1970s rock band that launched the career of Sammy Hagar / FRI 6-19-20 / Kazakh capital renamed Nur-Sultan in 2019 / Rocky's best friend in Rocky films / Craps throw called Little Joe / Measure equal to about 57º / Ad campaign featuring mustaches

Friday, June 19, 2020

Constructor: Greg Johnson

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (more Medium, maybe) (6:49)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: MONTROSE (20A: 1970s rock band that launched the career of Sammy Hagar) —
Montrose was a California-based hard rock band formed in 1973 and named after guitarist and founder Ronnie Montrose. The band's original lineup featured Montrose and vocalist Sammy Hagar, who would later go on to greater fame as a solo artist and as a member of Van Halen. Rounding out the original foursome were bassist Bill Church and drummer Denny Carmassi. The group disbanded in early 1977. (wikipedia)
• • •

There's just nothing interesting going on here. I don't understand themelesses like this, where there are literally no marquee answers. There's some fine, solid stuff here and there, but there is Zero to make you go wow or hey or cool. The grid shape has a lot to do with it. Nothing over 8 in this grid; but still, you'd think there'd be a number of sizzling, interesting, colloquial, original, some other adjective 8s lying around for you to start with, as your seed entries. What ever *were* the seed entries here? Hard to imagine being excited about putting any of these answers in the puzzle. And it's not even like the grid is that clean overall. One potential solace of a boring grid is that it's fill is never yuck, but ANE and ERINS and LBO and ÉGAL / TÊTES in same corner and CIRC MACAO SNO ... that stuff starts to rankle when there's no great stuff to justify it. The NYTXW absolutely must run killer themelesses every single time, because right now, the New Yorker is just eating their lunch. They've got an elite stable of constructors turning out three timely, fresh, current, well-crafted themeless puzzles per week. Their constructing team is diverse and talented and (most importantly) ambitious. Hungry. It'll be a long time before the New Yorker competes with the NYTXW in terms of total audience, to say nothing of revenue, but they are clearly coming. Quality-wise, they've already blown past the NYTXW (where average themeless quality is concerned, anyway). What's worse (for the NYTXW) is that they've got some of what *had* been the NYTXW's best talent (Robyn Weintraub comes to mind). If the New Yorker added a couple of themed puzzles and went to a daily puzzle format, they'd immediately be the best daily in the country. These are just facts.

But back to this puzzle. MONTROSE? Oof. To me, that is a smallish northern Pennsylvania town about 20 miles from me. I knew Sammy Hagar was eventually in VAN HALEN (which fits!) and I knew he eventually had a solo hit with "I Can't Drive 55" (maybe there were others...?), but MONTROSE ... that's a new one. They appear to have had no real hits. Cool cool. Annnyway, everything around that answer was hard (not surprisingly). Had real trouble with ORDERING because of the deceptive clue (21D: Counter action — you order at a counter) and with FLOOR WAX for the same reason (12D: Coat placed on the ground). Forgot ASTANA existed but was able to work around it pretty easily (3D: Kazakh capital renamed Nur-Sultan in 2019). Wanted SPCA before PETA (41A: Rights org. whose logo includes a rabbit), but not much else proved that challenging. The STAGE part of STAGE SET weirdly took some effort (52A: Theater background). Oh, and REBOXED was briefly elusive (36A: Made more secure for shipping, say). I don't see the necessary connection between reboxing and security. I also think REBOXED is not the greatest fill. But then *nothing* was the greatest fill today. When EVEN KEEL and PUMP IRON are your stand-outs ... you need to try harder.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Ugh, the New Yorker crossword is taunting me today with its Robyn Weintraub loveliness! It's true that the puzzle is clued "too easy" (finished in ~3:30), but the grid, The Grid ... so much to love:

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:12 AM  

Ok, hands up if you both have dirt floors and was them. Anyone? Buehler? Buehler? I thought not. Those New York City folks are so stupid they think you wax dirt floors, when everybody knows that all they need a good sweeping now and then

Harryp 12:12 AM  

Roast Pig went right in, but this played as four separate sections, first to fall the Southeast, then Southwest, Northeast and finally 15A, ANSWER TO, cleared out that whole block. Had hot SAUCE for 10D, then got the aha, or actually doh moment.

Anonymous 12:25 AM  

No comment on ROSSINI crossing the William Tell OVERTURE?

Anoa Bob 12:39 AM  

When my first stab, unassisted, at a 1 Across is sorta right---I was thinking PIG ROAST---I'm already happy with this puzzle. The good vibes continued and I was impressed with how well the grid held up to the very low 25 black square count. That kind of stuff SATIATES my word nerd needs, especially after a week when none of the themed puzzles ever really came together for me.

I've been to MACAO (Christmas of '84) so I always drop that one in quickly. My companion and I took a hydrofoil ferry over from Hong Kong but we only passed through briefly on our way to a day tour of nearby China. No casinos.

The Huichol (wee-shoal) Indians of San Luis Potosí, Mexico believe that if you eat peyote, you can talk to the COYOTE.

Frantic Sloth 12:41 AM  

I find this disturbing.
In no way can I determine exactly how I actually knew that the Three Stooges were ICEMEN in "An Ache in Every Stake".
I'm not even kidding. It's alarming.
Plunked it right in without so much as a how-do-you-huh??
Saw them in my mind's eye with their ice truck and tongs and big-ass block o' ice and now, obviously, my life is complete.

Absolutely nothing else mattered to me about this puzzle and I'm not entirely sure that's my fault. It was clean, sort of challenging in a pre-Friday kind of way and boring as all get out.
I hate to say it but @Z, this baby is calling your name, dude! 😴💤

Can't quite put my finger on why that is. I'm sure someone (Rex?) will express it much better than I could. And so I'm off to bemoan adding another candle to a cake that's already a fire hazard. 🎂 🧯 🚒👩‍🚒


the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד 12:57 AM  

I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point this blog and this comment section have become an essential component of my pleasure in the NYT Crossword experience. Some nights I stay up late refreshing this page every five minutes. Thanks Rex, and thanks all of y'uns.

I enjoyed this puzzle very much because of the hidden theme about the two impulses with which (I imagine) we all struggle. On the one hand the part of us that is on an EVENKEEL, will always wait for the BETATEST, OPTFOR a REMEDY and remember whom we ANSWERTO. We MINIMIZEand UNDEREAT, but it SATIATES us. This impulse ROPESOFF the ANGLES and SWADDLES us safely in TURRETS. ENROLL, FREEZE, and REBOXED fir in here too.

On the other hand, are the gay BLADES and RABBLE who PUMPIRON and belt out ROSSINI and OSOLEMIO until the ROASTPIG is RELEASED.

Zach 1:12 AM  

Had KALUAPIG at one across and never recovered in that corner, even though I knew TETES was going down. I was too stubborn to give up the kaluapig answer because that’s the right answer. Luau=Kalua in my book. Why clue it that way when all they wanted was regular old roastpig? Dumb.

