Explanation for existence of evil in God's presence / FRI 5-29-20 / Evans who was 2009-10 Rookie of the Year / Thrombus more familiarly / Sister brand of 7Up / Sail-hoisting device / Corn or bean plant perhaps / Relative of histogram

Friday, May 29, 2020

Constructor: Sam Ezersky

Relative difficulty: Not sure ... mostly easy ... I don't really know what a just-rolled-out-of-bed 6:43 time means on a Friday any more. Easy but with a chunk in and around CANNERY that was hard ... 

THEME: none

Word of the Day: TYREKE Evans (57A: Evans who was the 2009-10 N.B.A. Rookie of the Year) —
Tyreke Jamir Evans (born September 19, 1989) is an American professional basketball player. After playing college basketball for the Memphis Tigers, he was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings.[1] Evans went on to win the 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in 2013 before being traded back to the Kings in 2017. After successive stints with the Memphis Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers, Evans, who would have become a free agent at the end of the 2019 season, was dismissed and disqualified from the NBA in May for violating the terms of the league's anti-drug program. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was perfectly fine, though the only part that really sparkled was NIGHTY-NIGHT (4D: "Sweet dreams!"). Most of this was solid, but a little flat. Green-paintish* stuff like RUNS A LAP and ATE LUNCH didn't help. AT THE HEART felt kinda longish for an incomplete phrase. AT HEEL does not feel like a current phrase. Can't imagine using it. TO HEEL I can hear. You can bring a dog TO HEEL. Something might be at *one's* heels. Dunno. The word THEODICY looks and sounds like something I've seen, but I'd be lying if I said I actually knew it (18A: Explanation for the existence of evil in God's presence). ON A kick? Never heard this phrase without some descriptive word following ON A. RCCOLA ... exists still? (Also: 7Up exists still?) (13D: Sister brand of 7Up). Multiple ... THYMES? This just felt a teensy bit stale—the feeling was actually made worse by the *attempts* at contemporary colloquial flash that actually felt like ... well, they would've been much flashier in the '00s (EPIC FAIL, "WHAT THE ...," CYBERanything). Ooh, I enjoyed seeing BATGIRL in a non-gendered clue, that was cool (7D: Enemy of the Joker).

Never a fan of cluing a perfectly good English word (PANE) as if it were foreign (30D: Bread, in Bologna). TYREKE Evans is superobscure if you are not an NBA fan. I follow the major sports loosely, and his name definitely rings a bell, but after that ROTY award (note: I would, in fact, accept ROTY in a puzzle), he didn't do anything exceptional. I mean, he was a pro, so he was obviously very good, but he never made an All-Star team or won a championship or did anything that would make him particularly crossworthy. In fact, I'm looking at a list of NBA Rookies of the Year and TYREKE Evans is one of the only names I *don't* really know from the past 40 years. I'm a little hazy on Michael Carter-Williams (2013-14) and Mike Miller (2000-01), but beyond that you gotta go back to '81-82 to find a name I can't place (that name: Buck Williams ... I just forgot him: he was active during the time I was most pro sports-crazy). My point here is TYREKE looks cool but is more a personal indulgence than a great answer.

Made some costly mistakes today, most notably BOLT for VOLT (23D: Lightning unit). Nice trick, I guess. Feels cheap, since obviously lightning comes in BOLTs, and no one says "ooh, did you see those howevermany VOLTs of lightning," but sure, technically, that clue works for that answer. Lost most time on one of my most hated clue types—the "Name that becomes this thing if you do these things to it"-type clue. Like, find a MYRA to use in your clue or **** ***! Had the "M" and then the "R" and still wasn't sure what was going on. And that answer was adjacent to CANNERY, which took me several seconds to get Even After I Had -ANNERY in place (37D: Corn or bean plant, perhaps). See, it's the factory meaning of "plant," not the plant meaning of "plant." Cute. I also wrote in READ instead of SCAN (got the stupid "A" first and ... d'oh!) (48A: Pore over). I think of "scanning" as reading quickly and "poring over" as reading thoroughly, but whatever, this puzzle has its own ideas. Oh, and off the READ error I wrote in ROOF at 48D: Flat part of a flat. That is the wrong answer I'm most proud of (real answer: SOLE).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I associate the term PAIN PILL not with "relief" but with addiction (29A: What a relief!). :(

*green paint => an arbitrary phrase that, sure, one might say, but that doesn't really work as a stand-alone crossword answer

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Evan 6:57 AM  

I guess I "successfully" avoided the VOLT/BOLT trap by repeatedly misreading the clue as "Lighting unit."

kitshef 7:12 AM  

Chock full of fabulous mid-length entries like ENIGMA, ESCHEW, CLENCH, APE HOUSE, THEODICY, HAT TRICK …

A few of the clues left me a little vexed, ON A, MYRA and PAIN PILL in particular.

Yes, there are multiple THYMES.

I imagine WORLD ATLAS sales have plummeted thanks to the internet. Personally, it would not feel like home without them.

Hungry Mother 7:14 AM  

I had STAIR____ER and went through “climber” and “stepper” before getting it. Very nice challenge, well met IMHO.

Lewis 7:15 AM  

Enough gimmes to keep me hungry; enough WHAT THE's to create hurdles, so this puzzle had plenty of the stop-and-go I crave on weekends.

Random notes:
* Smiled at the quick return of the bulb circler.
* Smiled big at the loveliness of NIGHTY NIGHT.
* Nodded with respect at being fooled by VOLT instead of BOLT.
* Experienced the best kind of "You got me!" at the CANNERY clue.
* Was reminded by TREETOP of an amazing novel which I've mentioned once before here and it's worth mentioning again -- "The Overstory" (Richard Powers), the 2019 Pultizer fiction winner.

A stellar start to the day, and thank you Sam. Once again you delivered; once again, you were UP TO IT.

