Greek personification of darkness / FRI 7-24-20 / Final challenge of video game level / The Bell of Longfellow poem / Bit of poetry with same syllable count as this very clue / Cartoon referenced in Walt Disney Animation Studios logo

Friday, July 24, 2020

Constructor: Grant Thackray

Relative difficulty: Easyish (5:18)


THEME: none

Word of the Day: EREBUS (5D: Greek personification of darkness) —
In Greek mythologyErebus /ˈɛrɪbəs/, also Erebos (Ancient GreekἜρεβοςÉrebos, "deep darkness, shadow" or "covered"), was often conceived as a primordial deity, representing the personification of darkness; for instance, Hesiod's Theogony identifies him as one of the first five beings in existence, born of Chaos. (wikipedia)
• • •

The grid is striking, but I'm not sure it yields the best results. Those loooooong black bars create sections that, yes, house a bunch of longer answers alongside each other, but that also give you *nine* (9) four-letter (or shorter) Across answers in a row (that is, stacked atop one another). That is a lot of short stuff. A lot. A lot a lot. Real feast-or-famine today. You've got your 10-and-overs and your 4-and-unders and not a hell of a lot in between. And the center ... really a dead zone today. Not a lot you can do with an isolated 5x5 section except try to survive without gunking up the grid too badly—mission mostly accomplished, I think: ESTER is def crosswordese, but only ODIST really feels off-putting. Considering how much damn short fill there is, it's not actually that bad. Not nearly as bad as it could've been. And having a ton of short stuff to cut through the banks of longer answers definitely makes getting those answers easy. Short answers are always (generally) easier to get than longer, so all those shorts give solvers lots of opportunities for toeholds. This puzzle should play easier-than-usual for most people, and who doesn't like that?  On the plus side, I think the marquee answers (the two 15s) are very much worthy, particularly STEAMBOAT WILLIE (10D: Cartoon reference in the Walt Disney Animation Studios logo). That answer next to PULL RANK ON and IN OVERTIME is very nice. I also thought LOWERCASE I was clever. Usually a random-letter answer like that (say, CAPITALO) feels pretty arbitrary, but the Apple clue here really gives the answer a sense of purpose. A heft. It's such a distinctive feature of the Apple brand names that it feels OK as a standalone answer in a way that LOWERCASE [some other letter] might not.


I had a very bad start and still finished pretty quickly. After getting SHALE instantly (1A: Rock in which fossils can be found), I wanted HEXA- (!?!?) at 2D: Prefix with -gram). I then wanted ROLE instead of PART (6D: Auditioner's hope), and then GOES instead of ISAT (7D: Attends). So I had to ditch that section because it was just a mess. Got really going with ELON NANA ALVA TUNA SPIN, in that order, one after the other, which gave me the fronts of all the long Downs coming out of the NE. Getting into the center from the SE wasn't easy because I had -OWNER (no idea) (42A: Stock character?) and -INTO (no idea) (29D: Admire, as a lover's eyes). Decided to jump right into the center with SORTA, and then when I wanted ELDER at 28D: Venerable sort, I noticed that the "D" from that would've work with SORTA but *would* work with KINDA. Rest of the center was no problem from there. Once I shot CRABCAKES up into the NW, I managed to work out all my problems up there (never heard of a BOSS BATTLE, so I'm really glad the crosses were gettable, though EREBUS was pretty tough).


Finished up in the SW, which the short crosses made very easy. The only answer that really made me wince in this grid was ATRI (truly primo crosswordese) (54A: "The Bell of ___" (Longfellow poem)), so with a bunch of solid-to-good longer answers, that's probably a win, overall. Now if only I could commit ARIE Luyendyk's name to memory. I keep wanting it to have a "Y" in it. Why!? "Y"!!!? ARYA. Is that ... anybody's name? Woof. The one thing about crosswordese (which ARIE's name definitely is) is that it's at least helpful. Knowing it (see ELON, ESTER, ATRI, etc.) gives you a quick leg up (one you feel kinda bad about because you just know this stuff, you don't know how you know it except from doing so many damn crosswords, it's not a measure of your intelligence, you don't feel like you earned it, etc.). But with [Racer Luyendyk] I can't even get his name to stick. Seen it a billion times, always want it to be slightly different. I think the name ARIE really has been completely taken over in my mind by musician India.ARIE and she's not moving. ANYA Seton ... there's another one I have to stop and think about. And AYLA, a character created by Jane AUEL (AUEL is easy for me, but AYLA I screw up regularly). Where was I? Oh, yeah, pretty good puzzle.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

139 comments:

Anonymous 12:05 AM  

hard

Harryp 12:06 AM  

I thought the short stuff would put off OFL, but he liked it anyway. As I have said before, long strings in pairs or threesomes are my favorites. So fun puzzle, easy Friday.

jae 12:26 AM  

Easy. My only write over was geode before SHALE which SLAB corrected, the rest was CAKE. Enjoyed the long downs, but the fill was a tad iffy in places. Mostly liked it.

Alex M 12:29 AM  

ARIE isn't crosswordese to most millenials, he was a recent Bachelor. Arya Stark is one of the protagonists of a little show called Game of Thrones (the young girl/tomboy played by Maisie Williams). And you'd never heard of a BOSS BATTLE, really?? You desperately need to brush up on your pop culture Rex, your times will improve and you might just enjoy some of it...

Pamela 12:30 AM  

Not bad. I’m just glad to have gotten through a Friday without too much google. I misread Auditioner, thought auctioneer and popped in saLe, and took way too long to figure it out. Loved LOWERCASEI, can’t imagine how I knew EREBUS but I did. MRE was a mystery. The biggest problem was in the SE, where I had like above TOME, and something else for making it impossible to suss out any of the long downs. Rice wasn’t it for the Poke Bowl, either, and not knowing BART didn’t help. Eventually I x’d out a few things and went back to the NE and middle. I needed friend G for ELON and again for STEAM, the kind of BOAT WILLIE had, then things began to make more sense and ONTO victory I went.

Not fun, like yesterday, but enjoyable for different reasons.

VNR 1:22 AM  

You need to watch more Bachelor shows! That's how I remember Arie.

Marc 1:25 AM  

Fastest I have done a Friday in months

JD 1:29 AM  

Everyone has the right to an informed opinion but Rex missed the mark at the beginning of his. Still, he talked his way to a happy ending.

This was a visually elegant grid with sparkling fill for solvers who want a luxurious brain massage of originality with rewarding results.

Boss Battle, Lower Case I, Steamboat Willie, High Scores, Pulls Rank On, Half Nelson,
True To Life. The longs were primo and the short stuff felt fresh.

Damn that felt good.

goldbug 2:05 AM  

I'm slightly concerned I've woken up today thinking it's a Friday but it's actually a Tuesday or something. 'Cos that took me a Tuesday amount of time, and that was probably slower than it would have been had I not been anticipating more tricksy answers. Nice puzzle, but not quite the will-I-be-able-to-get-this-finished-before-starting-work-or-am-I-going-to-end-up-IN-OVERTIME sort of challenge I expect from a Friday. Not a complaint, merely an observation.

Also, I've met NEIL Gaiman and it's not true what they say about never meeting your crossword answers. Nice guy.