Roscoe 88 1:14 AM  

Puzzle was satisfying and each corner once opened was solvable rather quickly. Especially the southeast.

jae 1:23 AM  

Easy except for NE which sucked up a bunch of nanoseconds. PAULIE and OIL STONE took time to surface plus I had apple (because of the i) before SERTA (which could have been SEaly)...and MONTROSE was a major WOE.

Has SNL ever measured up to the Radner, Chase, Aykroyd, Bulushi, Curtin, Murray, Morris....days. I stopped watching it around 1980 so I’m genuinely curious.

Liked the puzzle.

Anonymous 1:38 AM  


chefwen 3:24 AM  

More challenging than medium here. My first pass produced little, sent it over to puzzle partner who added a few words, and it was like a tennis match, back and forth, back and forth. It was making me dizzy. Finally had all the sections filled minus the NW corner. Had ROAST PIG and ONE LEG, no idea on the capital of wherever that country is. Fan group, my mind was thinking idol fans, had PRof at 6D after I erased dean.

Finally cheated and looked up the Kazakh capital and happily put this to bed.

Z 5:48 AM  

I think we called it “Stomp Rock” or “Dinosaur Rock,” but MONTROSE was wondering around somewhere in the back of my mind, although I didn’t know Hagar sang for them. The image on the video looks vaguely familiar, like maybe my older brother owned that album. He did have a fondness for Stomp Rock. My friends and I were more Nazareth fans.

I did the Inkubator puzzle last night, which doesn’t necessarily aspire to be competing with the NYTX, but, like the New Yorker puzzles, also is far far better than this offering. That Inkubator isn’t actually a themeless, but the seed answers are current and topical and really pop. It’s not that this puzzle is bad, it is that the other puzzle is so much better (although that puzzle did get a significant arched eyebrow for a silly clue editing gaffe). I’m right with Rex about the New Yorker Puzzle, too. Patrick Berry, Anna Shectman, Erik Agard, Aimee Lucido, Nathan Last, Elizabeth Gorski, Kameron Austin Collins. I mean, Geezus, talk about a constructor all-star team. I said it earlier this week and I’ll say it again, these other venues are coming for the NYTX and they’re coming strong.

@Frantic Sloth - That’s “Z” as in Zesty and Zephyr and Zealous. 😎

ChuckD 6:05 AM  

Don’t like sectioned grids like this - especially on a themeless. The mid lengths have to be really good - and these were not. Liked ROSSINI crossing OVERTURE, SWADDLES and MONTROSE but most of this was flat.

I know she’s beloved by many but I never thought Gilda was funny. Ronnie MONTROSE on the other hand was a fantastic and underrated guitarist who made some poor career decisions. Check him out on Tupelo Honey especially “Wild Night”.

GILL I. 6:14 AM  

@Frantic...You're not alone in being disturbed. I know every single word of "Let It Go" from that Frozen treacle of a movie. Even my 2 year old granddaughter won't watch it.
ROAST PIG was my first entry and then, as usual, my mind wandered. This little piggy went to market. I know a few piggies I'd like to roast. Doesn't RABBLE need a ROUSERS?
My PANTS and my SAUCE are always hot. (HI @Harryp). Did anyone else things bugs bunny at 17A.
I didn't know PAULIE because I hate boxing - unless it was the most entertaining boxer on this earth - ALI....I can't remember where I lived in the 70's so I never heard of MONTROSE..that was about it. The rest sorta just glided in.
So we get the Three Stooges and Baba Wawa Roseannadanna. I watched the Stooges all the time. I also watched I Love Lucy. I think I now know why I have so much fun using that faceswap app with my sister.
Does a themeless Friday always need a seed entry? I'm thinking maybe O SOLE MIO. Have you heard the Three Stooges rendition of O Solo Moe?

Lewis 6:28 AM  

In all five mini-puzzles, the same thing happened. I'd start with a few scattered letters and a hopeless feeling as tumbleweeds blew by, then one or two answers hit me, and BOOM, the section splat filled. Amazing. From "huh?" to "hah!" five times!

Some may decry the lack of long answers in this grid, but after this quintuple-rush, not I. Thumbs up and thank you, Greg!

Hungry Mother 6:49 AM  

Very easy for Friday. No problems, but REBOXED took a while to see after having REB___D, suggesting REBounD.

Petsounds 7:17 AM  

Easiest Friday in a long time for me, and I enjoyed the smooth ride. My biggest problem was figuring out 61A--ROSEANN? ROSEANNA? ROSEANNE ROSANNADANA? It wasn't the sassiest puzzle of late--unless your mind works as creatively as @the chocolate lady's--but there was some nice stuff, especially the ROSSINI/OVERTURE cross, along with OSOLEMIO. Also PUMPINGIRON and PGATOUR.

@jae: This is such a case of, as my freshman comp students used to say, "To each their own." I think the recent and current SNL casts leave the first group in the dust, especially the never-funny Chevy Chase. You've missed some great performances--Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Jimmy Fallon ("The Barry Gibb Talk Show"), Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, and the current crew. Give it a shot when it returns, assuming it returns, in the fall. The "at-home" shows this spring were pretty darn good, though. I wouldn't mind seeing more of those.

Happy birthday, @Frantic Sloth! I always enjoy your comments

amyyanni 7:18 AM  

Gilda fan here (fellow Detroiter). "NEVERMIND." Agree about the New Yorker puzzles. This was a good challenge. TIL Astana.
Had my first working from home evaluation yesterday. Seems I'm doing fine. Maybe I'll stick with it another year before retiring.

kitshef 7:19 AM  

With great confidence PIG ROAST went in at 1A. Whoops (hi, Anoa Bob). I think my only other change was STAGE arT before STAGE SET. The correct answer is way better than mine.

Overkill on the clue for ASTANA. Former Kazakh capital would have been fine. World capital renamed in 2019 would have been fine. City renamed Nur-Sultan would have been fine. All three is just patronizing us.

ROSEANNE Roseannadanna was a bittersweet way to finish up, although Emily Litella was a much better Gilda SNL character. Hard to believe she’s been gone for thirty years.

Anonymous 7:21 AM  

Can someone explain ANE as a Guess that costs $250? I can’t figure it out.

OffTheGrid 7:25 AM  

@jae. For most SNL fans the original cast will always be special. There have been very good casts and not so very good casts since then. At times there were individuals that carried a lot of the weight, Eddie Murphy, Phil Hartman, Chris Farley, Chris Rock, Dana Carvey, Bill Murray.

Anonymous 7:39 AM  


Michael 7:58 AM  

MONTROSE was my first answer in the puzzle.:).Big VH fan and MONTROSE was the opening act for the first concert I ever went to. Black Sabbath was the headliner. Rest of the puzzle was fine but little pizzazz.