Conrad 7:18 AM  

Sorta DNF. Confidently fell into the bOLT trap, then even more confidently filled in beE (as in spelling) as my "Contest" at 23A. Didn't get BAT GIRL until later and never even looked at bIE. When I didn't get the Victory Theme, Uncle Google informed me that I had TYREKE and RUPIAH correct. So I reviewed the my answers and ended up with VOLT/VIE as my last entry.

QuasiMojo 7:21 AM  

Finally a puzzle that required thinking. Bravo Sam. I had Bedside before Treetop and it got tougher from there. Good trickery. Clever clues. A few products which annoys me but made up easily by the misdirect on the plant. I did not know Olivia de Havilland was made a Dame. What a long and fascinating life she's had. I love her in the Mitchell Leisen film, "Hold Back the Dawn." Paulette Goddard is in it too.

I'm too tuckered out from poring over the super long posts yesterday. I'll take a breather today. And try to get some exercise in now that I can use the gym in my building again. Gotta lose the lockdown love handles. Ciao all!!

kitshef 7:36 AM  

Rex-related rant. How can you not remember Buck Williams??? He still holds a bunch of franchise records for the Nets. He was on the Olympic team (albeit in 1980, so he didn't get to play). In the top 50 in NBA History in Win Shares. In the top 20 in NBA history in games played and rebounds. Had one of the great nicknames - "don't f*** with Buck". Wore glasses that made him look like a cross between an evil scientist and a preying mantis. Dominated Ralph Sampson in college even though he was much shorter. Played for the Knicks late in his career. His teams were in the playoffs 14 time in his 17-year career. More rebounds than Barkley or Motumbo or Ewing or Rodman. Between college and pro, one of the greats of the era. End of rant.

ChuckD 7:37 AM  

Tough but gettable for me. Cannery took me some time to figure out. Seems like we’ve seen both stair master and hat trick recently. Theodicy is just too close to the idiocy so prevalent in current events. The prodigiousness of Jacko still doesn’t warrant him a place in my puzzle.

pabloinnh 7:41 AM  

Got the entire west side of this with relative ease (THRILLER! SYMMETRY!), and then the whole east side from north to south was going nowhere. Certainly my own sexist fault for not coming up with BATGIRL when Batman didn't fit. Have been co-teaching a course on Merle Haggard so the "country album" thing was a total misdirect. Also fell headlong into the VOLT/BOLT trap. Finally STAIRMASTER appeared, with its plethora of handy toeholds, and finally got there, although FREEWILL remains my answer of choice for the "existence of evil" conundrum. If I ever saw THEODICY it was in a philosophy class from many, many years ago.

Nice to have a Friday that knows how to Friday. Thanks for the fun, SE. Well done you!

ss 8:00 AM  

Really enjoyed the TREE TOP clue ("lullaby locale"). The locale misdirection stumped me for just long enough to be pleasurable (unlike the "need for teachers across the board" misdirection which I got right away being about chalk or white boards), but not so long that it was frustrating (needed a lot of crosses to get "country album?"). All those are good clues though.

I always dislike SCAN as being clued as "pore over". Maybe its me but I always use it by it's contronym-y meaning of read quickly. Maybe the read closely meaning is fading out of use?

Tricky and fun puzzle!

Suzie Q 8:05 AM  

Finally some fun and on a Friday to boot.
I felt very tuned into Sam E.'s way of thinking for most of this.
Recent repeats moth (which came too soon with a very similar clue) and desert. I enjoyed the desert/dessert discussion.
Maybe a tad too easy but very satisfying.

GILL I. 8:07 AM  

NIGHTY NIGHT needs a little sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite.
I aways love me some Sam and when I finish I always itch to tell him to play it again.
TREE TOP was my first entry. I never quite understood that lullaby. Why would anyone put a baby up in a tree - and in its cradle, for goodness sake. There is something about Mother Goose singing about murder and fatal illness. And that poor man in "It's Raining, It's Pouring."
I wanted that billion dollar brand to be an OREO. Everyone comes up with new clever clues for that ick cookie. So it's OLAY. Another ick product. It promised to get rid of my wrinkles - I still have them.
I did Google a couple of times... BAR CHART and CYBER LAW. If I only have two on a Friday, I'm pretty satisfied.
Uh oh...just DESERTs.

B. Jean 8:47 AM  

Never quite understood why the appearance in the puzzle of certain people and organizations is deemed by Michael to be offensive and unwelcome, but serial child rapist Michael Jackson gets a pass every time.

Anonymous 9:01 AM  


Joe Dipinto 9:11 AM  

This was a smidge difficult, which is always good on a Friday. Rex reminded me that the word "peruse" oddly has two contradictory definitions:

(From Merriam-Webster)
1(a): to examine or consider with attention and in detail : STUDY
(b): to look over or through in a casual or cursory manner

I would equate definition (a) with "poring over" and definition (b) with "scanning", so I agree with Rex that they are not synonymous.

TYREKE was weird but easily fell into place from the crosses, so no big deal. THEODICY was even weirder but also gettable. I had the BOLT/VOLT writeover. My favorite answer (and clue also) was WORLD ATLAS, because at 10 years old I became glued to a Hammond Citation World Atlas that was a Christmas gift from an aunt and uncle. Yugoslavia (remember Yugoslavia?!) was orange on the Europe map.

@Quasi – I was assuming Olivia D. lived in England, but apparently not, she lives in France. She's 103! (I'm pretty sure France was green in the atlas and England was pink.)

So once again Sam Ezersky comes up with a winner.

I dug this old thing out of mothballs, and I must say it's held up surprisingly well since 1980. I like it more now than I did then, then, then.

CDilly52 9:12 AM  

Nits today bothered me. First, I agree with @Rex that SCAN is a very weak answer to “pore over.” I can give that one up, but I really stared in disbelief that SOLE was the answer to “flat part of a flat.” All shoe soles are flat, in my opinion. What distinguishes the “flat” is that it has no (or a very very “flat”) heel. I did not want to give up heel and that little mistake cost me some serious head scratching.

