 (Mo-T) 5/29:

Sweet Mother of Goddess! Jonathan coughed and gasped. What kind of roots, spices, bark, and herbs did the monks use in the making of this spirit? He grabbed a mirror off the bureau and looked at his tongue. Green! Absinthe green, chartreuse green, and beyond belief awful. Paint, he thought. Green paint, not sweet vermouth.

Was he taking his medicine at last for the sins of his past?

She was standing over him, her black belt in her right hand, her left hand on her hip. She gave him a little tap with the toe of her Timberland. He sat straight up.

"Brandy!" he exclaimed. "Are you trying to kill me?"

"Not just yet, Dad," she smirked. "Not just yet."

••••••••••••

Part 8 (Nancy) 5/30:

My name is Brian Gorp. That's Inspector Brian Gorp. But my friends -- and my enemies too -- know me better as "The Real Herring". How did I come by my nickname? It's because never once in my many decades of solving crimes have I ever been misled by a red herring. Not once. I only pay attention to real herrings. You might say I have a nose for them.

Now in this case, there are already more red herrings than you can possibly count. Prosecco. Claudine Longet. Red Hook. The noodles in the noodle maker. Even the dislocation of Dad's arms and legs. Don't ask me how I know that. I just know.

But there are still a lot of possible realherrings. Some are yet to be eliminated and some will be central to the accuracy and brilliance of my deductions. Shalimar. The blue-eyed woman's green bike, but not her Citibike. (Remember, too, that in certain light, the blue-eyed woman's eyes can actually look green.) Keep absinthe and chartreuse in the forefront of your thoughts, my friends. The Dead Space version of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" sounds like a total outlier, but it may not be. And perhaps most intriguing of all: Never forget Tartaruga Pintado de Verde. There's an odor emanating from him that's sort of like green paint. Approach him, if you dare, and you might smell it too...

••••••••••••

Part 9 (GILL I.) 5/30:

Even though Jonathan was stirring, I decided to leave quickly. I kept thinking about the young woman peddling away in her green bike. She looked ominous. Did I know her? I had to be careful when I left, I didn't want to trip over the glass of Prosecco lying next to Jonathan along with another bottle of Martini & Rossi. Why where these bottles on the floor? Before I snuck out, I went to check on his noodles - just in case he got hungry when he woke up.

I crept to my apartment next door. Carefully closing the door, I began assessing the situation. Something was up. I dated Jonathan a few times only because he was a good cook - even though he always left the cleaning up to me. He'd get drunk and talk about a daughter and something called Tartaruga Pintado de Verde. He always hated anything green - even that pesto he flung on the ceiling one time while making something fancy. He was a strange man.

Hush...I hear something. I get my trusty glass and put it up to the wall to see if I can hear anything. YES! I can make out something about inspector Gorp. Oh Lord. Did I leave any fingerprints? Did Jonathan die? Why are they talking about red herrings? What should I do?

••••••••••••

Joe Dipinto 12:25 AM  

THE GREEN PAINT MYSTERY pt 10

Part 10 (Joe D) 5/30:

"Wake up! Wake up, my friend. What has happened here? What happened to you?"

The voice was one Jonathan recognized. He slowly opened his eyes and pulled himself upward. "Rudy?"

"Yes, yes, it's me Rudy. I was turning the corner onto your block -- what a neighborhood you picked to live in! -- and I see someone go into your building and then I hear a lot of banging around. I ran to your front door but someone was coming out and shoved me out of the way. She takes off on a bike and meanwhile I see your hotsy-totsy neighbor lady slinking around so I figure I better wait till she left. Ach! Are you okay? What do these people want with you? No, no wait -- wait -- don't try to get up yet."

Jonathan's head felt like a cartoon Acme anvil had been dropped on it fifty times. "Oh, well, you know..." he tittered ruefully "...it's a long story, as they say."

"Well you tell me about it later. While you were in dreamyland I figured I better call the police. There's an Inspector Gorp, I think is his name, on his way over here. Here, I'll help you stand up."

Jonathan slowly managed to get to his feet leaning on Rudy for balance. "I don't know how much I want to say to the police right now."

Rudy eased Jonathan into a farmhouse-style kitchen chair and fixed him with a quizzical look. "So maybe I shouldn't have called them? I don't like this, what's going on with you?"

