Mitch's husband on Modern Family / FRI 6-12-20 / Onetime nickname in magazine publishing / Remote station locale

Friday, June 12, 2020

Constructor: Robyn Weintraub

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (5:21)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Geoduck (52D: Geoduck, e.g. = CLAM) —
The Pacific geoduck (/ˈɡiˌdʌk/Panopea generosa) is a species of very large, edible saltwater clam in the family Hiatellidae. The common name is derived from a Lushootseed(Nisqually) word gʷídəq.
The geoduck is native to the coastal waters of western Canada and the northwest United States. The shell of the clam ranges from 15 cm (6 inches) to over 20 cm (8 inches) in length, but the extremely long siphons make the clam itself much longer than this: the "neck" or siphons alone can be 1 m (3.3 feet) in length. The geoduck is the largest burrowing clam in the world. It is also one of the longest-living animals of any type, with a typical lifespan of 140 years; the oldest has been recorded at 168 years old. (wikipedia)
• • •

Had to work slightly harder than I usually do for a Robyn Weintraub Friday, but only slightly. I always get so happy when I see her byline on Friday and I was not disappointed. Smooth, doable themeless with lots of fresh colloquial phrases and just a great sense of fun—that's what I've grown to expect from Robyn. Love the crossing questions "ANYONE HOME?" and "WHAT'S SO FUNNY?" (imagining coming home, shouting "ANYONE HOME?" and hearing only laughter ... "WHAT'S SO FUNNY!?"). "I AM SO THERE," also a winner. She does not waste her long answers. The "worst" ones are still solid, vivid things (MICROSCOPE, CROISSANTS). And the shorter stuff is all highly tolerable. The cluing felt toughish in places, which I'll discuss below, but my real hangup today came when I very confidently wrote in LOVELORN at 28A: Pining and then some (LOVE SICK). Because the clue on RIDESHARE had a toughish "?" clue (34A: Not go it alone?) and because I had a very wrong five-letter T-word for my [Island north of Australia], that eastern section got completely bogged down. I ultimately had to come at it from beneath—"I AM SO THERE" and CROISSANTS really saved my bacon (by the way, if you ever serve bacon and CROISSANTS, I AM SO THERE!). Oh, to be clear, the [Island north of Australia] was TIMOR, and I had TONGA, which, it turns out, is actually 169 islands, so ... missed it by That much!

Didn't enjoy HAHA as a [Reaction button option for a Facebook post]. It is true, if you hover your cursor over the Like button and *then* over the animated laughing-face emoji, it tells you that you are about to select the HAHA option. But it's an emoji, and letters are not involved, and so HAHA is making me sad (which is also, technically, a [Reaction button option for a Facebook post]. I also didn't like the clue on AGONY at all (59A: Sitting next to a constantly crying baby on a cross-country flight, maybe). Crying babies are crying babies, they happen, they're normal, and they aren't a tenth as annoying as the behavior of many grown-ass adults on planes. There's no worse look than ostentatiously grieving the fact that there's a baby on your flight. Grow up, you stupid baby (not the baby, you; you're the baby ... you see what I mean). The AGONY clue is a cruddy clue that makes me think about how selfish and impatient people are. So boo.

I wanted LISP at 33D: Shpeak thish way (SLUR), but I clearly didn't think that one through / sound that one out. Struggled with the misdirection on 1A: Fed (G-MAN). Struggled with the misdirection on 11D: In a row (AT IT) ("row" here is an argument). I wrote in FREE MEAL at first at 20A: Uncommon amenity on an airplane (FREE WIFI). I think that's it for trouble spots. See you tomorrow, when I expect the trouble spots to be somewhat more plentiful.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. there is a new daily blog dedicated to the USA Today Crossword Puzzle (which, in case you haven't heard, is under the editorial leadership of Erik Agard, and is, consequently, very good). Sally's Take on the USA Today Crossword is written by Sally Hoelscher and you can find it here.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


egsforbreakfast 12:10 AM  

Reading from 7 D, TERI LIKES COLE. Well, I like Robyn Weintraub, or at least I like her puzzles. When even Rex can only cite his own small missteps in critique of a puzzle, you know you’ve seen a good one.

jae 12:28 AM  

Easy. My main problem was tMAN before GMAN which made the NW last to fall.

Delightful. Fun/clever cluing and quite a bit of sparkle. Liked it a bunch. Jeff did too and made it POW.

okanaganer 12:38 AM  

FREE WINE is even more uncommon on planes.

The only thing wrong with this puzzle is it was over so quickly. I actually got HOT TUB off just the clue, but only because I spend a lot of time trying to make our ancient 1990 vintage hot tub keep functioning. Forget the jets (turn them on and good luck getting them to turn off!). Plus it leaks. But this year we have a tiny little frog living in it, which is cool. It's there sitting on the rim whenever we take the cover off.

Note two monster clues... gotta love that. Also love the COPIER clue.

tbd88 12:47 AM  

My total nitpick is that in France you don't buy croissants at a patisserie, you buy them at a boulangerie. Croissants are a yeast dough and are thought of like bread.

Tale Told By An Idiot 12:55 AM  

Ah, this is the life. Sitting in the porch swing, eating croissants, using the free Wi-Fi to get up to speed on all the chitchat. And later, a soak in the hot tub that the owner, whoever that may be, kindly left on.

A heron flies by. A heron? On the mesa? Oh man, it’s an omen! They’ve put my life under a microscope, they’ve discovered the graft, they know what happened at the after party! Why did I let myself get so love sick? Why did I heave that spear? Why didn’t I eat in that day or just stay at sea?

Then I hear the voice of Cole Reynolds, the g-man. “Anyone home?” and I know that this is Act V; my life will end in a moment of agony. But maybe an Easter miracle? A priest? Alas, it is not to be - Cole shoots and I’m off to join the lords of the afterlife.

Frantic Sloth 1:08 AM  

Didn't know KERN. Now I do. I love how that works.

Labs might offer them. PAWS. Aaaaaawwww!🦮❤️

I found this easier than yesterday. I think because Robyn Weintraub is one of the few names I recognize and I'm usually on the same wavelength as she.

Well, enough of insulting the constructor - I had fun with this. The clever clueing on the fill plus fun words/phrases such as PORCHSWING, WHATSSOFUNNY, and IAMSOTHERE made me smile. CROISSANT made me hungry, but then so does breathing.

And every time I watch Singin' In the Rain I'm in awe of how young and inexperienced Debbie REYNOLDS was and what an unstoppable force of talent and character she became. Very happy to bump into her here!