Over all, pretty easy, certainly not too “Friday.” Really liked the clue for CANNERY. For some reason I could not find my way into the NE, and just had a sea of white for the longest time. Had no idea after it was finished that 7Up and RC COLA were sister brands. I knew that the front part of 24D was STAIR but for the life of me couldn’t recall the remainder of the name for that particular instrument of torture. That’s about it for me.

Eric NC 9:13 AM  

Refused to give up Kane/Jean for way too long.

Z 9:21 AM  

Four THEs feels like some sort of definite record (AT THE HEART, WHAT THE, THEODICY, AT HEEL).

Oh look, DESERT pronounced the other way again.

Wrote in PAN and waited for the terminal vowel. I assumed it was I or O. Agree 100% with Rex about PANE. I also agree 100% with Rex about TYREKE.

Agree with @B. Jean about preferring my child molesters reserved to the depressing parts of the newspaper.

As I wrote in PLIANT I pondered how much I prefer “plaint” to complaint and how comPLIANT also subtly changes the connotation of the root word. English, always messing with nuance.

This played easy. One writeover (in THE before AT THE) and the PPP was all wheelhouse stuff here (BATGIRL, TAFTS, and THRILLER all provided anchors for their sections).

For those who don’t read all the late comments, this is a great PSA. I love it. Stay safe everyone.

Nancy 9:25 AM  

A perfect themeless. Crunchy as hell, with fiendishly difficult cluing and some wonderfully grown-up fill. PLIANT, all the way down at 32A, was the first answer I got in the West, confirmed by VOLT, confirmed by VIE. But my struggle was only beginning. All along I feared an EPIC FAIL -- an answer I didn't have yet. Finishing this was a real THRILLER. (No, I didn't know THRILLER, of course. I'm me, remember?)

I never heard of THEODICY. When I read the clue for 18A, I wanted: ABSOLUTELY NO EXPLANATION AT ALL THAT IS THE LEAST BIT SATISFYING, AND YOU CAN QUOTE ME. Sorry, everyone, but that's just how I feel about it. That's how I have always felt about it.

After yesterday's news about Trump's brand new war on Twitter, I wanted the answer to 1A to be BYE BYE.

A terrific puzzle. Even the who-has-a-name-like-that? TYREKE didn't bother me because HAT TRICK was so eminently gettable.

Z 9:35 AM  

@ss - now I want “contronymony” in a puzzle.

And, yes, SCAN is a contronym. I note that the “pore over” definition is listed first here. At least there’s no pour over definition.

GELT - and yes, it does deserve a “WTF.”

If your solve is BAR CHART -> BATGIRL -> VIE you won’t fall into the bOLT trap.

Petsounds 9:39 AM  

Made many mistakes along the way--all of the ones Rex reeled off, plus NURSERY for 1D and OPEN for 24A. It took me a while to get going, because the NW corner was brutal (Currency of Indonesia? What a relief?), but I totally enjoyed this puzzle and all its nifty tricks. WORLDATLAS was my favorite.

I still don't get why U and I share SYMMETRY--Anyone?

A tough, tricky head-scratcher of a puzzle, at long last! Nice work, Sam!

Whatsername 9:43 AM  

Hello google my old friend. It’s Friday so I’m calling you again. This was hard for me and I needed a little help in a few areas. There was a lot to like: THRILLER, SYMMETRY, CYBERLAW, WHATTHE, THEODICY. Interesting to again see and MOTH and DESERT, and here I thought I learned all the uses of that word yesterday. The world champion Kansas City Chiefs (I love saying that!!) have a lightning fast wide receiver named TYREKE but he spells it Tyreek, also known as The Cheetah.

Count me among those who would have sworn the clue for SCAN was wrong but show me now standing corrected. Merriam-Webster defines it as: (1) to investigate thoroughly by checking point by point and often repeatedly; (2) to glance from point to point often hastily, casually, or in search of a particular item.

Others tripped me up as well but that’s just good cluing. Overall a very solid Friday. Regards to the constructor for the effort.

TJS 9:44 AM  

Compared with what we have been dealing with, puzzle-wise, I'll take this, but was expecting a more polished effort when I saw Ezersky tagged to a Friday. I have the same take as Rex with the "scan/pore/read" connotations, but puzzles seem to insist on their interchangeability. (sp.?)

Viewing from a distance, the headlines in the online papers I subscribe to present a national unrest that could turn into something much worse. Hope everyone stays safe through the weekend and cooler heads prevail.

pmdm 9:45 AM  

Most of the comments here are quite positive. yet this puzzle did not hit with me. Too much stuff that I personally don't care about. It's just a matter of personal interest.

In his comments, Sam seems to state that a lot of themeless puzzles don't get accepted even though they are good. Seems they don't get accepted because they don't tickle the bias of the editor(s). I wonder if these "lost" puzzles are the type that I would prefer. I'll never know. And I wouldn't want to impose my criteria, which based upon the comments posted here so far would not elicit happy comments.

Sam mentions clever cluing. That OK and good as long as someone like Agard doesn't go over the top. And in my opinion, that sadly does happen too often.

I seem to be in a bummer mood today.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

I’ve been doing the NYTimes crosswords since high school (1964-1969) and I hate it when an answer (which one had to wait until the next day to realize if one was unable to solve it) still makes no sense. This puzzle is full of them. Also answers that don’t actually fit the clue. This puzzle is full of them. I hated this puzzle.

webwinger 9:56 AM  

This was not the Friday my figuratively bruised and aching persona was craving. TYREKE? RUPIAH? THEODICY? All gotten from crosses, but really? And at the other end, RUNS A LAP? ATE LUNCH? APE HOUSE? Even the clues striving for cleverness fell flat IMO: Step up your workout? Whew elicitor? Three pointer?

