Notable voyager of 1497 / FRI 8-21-20 / landmark consecrated in 1561 / Imported European wheels / Suffering from desynchronosis

Friday, August 21, 2020

Constructor: Alex Eaton-Salners

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (7-something) (all of the challenge was in that lower-middle section, under the so-called "dome")

THEME: sadly, yes — sigh ... I guess the black squares are supposed to represent a single ONION DOME, even though SAINT / BASIL'S CATHEDRAL in RED SQUARE has many such domes, and even though that black-square arrangement is a pretty poor approximation of an onion dome, frankly

Word of the Day: ERDOS (15A: Paul ___, pioneer in graph theory) —
Paul Erdős (HungarianErdős Pál [ˈɛrdøːʃ ˈpaːl]; 26 March 1913 – 20 September 1996) was a renowned Hungarian mathematician. He was one of the most prolific mathematicians and producers of mathematical conjectures of the 20th century. He was known both for his social practice of mathematics (he engaged more than 500 collaborators) and for his eccentric lifestyle (Time magazine called him The Oddball's Oddball). He devoted his waking hours to mathematics, even into his later years—indeed, his death came only hours after he solved a geometry problem at a conference in Warsaw. [...] Other idiosyncratic elements of Erdős's vocabulary include:
  • Children were referred to as "epsilons" (because in mathematics, particularly calculus, an arbitrarily small positive quantity is commonly denoted by the Greek letter (ε)).
  • Women were "bosses" who "captured" men as "slaves" by marrying them. Divorced men were "liberated". (wikipedia)
• • •

I'm never going to like themes on Friday or Saturday. Well, maybe not never, but you're gonna have to do way, way better than this random trivia test w/ terrible "picture." The theme stuff itself wasn't that hard to pick up, but because it was so cut off from the rest of the grid, the stuff under the "dome" was brutal for me—like a stand-alone puzzle that was way harder than any of the rest of it (probably because the other sections have easy-to-get theme material running through them, whereas there's zero theme material in the "dome" area). But back to the theme: don't care. You deprived me of the joy I get from the zippiest puzzle day of the week with this half-assed architectural nonsense. "Consecrated in 1561," Who Cares? It's not even a proper anniversary puzzle. We have ONION DOMEs all over town, as there are a lot of Eastern Orthodox churches around Binghamton. The black squares in this puzzle don't really capture the contours of the ONION DOME very well. I feel like some alien, or one of the Teletubbies, is looking at me when I look at this puzzle. Self-indulgent nonsense. Pass.

The fill was OK, though I didn't know a bunch of the names. CABOT is a name I only kinda sorta recognize as an explorer (1D: Notable voyager of 1497). Looks like he made it to Newfoundland. Good for him. Also, that ERDOS guy, that's a name I know exclusively because of crosswords, and even then I barely know it. Math guys think other math guys are more famous than they are. I had never heard of EULER before crosswords either, but at least he seems truly worth knowing. ERDOS is math-name crosswordese. ELENA, also crosswordese, and I totally forgot she was a Disney princess. Gross to see DHS here (Department of Homeland Security)—you rarely see it in xwords, which is great, since it's terrible and should be dissolved; and double-gross to see NOT PC, which, again, if you still have crap like NOT PC or UNPC in your wordlists, what are you doing? If you're "insensitive," you're "insensitive," not NOT PC. NOT PC is the language you use when you don't actually believe you were "insensitive" at all. Only total *********s use that kind of language. Shove it. NOT PC is disavowing language. It's "I'm sorry you were offended" language. It's trollspeak. It sucks. 

I had DEM before GOV (57A: Cuomo, for one) and AGE before GPA (41D: N.C.A.A. eligibility consideration), both of which made the under-the-"dome" part additionally hard. No way I could see KITCHEN from just the -CHEN with 49A: Island locale as the clue. Clue needs a "perhaps." Lots of (most) KITCHENs do not have islands, ugh. Why can't you just make a fun, bouncy Friday themeless. Other people seem capable. It's mysterious. This showy crap is for the birds when the "show" is not impressive (as it usually is not). If you're gonna get cute, make sure you stick the landing. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. Hey, Tommy Benfey. Yes, you, Princeton. Erin asked me to wish you happy birthday yesterday but I totally bricked it because I have quarantine brain. Anyway, happy birthday, thanks for reading, and, I dunno, maybe do something special for Erin. She seems nice.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Harryp 12:12 AM  

This was in my wheelhouse for reasons I can't fathom, since I know very little about Russia, yet put in ONIONDOME and REDSQUARE with very little input as to crosses. I got THE CATHEDRAL part, and figured out SAINT, so then it became which saint. This could have been hard, but my guesses got me through any real problems. I thought it was a good puzzle by A E-S.

JS 12:22 AM  

When I first saw the grid, I was hopeful it was going to be a Devo-themed puzzle.

Frantic Sloth 12:27 AM  

Is this considered a theme puzzle? I kinda think it is, which is odd for a Fridee.

Then again, who cares? I had fun!
It must be because I felt like our wavelengths were acquainted because a lot of answers I shouldn't have been able to get right away just went ahead and plopped themselves in.
So it was quicker than most Fridees for me.

Even though I know it's a metaphor, not keen about seeing a DEADHORSE in the grid, but I admit to oversensitivity where animals are concerned.

There was a lot to like:

Grid art! And it relates to the theme but isn't the whole theme, just a pleasant surprise once I hit the revealer. (Unfortunately, unlike @Lewis and others, I usually miss these little gems entirely - to my never-ending consternation.)

STBASILSCATHEDRAL, ONIONDOMES (didn't we see something about these recently?), REDSQUARE, DESDEMONA, TAQUERIAS, QUEPASA, GOTREAL - I really could go on, but I think I made my point.

Was there any junk? If so, I never noticed. Just beautifully done and an utter joy to solve!
More like this, please!

🧠🧠(it's a wavelength thing)

David Eisner 12:28 AM  

For anybody who wants to learn more about Paul Erdős, I can recommend this biography:

Pamela 12:33 AM  

Terrific! Lots of crunch but doable. Tricky clueing made me feel stupid until I got there, then very smart. Particularly loved KITCHEN island. When’s the last time we saw PULSATE? That was cool, too.

jae 12:36 AM  

Tough. Nice to have a challenge on a Friday plus grid art. Liked it a bunch!

clincher 12:37 AM  

FWIW, Erdős was so prolific that people do "Erdős numbers", ala Bacon numbers for Kevin Bacon. I'm not a STEM person myself, but I know a few, and they know their personal Erdős numbers.
Not sure if that's a counter to Rex's point or just a fun tidbit.

Ernonymous 12:49 AM  

Enjoyed seeing my namesake Giovanni Caboto, the Italian explorer, in the puzzle. Sempre Avanti!

GHarris 12:51 AM  

Man, did I love this one, even the theme . Especially since Rex found it difficult. There was lots I didn’t know but I resisted resorting to any form of cheating and worked it out in, what for me, was a reasonable time leaving me with a chest full of much needed satisfaction and pleasure.

Marcus Chance 1:19 AM  

Hacked around the North and East until plopping down ONION DOME. That triggered the other themers for me.

Definitely like TAQUERIAS and QUEPASA.

I got 62A from the crosses but was thinking it referred to a car ("Imported European wheels" EDAMS). Never heard of that brand, I thought. It was only after I finished the puzzle that I realized they were wheels of cheese, smh.

I've been seeing that my home town of San Jose has been having bad AQI from the California wildfires. Hopeing people are staying safe out there!

JMS 1:25 AM  

I actually finished under the dome first...
Tangoed was the last to drop, and just now I see that it is tango-ed and not tan-goed... couldn’t figure what tan-go-ing could be...

chefwen 3:00 AM  

Bottom was easier than the top for me until puzzle partner took his turn and got the big stuff like SAINT BASILS CATHEDRAL. He is the travel expert, I just tag along to take pictures.

While it didn't resemble and Onion Dome in my minds eye, it was close enough.

Kinda like a theme on Friday, didn't bother me a bit. And any Friday that I get through without cheating is a win.

John Child 3:21 AM  

Excellent puzzle. The only thing wrong is that didn’t run on a Wednesday.

Music Man 6:01 AM  

Thanks for the recommendation!

TTrimble 6:12 AM  

I'm glad @David Eisner and @clincher already brought these things to attention, and I hope Michael Sharp takes the trouble sometime to educate himself a little more about mathematicians, whom he dismissively refers to as "math guys" (don't forget, there are "math gals" too, to use a similarly undignified term).

Do you refer to Einstein and Hawking as just some "physics guys"? (I chose those names because I figure those are names Sharp would be acquainted with.)

This rando math guy Erdős was only one of the most celebrated mathematicians of the twentieth century, and probably the most prolific. Of course Sharp is not alone in being ignorant of such things, but proudly parading his ignorance is just shameful. Listen to this guy: "at least he [Euler] seems truly worth knowing".

Professor Sharp, the fact that you live in a computer age is due to the efforts of mathemticians, scientists, engineers, etc. etc. who made it possible, starting arguably with Von Neumann, another "math guy" I bet you don't know. So you don't know these guys, but they have revolutionized the life circumstances of you and me.