Ima go out on a limb now and predict a new classic by TTBaI. This grid is a juicy garden of story fodder, so I got my popcorn, my breath is bated, and my 👀 will be glued to this page.
Bring it on, Talemeister! 🥳


chefwen 2:48 AM  

Love Robin Weintraub puzzles. Flew through this one like nobody’s business and thought this is going to set an all time record for me on a Friday. A little too cocky Miss Wendy, screwed myself up when slapped down I’ll be THERE at 30D. Was so sure that was right. Forgot the island name, thought PESES might be a Philippine version of PESOS. Finished it to that point, stared at that section forever, finally passed it over to the back up guy who knew the island, fixed my PESOS, came up with RESIN and put this one to bed.

Fun filled puzzle.

teevoz 4:01 AM  

FREEFOOD was mine.

Roberta 5:21 AM  

Most enjoyable puzzle in forever. Topped off by watching "Good Morning," what a great way to start the day, thanks!

The Bard 5:30 AM  

[Enter LADY MACBETH, with a taper]

Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise;
and, upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.

Doctor: How came she by that light?

Gentlewoman: Why, it stood by her: she has light by her
continually; 'tis her command.

Doctor: You see, her eyes are open.

Gentlewoman: Ay, but their sense is shut.

Doctor: What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.

Gentlewoman: It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus
washing her hands: I have known her continue in
this a quarter of an hour.

LADY MACBETH: Yet here's a spot.

Doctor: Hark! she speaks: I will set down what comes from
her, to satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.

LADY MACBETH: Out, damned spot! out, I say!--One: two: why,
then, 'tis time to do't.--Hell is murky!--Fie, my
lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we
fear who knows it, when none can call our power to
account?--Yet who would have thought the old man
to have had so much blood in him.

Doctor: Do you mark that?

LADY MACBETH: The thane of Fife had a wife: where is she now?--
What, will these hands ne'er be clean?--No more o'
that, my lord, no more o' that: you mar all with
this starting.

Doctor: Go to, go to; you have known what you should not.

Gentlewoman: She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of
that: heaven knows what she has known.

LADY MACBETH: Here's the smell of the blood still: all the
perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little
hand. Oh, oh, oh!

Doctor: What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.

Gentlewoman: I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the
dignity of the whole body.

Doctor: Well, well, well,--

Gentlewoman: Pray God it be, sir.

Doctor: This disease is beyond my practise: yet I have known
those which have walked in their sleep who have died
holily in their beds.

LADY MACBETH: Wash your hands, put on your nightgown; look not so
pale.--I tell you yet again, Banquo's buried; he
cannot come out on's grave.

Doctor: Even so?

LADY MACBETH: To bed, to bed! there's knocking at the gate:
come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What's
done cannot be undone.--To bed, to bed, to bed!


BarbieBarbie 5:51 AM  

Happy flashback to Firesign Theatre at 61A and its clue.
Welp, gotta go make the sun rise.

QuasiMojo 6:09 AM  

Putting in PORTA POTTY for 18A slowed me down. Sorry...

The faux-clued CINE still galls. Everything else was great.

As for AGONY how 'bout sitting next to a darling young girl on a train that was snowbound who sang the same excruciatingly saccharine pop tune nonstop in a TIMORous and slightly flat voice the entire grueling six-hour delay?

ChuckD 6:13 AM  

So solid and enjoyable - long and short fill. Highlights were PRIEST, PAWS and PORCHSWING. Limited trivia stuff FEY, HEF etc which is always nice to see. Couple of clunkers - TYRO, ENGR and ORE but hardly noticeable.

Such a pleasure to have a Friday like this.

JJK 6:30 AM  

I liked this puzzle a lot! But I do have to say, Rex, that sitting next to a crying baby on a flight certainly is AGONY, whether from feeling the poor child’s pain or from feeling the poor parent’s pain. Or from not having any peace. It doesn’t imply selfishness or blaming, it just is very uncomfortable for all involved.

Roberta 5:21
I enjoyed reading the scene from Macbeth!

Lewis 6:33 AM  

There are puns that make me emit groans genuinely laced with unpleasant pain, and puns that make me "Hah!" with genuine pleasure. Robyn is a master of the latter, and with clues like those for COPIER, PORCH SWING, INA ROW, HOT TUB, PRIEST, and RESIN, this puzzle crackled. I started with a smile when I saw her name, and a giddy patina remains.

I did notice the EKE located as far from "out" as possible, and was surprised to see that this is the first time ever that MICROSCOPE has appeared in a NYT puzzle.

Robyn, Queen of Fridays, you have produced another entertaining gem. Thank you!

amyyanni 6:36 AM  

Wonderful start to Friday. Going to try and keep it going.

Space Is Deep 6:36 AM  

Fun puzzle. But almost too easy for a Friday.

sf27shirley 6:39 AM  

This is hilarious. Thanks!

Anonymous 6:42 AM  

Babies should be banned from all flights---and I mean human infants, not the adults that have to tolerate them.

Put them in a box, ship them via FedEx!

Conrad 7:00 AM  

Ima go all @LMS on y'all. I had left work in NYC early to go on a week's vacation in California. On the train on the way home I got a page: "Get back immediately. All the systems are down." I ended up working until 4 AM and got home just in time to be driven to the airport. I had a window seat next to a couple with a baby who -- you guessed it! -- cried all the way to the Coast. Yes, that was agony and no, Rex, I'm not going to "grow up."


If I had thought of Tonga I'd have been toast. Sometimes it helps not to be so smart.

My big time sink was having ----UB at 47A and thinking the jet setting was airhUB.

kitshef 7:09 AM  

KERN, you say? Well, that was news to me.

Wednesday-level puzzle. Only overwrite was IM ouT before IM OFF.

In roughly six decades on this earth, never have I heard ANYONE HOME. It’s always ‘anybody’. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I think people use “anyone” when they are talking about a known group. You’re in a room with ten people and you ask “does anyone have the time?” Anybody is more with an unknown group, like the audience of undetermined size on a crossword blog. “Did anybody else have I’m ouT before IM OFF?” Thing is, it’s not something you ever think about. You just do it. Like knowing when to say “oh” or “zero” when reading off a number.

Superior clue for ONEG. Much better than the blood type clue we sometimes

Joe Welling 7:30 AM  

My only quibble: Twiggy is not a proper clue for REEDY.

Hungry Mother 7:42 AM  

So easy that I feel pretty smart this morning. Since I’m a geezer, I prefer old names to modern ones, unapologetically.

John H 7:44 AM  

Surprised that Rex didn't comment on 50D, Boo Boo, e.g. Boo Boo was side man for Yogi Bear, and I can't imagine that many people would get that right off.

pabloinnh 7:45 AM  

Boy, was this fun. PATS for PAWS obscured PORCHSWING for a while, which I should have know instantly, because it was the main source of entertainment at my grandmother's house. Then ILLBETHERE messed up the whole southeast, which was also not helped by IDLECHAT. Had the --UB ending for the jet clue and wanted AIRHUB or something similar. In short, one of those neat puzzles where you fix things and then say "Of course! Why didn't I see that?" and congratulate yourself on your own cleverness.