"Not now, Rudy. I'll deal with -- what was his name? Gorp? and get rid of him. I'm gonna go change my shirt." He disappeared into the bedroom. "Hey, what was that you said before?"

"What'd I say, what?"

"You said 'while I was in someplace'--"

"--Dreamyland. You were out cold."

"Yeah, dreamyland. You just reminded me, it's Wednesday. What say when I'm done with Inspector World According to Garp, we head over to the Clover Club? It's not far from here, they have good cocktails, and Michael Arenella's Dreamland Orchestra plays on Wednesday nights. Good traditional-style jazz."

Rudolf eyed the bedroom door dubiously. "More cocktails, you sure? With your head like this? I see the bottle of vermouth. And the prosecco over there."

Jonathan returned, laughing. "Always looking out for me." He had changed into a sea green pullover. "Let's do it, come on, my friend, you'll enjoy it. And I'll tell you all about everything--"

"Okay, okay, the Clover Club," Rudolf humored him. "After Inspector Glop leaves. Oh, this must be him."

"Good evening, gentlemen," said a voice in the doorway.

•••••••••

Joe Dipinto 12:28 AM  

THE GREEN PAINT MYSTERY pt 11

Part 11 (Joe D) 6/1:

"I believe someone at this address called the police to report a disturbance of some kind? I'm Inspector Gorp."

Jonathan and Rudolf looked at each other and then at the figure that had entered the room. He was of medium height, rather on the stout side. He seemed to be affecting some sort of exaggerated accent as he spoke. Jonathan smiled pleasantly and cleared his throat.

"Uh, yes, Inspector Gorp. It was I who phoned. To report what I thought was a break-in."

"This is your apartment then?" Gorp was staring at Jonathan in a way that made Jonathan nervous.

Jonathan coughed slightly. "Yes, I live here," he said, not very convincingly. Gorp began striding around the room, stopping to peer intently at walls and floors and examine furniture and objects and occasionally dart glances at the two men seated at the kitchen table. "What happened is, I was out, you see -- I mean, out of the apartment -- uh, for the afternoon, and when I was coming back in I heard -- uh..."

"--He had invited me to visit for the afternoon, but my friend here is so forgetful he forgot I was coming!" Rudolf interrupted, giving Jonathan a significant look. "We know each other a long time, Jonathan and I, and I have a spare key, so when he didn't answer I let myself inside to wait. But he thought--"

"I'm afraid I did forget about our meeting, and so when I heard someone inside I thought it was a burglar, or worse. I went out into the street to make the call to the police. But it was all a mistake, you can see now. My fault, so sorry to have troubled you."

"I do see," said Gorp grimly. "Your name is Jonathan? Jonathan Hunter?"

"Yes -- uh, how did you--?"

"It's on the doorbell. You didn't leave it with the operator." Gorp smiled faintly. He seemed pleased to be making Jonathan uncomfortable. Suddenly he pivoted around. "And you are who exactly?" His attitude seemed to turn slightly menacing.

"Rudolf. I was visiting--"

"Rudolf what?"

"Steiner, Inspector."

Gorp's cell phone was vibrating, both Jonathan and Rudolf could hear it. Gorp pulled it from his coat and walked toward the door. "Yes, this is Gorp" he said into the phone as he went into the hallway, then quickly flashed a look back at Jonathan and Rudy. "I'm not done yet. I'm right outside so stay put."

Jonathan nodded weakly. Rudolf faked a cooperative smile. "Of course Inspector."

Jonathan could hear the muffled sound of Gorp's voice. It was receding gradually; he could tell that Gorp was exiting the lower floor hallway to go outside. An idea suddenly seized Jonathan. He stood up -- "Rudy, come on!" he said in an urgent whisper.

•••••••

Joe Dipinto 12:31 AM  

THE GREEN PAINT MYSTERY pt 12

Part 12 (Joe D) 6/1:

Rudy knew immediately what Jonathan was thinking. "You want to leave? He's right there, how?"

"Out the bedroom window. We'll duck through the back alley onto Van Brunt and get an Uber to the Clover Club -- come on, let's go. Now before he comes back!"

Rudy was game but uncertain. They ran to the bedroom, Rudy watching the front door for any sign of Gorp's re-entry, got around the bed and out through the window. It was only one floor up so the drop to the ground was fairly easy to manage. Then into the alley behind the yard where Jonathan could see the B61 bus approaching its stop on the corner. "I know, let's take this instead!"