Frantic Sloth 2:27 AM  


Lots of fun, long answers which is what I like about the themeless days. Clever clueing bumped it up a notch or two, too, to boot! Who knew? Coo coo kachoo!

Though I found it a little too easy for a Fridee, I masticated on this puppy for long enough to declare it challenging-ish.

Learned (hahahaha "learned" hahahaha! Like that happens anymore!) some things:

Got EREBUS completely from crosses.

Might have known NEIL Gaiman (or the series) if I picked up a book once in a while.

ARIE Luyendek is a racer. Of...? Could be caterpillars for all I know.

Hey! Anybody else hold those races in their backyard when you were a kid? Or last week? No judgement. Those suckers could move when they had a mind to!

Hmmm...caterpillar minds. Not two words one often finds juxtaposed together side by side next to each other like that. (The previous sentence brought to you by Caterpillar Minds. Caterpillar Minds: They're moth-eaten, so you don't have to.)

Puzzle was a good time. Might have been more wowed if not for yesterday's stellar achievement. Still smiling over that one!


Poor Luca Brasi.


🧠🧠.75
🎉🎉🎉

manitou 3:04 AM  

Dude... Arya Stark!

chefwen 3:09 AM  

I feel a little smarter today than yesterday when Robyn kicked my butt into next week. Finished with no outside help in record time, well Jon did supply me with 48D but was unsure of the spelling.

STEAMBOAT WILLIE brought on a big smile, I can picture him tapping that big foot and whistling.

BOSS BATTLE? I have yet to play a video game.

AdamW 3:51 AM  

Arie Luyendyk was an auto racer who died during a race. @Frantic

Ann Howell 3:55 AM  

My fave so far this week! Really fun, and - okay - a tad easy for a Friday, but it's always nice to get through a puzzle without too much slog.

Z 6:23 AM  

There are two ARIE Luyendyks. Junior was the one on The Bachelor. The clue really isn’t specific enough to know which generation is correct, but the absence of “Jr.” gives a slight edge to the ELDER Luyendyk. Both are still alive as far as I know.

I don’t typically time myself, and even less so later in the week, but I feel like my 13:31 gives me an easy/medium benchmark. Just a little hang up in the NW (role and Hexa and not remembering BOSS BATTLE) kept this from being easy.

I’m pretty much with Rex, nice long answers but the plethora of four letter words nearly made me swear. Still, not that much ese and the payoff seems worth it. BTW, that ARIE is well-known to Bachelor fans is irrelevant to the answer’s inherent eseness. Yoko Ono is famous, but that doesn’t explain why she appears 100 times more often than John Lennon.

Oh, one other hang-up in the NW was wasting way too many nanoseconds wondering if that weird little symbol Apple uses as a command key (is that the right term?) on its keyboards has a name. Oh, yep, “command key” it is, ⌘. Or “looped square,” apparently. Anyway, that caused a weird sort of let down when LOWER CASE I became obvious. I think Rex’s take on LOWER CASE I is correct, but I didn’t like it while solving.

GILL I. 6:38 AM  

Happy feet, klutzy feet..tap dancing, falling on my face....hip hop all over the place. Finally lifted my tutu and the plie ensued. Brava. I'll take the bow.
I stared for some time. Not like in a lover's eyes KINDA way, more like "Where the hell do I begin?" Ooh, look...It's STEAM BOAT WILLIE. I know that one. Of course I know ALVA, who doesn't? The MRE disgusting meal that should be outlawed, was next in. And so the east coast was done.
Move back to the west coast. SHALE SLAB AWLS. Bang bang. Something LETS...Ah THINGS SLIDE makes sense. Bang bang again. And so it went. I love these long answers. Sometimes a little letter or two is all you need to get that light bulb moment. Fun. I feel so smart.
I had two huh's. I cheated on 10A. I didn't know SPIN. I had the SP but didn't know the rest of the story. Still, I felt pretty good. BOSS BATTLE was the other. I had it in there but I checked to make sure it was something an ADULT ODIST would utter. It is.
My pasta never contains an INI. Butter, yes...but never an INI. LUCA wouldn't approve.

PG Bartlett 6:39 AM  

Fastest I've done a Friday ever. My time of 4:42 even smoked Rex, a rare event for me.

amyyanni 6:47 AM  

Erebus is new to me, happy to learn more Greek mythology. All the long downs were delightfully different. Happy Friday.

Lobster11 6:48 AM  

"This puzzle should play easier-than-usual for most people, and who doesn't like that?"

Me. I don't like that. I'm the opposite of a speed-solver; I print the late-week puzzles on paper and (weather permitting) relax with them out on my deck while watching the birds. The way I think of it, the longer a puzzle takes me to finish the more entertainment I'm getting for my dollar. I kinda miss the days, when I first started solving regularly, when a tough Friday or Saturday puzzle would take me an hour or two.

So, this one was too easy for my taste; it was just over much too quickly.

pabloinnh 6:53 AM  

Started confidently with SLATE and that was the only blip on today's radar as everything else went in lickety-split and I was done too soon. BOSSBATTLE was new to me, I've never seen The Bachelor, or had any desire to, and missed out on the whole GOT phenomenon, so even in the comments I feel outside the pop culture mainstream, and that's OK. STEAMBOATWILLIE is way more within my frame of reference.

Only other slight hesitation was seeing if FULL or HALF was going to be the NELSON in question.

Fun Friday, GT, but for me anyway a little easier than my Friday expectations.

Hungry Mother 6:58 AM  

Quite easy today. I needed a lift in spirits this morning, and this helped.

Lewis 7:03 AM  

@mathgent -- Only four terrible threes!

Before we totally leave yesterday's gem...
Clue: [Wish]
Answer: Today's 36A

This puzzle has eight NYT answer debuts, making for plenty of freshness for veteran solvers, my two favorite being PULL RANK ON and LETS THINGS SLIDE. I was held up in the NW for a bit because I was sure of NEIL and felt confident about slapping COMMAND KEY in at [Character of Apple products] (Hi, @Z!), especially after the E of KEY worked with the E of NEIL. Ditched that soon enough.

KING next to ESTER made me think of "Ahasueros".

There was enough white after first pass to allow for plenty of the sweet work of fill-in that makes crosswords so pleasurable. Thank you for a lovely puzzle, Grant!

Alex M 7:06 AM  

I must disagree on your proposed definition of crosswordese. It is generally meant to denote a word used or seen almost exclusively in crosswords, or a person not noteworthy enough to appear in the grid on their own merit, save for their name's convenient vowels. It's a moniker intended for ULU moreso than ONO. Grid frequency can certainly be a factor, although Rex seems to more often bring up how *rarely* an entry has appeared when condemning it as utter 'ese (i.e. "this person has appeared just TWICE during the entire Shortz era [clearly no one knows/cares about them enough to put them in the grid unless needs must]"

Anonymoose 7:08 AM  

Five. Five. Five puzzles in one. Quintuple your pleasure. Quintuple your fun. Loved it.

kitshef 7:15 AM  

For a while, I thought we had a themed Friday. First that interesting grid. Then two of my earlier clues were both "?" clues involving "character" (for LOWER CASE I and STORE OWNER).