I guess Country album could be seen as a clever misdirect, but by the time I read the clue seriously I already had most of ATLAS in place; didn’t even think of the other meaning until I reviewed the completed grid. I still own and treasure a copy of Rand McNally’s The International Atlas (unfortunately, Blogger wouldn't let me underline "The" as it appears on the book's cover), the best ever of its ilk, first published when I was in high school. Showed the entire world using just a few uniform scales. Masterful!

It was nice to find DESERT in the grid after yesterday’s star turn in a clue. And very appropriate to have MOTH flitting by again—we are seeing annoying hordes of them here recently, in broad daylight. In darkness NIGHTYNIGHT always reassures, but TREETOP reminds of one of the creepiest lyrics in lullabyland.

Oh, well. Tomorrow is another day. And it’s been beautiful in Colorado. And Rocky Mountain National Park is reopening with limited access. It is said the wildlife have been thriving with the park to themselves for the past couple of months. That makes me feel good...

Joaquin 10:17 AM  

@Whatsername (9:43) - As a fellow fan of the "world champion Kansas City Chiefs" I, too, thought of the *other* Tyreek. Two superior athletes with an unusual name.

And, also like you, I was prepared to rant about SCAN, but Merriam-Webster set me straight on that.

DeeJay 10:18 AM  

The shape of both letters is symmetrical.

Sir Hillary 10:23 AM  

Very nice puzzle. The long (7+) entries are terrific, there's not much short junk, and the cluing is fun. Very nice work.

-- Favorite entry: CYBERLAW.
-- Least favorite: ONA.
-- Always good to learn knew words; today's is THEODICY.
-- BOT, TROT, CLOT -- that's a lot.
-- MOTH seems to bring out great clues. I also love the one for ATBATS. The one for ERASER wants me to love it, but I'm playing hard to get.

Buck Williams was a wonderfully productive and consistent player for the 1980s Nets, and his move to the Blazers was important in getting them to two Finals. I take his career totals with a grain of salt, because he became more of a role player and "compiler" in the second half his career. Still, a very underrated player.

I wish all NY THYMES puzzles were of this caliber.

Nancy 10:26 AM  

@Petsounds (9:39) -- My first thought on 1D was also NURSERY, and so I went looking for confirmation. I would have settled for even one possible cross, but there was absolutely nothing that looked remotely likely. Especially that pesky Y to begin the answer to 29A's "What a relief!"

You didn't ask me for any future solving help, @Petsounds, but here, for better or worse, is my two cents anyway: If absolutely none of the crosses look at all likely, if indeed some of them look completely impossible, your answer is wrong. Dead wrong. Drop it like a hot potato and try to come up with a different answer, or move on and come back to it later. Don't force the square peg into the round hole.

I didn't get TREETOP until I had TAFTS and PAIN PILL. Then I wondered why I hadn't thought of it earlier. It never crossed my mind. And it's interesting the points that @GILL and @Webwinger make about the nursery rhyme. It IS creepy!!!! It IS about mayhem and tragedy and senseless death!!!! So why did the lyrics wash right over me as a child? Why didn't they creep me out? Why, indeed, have I never thought about it at all until about five minutes ago? Maybe because I figured it would be some other child in that stupid TREETOP, whereas I was always safely on terra firma? Or maybe I was just an especially unquestioning child. Anyway, @GILL and @Webwinger were evidently a lot more sensitive and perceptive.

burtonkd 10:28 AM  

RCCOLA as a sister product of 7UP is tenuous. Both drinks have been sold to different beverage companies US and world wide and have a brief stint where they are both owned by DrPepperSnapple group.

@Joe - thanks for clarifying what I was wondering about peruse, scan, read, pore over, etc. Doubt you'll get into any disputes today:)

FREEWILL fits nicely in the THEODICY slot, so that messed up my NE.

I knew I would get TYREKE eventually, but agreed not a 1st tier name. Funny about that Buck Williams gap for Rex. We all have our random blind spots.

I agree with Rex about that MYRA MARY clue. If you listen to Will's Sunday Puzzle on NPR, it seems like the weekly challenges are all of this type, probably because they are hard to write a computer program for or otherwise look up online. I personally don't enjoy them.

Hands up for reading VOLT clue as "lighting" so had watT for a while.

Paul & Kathy 10:29 AM  

This one came together nicely for me today. No trouble with VOLT at 23D, because I did 23A first, and VIE came in easily, which means no thought of the B. I did have to visit P&G's website to remember which brand ended in a Y, once I found it the entire NW fell. I've seen enough trickery to know that 43A was MOTH without even thinking about it. Had BAYERN in at 33A at first, replaced it when that didn't work with the crosses. Didn't trust my answer at 20A right away, because I am not from NYC and that word is unknown to me. But man, if you don't know RC Cola and 7up, you need to get out of town a bit. It's everywhere where I am.

mathgent 10:33 AM  

Great day! I loved it and so did Nancy. When I love a puzzle and Nancy doesn’t, I’m sad.

I always start by going through all the clues and filling in the gimmies. Last night my only gimmie was TYREKE. I follow the NBA closely and I remember a game early in 2009 when our Warriors were playing the Sacramento Kings. The Kings had just drafted TYREKE at #4 and we had just drafted Steph Curry at #7. TYREKE was amazing that night and I rued the fact that they had picked up this muscular dynamo and all we had was this puny outside shooter. TYREKE never improved and Steph became a Hall of Famer.

This one had everything I want. Crunch, weight (over half of the entries were were six letters or more), only one junky entry (ONA), smart and clever cluing, some learning (THEODICY, best-selling studio album, THROMBUS).

JC66 10:36 AM  

Just to emphasize what @Z posted, GELT is money in Yiddish, not slang.