The bus slowed to let Jonathan and Rudy clamber aboard, fumbling for fare cards while trying to make themselves look as invisible as possible. Once the bus turned the corner Jonathan could make out the front of his building behind them. He saw Gorp put his phone away and head back toward the front door.

Jonathan exhaled with no small relief. They wouldn't have to deal with Gorp again for quite some while. In the meantime, through the Brooklyn streets to where the heady atmosphere of the Clover Club awaited, the trusty B61 chauffeured Jonathan and Rudy.

"Mr. Excitement! Wow, I'm impressed." Rudy was beaming at Jonathan. The B61 rumbled over a patch of cobblestone pavement. Jonathan felt flushed from the day's events. What else might be in store for this night, he wondered.

The bus was almost empty. They sat quietly for a little, then "How far is this place?" Rudy wanted to know. "We get off in about ten and then walk a few blocks." Jonathan started to think about the reason he had invited Rudy over in the first place. The appearance of his daughter had been a total shock, and that wasn't even part of it originally. She's still so angry with me, he thought-- I wonder if that will ever change? And what can I do to make things better?

Soon the bus arrived at Smith and Atlantic. "This is us", said Jonathan. He and Rudy disembarked and began strolling down Smith Street. "So you were gonna talk to me about something, my friend," Rudy reminded Jonathan as they passed the shops and restaurants. "When we get to the Clover Club, Rudy." Jonathan could see the sign with the neon green shamrock a couple of blocks ahead. He really wanted a cocktail now.

•••••••••

(And here the story ended.)

Jessica 12:39 AM  

Good call.

spacecraft 10:41 AM  

@Off the grid: Amen, but know this. We are going to have him for four! More! Years! Why? Because Biden isn't any more electable than Clinton was. And because we apparently live in a nation full of PEABRAINs.

Now on to a MUCH more pleasant subject: the puzzle. Robyn, you had me at JEDI. How to assess the ease of the solve? I seemed to get it done (too) quickly, but some of the clues did give pause, and lent some good crunch. I'd have to say easy-medium, I guess. OFC makes the telling point: this is very in-the-language. No "enures" or "unarms" here. This is a real JEWEL. ASI PROPOSEATOAST to Ms. Weintraub, I will CALLITADAY after Barbara EDEN takes two steps to the right and dons her SASH. LETSROLL! Eagle.

Burma Shave 11:11 AM  

PEABRAIN INUSE

“ANYTAKERS to PROPOSEATOAST? IT’SASTART in an OFFAL way.”
ISAID “NOREASON!?!” AS A riposte, “LET’SROLL or CALLITADAY.”

--- TOD WEBB-OWENS

rondo 11:40 AM  

I saw the constructor’s byline and knew that OFL would gush all over it. It’s a good puz, but I think we’ve been inured to accepting mediocrity by having so many puzzles of lesser quality. Remember when we’d get Patrick Berry and even David Steinberg puzzles on a regular basis? Far less grousing then. This is the type of puz we should be expecting without having to celebrate it. I GOTTA agree with some of those above who did not like “The” CID; it’s El CID. Period. Again, we should be expecting higher quality puzzles like this. AREWETHEREYET? No. but ITSASTART.

Diana, LIW 4:02 PM  

Loved the "misdirects," AKA word play.

Didn't know TOD, which was my downfall. All else came to me. Yeah Friday.

Diana, LIW

rainforest 4:11 PM  

Lovely puzzle, easy as it was. The long answers just presented themselves. Some might argue it could be tougher, but I loved it as it was. So well constructed.

leftcoaster 7:58 PM  

Agree with all those praising this puzzle, but need to pick some nits, as clued:

It's El CID of course, not "the" Cid. The clue tips use of English instead of Spanish, maybe, but it's stiill a nit.

Another nit is the clue for EXILE. The clue says "one who needs to go". Okay, but isn't an exile really an exile until gone?

Finally, is a "criminal charge(d)" before or after being TASE(d)? Both?

AlanB 8:43 PM  

(Doing this a month later via the syndicated puzzle schedule). Looks like no one but me took exception to “digit”as “bit of binary code”. When I learned coding (long, long ago) a bit was quite explicitly not a digit. Bit:binary::digit:decimal.

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