Have a little respect. Learn a little more about the world around you. Have a little humility about things you don't know.

TTrimble 6:14 AM  

Oh yes, I liked the puzzle and did not find it difficult. That includes the stuff under the dome. One of my better times for a Friday.

Hungry Mother 6:35 AM  

DIt took a long time to find the “L” that should have been a “T”, but otherwise very fast and easy. ERDOS a breeze for me and my fellow mathletes here. Two years ago I was in St. Petersburg and saw plenty of ONIONDOMEs of various colors.

ncmathsadist 6:53 AM  

Among mathematicians, Erdos is a very well known name. He's kinda like ... Einstein or Hawking in Physics. I am a mathematician so I know that.

Also, I have traveled a lot in the Maritmes, so I know Cabot. If you have never been there, you are missing out on something great. There is nothing quite like the Cape Breton shoreline.

Lewis 6:53 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew 6:56 AM  

Hated this puzzle. The theme features the architectural design of a Russian church from almost 500 years ago. Every time I see this constructor’s name in the byline, I know it’s going to be lousy; still waiting to be proven wrong.

Lewis 6:56 AM  

@Frantic Sloth -- What I saw when I first looked at the empty grid was a face with a Fu Manchu mustache.

When a puzzle causes me to draw on almost-forgotten knowledge and clue-cracking cleverness, to rely on my brain to see full words when they're only sparsely filled in, and to make educated guesses -- especially when the puzzle is punctuated by some sterling clues, (like those for KITCHEN and HOLES), and lovely pairings (like CLASH / BASH, and LOOPY / JETLAGGED) -- then it, for me, enters the realm of deep enjoyment, and that's just what your puzzle gave me today, Alex. Thank you for a fine ride!

Diver 7:29 AM  

Maybe because I watched a History Channel documentary on the Russian Empire last night, but I found this one a snap. The onion dome came immediately into focus, and from there Saint Basil just fell into place, and so did everything else. The only thing missing was Ivan the Terrible. Rex, would have been nice if you chose a photo of Saint Basil's as seen from Red Square instead of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary as seen from Baxter Street.

kitshef 7:34 AM  

Island location was a fantastic clue.


I'll take ERDOS 1000 times over SATIE or CARR.

ERDOS spent his adult life voluntarily homeless. He traveled around staying with colleagues or making symposium organizers to provide him food and lodging.

ChuckD 7:39 AM  

I liked the puzzle - but agree that Friday’s should be themeless. This was too difficult for a Wednesday - maybe it could have been expanded and made into a Sunday? All the themers were solid and the grid art was fine. I thought the fill was exceptional - liked the BADLANDS/PILLAGE and RAIN GODS/TANGOED crossings and Helen REDDY crossing DESDEMONA.

Rex has shown his ignorance for everything non liberal arts in the past so I’m too tired to get on him about his ERDOS rant. Next time he waxes about some underground comic book illustrator maybe I’ll get on him.

And to finally put our past discussion regarding SURF and WAVE to bed. I went down to surf after work last night and was talking with a couple of grizzled Kelly Slater wannabes - one let me know the surf was crazy today and the other said the waves were jacked. So in the vernacular - same thing.

Greg Nyssa 7:42 AM  

Sounds like chopping up that onion caused some extra whining today.

mmorgan 8:09 AM  

Rex notwithstanding, I thought this was terrific. I first thought we were dealing with some sort of BASILica but REDSQUARE straightened me out on that. No trouble with the dome, either the shape or the answers. My tough section was the NE, but fall it did. A fun puzzle, a good challenge, well-constructed and not overly constrained by the theme.

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

Took me a while to figure out what the picture looked like to me, then I got it. It looks like the shooter character at the bottom of the screen in Centipede.

TerriZ 8:21 AM  

The work of Paul Erdos underlies everything we’re doing these days, in many diverse fields - scientific, sociological, physiological, you name it. He was a giant in his field, and worth knowing about...a modern-day Issac Newton, Marie Curie, Enrico Fermi, or Alan Turing in his impact. :)

Sir Hillary 8:30 AM  

I liked the theme and the grid art, but this should have run on a Wednesday or Thursday. Please keep Friday for themeless puzzles!

I didn't love the ERDOS/IDA cross, but it was inferable, and when I got it, I thought, "Yep, ERDOS is a name I've heard before."

@Rex's rant at NOTPC did not disappoint.

I had a daughter ELENA for 24 years. He is now my son Leine. Not sure I will see his name in a crossword any time soon, but what an amazing journey it has been, and still is. Probably the most challenging, yet in many ways the most rewarding, thing I have experienced as a parent.

Unknown 8:47 AM  

Ah rex rex rex, with your 7-"something" finish time. . . .
It makes me curious how you actually time yourself; is there a stop watch or a timer, i.e., something that gives you the actual time? Or at a certain point do you find the puzzle so frustratingly hard that you turn the timer off, grind your way to the finish, and then say, yeah, that felt like 7-something?
I thought this was fun, but didn't care for the ELS, EDAMS cross. I had never heard of EDAMs (had OPALS for a while), and don't understand the ELS, unless it's a reference to the two Ls in MILLIONS?
As soon as I saw NOTPC I knew rex would hate this one. *sigh* Off to run some errands & start the work day. Hope everybody's day is better than a certain someone's.

Rube 8:49 AM  

Amen. Once again, Rex has a negative view of a puzzle he can't solve in under 3 minutes.

pmdm 8:56 AM  

Frantic Sloth: I, for one, do not care. And I am very surprised at how so many can get hot and bothered when there is a theme on a Friday or Saturday. To each his own, but to me I just don't care.

TTrimble: Since I never met him, I don't know what Mike is like in the flesh. But I don't think many would identify his blogging persona as humble. At least one can smile when he gets caught in a flub, which does happen now and then.

The constructor relates something that I noticed: often, the same entries seem to pop up close to each other. While it could be a coincidence, perhaps it happens too frequently to not to be intended by the editor(s). Perhaps some day Shortz will clear that question up. Perhaps he already has and I missed it.

The grid art looks to me like there is a rose window in the dome. Perhaps if the window were eliminated and there were two black (better: red) squares at the 48 and 50 squares I would have like the art more. Crossword art often requires the solver to look at the grid with fairly creative eyes.

three of clubs 9:02 AM  

Getting harder and harder to sort out the story of Othello in these troubled times. I guess Iago is still a villain and Desdemona is representative of ...?

Maybe it's just a play about the human condition, but I do feel triggered. Which is good, right?

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

Somebody doth protest too much.

Petsounds 9:12 AM  

Greatly enjoyed this puzzle, and especially KITCHEN, EXHAUSTED, JETLAGGED, BREAKEVEN...Heck, I pretty much liked it all. My experience was like that of @Lewis: I appreciate puzzles that make me work but don't try to trip me up by being on the very edge of accuracy, and sometimes over that edge, or using the last of 13 definitions of a word and one that is archaic.

OK, DEADHORSE made me shiver for a second. I share @FRANTIC SLOTH's animal sensitivity.

I had SAINT and then BASI- at 17A. It was looking to me like "SAINT BASILICA Something," which made no sense.

Surprised so many had trouble with EDAMS, since EDAM appears frequently in puzzles all over. Must've been that final "s."

I knew that the STEM folks on this blog were doing to go ballistic over Rex's remarks about famous mathematicians. The way you get people to remember the name of a famous mathematician is to make a movie about him/her ("A Beautiful Mind," "The Imitation Game," "Hidden Figures"). This ERDOS guy sounds like his story would make a good one. I want to refer to children as epsilons now!

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

Don’t get holes

RooMonster 9:20 AM  

Hey All !
Now, I know I'm not the most sensitive guy, but dang, I'm happy I don't get so flustered and frustrated and angry and ripping-hair-outing as Rex does when certain answers pop up in a crossword puz. My God, man, you truly need to relax. Keep this up, you'll have a heart attack before you turn 55. PILLAGE pisses me off, as ass-hats who do/did it are insensitive assholes who should be shot, but (beside that little screed) you don't see me jumping up and down shaking my fists in the air screaming for justice. Just sayin'.

Anyway, FriPuz theme/themeless aside, this was a good puz. WedsPuz theme, but ramped up clues to make it FriPuz worthy. And I definitely see an ONION DOME in my grid. So there. It's the whole bottom black square part, including the "supports" of three blocks from the bottom of the grid.

Nice stacks of 9's in SW and SE. With two Q's thrown in there. JOB was surprisingly tough to figure out. Had trouble at the under dome spot, too, but once I got OARS, threw in SOUSA for the hell of it, same with GPA, and then saw SEARS, GOTREAL, PULSATE, BREAKEVEN, and finally JOB. Toughest section for me was actually SW. USA is a Huh?, EDAMS nice misdirect, wanted opAlS, and Shakespeare not in my ken (I know, heathen!), all combined to give me fits. But sussed it all our, and finished error free! WooHoo!

Had a BASH.

No F's (SAD)

Pete 9:21 AM  

@TTrimble, @TerriZ, As a mathematician, I'm impressed that @Rex got the relative importance of Euler & ERDOS exactly correct.

Z 9:28 AM  

@JS - I like you.