For some reason Tuesday shows up on Friday. A few proper nouns needed crosses – ELON, ATRI, LUCA, NESS. Everything else went in with barely a thought.

In Genesis, God gives to man “every herb bearing seed”. So keep your hands off of the FERNs.

TTrimble 7:16 AM  

My experience was like that of @chefwen: yesterday's I found quite brutal but today's was a pretty smooth ride, with a time close to a PR.

Since I've been doing the puzzles at the NYT website, with the clock running and the solve times archived and averaged, I've becoming Rex-like in my obsession over time -- not necessarily a good thing. My hair was on fire yesterday trying to get through it and not seeing the crucial clue until pretty late, and my time was well worse than average. A bad way to start the day (a day where I had to get work done). But I was glad to read about the delight in others that the puzzle produced, and it helped me smell the roses where before I was pricked by thorns.

I found today's admirable. Love how those long answers fit seamlessly together with very few groaners for the short ones running orthogonally. I don't think I need to be "wowed" by the fill when overall the craftsmanship is so high. BTW, why on earth should ATRI be a groaner? Isn't it the title of a well-known poem, Mr. Literature Professor!? It's completely fair.

---[SB Alert]---

---[possible spoilers, but yesterday's words are rot-13-encoded]---

Not much joy in yesterday's. While I didn't have a lot of time to work on it, I think this was the first time I hadn't got to genius since I've been doing them. Couldn't see the critical answer (ROT-13) ubzrcntr and not sure I ever would have, since I hardly recognize that as a single word. I'd better file away tntr and buzntr (oh, I get it now, it's like nzcrentr) and bbzcnu.

And Wednesday I seemed to have missed QB by one. I am really sorely tempted to award myself QB there because I could have sworn I tried the missing word BLOBBY, even more than once, so that later in the day I'd subvocalise, nah, I already tried that one. Very annoying and surprising to see that in the list, having dismissed it.

Congrats to Pamela, who seems to be on a QB tear recently. Now, onto today's.

Mickey Bell 7:24 AM  

A gift after yesterday’s punishment for living! Near-record solve for me. Kudos!

ChuckD 7:29 AM  

First look at the grid brought a wince - but it was an overall enjoyable solve by the end of it. Those long blocks with the 4 letter fill must have been tough to create - result was some good some bad. Most of the longs were snappy and fresh - especially liked the STEAMBOAT WILLIE/BART cross adjacent to PULL RANK ON. The center block was elegant also extending into CRABCAKES and STARE INTO. Pretty quick time that would have been faster less the obscure and irrelevant short fill - NESS, NEIL, ARIE etc.

On to another oppressive heat day - at least our past time is back and the Yanks are undefeated.

kitshef 7:37 AM  

@AdamW - I don't know who you are thinking of, but it's definitely not ARIE Luyendyk. Junior and Senior are both alive and well.

Funny how crosswordese is context-dependent. ARIE clued as India ARIE is, for me, crosswordese. India ARIE is unknown to me outside of crosswords.

But ARIE clued as Luyendyk is not. Two-time Indy 500 winner, and even though I am not a fan of motor sports I've heard the name scores of times.

pyroclasts 8:02 AM  

I generally can’t solve Fri or Sat puzzles without some googling, but I did this one without any aids in under 25 mins! Probably my favorite Fri puzzle I’ve done

SharEOWNEd instead of STOREOWNER was my main trip up, which took a while to figure out

Z 8:06 AM  

@Alex M - Hmmm... I don't think your examples quite get at how most people use "crosswordese." Here's Rex's definition with emphasis added: SPOOR — a word I use sometimes for what others call "crosswordese" — i.e. horrible little words that appear in crosswords all out of proportion to the frequency with which they appear in ordinary human speech. They are nuisance words that are in the grid ONLY because of their ultra useful letter combos. They are inevitable, but a glut of them can really ruin a puzzle. So Ono and Eno and Oreo and Mt Etna. I feel like you are mixing "crosswordese" with something being "crossworthy." Again, Rex's definition: CROSSWORTHY — worthy of being in crosswords, i.e. sufficiently famous. Most crosswordese is crossworthy, just not to the degree that the answer appears. "Ulu" edges towards the kind of trivia that is hard to justify as "crossworthy," but I think it's mostly used in regards to PPP, like U Nu (BTW - I've been reading Rex a long time and never recall him usng "spoor.")

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

Jean Auel, not Jane.

Petsounds 8:27 AM  

Some really bad advice for Rex today: Watch more Bachelor shows and play shoot-em-up video games. Life is short and neither of these things is worth it, not even to boost your solve time.

So many long answers, and really liked them! So many short answers, and...well, OK. The one that really got me was 30A: With B_RT, I realized it had to be that annoying Simpson kid--a big surprise. Pretty easy and pretty enjoyable.

Joe R. 8:37 AM  

I started out by confidently throwing AMBER into 1A, and things went downhill from there. Had a lot of wrong answers I felt sure of throughout the puzzle. A little frustrating today, but still got through it.

OffTheGrid 8:44 AM  

@Pamela. I read Auditioner as auctioneer, too, and put in "bids".

Other: I had _A_A in 13D. HMMM? papa? mama? NANA?

42A I had _____OWNER. Which stock is it? I had "ranch" and "ShaRE" before STORE.

No UGGS in this one. I really enjoyed it, especially since Fridays sometimes chew me up.

The Joker 8:53 AM  

For 35A, how about "cry from a successful gigolo"?

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

Easy easy easy. Mistaking auditioner as auctioneer as a quick first glance I cost myself time.

Apple? LOWERCASEi?

My God man, this is the NYT

MickMcMick 8:57 AM  

Easy Friday, long answers were a gift.

Hartley70 8:57 AM  

This was a slow starter. The look of the grid was interesting since I like stacks, even mini ones. I was roaming around the grid without much luck until I decided to try STREAMBOATWILLIE and kaboom I was in. The other answers fell like dominos as I went clockwise around the grid. I have to agree based on time that this was an easy solve, but without Mickey’s ancestor, I might have found it harder to chew.

Sir Hillary 9:03 AM  

I looked at this one and steeled myself for Saturday difficulty. I struggled for a bit in the NW, but NEIL Gaiman got me a foothold, PINT came next, then ISAT, and from there the whole corner fell. Then I solved the rest: SW, center, SE, NE, in that order. Ended up being not nearly the grind I had anticipated.

The quality of the long answers far outweighs the fact that there are so many short answers. BOSSBATTLE is new to me, but it's great. HAIKU clue is goofy, but fun.

HIGHSCORES from me.

Birchbark 9:12 AM  

ADULT is an interesting word. It is both suitable and unsuitable for work.

Favorite word: RUNTO.

IN RE the fear and loathing of crosswordese and undesirable words -- without weeds, there would be no prairies.

Nancy 9:18 AM  

This was like two different puzzles -- the left side blissfully free of obscure proper names and the right side swimming in them. Or you might say BOATing in them. When your foundational East Coast answer is some title of some obscure cartoon from heaven knows how long ago, you're going to cause some misery to a certain number of solvers. Hand up for being one of those solvers. And my misery was only compounded by HTML, ARIE, LUCA and NESS (no, not that NESS) close nearby.

