Typographer's gap / FRI 9-18-20 / Fortification-breaching bomb / Vacation locale for President Gerald Ford / Lucky thing to hit in ping-pong / Member of South Asian diaspora

Friday, September 18, 2020

Constructor: Anne and Daniel Larsen

Relative difficulty: Easy (very, 4:46, first thing in the morning)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: EM SPACE (40D: Typographer's gap) —

An em is a unit in the field of typography, equal to the currently specified point size. For example, one em in a 16-point typeface is 16 points. Therefore, this unit is the same for all typefaces at a given point size.

The em dash (—) and em space ( ) are each one em wide

Typographic measurements using this unit are frequently expressed in decimal notation (e.g., 0.7 em) or as fractions of 100 or 1000 (e.g., 70/100 em or 700/1000 em). The name em was originally a reference to the width of the capital M in the typeface and size being used, which was often the same as the point size. (wikipedia) (emph. mine)

• • •

Totally acceptable if not terribly exciting offering today. A few nice, fresh phrases in a sea of tolerable if frequently overfamiliar stuff. There's something about certain phrases like NOT A HOPE and I DARE SAY and YOU BET I CAN that seem stiff and dated, and therefore seem as if they are arising from the graveyard of crosswords past (or a very extensive wordlist, which can amount to the same thing, since those are typically based on what's been in the puzzles before). Even IN A PANIC, which is a solid enough phrase, has an oddly crosswordy vibe to it—it's appeared eight times in the past decade, which doesn't sound like a lot, but for an eight-letter phrase, it's kind of a lot.. The grid shape here isn't helping. There aren't enough free-standing marquee answers; by "free-standing," I mean, "not tethered to another long answer of similar length" (see the pairs of long Downs in the NE and SW, which are noticeably less zingy than the best stuff, which in every case today (imho) is a longer answer that pops against the shorter fill surrounding it: DREAM ACT, BEYOND MEAT, NET NEUTRALITY. There was just something about this grid that felt closed in, like it couldn't quite breathe properly: too segmented, not built for the fill to really sing. But still, as I say, it holds up fine. I winced almost no times. You can send ATTA and ORANG back where they came from, but otherwise the grid is quite clean. And maybe I'm not giving enough credit to CHE GUEVARA / HOME PLANET as a colorful pair of answers, which I like more now than I did mid-solve. Anyway, good work. Just not as fresh and fun as the best Fridays.

TOE CAP ... I can't put my finger on it, or articulate it very well this morning, but this is another answer that feels squirmy to me—one of those "sure, whatever" phrases that I wouldn't use and haven't heard used. RICE BELT is interesting, but if I'd had to pick a belt to describe that area, I'd've gone with BIBLE. Honestly, needed crosses to get RICE. I've heard of em dashes but not EM SPACEs, though that wasn't hard to infer. Not thrilled about the dupe of "ACT" (DREAM ACT, ACTS ON), but at least today those answers are on opposite sides of the grids, i.e. the "ACT"s don't *intersect* the way those "OUT"s did earlier in the week, yeesh. I misread "South Asian" as "South African" so getting DESI was a real "D'oh!" moment (49D: Member of the South Asian diaspora). I had TOWED before TOTED (36A: Hauled), but that was the only mistake of the day, which may explain the sizzling fast time. Oh, no, sorry, one other mistake, of the utterly mundane and predictable variety: SODA before COLA (4D: Fountain option). Honestly, coming out of that NW corner, I was not terribly hopeful about where this puzzle was going, but it definitely wound up more enjoyable than not.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 6:32 AM  

Without a second thought I dropped in DREAMers at 18-A (instead of DREAMACT), thereby turning the solve into a nightmare. Took me forever to realize the error.

Spent years in the printing business so EMSPACE was (almost) a gimme. Had to confirm with crosses as there's also an EnSPACE.

JD 6:49 AM  

I'm Done, Not A Hope. Extremes, Sobs, Stalemates. I See and I Dare Say, if you ain't In A Panic Good For You. It's a 2020 tribute puzzle.

Harryp 7:00 AM  

DREAM ACT, NET NEUTRALITYY, I had most of the long answers wired, so I finished in three Rex territory which is very fast for me. When I checked it out on X-word info, I found that the constructors are just kids! Congratulations to them, I wouldn't even attempt writing up a puzzle. Good stuff, thanks.

Lewis 7:00 AM  

What a clean grid, no ewws anywhere. I find it calming just to look at, all these letters effortlessly interweaving, and lovely answers pop out as well: DREAM ACT, BEYOND MEAT, HOME PLANET.

The solve was the Friday-ish slow but steady march that I hunger for, and thank you for that, Anne and Daniel. As terrific as that was, it would have been boosted into the ethereal range with some Friday-ish wordplay-clever cluing in addition to the very nice [Blind spots?] for SLATS and [Pat on the back, maybe] for BURP.

Noteworthy was the contemporary feel, with DREAM ACT, NET NEUTRALITY, OMAR, and BEYOND MEAT. And I heard a cry – whether intended or not -- over the trashing of our environment, with NOT A HOPE, STALEMATES, and EXTREMES crossing HOME PLANET, not to mention the nearby TARRY, SOBS, and IN A PANIC (Hi, @JD!).

I ardently share that cry, and yet am hopeful, starting with a turnaround you know when.

Todd 7:02 AM  

Every time NYT clues the name is of anyone on the right side of American politics Rex does a little whiny screed about it. But Ilhan Omar, a blatant anti-semtic ( remember its all about the Benjamins) is clued today and nothing from Rex. Crickets. So vile hateful people are okay so long as they are on your side. Very disappointing.

GILL I. 7:03 AM  

Interesting Friday. I wouldn't exactly call it a barrel of fun but it was adult enough to hold my interest.
Some of the cluing was huh? inducing. 10D should've been clued as subject of a blood thirsty murderer who killed for sport. Please...never put the word classic in front of CHE GUEVARA unless it's followed by "the art of slaughter." I also wondered about dear President Gerald Ford. His legacy was pardoning Richard Nixon and instead you stick him on a ski slope in VAIL. Oh...I know....he loved that place.
Didn't know BEYOND MEAT. I had MEAT in place and thought "well dang....vegan's don't do that stuff." Oh, it's some kind of plant based thingie that supposed to taste like Porky Pig or Elsie. YOU BET I CAN gave me the BEYOND. Up, up and away.
My favorite: DREAM ACT. Will it ever pass? Huddled Mass or Second Class? NOT A HOPE? Are they STALEMATES?
I saw the blue sky this afternoon...there is some hope for a yellow sun on our HOME PLANET....maybe?

Loren Muse Smith 7:03 AM  

Wow – for me this was a pretty tough Friday. An early mistake mucked things up for a while; I occidentally put in “east” for 13D. Oops.

“Sea” LAB before EPA LAB.
“Dreamers” before DREAM ACT (Yo - @Joaquin)
“Moral” before ERECT.
“Erased” before EDITED.

Also distractedly wrote in RICE Bowl instead of RICE BELT because this summer Mom and I got take-out from the Rice Bowl every Tuesday. I had to go in and fetch it, and the owner there, Amy, has world-class rbf*. The food was never ready when I got there, so I just sat at a table and tried to give off this Oh-I-Have-All-The-Time-In-The-World-Take-Your-Time vibe so as not to invite her wrath. I would always thank her in Mandarin, and she’d answer in Mandarin, but she never exhibited the gratitude and admiration that frankly I deserved yes I’m just kidding calm down - “Thank you” in Mandarin is not that impressive. Amharic or Turkish, yes. Those thank-yous each have about 6 syllables.

“Tomato soup” has the same number of letters as CHE GUEVERA. And “hold my beer” fits for YOU BET I CAN.

Those people with all the Instagram followers – are they what we’re calling influencers? Like I see Gwyneth Paltrow holding a, uh, ahem, Lady Parts Steamer, and I’ma be influenced to run out and get one, too?

HOME PLANET/NOT A HOPE cross is timely. Just biden my time for a more science-trusting administration. I'll go over and stand with @JD and @Lewis now.

Frantic Sloth 7:16 AM  

Thought this one had me. Whenever the first walk-through yields piddling results I know I'm in for a tussle.
It didn't help that I've never heard of NOTAHOPE. NOTAprayer? Yes. NOTAHOPE? A HOT NOPE.