I usually agree with @Frantic Sloth, but not today, and I think she nailed why, “wheelhouse.” The PPP comes in at a hefty, 29 of 72, 40%. But that really doesn’t tell the whole story, because of the 29 PPP answers, 19 are in the acrosses. Oof. And Lawdy, did some of it rankle. Caleb CARR is no JK Rowling, maybe not even a Paul ERDOS (oh, no, mathematicians in a snit - Sorry people, but Euler and ERDOS are only in the puzzle because they are just famous enough that their useful letters are justifiable), so that struck me as just a bit of a “look-at-me” middle finger to everyone not interested in turn-of-the century (20th century that is) crime fiction. I’m pretty sure Cixin Liu has sold more books but I really don’t expect to find him at 1A (well, that X doesn’t help). And then there’s the whole “Are they still crossworthy” question. Someone late last night wrote, “You know, people under 65 enjoy solving puzzles too.” Shortz’ response? 1972 hit song. Network that ceased to be in 2000. Best new novel of 1994. I also thought the ELENA clue was interesting. Wasn’t it just last Sunday that the NYTX had an excerpt from ELENA Ferrante’s new novel? Not someone I read, but I know they are huge and current and we skip right past them to a Disney Princess on (checks notes) Disney Junior. So the only under 65s we get clues for are the kiddies. Alrighty then.

Anyone ever mention that an early Ford TAURUS is basically indistinguishable from a Dodge Diplomat or Oldsmobile Ciera? (Z ducks as @Nancy throws a shoe at him) Which reminds me, I woke up thinking of this song.

I can’t get no satisfaction.

TTrimble 9:30 AM  

Thanks. Although I don't really get much of a humility vibe, you've been here much longer than me (I think), so likely you know better, or maybe I could have chosen to say it differently. I still can't quite get over "but at least he [Euler] seems truly worth knowing", which is to say that Erdős doesn't meet that standard.

That kind of dismissal, in combination with the problematic turn of phrase "math guys", does seem, how should one say it, a little insensitive, a little ironic given the rant about insensitivity in the post.

Anyway, I felt duty-bound to say something. I think I got it out of my system.

Nancy 9:32 AM  

Tough and terrific. I struggled -- mostly because I wanted SAINT Peter, but couldn't make him work. I wanted one God at 4D, not a whole mess of gods. And I also had no idea what "desynchronosis" was.

I'm thanking both the RAINGODS and the sungods for the things that gave me a toehold: SESTET, leading to OPT. It wasn't much, but it was something.

I'm also glad that I only know two 5-letter classical composers beginning with S: SOUSA and SATIE, and both were right.

And finally the elusive LOOPY, which gave me SAINT BASIL. I'd forgotten that those features are called ONION RINGS, but a recent puzzle helped me out. (Of course, having such a fuzzy memory, it only helped me out when I had only one letter left to go.)

Loved the clues for CREASES; KITCHEN; HOLES; and especially DEAD HORSE*. Don't know what AQI is, but all other junk fill is avoided. Beautiful job.

*Many years ago, I was working on creating clues for a Cryptic and I came up with this clue for DEADBEAT: "It is useless to do the latter to a horse that is the former."

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

shot myself in the foot on this one. quickly put in vasco for cabot and sign for taurus, and though 11d said physics instead of psychics.

but i will never not hate answers like ELS

Pete 9:46 AM  

@Sir Hillary - Thanks for your parenting. I'll save you the self-serving screed I just wrote and erased, but people who love their children enough to help them no matter what make my day.

bigsteve46 9:51 AM  

Well, like Rex, I spent a lot of time in central New York (Syracuse Law grad, legal aid lawyer based in Corning) and yes, we have quite a few onion dome churches in the area - but the one in Moscow I think is rightfully in a league of its own, as far as having a NYT crossword puzzle themed around it. If Rex would like to theme a x-word around the Southern Tier of NY state and center of the the onion-dome churches in the region, that would be great - perhaps featuring Sharkey's Bar, putative birth place of the "speidie!" (And now closed or closing after 73 years - RIP!)

longsufferingmetsfan 9:52 AM  

liked this puzzle, having a theme did not detract from the enjoyment. Good crunchy cluing including 3 different ways to clue "beat". Noticed the constructor's name, wondering is it Alexander or Alexandra-- I read Rex's pan and I knew the answer. Your biased transparency is just sad.

57stratocaster 9:54 AM  

Liked it plenty. Rex, maybe see a proctologist about that stick.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

yeah, at least a passing interest in math needed to have ERDOS in your fore-memory. but not know Euler???? anyone who's been through high school math has heard of him. many may have forgotten, but that's on them.

his real name, btw, is CABOTO

agree, sort of, about the DOME. given the pixel size of these squares, you'd need the full width and most of the depth to conjure something that looks curved. but I think Rex makes the same squawk any time there is such an object 'drawn' in the puzzle.

Sixthstone 9:55 AM  

Had a lot of trouble getting started as I didn't know Carr nor where to start with the themer. Eventually, the NE fell into place and got me going. I liked it. Some tough cluing, e.g., the repetitive "beats", edam, kitchen (probably a little too tough). A few tough people but all discernible through crosses. I have been in K-12 math education for 25 years and didn't know Erdos, but there's always room to learn!

I have to laugh at Rex's complaint that a 15x15 pixel field can't accurately represent a true architectural onion dome. Anybody remember Pong?

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Anyone ever mention that an early Ford TAURUS is basically indistinguishable from a Dodge Diplomat or Oldsmobile Ciera?

you'd better duck:
just click the links to K-car and A-body (the Ciera is of that platform): those have righteous square bodies, while the Taurus is voluptuous. other than all being 'mid-sized', for that time, they look nothing alike.

GILL I. 10:09 AM  

I see Alex Eaton's name and I immediately jump to eating a meal with him. You see, Alex always orders something up that's not printed on the menu. He'll toy around with a little entree, ask for a medium rare tartare, and then want to know if chef can cook up a little borscht with yellow beets. I immediately go to the "House Special" and tell them I want a side of mayonnaise with my pomme frites.
He starts with CARR and CABOT. I don't do crime and the last time I sipped a 1497 voyager was never.
He goes on to a CATHEDRAL that originally was called Trinity but does explain to me that the ONION DOME is a must have. It's been sautéed with AQI, a little P. Diddy and all prepared in a KITCHEN with an Island. I'm all EARS.
I eat the meal in silence because I want to be PC. Maybe it's the jet lag and thinking about suffering from the overly salted desynchronosis my sweet waiter just handed me. He tells me that's it's OK if I don't like it; so he sweetly recommends the Gnossiennes peppered with a side of Argentine bandoneon. "It's good", he tells me, "and I promise that after you try it, you will soon start roaring with Helen REDDY." "You are a women, aren't you"? Not to beat a DEAD HORSE or anything.
Thank the good LORD that I ended up in a TAQUERIA with my good friend MARIO. "QUE PASA mi amiga?", he asks.....I tell him that I'm dying for a Margarita.
Alls well that ends well shouts DESDEMONA and off we go, hand in hand, to check on our RENAL RAIN GODS.

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

Michael Sharp is not a professor. He's just a lecturer.

Nice try. But you've been hoisted on your own petard. Not only is the Taurus easily distinguished from the Ciera, it was the Tauraus of which ushered in a new style/shape to mainstream American cars. Not only was it quite different looking from the Ciera , it hastened the Ciera's demise. Wow. Yours is s a stunning, stunning lack of familiarity with what you're talking about.

mathgent 10:12 AM  

Loved it, loved it, loved it! Nineteen red plus signs in the margins, the most I can remember.

Erdos (Hungarian name, pronounced ERR-dush, or something like that) would typically solve a problem in conversation with another mathematician. His collaborator would publish the result and name Erdos as the co-author. Virtually all of his great theorems were written up by someone else. That’s why so many mathematicians can boast about having an Erdos number.

Grid art is usually lost on me, but I see an ONIONDOME.

Curious that Euler, the other mathematician seen in crosswords, is also a giant in graph theory. He practically invented it.

William of Ockham 10:15 AM  

I never know what difficulty Rex will assign, but I often know WHY. FOK - aka - Fund of Knowledge or Wheelhouse, if you prefer.

I found this puzzle extremely easy although the Shakespeare Character slowed me in SW to a crawl needing cross after cross. That's an area I care not to expand at my age, technology is far more interesting than the Bard.

Lower Middle for me was unquestionably easiest for me. BOOM. Write it in.

Theme on a Friday, weird, but I did enjoy it.

pabloinnh 10:16 AM  

No traction in the 1A and 1D section so I started moving around got to ONIONDOME , and went back and confidently filled in SAINT and PETERSCATHEDRAL. Oops. That will definitely make the NW impossible for a long time, take it from me. (Hi Nancy,see you did that too, so we share more than happy tennis memories.)

Grid art that doesn't exactly represent something is way down on my list of Things that Spoil My Day, I mean, really.

Thanks for all the posts about Mr. ERDOS. Math has never been my strong suit but it's always a good thing to have holes in my knowledge gaps filled in, if only in a somewhat superficial way.

And CABOT should only be clued as "World famous VT cheddar cheese". I have actually visited their factory, which is in, guess where, Cabot VT.

My idea of a really great Friday, for which thanks, A E-S.