@BarbieBarbie-Yeah, I thought of FT too.

RW-Queen of Fridays indeed. La Reina de Fridazos. Mil gracias.

GILL I. 7:54 AM  

What fun....Joy on Friday....Memories everywhere. Yes, this makes a good story. Thanks for that.
I'll start with the uncommon amenity on an airplane. ALL OF THE ABOVE. I liked your FREE WINE @okanager. I also loved your frog story. These little amphibians know how to pleasure themselves, don't they? OH MAN...what can you really get for free on an airline anymore? The days of comfort; dressing up and getting excited that you were on your way to perhaps Paris. Getting up in the morning and running into a patisserie for a glorious CROISSANT.'d normally get them at a boulangerie but the patisserie is always there for the non-essential treat, snack or dessert. Try the palmier.
@Quasi...did she sing Dominique non-stop? Bon Dieu.
I think I was LOVE SICK just once in my life. It's really hard on a sixteen year old. I was still pretty new to this country and didn't know all the lingo or the "ways" of Americans...I finally met a young boy who was actually taller than I and was quite handsome and charming. He came up to me, introduced himself and point blank asked me out to the Friday night school dance. He had a drivers license and told me he'd pick me up at our house at six. I made my Mom buy me a new dress. I think I spent about 10 hours with my makeup and hair. Guess what? He never showed up. The next day at school, what friends I had, told me that he did this to all unsuspecting saps. ALAS....I was A TIT and there was no AFTER PARTY...just hornswoggled.
Loved the Boo Boo clue and seeing some COLE porter.
Thank you, Robyn....always a pleasure.....

mmorgan 8:00 AM  

@Quasi: ha!

Sorry, but I had a 15 hour flight from Melbourne to Doha in March and a baby was shrieking — not crying, SHRIEKING — for at least half the time. I assure you it was agony for all involved.

Lovely puzzle!

Z 8:07 AM  

“Mr. Rite” got the biggest smile here, but @Lewis is right, the cluing crackles all over this puzzle. Two editorial decisions did irk me a little, though. Going Debbie rather than Ryan for the REYNOLDS clue and making CAM a person rather than something automotive or photographic. But these are the most minor of nits in an otherwise sparkling puzzle.

I was LOVElorn as well, but saw through the RIDESHARE clue and decided the “lorn” was more likely to be replaceable. We do love our feelings.

I resisted AGONY for more or less the same reason Rex did. The whole “crying babies are awful” trope is just a little cliché selfishness. Personally, I will say to my wife, “Not our child” and smile. Amazingly, the crying always stops after a moment or two.

@kitshef - Hmmmm... I think I’m more of an ANYONE HOME person. You raise a good point, though.

Unknown 8:19 AM  

A pleasant outing for sure. But WHAT is a "kern"????

Spatenau 8:21 AM  

Not only is it true that babies do tend to cry, it's also true that they might be especially likely to do so when they fly because of the pain from pressure building up in their ears. Have some compassion, people. If a baby was shrieking for half of a 15-hour flight, think of how distressed that poor baby must have been.

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

Try Google for your answer. That's what I did. It's really easy.

LeaveItToYourGoat 8:52 AM  

I probably would've finished this in a personal Friday record time had I not stubbornly convinced myself that 28-A was COVETING for LOVE SICK.

This is one of the most satisfying themeless puzzles I've done in a long, long time. It was mercifully light on 3-letter entries, and all of the long entries were good. It's always nice to see familiar words and phrases people actually use in 2020. I AM SO THERE is easily the best one.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

Adults cause me more agony on planes than crying babies too. They used to anyway. Always have noise canceling headphones on hand now. Yeah technology.

Nancy 8:59 AM  

When I was asked for an 8-letter answer for "uncommon amenity on an airplane", I was torn between REAL FOOD and KNEE ROOM. FREE WIFI is the last thing I care about.

On the other hand, anyone who defines AGONY (59A) the way this constructor does is a kindred spirit. Compared to that, a kidney stone is a real nothing burger. (Just kidding, those of you who've had one or more.)

My biggest problem and eventual write-over was LISP before SLUR at 33D. It casued a lot of problems. REYNOLDS mercifully bailed me out. Love that film!

Are LORDS "workers" (35A)? I thought the whole thing about LORDS is that they never have to work. They just...are.

I AM SO THERE is one of the best new phrases of recent years, I'd say. Very colorful.

The cluing in this puzzle was a pleasure -- imaginative and devious. The hardest clue for me was "filled in" = UP TO SPEED. Especially since I had tHAT'S nOt ---- instead of WHAT'S SO FUNNY at 21D, giving me UPTOn at the UP TO SPEED answer. Sorted it all out, however, and had a good time doing so.

Petsounds 9:14 AM  

File me in the I'm-a-Robyn-fan Pendaflex, so boy, was I happy to see that name come up today. As usual, loved the puzzle, despite a lot of AGONY in the SW corner. It was the cluing of HOTTUB that tripped me up: "Jet setting." I was thinking of a jet control position--like, weak to strong. So a jet setting would be something ON a hot tub or a fast plane or a garden hose. In any event, that answer eluded me, as did the HAHA for this non-Facebooker, as did ONEG, so that corner added up to some serious time.

But so what? For a puzzle with a reference to "Singin' in the Rain" and such wonderful clues as those for PRIEST, PORCHSWING, PAWS, and IAMSOTHERE, to complain would be churlish.

Not churlish to complain about an adjacent screaming baby on a plane--unless you do so out loud. Because nothing can be done about it, so please don't huff and sigh and roll your eyes if it happens to you. And if it does happen to you and you don't have really good headphones, the situation described is AGONY, and there's nothing selfish or childish about that. I was surprised that someone as crabby as Rex was offended by that clue.

pmdm 9:19 AM  

Wonderful puzzle. Nothing more need be said.

Z: The very young don't know how to clear their ears. It becomes painful to them when the plane is descending are air pressure increases. When planes descend fairly slowly, they may cry during the entire descent, which can be a long time. I remember flying from New York City to San Diego via Los Angeles while I was suffering from a cold. It was hell landing in Los Angeles where I suffered until returning to the sky, and then it was hell again landing in San Diego. And it was hell for a few hours on the ground. The morale? Don't fly when you have a cold.

mathgent 9:20 AM  

Like everyone else, I enjoyed it immensely.

Usually puzzles I like have lots of longish entries, six letters or more. At least a third. But today’s had fewer than a quarter. On the plus side, there were only nine Terrible Threes. That left almost two thirds of the entries with either four or five letters.