I wanted incOgmeato for BEYONDMEAT, but don't ask me why - especially since all I had was that one letter. Brazenly plopped it in and moseyed on with self-awarded SLAPS on my back.

Contortionism aside, SLAPS? Seems a TAD overzealous for polite company. Maybe that's just me because of all my, you know, sparkly politeness and such.
Now, if you wanna go the ol' kicks-for-shoes/SLAPS-for-gloves route (Hi, @Loren!), I'm all in! 😉

Not a fan of ONESEATERS, but there it is and I'll live with it.

Just wondering: Does the EPALAB or any part of the EPA really even pretend to care anymore? Asking for the HOMEPLANET.

Quasi PSA:
Though I'm not a proponent of banning certain people or terminology from crossword puzzles because of their real or perceived ignominy, out of respect and affection for our @GILL, I'll refrain from further comment on the big, fat CHEGUEVARA turd in the grid.

Good day.


ChuckD 7:21 AM  

Not terrible - but an overall easy solve for a Friday. I think the cluing - although current is flat and just fill in the blanks rather than the tricky word play we usually get on Friday. BEYOND MEAT could have been clued as “Purina Product”. Backed into and learned LAREDO and RICE BELT so that’s nice. I’ll take it and slide right into the weekend.

Surprised Rex didn’t bitch and moan about a racist, misogynistic thug in his puzzle. Maybe @Gill will opine.

kitshef 7:21 AM  

Probably half my time was in the SW. Had BELT, but never heard of RICE BELT. Don’t know DIDO nor DESI - though now that I see it I'm sure I've seen it in puzzles before. But probably the biggest problem was the %*&**$)*%$#! “Just watch me do it”, which is not no way no how not ever equal to YOU BET I CAN. “Just watch me”, or better simply “watch me” is the equivalent there.

There some good stuff here, but too much reliance on four-letter names (ANNA, ERIN, OMAR, DIDO, ATTA, SHUE).

Hungry Mother 7:22 AM  

Smooth sailing except for the SW, which had me stalled for a while. I still finished much faster than my average time for a fish day, on which my mother would often melt Velveeta over toast.

MarineO6 7:41 AM  

Way too easy for a Friday but right in Rex’s wheelhouse with Omar, Che Guevara, and the Dream Act. Slightly offset by the Liberty Tree which if Che Guevara and Omar had their way would be torched.

Frayed Knot 7:48 AM  

The only Desi I know is Lucy's husband.

pabloinnh 7:49 AM  

Well I've heard of a TOECAP and worked summer jobs that made them a good idea, so of course it was about the last thing I entered. TONGUE was very alluring, no help there. First time I've seen PETARD without the required "hoist" in a while.

Can't help but wonder if the "beyond" in BEYONDMEAT means "better than" or just "out there somewhere". The company's name and products are new to me and shall remain untasted.

Wrote in RACEBELT, since this looks like prime NASCAR territory to me, and I'm leaving it. When you solve on paper, they let you do that.

Fun Friday you guys, but you're going to get an earful from @GILL I when she sees 10D.

Charles Flaster 7:51 AM  

Loved SLATS.
DNF with blanking on BEETLE.
Remainder was cinchy.
Thanks Larsens.

Joaquin 8:02 AM  

In the category of "Wish I'd Thought of That" is the comment from @JD (6:49) who noticed today's puzzle is a "2020 tribute". Good one, JD!

SouthsideJohnny 8:08 AM  

Lots of real “gunk” that only a Friday-level crossword solver could love:

ANEMONE, next to PETARD - I’m sure those come up in everyday water cooler conversations.
TARRY (right above EMSPACE) - ditto
BASSI and ARTE - the requisite contingent of words that are not (English) words is only mildly annoying today, lol.
DESI - what the hell does that mean (is it a country)? Yuk !
And let’s not leave out DIDO and ARGENT.

Many of those who have posted so far (and OFL as well) have characterized this one as on the easy side, so I’m guessing that these are not unusual for those fluent In CrossWordese - I’d rather have a tough puzzle where the clues and answers are actual words that ordinary people might use more frequently than once every decade or so. Is it really that tough ? I’ll bet Rex or Nancy could come up with a puzzle that is Friday-level difficult but still written in plain English.

algiardello 8:22 AM  

Thumbs up.

LeaveItToYourGoat 8:49 AM  

I was mostly impressed with this one, but the NE was rough. COX, ATTA, and TARRY crossing CAT CHOW, and ARGENT could be forgiven if the cluing wasn't so difficult.

Aren't there plenty of proper names for COX? It's totally unnecessary to clue it as an abbreviation for - let me Google it real quick - coxswain(?!). Ugh.

ATTA should not be clued as Kofi Annan's middle name. Jesus.

And TARRY is a word, sure. But the subsequent usage of TAR means you have to clue the former as the less familiar verb instead of the far more common adjective.

I'm sure I've heard of ARGENT before, but it completely escaped me.

Maybe I'm being too harsh on this one. I'm probably just bitter that I guessed DOG CHOW instead of CAT CHOW.

Z 8:55 AM  

SOBS BURP ERECT in the strangest porn synopsis I’ve ever seen.

I’m staying away today. I mean, Geezus, can we cram any more politics into our puzzle. Damn, even LAREDO gets a political clue. And you just know that Ilhan OMAR will bring out the sexist racists because the thought of a Somali-American woman with power scares the bejeebies out of them. So let me leave you with how I’d clue LAREDO

Lux Esto 🕊

JOHN X 9:00 AM  

I kicked the hell out of this puzzle, and I was completely stoned. I was thinking “what kind of high school crap is this?” Then I found out it was made by two teenagers and I felt bad about kicking it so hard. But I did another massive bong hit and now I feel better about it it.

Then I watched the movie Patton just because it was on. I think I would have been a pretty good general. I’d slap everybody.

Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, at least it’s an ETHOS.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

Too slow, Rex!

Blackhat 9:10 AM  

7 names, 2 foreign words.....

Michiganman 9:12 AM  

IDARESAY you nailed it on the Omar haters.

KnittyContessa 9:15 AM  

Had a tough time my first pass. Dreamers before DREAMACT, Impossible before BEYONDMEAT, tongue before TOECAP. Never heard of RICEBELT or DESI. I never knew what PETARD meant. Looking back, I'm surprised I finished it! An enjoyable Friday.

Rube 9:17 AM  

So ridiculously easy. Great puzzle...if there was a day in the week before monday.

I just don't understand why people care if a puzzle has politically oriented answers. This is a puzzle a game a diversion.

Why do people care if a horrible person like ilhan Omar is part of the solution. Yeah she's awful. So what. Would you prefer it if the clue was _____ Khayyam?

OffTheGrid 9:24 AM  

I counted 15 names (PPP) in the grid.

Sixthstone 9:29 AM  

Rex is spot on with this one. Overall it was easy and fine, like a nice Buick sedan. But many of the answers were just a bit off. I kept saying "I guess that's a thing..." RICEBELT? I live in Texas and no one ever says that. NOTAHOPE? "Not a chance" is the real thing. BURP? YOUBETICAN! EMSPACE? ISEE IDARESAY IM DONE.

Frantic Sloth 9:39 AM  

@JD 649am Brill! Oh, and thanks for the reminder, Chuckles.

Conrad 9:42 AM  

@Joaquin, @LMS and @Knitty: I, too, fell into the DREAMers trap. But I'm guessing I did much worse than you did. I knew PETARD, which should have corrected the mistake. But I didn't notice and went blithely along with DREAMARS (Trump's plan for staffing extraterrestrial exploration?). And amazingly, I was okay with or missed rAMPOUTS (making s'mores on an access road?). It wasn't until NETNEUTRALITY that the long-delayed bulb illuminated.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

Che Guevara is ok, but Scooter Libby is a problem?
Anybody else feel we're through the looking glass?
As for Ilhan Omar, it's been 19 years and a full week since, as she said, " "Some people did something." I see no problem with including her in the New York Times. What's the big deal aboyt three thousand murders. Sheesh, those New Yourkers sure are crybabies.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

CAP ... I can't put my finger on it, or articulate it very well this morning, but this is another answer that feels squirmy to me—one of those "sure, whatever" phrases that I wouldn't use and haven't heard used.