MarthaCatherine 10:18 AM  

Liked it a lot, especially the clue/answer for JETLAGGED. Paused for a nano second about DEADHORSE. Had to come here to understand EDAMS (was thinking cars, not cheeses). Had to think a minute about HOLES. Then I remembered golf.

I might be the only one who looked at that grid and saw a raised middle finger. I thought maybe it was the author anticipating Rex's review?

jberg 10:18 AM  

@Anon 9:50 — they are holes on a golf course.

Sgreennyc 10:21 AM  

With sentences like “CABOT is a name I only kinda sorta recognize as an explorer,” it is difficult to believe that Rex is a college professor, let alone a person who is supposed to have some regard for the English language.

Whatsername 10:22 AM  

Random notes written across my page this morning: Too many Propers! Theme? Rex will hate. What is this grid art? A middle finger? NW corner sucks. CARR/CABOT is a dirty trick. Can we please stop with the “with” clues?? MARIO, EDAMS, QUE PASA [hearts]. Desynchwhat? AES has a diabolical mind. Slog!

Whew! I’m EXHAUSTED. Feel like I TANGOED all night with @GILL in Cuba, totally JET LAGGED. On my first run through I had less than half the grid filled in. I knew when I was licked and started looking up the Propers knowing it was otherwise hopeless. Finally creaked to the finish line, feeling like that poor HORSE. Thank you LORD.

Miss Manners 10:23 AM  

You're scolding? Really?

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

No they're not! (kidding)

Chris 10:27 AM  

@TTRimble: Great rant. Well-done, sir/maam/y'all. And CABOT is obscure? I think of him in the same category as all those other non-Columbus explorers including old favorite DEGAMA,

I got off to a good start since CARR was a gimme and BASILS.. was obvious to me and fell quickly. Finished in under 2 Rexs, which, combined with a PR last Friday, has me on a good streak.

mm 10:29 AM  

13 down???

jberg 10:32 AM  

Really tough start—the only Caleb I know is Madison—but chanced a guess at ASIA, which gave me enough crosses to see SAINT BASILS CATHEDRAL—after trying St Paul’s first, just a little too short. Once I had it, I realized I was looking at an ONION DOME.

JETLAGGED was a little tough, because of the deliberately obscure clueing, but JOB fixed that.

I do think 35D is badly clues. There are several ONION DOMES, but no one of them is prominent—and the central spire is bigger. Could have been “one of several,” since there’s no room for the S.

Say what you will about ERDÖS, he needs that umlaut!

egsforbreakfast 10:34 AM  

Rex saying that the black squares don’t really capture the contours of an onion dome very well reminded me of his critique, some months ago, of the astounding puzzle that was themed around the game Clue. Rex thought that there was insufficient character development. I sense either a desperation for avenues of negative criticism or a misunderstanding of the limits inherent in crosswords.

The puzzle was pretty easy, with some crunch, art aside. I loved ELS and I wondered if AQI wouldn’t be better clued as “Smog stat”, since it seems like the level of smog is exactly what is being indexed. Maybe I’m wrong.

William of Ockham 10:42 AM  

Just now reading the other comments

Ford Taurus was an absolutely revolutionary American auto design. I was given a Taurus to test for three days just before its release, thank you FoMoCo, BTW and it was sooooooooooo different. At its time of release, not confusable with ANY other 'Murican car.

Those of you who have been to UK and rented a car, a Ford can be a damned nice car, Taurus brought the World Ford to USA, but never completely.

There is still nothing like an AUDI - my try for 62A. My latest one turns 3 days old today hahaha

Frantic Sloth 10:43 AM  

@Lewis 656am I see it! Wouldn't have found it on my own though. Is that a chin dimple?

@Sixthstone 955am I thought the same thing about Rex's grid art critique, although I didn't follow that trail to pong! LOL! I knew it well. ☺️

@GILL I. 1009am Now that's a story I can relate to! 😂

@RAINGODS, I beseech thee: smite the heathen automobilites into silence!! 🙏

Anonymoose 10:47 AM  

The Ford Taurus went through many phases. It started out as a good looking sedan which later morphed into a curvy eyesore with the station wagon version looking like an AMC Pacer on steroids. It later became the nameplate for Ford's full size sedan. The Taurus X was the name of a kind of combo wagon-SUV that originally was known as a Freestyle. I knew you wanted to know. Hi Nancy.

Pamela 10:48 AM  

@GILL I- Hilarious!

There were a few gimme’s today, which helped me out tremendously. I got DESDEMONA off REDDY, then EXES/EXHAUSTED. I have CREASES in all my music, to facilitate quick page turns while playing. SATIE is a fave, love his whimsy. GOV MARIO has been our shining star, lo these many months. The north took longer. Hand up for wanting BASILiCA, but eventually worked it all out.

I’m so far from a math person, those names just don’t stick very well.

My brother got a TAURUS. When he parked next to my Audi, we were amazed at how much they looked alike. That’s about all I know about cars except for swords.

****SB ALERT*****

Lots of words again today. I had a good burst for a while, now it’s slog time. No pangram yet, no G.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  


Marcus Chance 10:50 AM  

Oh yeah, and I'm getting ready to suffer desynchronosis when I get back to the west coast on Sunday

TTrimble 10:52 AM  

(If someone ever does make a movie about Erdős, then please, let it not be Ron Howard.) Among 20th century mathematicians, he was legendary and maybe his life would be good movie material, but I don't know. Most people would consider him a pretty weird guy. Basically he spent the majority of his life living out of a suitcase and crashing at the houses of mathematician-friends, announcing "my brain is open", popping amphetamines left and right, completely renouncing sex or any romantic relationships, and given to making strange pronouncements when not producing mathematics. Any movie about him would necessarily further the popular impression that mathematical geniuses are weirdos. I'm not sure we need more of that.

Hello, fellow mathematician. Although it's something of apples to oranges, I don't disagree about the relative importance (and I think TerriZ's comment was pretty hyperbolic -- I am unaware of Erdős's impact on sociology and physiology, for example). To be honest, his mathematics doesn't touch the mathematics I pursue. I'm also not a fanboy -- to my taste, Erdős-worship and citation of his idiosyncrasies is pretty overdone, and I actually don't give a crap what my Erdős number is. But relative to mathematicians, he is really well-known. In terms of cultural significance in our day and age, he probably rates about a Hawking's worth.

Perhaps you misunderstood me. I understand the function of ERDOS in a crossword puzzle, and I already know his name is outside the ken of most people. The "snit" was over Rex's obnoxious and unjustified complaining about the inclusion. I suppose I should be used to this type of thing, however.

I think I have nothing more to add!

Sami 10:52 AM  

This was a great puzzle! This puzzle made my week. Rex, my apologies, but you and I must come from different planets, because I enjoyed this one thoroughly - how can you go wrong with both Satie and Sousa under the onion nose? Oops, I mean dome. We don't have them here out west. I was fully stumped by 'exhausted,' which I am and I always say "I'm beat," but I never expect my everyday parlay to turn up in such a sophiticated venue as the NYT xword. It was just my day for a change.

JC66 10:54 AM  


re: 13D - It's been years since I've been on a golf course, but back in the day, we usually referred to the bar as the 19th hole.

Has that changed?

Bax'N'Nex 10:58 AM  

So I guess we add Alex Eaton-Salners to the list with Bruce Haight and Jeff Chen of "not friends of Mike".

This was a really fun puzzle and the "dome" totally looked just like a dome.
THAT'S the criticism? Maybe they need to start putting curved boxes (would it still be a box?) in the grids so it would look more like a dome to Mike.
Thank you Alex for your work.

"Lots of (most) KITCHENS do not have islands, ugh." Well most cars don't have "T-tops" but that seems to be an acceptable clue/answer.

Can someone please explain why I continue to read this petty little, self-important, comic book teaching misandrist? I know...I bring it on myself every morning. It HAS to be an act, right? No one can be that filled with disdain.

Ok, I'm done.

Peace and love, peace and love.

Newboy 11:05 AM  

Thanks Alex. Great fun.

TTrimble is spot on “Have a little humility about things you don't know.” One great reason to do Xword (or join a book club) is that it painlessly (most days) takes us beyond our comfort zone. ERDOS sure did that for Newboy today.

Kudos to @Sir Hillary & family.

Did think the EDAM clue a bit cheesy.

oisk17 11:07 AM  

Loved this one. Having been to Red Square, the theme clues were easy, although I did NOT notice the dome in the grid. Loved the clue for edams; I had tried Saabs. And kept thinking "Couplet" for sonnets - forgetting the Italian form with its sestet, which I first wrote as sextet. Nice Friday!

Bax'N'Nex 11:16 AM  

Oh, and the course I play DOES have a 19th hole (more commonly called the bar) and it's definitely my favorite hole.

gruffed 11:21 AM  

Fun, challenging puzzle. I think Rex should be dethroned as self-anointed King of CrossWorld

Z 11:29 AM  

@anon 10:01 - When “Ooh, the hood isn’t quite as rectangular as every other sedan on the road” qualifies as a major aesthetic innovation we’ve clearly got creativity issues. Despite what you and @William of Ockham assert, those first gen cars were “revolutionary” only because Ford marketers convinced you they were. Worse, that jellybean shape (from the third generation) was to the late nineties what the box car was to the eighties. If there’s one thing the car manufacturers are good at its plagiarism. I always wonder because CCS puts on some awesome shows and their grads end up getting hired a lot by auto companies (there’s a shocker, Detroit’s art school is a feeder for the automotive industry), yet somehow the creativity displayed at a CCS show never seems to translate to what we see on the road. Actually, I know where the creativity goes, into making sure the “middle of the road” gets their Budweiser.