Kathy 9:25 AM  

Now that was a puzzle!
Sparkle everywhere!

Just when I would feeI was thinking sufficiently out of the box, I was forced to take a leap even further.
Last stop, I figured jet setting had something to do with a hub so I had way too long a layover in the SW before TUB fell. AGONY, but I smiled. (I see I was not alone!)

I used to brace myself every time I flew cross country with a baby eons ago, sometimes alone. I know the feeling of getting the side-eye from some passengers who are fervently hoping you don’t sit near them. In a bygone era, an uncommon amenity some airlines used to offer was a bassinet that could be bolted onto the wall in front of the bulkhead seat—if you were fortunate enough to be in first class. What a lifesaver if you could get it. Usually the drone of the airplane will eventually lull a baby to sleep but there almost always will be crying at some point and the parent feels as much AGONY as the passengers. Believe me, I appreciated the kindness of cabin crew and sympathetic fellow passengers back then. To this day, I always offer to hold a baby if a parent near me who is traveling alone should need a break. I feel their pain.

RooMonster 9:30 AM  

Hey All !
Nice themeless. Sparkly clues as some of y'all mentioned.

Got stuck in the East-center section because like @chefwen, I had IllbeTHERE and was convinced it couldn't be wrong. KERN a new one for me, wanting KEys or something. Plus RIDESHARE and SHIES refusing to readily jump into the ole brain. RESIN also a toughie, actually had RabId in for a bit! TIMOR I'd heard of, but really had to dig into the recesses of the brain, move some things aside, and pluck it out.

But, Finally cocked my mind the correct way, saw RIDESHARE, and was able to finish. Error free!

FREEanything on flights is rare now. Surprised they don't charge you to breathe. Liked y'alls other answers.

Happy when I changed my IMOut to IMOFF. You know...

Five F's OH MAN!

Frantic Sloth 9:46 AM  

@Tale Told By An Idiot obviously was ahead of me, so any claim of being clairvoyant I might have wangled is dashed. Guess I'm more of a laissez-fairevoyant. Anyway, TT, bravo/a - you never disappoint. 👍

@Rex - One person's issue is another person's issue. You don't get to define AGONY. Or babyhood.

@The Bard 530am No COVID-19 on Lady M!

@GILL I. 754am Q: "OH MAN...what can you really get for free on an airline anymore?"
A: Diseases.

@Kathy 925 am I have a friend who often volunteers to take a crying baby (on a flight) because she can always get it to quiet down (yes, humanely). Answer available for a small donation. 😉

JEPlanet 9:49 AM  

Loved this one, thank you Ms. Weintraub!(Got a little stuck on HOTTUB, had AIRHUB)

@Unknown - when lettering doesn't look spaced properly to the eye, one can kern the lettering to make the spacing look better by moving some letters closer together, and some further apart.

William of Ockham 9:56 AM  

Long downs

getting HOTTUB

slowed me down with var. of them
also, like fearless Rex, I too had LISP for Slur for a bit.

Very rare very good clean, if slightly easier puzzle.


Sgreennyc 10:08 AM  

Does anyone really need Rex lecturing us on how we should react to a crying baby on a plane?

egsforbreakfast 10:19 AM  

The babies on planes stories made me remember one that resulted in only smiles. When our son was one year old, we took him to meet his grandparents who were living in Hong Kong at the time (34 years ago). When we went to take our place in first class, there was audible grumbling by more than a few of our fellow fliers who had shelled out big bucks to avoid things like screaming babies. He went to sleep as soon as we sat down and made nary a peep until we were off the plane. Virtually the entire cabin plus flight attendants smiled at us and said something nice about him.

Whatsername 10:20 AM  

Either this was easy or I was just on the right wave length and flew thru this with nary a cheat. The southwest corner was a little tricky however and RIFE with erasures. The only real obstacle was having ILLBETHERE at 30 down and couldn’t see the crosses. Finally got CROISSANTS and the rest fell together. Someone said this was chosen POW and it’s certainly deserving. I think I’d have to go with Thursday for my favorite but this was still a very pleasant solve.

Large gray and an occasional smaller green HERON regularly visit the pond behind my house. Graceful and serene, they will stand absolutely motionless until they see their prey, then strike with lightning speed and accuracy. I always feel so privileged to be in their presence.

Babies on airplanes probably cry because their poor little ears hurt and they don’t know how to alleviate it. They only know how to cry and yes sometimes it can be AGONY for others but whatayagonnado. After all, they have no choice in the matter and as far as I’m concerned, the experience of traveling by commercial airline is a dreaded ordeal to be avoided whenever possible. The masses of humanity, the interminable lines, the indignities, the odors, the sights, the sounds, the horror.

Kathy 10:34 AM  

@Frantic, does it have anything to do with bourbon?

Newboy 10:35 AM  

Robyn’s in fine form this Friday. Rex has more tolerance* of squally babes than I. Cluing was delightful & deviously (PRIEST & SESAME STREET) misdirecting. Nice AT SEA clue to leave us there. Expecting the unexpected is a good game plan for Friday which I too often forget—probably why cryptic puzzles are not a favorite genre. Today’s was in the Goldilocks zone.

*I do love babies and puppies and kitties, but any parent not packing appropriate pacifiers/distractions before long flights is guilty of child neglect IMHO.

Barbara S. 10:35 AM  

I once saw TERI Garr on a plane. That's it, no story, no uplifting moral message, just -- I saw TERI Garr on a plane.

She was in first class and I wasn't. So, you ask, how did I see her? If she was cocooned at the front with the curtains drawn and I was in cattle class at the back? Well, I could have passed her on the way in, but I didn't. No, this was at a time when...hmm, was it duty-free goods? Anyway, this was a flight from the U.S.A. to Canada, and stuff of some kind was for sale at the rear of the plane. And she went back and bought something. And I looked up and saw TERI Garr. On a plane. That I was also on.

She wasn't looking at me but I think I smiled involuntarily. Remembering her on Star Trek, and in Young Frankenstein, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Tootsie. I noticed that she was limping a bit and I found out later that she has M.S. She's now an Ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

TERI Garr on a plane.

(Interestingly, re the puzzle, Tina FEY cites TERI Garr as an influence.)

Susan RST 10:39 AM  

Best Friday time for me, a plodder, 21 minutes. OH MAN baby’s grandparents lived in Japan so lots of long flights from early on. Seat mates were compassionate, most AGONY came from flight attendants. Fast forward to ACT V and the kid is in aviation administration.

How soon I forgot HEF as a publisher. Was going for a monogram. WOODY for REEDY. And yes to commenter above who said croissants aren’t available at a patisserie...gâteaux, tarte aux pomme, or some other quelque chose, then tried to make VENNOISERIE work but no, and anyway, I get that at the boulangerie, too.