QuasiMojo 8:07 AM  

in PIG ROAST right off the bat proves I'm dyslexic or ignorant or more accustomed to summer parties in the Continental USA than luaus in Oahu. But so close! Slowed me down.

I love themeless puzzles but I agree with Rex that today's lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. The grid is impressive though.

What on earth is ANE? I guess I have to guess?

Is it gonna be SEALY or SERTA. I always just write in the S and hope for good crosses. Same with ZIG or ZAG.

And holy crap, I'm bad at Craps. Again I put in TREY. (I used to know a handsome preppie called Trey, so maybe that's why it sticks in my brain.)

While I'm glad Rex is delighted with the New Yorker puzzles, I disagree with his outsized enthusiasm. When they first started I thought they were fantastic. But lately they have been pretty mediocre. Patrick Berry's of course are excellent, so smooth and elegant. But a lot of the others are trendy to the point of reminding me of those aging boomers who give you a fist bump or a high five or skateboard to the Kratom bar while wearing seersucker shorts.

Anonymous 8:12 AM  

Started the NewYorker's puzzle based on the strong praise here, and on 'Fiend', and so far don't see what the fuss is about. Series of inelegant dupes in this week's puzzles remind you that every editor has their issues. I was also surprised to find I missed the themes in easier puzzles (Fri/Sat are my favorite days here, but with easier puzzles apparently I like a little something extra.)

I'm still early in my time there - hard to argue their stable of talent won't ultimately impress - but I've started to wonder how much of Rex's enthusiasm is a reflection of his curdled relationship with the NYT rather than the wonder of the NYer's offering.

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

IVs before ova. Undereat? Can't be a real word, autocorrect keeps trying to fix it as I type this.

kitshef 8:31 AM  

@Quasimojo 8:07. Read it as "an E", rather than "ane". It is a reference to the televised game show Wheel of Fortune, where contestants can "buy a vowel" for $250.

Edward 8:35 AM  

I might have clued MONTROSE as "Greene's characater on The Red Green Show"

Z 8:39 AM  

Can I buy AN E Pat?

Nancy 8:44 AM  

Either this is one of the easiest Fridays ever or I'm on the same wave length as the constructor, but everything went in with no hesitation at all. I got FLOOR WAX off just the X and got GOT MILK off just the G; saw ROAST PIG and RABBLE immediately; ditto OVERTURE. My only hiccup was GENeS before GENUS, but you can't PEMP IRON. There really wasn't any challenge at all. So while I didn't dislike this puzzle, I do feel let down and disappointed.

Wm. C. 8:47 AM  

@Kitshef8:31 --

I was going to ask for an explanation here, but several above already have. So tnx for the explanation. What a perverse clue/fill, though. I watched WoF quite a bit years ago, but don't recall that "buy a vowel" option.

Congrats on making that obscure connection!

pabloinnh 8:59 AM  

I saw ROASTPIG right away as a "centerpiece", I think a PIGROAST would refer to the whole event and not a feature. RABBLE went in off the R and away we go, but not to ASTANA which along with MONTROSE was the only real glitch I ran into. Liked the ROSSINI/Wm. Tell crossing. Almost put in PAWLEY, which is how my singing partner refers to me in our duo. I think he's the only person I know who has ever done this. Some of the misdirections, like FLOORWAX, which annoyed OFL, I liked. Feature not a bug.

So this five-in-one effort was just fine with me. Thanks GJ.

@Frantic--Have yourself a frenzied and slow-moving birthday.

Nancy 9:03 AM  

I had the same critique of the FLOOR WAX clue (12D) that the opening commenter did. A floor is indoors; the ground is outdoors. But you can't repeat FLOOR in the clue. So what to do?

My solution: "Coat placed under your feet."

Joaquin 9:04 AM  

Boy oh boy, do I feel like a total dope. I've watched "Wheel of Fortune" a thousand times and had to come here to understand ANE. But, as ROSEANNE Rosannadanna would say, "It's always something."

Z 9:06 AM  

Dammit, @kitshef beat me to it. Oh well.

@kitshef - re:ASTANA - Yep. If any of those elements help a solver then the solver probably knows all three and doesn’t need the overkill while solvers like me look at the clue, mutter something like “I hate fricking world capital clues” and look for the crosses because the clue might as well have been “Random world capital that you never heard of and, tee hee, isn’t even called this anymore you dolt.”

A luau is a pig roast and the centerpiece of a pig roast is a ROAST PIG. I hesitated on the ROAST part because I thought it too obvious for a Friday, but somehow the clue was enough for me to keep the adjective noun combo in the desired order.

@Quasimojo - I feel all superior now because when I know it’s going to be either Sealy or Serta I write in the SE and wait for the crosses to help. Today I also pondered the possibility of a wireless mattress, perhaps one I can ask for help when PPP trips me up.

On the SNL question, lots of iterations get panned only to be revered after they are replaced. SNL was a social activity when I was in high school, which I know added to my appreciation of the original cast through 1979. My bias is definitely towards that era, but lots of great stuff has come out of that program over the decades. When it misfires it is always good to remember that Comedy is hard.

RooMonster 9:07 AM  

Hey All !
Add to the PIG ROAST first group. In Mainlandese, a PIG ROAST is a thing you go to, like a cookout, that offers a ROAST PIG. So clue is correct in that it specifies the PIG is a Centerpiece at a luau. The luau being the PIG ROAST, essentially.

I took our my PIG ROAST because i got TETES, but all because of the 59A clue having "pig" in it. Faux PAS, no? And what in tarnation is UNDEREAT?

Enough about PIGS (although I do have a friend who loves them!) We get 5 puzs for the price of one today. Two small ways in into each corner. Kinda odd for a themeless. M solve went SW, some middle, SE, some more middle, NE, rest of middle, NW. MONTROSE was a WOE for me, I think slightly before my liking-rock-music days (started getting into Rocking in 1988-ish). Wasn't getting anywhere, and so my impatience kicked in and Googled Sammy. Oh well, one look up on a tougher FriPuz doesn't bother me.

Wanted some kind of sEA or tEA for EVENKEEL at first, having __NK_EA, DRUNK TEA? Har. But DRUNK doesn't imply Steady to me. Other writeovers, who-isit to ITS-OPEN, SEaly-SERTA. Why do so many mattress companies start with S?

Three F's (been a good F week)

KnittyContessa 9:09 AM  

@Zach I, too, had kahluapig. I kept thinking 17A was referring to listening devices so that corner took awhile.

Anyone else get really annoyed at SERTA/SEALY, ZIG/ZAG?

ROSSINI/OVERTURE made me smile.

Kathy 9:12 AM  

@Lewis, “Huh to ha” perfectly describes my arduous journey through the five grids. I was surprised again and again when potential Naticks turned out to be ordinary words. I really didn’t expect to finish and was quite surprised when I did.