Speaking of, we know Rex hates HGTV, which also explains why he didn’t get KITCHEN island sooner.

@TTrimble - If only Rex’s Math guys think other math guys are more famous than they are wasn’t proven correct in the comments. I’m going to guarantee that most crossword solvers (almost all the people who aren’t mathematicians) only know Euler and ERDOS from crosswords and could not name another famous mathematician, not even the ones that movies have been made about. ERDOS is PPP and all the flaws of PPP pertain. And what did Rex say? ERDOS is math-name crosswordese. This is simply true.

@kitshef - I know you were just reporting, but “voluntarily homeless” is vaguely offensive in a white privilege sort of way. I get that he is esteemed for putting his art above worldly possessions, but the behaviors you described are more often described by terms like slacker, mooch, or freeloader. At least he was blessed with a commodity he could freely barter for food and lodging, something not usually permitted of the involuntarily homeless. This song came to mind when I read what you wrote.* Of course, the whole Masai Ujiri thing is also freshly in the news, so that is influencing my reactions to this entire discussion.

@Frantic Sloth - I’m done. No more car talk.

*The N word features prominently

Ethan Taliesin 11:30 AM  

Finished with the help of a few educated guesses. Had SEPTET for SESTET, and actually didn't even know the word. Very specific

The great Poison Idea did a superb version of GREEN ONIONS .

kitshef 11:30 AM  

@Nancy from yesterday. Among other things, if the dealer gets blackjack, the player just loses his bet. But if the player gets blackjack, they win their bet plus a 50% bonus.

Carola 11:34 AM  

Themewise easy, nicely resistant elsewhere. Help from previous puzzles: CARR, ERDOS. No idea: ELENA.

Whatsername 11:37 AM  

@TTrimble (6:12) Nothing wrong with speaking your mind when your cup gets full. Some things just need to be said.

@Sir Hillary (8:30) To quote a line from the movie Parenthood, “there is no end zone” for a parent. You rock!

@Z (9:28) Baiting the mouse trap again? No flying shoes from my direction, I love car talk.

@GILL (10:09) OMG! I’m still laughing! If only I’d known, I would have joined you for dinner before dancing.

TerriZ 11:37 AM  

Comments aren’t hyperbolic, not even stratospheric. :)
Most Network Theory measures, identities, and theorems are being used in many fields, to describe and explain observed behaviors and outcomes. Network theory is built on graph theory, but its richness and extensions are remarkable for their sheer usefulness in all kinds of science - including social and medical phenomena. Take a look at “Network Science“, by Albert-László Barabási - the table of contents outlines some of the most the interesting applications.

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

What?!!!!! The original Taurus used an iteration of Ponton styling. There is no grilee. It used a bottom breather nose. The very first thing you see of the car was an enormous departure from standard styling! That isn't Ford marketing with some Svengali like ability to hypnotize people into thinking it's a design departure , it's reality. My God!!! the first generation was the car likened to a jelly bean or a flying potato. That the Taurus became increasingly rounded is irrelevant. Lets stick with the subject at hand: the first generation Taurus. That car used flush aerodynamic headlights, among the first American sedans to do so. Ford had to convince NHTSA to certify the headlights precisely because the design WAS so different. The bumpers were integrated. I could go on, but its seem pointless with you. It's crazy land. You simply will not acknowledge that you were wrong.
If Sloth can beseech, so can I.
Folks,please' google search first generation Taurus. You'll get many pages explaining just how different that car was.

CDilly52 11:51 AM  

@David Eisner 12:28 AM, Erdös was a fave of my late husband, the mathematician-musician. Because I could never ever remember the first names of either Euler or ERDÖS, I’d course I tossed in Euler only because I though I recalled Larry using some Euler-related info when putting together some advanced Algebra materials for his gifted 8th graders as he was introducing graphing. So of course I was proud of that and it hung me up but good!

CDilly52 11:54 AM  

@Lewis: 🙋‍♀️ for the Fu Manchu! Made it a bit tough - theme-wise.

David 12:06 PM  

I liked this one quite a bit. St Basil's Cathedral made a few of the long does way too easy, so I guess having crunchy other fill was called for.

Caleb Carr writes wonderfully dark crime novels, but his day job is as a military historian.

Read the clue to 11D wrong and plopped in "atoms." Oops. Liked the trio of beat clues. 47A? how about, "greeting heard at 34D"?

Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) is the correct order, I like that.

I had Ural at 14A but have done enough crosswords to know that anything which sounds like it might have something to do with yoga will result in "asana," so I changed it to Asia.

Seems to me Helen Reddy would be more unknown than Caleb Carr, but whatever, I'm old enough to remember her, and she gave me "rain gods" off of the "ra" and "o" above (I also wanted a single thing), and Desdemona just off the other D.

With the Red Square gimme, that part of the puzzle fell quickly.

I was having difficulty under the dome as well, but the onion peeled away thanks to the que pasa and kitchen coupled with the easy 52, 57, 60, and 63 acrosses.

Cabot. Yeah.

"looks like he made it to Newfoundland" Ha. Every year parts of this country "celebrate" an Italian fellow in the employ of Spain with discovering "America." He's also excoriated for the policies of his employers every year, oddly, without them ever being named.

That guy made 5 trips and never once saw the mainland. Cabot is the Venetian guy in the employ of the English who is actually credited with the European discovery of mainland North America, part of which is the USA. If the US were to celebrate any of the European explorers for their voyages, it should be Cabot.

Frantic Sloth 12:12 PM  

Can't imagine how I managed to forget this earlier, but
@Sir Hillary 830am The world needs more parents like you. Desperately. ❤️

@pabloninnh 1016am I love all things CABOT! My favorite is their sour cream, but can't always find it around here. 😕

@egsforbreakfast 1034am Har! The infamous "character development" plaint. That was a classic!

@TTrimble 1052am My first impression of the ERDOS lifestyle was "Well, somebody's gotta do it!" I think Ron Howard might be just the guy you're looking for if you want to avoid the "mathematical geniuses as weirdos" impression in favor of the "oh, what a colorful character!" vibe. Somehow I doubt either tack (wait - is that a sailing term I used there??) would be acceptable to you or any discerning movie-goer.
I also agree with what @Whatsername 1137am said about your comments.

@Z 1129am Dude.

Apparently, the RAINGODS, are a-holes.
Those of us who are pained might have to take up the shoe ourselves... *sigh*

Uke Xensen 12:23 PM  

This was a little easy for a Friday but a fun one -- enjoyed it. Had to get ONIONDOME before I could see REDSQUARE, but otherwise it filled in quickly.

TTrimble 12:26 PM  

I've already explained more than once what I found obnoxious in Rex's post, which you ignore, and so I won't repeat it for you. Speaking for myself: as I've also already said, I have a pretty good idea that Erdős isn't well known (as he should be) for most people. Probably all commenters here would agree, so I think your first sentence (quoting Rex) is wrong in fact.

I agree with the rest. In particular, you may be right that most people could not name any famous mathematicians outside of ancient Hellenic civilization. E.g., you'd have to remind them that Newton was a mathematician. (A lot of them might say that Einstein was a famous mathematician, which he wasn't. A mathematician, that is.)

Since Rex says he knows Erdős exclusively from past crosswords, it seems in the past he was not at all curious to follow up and find out more about him. It's nice to see him copy-and-paste from Wikipedia; I hope a little of that sticks with him. The biography by Hoffman, mentioned by David Eisner above, is pretty good and I recommend it to his attention. I'm glad a consequence of this discussion has been that other commenters have been motivated to learn more!

Matt 12:28 PM  

Oh my goodness. Such a sourpuss today Rex. I found the theme delightful - and there's no law that says a theme has to be perfectly aligned with an occasion. The Onion Dome was perfectly recognizable, although truth to tell the diagram could v double for the Taj Mahal, it's still cute enough.

And points for some lovely cluing - Island locale? A couple of million? Desynchronosis?

I only found this medium hard at best/worst, though, maybe because I didn't have a problem with the onion done section.

TTrimble 12:29 PM  

Oh, sorry! Mea culpa. I take your meaning now. Thanks for taking the time to explain.

Matt 12:32 PM  

I'll add my one tricky answer was I put in "PULPATE" for 'beat' not PULSATE as was required for OARS. I like the former better!

Masked and Anonymous 12:33 PM  

Only 72 words and @RP gives it the med-chall ratin. So, this puppy seems to well-qualify as a FriPuz rodeo. Any puz with the E-w gridart is A-OK by m&e.

I mean, they coulda maybe dumbed this puz down a bit, I guess. Splatz a couple black squares each at the start of QUEPASA and at the end of KITCHEN … et viola!: a 76-worder, with lots fewer longball answers. But -- don't. This puz is just fine, as is. Plus, don't go puttin black squares over my U's, bro! snort

staff weeject pick: AQI. Of Billy Ray Cyrus's "AQI BRAQI Heart" fame.