Obviously you never had A Summer Job in any kind of factory, where A) boots are mandatory and B) steel TOE CAPS are too. All in the service to safety. Well, and lower insurance payments for the factory owner.

There was a better than average L&O:CI episode about an ABCD - American Born Confused Desi. Only reason I knew it.

And who knew RICE is grown in Texas???? We only get the Carolina brand. Another factoid (courtesy Alton Brown, et al): slaves were first brought to tend rice, not cotton.

Whatsername 9:49 AM  

Good solid Friday, lots of interesting long answers and no dreck to speak of. Easy for Friday with only 10D giving me any trouble. Surprised no angry Rex rant about that one.

My one big disappointment was 26D. I cannot adequately express the depth of my disappointment that the answer was not HOLD MY BEER. “Just watch me” cried out for it, especially right there next to the race car clue.

And speaking of rednecks, I had no idea all there was so much RICE being produced in those southern states. I wonder how they manage to make a BELT out of it though.

Instagram idols? I guess that’s the latest pop culture measure of success. I laugh every time I see the term “influencer.” I get that it’s mostly about product promotions but have a tough time believing even the ones with the most followers really make much of an impact.

Other than the obvious, is there a difference between a pat on the back and a slap on the back? I DARE SAY not really.

Ultimate Day 9:54 AM  

Great, I had to put Idiot Omar in right off the bat. I’m offended that she’s even in this puzzle being that she wants the destruction of America as she snickers at the riots going on. Wake up people and move out of New York and LA like the smart people are doing.

Nancy 10:01 AM  

I'm supposed to know that Luke Skywalker and Han Solo are REBELs? I simply wrote them in as ROLES. That's just about all I know about either one of them. Which meant that the SW took me longer than anywhere else.

But this is a smooth, grown-up puzzle -- nicely clued and with interesting fill. I especially liked NET NEUTRALITY, DREAM ACT and HOME PLANET. These are things I care about much more than either Luke or Han. And some nice clues for SLAPS and BURP.

Should I ATONE for the fact that when I saw the clue, "Observe Yom Kippur, e.g." and saw that the answer had an E at the end, my very first thought (before seeing if it would fit) was STARVE?

Nice job -- easy-ish, but not so easy as to be uninteresting.

TJS 10:09 AM  

Strange experience for me today. Coming out of NW with nothing,ditto the NE, I was scanning clues for any kind of toehold and thinking this was going to be one of those impossible deals that pop up every 6 months or so on a weekend. Then Gerald Ford to the rescue, of all things. Somehow I remembered the incongruity of his connection to the skiing mecca.Knew "Anna" underneath, and started to gain traction. Never had a section that got filled without having to stop and rattle the ol' brain cells for some long-lost association. I went from thinking I was going to hate this thing to enjoying the struggle throughout. An excellent Friday workout for me. And any puzzle that manages to include Eiisabeth Shue and Erin Andrews is OK with me. Enjoy the weekend, y'all.

57stratocaster 10:09 AM  

Overall enjoyable. Never knew that occident means the west, and I did not know that argent was silver, nor Kofi's middle name, so that section held me up. I had urgent for argent, and that change was the last letter to fall.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali 10:14 AM  

I thought this puzzle was great. Liked Dream Act, Net Neutrally, Ilhan Omar (I know but at least she’s current), Never heard of Rice Belt and never knew that there was a Republic of the Rio Grande it’s nice to learn things. Seen Che a zillion times in crosswords but can’t recall ever seeing his whole name. 👍🏽@Rube, Ultimate Day, Anon 9:46—EZ- remember anyone who criticizes a powerful Somali-American woman is a racist. On the other hand, saying someone shouldn’t be criticized based on her immutable characteristics is kind of racist in itself.

johnk 10:17 AM  

A spot is a rounded mark or stain made by foreign matter, as mud, blood, paint, ink, etc.; a blot or speck. OR something that mars one's character or reputation; blemish; flaw.
SLATS are not spots, IDARESAY.
I had no trouble filling it in except for the wince.

Frank3038 10:25 AM  

Dafuq kind of lefty crap is this puzzle? Omar and Che in the same grid, and “Dream Act” right over “orang(e)?” Subtle, real subtle. I’m used to NYT carrying water for the dems but can we have apolitical puzzles at least?

TJS 10:26 AM  

@John X, Dude, welcome back ! I am inspired to join you in a celebratory J, just as soon as I knock off my mandatory coffee fix. Was worried that you had been jailed again.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

57stratocaster-- May I invite you to remember that Occident means west (and Occidental western) the next time some woke chap or chapess tells you Orient ( or Oriental) is racist. Given your new found knowledge you can see what drivel that claim is.

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

The problem with leaving LA and NYC, and all cities of large size: 99.44% of all human progress has happened in cities. All those Sh!thole Countries that The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) denigrates have one thing in common: they're nearly all based on agriculture economics. Well, and internet scams in the case of Nigeria. As they still say in The South: 'ya don't need no book larnin to walk behind a mule or make babies'.

It's the synergy (yes, it still exists) of many different peoples and efforts that make progress possible. Was true in Ancient Greece, and remains true. Let's party like it's 1859!!!

Westword 10:35 AM  

Dull and dreary.

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

Ayaan Hiris Ali,

I know. I'm the worst. But understand. I went to Princeton, and as the University's president recently acknowledged, our fair campus is fundamentally unfair and its culture is a hot bed of racism. It's actually systemic.
Of course, admitting your campus is systemically racist does tend to conflict with statements they've made to federal agencies dispensing cash that they weren't discriminating on the basis of race. That conflict is why the Dept. Of Education is currently investigating whether Old Nassau defrauded old Uncle Sam.
I wish my tigers all the best. Of course they might be in better shape if the had a law school, but as you may know, Princeton thinks professional schools are anathema to mission of education. That's why they don't have any.

--Anon 9:46

mathgent 10:49 AM  

Nancy said it well. “Smooth, grown-up puzzle — nicely clued and with interesting fill.” But I didn’t find it easy at all.

Rex wanted more long stand-alone entries. I’ve been counting entries with eight letters or more recently. In a 15x15, you can only have one per row or column so the maximum is 30. I count 15 today. That’s high.

@Hungry Mother (7:22). Meatless Fridays in our house growing up found me making spaghetti dinner for my brother and me from the Chef Boyardee box. It was a long narrow box holding the noodles, a cup of sauce and a tiny cup of grated cheese.

Loren’s comment prompted me to look up the steamers she referred to. Another thing I learned today.

Ayaan Hirsi AlI 10:57 AM  

Ambiguous statement earlier. Should have read, “ saying someone should be immune from criticism based on...”

Sir Hillary 10:59 AM  

Solid Friday offering. My overall take is roughly the same as Rex's.

The long downs are lots of fun, and even to a carnivore like me, BEYONDMEAT is fantastic.

Only error was COLd at 4D. I was thinking a water fountain with hot and cold options, but of course that is slightly stupid. But seeing DRED--- meant I had to work elsewhere. Second day in a row I messed myself up in the NW.

How are SLATS "Blind spots"? They are spots on blinds? You spot them when you look at a blind? I could see how "Blind spots" could be windows -- i.e., where they are located -- but not SLATS. This is so-called clever cluing gone too far.

So glad that OMAR has triggered such productive commentary. I think I'm going to go point out China's mistreatment of the Uighurs on the James Bond site I sometimes visit -- should make for meaningful, relevant discussion among a community oriented to address such issues.

Nancy 11:05 AM  

@pabloinnh (from yesterday) -- Oh, no, no no, I wasn't threatening you with some sort of "retribution" for not singing with me when I said that you would be "sorry". Nothing could be further from the truth, dear Pablo. What I meant was that, once you heard the incredible beauty, the unimaginable exquisiteness of @Teedmn's and my SHENENDOAH duet -- truly the voices of angels, one might say -- you would then cry your eyes out to have made the unspeakably unfortunate mistake of not having chosen to be a part of it. :)

@Joe D (also from yesterday) -- Thanks for the key of C Major. I was pretty sure that was it -- just not entirely sure.

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

These problems arise because the NYTimes “crossword” has turned into the NYTimes “cross-phrase” which it should not. Phrases do not belong in a crossWORD.