Although the clueing didn’t particularly delight, I do appreciate the amazing sea of white squares. I know absolutely nothing about crossword construction, but one day soon I plan to attempt to construct a mini just to challenge myself and to give me a better appreciation of the skills that bring us our daily pastime. It’s easy to take this all for granted.

I am getting weary of Rex’s incessant hawking of competing puzzles on the pretense of wanting to make the NYT puzzles better. As many others, I sense that it’s more personal than that. He’s biting the hand that feeds him. Can we move on?

Happy birthday, @Frantic! You have added so much sparkle to this blog. Will your celebration be frantic or slothful?

Joseph Jakuta 9:16 AM  

I was ashamed of myself that I got MONTROSE off of MO. They broke up 3 years before I was born. I should not know about them. I should not.

Teedmn 9:17 AM  

Quite easy today. My only weird thought/answer was at 37D. With ONC_M_R_ in place, I thought perhaps there had to be two attempts, so to get a Guinness world record, it had to be done ONCeMoRe. MeCAO put that to the BETA TEST!

12D bothers me. And I'm sure it's just me, but the ground = outside. I can't wrap my head around the floor, inside, = ground, just as the ground outside would not be the FLOOR. Just strange.

Is a tree pose a yoga thing? Otherwise, it doesn't seem there'd be much call for it. It's not something I'm in the habit of doing, anyway.

Greg Johnson, nice job.

bauskern 9:20 AM  

I was surprised @ how super easy this puzzle felt for a Friday, until I hit the SE corner. Are there alternate spellings of MACAO?

I too have come to love this blog/comments section as a sort of car wreck that I just can't turn away from. Between Rex's serious issues with the NYT and W. Shortz, and Z's playing Wm. Barr to Rex's Trump, every day I wonder what the next rant is going to be about. Clearly Rex is a masochist; why else devote so much time to something you ostensibly loathe? You'd think he'd be happier devoting himself to a blog on the New Yorker puzzle, but then perhaps he'd have nothing to complain about. Some people enjoy being unhappy.

This was a nice solid puz to start a Friday.

Nancy 9:29 AM  

Happy birthday, Frantic! Don't let the candles burn up the house:)

@GILL -- Love your comment that even your 2-year-old granddaughter won't watch the treacly "Let It Go."

How to explain that the talented composer-lyricist who co-wrote "Book of Mormon" and "Avenue Q" is now writing Disney treacle? Well, yes, he's now collaborating with his wife Kristin, who he met at the BMI Musical Theater Workshop while I was in it, and for the earlier works, he was working with entirely different collaborators. But Bobby Lopez is really the huge talent behind most of it. He can do it all. "Avenue Q" was inspired in large part because Bobby was living [badly] on a Manhattan street so far east that it was almost in the East River. Since being employed by Disney, I hear he is living very, very well -- possibly in a large co-op on CPW. So my explanation: Disney corrupts. Absolute Disney corrupts absolutely.

Loren Muse Smith 9:30 AM  

Yo. @Z. Testing your instructions. I’m checking in from beautiful downtown North Carolina. Fingers crossed that this works!

Zach 9:46 AM  

That’s how much it costs to buy a vowel on wheel of fortune.

Lorelei Lee 9:47 AM  

What's up with people calling the floor the ground? I've heard this from several sources (regularly from one yoga instructor ... all peace went out the window), and it's been a nails-chalkboard thing every time.

If I can wax the ground can I dig a hole in the floor? Do I say that we're getting all new hardwood grounds? Where are you when you walk off the street into a high rise building, the ground ground?

This is the most disturbing thing to happen to the language since adults started saying "me and ____."

On The New Yorker, agree with @Quasi. Some of their constructors over burden with pop stuff and of the super trendy variety. But that's the demographic they're shooting for now and I don't begrudge.

@amyyanni, I finally didn't re-subscribe last year and for once they didn't even try to hound me into submission. We parted amiably. My 29-year-old subscribes so they got custody.

Carola 9:47 AM  

An enjoyable Friday challenge for me. I agree with others about the lack of grid fireworks, but still...TURRET, FLOOR WAX, OIL STONE, PUMP IRON, ROSSINI REBOXED...an entertaining mix, I thought. Thanks to those who pointed out ROSSINI x OVERTURE; I noticed that the STAGE SET for the opera is crossed as well.

First in: the SE of SERTA/ SEaly x PANTS, with FLOOR WAX then giving me the gift of the X for REBOXED and entry to the rest of the grid. I'd hesitated to write ROAST PIG, for lack of convincing crosses; so that corner was last: BLADES x PRES.

Help from previous puzzles: ERINS, ROSEANNE. No idea : ASTANA, MONTROSE (the latter being for me an exit on Chicago's Kennedy Expressway, one of those way stations where overhead signs tell you how many more minutes of slow craw you have until Downtown).

William of Ockham 9:49 AM  

Given an overture?

Not optional.

oisk17 9:52 AM  

Enjoyed this one. "Little Joe" is a hard four, so I initially had "four". Never heard anyone at the table refer to it as "twos." Never heard of a rock group called "Montrose," but the Great Montrose is a major figure in Scottish song, story, and history. Odd that I didn't recall Rocky's friend "Paulie," that's what my grandpa used to call me. Erased wrong answers - Bellini, and meme (for the same as) . Never heard of Erin Burnett. Is "undereat" a word?

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

@(Blue)Nancy/9:29 -


Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Not so. Very bad clue. However, think of Otello. No Overture in one of the greatest operas.

QuasiMojo 10:12 AM  

Thank you @Kitshef, for explaining AN E. Wheel of Fortune is one of those shows I never got into. The entire premise seemed absurd. You get more money by being slow and dumb as you rack up points by guessing letters rather than the phrase, which was often easy to spot immediately. Or maybe I just didn't understand the rules.

No one minded MontROSE and ROSEanne?

@Nancy et al. Agree on GROUND. I first put in BEAR SKIN.


Joaquin 10:14 AM  

The discussion here reminds me of an old Johnny Carson "Carnac" bit:

In the envelope the answer is "Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson."

The question is: Name two presidents and a FLOOR WAX.

David 10:23 AM  

Rossini crossing WT Overture was the only bright spot for me.

Who the heck puts floor wax on the ground?

Isn't ordering green paint?

How is re-boxing making it more secure?

So many questions.

Rob 10:28 AM  

Most of this was fine if uninteresting, but AN E is bullshit of the highest order. I did not recognize it as a C-list game show reference, and I didn't know what buying a vowel costs. I don't think this clue provides adequate context, no matter what day of the week it runs.

Frantic Sloth 10:30 AM  

Confession time: When I read "balance for a tree pose" I was thinking photo, not yoga. ONELEG works for that in an insipid-glamor-and/or-engagement-photo-leaning-against-a-tree kinda way. Wanted to find one to illustrate my meaning.