Got yer three nice ?-mark clues, plus the near-?-miss one for KITCHEN. Feisty. Like.

fave fillins included: EXHAUSTED. TAQUERIAS. PULSATE. PILLAGE. Also, speakin of pillagin, luved how the CARR/CABOT/ASANA start-up announced: "we're takin no prisoners here".

Thanx for the feisty fun and for not holdin the onions (or the longballs) on the Friday get-together, Mr. E-S. Primo job. Excludin NO-TP-C [ = {Mediocre grocery store rating??}], of course.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Anonymous 12:46 PM  

said the SB guy.

Another Anon 12:47 PM  

Let's move on to the Sierra, a GM pickup in the GMC family. Does it or does it not resemble the Chevrolet Silverado? Discuss.

Swagomatic 12:49 PM  

Decidedly "meh" for me. I would prefer something else, but, whatever.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

Another Anon,

The GMC/Chevy half ton pickup bit was handled last night at 6:43 PM

TTrimble 1:09 PM  

@Frantic Sloth
(How did you come up with that name?)

I wasn't happy with Ron Howard's treatment of John Nash (A Beautiful Mind). Which, by the way, is the title of the biography by Sylvia Nasar that Howard drew from, and which was very well done -- I heartily recommend it. What came through strongly for me reading the biography was that before he was stricken with mental illness, Nash was very masculine, physically strong, vital and domineering, with the indomitable mental spirit one sees in great athletes like Michael Jordan -- not the purse-lipped nerd played by Crowe, shambling around in a raincoat.

I mean, I get that the filmmaker's art may impose certain exigencies in how a story is told, but Howard's rendering was for me such a wild fabrication: I don't think the variance with the man's actual life had to go that far! As usual in movies, the way mathematics is presented is risible, and I find the movie really cornball in some scenes, such as "the laying of the pens".

I think Ron Howard's sensibility as a director generally just doesn't agree with me. I'm sure I'm in the minority there.

Teedmn 1:11 PM  

"Of course this was an AES puzzle," I thought immediately after wrestling this into the ground. I felt like the proverbial DEAD HORSE when I was done. though my only actual write-overs were *dazed* for LOOPY and *ppm* for AQI. While I did find the part under the dome a tad tough, that was nothing to the mess in the NW. I had ASIA crossing ASANA and nothing else for the longest time. *dazed* fit so well with my imagined wAltzED for 22A but I finally decided that the French were more likely to be tangoing than waltzing and that gave me the needed means to finish there. (_A__GODS? Ack).

As soon as I got RED SQUARE, I realized the grid art was an ONION DOME and that helped with the solve. (And I think it functions quite well as grid art, so pah on Rex). Over at xwordinfo, Alex makes mention of ONION DOMES debuting in the NYT crossword on August 5th and he muses whether that was run in order to foreshadow this puzzle, especially since St. Basil was mentioned in that clue. All I can say is hahahahahahahahaha to the nth. While I do remember seeing ONION DOMES in the grid recently because it sparked much commentary, I certainly never would remember the clue from DUO weeks ago!!!! No help at all.

Oh yeah, I did have one other write-over; I put in lEAD HORSE and kind of shook my head that, wasn't it the point to beat the lEAD HORSE? 32A cleared that up and I got a good chuckle at the 33D clue aafter the aha.

Nice job, AES, and now I'm EXHAUSTED.

CDilly52 1:12 PM  

All I needed to let me know that I’d better put on a whole pot of coffee and get out my metaphorical Wheaties! An Alex Eaton-Salners puzzle always delivers such devious clues and I never seem to find this constructor’s wavelength. But I always enjoy the tussle.

Today was no different, and I made it so much worse by believing in my Euler rather than ERDÖS entry right off the bat. My husband used some of Euler’s materials when introducing graphing to his 8th grade gifted Advanced Algebra students, so I confidently put him in-as our constructor no doubt intended!

Next I failed to carefully read the 1561 clue. Again, my husband’s frame of reference really sent me down the wrong trail. He loved believing in the possibility of other civilizations out there in the cosmos, and was fascinated by the Nuremberg woodcut depicting the alleged 1561 UFO Battle. All I saw was 1561 and didn’t read the rest of the clue. So, put that together with the fact that my first glimpse of the grid “design” telling me that it was a Fu Manchu style ‘stache followed by the 12D clue about rockets, and my mind switched gears to the “design” being a space ship. How far off the trail can one brain go?! Read on.

So nothing about Nuremberg ever fit into my very blank top half of this puzzle. I gave up and went for the NE where I had lots of success with the eastern most columns. The only part of the puzzle that was easy for me went right down the East side and wrapped around the south.

Until the SW. fabulous clues throughout this entire opus, but that “big wheels” clue absolutely flummoxed me and even after I’d finally gotten RED SQUARE after 26, 36, 40 and 44 across fell (thank you Helen REDDY for getting the ball rolling) I still couldn’t for the life of me figure out the 5-17 combo clue. Well, lots of time goes by, I feed the cats, check my work email, have more coffee, start preparing a condemnation packet, and work for a couple hours - it hits me. Like a brick bat between the eyes. . . SAINT BASILS, and my first thought was basilica but fortunately I had been back to reread 11D and saw that my AtomS was wrong because the clue said physics not physics (see how much worse things can in fact get?!) and put in AURAS and the rest of the top fell.

The very last two squares to fall were the MS in EDAMS. Thankfully!! The one and only nit for me in this otherwise glorious Friday bare knuckles street fight was 56D “A couple of millions”. I think that is a bit of a stretch to read the “understood” part of that clue the couple “of - or located within - “ the word millions. I am actually a fan of the misdirect by looking at the construction of a word type clues but this seems just a tad beyond the pale. But then again, the more I think about it, the more Eaton-Salners it seems. Possibly, I was simply looking for balm to soothe my bruised ego after so many epic blunders. Getting the ELS out of millions, gave me an honest to goodness head smacking moment when I finally read EDAMS and almost yelled out loud, “OH S#!%! that’s brilliant!!”

Great Friday, and I feel both JET LAGGED and EXHAUSTED but what a great puzzle for a Friday.

Anonymous 1:25 PM  

I don't have a problem with DHS.I have a problem with the name. Nothing in the American government should ever have the word "homeland" in it. Hey, no one is using Stasi...

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

Great puzzle! Parker comes across as the crossword world equivalent of Trump. What is his problem?!

Hack mechanic 1:40 PM  

Who cares? The best auto related clue was the misdirect
" imported european wheels"

Doc John 1:50 PM  

So Rex spent the day whining about the picture in the grid and a mathematician that he hadn't heard of. Hey, it's a low-resolution grid. For me, the picture actually conjured up an onion dome. Kind of weird that this puzzle didn't run on an anniversary date or something, though.
Rex also whined so much that he forgot about all the really great fill and real lack of crap.
As for DHS, here in the Palm Springs area, that refers to the city of Desert Hot Springs. Just sayin'.

WhatDoing 1:51 PM  

This was one of those toughies that had me going back over clues again and again. I appreciate that in a puzzle and enjoyed the process of having things eventually fall into place. I could care less that it didn’t fit some belief of what a Friday puzzle should be.

Frantic Sloth 1:54 PM  

@TTrimble 109pm I have no earthly idea - unless it's just from an apt description of my schizoid personality? Just came to me.

Somehow, I knew you were thinking of A Beautiful Mind when you bemoaned the possibility of Ron Howard getting ahold of another fairyland biopic. His films in general are an Opie-oid for the masses, but he doesn't bother me. High praise, no? 😉
Then again, if I were an expert in anything he proffered, I might feel differently. Luckily there's not a high demand for sloths of the frantic family.

@CDilly52 112pm I'm gonna hafta investigate this Nuremberg woodcut of which you speak.
"Condemnation packet" is obviously a lawyerly thing to do, but it sounds like something Rex prepares for his critiques.

old timer 2:02 PM  

I'm with OFL on this math guy thing. ERDOS may be famous to some, but he is not in Euler's category. Euler (who once played football in Houston) was the guy who came up with e to the i to pi = -1, the most beautiful formula in math. Every cultivated person should know that Euler was a great mathematician, the same way he knows ST BASIL'S CATHEDRAL is the most famous landmark in Russia, in what is I guess still called RED SQUARE, even in these postcommunist times.

I had to look up Helen REDDY. Somehow I thought she was Helen Moody. REDDY gave me, among other things, DHS, which I want to see abolished because it is too 1984-ish. Let's go back to having all those functions divided among Defense, Justice, Interior, etc. We need the functions, just not the Department.

I was surprised at how long it took me to see MARIO, and delighted by the misdirect on EDAMS.

Another Anon 2:25 PM  

My bad.

jae 2:38 PM  

An historical perspective on themed Friday puzzles:

I've been wending my way through Friday puzzles from 1994 (the first full year of the Shortz era) and while I don't have a precise count it seems about a third of them are themed.