Petsounds 10:40 AM  

@Nancy: Thank you for your expert assistance, which is always welcome hereabouts! I did, in fact, remove NURSERY from 1D when I saw the clue for 22A and realized there were no White House residents whose names began with E. Disappointing, because I thought I was off to a good start, but even after removing NURSERY, that corner remained empty for a long, long time. I do sometimes leave a wrong answer in much too long, but not today.

Like you, I wonder both at my childhood self and all the adults around me, sweetly singing a song about a baby falling out of a tree to its (probable) demise!

As for the SYMMETRY of U and I, don't a lot of letters in the alphabet have symmetry? That clue is still not working for me.

Lorelei Lee 10:42 AM  

Gelt. Hanukkah gift money. Notice those little bags of gold wrapped chocolate coins around Christmas time? They're not really for Christmas.

RooMonster 10:43 AM  

Hey All !
Tricksy Clue FriPuz today. Maxed the ole brain out.
Writeovers: nursery-TREETOP Ah, word/place in the Lullaby, not where it is sung
bOLT-VOLT That was just mean! Almost indefensible. Remember"Back to the Future"? "A BOLT of lightening!" Not a VOLT.
MaRy-MYRA Har, right name, wrong name
Aimsat-ATBATS Either one fine by me.
TOThen-TOTERM Odd either way.
tire-SOLE Misdirection!

Got lucky (OK, so I Googled for the Fiddle Dance!) in that tough NE corner. With that @!$#& VOLT, and GELT and CLOT and THEODICY (which is kinda funny, would like to see @Devout Atheists take), that was last section to fall, and then got the Happy Music! I'm taking it as a win!

**SB paragraph alert**

Missed YesterBee by 3. Lots of words in that one. Todays, I'm missing one or two I believe. Shooting for the QB today!

**SB paragraph over**

One lonely little F

Northwest Runner 10:47 AM  

Even though I was eating lunch at the time in a room that was painted green, I had “took a nap” as the answer for had a midday break.

Newboy 10:56 AM  

Cluing was wonderful in spots, but inconsistent to an annoying degree. SCAN Seems way off as Rex noted, but the plant for CANNERY was brilliant; Sam gets me almost every time with his word wizard manipulations. Didn’t like this one as much as some other Ezersky efforts, but I look forward to his next THRILLER.

Barbara S. 10:57 AM  

@Joe Dipinto 9:11
I loved your description of and childhood fascination with the Hammond atlas. For reasons unknown to me, Britain and its empire were traditionally shown in atlases as pink, leading to this scene from the 1987 film "Hope and Glory" (directed by John Boorman and based on his experiences as a boy in the U.K. during WWII).


egsforbreakfast 11:07 AM  

I liked this one, although it played easy for me. Somehow the answers that seem to have caused people difficulty, like TREETOP and CANNERY, were gimmes.

Clue: Explanation for the existence of evil in a Greek classic?


Nancy 11:09 AM  

Oh, @mathgent (10:33), I think I'm going to cry. I wasn't aware that I've made you sad from time to time. I would never EVER want to make you sad!!! Why if I knew ahead of time that you were going to love a puzzle that I didn't like at all, and that my not liking it would make you sad, I would move heaven and earth to try to find something, ANYTHING, about it that I liked.

But, actually, I've known for a long time that we differ on certain puzzles in one key way. Whereas we both like challenge and we both like trickery, you also like learning stuff -- even when it's stuff that I would consider Mickey Mouse/Who Cares stuff. And I have the strongest suspicion that you also remember stuff -- which is why it may make sense to want to learn it in the first place. Whereas I know I won't remember it, and if I did remember it, it would only take up space in my brain I'd rather save for more important stuff.

If I went looking for the person on the blog -- well, not on it nearly as much as he used to be -- with whom I agree the most often, it would be @Oisk. He hates pop culture and proper names as much as I do.

But please, please, @mathgent -- don't ever let me make you sad!

What? 11:10 AM  

Re Rex’s definition of “green paint” is, well, green paint. “Doesn’t really work” - what does that mean? Whatever you want, I guess. Talk about arbitrary.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

That doesn't make an any sense, right?

Kathy 11:15 AM  

The bulb circler returns, I had dawn too long—until it dawned on me.
And desert—I learned something new yesterday on that one.

Loved this puzzle, nice and crunchy, not much wheelhouse, just plain old fashioned sleuthing. No one lead opened up the case, though, because the puzzle was segmented. But it was so worth the chase! Once I changed out didLUNCH,THYMES AND THEODICY (new to me) fell and I finished a Friday without help, something I still can’t manage with regularity.

Hand up for bOLT/VOLT
Agree, GELT is not slang

Faves: WORLD ATLAS, TREETOP (another map junkie here, hi, @Kitshef!)
Most difficult corner: NE

I give it an A

Hubby and I do as a team, he starts, I clean up. Or try to. We have never made QB. Today, for a moment, QB appeared and we were psyched, then it turned back to Genius. WHAT THE.....?

GILL I. 11:16 AM  

@Nancy 10:26
I used to sing Jack and Jill - delighted that my name was in a nursery rhyme. I would tell my Spanish speaking friends that if they had heard that rhyme, that was how they could remember my name. Well, as luck would have it, my brother sat me down and told me the facts of life: He said that Jack was referred to as Louis XVI and his Queen, Marie Antoinette, as Jill. Jack was beheaded (lost his crown) and Jill came tumbling after. Ouch. So I found a better way to sing it:
Jack and Jill went up the hill
each with a buck and a quarter.
Jill came down with two and half
they didn't go up for water......

bauskern 11:18 AM  

I too initially had NURSERY for 1A, but quickly saw that the presidential name wouldn't work with the E. So I was off to a challenging start from the get-go. I thought this was a perfect puzzle in terms of Friday-like difficulty. But TYREKE? Not sure anyone would get that but by filling in the downs. Interestingly, Stephan Curry was a rookie that same year as well. I guess being ROY doesn't guarantee you a successful career. CANNERY was clever!