And in my determination to find the perfect example - which proved and is still proving illusive - I resorted to just googling silly glamor shots and see you all tomorrow!

(Not really. Haven't commented 38 times yet.)

Barbara S. 10:37 AM  

@Frantic Sloth
Happy Birthday...and welcome to your thrilling thirties (fabulous forties, feckless fifties? -- never mind). I do hope you're planning to get together with @the chocolate lady, or with something closely allied to her name.

Whatsername 10:43 AM  

I tore through the top half with blazing speed but then bogged down in the lower section for no particular reason. Finally finished with a couple of googles which I allow on Propers if necessary. As @Lewis pointed out, it was like doing five minis and I kind of liked the grid. Missed the usual Friday long answers but that’s OK, no complaints.

@Joaquin (12:12) I love how you often start my day with a good laugh and many times by saying exactly what I’m thinking. Since when does wax get put on the ground? And I love the Carson joke.

@jae (1:23) Has SNL ever measured up since the early days? They’ve showcased some brilliant performances over the years - Tina Fey and Amy Poehler come to mind - but Belushi et al. set a high standard. The current crew is pretty darn good especially when they get into the political satire. Kate McKinnon is an absolute genius, a chameleon who can transform into just about anyone, male or female, and whose talent is right up there with the great Gilda Radner in my opinion.

@Frantic: Happy Candle Day!! Enjoy that blaze of glory and remember that the important thing about birthdays is to keep having them.

Joe Dipinto 10:45 AM  

This could have been an SNL-themed puzzle if it had had SHIMMER and DESSERT TOPPING in the grid. Waxy yellow buildup was a big problem back in the 1970s, right up there with mousy brown hair.

Gotta agree this was kind of dullsville. If you invite guests over for a PIG ROAST, you really should have an assortment of good sides to go with it. I feel underfed. But I did laugh at MONTROSE, of whom I have absolutely never heard.

Here's someone that will liven things up.

Happy birthday, F-Slo!

JC66 10:45 AM  

Happy Birthday @Frantic

I wanted to send you some emojis as a birthday gift, but they're all sold out. 😂

mathgent 10:46 AM  

Absolutely wonderful. All the things I like: crunch, sparkle, very few little words, smart cluing.

Crunch. I had to crawl into bed last night with the NE unfinished.

Sparkle. Nineteen red plus signs in the margins. The most for any puzzle since I started keeping track four months ago.

Few little words. Only eight Terrible Threes and over half of the entries were six letters or more (40 out of 68).

Crimson Devil 10:46 AM  

Very nice Fri puz.

Excellent suggestion Nancy re coat underfoot.

Agree re “old” SNL cast, espec Emily Littela—I have quoted her several times in course of career.

Watch out, Loreilei: grammar police, who apparently have now been defunded, will chastise you for your objection to “me and ___” or similar ilk.

Sir Hillary 10:46 AM  

I read @Rex's review but haven't read others' comments yet, so forgive me if I'm treading old ground...

@Rex is right. This puzzle feels like the constructor designed the grid shape first (huge corners, 4-way symmetry) and went from there. Nothing is god-awful (OK, maybe ANE is) but there is no "wow factor" at all. The best thing I can say is that the words fit together.

On the plus side, I really enjoyed some clues -- in particular, those for LENDS (literal vs. figurative meaning), EGAL (had to reparse it) and PGATOUR (made me laugh, and no, I didn't initially think of FOXNEWS).

But the clue for ONCAMERA annoyed me, as did the one for ANE (best not to highlight a bad entry by cluing it to make it even worse).

And I am astonished that ITS and OPEN are clued via cross-reference, but ROSSINI and arguably his most famous OVERTURE are not. Are you kidding??

Brief error with iVs at 38A, but that was it. Nothing too tough today. Knowing MONTROSE helped.

Given Gilda's mention in a clue, today's 12D and my posted link yesterday, I can only assume that DESSERTTOPPING will show up tomorrow.

Lorelei 10:48 AM  

@Frantic, Both kids did the tree leaning pose for their senior pics. Har! Would've never thought of it but can't unthink it now. Also, years of yoga classes and I first filled in "Toe."

Same experience on the Stooges' iceman episode but I Googled the video and I'm sure I've never seen that one despite years of sitting two feet from the TV developing astigmatism and never once laughing. It must be innate to the species, like the fear of snakes. BTW, don't watch it. Curly gets pounded on the head with a crowbar and an ice axe.

And happy birthday!

GILL I. 10:51 AM  

@Frantic..In my neck of the woods, we say "APY VERDE." Hope yours is a good one...and thanks for the silly glamor shots. Nothing like reminding us of how god-awful some/we? looked... :-)

Hack mechanic 11:18 AM  

Would have much preferred
"Pimpiron" for "do curls"

jberg 11:20 AM  

Ok, there are the sizzling marquee answers, which this one lacks. But there are lots of tough, misleading clues, which this one has aplenty. I’ve just finished my first hour of four in a socially-distanced waiting room while our Subaru gets its 120,000 service, so this is just what I needed.

REBOXED: secure not in the TSA sense, but in the sense that now your package is less likely to fall apart during shipping.

Report TO, BellINI, One arrow (for OVERTURE)

If you’d asked me yesterday if I knew the capital of Kazakhstan I’d have said yes; today’s puzzle proved me wrong.

I haven’t waxed a floor in a long time, but I’m wondering whether it’s like an oil painting, where you have to put dot a ground before you apply the coat.

@Loren, it worked!

Newboy 11:34 AM  

Nice to get five mini puzzles for the price of one? Some nice clues 26d & 34d were a balance to the clunkers that raised Rex’s ire. Think I recall a MONTROSE reference or two above the bar in the Maui Airport lounge near where the Red Rocker had a chateau. I’d OPT FOR yesterday’s pileup over today’s O SOLE MIO, but that’s degustibus.

Greg 11:35 AM  

I've spent plenty of time at a craps table, and there is no such thing as TWOS. Yes, "Little Joe" is slang for the roll of a two on each die, but the stickman/woman calls it as "hard four", to differentiate from "easy four" (a one and a three). They wouldn't' call out "twos".

What? 11:54 AM  

Put in OPTION for OPTFOR. Messed up whole NE corner. Otherwise , pretty easy - and blah.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

I just completed Robyn Weintraub's Friday puzzle over at the New Yorker. It was a substantially more pleasant experience than this.

Chris 12:04 PM  

Fun puzzle, played pretty easy for me, although not as close to my best time as I thought it would be--MONTROSE held me up a bit.

Loved the ROSSINI/OVERTURE cross and it was timely, as we had 2 lesser-performed Rossini operas in the (amazing) nightly video from the Met this week.

Anonymoose 12:05 PM  

Disappointed that PETCOCK was not on SB word list yesterday. Despite what it may sound like, it is a real thing in the plumbing world.