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

Another Anon--- I'm sorry brother. I did not intend to make you feel bad. Your instincts were dead on. And last nights comment was hardly exhaustive.
Got any feelings about the pickups? I know they're mechanically the same, but I do prefer the GMC's looks. I'm superficial, what can I say.
If you really wanna help, stop me from pouring more dough into my 2006 F-150. I need a starter desperately, but the thought of tackling that third bolt atop the starter on my gravel driveway is too much to bear, so I'm gonna pay a local mechanic. But my word, bug red is officially a money pit. I will not, however, spend $50K to replace it. I currently indulge two dogs by driving them every morning for free play. The truck shows it. I can not not take them for their ride(s). And I can not destroy a new ride. hence the money pit dilemma. Thanks for listening. And, again, the bad was all mine.

Anonymous 3:13 PM  

This review reminded me of Two cultures by CP Snow. I have lost hope on this blog. Time to move elsewhere

Another Anon 3:50 PM  

We're good.

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

The SB folks are pretty quiet today.

TTrimble 4:03 PM  

@Frantic Sloth
You are too funny! "Opie-oid for the masses" -- brilliant!!

The few of Opie's oeuvres that I've seen do seem to have a thread of hopeful Gooberish sentimentality running through. So next time, I'll just settle in with a box of Goobers and Raisinets and let myself be bathed in the warm fuzzies. AAH...

Pete 4:14 PM  

@TTrimble - "Since Rex says he knows Erdős exclusively from past crosswords, it seems in the past he was not at all curious to follow up and find out more about him. It's nice to see him copy-and-paste from Wikipedia; " You're making a huge and unfounded assumption there. Years ago, back when @Rex was a participant in the comments page, Erdős appeared in the puzzle, and we had a major discussion of him here, primarily because of the presence of one (then) frequent contributor, Noam Elkies, a man with an Erdős number of 1. All aspects of Erdős were discussed, his importance, his eccentricities, all of it. Saying "I know him only from crosswords" and "I know nothing about him other than as the answer to the crossword clue 'Mathematician Paul _____' " are two different things, and using that to make an assertion of a lack of intellectual curiosity is ungenerous to say the least.

Anonymous 4:42 PM  

We really need to restore the 3 post limit. Moderators?

Anonymous 4:46 PM  

Actually Pete, Rex’s comments are the ones that sound ungenerous, as in untrue,
You just said he was aware of all aspects of Erdos’s life owing to the far flung and exhaustive discussion which Rex was aware of.
Or, if you’re cravenly going to say that Rex, though a frequent and full throated commenter back then was unaware of the discussion on the forum, TTrimbles comments stand. Which is it Pete?
Is Rex so dull that he can’t recall a robust and comprehensive discussion on his own blog, or is he the alert of guy who when confronted with info and a subject he doesn’t know, doesn’t bother to explore it?

Z, hows your apologia for your wildly wrong assertion viz Taurus design coming?

Z 4:53 PM  

@TTrimble - Yep - I should have explained myself better. I agree with whoever said that Rex got the relative Crossworthiness correct, Euler>ERDOS. You are right that what Rex wrote was pretty dismissive, but it doesn't strike me as inaccurate. Maybe you're right and ERDOS should be more famous and maybe that appraisal will change in the future. But today? Today there always seems to be an element of "brilliant kook" assigned to all things ERDOS. Of course, that might be just the moment, too, because it seems it is impossible to be a famous mathematician today without having some sort of non-math issue. If you are just an otherwise normal person who is brilliant at math the culture takes no notice - and even with the best letters - you won't make it into a crossword. Euler, on the other hand, is one of those giants on whose shoulders people humbly claim to be standing. Read Euler, read Euler, he is the master of us all. I don't think anyone has said anything similar about ERDOS, at least not yet. So again, maybe you're right and he should be more famous, but Rex was also right that math people over-estimate how famous he (and Euler and Nash and Katherine Johnson and any other mathematician) actually is.

@Anon4:00 - And yet I saw bitching about gnomon not being on the wordlist over on Twitter... Sigh.

@Pete - I remember @Norm Elkies but I do not remember that discussion. Any idea when that was?

Z 5:06 PM  

@Pete - Maybe this one? Rex wrote, and ERDOS (98D: Mathematician Paul)? Hell no. "But ERDOS is an eminent..." Yeah, yeah, I'm sure. He'd have been fine in a less obscure-name-drenched portion of the puzzle back in 2010 so he is consistent.

TTrimble 5:06 PM  

Hi, yes, I know about Noam Elkies. I was just going by what Rex wrote: "Also, that ERDOS guy, that's a name I know exclusively because of crosswords, and even then I barely know it."

"That ERDOS guy". (Nice.) Rex barely knows the name, even after that major in-depth discussion you report, where the participants went into such details and it was made clear who he was and how important he was as a mathematician? If he was paying attention, it sounds like he should know the name very well indeed at this point.

And then, after all that, ERDOS is not truly worth knowing about? Again, I'm going by what Rex wrote. It certainly doesn't read very respectfully or generously. And now, based on what you tell me, it now sounds like "barely knows the name" could be misleading as well.

Another thing. "Math guys think other math guys are more famous than they are." Who is he talking about, and why is he saying this, and what are the grounds for that assertion? As I said elsewhere, I think he's wrong. (As any mathematician who has been to a party can tell you, we are very well aware that who we are and what we do almost completely unknown to the general public.) Does he have something against "math guys"? The questions multiply.

(Do I know you, by the way? If so, perhaps we could speak more amicably offline?)

albatross shell 5:08 PM  

Wonderfully done. Caught so much of what I was feeling as I ricocheted through the various aromas, tastes, centuries, subjects and people in this puzzle. It was one wild and crazy ride. I would never be able to put it into words. Thank you.

If you think beating a dead horse is too much, consider the alternative.

@Sir H.
Parenthood is good when you make it good and you did.

Euclid is pretty well-known. Godel if you can do with out umlauts. Goedel? (I prefer umlaut-less CW answers myself. Just pretend they do not exist. Good convention.) But he may be becoming less famous anyway. Newton. Fermat. Pascal. Neumann. Babbage. Lovelace. Gauss. Descartes. Turing. Ramanujan Cantor Fibonacci Galois Nash Hardy. Martin Gardner.

Is there anything going on in ELS except the Ls in million? If not how do you get the answer? Dumb me.

Car posts are getting as boring as SB progress reports. Maybe need warnings there too.

TTrimble 5:14 PM  

"Rex was also right that math people over-estimate how famous he (and Euler and Nash and Katherine Johnson and any other mathematician) actually is."

Are you sure of that? I've just replied to Pete, where I make the case that actually mathematicians are acutely aware of the general ignorance of who we are and what we do. Obviously, none of us is famous. :-) I mean, he should know, he's a mathematician. :-)

Physicists seem to fare a little better. A little.

@Anonymous 4:42PM
Sorry, but as long as my comments are coming under fire, I'll defend myself as long as I'm allowed (and as long as I feel like it).

Frantic Sloth 5:16 PM  

May I propose that the 3 post limit begin with "Anonymous"?

Eniale 5:49 PM  

Anonymous 4:00 pm Yeah, SB bloody hard today. I still need 7 words.

@Chris - that's DA GAMA to you. I learned about him at school in 1950's Johannesburg because he rounded the Cape (of Good Hope) looking for the Spice Islands.

Anonymous 5:51 PM  

Add me to those who are surprised that Rex doesn't think CABOT or Euler are well-known. And I'm not a mathematician or explorer (or history buff).

I must confess that I only know about Erdos because of the Erdos number.

TTrimble 5:56 PM  

Sorry for multiple posts in reply. You wrote: "Read Euler, read Euler, he is the master of us all. I don't think anyone has said anything similar about ERDOS, at least not yet."

I can say with certainty that ERDOS is deeply mined for his insights by mathematicians today who work in his area of mathematics, and is recognized as a modern-day master.

As for Euler: the thing is, he lived over 200 years ago, and at a time when standards of logical rigor are not what they are today. Also, his results have been pretty well absorbed into the matrix over the past two centuries, and mathematics has moved on to much greater vistas than he could have imagined. So while the title of William Dunham's book sounds like an inspiring sentiment, Euler isn't mined in the same sort of way by professionals living today. (Nor is Newton, who was arguably greater.)

All that is consistent with an assessment that Euler's work is generally of greater overall importance than ERDOS's. Actually, I would be inclined to rate Grothendieck's work as more important than ERDOS's.

Anonymous 5:56 PM  

Why’s that? Why not a rule limiting post that begin with frantic?

jae 6:06 PM  

@Z & Pete - I just looked at the 2010 Sunday puzzle. I commented (but not on ERDOS) as did NDE who said his ERDOS number was 2 along with literally thousands of other mathematicians. That said, I have no memory of the puzzle or the discussion that occurred 10 years ago because that’s not how memory works. It’s not a video tape. If you’d like more info on how memory does work you might want to google an article I wrote with George Semb: “Knowledge Taught in School: What is Remembered.” Note that the article has the all important “titular colonicity.”

ZenMonkey 6:35 PM  

I’m totally a humanities woman but even I have heard of Erdos and Erdos numbers. I have to agree with whoever said (on a different day) that things Rex is familiar with are “fair play” and those he doesn’t are not. Ludicrous. Also, when I learn something from a puzzle I find that enjoyable. Rex seems to be offended by a puzzle offering up something he doesn’t know. What a fabulous way to have no fun at all.