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

How do you find information on the constructors?

albatross shell 11:09 AM  

Hand up for eaST and DREAMERS, the first was quick u-turn, the second took longer cause BEYONDMEAT was beyond me and I put a small bet on vEgaNsMEAT. But the YOU down cleared that up and eventually realized PETARD was a bomb. And connected to the French for fart. Who knew?

Most of the NW was a breeze because I garden and hunt wildflowers and have 5 different anemones in my yard.

Got HOMEPLANET NETNEUTRALITY GAMEPLAN and the Argentinean with very few crosses. TAR had me for a while.
The center and then the NE filled in quickly for a Friday. The South was where all the real trouble was. The SE eventually fell w/o google. The SW looked up LAREDO, and the rest slowly fell.

Porn story?

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

What? Are you kidding?

RooMonster 11:10 AM  

Hey All !
Put in RustBELT first. Had me scratching the ole head. Isn't that the NE USA?

Not quite as easy for me today as for some. I believe it's psychological! Got hung up in a few places. I'm back to work now, so I solved online earlier today, had to go to work before commenting, so now I don't remember all the puz nuances. Ah well, such is the forgetful brain.

Did have to Goog for ATTA and TARRY. Can we praise Kofi by saying "ATTA Boy, ATTA!"?

Overall, a nice themeless. I've read done by two teenagers. Are they related to the adult Larsen who has puzs published?

No F's (C'mon, Larsens, show some F love!)

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

You voted for trump, obviously.

albatross shell 11:14 AM  

@johnk 1017am
A spot is a location. SLATS are located in a blind.

Newboy 11:17 AM  

SLAPS to the forehead today for sOdA before COLA & BUmP before BURP, though rewarded with a guffaw for the latter. Also was pleased with myself for spotting the trick that trips me frequently at 7D—surely the “crew leader” was a Cee? Nope! With all the cute clue ambiguity this specific reference tossed me. Nicely played you Larsen kids; you caught the EDGE with today’s grid service.

Looking forward to November 4th and recalling the words of a wiser soul: “Political correctness is America's newest form of intolerance, and it is especially pernicious because it comes disguised as tolerance. It presents itself as fairness, yet attempts to restrict and control people's language with strict codes and rigid rules. I'm not sure that's the way to fight discrimination. I'm not sure silencing people or forcing them to alter their speech is the best method for solving problems that go much deeper than speech.” George Carlin

J Tull 11:19 AM  

Good fun Friday. I wasn’t familiar with Desi other than Lucy’s beau so I googled it only to find that it is considered by some to be a racist derogatory term. A bank in Canada had to pull an advert that used the term.

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

RustBELT is the northern midwest. generally not including New England, which has, on the whole, moved on from manufacturing to info economy and pharma.

the 'spot' to find SLATS is a window 'blind'

What? 11:24 AM  

Tough going but I finished with no mistakes. The best kind of puzzle. Very satisfying. Ready to face the day as Trump promises to reveal his “very beautiful” health plan, you know, the one he promised us three years ago, as Republicans are in court trying to scrap Obamacare.

ow a paper cut 11:28 AM  


Carola 11:30 AM  

CAT CHOW sharing the grid with BEYOND MEAT - I'm not sure it rises to "It doesn't get any better," but it made me laugh and put me firmly in the puzzle's pocket. Smiles for the lovely ANEMONE and the PETARD as well, and ponderings over the bracketing of MEAT by an omnivore and carnivore, with the raptor-let hovering above. Do overs: EpitoMES before EXTREMES, IcOn before IDOL, Cap before COX (and before TOECAP).

@bocamp, from yesterday - Thank you for the "Jeanie" link. I'd heard of John McCormack, but I don't think I'd ever heard that lovely tenor voice.

EdFromHackensack 11:31 AM  

oh man, thought it was hard... Rex ruined my day calling it very easy. Had DREAMers and Cap for far too long... that didn’t help at all. wanted YOUBETonit but didn’t write it down, it was just in my head. I do it in pen so once I enter something incorrectly it just messes things up so I have to be semi-sure. Thats why I never time myself. It’s almost a 2 step process. I’ll put it in my head and see what jives the other way, then enter. Anyone else here never time themselves? I liken it to eating a good meal... does it taste any better if you eat it fast. Thoughts on this?

albatross shell 11:40 AM  

Googling "Desi racist" I get mostly people identified as desis speaking out about racism with no reference to the term being racist. I am sure it can be said with a sneer. Anyone know more?

Pete 11:44 AM  

Re Ilhan Omar - You know who else decried politicians going on bended knee to political donors with specific interests, in this case Israel? D J Trump: : “Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to [Marco] Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!”. That was before he went on bended knee to Adelson, and walked away with a cool quarter billion so far. All it took to get that was killing the Iran Nuclear deal, moving the embassy, and a Medal of Honor for Mrs (Dr) Adelson. So I guess he's a racist too.

Oh, wait, he is racist. Sorry, forgot the facts smacking me in the face on a continual basis.

Ernonymous 11:45 AM  

@anonymous The Orient is East from where? Isn't the world round?

albatross shell 11:56 AM  

Add CAT CHOW to my story.

egsforbreakfast 11:56 AM  

Alternate clues:

21A. Ms. Winfrey called, briefly. ORANG
57A. So. Cal. makeover. LAREDO
27D. Mosquitos that just won’t quit? ONESEATERS
19D. Quarterback Newton sulks. CAMPOUTS
59A. Career advice from Will Smith to Jayden. ACTSON

There’s no point I’m making, just having fun, which is what I thought Anne and Daniel Larsen’s puzzle was. It was easy for a Friday, but not a total pushover, and I never care at all when characters deemed nefarious by someone appear in crosswords. Constructing is hard, and when a right or left winger is the best way to deal with the grid, you do it without intention.

Anonymous 11:57 AM  


From Greenwich, England. And the reason, sir, is that The English solved the problem of Longitude which had bedeviled man for millennia. IT is in fact one of the great achievements in history.

pabloinnh 11:59 AM  


Fair enough. I don't have enough experience with angels singing in C Major to have an opinion, except to say that if you go up a fourth (as was discussed yesterday) you have the opportunity to do some real soaring. My singing partner tends to get choked up when we do this one (true story).

Here's another true story--our minister asked folks in church to describe an experience that transported them in some religious, or near-religious way. A friend of mine said it was when he heard me sing "The Lord's Prayer" at his wife's memorial service. This could have been thoroughly embarrassing if I had been present to hear it, which I was not.

Anyway, I eagerly await the duet, and will forward it to all my music-loving friends.

JC66 12:01 PM  


Yes, the world is round, but despite the fact that, over time, the term Oriental took on a racial meaning, Israel and Syria, et al are still located in the Middle East; China & Japan, et al in the Far East; Germany & Canada in the West, etc.

Whatsername 12:06 PM  

At LMS (7:03) “Biden my time” waiting for a more science-trusting/brain-functioning/honest/truthful/effective/capable/fill-in-the-adjective-here administration. You should contact the campaign and suggest they find a way to use that. It’s pure gold.

@JD (6:49) A 2020 tribute puzzle. Priceless!

@Anonymous (11:08). To read about Constructors. Scroll down and on the right, all sorts of info.

Michiganman 12:06 PM  

@Ed. I time the Mini but never the main event. My settings (NYT e-edition) are set so that the time doesn't even show. It took me a while to get used to the idea that time is important to some solvers. We all enjoy the crossword in different ways. I call it puzzle enjoyment diversity.

Crimson Devil 12:08 PM  

What a mess I made of this, from DREAMERS, to HOLDMYBEER, to TOMATOSOUP...but it’s Fri. Tough puz.

Unknown 12:25 PM  

MUNCH instead of MINCE killed me.
Do I think Omar is a bit of an anti-Semite? Sure.
Does it bother me that she wound up in the puzzle? No.
Do only boots have TOECAPs? I don't think so. Don't some wingtip shoes?
Had BLUEPLANET for a while. This was suitably Friday tough.

TwistedGnarl 12:28 PM  

Agreed. And the moderator here apparently won’t allow additional examples of what you are referring to, taken from this very puzzle, to be cited.

I’ll leave the inference of the puzzle figure I have alluded to as an exercise for the reader.