Frantic Sloth 12:15 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Masked and Anonymous 12:23 PM  

@RP: Kinda can see what U mean … if U eyeball an old Patrick [King of Themelessness] Berry NYTFriPuz, U can almost always spot some really long&strong "seed" entries. In today's puz, it's kinda hard to spot the seedlets [Other than SEED]. In M&A themeless puzs, I always try to include some nice grid-spanners … altho in a runtpuz, that's usually only good for 7 letters, at a rip.

But … even with 20 8-long entries max today, U can always make things sparkly with some feisty clues. In this puz, we've got these hi-lite bullet points …

* One lone question-mark clue, at 17-A.
* {Coat placed on the ground} = FLOORWAX. "On the ground" is kinda misleadin, more than clever. Needs a smidge more work.
* {Guess that costs $250} = ANE. Liked this clue. Shady Wheel of Fortune reference.
* {They go down the tubes} = OVA. Acceptable, but got it pretty easily off the ?V?.
* {Counter action} = ORDERING. Needs a little more oomph.
* {One of many in most families} = GENUS. OK, nice.
* {William Tell was given one} = OVERTURE. Witty. More of this, please.
* {Group whose lies are much discussed on TV} = PGATOUR. Ok, but saw thru this pup right away.
* {Growing need} = SEED. Also, puz filler need.

An effort was made, but more sneaky clue humor could've helped elevate things.

staff weeject pick: ANE. Better clue: … no, make that Worser clue: {An with an "E"??}.

59-A {Opposite of "pig out"} is sorta a reverse-spoiler for ROASTPIG. Not expectin yer twin PIGs, in one solvequest.


Masked & Anonymo4Us

no stinkin shaded squares:

johnk 12:36 PM  

I finished the puzzle. Now I'm headed ouside to wax the backyard.

True Grits 1:23 PM  

The opening sentences of Rex’s reviews for the past 7 days:

Friday: There’s just nothing going on here.
Thursday: This is a mess…
Wednesday: This is another one of those themes where the cleverness misses just slightly…
Tuesday: Kind of a non-event, this one.
Monday: I only had one glass of wine, but somehow I could not type smoothly at all tonight…
Sunday: This is substandard work and the only explanation for it is cronyism…
Saturday: Did Cavemen make this?

Draw your own conclusions.

Chip Hilton 1:32 PM  

@jae - I used to share your opinion on the early SNL years, but watching re-runs - I gotta tell you, so many of the skits fall horribly flat. And, just my opinion, Chevy Chase was both unfunny and unlikeable. Not a good set of uns.

Jim S 1:33 PM  

Those of us raised in St Louis on the KSHE classics show had NO problem with knowing Montrose immediately. Then again, we love the Red Rocker in STL.

CDilly52 1:36 PM  

Hey @Frantic; adding candles damn sure beats the alternative. I’ve actually been really close to that “Door No. 2” and am super glad not to have gone through it. I love every birthday I can get! So, HAPPPY BIRTHDAY !!!🎂 Light those candles.

Charles Emerson Winchester III 1:48 PM  

Confidently put in pig roast and Van Halen (a band that played my SoCal college friends’ high school garage parties and then made it big just as we entered college) and then had to labor almightily hard to unwind those. Eventually needed every cross for Montrose. As for pig roast / ROASTPIG, my thoughts were really that this should have been clues as “solution to bad policing.” Enough said.

OFLs puerile devotion to ephemera (pop culture) seems to have caused him to miss the brilliant ROSSINI / OVERTURE cross, but that is hardly surprising. What does surprise is (a) that the NYTXW did not choose a Juneteenth theme for today’s crossword (disappointing), and (b) Rex did not whine about this (less disappointing: too much whining already).

David in Brevard 1:49 PM  

That was fun. Spot on my average time which means slower as I’m learning fast(ish).

Anon at 7.21am..... ANE I think is AN.... “E” and is perhaps related to some TV word game of which I know little or nada. But maybe you buy letters???? If they’re isn’t one... perhaps we invent one.

This was four distinct crosswords, lightly joined but still agreeable fun. 70s rock would be my sweet spot but never heard of MONTROSE. I’ve been to MACAO but never ASTANA.

Great stuff.

David in Brevard

Richard 1:52 PM  

This must be a super-intellectual crowd. So far I haven't seen (unless I missed it) one comment that mentioned the Lone Ranger.

First gimme was ASTANA, but only because I'm a bike racing enthusiast. Kazakhstan sponsors a major pro-racing cycling team.

I enjoyed this puzzle. Thought it had lots of lively fill, but Rex is right: the New Yorker's puzzles are consistently high quality. But the NYTXW's progressive difficulty throughout the week is, at least for me, its most attractive feature; disappointing occasionally, but still the gold standard. Plus, Sunday is like comfort food that one can just wallow in for a while.

Masked and Anonymous 2:20 PM  

*** New Yorker Puz Spoiler Alert ***

@RP: yep. Cool longball answers. I used to work them New Yorker puzs, but suddenly they started chargin for em. Felt like I'd been reeled in, on false premises, or somesuch. Also, M&A ain't exacty made of money. Plus, they ain't got no puzthemes, which I strongly prefer. (But that's a de busta gut thing.)

Back to the Weintraub NYorker puz: Har, that little bottom central section really went for all-out desperado fill! Seemed kinda outta character with the rest of a great themeless puz, huh? (But that's a de busta grid thing.)


Rob S. 3:32 PM  

I generally agree with your criticisms of the NYTXW, particularly that the themed puzzles are no longer very cleaver. They rarely make me even crack a smile. So after all your encomiums to the “New Yorker” puzzles I decided to try today’s puzzle - pretty boring. The puzzle you list as today’s is actually a couple days old. I see you like the fill on that one but it looks easier than NYTXW Monday. So what’s the point.

Lind 3:33 PM  

How much is The New Yorker paying you or is it still your jealousy of Will Shortz?

JC66 3:34 PM  

*** New Yorker Puz Spoiler Alert ***

Today was not your typical New Yorker puzzle.

Much too easy, IMHO.

jae 3:34 PM  

Thanks to all who opined on SNL. I've seen clips over the years (Tina and Amy doing Weekend Update comes to mind) that are very funny and I've enjoyed Bill Hader's HBO show Barry. Plus, I never missed Alec Baldwin openings a couple of years ago. So based on what you all have said I'm going to give it another look when/if it comes back this fall. Thanks again.

Hartley70 3:42 PM  

This took me a ridiculously long time to complete. The self-satisfaction of remembering the GOTMILK campaign was quickly erased by the realization that I needed to know what musical group beginning with M had the hithertofore unknown Sammy Hagar as a performer. That was a real show stopper. I fumbled around the SW for awhile before I saw ONCAMERA instead of ONEA (measure of time). That was a nice misdirection. Enjoyed this.

jae 4:07 PM  

...oh and happy birthday @Frantic

syracusesolver 5:04 PM  

I thought the grid configuration was the best thing about this puzzle. I started in the northwest and worked the corners in a counterclockwise direction. I thought maybe I was on a traffic circle or rotary (hi, New England) in yesterday’s traffic pattern.