Anonymous 6:51 PM  

Obama an,
Thank you!

Anonymous 6:54 PM  

In your tortured defense of 4:53, the word you wanted was appraisal. Not appraisal.

egsforbreakfast 7:04 PM  

Old timer 2:02pm. Sorry to report that you got the “most beautiful formula in math”, also known as Euler’s Identity, slightly wrong. It’s actually
e to the power of (i x pi) = 1

Anonymous 7:16 PM  

Z (and Michiganman)
The word your looking for is apprisal, not appraisal.
Don’t give up though. You’ll get there. But while we’re waiting, how’s your response to the pretty convincing response to your Ciera/Taurus claim? No pressure. I’m a fan!!!

TTrimble 7:28 PM  

Perhaps a typo crept in, and you meant to write "e to the power of (i x pi) = -1".

(I have a mini-rant lined up about why 2 pi is more fundamental than pi as constants go -- we should be celebrating June 28 instead! Then you could write e^{2pi i} = 1 :-) And another mini-rant about why it makes better sense to speak of gallons per mile than miles per gallon. I know all of you are just dying to hear!)

JC66 7:35 PM  

I vote for a MATH ALERT.

Anonymous 7:39 PM  

There's no such thing as surf in the open sea but there are still plenty of waves there, wouldn't you agree?

Space Is Deep 7:54 PM  

One mathematician is worth one hundred poets Poets are a dime a dozen.

Bard 8:08 PM  

Yess!! Thank you. If we math guys are supposed to know Emma then you lit guys should know Erdos. My Erdös # is only 3.

egsforbreakfast 8:10 PM  

@TTrimble. Yes, thank you for the catch. Just clumsy fingers.

pabloinnh 8:13 PM  

Me: I came here looking for a crossword blog.

Lots of people: This is a math blog. There's no crossword discussion for a hundred miles.

Me: I was misinformed.

JC66 8:17 PM  

@space is Deep

So a mathematician is worth $1.20?

Big whoop!

Bard 8:25 PM  

No. Exp(i Pi)+1=0

JC66 8:26 PM  



I suck at math.

Bard 8:26 PM  

Exp(i Pi)+1=0

old 8:32 PM  

Yeah, I don't do exponentials in the blog. Thanks for the correction. I am old enough to think of i as an imaginary number, and Euler made i a lot less imaginary.

TTrimble 8:37 PM  

Please, propose another topic to discuss. I've actually been wanting to get off this for a while.

You're one of the inveterate SB-ers, right? A number of people here have been clamoring for more on that front. :-) You can go first.

(BTW: more like $.83)

Pamela 8:58 PM  


JC66 9:05 PM  


1. See my 8:26 post.

2. We could discuss the fact that bars at golf courses are called the 19th hole. ;-)

TTrimble 9:23 PM  

Hey there.

I always enjoy sinking shots on the 19th hole, brother. (Not sister, right?)

---[SB Alert]--

Okay, here we go, what everyone has been waiting for. It's back by popular demand.

Genius, got the pangram, 7 words to go to QB. Dammit, what are those last two 4-letter words?

Oh, I'm sorry, I'm being cryptic. Would you like me to explain further in ROT-13?

This is fun!

JC66 9:29 PM  


Brother is correct.

****SB ALERT****

4 to go, but I'm not optimistic.

noansatz 10:07 PM  

Erdos is an extremely prominent figure in math, and he's up there with Euler when you measure mathematical output. His work is quite brilliant and you could probably appreciate how clever it is if you randomly sampled some of his papers, too. And it has almost definitely affected your life in ways that you don't understand.

Dave S 11:09 PM  

A struggle, for sure, especially since I wanted 17 across to start with basilica for far too long, and Assam was unknown to me and Erdos took a long time to click. didn't understand the clue to "holes' until long, long after I had filled it in, but liked it when I finally did,as I did the cluing for Edams and jet-lagged. In fact , enjoyed it overall, certainly far more than Thursday.

TTrimble 12:09 AM  

"Erdos is an extremely prominent figure in math, and he's up there with Euler when you measure mathematical output. His work is quite brilliant and you could probably appreciate how clever it is if you randomly sampled some of his papers, too."

Probably? I think not. It requires specialized training, years and years of work, to appreciate mathematics at that level.


It's clear that this thread has stirred up a lot of irritation and resentment. I suspect part of it is that no subject has quite the ability of mathematics to make smart people feel "stupid". Believe me, this takes place at all levels: from Fields Medalists on down.

I am in awe of the many brilliant and witty people here who are in love with words and word puzzles, starting with Rex, who is in a class utterly different from mine when it comes to speed-solving crosswords.

I'll leave it at that for now. Thanks again to Rex for creating a space where interesting people can talk about things that interest them, without getting overtly upset by the critical comments directed at him. He seems to understand that people say things in the heat of their passion, and yet he keeps on going in the face of such heat, 24/7, without any heavy-handed censorship. There's something really special about that, and about him when you get down to it.


Steve 12:51 AM  

A mathematician’s Erdos number is the degrees of separation as determined by authorship. If you co-authored a paper with him your Erdos number is 1. If you co-authored a paper with someone who co-authored a paper with him it is 2. Etc. I’m not a mathematician but someone published a paper about one of Erdos’s theorems in which he cited one of my papers in physical chemistry. I want to know whether I can claim an imaginary Erdos number.

Garboy 2:49 AM  

why so endlessly grouchy...Perhaps a puzzle with "Get off my lawn!" as a theme may make you happy?

pdplot 9:39 AM  

Couldn't finish this without Mr. Google. Never heard of Erdos. I guess I'm just an ignoramus from another generation. As for Assam, I was thinking Nepal or Tibet - both of which are 5 letters. Since I don't start these puzzles until bedtime and sometimes don't finish until the next am - like this one - I doubt most of you will never read this or any other of my comments.

thefogman 11:06 AM  

I had TApasbarS before TAQUIERIAS. There were plenty of other misdirects. I liked it, but I get the feeling Rex doesn’t like themes very much. He has only ONENOTE for them - BASH, BASH, BASH.. But LORD & SAINT GOV. MARIO Cuomo no doubt approved this puzzle.

rondo 11:43 AM  

Whenever I see OFL’s NOTPC rants I just push further and further away from the left. Same with posts like a recent one from @Girl Detective. Get off the side I used to be on. I no longer have a ‘side’. And keeping the politics out of the blog seems to be impossible for a whole host of folks. Tiresome. Even SAD.

Lacking much in the NW I had SAINT (someone’S) CATHEDRAL, and the REDDY R. Rome Italy woulda fit at 26d, but no cross-check would work. The RENAL R pointed me to the REDSQUARE and the rest was a snap. I’ve been to SAINT BASIL’S and it’s quite beautiful. Didn’t recall how old it was. And what do you expect from grid art? Looks close enough for me.

Friday themes are OK by me. Sometimes we get LOOPY games or gimmicks on random weekdays, why not a theme on Friday? Not much to BASH here.

spacecraft 12:16 PM  

Forgot to skip reading Debbie Downer's comments. That boy could turn a sunny day into a cloudy one in seconds. Yes, it's Friday, and yes, we have a theme. We will survive this!

Today was all about the [other-than-theme] cluing. By the time I got to that ___CHEN entry, my mind had already been twisted half-LOOPY, and so I was looking for misdirection. KITCHEN was not long in coming to me. Nor do I AGREE about the rest of the ONIONDOME area. One of the simpler spots, for me.

Had some momentary trouble in the NE, caused by entering NOnPC instead of NOT. I thought NONPC was the more common phrase. Neither has RISEN my ire. It is what it is. Liked the twin (but VERY different!) composers SOUSA and SATIE. DOD is ELENA Kagan of the Supremes; honorable mention to SEAN Young. If cluing had been kinder, this might've been super-easy; as it is I'd call it medium. Birdie.

Burma Shave 12:38 PM  


This TSHIRT says I’m NOT a SAINT,
it’s SAD you’re REDDY TO AGREE,
you’re so SQUARE with that ONENOTE plaint,
LORD, we CLASH ‘cuz I’m NOTPC.


rainforest 2:13 PM  

Well, I liked it a lot. Rare to have a theme on a Friday puzzle, not that there's anything wrong with that. As soon as I got BASIL---, I got the rest of the edifice's name and ONION DOME came right after.

Parts of this puzzle were easy and others were slow to come, thanks to the sneaky cluing in places. For some reason I really liked PULSATE as an answer, and it served to open up the centre.

The "art work" may not have been spot-on, but it was clear to me.
Good puzzle; good week.

leftcoaster 4:34 PM  



leftcoaster 5:22 PM  

....that is, "Chicago" LOOPY

leftcoaster 5:24 PM  

....that is, "Chicago" LOOPY

Diana, LIW 6:07 PM  

Got most of it, including the "theme." And yes @Rondo from yesterday, I am memorizing all kinds of gods and symbols. And the Urdu word for nosehair, of course.

Diana, LIW for Crosswords

JT 7:09 PM  

Good grief, I so badly wish there were another site that performed this function so I wouldn’t have to be exposed to Rex’s slimy, self-important opinions.

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