I did solve this thing, though. One clue I loved: IN OVERTIME (12D). I liked the answer LOWERCASEI (14A). And I have the kind of ear for poetry that knew HAIKU (23D) directly from the clue without even checking the number of letters needed. Continuing right along on poetry: I guess Wordsworth (26D) wrote some odes, but I wouldn't say he was especially known as an ODIST. Poetry Rule #1 in crosswords: Write even one ode and you're an ODIST. Those letters seem to work better in a crossword grid than P-O-E-T.

Avuncularo 9:20 AM  

I met Neil on a train platform in Philly. Agree - nice guy!

Avuncularo 9:22 AM  

What happened? That was the fastest I’ve ever done any crossword from any day. 4:32. I’m normally 8 mins or so for Monday/Tuesday and 30+ for Friday. I should go buy a lottery ticket!

Pamela 9:24 AM  

SB——

@TTrimble- ubzrcntr was the last word I got- just a wild stab in the dark that connected when I was about to give up. More luck than anything else.

Why is it that every day the new letters look impossible at first glance? Then words start to come, then a few more... then a blank. That’s where I am so far today.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

I think Arie Sr. would be very surprised to hear that as he is, in fact, alive and well. Your rumor of his death is greatly exaggerated. : )

Rube 9:34 AM  

Right on. Too easy on a Friday is a criticism. I liked this puzzle largely because I blanked on________ Willie which is really a gimme, but that slowed me down as it forced me to get a bunch of other stuff in NE.

57stratocaster 9:36 AM  

What fun. A puzzle like this is why I do puzzles. I got bits and pieces until it all came together. The things I didn't know (atri, elon, erebus) I could get through crosses. I was shocked when I finished and got the happy music, as
I was sure I had something wrong.
Thank you Grant.

Teedmn 9:37 AM  

NEIL Gaiman donated to the GoFundMe fund to benefit Uncle Hugo's, the science fiction bookstore I (used to) frequent that was burned to the ground in the Minneapolis riots. So he seems like a nice guy to me.

I was with @Hartley70 in starting slow on this. I have today off so I was thinking Saturday. Why thinking of the wrong day would affect how I approach my solve, I don't know.

Having NEIL in the grid and then TINE, I pulled TINE out, not liking that __EI at the end of 14A. Finally getting LOWER CASE i was fun.

My other write-over was at 51D. I went with TV channels and thought a chip would block it (all the while thinking "shouldn't it be V-CHIP?")

Grant Thackray, thanks for the interesting Friday solve.

Whatsername 9:37 AM  

Before I began this morning, my thought was that Friday has a tough act to follow after that smash hit from yesterday. I was prepared to be generous with praise if necessary but soon found no need to compensate as this was one of the best Fridays in a while. The unique grid with the KINDA mini puzzle right in the center was a pleasure. Loved the Apple clue and the very clever play on “character” that made me smile bigly. On the easy side for those honing their skills and yet lots of freshness for veteran solvers. So while Robyn on Thursday got a brava, to Grant and Friday I say bravo!

@Frantic (2:27) thanks for the Godfather clip. It was the first thing I thought of when I saw that clue.

@Adam (3:51) As @Z said, both ARIE Luyendyks are alive and well. You may be thinking of an accident involving Arie Sr. during an IROC race at Indy in 1998. The violent impact and ensuing red flag led to premature reports of his death before he was even off the track.

Here’s a good laugh to start your weekend - the Seinfeld version of
You Want A Piece OFME

Rube 9:38 AM  

Please explain why you had to "cheat" for 10A. You had the SP. At some point you must have gotten INOVERTIME and NANA sort of just comes naturally.

Nancy 9:47 AM  

It seems that everyone found this puzzle "easy" except me. I didn't find it terribly hard, but I certainly didn't find it easy. And there's your PPP Divide: If you happen to know BOSS BATTLE, STEAMBOAT WILLIE, HTML, ARIE, LUCA and NESS, you're going to find this puzzle a lot easier than I did. Because the rest of the non-PPP fill is pretty easy.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Interesting, I misread it the same way. Is there a name for that?

Taffy-Kun 10:06 AM  

I apply for membership in the “auction” “audition” club”

JD 10:08 AM  

@Birchbark, I liked Adult. When millennial daughter moved into her first nice apartment, friend sent a card that said "Adulting Like A Boss." That's how I got Boss Battle. Figured the term started with video games.

@Bauskern from yesterday, don't think of it as a vow. A substage of "Rex is depressing and will now be skipped" is "Surely he'll like this one." He probably won't.

*SB* Spoiler From Yesterday

@TTrimble, I didn't know it was two words either and the funny thing was I had spelled it out in one of the first words I threw down, missing only the E.

Newboy 10:10 AM  

Haven’t even read Rex or commentariat......but let me say I HATE A CONSTELLATION OF MINI-GRIDS posing as a puzzle! Thanks now I feel better. I may return after I complete my timeout sitting in the corner for having a tantrum.

Carola 10:23 AM  

An enjoyable, fast Friday - except for that nice fake-out of the LOWERCASEI. Terrific long Downs, I thought. Smiles at AWL x ALL and the inventor's stack of ELON Musk over Tesla's rival Thomas ALVA Edison.

Help from previous puzzles: ARIE. No idea: BOSS BATTLE. Memory lane moment: CRAB CAKES! Sadly unavailable here in the land of cheese curds.

@mathgent, as with @Lewis, you've also got me checking the puzzles for terrible threes :)

Ferguson 10:27 AM  

I’m with you on the speedsters. Who cares if you finish in under 5 minutes! Much more fun thinking through the clues. This one was surprisingly easy for a Friday but very enjoyable even if it took me 36 minutes.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

@Birchbark - re: ADULT, I had the thought that adult in this case is perhaps quite immature - as in adult humour or the ladies might think boyish not adult in a sexual manner

RooMonster 10:38 AM  

Hey All !
Funky grid. Put me in the KINDA-like-five-mini-puzs group. Kept plugging away haphazardly in various areas until sections fell.

Embarrassingly had drEAMBOATWILLIE first. Har. SPIN as clued was a WOE for me. Had okrA for a bit for TUNA. Wrote in BOSSlevel first, then saw it was too short, and then saw "level" was in the clue! Oops. Also in NW, Stria-SHALE. Another embarrassing misstep, HIGHSChool for HIGHSCORES. Talk about a head scratching moment. "How is HIGH SChool AKIN to an arcade?" Har.

Liked the anagram cross of BAIL/BALI.(SW) SE corner F-ful! IM IN 😃.

MRE stands for Meals Ready-to-Eat. They are basically dried foods or tightly packed moist food. Some are actually decent. I didn't eat too many, as was on base with the Chow Hall. (Army Guy here.)

So a nice themeless, didn't find it super easy as some of y'all, finished in 6x Rex, 33 minutes. Nice one Grant.

Four F's (all SE)
ONE OFF OF ME
RooMonster
DarrinV

pmdm 10:39 AM  

A word can have more than one definition. Crosswordese seems to me to refer to different types of words. ONO and ALAI certainly fall into the category of crosswordese. But so does SPOOR. Is this a Monty Python discussion?