Frantic Sloth 10:41 AM  

Thanks @egsforbreakfast and @Whatsername - Now "nary a peep/nary a cheat" is gonna sing-song in my head all day.

What? 10:46 AM  

Easy and enjoyable. I would have gotten 100 except for I AM SO THERE, I had I’LL BE THERE but I knew RIDESHARE so IA... threw me off.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

the more common term, SFAIK, is KERNing, which means the act of spacing the line. unlike these comments, most texts (books, those physical things that used to exist) have fixed length lines, thus fixed width margins. in order to fit, generally without a hyphenated word break, the compositor will insert space between both letters in words and between words to get the fixed line length. I expect that there're computer programs that do it now.

Birchbark 10:52 AM  

I thought "geoduck" might be an app-driven pastime. Counting ducks with online friends, or the like.

Instead, it is a CLAM of noble longevity whose siphon-length-to-shell-size ratio is mind bending -- the infinite coastline of Britain that illustrates how fractals work being the next logical step.

When some of today's venerable geoducks were whelped, Chester Alan Arthur was president. What do they think of all this?

I once rolled my eyes at crying babies on planes. Now I smile in sympathetic memory, and I want their parents to know it's okay.

Joe Dipinto 10:56 AM  

Column 13 reads: "A tit? I am so there!"

Just thought I'd point that out.

I don't get all the love this constructor elicits. I think her puzzles (always end-of-the-week affairs, it seems) are the blandest things going. They always rely on at least three ho-hum conversational phrases – here we get "What's so funny?" and "Anyone home?" in addition to the aforementioned. PORCH SWING is about the only good answer, but they managed to ruin that with a cloddish attempt at clue humor.

Not as agony-inducing as a perpetually crying baby, but not much more fun either.

William of Ockham 10:56 AM  


Our daughter was exactly so, but your and our sprogs were the only two in history, you DO know that, don't you?

bauskern 10:56 AM  

I think Rex is signalling his virtue as a plane rider. The baby is in agony, and the nearby passengers are in agony as well. It's just the way it is.
I thought this vacillated from the very easy, to a few stumpers. PORCHSWING was my bete noir. But I love a good challenge. This was a perfect Friday.

Crimson Devil 11:02 AM  

Happy to see Robyn byline, sailed thru til SW: had SSTHUB way too long.
Learned KERN. Very enjoyable puz, Fri-worthy.

Whatsername 11:15 AM  

@Frantic: I’m laughing out loud. I swear to you @egs’ post wasn’t up yet when I wrote mine. 🐣

Destiny’s child 11:17 AM  

Yes. I agree. Breezed thru it and was left to contemplate yesterday’s dishes yearning to be clean. If you read the times, you gotta know what kerning is. Loved it. Felt superior and hideously smug.

MetroGnome 11:19 AM  

How much y'wanna bet that if a male constructor had created this puzzle, our beloved Scold-in-Chief (and others) would be waxing apoplectic over the micro-aggression of the name "HEF"???

Masked and Anonymous 11:32 AM  

yep. This was a great themelessthUmbUp FriPuz. -- Or, as they say in rows 5 and 11, Torhefcam feyoretsa!

AGONY kinda does fit the "constantly crying" combined with "cross-country flight" criteria. Marathon cryin/shreikin right in yer ear is a special category, especially when there is no escape. Even with FREEWIFI.

EATIN: Woulda been cool to have a slightly tweaked {Havin dinner on the couch, say} clue, there.
ENDON: For some flaky reason, I wrote in ANDON (a happier note), instead. Musta been thinkin of "And on a happier note …", or somesuch. Wrong again, M&A breath.

stack weeject pick: FEY. She's one clever/funny lady, in my funnybook.

sparkly fillins -- too day-um many to list em all. But let's cull IAMSOTHERE outta the herd. Sounds a lot like Tina FEY's "I want to go to there!"

Thanx for the most excellent fun, Ms. Weintraub darlin. I want to go to there, every Friday.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


GILL I. 11:34 AM  

Kathy 9:25....Your offer to hold a baby on the plane brought a big smile on. We have taken our two children on planes practically from birth. The key is to take a flight that will coincide with their schedule. You need to feed them before the plane takes off, have a pacifier and coo them into sleep. We never, ever had a problem ...except once. We were coming back from Buenos Aires to LAX and the flight was delayed 9 HOURS. Stuck at the airport with nothing and I mean nothing to do but wait. Our son was about 4 then. He found another little boy in the waiting area and the two of them played and ran and screeched non stop until we were ready to board. You'd think he was dead tired and would go right to sleep. Nah. He was super wired. When we boarded, the very handsome, very kind, flight attendant took one look at Jordan and knew what was in store. He offered to hold him and asked me if it was OK to take him to the back and give him some snacks and maybe a hot chocolate. I thought I would cry. I would've married him if I hadn't already been. Just before the plane took off, he handed me the happiest, sleepiest child this side of the Mississippi. Jordan slept the whole way home. My husband looked at me and said "Do you think he slipped him some scotch in that hot chocolate?'....
@Frantic.....When I used to fly it was called the Mile High Club Clap. Cheers!

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

some food show, one of the Bourdain versions I think, did a segment on the geoduck. much was made of its similarity to certain human anatomy.

John Child 11:40 AM  

Haha @BarbieBarbie. The same thought, but mound didn’t fit. We’re all Bozos on this bus.

Jared 11:51 AM  

Misophonia is a real thing Rex! And crying babies are one of the things that make my head want to explode.

old timer 11:54 AM  

Super, super Easy for a Friday. Robyn and I must have a lot in common, for the long tricky answers were, for me, not tricky at all. And I howled out loud when I found the PRIEST. Domine, domine!

We live in California. The grandparents, the aunts and uncles, the cousins almost all lived in Vermont. So we flew with babies, at one point with two still in diapers. That has to be the only time in my life I have been a fan of United Airlines. Not only for those bassinets, but because if you sat at the front of a coach section, there was room to set a bassinet on the floor in front of you -- and the good folks at United went out of their way to let families with babies sit there. Kept the screaming to a minimum.

The other thing: Breast feeding. As the plane descended and the ears caused the baby to scream in AGONY, the baby was latched on to the breast, and the swallowing action almost always eased the pain.

Personally, I would prefer to sit next to a baby on a long flight than some two-year-olds. Once they get going it can be so hard to quiet them down. As a dad, I soon learned that singing a song worked wonders with a fussy baby, and while it worked best with ones own child, it worked pretty well with other people's kids next to you on a plane. Once a baby is six months old or so, a stranger who pays attention to them is far more interesting than their mama, at least for while. (Pro tip: if you happen to know a song in French or some other foreign language, it can add to the fascination).

