10-year-old boy of comics with glasses and blond hair / FRI 10-30-20 / Two bells nautically / Acts like a quidnunc / Rhyming descriptor for Obama / Midwest city in title of 1942 Glenn Miller #1 hit / Plants whose name derives from Greek for dry

Friday, October 30, 2020

Constructor: Trenton Charlson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (half-asleep, still finished just under 6)


Word of the Day: WORD (CLUE) —
• • •

Happy Halloween Eve. I wish the world could just be Halloween-scary, quaint-scary, instead of your-malevolent-leaders-want-you-to-just-get-sick-and-die-already scary, but you get the world you get and make the most of it. This puzzle wasn't scary, just boring. It was the sudoku of crosswords, in that I had to spend some time filling in boxes ... yeah, that's it. That's exactly how much pleasure it brought. To its, let's say, credit, it didn't bring any pain, either. It was easy enough, and there wasn't much in the grid to make me DEEP SIGH (36A: [Ho-o-o boy, here we go again ...]) (a pretty good answer slightly marred by the fact that it crossed a stupid nautical-time answer where I initially guessed ONEAM instead of ONEPM, oh the bos'n's gonna be so mad at me...) (28D: Two bells, nautically). There is one answer I probably would've resented a lot more if I hadn't managed to suss it out pretty quickly, and that is JASON FOX. LOL, who? I teach a course on Comics. Two, actually. I am one of the few people who still reads the funny pages, in the newspaper *and* online (my paper doesn't carry the new "Nancy" or the new "Mark Trail," so I go digital for those). And yet. And yet I had no idea about this answer. Had the JASON and ... nothing. "Foxtrot" is one of those strips whose name I have seen ... on book collections, maybe ... here and there. I'm aware of its existence, but familiarity with its character roster, uh, no. Yipes. This seems awfully obscure. Not an iconic character. The idea that you can describe him and still have me draw a total blank—where comics characters are concerned, that's a problem. The legit famous ones are iconic, and thus visually instantly identifiable. DEEP SIGH! Worse, this alleged character kept an "X" hidden from me, when SILEX was already keeping yet another "X" hidden from me (41A: Heat-resistant glass), so all I can say is, thank god XEROXES (44D: Copies, in a way) just *came* to me, out of the blue, because otherwise it would've been Stuckville for me, for sure.

So once again, a marginal proper name gums up everything. It really is the least pleasant way to get stuck, working out some name that means nothing to you. That same section also had Margaret KEANE, which... I have no idea how I pulled her name out of my brain (after I got the "K") (46A: Margaret ___, artist known for painting subjects with big eyes). I misspelled it at first (KEENE), and honestly I'm not sure if I knew it knew it, or just "knew it" in the sense that my crossword brain rolodexed through likely "K" names very quickly and the mostly likely one just happened to be correct. But that puts JASON FOX and KEANE in the same corner—slightly rough. I was lucky to "know" KEANE, and also lucky to know ELEANOR Smeal (who seems much more legit famous than the others) and Pablo NERUDA, so the SW corner went down easier (I had more trouble with KAPLAN, and thus KALAMAZOO, than anything else over there). Not much else to say. Started easy with NO-DRAMA Obama and didn't get much harder until that little JASON FOX bit there at the end. I wanted to object to plural ROOT BEERS until I remembered my kitchen cabinet, which typically contains anywhere from three to six different varieties of ROOT BEERS at any given time, so ... plural accepted! (29A: Floats are often made with them). Enjoy your day. Vote, maybe? OK bye.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. forgot about Mitch HEDBERG (13D: Comedian Mitch who said "I haven't slept for 10 days, because that would be too long"). Seems like a name that might've thrown a lot of you. He was funny. He died young, of a drug overdose, in 2005

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Conrad 6:25 AM  

Wednesday easy until the Southeast. I used to read Foxtrot when it was daily, but now that it's Sunday-only not so much. JASON FOX was hidden deep in my synapses and did not come easily. Needed Sergey and Larry* to help me get Margaret KEANE. Desperately wanted pyrEX for the glass and wondered if DEITyES might be a "var."

* Sergey Brin and Larry Page, founders of Google

Lewis 6:30 AM  

The perfect late week clue is one that you can’t get right away, but if the answer has one or a few letters filled in, you suddenly crack it with a flash. Trenton (and the editors) are so good at writing these. The art of a late-week cluing scheme is to have mostly this type of clue, but sprinkle a few gettable direct clues to get the process rolling.