Based on the constructor comments, it seems this constructor treats building a puzzle somewhat in the fashion of what to me can resemble an ego trip. (No judgment intended.) Often, I am on a different wavelength as the constructor. That certainly is the case today. (Again no judgment intended.) Unfortunately, I ride on a different wavelength as the constructor does. And apparently many who comment on this site.

TJS 10:41 AM  

@Nancy, "obscure cartoon from heaven knows how long ago". You might want to look into that. I doubt if there has been any history of animation that doesn't reference Steamboat Willie. It's funny because, lately, I have found myself so much in agreement with you and/or @Gill I. that I . have decided not to even add my two cents worth.

On a different note, I forgot to mention yesterday how aggravating it was to see Barry Manilow in any way given equal billing with Joanie Mitchell. Jeez.

Newboy 10:59 AM  

Having recovered a bit of ADULT perspective, I (or should that be i) did enjoy the long answers and cluing fun so many noted. At least Grant fessed up on xwordinfo that “I'll admit that the grid layout isn't exactly elegant.” We do have our triggers, don’t we?

@Pamela wasn’t the only one for “auctioneer” as mental SILT blocking a smooth start; hand up here too...repeatedly.

@Whatsername thanks for clip & comment. Any chance to revisit the classics like Seinfeld/Godfather brings a smile.

Any puzzle is better than no puzzle & either BART or STEAMBOAT WILLIE revisited could brighten even EREBUS’s darkest hour, so a grudging thanks Grant. I await your next gaming gambit.

Sir Hillary 11:00 AM  

So...23-Down
has a KINDA meta clue.
No one's dissed it yet.

Z 11:05 AM  

@pmdm - Ugh. I just read the constructor’s comments. “Narcissistic” and “egocentric” are the more charitable reactions I had. Calling people not into video games “luddites” is too much narrow-minded ignorance for me.

mathgent 11:06 AM  

As Lewis noted, only four Terrible Threes. Excellent! Lots of fours though, 34. OK trade-off?

I love seeing crosswordese that hasn’t been around much lately, like ATRI. It used to be common.

Nancy, does not knowing LUCA Brasi mean that you’ve never seen The Godfather?

NYT screwed up my internet connection and they say that it will take a couple of days to fix. I did the puzzle out of this morning’s paper. I missed doing it last night.

It wasn’t bad but low on sparkle.

BART Simpson is important?







Nancy 11:08 AM  

@TJS (10:41) --When STEAMBOAT WILLIE finally came in -- almost in spite of itself, but fortunately pattern recognition played an important role -- the fog shrouding my river fell away and I practically yelled out: "Oh, yes! STEAMBOAT WILLIE! I remember you!!!" The title, though, not the actual cartoon. And that was only after it came in. Before it came in, my reaction was quite different, as in "How the bleep am I possibly supposed to know what cartoon title is referenced in the Walt Disney logo?"

It seems that it may have been on the tip of everyone's tongue, but it wasn't on the tip of mine. Now, perhaps there was a Walt Disney documentary on PBS not all that long ago (I think there was, actually) that mentioned it and that's why, once it was written in, I belatedly remembered it. But it was no blasted help while I was solving. It's the sort of thing that, if I ever knew it, I would promptly forget.

BTW, @TJS, you can always "put in your two cents" as far as I'm concerned. I enjoy your posts a lot.

Frantic Sloth 11:18 AM  

**Breakfast test warning**

@GILL I. 638am Loved your dancing intro, up to and including "Finally lifted my tutu and the plié ensued. Brava. I'll take the bow."
Only I read "plié" as "pile" and my alleged mind was off to the potty-training Olympics, where you earned the "Brava. I'll take the bow." Alas, you didn't win, but you came in #2.🥈

GILL I. 11:30 AM  

@Rube 9:38. I wasn't at all sure about IN OVER TIME and my mind kept thinking PAPA or MAMA. I should've known NANA since my grandmother was one. Sometimes we just have blips in or brains.... just look at @Nancy and her STEAMBOAT WILLIE....
@mathgent 11:06. Evidently BART was chosen - right up there with Picasso and James Joyce - because he was influential. Just think of how many people now say "Eat my shorts." :-)

Nancy 11:35 AM  

@mathgent (11:06) -- Yes, emphatically, not knowing LUCA means I have never seen or read The Godfather. Nor The Godfathers 2 and 3 either. (Is there a 3? Is there a 4?) I've also avoided Goodfellas, The Sopranos; Gangs of New York; Prizzi's Honor; and the novels Honor Thy Father and The Valachi Papers. Have I left anything out that I also avoided?

I grew up in an era when the Mafia was powerful and very, very nasty. It was also an era when many, many, many books were being written about them. By such writers as Puzo, Pileggi and Talese. I didn't want to read about Mafia "customs", be an onlooker at their opulent weddings and funerals; be told about their abiding love for their families and what great Dads they were. I've had one approach to the Mafia and, as it turns out, it's been a lifelong approach:

If the Mafia leaves me alone, I'll leave the Mafia alone.

So far, so good.










What? 11:36 AM  

Not so easy but finished with no errors so much fun.
Funny how things just pop into your head Steamboat Willie I remember him.

Anonymous 11:41 AM  

I thought it was RUNT O!

@A:
Calling people not into video games “luddites” is too much narrow-minded ignorance for me.

A badge I wear with honor. Give me an analog pinball game any day of the month, esp. the kind that trap a lot of balls, then release them all at once if you hit the right target.

Magister E 11:47 AM  

Here's my boss battle contribution: https://youtu.be/7ZRZMx7r_xY
Having that song on my most frequently played helped me get that pretty quick.

Bit of a novice here, but I handled everything up until ODIST and RUNTO and I ended up cheating to look up ESTER. I'm perfectly comfortable just not knowing Odist and Ester (and sure didn't know Arie), but something about Total as RunTo just did not click.

Masked and Anonymous 11:51 AM  

yep. Easy-kinda ride for a FriPuz.
Luved the puzgrid art -- it really is tryin to move the goalposts.

staff weeject pick (of only 4 choices): INI. Better clue: {Mini innie??}.

Lotsa sparkly longballs in this rodeo. faves included: STEAMBOATWILLIE. PULLRANKON, CRABCAKES. GOINGVIRAL. TRUETOLIFE. RUNT-O.
Great LOWERCASEI clue. Learned new: BOSSBATTLE. Together, they helped M&A boost his nanosecond usage a bit, in the openin NW corner. But EREBUS helped m&e out of that bossy battle zoone.

Interestin info, on BART (Simpson). [DOH ... Homer was robbed.]

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Thackray. Primo set of long entries. "Poke bowl"?

Masked & Anonymo5Us


**gruntz**

David 11:54 AM  

That is literally the only Disney clue I will ever be able to confidently fill in. Well, that and Elsa, I learned about her entirely through the NYTXW. And I like Willie crossing microfilm; there must be at least one containing his cels, probably more.

Last time I thought of a half nelson was approximately when I was relieved of my selective service obligations and the country stopped having General Inductees in the armed forces who ate Field Rations. That was about 46 years ago. Can you can it with the GI clues Will?

Doesn't a moi mean "to me?" It did when I studied French. Maybe it's different in Canada.