Crimson Devil 11:18 AM  

Was gonna comment on contronyms but Z beat me to it.
My favorite is sanction.

I think that today’s puz constructor is one and the same as SB editor.

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

Speaking of the world - Rex has a problem with English not being the predominant reference to cluing a group of letters. Down right Trumpian! Great puzzle Sam!

David 11:24 AM  

Guess lots of folks don't know any Jews. There's a world of rich vocabulary y'all are missing. Rex, there are at least a dozen types of thyme.

Fell into the Bolt trap and thought that was about the most clever thing in the puzzle. Other than that, Mary first, so that part of the puzzle was most puzzling for me. Did a quadruple take on "scan" because, well...

All in all faster than normal for a Friday, and I liked it.

TJS 11:24 AM  

@JC66, thanks for the heads-up yesterday on the BEQ puzzle. Definitely a winner.

mbr 11:25 AM  

@Nancy and @Petsounds: your dismay over the lyrics to that lullaby remind me of the often taught French song "Alouette", which you may have learned as a child as I did. The lyrics about a lovely lark list the ways in which the singer will pull out all of its feathers....from its head, its wings, its neck. I'm puzzled as to why someone would sing about that.

Petsounds 11:40 AM  

@mbr: Yes! I didn't learn "Alouette" until seventh-grade French, and it had that bouncy rhythm and sounded so pretty in French...."gentille alouette," sweet lark. And then it turns out that singer is killing the bird! I don't mind the horrors of the Grimm Brothers, but plucking all the feathers out of a bird?? That I do mind!

Whatsername 11:53 AM  

@GILL (11:16) Your version of the nursery rhyme made me chuckle. BTW, have you heard from @Loren recently? It’s been a while since she graced us with her presence but hopefully all is well.

tkincher 11:57 AM  

TYREKE was, for some reason, a gimme for me. I could not tell you that he won RotY or what teams he played for, however.

Looking back at that draft, it's kind of surprising. Future all-stars from that year who did *not* get Rookie of the Year include James Harden, Blake Griffin, Steph Curry, Jrue Holliday, and DeMar DeRozan.

Lorelei Lee 12:03 PM  

@David, I notice that you said there are lots of types of thyme.

I have French and English thyme in my garden and when I plunked in Thymes, I thought, "Would I say that I have two thymes in my garden or types of thyme?"

So I'm going to vote for thymes being a another made-up plural. I can pick some tomatoes but I won't go out and pick some thymes, even if I snip some of each.

Barbara S. 12:11 PM  

I liked the puzzle -- found it challenging but gettable. Which means I'm now in Friday-glow mode.

7A Was everyone but me completely relaxed at the sight of the word "histogram"? I didn't have any idea. I've since looked into origins and I find that "histo" is from the Greek, meaning "anything set upright" from the verb "histasthai" -- to stand. Hence, BAR CHART or graph. Fascinootin'.

8D The only AT HEEL expression I know is "down at heel" meaning run down or ramshackle. But even that's a variant, according to Merriam-Webster.

@egsforbreakfast 11:07
Dang it, @egs, you stole (a version of) my joke! I'm going to say it anyway:
"Coincidence! I just read THEODICY by Hoe Myrrh."

P.S. OK, Sam, now that I've got you here, here are 75 things I'd like to say about the Spelling Bee -- KIDDING!

RBC 12:22 PM  

Had to cheat to confirm CLOT, and then Google again for GELT because I was pretty sure it was ATHEEL, but then totally unsure of the dance. So annoyed, as it could've been GEES, and the crosses were not very fair. As others said, GELT is not "slang" for money, so that clue was def a WTF / WOE for me.

Otherwise, enjoyed the puzzle, just hate having to cheat for this kind of reason - something I couldn't have gotten due to a bizarre unclue and unfair, weird cross (since when has anyone talked about a REEL? Not very in the vernacular, as Rex would say).

Aketi 12:24 PM  

@Gill I, I loved your version of Jack and Jill.

Masked and Anonymous 12:27 PM  

Themeless FriPuz … let the good THYMES roll (yo, @Sir Hillary).

staff weeject picks: ONA. Especially clued with "ONA kick". See 38-D [M&A's fave entry of the day].
Honrable mention to BOT. Someone doin its clue musta had a real bad run-in with a BOT lately.

Luved the SYMMETRY clue's letter selections. Surely yoU & I can choose to agree, on that.
Enjoyed the subtle Ow de Sperationness of RUNSALAP and the loong ATTHEHEART partial.
Did not know: RUPIAH. THEODICY. TYREKE. They were all well-spaced-out, sooo … did not overly maliciously attack my solvequest nanosecond THYMES.

Thanx, Sam E-Z. Good job.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

[runtpuz server still a pitiful pusillanimous pile of scrap metal]

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

with so much questionable fill, I found this puzzle awful.

Cynthia 12:29 PM  

Did anyone else have "RENT for "Flat part of a flat," which I thought was pretty clever cluing (flat rate, yeah?), except for "flat" being a Britishism. That's when I also had READ for "Pore over," which is more accurate, like Re said. Was disappointed in both correct answers.

Joe Dipinto 12:33 PM  

@Barbara S – that's hilarious about the Commonwealth always being pink on maps – I had no idea. But I definitely remember New Zealand being pink in my atlas as well. Google pulled up a number of entries relating to the subject. It seems to have been a compromise color because red, the color they really wanted, was too dark to read black typography off of.

I wanted to see "Hope And Glory" when it came out but somehow I still have never gotten around to it.

Unknown 12:36 PM  

I didn't know that the term THEODICY was coined by Leibnitz. I wish he had stuck to the invention of calculus (simultaneously with Newton). The concept of THEODICY is much older though. It seems to me that this part of philosophy belongs to a group of thinkers who desperately want attention. It's like shouting "Look, how clever I am".