Thus, my first pass yielded little, except in the SW, where a relative abundance of direct clues gave me ISABELLA, MEAD, and LINTEL. In the blink of an eye, that whole corner BRISKLY filled in. From there the answers slowly spread like spilled wine on a shirt, and areas that seemed impenetrable yielded.

I was helped by Trenton’s penchant for scrabbly letters, which allowed me to fill in MEZZO, KALAMAZOO, XEROXES, ZAMBEZI, and BRISK with some confidence. I was charmed by the clues for ORAL EXAM, LATE FEE, and YESES. I was energized by the spark all those scrabbly letters radiated (even the S in ISABELLA sounds like a Z), and flushed with hope when NO DRAMA filled in (Oh lord, please, let that return!).

Much BOOTY in this beauty. I thank you, Trenton, for your talent and skill, and for this experience!

ChuckD 6:30 AM  

Not my favorite Friday - but not terrible either. Have come to sync up with this guy’s preoccupation with the letters J, K and Z - I think it tends to make his puzzles a little easier to get thru. Would have liked more word play today but got JASON FOX?, KEANE, HEDBERG and others. Not really a fan of ISABELLA but loved Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet.

NW corner went in without a hitch - that usually sets the tone but not today. The NE and SE were tough - I finished at the DEITIES x SILEX cross having Pyrex in there for most of the solve. NATTERS I’ve heard but seems like an odd, ancient word. KALAMAZOO is a cool entry.

Overall a decent puzzle - just too many people for my liking.

Geezer 6:35 AM  

Why is the clue "Copies, in a way"? Xeroxes exactly means copies. Fridays are tough enough without fake misdirects.

Joanna 6:49 AM  

No love for DOMINATE right next to DESADE? I mean I'm glad you're keeping the joint classy but some of us enjoyed that on a base level ...

Harryp 6:57 AM  

No problem with 1Down, and NAZARENE followed, meaning a nice, NO DRAMA, Friday puzzle. I was lucky and guessed a lot of the people, but Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla are two of my heroes. I never knew they were friends. I thought I knew Twain until I read "LETTERS FROM THE EARTH' when I was in the US Army in the early 1960's. It gave me a whole new outlook on him. Tesla was a genius,and his interactions and difficulties with Thomas Edison,another great scientist of the day point out two different ways to approach science; Edison's try, try again, and Tesla's intuitive thought both helped scientific progress for our benefit.

Dale Gribble 7:07 AM  

This puzzle gets a gold pass for including the great Mitch Hedberg. He was the king of bizarre one liners. If you don't know him, get thee to youtube

Hungry Mother 7:17 AM  

Needed the red letters to see that an e was an A in the cross of two unknown names. Can’t constructors avoid this kind of crap? On the bright side, I was reminded of my bungee jump off of Victoria Falls Bridge above the ZAMBEZI.

Ted 7:17 AM  

HEDBERG was a gimme for me, and will be for many of the younger crowd. His one-liners live on in meme form.

NE was tricky with DESADE and RAJAHS crossing ALATEEN (a term I still don't understand looking at it now). NW was almost as tricky with NAZARENE being a pretty challenging 1A... but it was gettable with some crosses.

With that and KALAMAZOO and SILEX and the mentioned JASONFOX the scrabble-fucking was pretty heavy.

kitshef 7:19 AM  

That’s quite a double-Natick at BRISK/SILEX/KEANE. NYTPuz always assumes we know musical notation, which may has well be Mayan glyphs to me. Clue for SILEX is very questionable. And “big eyes” – I know right away the paintings that refers to (and which I don’t care for), but can never remember the painter’s name. Seriously, I saw that name in print yesterday and today had no idea, even spotting me the E-A-N-E.


EMERSON should always be clued with tennis great Roy Emerson – the man with the most Grand Slam titles - 28.

pabloinnh 7:28 AM  

NODRAMA Obama, of course, and there went the NW in a hurry, good church goer (or at least choir member) that I am providing NAZARENES, which led to much else. The "floats" clue had me writing ROSEPETALS until I ran out of room, and then it had to be ROOTBEERS, which caused me to think, now there's a prime example of a POC.