No clue about: Neil, Elon, Luca, Arie, Ness, Atri, or boss battle. Didn't know Bart was that, but had the B and T, so it was easy. Had tofu before tuna and I always spell those boots "ughs," ugh. Oh, and NSFW is "adult?" I was hoping that would be explained here, guess I'll google it.

Very good long answers helped fill out a lot of unkowns.

Having arcade and blowing up on line clues under boss battle is also
very good indeed.

jb129 12:05 PM  

OMG - 2nd day in a row I didn't finish - am I losing my knack?????

Alexander 12:06 PM  

“Adult” as in “adult material” or “adult only”, often referring to pornography

Alexander 12:07 PM  

This one just clicked with me and found it incredibly easy for a Friday - my fastest one yet of just over 11 minutes

Lindsay 12:13 PM  

Seems to be a trend of seeing 'auctioneer' rather than 'auditioner'. I had 'sale' for the longest time, and didn't understand how it fit when PART made an appearance.

bauskern 12:16 PM  

That BART Simpson is listed as one of the most influential 100 people of the century just reveals how far we have fallen as a society. That is just an embarrassment. I really really enjoyed this one, did not find it easy (went with AMBER right off the bat), but it's Friday. I'm not looking for easy. Didn't notice the amount (volume) of short fill, but found it pretty fresh. While I normally cringe at Rex's constant negativity, I do agree with one of his points today: speed on a puzzle has less to do w/ intelligence, and much more w. simply becoming familiar with various words that recur frequently.

CT2Napa 12:17 PM  


@adamw is thinking of Ayrton Senna, formula one driver who died in a crash in the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994

jberg 12:17 PM  

So at 14A I had LOW---- and thought, "well, Jobs always wanted a sleek design, and if you think of the iPD or iPhone you could say they each has a LOW profile." That held me up for a bit--long enough that I tried to think of something other than a PINT you might buy at a pub -- but eventually the crosses sorted it out for me. It was a great answer, actually, as were most of the longer ones. I vaguely recall someone explaining the BOSS BATTLE somewhere a month or so ago, but I couldn't remember the BATTLE part, so that took a lot of crosses.

So I liked it, maybe a little more than Rex did.

I'm eternally grateful, though, that ATRI and ADANO don't have the same number of letters as each other.

Not really ideal to have RUN TO, PULL RANK ON, and then ON TO all in the grid. Or maybe that's meant to be a nice touch -- duplicating two different two-letter prepositions with one answer!

STEAMBOAT WILLIE is a great answer, but not that much of a cartoon. But apparently it was a technical breakthrough -- the first cartoon where the sound was synchronized with the visual images.

I thought Mt. EREBUS was the highest mountain in Antarctica, but I just looked it up and it's only #6, so I don't know where I got that idea. Not that you really needed to know that; I'd better quit now.

Big Daddy Dave 12:18 PM  

Hey Rex:

It's been two days -- TWO! -- since the NYTXW website will not display the puzzle. Because the site will not display it (my browser says "internal server error"), the site will not allow you to print it. Comments are all over WordPlay, but nothing from you. Can you get your buddy Mr. Shortz to fix this problem? And let us know your thoughts on it?

TTrimble 12:22 PM  

@MaskedAndAnonymous
Since you had a question mark: pronounce "Poke" with two syllables. A poke bowl is a Hawaiian dish made with raw fish together with rice, vegetables, seasonings, etc. If you like sushi, you'd probably like poke.

@MagisterE
You might say, "the bill ran to hundreds of dollars".

Nerk 12:38 PM  

I misread “Venerable sort” as “Vulnerable sort” but already had “ELD_R” so I filled it in correctly but felt like it was kind of a cruel answer. Didn’t notice that I misread it until I read Rex’s writeup.

Easy as pie for me, first sub 10:00 Friday in months which always feels good. Almost all great fill which probably contributed to the easiness, but they weren’t all gimmes. Great sparkly puzzle in my opinion.

Swagomatic 12:45 PM  

This was a perfectly cromulent puzzle - and cool looking too.

QuasiMojo 1:05 PM  

@Nancy, you crack me up! I feel exactly the same way you do about Mafia movies or books. No interest. Add "Casino" to your list. But I should let you know, in case someone else hasn't, that "Gangs of New York" was about Irish gangs in Hell's Kitchen in the mid-19th Century.

CT2Napa 1:06 PM  


No one has mentioned that Steamboat Willie was the beginning of Mickey Mouse, who was in part responsible for the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act (i.e. Mickey Mouse Protection Act) which keeps him out of the public domain until 2024.

Whatsername 1:08 PM  

@Alex M (12:29) Pop culture? I knew ARIE from Luyendyk Sr.’s racing career over 20 years ago. Never watched an episode of Bachelor in my life.

@Nancy (9:18) Years ago, I lived in the “mob“ section of Kansas City, heavily Italian and known as one of the safest parts of the entire metro area at that time. Everyone knew that one of the local businesses was a regular gathering place for the big bosses. It was even featured in the movie Casino, albeit under a different identity. The practice of “you leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone” was understood. Don’t ask, don’t tell, you don’t wanna know. And yet I enjoy watching those movies because they remind me of that era and a place where I had good friends and always felt very safe.

kitshef 1:18 PM  

@jberg - were you possibly thinking of Mt. Elbrus - the tallest in Europe?

Or maybe that EREBUS is the tallest active volcano in Antarctica?

Space Is Deep 1:35 PM  

I never time myself, but this had to be one of my fastest Friday puzzles ever. I wasn't trying to go fast, never do. There just wasn't much to slow me down. In my wheelhouse.

Doc John 1:49 PM  

Not much to really add to so I'll just throw this out there in honor of STEAMBOAT WILLIE. Interestingly, as a friend who bought it told me, even though the outside is all monochrome, the insides are not. Because LEGO.

Oh Please 1:52 PM  

FIrst reactions depend on your age and gender. Mu first thought for -gram was 'mammogram' & 2nd thought was 'telegram.'

Pamela 1:52 PM  

I’m delighted to see so many votes for auct- over aud- My face is much less red now.

In defense of SP blank blank, anything other than ION, ANION, PROTON or the like is a mystery to me. The last letter could have been M, N, or P, or some childish garbling like Gama or Gaga for Grandma. And in addition to that, I had oNOVERTIME, not IN for the other cross. So it took a while.

@David- NSFW- Google says Not Safe For Work. Not quite sure how that works with ADULT, but OK with me as it made more sense than not. And a moi can also mean mine in Paris, where I learned to use it.

@Big Daddy Dave- I have an icon on my iPad for the puzzle, and it’s been opening every day. I’m not sure how I got it, but it must have been from a link on the NYT website.

SB. ——

Still stuck at Amazing. Sigh.

DigitalDan 1:58 PM  

Only twice Rex's time -- perhaps a new record.
It would be interesting to have a video of Rex solving a NYT puzzle; as has often been stated, most of us couldn't type in a copy of the solution as rapidly as he claims to solve most puzzles. Even those where he claims to have had a bit of difficulty.

Masked and Anonymous 2:04 PM  

@TTrimble 12:22pm: Thanx for the info. Relieved to know, that a "poke bowl" is not just a "punch bowl" variant with TUNA swimmin around in it. [Altho I've sure seen worse, floatin in a punch bowl.]