Crimson Devil 12:47 PM  

Good to see Gill’s version of Jill’s entrepreneurship.
This, indeed, is a great country !

jae 12:55 PM  

On the tough side. bOLT plus more than a couple of WOEs (e.g. TRYEKE) and you’ve got to put in a little work. Plenty to like here.

Joaquin 12:56 PM  

To add to the contranym discussion (@ss; @Z; @Crimson) the wrong answer to "Lightening unit" is also one.

"bOLT" can mean to secure in place or it can mean to leave in a hurry.

Anonymous 1:04 PM  

Hope and Glory came out at the same time as Spielberg’s big budget Empire of The Sun. Both films are about war as seen through a young boy’s eyes. One is so much better than the other it’s embarrassing. If you haven’t seen Hope and Glory, do yourself a favor and give it a look see.

Teedmn 1:11 PM  

Sam provided some fun and challenge today with this Friday puzzle.

BARCH ART is a new, business-data-based art movement which was new to me until today. Har, I was checking the crosses around the first three letters to see where I went wrong when I finally saw BAR CHART.

20A with kaLe in place made the thrombus hard to see. I was starting to think it didn't mean what I thought it meant - thanks, BAT GIRL, for saving me from being a joker once again.

I foolishly decided to splatz in ___HOrSE as a possible zoo attraction so when I was left with 49D's CrLT, I was trying to associate a CTRL-T function with small fan bases (wrong on so many levels). Once I fixed that, I wondered if the APEs will be bewildered when people are once again allowed to stare at them in zoos.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who forgot which century we're in and groaned at what I thought 22A was going to be. Never mind.

Thanks Sam Ezersky. I loved your corn and bean plant clue (CAsh crop didn't fit, whew.)

egsforbreakfast 1:20 PM  

@ Barbara S. With apologies for such lameness:

Clue: Bizarrest people ever envision an explanation for evil in the presence of God within a Greek epic.



amyyanni 2:05 PM  

Superb. A real treat. And Happy Birthday, Sam! Thanks for the tussle.

jberg 2:11 PM  

Me too for frEe wIll before THEODICY (Hi, @burtonkd!) Also BAR grAph, a commoner expression, I think. And does A LAP before RUNS.

And while I've got you on the line, my first thought on seeing the Mary/MYRA clue was that it was Will Shortz's doing. I bet the constructor had something like "Ms. Breckinridge."

OTOH, bOLT never occurred to me. I mean, sure, you have bolts of lightning -- but they're not 'units' in the sense that you can count the bolts as a measure of anything. VOLTS, on the other hand, measure the difference in electric potential between a cloud and the earth below. I'm not sure that explanation makes any sense, but it got me to the correct answer, so there!

@Nancy, I never thought of TREETOPS either. My mind was fixed on a locale in which a lullaby might be sung, rather than a locale IN a lullaby. So I needed some crosses.

To close out, a very minor nit: "certain Afrocentrist" to me means the clue is looking for an individual. Maybe it just means a singular answer, I guess.

Monty Boy 2:30 PM  

I liked this one a lot (except SW). I could not get a toe-hold there. Clues were just a little off for me.

Biggest embarrassment was not getting corn/bean plant. I worked in a pea plant (aka cannery) two summers in college. To this day, my only pea consumption is in pot pies. I relish both of them.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

I was completely lost for a while because I had BARGRAPH instead of BARCHART. Also it's a graph and not a chart.

Meeeek! 3:23 PM  

Loved it! I was on Rex- like time when I started yesterday but got bogged down in the center and SW. Woke up today and figured it out.

Joe Dipinto 3:40 PM  

What did Jim Morrison say to the waitress after ordering the entrée with plain and lemon varieties of the same herb?

He said "_________________."

egsforbreakfast 3:56 PM  

@ Joe DiPinto

The thyme to hesitate is through?

Sir Hillary 4:02 PM  

@Joe DiPinto -- Was one for tomorrow, one just for today? :)

Barbara S. 4:10 PM  

@Anonymous 1:04
There was a third 1987 film exploring "a boy's-eye-view of war" that I'm aware of. It was "Au revoir les enfants" directed by Louis Malle and, like "Hope and Glory," based on the director's childhood experience. The Malle film is tragic, and I think I once read that although the subject matter was burning a hole in both his creative and psychological pockets, it took him all the 40-plus years to face making it.

@egsforbreakfast 1:20
*I* laughed. And I thought it was extremely sweet of you to apologize to me for comedic lameness.

egsforbreakfast 4:24 PM  

@ Joe DiPinto

OMG. Just realized that the answe is LOVE ME TWO THYMES BABY!!!

Masked and Anonymous 4:33 PM  

@Joe Dipinto: har. "Love Me Two Thymes" …?

Kinda like what Bob Dylan lamented, when they started to cross-breed them there herbs … ?

M&A Bandstand

pabloinnh 4:38 PM  

Hi @jberg and also @burtonkd-

Funny, I had the same thought about FREEWILL at 7:41 this morning.

A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, to coin a phrase.

@JoeD-I've got the 2X part, not sure what you want in front of it.

Joe Dipinto 5:13 PM  

You guys see I posted a link to the answer, right? Click on the blank underline.

Hah @M&A - "oh the thymes, they are a-changin'"

Anonymous 5:18 PM  

Barbara S
Yes!!!!!!! I avoided it for 32 years knowing it would reduce me to a pile of mush. It did. I thought Atlantic City was his masterpiece. I was wrong.

JamieP 6:28 PM  

My turn @Joe...What did Jim Croce say when he forgot his planting trays?

What did the members of Styx say when the plain and lemon varieties completely took over the garden?

Gene 6:44 PM  

A hat trick in hockey is 3 goals not a three pointer. A three pointer is a shot in basketball.