Z 12:33 PM  

book recommendation

CDilly52 12:34 PM  

Well, geography does contribute to one’s frame of reference. Until I became an Oklahoma resident, I would have had no earthly idea what a TOE CAP is. Out here though, everybody wears cowboy boots with and without them. Or at least their dressy boots are adorned with metal tips that may be plain brass or some silver metal or, in the case of elegant and hideously expensive exotic leather, highly embossed and decorative boots, may be sterling or a hardened gold alloy of some sort.

Once,, in utter frustration with a father who, because of his continued animosity toward his ex, refused to pay his child support, I learned first hand what boots with such elegant decorations could be worth.

My client’s ex was very wealthy and had a tribe of lawyers and accountants who hid assets in every manner possible, all barely legal, but irritating in the extreme since his two children needed his resources.

On my third try at a hearing on assets, I must have had the father sitting under oath for a couple hours and he was enjoying himself enormously. About the time I had gone through the mountain of documents and had found nothing attachable, he was feeling very pleased with himself - again.

He pushed back from the table and crossed his legs over his starched Lee riders and I saw without a doubt to this good day the most exotic pair of western boots I have ever seen. And brand new. Not a wear-wrinkle, gleaming and smelling of new leather. They had TOE CAPS and heel caps obviously gold, exotically engraved. I was just irritated enough that my wicked lawyer-brain went into overdrive. I started asking him about the boots.

“Well, little lady,” said Mr. Fake Cowboy, “I had no idea a city gal like you would know her boots, but yes, ...”. He went on to brag in detail about the fact that they were hand made in Spain by the artisan who designed saddles, boots and other leather wares for the royal family, that they had four different exotic (and banned in the US) leathers, and specially annealed 14K gold adornments.

I wish I had words to describe the smugness in the man’s alcohol-reddened, face as he smirked. “Must have cost several months’ child support,”.I commented. “Well, my businesses require my reputation to be consistent,” said Mr. Fake Cowboy.”

About this time, his attorney sees the train wreck coming and tries to stop it by asking me to step outside and chat. I declined and said, “I will just take the boots.” Hearings on assets are the last ditch effort at law to enable a creditor to get anything of value not encumbered by mortgage or other debt in order to satisfy a creditor’s claim.

We argued for a bit and finally got the judge on the phone and he, having seen me in his courtroom on several prior occasions just trying to get some of the abundant available money from this fellow for his children, said to Mr. FC’s lawyer, “Give her the boots.”

So FC walks out of the courthouse in stocking feet, face redder than ever. I delivered the boots to Mom, who sold them on EBay for multiple tens of thousands of dollars-more than twice FC said he’d paid for them under oath (which I doubted anyway).
Mom and I suspect that she sold them back to her ex, but never found out. That’s my TOE CAP story.

I liked the puzzle more than OFL, and found it Friday hard in spots. Happy weekend all!

DougM66 12:39 PM  

Thanks you for the Marty Robbins/Johnny Cash song. Amazing!

Azzurro 12:39 PM  

Former printers of the world, unite! I used to work in the field too and had a similar experience.

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

Said's book ( the one Z provided a link to) is popular in certain circles, ridiculed in others.

here's a very brief rejoinder to Said.


Joaquin 1:01 PM  

@CDilly52 (12:34) - What a great boot story! And so well-told.

Nancy 1:06 PM  

@pabloinnh (11:49)-- You mean all angels are sopranos? Sigh. I guess that leaves me out.

I've always been an alto. Even as a child, the only female singer whose recorded songs I could sing along with in her key was Ethel Merman. Could never, ever sing along with Julie or Barbra or (much worse, her voice made my eyebrows ache) Shirley Jones in "Oklahoma". I found myself able to sing along with about half of a Mary Martin song, but had to drop down an octave when she went really high. I had much better luck singing along with Paul Robeson on "Ol' Man River":)

But here's an anecdote: About 5 years ago, my former high school had an alumni evening where you could sign up for a variety of events. I chose a singing masterclass conducted by Debbie Prince, Dalton alum and daughter of Hal Prince. I should have had my head examined: I'm not a soloist, not a performer, have no stage presence, and I was so nervous when my turn came that I almost couldn't breathe, much less sing.

I forget what song I chose, but I'm sure it was something with a fairly limited range. I had picked my key. I sang about two bars and Debbie turned to the pianist and told him to raise the key. I sang two more bars and she told him to raise it again. Was she turning me into a [gasp] soprano???!!!

It was amazing. I could actually reach all the required high notes. I don't think I reached them beautifully, mind you, but reach them I did. When my stint was over, she turned to me and said: "You should always be singing higher than you're used to singing. Work on it."

I was so flattered! What a range I had! What versatility! Both an alto AND a soprano! How many people can say that? Only later did it occur to me that, what with advancing age, all that Scotch and red wine in my past, not to mention the cigarettes I had smoked from age 18 to age 50, I had lost all of my once-dulcet low notes and was now more or less croaking them. No wonder she raised my key just as soon as was humanly possible:)

jae 1:15 PM  

Easium. The SW took a tad more effort than the rest. Not familiar with RICE BELT. Solid with a bit of sparkle, liked it, except @Gill for 10d.

...also @Gill - the sky is definitely bluer today in San Diego and its easier to breathe ...so, yes hope

Anonymous 1:15 PM  

Happy Horse S**t ,more like it CDily 52,
You were questioning someone for several hours at a hearing? Then you had to phone the judge? Who was administering the hearing? And the judge, over the phone, without access to a transcript or, apparently hearing from the other party ordered forfeiture of assets on the spot? (Without verifying their value? And this value was at minimum $20,000? And They Sold on EBay?)
And this occurred without a written order? Who was there at this hearing to enforce the order? Forgive me if I find almost all of this beyond belief.

Ernonymous 1:18 PM  

@jc I realize we call Europe and America "the West" and Asia "the East." By saying the world is round I was pointing out that these labels are euro-centric. China can say that America is East. I was pointing that out to anonymous who very arrogantly feels that his world view is the only logical one.

Teedmn 1:18 PM  

Ack, got stuck in the SW and never quite finished. 55A was RICE BELT, and that meant sportscaster Andrews (who?) was probably ERIN but what was E_ITED for cleaned up or _IDO for the first queen of Carthage?

I was all over the map with that corner. Oh, the queen is aiDo? I thought Aida was a fictional character (whoops, that's __DO, not ___Da, never mind.)

Maybe the RICE BELT was a RaCE BELT? (She totally ignores the race in the 27D clue). Could cleaned up be ExITED? ElITED? Cleaned up was stuck in my head as a poker or sports term.

I finally gave up and went to xwordinfo.com, seeing my original guess of ERIN and RICE BELT confirmed. DIDO/EDITED, gah!

Anne and Daniel, thanks for the Friday struggle.

@Nancy, thank you so much for your kind words yesterday about my harmonizing efforts. But I don't think Zoom is the right vehicle for a long-distance sing-along. My friends and I have been Zooming weekly for a while and the audio cuts out when more than person tries to talk so we have to take turns, plus there's the occasional lag while you watch the person's lips move and try to match it to the words you're hearing.

Masked and Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Didn't know BEYONDMEAT [but it was deducible, with enough letters]. Ditto, on RICEBELT and ERIN and ATTA and DIDO & DESI. But, hey -- coulda been worse … M&A survived the solvequest with only some slightly bruised nanoseconds. YOUBETIDID.

fave fillins included: CATCHOW. DREAMACT [Had DREAMERS first, like lotsa y'all]. NETNEUTRALITY. YOUBETICAN.

Nice CAMPOUTS clue. One of the four ?-marked clues. Appreciated their extra feistiness.

staff weeject pick: RBF*. Not sure what that means, other than @Muse assured us that Amy has a world-class one. [Rice Bowl Face?]

Someone asked about info on constructioneers … there's a little dab of that, includin their mugshots, at xwordinfo.com.

… M&A now will mosey over and stand with @Muse and them other mask-wearin party folks, over in that there saner-than-average corner ...

Thanx for gangin up on us, Anne darlin & Daniel dude.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


ol 1:33 PM  

Great story, @CDilly 52!

Now I used to wear cowboy boots, but none of them had TOECAPS. Pure leather top to bottom. TOECAPS were for work boots, usually worn by the same people who were required to wear hard hats. Around here, people who occasionally work construction say they are "hard-hatting".

Some sort of award for cluing ATTA with no reference to a boy or girl.