I'm thinkin "elbow bowl" has a cool ring to it …

Steamboat M&A

Barbara S. 2:05 PM  

@David 11:54
"À moi" has different meanings depending on context:

C'est à moi = it's mine

Viens à moi = come to me

DigitalDan 2:05 PM  

To fans, Arie Luyendyk is one of the classical names in open wheel racing -- father and son. Sr. is a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, fkrissake. Jr. didn't do his reputation any good, as I recall, when he showed up on that horrid reality show.

pyroclasts 2:07 PM  

@David @Pamela

NSFW is internet speak for adult content (nudity, pornography, gore, etc.)

GILL I. 2:17 PM  

@Frantic...You seem to always make me laugh out loud. Truth be told, Autocorrrect thought it was a smarty pants and changed it to pile. Thankfully (or maybe not) I actually checked my spelling.

@Nancy....Yeah, me too. I was never interested in the goombas. I didn't grow up in a Mafia era unless you want to count Che and his thugs. He was more powerful than Fidel and you bet your sweet bippy, he controlled everything. About the only things "mafia ish" that I watched was The Sopranos. The actors were so darn good.....I never wanted Tony to die.

@David: 11:54. yeah, I agree with you regarding Mine, in Montreal. I always thought mine was "mien" while It's mine is c'est A MOI....?

Joe Dipinto 2:20 PM  

@Bauskern → That Bart Simpson is listed as one of the most influential 100 people of the century just reveals how far we have fallen as a society. That is just an embarrassment.

Time Magazine is an embarrassment. Does anyone even read it anymore? The list included Bart Simpson but not Elvis Presley, who they felt was unworthy because he didn't write his own songs. Here's something else from its Wiki entry:

In February 2016, Time mistakenly included the male author Evelyn Waugh on its "100 Most Read Female Writers in College Classes" list (he was 97th on the list). The error created much media attention and concerns about the level of basic education among the magazine's staff.[38] Time later issued a retraction.[38] In a BBC interview with Justin Webb, Professor Valentine Cunningham of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, described the mistake as "a piece of profound ignorance on the part of Time magazine".[39]

mathgent 2:22 PM  

@Whatsername (1:08). Nice comment. It reminds me of Bugsy Siegel’s line. “We only shoot each other.”

GHarris 2:31 PM  

@Whatsername
Yes in the Bronx there was a similar neighborhood where everyone felt safe because of a Mafia presence, unless you were Black.
I'm sure that there was very little street crime in Hitler's Germany. It's one thing to avoid Mafia flicks but to fondly reminisce about the safety of mob dominated streets is a mistake in my humble opinion.

bertoray 2:38 PM  

My sentiments exactly.

RooMonster 2:53 PM  

**SB Ramblings**
***With Spoilers***

YesterBee didn't accept hemophage. Why not? I actually came up with that all on my own, then looked it up afterward to verify it was spelled correctly. Entered it again, but "Not in List". Hmm. And gamehog would've been neat.
Todays doesn't have two peoples, aztec one, celtic other.
Haven't had a QB since 7/15, and that was with help of looking at past misses. The ole brain seems to be getting cloudier on the Bee. I find easy words well into the solve thinking there aren't any easy words left. Is this happening to anyone else? I often (usually) get to Genius, try for a few more words, then periodically come back to it throughout the day. Oh, well. Doesn't hold the sparkle for me it did in the beginning. Maybe it's a five step thing like Rex's write-ups!

RooMonster Spent Speller Guy

bertoray 2:53 PM  

The tide was with me this Friday as I sailed down this enjoyable puzzle.
BOSS BATTLE is clunky, albeit alternative. Boss fight is the term in actual usage.

ghthree 3:31 PM  

My wife Jane and I normally print out two copies before breakfast and solve on separate clipboards. Being halfway finished by lunchtime on a Friday feels good. Neither of us is a speed demon, and we stop for visitors and phone calls (usually two or more of each.) Today's puzzle raised one big question:

Has anybody but us run into problems getting the puzzle from the NYTimes in the last three days? We got Wednesday's puzzle, but yesterday and today were complete frustrations. After struggling for a while to make contact with NYTimes, I was told to check the "CROSSWORD Page." On the NYTIMES website we find no "CROSSWORD" page. There is, however, a "GAMES" page, which,after chatting with various "Agents" gets us to an "apology" message saying essentially
1: We're aware of a CROSSWORD problem.
2: We're working on it.
3: We have no idea how long it will take.

FWIW, we're running the latest version of Windows 10 (updated on Tuesday, I believe) on a Hewlett Packard desktop. We have the same problem whether we use Chrome or Firefox. We've been puzzle customers for at least ten years.

Do any of you have suggestions? It would be nice if the Times provided at least a "shortcut" to the apology page.

RooMonster 4:08 PM  

@ghthree 3:31
I haven't had troubles with the site. Weird. Maybe try typing in newyorktimes.com/puzzles in Search bar? That gets you to the "Games" page directly. Good luck to all affected by this.

Roo

Mme Laffargue 5:21 PM  

@Gill you are most correct, mien is absolument mine. Chapeau��

Whatsername 5:46 PM  

@ghthree: (3:31) Have had no problems recently. Access via desktop/printout is normal, as well as the app on my iPad. However, some time back, I did encounter an issue where the desktop version would not bring up the print page. I logged out of the site and rebooted and that fixed it. You’ve probably already tried everything, but I thought I'd give you that feedback just in case it might help. Apparently others are having problems as well. See @Big Daddy Dave’s comment above at 12:18.

@G Harris (2:31) To clarify, my reminiscing was about my own personal experience in a neighborhood among people I recall fondly. I felt safe there because it was a quiet community with families, schools, grocery stores and churches - not because of mob dominated streets. Quite the opposite. KC was mostly a peaceful place to live despite the dangers inherent in any urban setting. And I don’t know about the Bronx, but I would hardly compare the streets of any American city in that era with Hitler’s Germany. I’m at a loss as to how you correlate the description of a time and a place where “I had good friends and always felt very safe” to such a dreadful period of history, but nothing could be further from the truth.

OffTheGrid 5:50 PM  

@Roo. I tried hemophage, too, and it would have been a pangram.

burtonkd 6:05 PM  

If anyone is still wondering what HTML is, take a look at the sentence below the box you are typing in. JD sends out a nice little howto for anyone interested in sending links, etc.

JC66 6:26 PM  

@burtonkd

Did you mean me?

Anonymous 6:51 PM  

HTML is not a programming language. too many folks think so. the same folks think that xml is revolutionary; it just makes a crippled plain-text version of some 1960s databases stores.

Bruce Fieggen 7:15 PM  

Can someone please explain 40A? Why is A lot of volume?’ TOME?

Anoa Bob 7:40 PM  

I watch "Forged In Fire" and this week the two bladesmith finalists were told they had five days in their home forge to make a Japanese Samurai Battle Ax called an ONO. I definitely sat up and took note. I was in Japan for two years but never learned the Japanese word for ax. It's ONO. The Samurai ONO is an ax meant designed for combat. Hey, at least it would be a change of pace clue for that uber useful vowel-consonant-vowel sequence.