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

Cams aren’t automotive per se. A cam is just a projection on a part which rotates and comes in contact with another reciprocating part.
The lobes on the shaft (driven by the crankshaft which has no lobes) are the cams. But lots of machinery have cams.
Yeah I know, you could clue it in an automotive way, but that would imply an untrue specificity.

Preferred Customer 12:03 PM  

Hi tbd88,

When I lived in France I always bought my croissants at the patisserie. They are typically less bread - like and more buttery. Maybe things have changed... PC

Lorelei Lee 12:04 PM  

@Anon 10:48, Microsoft programs do provide for kerning. They refer to it as character spacing. Full justification to the margins only kerns between words.

I don't solve with speed in mind, but I "tore" through this at 17:43. The first time in 20+ years of doing the NYT puzzle that I slammed through a Friday like that. Super easy.

@Frantic, 1.5 brains (like a smart person working with a half wit :).

jberg 12:11 PM  

What a treat! Everyday phrases made from ordinary words, but all fresh and lively.

Yesterday FEH, today FEY!

Dan (Formerly) Tan Man 12:16 PM  

Enjoyed this one. Got stuck in the SW corner. Didn’t see Toon or Hottub. Didn’t know Kern.

Really think Rex needs an NYT vacation. Found Annoy annoying. I wanted Cursed or Unlucky, which obviously didn’t work. Can see the point of other bad plane neighbors. Been there. Makes for a rough flight. But it’s over soon enough.

Joe Dipinto 12:20 PM  

Almost forgot:

Today's song

Malsdemare 12:21 PM  

Oh golly, this was fun! Such great entries: IMSOTHERE, PORCHSWING, LOVESICK, (I entered LOVE and then waited for a down to give me a hint), CHIRCHAT, UPTOSPEED, and way more.

And then we get @Tale's amazing story. You, sir/madam, are a gift to this blog.

Rex, we can't control how we feel. As we sit there with that crying baby, some of us can't help but feel awful for the parent, the baby, the other passengers, and ourselves. That's absolute AGONY, As long as we act with compassion, restraint, and understanding, we're good. Quit confusing unpleasant emotions with unpleasant behavior. They're two distinctly separate things.

My sole complaint about the puzzle is that it was over too soon.

Sir Hillary 12:28 PM  

I wish it had been tougher, but what a great puzzle!

The long entries are uniformly excellent, and as @M&A helpfully points out, the junk (and it is world-class junk) is confined to two rows of 3s.

Cluing is awesome. The COPIER clue is reminiscent of Will's stated all-time favorite clue (It turns into a different story >>> SPIRALSTAIRCASE). I also loved the clues for PAWS, ATIT, SESAMESTREET, RIDESHARE, RESIN and PORCHSWING. The clue for PRIEST, not so much. Also not crazy about the LORDS clue -- hard to think of them as "workers". But overall, the clues were great.

Brief error with IllbeTHERE, but TIMOR fixed that pretty quick. IAMSOTHERE is a way better entry anyway.

FREEWIFI might be the cure for crying-baby-induced AGONY. Hook everyone up with a way to watch movies, have them put headphones on to drown out ambient shrieking, et voila!

Had this been, say, 50% harder, it would have been a perfect Friday. As is, it's damn close.

Ethan Taliesin 12:28 PM  

I loved the agony clue. In fact, I wish that they had a special section on the plane for infants (and their parents too, of course--I'm not a monster). Also a section for those who wear too much cologne/perfume would be good.

ABANDON FACEBOOK. I bet if Zuckerberg thought he could get away with it without criticism he'd be Trump's biggest campaign donor.

jberg 12:50 PM  

Returning after reading everyone. I guess I've must been lucky, but in my experience one still gets free food and free wine on some flights (especially international ones, or if you have the miles to upgrade); FREE WIFI never. So that clue was all right.

Of course I had Illbethere at first. (What the fellow said as he walked into the OTB parlor), but TSA fixed that right up. I'd actually had a River running in the woods, too, but was never very sure of that. But am I the only one who had tImESHARE? With all those confirming crosses, and not all that happy about REEDY, that one hung in there for a long time.

Mr. Rite definitely the greatest clue.

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

ABANDON FACEBOOK. I bet if Zuckerberg thought he could get away with it without criticism he'd be Trump's biggest campaign donor.

well... yeah but, you'll have to sign a waiver against any infection if you use FB.

Frantic Sloth 12:58 PM  

@GILL I. 1134am Your husband is not alone in his suspicions. (See also @ Kathy 1034am and BTW, no substances of any kind are involved) 😉
And could Mile High Club Clap be where the eventual crying babies come from? Such an inauspicious beginning after all.

@Whatsername 1115am Were you just asking to borrow a pencil during the test in grade school, too? 😉

@Lorelei Lee 1204pm How did you know??? 😉

Maybe from now on, we can just stipulate the winky face.

Teedmn 1:06 PM  

I was on a flight once where I was seated separately from my travel companion who was seated next to or in front of a crying baby. The baby wasn't a problem - it was the tinkly toy the parent was using to try to distract the poor tyke. To this day, I can hear that jingle-bell sound in my head - and it was only a short flight! (Did I mention we were hungover from an earlier flight from Mpls to Amsterdam? Agony indeed.)

I agree with Rex that this was just a tad stickier to solve than the usual Robyn puzzle but it certainly filled my Friday requirements. I had trouble throughout the NE. I can't really put my finger on what the hold-up was though.

SPACE in the NE and ONE G in the SW is nice.

I have heard of the geoduck but because it isn't pronounced the way it is spelled, I thought geoduck was going to be a browser name or something. When CLAM showed up, I said aha, goo-ee duck! Weird spelling.

Robyn, you can construct my Friday puzzles any day of the week, thanks!

Parseman 1:10 PM  

You're not even at the concert!

You're not even 18!

RooMonster 1:18 PM  

You're not even drunk!

RooMonster Quicke Guy (Har)

jb129 1:23 PM  

I love Robyn's puzzles & was so glad to see her name.

I didn't know "kern" & stumbled on "ride a share" so I'm disappointed in myself.... But totally enjoyable!

Lorelei Lee 1:44 PM  

BTW, the baby on a plane thing is situational. Tiny baby on a short flight, tolerable. Screaming toddler on a short flight not so much, especially if the parent is oblivious (a situation that carries over to restaurants). Screaming toddler on a long flight, oblivious parents, agony.

When the tots were little, we flew cross country red eye so they'd sleep. We also knew when to whip out the bottle or binky to ease the cabin pressure at take off or landing.

CT2Napa 1:45 PM  

Learn about Kerning

and then play the Kerning Game

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

For the crying baby on plane: Never had kids, it's agony. Had a kid or two? Then your reaction is thank god it's not my kid crying.