If OFL is reading Mark Trail and Nancy instead of Foxtrot, which is often funny and clever, I don't know what to tell him. My slowwdown was only in trying to think of JASON as a first name. Also I left the name as KE_NE until I had some help from the downs, Rex might want to try that sometime (har). Also learned that DESADE was a philosopher, who knew?

Fun scrabbly Friday, TC, and I was sorry when it was over. Thanks for the fun.

Anonymous 7:39 AM  

With @Lewis the first comment there probably won't be more for a couple of hours.

TJS 8:00 AM  

@Lewis was "charmed...energized...flushed with hope" at 6:30 this morning. I was hung-over and bored after an 18 minute Friday "challenge" that just rolled over and died.

Coniuratos 8:05 AM  

Overall, nothing to stand out, but I had fun. As a nerd who grew up in the 90s, JASON FOX might not be iconic, but certainly was a gimme for me. Foxtrot was probably my second-favorite comic after Calvin & Hobbes, and getting to meet Bill Amend at PAX East a few years ago was awesome (given Bill Watterson's hermit status, probably won't get the opportunity to do the same with him).

Always a delight to see the late Mitch HEDBERG, even if I'm never sure if it's HEDBuRG. My personal favorite line from him (which my wife tolerates my impression of every time we have rice) being: "I like rice. Rice is great when you're so hungry you want to eat 2,000 of something."

dlynch 8:09 AM  

I really wonder about redundant clues: why add to "actress Isabella", and on a Friday no less.

Z 8:20 AM  

I almost put this down without starting. Charlson is competent but rarely entertaining. Today was about what I expected. This will play very hard for some solvers. I toted up the Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns and came up with a hefty 27 of 68 for 40%. When a puzzle relies this much on PPP for it’s difficulty Wheelhouse/Outhouse comments are sure to DOMINATE the day.

I much prefer two of my wrong answers to what the grid wanted. First, “the Loop” is much much better than EL TRAIN, a phrase that is not a phrase anyone ever uses. Second, “Dip for a French dip” just screams for “eau.” JUS is fine, “eau” would have been clever.

Anyone else give the arched side eye to the plural ROOT BEERS. Sure, defensible as a thing, but just a gawdawful POC. I also winced at EMO being clued as “rock.” Yeah, sure, “rock” is kind of an all-encompassing term. But no. Just, no.

There was one PPP I did like in the puzzle: the name of my college, the place I learned Ultimate, the place I spent many weekends dancing to Ska Bands at the long defunct Club Soda, a place perfectly located halfway between Detroit and Chicago and a 40 minute car ride from Lake Michigan. So one of the 68 answers got a brief smile from me.

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

Hey Z, what year? I’m K’83.

Z 8:38 AM  

@Joanna - He He. Another thing I never expected to see but 2020 just keeps giving was the Rolling Stone article about Doms for Joe. Alrighty then.

@Ted - AlAnon and ALATEEN are support groups for family of substance abusers.

@pabloinnh - Rex doesn’t read Mark Trail or Nancy. He reads the new Mark Trail and Nancy.

@Anon8:33 - K’83. 👋🏽

Michiganman 8:41 AM  

I thought of you as I entered KALAMAZOO. Agree with you on eau, the loop, and rootbeerS.

algiardello 8:59 AM  

Alateen is AA for teenagers

Trace 9:12 AM  

@Geezer: all Xeroxes are copies but not all copies are Xeroxes. Clue worked.

Frantic Sloth 9:23 AM  

This is all I have to say about that.

Good day.


JB 9:27 AM  

2 bells is also 1 am. And a bunch of other times - the bell cycle repeats 6x over the day.... (As I recall)

Mohair Sam 9:29 AM  

Any puzzle featuring ISABELLA Rossellini is well-constructed in my opinion.

Most of the PPP was in our wheelhouse so we flew through this one, and enjoyed. Can see where those who found the PPP in their outhouse might feel differently.

So my sister-in-law and her family moved to KALAMAZOO several years back. We zipped out there a year or two later for a nephew's graduation. With a crowd of about 40 around the picnic tables I belted out "A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I got a gal in -" and cupped my ear for the yell of KALAMAZOO. I got humiliated instead, I was greeted with (essentially) 39 wtf's. I discovered the number 1 from '42 didn't have much staying power in its home town.