You know, if Congress would get off its collective butt and pass a pure, simple DREAM ACT, the O.S. has been saying for years he would sign it. These are people who have been here since childhood, work hard, and pay taxes.

Writeovers include "Cap" before COX. The one advantage of being short and light, if you attend any Ivy League type college, is you easily earn a varsity letter in Crew. Well, not that easy, given the crazy hours for crew practice that are typical and often dictated by the tides.

EMSPACE I got immediately, having proofread many a law review article. And BEETLE. My best friend and I drove all over the wine regions of France and Portugal in a BEETLE I had picked up from the factory in Wolfsburg, and toured much of Britain in. Shipped it and myself on an ocean liner to New York and drove across the country with another friend. We passed through Salina and Dodge City, Kansas, and my memory of that God-forsaken corner of America helped me understand, though never appreciate, Bob Dole.

When I got to Palo Alto, I immediately sold the VW for a bit more than I paid for it at the factory, and resumed driving my trusty Pontiac Tempest, which I kept until the tranny blew into a zillion pieces somewhere on the Oregon Coast.

JOHN X 1:38 PM  

I know a great dirty joke about “OMAR the tent maker.” I can’t tell it here. It’s pretty filthy but oh man it’s funny.

Have a blessed day.

Eleanor J Clark 1:52 PM  

I never time! I just enjoy working the puzzle and wait as long as possible before looking things up. Happy to skip quickly to the bottom and work my way up when the top doesn’t “give” easily. So today, for instance, had the SW before anything else, guessing on “Erin” and finally getting “Desi” from the crosses.

David 2:01 PM  

Only reason I came today was to read Rex' rant about Che, and he didn't.

Speaking of that, @Todd at 7:02, I like how folks grab onto one thing and hold it close and dear for years. It's obvious you've not bothered to inform yourself since that day. @Anon at 9:46, take it from a New Yorker who had the second plane literally fly over his head and watched it crash into the second tower, context matters; you should try it some day.

Worked construction for a summer in high school, then another summer at a lead recycling plant. Yep. Toe caps all the way.

@Lewis, you hit it perfectly for me. Thanks.

albatross shell 2:02 PM  

Why is Bug in quotes?
Cause the reference is to the car? Because in that context it is spoken? Does that pass "mustard" even if it is a yellow VW?

Anonymous 2:12 PM  

It's hardly arrogant to point out that world uses Greenwich, England as the prime meridian. China can not make the claim that America is East because it would render the entire system useless. The prime meridian must be used and agreed to by all. The reason that a European point was chosen for 0 longitude is that Europeans were uniquely circumnavigating the globe in the 17th and 18th century.
That Europe did the heavy lifting in building the modern world is a fact. It was the English who solved the problem of longitude at sea. Why on earth wouldn't the people solving the problem make the starting point where they were staring from? I'm confident that had China solved the problem of longitude, they might have a royal observatory that was the envy of the world. Alas, they didn't.

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

I bitterly resent being told how to take 911. You have no idea who I am, nor what i experienced.

But please, do tell me what context would make MS. Omar's remarks palatable.

albatross shell 2:34 PM  

@David 201pm
Since I took the @Anon946am to be satiric or ironic and your first comment about Rex to be ironic or satiric, I am not sure of any body's position on anything OMAR, Here is some context you can buy or not:


GILL I. 2:34 PM  

@JD 6:49...Hah...good one. Remember...nobody wants to see amputees.....
@Frantic 7:16....Why you give turd a bad name?
@Anony 1:15....Oh, I don't know. CDilly did say it was in Oklahoma. My Dad was born in puzzle town Enid and he could tell stories like that.
Love me some cowboy boots with TOE CAPs and now I think I'll join's @Nancy and @Teedmn and sing: Home, Home on the Range.....

bocamp 2:38 PM  

Another enjoyable puzzle from two of our finest youth/s :) Thank you both, and keep up the good work!

Found the puz very smooth until the SW, where I had to do some head-scratching; got "Erin", "rebel", "non-slip" and "lap", but the rest of the fill provided enough kick to propel me down the homestretch to the finish line.

Paz 🕊

Anonymous 2:47 PM  

yo LMS, chronic town ! possibly the best debut EP ever. r.e.m. never topped it in my fully typed out humble opinion

Unknown 2:49 PM  

I grew up in southeast Texas with family ties in Louisiana and Mississippi and I never heard the area referred to as the rice belt. Yes, rice was grown there along with cotton, peanuts, etc.

Ernonymous 2:53 PM  

@anonamiss 2:12 Yes, I agree, this is a great system. Well done England! You originally said that because Orient means East, "Orientals" can't be considered a racial slur. They didn't name their location the Orient, the Europeans did. Maybe that has something to do with why they find it offensive.

pabloinnh 2:53 PM  

@Teedmn-Exactly what I was trying to tell Nancy yesterday about trying to sing on Zoom. It just doesn't really work.

@Nancy-Nice story about range. In grade school I could sing soprano but now my top falsetto is somewhere around Bb on a good day. On Sunday mornings after some fun on a Saturday night I sometimes have a low Eb, but it doesn't last.

Anyway, singing has brought me more joy than almost anything. Thankfully I've got a few years left.

Anonymous 2:55 PM  


Omar feels that because Muslims have been mistreated it's ok to be dismissive of 9-11. Some people did things, Come on?!! That minimized the horror and the culpability of the dastardly. She has every right to advocate for Muslims and to demand they be treated with respect. That however does not make minimizing the horror of 9-11 OK. And she did that. I want her held to account. It was a grotesque and obscene speech which conflated two different problems and in doing so did a terrible injustice to the many thousands of Americans, who suffered gravely that day. Many suffer still.
Here are her words. I find them indefensible.

“Here’s the truth. For far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties. So you can’t just say that today someone is looking at me strange and that I am trying to make myself look pleasant. You have to say that this person is looking at me strange, I am not comfortable with it, and I am going to talk to them and ask them why. Because that is the right you have.”

BurnThis 2:56 PM  

Agree 100%. I almost put the puzzle down for the day, I was so upset being reminded that she has such a huge platform for her anti-Semitic beliefs.

BurnThis 3:02 PM  

It’s not sexist or racist to dislike a politician who has repeatedly made anti-Semitic statements. She doesn’t get a free pass because she’s a woman or Somali born.

Swagomatic 3:03 PM  

I had a rougher time with this one. Tough, but fair cluing. I liked it, but I was a little frustrated. It took me a while to get a my TOECAP established in this grid.

Loren Muse Smith 3:12 PM  

@M&A - Resting Bitch Face. I had defined it at the bottom of my post, but I guess I cut it off!😒

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

Figured you would like Che Guevara.

Anonymous 3:35 PM  

Notwithstanding her anti-Semitism, Omar is a prominent Congresswoman who is certainly crossword worthy. Don’t be like Rex.

Anonymous 3:36 PM  

Close. What I said is that Oriental isn't offensive, precisely because the term Occidental exists. Neither is a slur. Or do assert that Occidental is a slur as well?

I'm glad you've changed your tune on Greenwich as 0 longitude. For a minute a there, it seemed you were suggesting it be some place else. Maybe China.

ebtobiassen 3:37 PM  

Rex is deeply offended that Scooter Libby's name appears in a New York Times crossword puzzle. In fact, Libby was, it turns out, not the one who outed Valerie Plame, the heroine of that particular story (and an anti-Semite). He was, in effect, framed. But Che Guevara, murderer and homophobe, among other delightful qualities, is, for Rex just a "colorful" addition. So then we know what to think of rants about "unPC" and how being PC is just being a decent fellow---like colorful Che Guevara, I guess. Libby, Guevara, and the odious Ilhan Omar are known names and, whether you like the people who bear those names or not, are fair to use in crossword puzzles. So are NRA, Trump and, I suppose, even Plame. Professor Sharp's belief that a crossword puzzle is better or worse depending on whether he likes the people and organizations whose names are in it is as childish as his political tastes are ugly.

bocamp 3:41 PM  

re: 18A - My first thought was "dreamers", but "spidey-sense" told me to plop "dreamer" in and leave the rest for later. Thank you spidey! :)


@CDilly52 12:34 PM

Love how you take a puzzle answer and weave it into an interesting anecdote! :)


My toe-cap memory is of my son umpiring a Little League (minors) game and getting a major ding on his big toe (either from a low pitch or foul ball, can't recall which). Unfortunately he wasn't wearing shoes with a toe-cap (my bad). :( His toe turned all kinds of blue and purple, and he lost the nail. Needless to say, he didn't ump for some time; however, it did prompt us to go out and find some proper plate shoes(steel-toed) for him. :) The other good thing that came from this debacle, was that I became much more safety oriented WRT, both the young umpires who worked for me, and for the players in the league (face guards, straps on helmets, etc.)