Birchbark 2:07 PM  

@Parseman (1:10) and @Roo (1:18). You did well with I AM SO THERE, but you never did the Kenosha Kid.

(Cf. Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow, several pages of similar variations on "You never did the Kenosha Kid" including this gem: "And at the end of the mighty day in which he gave us in fiery letters across the sky all the words we'd ever need, words we today enjoy, and fill our dictionaries with, the meek voice of little Tyrone Slothrop, celebrated ever after in tradition and song, ventured to filter upward to the Kid's attention: "You never did 'THE,' Kenosha Kid!")

Joe Dipinto 2:09 PM  

@CT2Napa – the Kerning Game is fun, and addictive. I got an 81 score overall, with 100 on three successive answers.

Smith 2:10 PM  

@Pablo from yesterday

You go! My husband is your age and he likes to say he has "all the original parts." Geri Atric is someone [somebody? per today's discussion] else.


Bruce Fieggen 2:12 PM  

Make sure the baby is nursing or drinking from a bottle on the ascent and descent so that it’s ears pop.

Frank 2:13 PM  

Yes. Babies do cry....and that’s an excellent reason NOT to take them on airplanes.

Bruce Fieggen 2:25 PM  

My only contribution to the Urban Dictionary;

Noun - the right to ask to change your airline seat if a small child sits down nearby.

When the woman with her screaming baby sat next to me, I invoked my infantigo.

by Not so-frequent Flyer April 15, 2013

Z 2:37 PM  

@Anon12:01 - I was thinking that the most well known example of changing rotary motion into linear motion would be a car engine, but that bias probably comes from playing ultimate with Ford engineers for a decade. So sure, there are probably better non-automotive clues. Either way, it would certainly be better than a TV star (co-star, really, since I think that show has a big ensemble cast) clue. Or a football player. About the only person clue for CAM I would enjoy is Seattle Mixtape’s CAM Bailey, but that might be a wee bit niche.

pabloinnh 3:08 PM  

@Smith-I think Geri is the one with the curls, if I remember correctly.

Not sure if I can claim all "original parts"as I had cataract surgery 20+ years ago so new lenses. I guess all original "moving" parts is fair.

I think a good clue for CAM would be "Canadian hockey player". Sure seems to a a lot of them.

QuasiMojo 3:24 PM  

@GILL, great story about your son and the steward. Those were the days!

Do these Spelling Bees get easier as the week progresses? Yesterday's and today's felt like a cake walk compared to earlier in the week. And no doggerel, so to speak. :)

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

Nice try z. But a lag screw is a far more we’ll known technique for turning rotary motion into linear motion.
I very much doubt recreation with Ford engineers explains your answer, that’s rather a busman’s holiday for them isn’t it?
Hey, I could be wrong, but I recall a debate some time ago about engines, and you betrayed a very weak grasp of internal combustion engines. Certainly no comment of yours would indicate your understanding of cams, cam shafts, or anything else.

Azzurro 3:38 PM  

Facebook added a “CARE” reaction a few weeks ago that made me struggle in the SW. I was initially surprised how fresh the puzzle was to have this recent news, but I eventually realized that it was HAHA, which I never knew was the name for the laughing option.

JC66 3:48 PM  

*** SB ALERT ***


I haven't noticed a trend by day in the difficulty level. Some days are easier and some days are harder.

However, I did find Wednesday's unusually hard..

Joe Dipinto 3:57 PM  

New Kerning Game score: 88! This time I aced the kerning on five: Holly, Await, Roissy, Quijote, and Xylophone. Do I see a future career for myself in kerning?

Carola 4:19 PM  

For me, this was just the right response to "Seek charming puzzle with a sense of fun and doesn't play too hard to get."

Anoa Bob 4:37 PM  

Benadryl and other "drowsy" antihistamines do just that---they make people drowsy/sleepy. And they market a Childrens' Benadryl. Some believe it's harmless and (mis)use it to help get their children to sleep. Maybe for an upcoming flight.

I concur with the "give then something to drink" advice for helping to equalize the air pressure between the inner and outer ear during ascent or descent. Swallowing will briefly open the eustachian tube allowing the pressure to balance out.

I think one of the reasons that this puzzle has been so well-received is that it gives us a "hearty meal", i.e., there's not a lot of "non-nutritional" fill, not very many prefixes or suffixes that boost gird-fill power without adding much interest or value. Very few POCs (plural of convenience), for example. Just a lot of basic words and phrases. Not much fluff. Very nutritious!

[full-disclosure: I love me a PORCH SWING. You got a PORCH SWING? I AM SO THERE! This may have skewed my opinion upward.]

CaryinBoulder 4:47 PM  

Count me in the pro-AGONY group. Childless codgers that we are, my wife thinks restaurants should have a “No Children” section.

Having been a magazine editor/publisher (no, I’m not HEF), KERNing was a gimme. It goes hand in hand with leading, which is the control of the distance between lines rather than characters. Learned all about this while I was figuring out how to use Quark Xpress back in the ‘90s.

My last fill was CAM, since I know zip about network TV series. Figured it was gonna be Sam. @pabloinnh has it right about being a Fairly common name among hockey players. Also our friend, triathlon champ Cam Widoff.

As is usual with Fri-Sat puzzles, my first time through left lots of white space and that “oh, no” feeling. But those long ones clicked in pretty easily and I was off. Even when I was stuck I would look at my time and think, “I’m doing pretty well for a Friday.” Finished well under average.

Back in 1977 we visited and hiked to the top of the Glastonbury TOR, a holy spot for Druids or Picts or somebody of that ilk. As happened in so many cases, it was co-opted by Christians who decided, “What a great place to build a church.” All that remains now (or then, at least) is the steeple, which gives this spirit place an even more primal feel.

My favorite CROISSANTS are the chocolate-filled variety, usually dunked in a cappuccino in the middle of a bike ride. ALAS, because of elevated blood sugar my doc is recommending a low carb diet, so they are a no-no. OH MAN does that suck.

I sometimes visit a HERON rookery about 15 miles from town. Cool to go out there around sunset and see all these big birds perched in or landing in the trees, chittering away. The funniest place I ever saw one was calmly sitting on the roof of a car next to a canal in Amsterdam.

HOT TUBs were a big thing here in Boulder in the late’70s and I can remember some great parties. But as everyone we knew who had one soon found out, like owning a boat, they soon turned into a very expensive hobby.

PS. To truly demonstrate their fealty to il Douché, the rally-goers should sign those Covid waivers, buy a Clorox Cocktail at the bar and then French kiss each other before ceremonially sneezing on the Big Man. Darwin would be so proud.