I wondered for a while if @Z had moved EMERSON to Michigan. But he cleared that up for me, and I bet he'd have finished my song too.

EZ 9:32 AM  

I don't think anyone from Chicago calls it the ELTRAIN. It's just the EL.

bocamp 9:36 AM  

@Trenton, a perfect Friday challenge. Thank you! :)

Most enjoyable and more or less on my wavelength; under ave. time.

Couldn't get a foothold in the NW; ended up there. No major holdups.

New to me: "Philosophy in the Bedroom"; "mezzo" (didn't know def.); Margaret "Keane"; "quidnunc"; "Jason Fox"; "Peterson's"; "no drama"; "Greek for dry"; "two bells" (been so long since Navy days, I was at a loss); "Mitch Hedberg"; "Eleanor Smeal"

Duke Ellington, "Take the A Train"

The Beatles - Eleanor Rigby (From "Yellow Submarine")

y.d. -2

Peace Shlama शांति Paix Mir Pace Paz ειρήνη Rugare 🕊

Kathy 9:39 AM  

The puzzle was very easy until the point where it became awkward and I crashed and burned.
Flummoxed in the NE; I’m still drawing a blank on STEAMS. Anyone?
ROOTBEERS and NODRAMA = convenience.

One answer that was easy for me was Keane. Fascinating back-story. I happen to have a print of a Hawaiian girl that was a gift from her in 1981, signed Margaret Keane McGuire. While she was previously married to Walter Keane he sold her paintings under his name unbeknownst to her. They eventually divorced and she took him to court, culminating in a “paint-off” in front of the judge, which proved that she was the artist.

RooMonster 9:40 AM  

Hey All !
What is SILEX? A PYREX update?

Died down there. Had BRISP for BRISK, knowing it isn't a word. But SILEX being unknown, stuck with the (correct 😋) PYREX, leaving me BRISp, DEITyES, and rATEFEE (at least that one defensible.) Oof. Hit Check Puzzle, and looked at the wrongness, but too brain fried to get the K of BRISK, so Googed allegro, and found it. Erased the YR, saw the I of DEITIES, and then the L to get LATEFEE. Then the Happy Music.

Waiting for the ELTRAIN deniers. "It's just the EL. No one says EL TRAIN!"

Foxtrot should be a known comic for those who follow such things. He's always nagging his older sister Paige. It's often quite funny. Rex's plaint is BASELESS. 😀

Managed to somehow get everything else correct. Impressed myself on that. Har.

Ok themeless. Scrabbled.

One F

longsufferingmetsfan 9:47 AM  

A mostly blah Friday, cluing seemed off to me. His need to get scrabbly x's and o's into the puzzle detracted from the overall quality. I just couldn't pull the trigger for a few seconds to insert ROOTBEER S? -- Can't imagine many of us have "3-6 types of root beers in the cupboard", as in no one. "Plural not accepted"

Old White Guy 9:52 AM  

NE made me lose interest

Nancy 9:59 AM  

I bounded happily, effortlessly and nostalgically into this puzzle at 1D with NO DRAMA. Isn't that what we really, really, really, really need right now -- another NO DRAMA president??? A welcome entry, I'd say.

I knew that someone named KEANE painted subjects with big eyes, but I had no idea she was a woman. Learned something today.

At 13D, I encountered one of the BERGS or BURGS. I had to wait for the rest of his name to fill in, because I had no idea who he was. But there were actually very few obscure names in this polished and junk-free grid. Once the unknown to me JASON FOX also came in, I was home free.

One small nit at 7D. If you want to "shoot the breeze" with me, I'll hang with you for hours. You sound colorful and amusing and full of entertaining anecdotes. But if you want to NATTER, I know you're going to be a real bore, and I'll try to escape before you utter your first word. In short: "Shoots the breeze" does not = NATTERS.

A mostly easy puzzle with a few tough spots -- full of "X"s and "Z"s for reasons best known to Trenton. I didn't find it especially exciting, but I found it pleasant.

Sir Hillary 10:02 AM  

Agree with those who found this uninspiring.

I had multiple errors -- ZAMBEse, roses instead of MEZZO (read the "floats" clue here), pyrEX, YEarS -- the correction of which was all that really engaged my brain.