Paz 🕊

Anonymous 3:46 PM  

Last word from Me G--

Consider the adjectives for North And South: boreal and austral? Which of these two is the slur? I say neither and for the same reason the east/west, i.e., oriental/occidental aren't.

Have a good weekend enjoying the fruits of occidental achievement. You know: democracy, air conditioning, the automobile, cable tv, the germ theory of medicine, radio telescopes, the published printed word, The world wide web to name a few.

bocamp 3:52 PM  

@ Loren Muse Smith 3:12 PM

Haha… Google is my friend, so I searched rbf and voila, first hit (w/pics): bang on! Man (or "woman", I should say), that's some serious "glower."

Paz 🕊

Another Anon 4:28 PM  

@Anonymous 2:14. It wasn't 911. It was 9/11! BIG difference. Jeesh!!

JD 4:38 PM  

@Concerned citizens, Thanks for your kind remarks.

@Frantic, Psst, some advice, trademark incOgmeato! Genius should pay.

@Gill, You some kinda gorgeous!

@Z, You coward, I know yr out there, show yr hand!

Z 4:43 PM  

Gardening at Night

Hungry Mother 5:03 PM  

My vegan self and my omnivore wife cook BEYONDMEAT burgers and Italian sausage (with onions and peppers) once per week each. My wife is a convert. I wonder if vegan burgers would have been OK for Catholic Fridays back in the day? I was lucky to have print shop for a quarter when I was in 8th grade. I learned a lot of useful stuff. My OMAR was in the Wire.

Keith D 5:05 PM  

How can you agree 100%, then complain about her anti-Semitic beliefs? The point I believe is that it should all be fair game, right or left. It’s a crossword, not a political statement.

chefwen 5:12 PM  

In my steel selling days one of our warehouse men was moving a large bar of steel across the warehouse to one of our saws, the crane he was using malfunctioned and dropped the bar which landed on his foot, the steel tip severed two of his toes. There not foolproof.

Really enjoyed this Friday puzzle. Only a couple of mark overs, CAT foOd before CHOW and TOwED before TOTED.

JD 5:22 PM  

@Z, Thanks dude.

Arden 5:35 PM  


bocamp 5:40 PM  

Don't recall ever having used "occident" in conversation. The answer came to me easily, because I did know that it's the obverse of "orient". Orient is a wonderful word per se, but "Oriental" or "Orient" in the context of the East, not so much.

Yes, I understand the importance of John Harrison's clocks and the need to establish a reference meridian (Greenwich) from which a mariner could effectively utilize the timepiece, in order to establish the ship's longitude at any point of their journey.

The etymology of "Orient" here . This article covers a lot of ground in elaborating on the word. Here's the upshot, in a nutshell: "The term oriental is often used to describe objects from the Orient. However, given its Eurocentric connotations and shifting, inaccurate definition through the ages, it is widely considered to be an offensive term when used to refer to people of East Asian,[1][2] and South East Asian descent.[3][4]"

I've been to the Mid-east and Far-east, but not to the Orient. I don't have an "Oriental" rug, but I do have a "Persian" carpet. I don't have any "Oriental" pottery/ceramics, but I do have a "Chinese" vase.

It's not the words (either clues or answers) that make words NSFW in the puzzle but rather, the sensitivity (or lack thereof) in their use that should be the issue, IMO.

Off soap box, on to another comment. :)

Paz 🕊

Z 5:46 PM  

@JD - 😂😂 Chronic Town is a great EP. That, my book recommendation, and my first post pretty much covers everything I got today.

bocamp 6:09 PM  

Digressing, but only slightly (by virtue of antonym) - 13D "Occident" > "west" > "Orient"

Took my class to Stanley Park (Vanc.) to do its skookum "orienteering" course. Over the years, the weather and/or vandalism resulted in many/most of the markers being lost. I still had the original maps, though, so it was easy enough to go to the park early and put up my own markers (each containing a code letter), which when combined and unscrambled at the end of the hunt, gave proof that no-one had gone off on their own little adventure. LOL The "secret phrase" might also indicate something special that the kids could look forward to. Of course, we removed all the markers, to be saved for next year's hunt. :)

Paz 🕊

bocamp 6:33 PM  

Orienteering in Stanley Park

Paz 🕊

Space Is Deep 6:57 PM  

DESI should have been the word of the day.

bocamp 6:59 PM  

@ EdFromHackensack 11:31 AM

I didn't time myself when first starting the NYT's puzzles back in the '90s, but a few years ago I decided to do so. The reason: simply to track my progress in terms of efficiency, both from the standpoint of accuracy, as well as speed.

Originally, like you, I always used an ink pen, and I almost never entered a word unless I was 99% sure. I even went so far as to make the puzzles harder (even on the weekend). What I would do is look over the whole puzzle and see where a good entry point would be, i.e., where would I know (with surety) two words crossing each other. Then I would spend as much time as it took to build from there, using only words I had laid down, in order to cross other words. Early week puzzles and Sundays were easily doable, but Friday and Saturday would sometimes takes hours (or in some cases days). I absolutely enjoyed the time spent using this method, but having read this blog since nearly its inception and learning how others did their solving, I decided to make the change. I don't regret doing it, but I sometimes look back on those earlier days with a tinge of nostalgia. :)

Paz 🕊

bocamp 7:16 PM  

@ Carola 11:30 AM

yw - I've loved John McCormack's singing for a long time. :)

Here's J.M. singing "Che Gelida Manina" . Loose translation: here

Paz 🕊

bocamp 7:36 PM  

@ albatross shell 11:40 AM wrote:

"Googling "Desi racist" I get mostly people identified as desis speaking out about racism with no reference to the term being racist. I am sure it can be said with a sneer. Anyone know more?"

Interesting and informative discussion on Quora re: your question.

Paz 🕊

bocamp 7:42 PM  

Chevy Chase might be a world-class speed solver. LOL

Paz 🕊

bocamp 7:45 PM  

@ egsforbreakfast 11:56 AM wrote:

"Alternate clues:

21A. Ms. Winfrey called, briefly. ORANG
57A. So. Cal. makeover. LAREDO
27D. Mosquitos that just won’t quit? ONESEATERS
19D. Quarterback Newton sulks. CAMPOUTS
59A. Career advice from Will Smith to Jayden. ACTSON"

Kudos :)

Paz 🕊

Anonymous 7:45 PM  

Your first paragraph begs the question.

Nancy 7:46 PM  

@CDilly52 -- Finally catching up to reading all the comments. I absolutely love your boot story and the colorful and skillful way you tell it. It sounds to me like you're one hell of a clever and resourceful lawyer and you can represent me any day of the week. And maybe when you retire you can, like John Grisham and Scott Turow, write compelling legal thrillers. Or at least a colorful legal memoir.

Think I'll go online now and see if I can find any photos of gold-plated leather boots with TOE CAPS worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Anonymous 7:52 PM  


Just curious, what did you do before you found this blog?

bocamp 7:53 PM  

Suffered a humiliating defeat in a highly hyped "whaleboat" race in Pearl Harbor. Our boat was cox'n-less :(

Paz 🕊

GILL I. 7:53 PM  

Ay, Ruth B.G......Que descanses en paz. So much I agreed with you and so much I didn't. You were a beacon I would follow, though. You made my list of the top 10 females I'd have wanted to sit down with and have a copita and some tapas. I hope you meet my Mamacita up in those hopeful clouds; you'd get along famously.

bocamp 8:18 PM  

@ Anonymous 7:52 PM

That's probably a loaded question (forgive me if I'm wrong), but I'll give you an honest answer.