Barbara S. 4:58 PM  

****SB ALERT****
I got QB yesterday and today. Two QBs in a row is a first for me. I think the reason I was able to do it is that I'm really starting to learn and retain Spelling-Bee-ese. Both days I got words that I never would have thought of when I started SBing -- but now I know these are SB words. I don't know if this is going to kill the challenge in the long run.

I found both Tuesday and Wednesday hard but I think the timing was random.

JC66 5:12 PM  

*** SB ALERT ***

@Barbara S

Mazel Tov! I'm two words short of QB. Thanks for the motivation, I'll keep plugging.

@Anoa Bob

SB doesn't accept ANOA. Maybe you can sue them. 😂

Ernonymous 6:09 PM  

Well years ago I took the family to see my grandmother who was having a 90th birthday party and I wanted her to see the kids. The plane was very delayed by 4 hours. So I used up all my tricks. Snacks, nap time timing etc, and the kids were cranky. My 18 month old diaper leaked and his overalls were soaked. I was on the plane and tried to take his clothes off to put dry clothes on him and he threw a massive temper tantrum. He kept grabbing the overall strap screaming his head off. I was never so stressed in my life. The flight attendant handed out drinks to everyone except me, to appease them for having to endure it. Where was my free drink? Really some of you have no compassion, shit happens. Sometimes you want to make your 90 year old grandmother happy in her final years. Of course I wanted the kid to shut up.

GILL I. 6:52 PM  

@Giovanni...In the good old days, I always carried a little bottle of scotch in my handbag. For me, of course..... And grandmothers are always worth any travel.

Barbara S. 7:12 PM  

You go for it, @JC66!

JC66 7:38 PM  

@Barbara S

Gave up after 28 and cheated to get the last one. Too manny letters for me to figure out.

Barbara S. 8:14 PM  

Teee Heee!

Smith 8:32 PM  

Guess I'll have to subscribe. Today it kicked me out after two words (8, 6). Yesterday first entry was pangram and boom.

Z 8:40 PM  

@Anon 3:27 - What are you talking about? I’ve never heard of a “lag screw” so I looked it up. This is in no way related to what a cam does. OTOH - a CAM is something you would find in a car engine. I assume you just misspoke, but maybe verifying something before posting would serve you well. Now I just have to assume you’re that “serious motorcyclist” person from the other day. And, again, I really don’t care. The whole point was the clue didn’t need to be a person.

pabloinnh 8:50 PM  

@CaryinBoulder-Here's my CAM story-

My wife's cousin used to be the equipment manager for the Boston Bruins and one time he got us locker room access after a game and a chance to meet some players, one of whom was CAM Neely. I'm thinking you know what a round point shovel is. Well, shaking hands with CAM Neely was about like what would happen if someone held the handle of a round point shovel, presented you with the business end, and said here, grab this. About he same size, shape, and degree of hardness. Ray Borque, pretty much the same experience.

@Barbara S-Well done you! I gave up two words short. Tired of the letters. Also was dismayed at the lack of respect shown to our own ANOA Bob.

Anonymous 9:30 PM  

@Z. You’ve here heard of a lag screw? You never built.....anything?

Nat 9:51 PM  

Can anyone explain 'EKE'? How is it scratching (out) a crossword answer?
I resisted it for a long time, which made finishing that section harder, but finally gave in and wrote it down.

Anonymous 10:49 PM  

EKE out a living is a long time phrase. kind of lower lower class living. scratching out a living means the same. it's a crossword cliche answer. so, a triple entender.

Ben 10:57 AM  

FWIW I still don't understand EKE. I get "Scratch (out)", but how does "as a crossword answer?" fit?

Angela Alex 12:27 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
thefogman 9:38 AM  

What a pleasure to solve such a beautifully-crafted puzzle. Well done Robyn Weintraub. My only hitch was IllbeTHERE before IAMSOTHERE. Not bad for a Friday.

spacecraft 11:33 AM  

@Ben: EKE is the king of crosswordese. Its only ever use is coupled with "out" and is practically always followed by "a living." It is so narrowly defined that one tires very quickly of seeing it in a grid. For this solver, it has progressed to near AGONY, and mars, if not spoils, a good Friday puzzle.

A bit easier than the usual Friday, this one still had me in fits on account of IllbeTHERE. Maybe I was channeling the Four Tops too much, but I couldn't let go of that for quite a while: ink spilled there.

I never heard anyone (!) say "ANYONEHOME?" It's "Hello-o-o, ANYBODY HOME?" THAT's what people say. I know it has to fit in the grid, but answers like this grate against my sensibilities. So, too, do the letter add-ons, today featuring G (GMAN, ONEG), the latter being my blood type.

I could not decide between two of my most favorite ladies for DOD, TERI Garr and Tina FEY, so I made them honorable mention and introduced the great Debbie REYNOLDS into the fold. Unsinkable!

There was plenty of fun cluing and cool long answers, as per R.W. I hate to ENDON a sour note, but that AP looked desperate. Par.

Burma Shave 12:29 PM  


WHAT’SSOFUNNY with your CHITCHAT, smarty –
I’MOFF making LOVE ancillary?


thefogman 12:39 PM  

For those of you who are looking for another challenge, it just so happens The New Yorker magazine is featuring a Robyn Weintraub puzzle in today’s edition. Just cut and paste the following link into your browser’s address bar:


rondo 1:05 PM  

Another hand up for IllbeTHERE at first. A few PESOS for a RIDESHARE got me HOME. OHMAN also has the plural OMEN to go with it.

Even the clue makes fun of the use of EKE, especially when it’s dead center.

@spacey – don’t forget NEVE Campbell and Traci LORDS!!

Pretty good, bet it got lotsa LIKES.

Don 1:41 PM  


rainforest 4:10 PM  

Just popping to say that I have really enjoyed this week's puzzles heading to Saturday. Today's was the ultimate in smoothity, but my favourite was yesterday's.

Looking forward to tomorrow.

Diana, LIW 4:55 PM  

Quite smooth for a Friday, or whatever day of the week it is now. I seemed to be on Robyn's wavelength, and I didn't even look at her name prior to the solve.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana, LIW 4:58 PM  

Thanks, @Foggy!

Lady Di

leftcoaster 5:01 PM  

First-rate Friday by a first-rate constructor.

ALAS, got stuck in an airhUB ("Jet setting'), which pretty much locked me out of the SE corner until sneaking a peek at the HOTTUB. (When was the last time I heard a PRIEST called Mr.? Never.)

Enjoyed the near-solve anyway.

thefogman 5:35 PM  

No problem D,LIW. The New Yorker lets you play four a month before you hit their paywall. Never themed, always good or at least better than the NYT xword in my opinion....

strayling 6:38 PM  

I loved this one. Just enough tricksy misdirection to make it feel nearly a cryptic, all the PPP inferrable from crosses.

Also, I like MESAs and I can not lie.

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