Pdxrains 7:33 PM  

GELT? APEHOUSE? what world do you live in?? Garbage

chefwen 7:39 PM  

BTW It’s SAM EZERSKY’s birthday today. Happy Birthday Sam, loved your puzzle.

ChuckD 8:48 PM  

@Gene - a hockey player’s success is quantified in number of points. They receive a point for a goal scored or assisting in a goal scored. So - a three pointer can be a hat trick.

Joe Dipinto 9:09 PM  

@JamieP - Styx would be "Too much thyme on my hands." For Jim Croce, not sure – "If I could save thyme in a bottle", maybe?

I don't know how people know it's Sam Ezersky's birthday, but Happy Birthday, Sam!

JC66 9:21 PM  


Lewis 9:28 PM  

@joeD -- It was reported on WordPlay.

Joe Dipinto 9:48 PM  

Thanks, Lewis.

chefwen 9:59 PM  

@Joe D. Facebook

burtonkd 11:18 PM  

@JamieP - Too Much Thyme On My Hands

@Gene, I was thinking that also. They can lawyer their way into points if they are considering Individual Statistics (not convinced they were thinking this way).

If Steve Miller served a certain herb to Marty McFly?

Individual statistics
GP – Games played – Number of games the player has set foot on the ice in the current season.
G – Goals – Total number of goals the player has scored in the current season.
A – Assists – Number of goals the player has assisted in the current season.
P or PTS – Points – Scoring points, calculated as the sum of G and A.
So 3 goals counts for 3 points. We did have hat trick recently, so maybe fail due to trying to mix it up?

albatross shell 11:34 PM  

TREETOP went in right off the AT BAT. A good start to stop n go fun. Nurseryrhymes often prepare kids for the horrors of the world or at least how to laugh at the horrors. The winds of revolution and counter-revolution send many cradles crashing to the rocky ground. The rich, the clever, the lucky, the brave may find refuge in safer lands.

Just the reverse of Rex, I got CANNERY off just the C. The beans and tomatoes from the field across the street from my house went 4 miles up the road to where the Chef Boyardee plant. Now they go 8 miles down the road to the Furman-Furmano's plant. The corn is always feed corn. Never canned.

Atlantic City was a character as well as a title. Lancaster Sarandon Reid. WoW.
Pretty Baby pretty damned good too. Have yet to see Alamo Bay, Crackers, and Vanya on 42nd Street.

A delicious treat today. Nit yourself to pieces, l do not care.

Joe Dipinto 1:01 AM  

Thyme keeps on slippin'...
Into the future


Ellen Perleberg 1:58 AM  

My religious studies coursework was thrilled to see THEODICY.

Cromulent 9:58 AM  

Saturday record time for me, but I just wanted to point out that Sonic the Hedgehog is a 30 year old video game franchise, so I'm not sure it works to assume it's out of "older" solvers' wheelhouses. As pop culture references go, it's been around longer than good old Ulee and his gold.

Bill Feeney 9:18 AM  

Nope, HAT TRICK is three goals and three goals only.

Jo 9:57 PM  

"RUNS A LAP and ATE LUNCH didn't help"

all those blogs about "eat a sandwich" and this is all I get? :). I was so excited to see "ate lunch" because I was sure you would have something to say about that.

spacecraft 11:15 AM  

Initial SCAN of the clue bank was bleak, till I spotted 24d. That one screamed STAIRMASTER--which fit--so I had a very rare 11-letter gimme to start. Thus the solve went SE-->SW-->NW-->NE, so yes, I fell into the bOLT trap. Also had doeSALAP before RUNS. A second gimme that I had missed was THRILLER. What I know about album titles I can fit into half a thimble, but I knew that one. Vincent Price dies: "Darkness falls upon the land."

This was pretty good, I thought. Plenty hard enough for a Friday but not brutal (my first guess for 12d, more to the point of savage than ANIMAL), so medium. Learned new: THEODICY--which explains a LOT nowadays--and TYREKE. Not enough owies to bother in the fill. Few DAMES to pick from, but ANNE Hathaway comes to the DOD rescue again. Birdie.

Diana, LIW 11:51 AM  

"I'm quitting crosswords."

That was my first reaction to this trivia fest of topics I do not care at all about.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for crosswords to come back

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

Half workable, half not. Did enjoy 42D, though.

Burma Shave 2:04 PM  


those APEs are a CLOSE and EPIC bunch,
when both ANNE and MYRA ESCHEWed a NIGHTY
there's no DOUBT WHATTHE boys ATE for LUNCH.


rondo 2:27 PM  

Any trouble I had was in the NE quad starting with pieCHART and my savage ApeMAn before ANIMAL (this was long before the APEHOUSE in the SW).

The four corners are a real TEST.

Yvonne Craig as BATGIRL, yeah baby.

A toughie, no DOUBT.

leftcoaster 3:37 PM  

Liked wrestling with this one, despite a very slow start.

Interesting words: ENIGMA, THEODICY, SYMMETRY, CYBERLAW. But is that last one really UP TO IT? Doesn't seem it's working too well in the REEL WORLD.

Big troubles in the SW. Wanted TO date instead of TO TERM, and IN THE HEART [of] instead of AT THE.... Also looked for a Beatles album instead of THRILLER as best selling of them all.

Enjoyed the challenge anyway.

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

From Syndication Land:

Can't help but comment on Rex's assertion that PAINPILL equals addiction. Obviously he has never needed a root canal or had his eardrum burst! I had surgery recently to remove a basal cell cancer from the top of my ear. It had grown into the cartilage so the doctor had to remove a piece of my ear. My "woke" doctor sent me home with advice to take Advil or Tylenol. Within hours I was in so much agony, I had to call her office and beg for a PAINPILL!!! No I am not an addict!

leftcoaster 6:02 PM  

Rex -- Okay, I guess I've finally figured you out. Commenting subjectively is you. Commenting objectively is not you. Nothing really wrong with that. But you're not consistently either.

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