Watched far too much TV (just cancelled $70 worth of streaming subscriptions, spent far too much time on Pinterest, and far too much time doing the Rubik's Cube. BTW, Max's time in this practice session is 4 x faster than my best time. I spent far too much time (from 1982 til now) on this toy. Even so, I do manage to find time to do one or two things other than this blog. (tongue-in-cheek) 😉

Paz sister/brother 🕊

GILL I. 8:23 PM  

@Nancy....try Tony Lama. We could retire on a private island..... or eat filet mignon or sky dive every day or botox the droopy eyelids or get fat by eating chocolate and drinking a Domaine Armand Roussea....Name it! I'll be looking at feet from now on. Wanna join me?

albatross shell 8:24 PM  

You say she minimized the horror of 9/11. You say it is because of a few Muslims being mistreated. You say for this grievous sin she must be called to account. The speech was gross and obscene inflicting a terrible injustice on all those who died, were injured, or suffered loss on that day.

First, let's remember this speech happened one week after 50 people were shot in 2 mosques, killed because they were Muslims. She was talking to a Muslims urging them to be loving and and proud in their religion and actions. To claim full privileges and responsibilities and rights that come with citizenship. To actively support their rights.

Hardly a gross and obscene speech. Listen to it. Hardly about only a few Muslims being mistreated. And not conflating issues either. Your main if not only objection is some people did something. So speaking 18 and a half years after the event one must be sure to add a more complete description of events or you must be guilty of all of those above sins you named. If she had just said what? And it would all be OK? Because 23 Arabs or Saudis attacked America all would be peachy keen? Because some people launched a heinous attack on my country? Then Ok.

Really. Isn't this at worst an inartful phrasing in a speech to 300 Muslims about civil rights that has been hyped beyond all reason for purely political reasons?

Not saying you aren't genuinely upset. But how about our president's comments at the time. Oh now my building is the tallest in lower Manhattan.
Or his comments during his last campaign: Jersey City Muslims cheering from rooftops. That he, Trump, was down there helping. All errors or lies. Have you written angry posts calling him to account? I do not know what you think of him. Maybe you have because your anger is genuine.

bocamp 8:28 PM  

@ Anonymous 7:45 PM

Pertaining to which "first paragraph", and what definition of ""begs the question"" are you using?

Paz 🕊

Anonymous 8:50 PM  

The correct one. Petition principii.

Mary 9:17 PM  

Hey Albatross Shell. I worked on the 105th floor. I lost scores of friends. FU

bocamp 9:19 PM  

@ Anonymous 8:50 PM

Ok, thx; I'm interested to know in which "first paragraph" I've made an assumption that falls into the category of "begging the question." If I've made an error in logic or judgment, I'll be happy to reconsider.

The meaning of "that begs the question" has always been somewhat of a mystery. I understand that current usage has bastardized it, but then, that's the natural of language: it's in constant flux.

Nevertheless, I'd like to better understand the original meaning, especially in the context of a good example. If my words/thoughts are the example, then so be it. I don't mind being wrong, as long as I can correct the wrong. :)

Paz 🕊

albatross shell 9:52 PM  

I did not lose any close friends nor did I work there. I did lose some people I had met once or twice and some from My hometown and college. Some friends of friends. I mourn them all, known and unknown. I am sorry for your loss. What did you take offense to?

bocamp 9:57 PM  

***SB Alert***

Penultimate level done; 13 words to "QB" ;)

Paz 🕊

Anonymous 10:00 PM  

Your first one at 5:40,
You’ve assumed the validity of what you’re trying to,prove. It’s a fallacious argument,
Reconsider what youve written. You say that you like orient but not orient when it means eastern. But that is what the word means.
So your complaint becomes nothing more than you saying you don’t like when people use the word as it is defined. Or to be,ore blunt. Your argument is nonsense.

Anonymous 10:08 PM  

Oh man. That guy/girl has no idea. I’m sorry. It’s incredible that the mods will spike all manner of nonsense but allow alabatross
hate speech— which is what it is—- to stand.
Anyway, though it means almost nothing to most of the world! I remember.

albatross shell 10:13 PM  

I remember too. Who am I suppose to be hating?

bocamp 10:42 PM  

@ Anonymous 10:00 PM

Thx for that; now I can get to work trying to clarify what I wanted to say, but without the logic fallacy. I really do like this kind of challenge. I'll probably lose sleep over this, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. LOL.

I have a feeling you'll be around sometime soon to grade my paper. Take care and until next time, I bid you goodwill, sister/brother. :)

Paz 🕊

american glasser 10:47 PM  

So you feel that she singles out Jews for ridicule and encourages their disenfranchisement based on their inherent inferiority? Because that is what anti-semitism is, not a (peefectly well founded) belief that Israel is war-mongering, fascistic, and nationalistic. Claiming that a state that is Jewish is flawed is not the same as saying Jews are inherently flawed/inferior.Do you think people who condemn the Crusades or the Inquisition are anti-Christian? If not, then you are being intellectually inconsistent.

bocamp 10:51 PM  

Didn't know the "rice belt" from Adam; now I know! :)

First inclination was to drop "rust" in there (how the mind works on autopilot), but spidey gave me a nudge saying, whoa, the "Rust Belt", that comprises the states of the Great Lakes area, doesn't it (the decline of certain industries, aging factories, etc.)?

So now I know where to go if I need some rice. 😉

Paz 🕊

bocamp 11:14 PM  

@ Todd 7:02 AM wrote in part" (see full text at 7:02 AM)

"So vile hateful people are okay so long as they are on your side. Very disappointing."

Todd, honestly I mean no disrespect, but I just don't understand why we need to use the "H" word to describe people. BTW, the "V" word may be even more distasteful than the "H" word.

People we are, and people will judge; but, isn't there a more respectful way to describe people we intensely disagree with?

And, besides, if we can bring ourselves to at least try to empathize with others, I think we'll find so much good in them that may not be apparent on the surface. Have you ever thought about trying to arrange a meeting or a Zoom type of experience to chat with her?

As an aside, from a personal standpoint, I've ditched the "H" word in my speech and thinking. I won't use it under any circumstances, and as @ Frantic says, "you can't make me." :)

Paz 🕊

Anonymous 11:31 PM  

Jeez Louise @bocamp
You say you've been reading this blog since the beginning. Then you should remember the 3 posting rule, yes? I can see an extra post now and again, but you're doing 372 posts a day. I haven't counted todays, but two days ago, you had 22 posts. That's three times worse than @Z. (And that's saying something.)

Mods, can we do something about that? And what happened to not allowing non puzzle comments? Today we have Muslims-good-and-bad back and forth, 9/11 talk (which I know is a sensitive issue, further why it shouldn't be here), and arguments/fights amongst commentors. Enough!

bocamp 12:08 AM  

@ Anonymous 11:31 PM

You're right; I'll do better :-)

Paz 🕊

bocamp 2:55 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
johnk 12:52 PM  

Anonymous rants are anonymous rants. Rex, do they belong on your blog?

johnk 1:01 PM  

Only one of _many_ that should have been removed.

Pdxrains 8:35 PM  

No doubt.

thefogman 9:58 AM  

I made the mistake of looking up what a windflower is, hoping to get a hint of a description but instead I got the answer - ANEMONE. DNF

Burma Shave 11:36 AM  


in the EXTREME, I’MDONE with COX.


leftcoaster 3:15 PM  

Very good and gettable long downs and acrosses kept things moving along.

Especially looking ahead to passage of the DREAM ACT. Was a bit surprised to see second ACT in ACTS ON, but okay by me since they’re used in different contexts.

One missed entry: Unfortunately was hoist by my own PETARD by sticking with “I did it!” instead of “I’M DONE!” (Weak excuse: Was distracted, but not IN A PANIC at the finish.)

Chuckled at BEYOND MEAT.

rondo 5:15 PM  

IDARESAY EZ PZ except for writing over COLA on sOdA. Held off on __CHOW until the crosses got the CAT; dog was a possibility.
Please, no more Ilhan OMAR, even if (or, especially because) she's from MN. Get off what could be my side.
Marginal but acceptable clue for TAR.
NEWT WENT to the four corners (the EXTREMES).
Find a yeah baby? YOUBETICAN: ANNA or ERIN or Ms. SHUE.
No more. IMDONE.

rondo 5:16 PM  

Been missing @spacey.

Diana, LIW 5:22 PM  

not at all easy for me - just didn't get it

at all

the PPP was partially to blame


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