Some of my ancestors were in the group of folks who came from MONTROSE, Scotland and settled in northeast Pennsylvania some two hundred years ago. This was in the Endless Mountains which reminded them of the Highlands. Because of this and because they were homesick, as the story goes, they named their new home MONTROSE as well.

Barbara S. 5:38 PM  

Good pig content today. You may have been expecting an anti-ROAST PIG rant from me, and I do support the ethical treatment of pigs during their lifetimes, but I'm also a dyed-in-the-wool carnivore.

I learned for the first time today about the significance of June 19th, thanks to @Frantic Sloth. Either because I'm not American or because I'm generally oblivious, I was unaware of the importance of this date in the ending of slavery, and I'm sorry it's taken me this long to find out. I'm constantly learning indispensable things on this blog.

Re: SNL -- I met Dan Aykroyd once when he gave the Convocation address at one of the local universities. I spoke to him for all of 2 minutes: it was a celebratory occasion and he was jolly. I never actually watched SNL when he was on it. But I was always a fan of The Church Lady (aka Dana Carvey). There's a longer story here but I'll spare you.

I was happy with the puzzle. A completion with no serious hiccups. Always welcome on a Friday.

Z 5:41 PM  

I haven’t done today’s New Yorker yet but I will point out that Monday is challenging and Friday is easier. I believe the intent is that the Wednesday puzzle will be in between. BEQ also makes Monday the more challenging puzzle. This seems like a reasonable marketing ploy. There’s a challenging puzzle space early in the week so it makes sense to publish your challenging puzzles early in the week.
Yep - Monday’s Natan Last puzzle is labeled “challenging, Wednesday’s Berry is labeled “moderately challenging,” and today’s Weintraub puzzle is labeled “lightly challenging.”

@True Grits - I agree. NYTX quality has been lacking recently.

agarlock 5:52 PM  

*groan* seriously?

Nancy 6:02 PM  

The strange vagueness of "Juneteenth", a word which I heard for the first time early this month, bothered me. Because, when I first heard it, I had no idea what date was being referred to. Was it June thirTEENTH? June fourTEENTH? June fifTEENTH? June sixTEENTH? June sevenTEENTH? June eightEENTH? Or June nineTEENTH? Worse, several newspaper articles assumed one's knowledge of the date and never specified it. Probably I should have had this knowledge, but I didn't. I can't believe I'm alone in this.

If I were giving a name to an epochal date, I'd sort of want to choose something where everyone would know exactly what the date is. What's most interesting to me about the matter is that absolutely no one has mentioned the potential for confusion. Not on this site. Not on any site. Does anyone else find it strange? Was anyone else initially in the dark? Or is this knowledge that absolutely everyone who's not named Nancy already has?

Z 6:12 PM  

@Barbara S - You are hardly alone. I was listening yesterday to an African-American figure who speaks frequently, eloquently, and knowledgeably on the topic of race in America. He said it wasn’t until his family moved to Texas as a pre-teen that he heard of Juneteenth and it confused him because the dates didn’t line up with things he did know like the Emancipation Proclamation (September 22) and 13th Amendment ratification (December 6). By the time I moved to metro Detroit in the mid 90’s Juneteenth had reached the African-American community there but even then, 25 years ago, it wasn’t a huge thing. It really seems to me that recognition of it in the broader cultural consciousness is a phenomenon of the past decade. It should also be noted that slavery in the US wasn’t fully abolished for another 6 months after Juneteenth since the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t outlaw slavery in states that hadn’t seceded. It wasn’t until the 13th Amendment passed enough states that slavery was fully abolished. If you want to be really shocked, Kentucky didn’t get around to ratifying the 13th Amendment until 1976 (Happy USA Bicentennial). Even worse, Kentucky wasn’t even the last state to ratify the 13th Amendment. Mississippi didn’t get around to completing the ratification process until 2013.

bauskern 6:20 PM  

A show of hands by anyone who thought that today's New Yorker puzzle was levels above the NYT puzzles? Anyone? Hello?

RooMonster 6:49 PM  

Forgot to wish @Frantic Sloth a Happy Birthday!
You've melded right in here with this bunch of Loonies (thanks, Monty Python!). You haven't even been here long.
But, your posts are always thoughtful, educational, and funny! Keep it up!

RooMonster Birthdays Are Great, But They Need To Slow Down A Bit Guy

Lorelei Lee 6:57 PM  

@Nancy, It's been around a while and it's one of those things that I know and don't know why. It should have been declared a national holiday the day the emancipation proclamation was signed. But these things take time. This is the first year I recall it being discussed nationally.

Anonymous 7:06 PM  

not being black, but married to one, the idea behind Juneteenth is, in large part, venom. it was, after all, not *the first* emancipation state, which would be cause for celebration, but the last, which would be cause for anger. dontcha think?

TinPT 7:13 PM  

Fun fun fun. Montrose was my Natick experience, though. Anyone else have crossbow before OVERTURE?

Z 9:32 PM  

@Anon7:06 - Surprisingly, more an excuse to barbecue than to be angry in my experience. But my experience is pretty limited in this area. I did look up last years events in Detroit out of curiosity; a march, a fund raiser to send some kids to Ghana, a tour of underground railroad sites, a couple of happy hours, lots of use of the word “celebration.”

@bauskern - Well actually... Diary of a Crossword Fiend allows ratings and the New Yorker puzzle is rated higher than today’s NYTX. Considering that this is an easy themeless that’s a remarkably high rating. The write-up points to several strong entries, but what stands out to me is an especially timely clue (37A), people eating vegetarian Chinese food and salsa, and everyone’s favorite garden clued accurately. It wasn’t the best puzzle I did today (that was the Inkubator “Themeless” puzzle), but definitely better than the T-W offerings from the NYTX. There were more moldy oldies than usual, but it still manages to be fresh, acknowledges a world exists after 1996. Since these puzzles have started they are consistently better than the comparable NYTX puzzles. Personally, I think if they are going to publish puzzles this easy on Fridays they should be themed, but we will see.

albatross shell 10:41 PM  

Wheel of Fortune contestants are making money by choosing more letters rather than solving the puzzle. They are also risking spinning a "lose turn" and thus giving away a solved puzzle. So not with zero strategic interest. I usually catch about 2 shows a year. Measured by references in popular culture and longevity certainly a crossword worthy game show.