I was put off by the grid design which looked like several mini's held together rather tenuously by crossings. The center 5X5 is practically an island, an it-could-have-been-worse mini puzzle. Not into mini's. I like grids that are more open and give the puzzle a sense of wholeness and interconnectedness.

This one has 36 black squares and that's high for a themeless. Most of them are in those long black-square walls that are responsible for the segmented look. It does result in a puzzle that would be easier to make and solve and is probably why a number of commenters have said that is was very easy, some even comparing it to a Tuesday difficulty level.

TTrimble 7:47 PM  

@Bruce Fieggen
Likely someone will have already answered, but if a book is sometimes described as a volume (e.g., a volume of an encyclopedia), then a tome, being a hefty book, is "a lot of volume" (in the same way that some people refer to a woman of large proportion as "a lot of woman").

CT2Napa 7:53 PM  

@ghthree

This works for me on a chromebook and on windows

https://www.nytimes.com/crosswords/archive

NYT crossword archive

Anonymous 8:14 PM  

@Joe Dipinto-Someone said that Time Magazine’s next Man (sic) of the year will be the last one who has has a subscription to Time. I’ve heard there are fewer than twenty left.

***Spelling Bee Alert*** 8:30 PM  

@Roo and anyone else who is not feeling the Bee lately: It ain't you!
I've been doing this little exercise in futility for many months now and it is just absolutely maddening trying to keep up with the arbitrariness of it all. As if it isn't bad enough that perfectly legitimate, actual words are continuously omitted, this obsession with arcana - especially obscure cuisine and its terminology - is enough to induce apoplexy. I like a good challenge, but there is "challenge" and then there is outright, deliberate sadism.
Today's example of nightmarish skulduggery has finally pushed me over the edge. I'm done and done and done. Personally, I blame one individual: the editor, Sam Ezersky. I don't pretend to know what his damage is, but I wish he'd stop trying to inflict it on us poor, "ignorant" schlubs. So there. I said it.

...and scene. /rant

FS

GHarris 10:04 PM  

@Whatsrname
I’m sorry if I misinterpreted your earlier post but it did seem to tie the openly known presence of Mafia bosses with a feeling of safety in the community which, in turn, gave rise to fond reminiscence. My reference to Germany was to make the point that street safety enforced by unlawful means is not an acceptable bargain. I’m glad your fond memories are based on good friends and an idyllic setting. I just didn’t get that sense from your original post.

Pamela 11:24 PM  

SB Alert

I’m tired, so Igive up. Genius, but far, far away from QB. The end of a streak. I wonder what tomorrow will bring..l.

Anonymous 11:43 PM  

@GHarris, @Whatsername:

I moved to Boston in the 70s for work. Didn't pay much, so I ended up in a teeny apartment in the North End within walking distance of that work. It was 'given' that the Italians made it safe. OTOH, I was told by the landlord not to bring any Black friends around. Seems to still be true.

Whatsername 12:19 AM  

@GHarris: No apology necessary, but I do appreciate the clarification. I understand now why you interpreted it as you did and reacted as you did. The way something is said is not necessarily the way it is heard. Such is life. Have a pleasant weekend.

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

Z
Neon.
Die MannschafT gewinnt die nachsten drei Pokale.

Anonymous 9:21 PM  

As someone who is relatively new to crosswords, this was my first completed Friday. I thought this was made by someone in my age grouping (early gen z/ late millennial) and I was correct. As a non-american the only long answer I really struggled with was CRAB CAKES.

Bruce Fieggen 12:33 AM  

Thanks. Didn’t see that connection.

Unknown 11:25 AM  

It would have sped things up had I not misread auctioneer for auditioner (not a word per my phone) must do these in better light

Unknown 4:17 PM  

Vbh

thefogman 10:55 AM  

DNF. Crashed and burned in the NE corner. Had cApo/ALdo at the 13D/20A crossing.

spacecraft 11:41 AM  

HAIKU for today

Friday puzzle comes;
Solver applies HALFNELSON;
The puzzle submits.

Or:

STEAMBOATWILLIE Shortz
LETSTHINGSSLIDE at NYT:
Friday's too easy.

Weird-looking grid, with those twin giant T's lying on their sides. It looked like fun, and it KINDA was. A bit more resistance would have helped. The SE went in like a flash, which gave me STEAMBOATWILLIE--should I have needed the gift, which I didn't. I don't think I would ever STAREINTO my lover's eyes; gaze, maybe. That phrase is ONEOFF.

ATRI and BOSSBATTLE were unknown but easily fillable via crosses. "Beautiful" (in many senses) Carole KING will be DOD. Sorry for borrowing the name, Reverend Doctor. It's a comfort you weren't alive to see the current racial strife. Looks like your dream will have to wait. Puzzle: birdie.

Burma Shave 2:11 PM  

ELDER ADULT

FERN was STEAMBOATWILLIE’s wife,
she saw him GOING KINDA soft,
she LETSTHINGSSLIDE and TRUETOLIFE,
OVERTIME she’ll PULL ONEOFF.

--- ESTER “CRABCAKES” NELSON

rainforest 3:01 PM  

This puzzle committed no SINS, except in the four corners, and, after first seeming easy-ish in the NW, then challenging in the broad centre, it yielded to my foothold in the South - INI. Amazing. Anyway, the SE was relatively easy, and I was able to work counter-clockwise back up to the NW where I finally saw LOWER CASE I after I saw that LOW pRofile wasn't going to work.

Suddenly the centre no longer seemed challenging as CRABCAKES opened up everything there. I thought the 15-long downs were great and, well, overall the entire puzzle was very enjoyable. Nice Friday.

rondo 4:28 PM  

KINDA fun, KINDA easy. I think I would more likely STAREINTO space than a lover’s eyes. Speaking of which, tonight and tomorrow Jupiter and Saturn near the gibbous moon in the early evening, check it out. That’s AWLS I got.

leftcoaster 4:49 PM  

At first felt intimidated on seeing the sectioned grid layout. Then settled down, piecing it together word by word, gaining momentum as it went. That's my version of a satisfying solve.

Last section to go, often the casel, was the NW, with EREBUS crossing LOWERCASEI and BOSSBATTLE. STEAMBOATWILLIE is a Disney fossil. And isn't MICROFILM by now a fossil of the pre-high tech world ?

The best PART for me was LUCA Brasi saying, " You want a piece OF ME?"

Diana, LIW 5:41 PM  

Holden Caufield? Ha! It's BART Simpson. I weep for the future.

Not at all bad for a Friday - someone told me to never be afraid of long answers, and this puzzle proved that point - they all helped a lot.

Speaking of Greek/Roman gods, we saw a Pompeii exhibit at the local museum yesterday. (20% capacity, socially distanced start times. Even the statuary on the posters wore masks.) Interesting, but I still forget half their names. Sigh.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoaster 6:37 PM  

@Diana -- I agree with your point: Long answers can be pretty helpful...especially if there are enough of them to play off of.

wcutler 2:29 AM  

Just adding to the auctioneer count.
I liked the puzzle, never thought I was going to be able to finish it, and then letters just tumbled themselves in. It was very fair - no natticks.

erebus 7:52 PM  

unusually easy for a Friday. (my time) < 2x(Rex time). BOSS BATTLE was a complete unknown to me.

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