Not a flashy puzzle, but solid with a nice collection of decent words: MONTROSE COYOTE FESSED OSOLEMIO TURRET RADIAN REMEDY. Plus a plethora of word pairs and paired words: ROASTPIG UNDEREAT OVERTURE ROSINI EVENKEEL ROPESOFF OPTFOR ANWERTO ENROLL PUMPIRON.

Plus several interesting questions are raised:
Is the MELEE among royalty or BOORISH RABBLE?

Can you OUTLIE the PRES? Is that FLOOR WAX on his TETE holding his non-curls in place?

Did Eugene have Moe in mind for the ICEMaN?

Frantic Sloth 11:24 PM  

@Z 548am No argument from me - all the good Z's on ya!

@GILL I. 614am & 1051am I thought my confession was embarrassing, but your Frozen affliction leaves it in the dust...er, drift. Fun fact: ICEMEN was one of my toeholds. Or is that a Moehold?
Thank you! Now I can be bilingual on my b-day! 😉 How did I know you'd appreciate the glamor shots? Har!

@Petsounds 717am Thank you and I agree that the current cast is very talented and we always DVR the new episodes. There are, have always been, and will always be skits that are flops, but I think the occasional gem makes it all worthwhile. During college (1975 -9) we never missed it.

@pabloinnh 859am Thank you - and you got it right!

@Kathy 912am "Will your celebration be frantic or slothful?" Yes. Thank you.

@Nancy 929am Thank you! House still standing, but the neighbor did call the fire department at the sight of the flames.

@Quasi 1012am Thank you! So agree with you on WoF. Snob that I am, I always felt like contestants were Jeopardy! rejects.

@Barbara S. 1037am You so sneaky tryin' to get me to divulge my decade! I'm not coy - I'm 63, but don't look a day over 62. And (you might have noticed) I definitely don't act my age.
@Whatsername 1043am Thank you and so true! And I LOVE Kate McKinnon!

@Joe D 1045 pm Thank you and diggin' the nickname!

@JC66 1045 Thank you! Can you send the emoji hoarder over to me for the italics sale I'm always (see?) having?
@Lorelei 1048 am Yes!! Your description of all things Stooge is precisely what my experience was like - complete with astigmatism and not laughing. Your theory on our species seems legit, too. And thank you!

@CDilly52 136pm Thank you. You are absolutely right. And I'm so happy you made it through your ordeal so you can grace us with your wonderful stories, etc!

@jae 407pm Thank you for the extra effort! I really do appreciate your return just for moi! 😉

@Roo I'm 649pm You made it! Thank you, I Agree With Everything You Said About Birthdays Guy!

Didn't some people declare racism a "thing of the past" on election night 2008?

Regarding Juneteenth: I'm actually in the @Lorelei 657pm One-of-those-things-I-know-but-don't-know-why-I-know-it camp. Many apologies if my earlier (now deleted because it was overly masturbatory) post stirred up (unfounded) feelings of inadequacy in some of you. It just never occurred to me that I would know anything the legitimately brilliant people on here might not.
Seriously. I spend half of my time being in awe of things some of you know or have done and the other half having my foot for lunch or freeing my candle of stupidity from under a bushel.

Today is a case in point.

Grateful for this blog and all of you!

thefogman 10:14 AM  

Rex is right about the New Yorker magazine’s puzzles being consistently better than the NYT. Click on the link he posted in his review and check them out, They let you play four puzzles for free before you hit the paywall, Not to be confused with the New Yorker, there’s New York Magazine which also has some great puzzles, some of which are themers. Cut and paste the following into your address bar to try then out: https://nymag.com/crossword/

rondo 11:07 AM  

Agree with all those above wondering about FLOORWAX on the ground; I guess there’s not a lot of ground to be found in NYC. A real inkfest having vaNhalen in there before MONTROSE, who I vaguely remember existed. And I first had iVs going down the tubes.

I’ve had the opportunity to BETATEST a couple of different engineering design software programs over my career; gotta be an expert to BETATEST.

A pair of yeah babies with those particular ERINS.

I kept it mostly on an EVENKEEL.

spacecraft 12:02 PM  

Easy peasy here, I'm puzzled at OFC's rating. Also the content: I compared this to the New Yorker one and I just don't get the huge difference. They're both 15x15 themelesses. Okay, TRUSTNOONE is a pretty cool entry--but depressing as a concept. The rest of his commentary is so purely subjective...does our constructor have the abject misfortune to have been born male? Too bad for him.

Either of the named ERINS could be DOD; I'll go with Bridget Moynihan, ERIN Reagan on "Blue Bloods." Not that many triumph points today, so, par.

Burma Shave 12:47 PM  


The ICEMEN will FREEZE ON a STAGESET so glamorous,
there’s SIGNS that they SEIZE when ERIN’S ONCAMERA.


Diana, LIW 2:25 PM  

Hey @Rondo - Mr. W guessed VANHALEN before MONTROSE, too. That was my only help - finally, a decent puzzle and Friday!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 3:15 PM  

The only ground inside a building, usually, is in a multistory one, and it's called the ground floor. Unless, of course, the building has some kind of open-air atrium with real ground inside, but you don't wax that. @Nancy(09:03am) had a much better clue.

Anonymous 3:20 PM  

As regarding Rex, I think you nailed it on the head. L

Anonymous 4:02 PM  

Hated ANE and GENUS and LBO, but otherwise IMO not bad.

Now I think I'll go out and ROAST a PIG, and then WAX my back yard.

Anonymous 4:56 PM  

I entered vaNhalen, knowing full well that it was wrong, but being unable to remember the correct band name. It took getting GOTMILK, for me to finally conjure up MONTROSE. And I believe I saw them as an opening act for some concert I went to in the 70's.

leftcoaster 6:02 PM  

Medium for a Friday, but not without troubles.

Lead-off troubler is ASTANA, distantly followed up by loans before LENDS, Axel ROSE before MONTROSE, golfers before PGA TOUR, and ane not parsed as AN E.

Most prominent and nostalgic is Gilda Radner's ROSEANNa before ROSEANNE (Adana).

Enjoyed it, despite all.

strayling 7:36 PM  

"Space Station #5" is one of my favourite tracks, so MONTROSE was easy. Best song that was never used in "Guardians of the Galaxy" - it would be a perfect fit.

Never heard of PAULIE though, so I suppose that evens things out. Tough but fair.

Anonymous 8:12 PM  

Just ugh. Got ROASTPIG. Secondguessed it because of 7D/9D (thought it could be "WHO ISIT") but eventually got there. Natick'd at 25A/3D with the foreign capitol / French word. I know the name Gilda Ratner. I've watched many Three Stooges films. But when your clues involve actors who haven't been on SNL since 1980 you maybe need to freshen them up a little.
The stuff that wasn't prehistoric lacked pizazz. As Rex says, too many "oh, okays" and not enough "oh, I get its".

nrota 6:24 PM  

@lefrcoaster I’m on the left coast too and I had the same same experience as you

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