Even the "?" clues fell flat -- I guess the one for LATEFEE is decent enough, but the ones for STEAMS is so overdone, and the one for NHL just makes no sense. The NHL is an advocate for the New Jersey Devils? Um, no.

Rug Crazy 10:06 AM  

I'm with Rex here. Finished, but hd to look up Silex, and still don't get it.
Jason Fox - OneAM/PM, etc.
Stay safe!

EdFromHackensack 10:16 AM  

I Googled for the river at Victoria Falls. Fridays and Saturdays I allow myself one Google but try not to. Had pyrEX first and OhhitHERE before OVERHERE. Isn’t HOTLAVA redundant ?

jae 10:18 AM  

Mostly easy except for the NW which took about as much time as the rest of the puzzle. Even with 1d & 2d in place it took while for things to gel....ALI was a WOE, ZAMBEZI was slow in bubbling up from long term memory, NATTERS for “shoot the breeze” is a stretch, RENE was also a WOE as clued, and the ORAL EXAM clue was tricky.... so tough corner for me.

Liked it more than @Rex did.

Nancy 10:19 AM  

Two anecdotes on today's blog that I loved:

@Mohair Sam (where have you been, Mohair, you've been much missed!) appears at 9:29 to regale us with a hilarious first person account of how the KALAMAZOO #1 hit song failed to go over in...KALAMAZOO. Really funny!

And thank you, @Kathy (9:39) for that eye-opening story about Margaret KEANE's "paint-off" in front of a judge. I plan to spend part of this second perfectly miserable day in a row, weather-wise, looking up everything I can find out about that incident. I do hope there will be a lot of online info because it's a fascinating story.

Don't miss these, everyone.

Leslie 10:22 AM  

@Kathy 9:39 Thank you for reminding me of the paint-off story! What a hoot. I also am confused about STEAMS; appreciate any explanation.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

Will someone please explain 14 Down: decreases in a way being steams?

jberg 10:33 AM  

@Kathy, you can use an iron that STEAMS to take the creases (de-creases) out of your table linen.

Nancy 10:34 AM  

The STEAMS explanation that so many of you are pleading for:

Decreases = de-creases = takes the creases out. Which you do with a STEAM iron, or even, in a pinch, with just plain STEAM.

By the time this hits the blog, I bet they'll be 8 more explanations just like it. But I really am trying to answer your pleas.

Carola 10:37 AM  

Medium here (my DRAMA was in the NE, where I overlooked the easy JUS, didn't believe RAJAH was spelled with an H, didn't know HEDBERG, and don't- ask-me-why I wanted some Locke or Hume type in the bedroom). I had fun sorting it out.

Some nice juxtapositions: @Joanna 6:49 pointed out the best one, DOMINATE by DESADE; I also liked the pirate's AYES next to BOOTY, the transport options of the ELevated TRAIN over the TESLA, and the echo of SIGH in SILEX. Nice to have self-contradicting BASELESS at the base.

jberg 10:41 AM  

Fortunately, I knew KEANE for sure, which confirmed BRISK, so I was saved from the obvious pyrEX. I only got SILES from all the crosses, but then realized I’ve seen it in adds for coffee makers—I hadn’t realized that it referred specifically to the glass. I suppose it’s a Pyrex competitor.

I know JASON FOX prettywell, too, but had GOOD man, since the clue was masculine, so I was trying to think of a mASON. that took up about half my solving time.

Nice October snowstorm this morning, but I guess I have to walk anyway.

Z 10:42 AM  

Decrease as in de-crease as in take out creases as in using STEAM to remove creases.

@EdFromHackensack - I’m pretty sure not HOT LAVA is EMO.

@Sir Hillary - I liked the whole play on “playing devil’s advocate.”

Seth 10:42 AM  

You can remove creases from your clothing with a steamer, though most people use an iron.

Russell 10:42 AM  

I think it’s referring to reducing in cooking (eg, a sauce), but I might be wrong!

GILL I. 10:43 AM  

Well....what can I say. Win some, lose some. I knew lots of things because Trenton likes old timey and lots of this felt old timey. I also didn't know a few of the names.
Let's see...where do I start to bore you. Did anyone else want RUBBER at 16A? No? I left that whole right coast blank because the west was getting filled in. NAZARENE went in lickety split off of the N of NO DRAMA. My paternal grandparents were NAZARENEs. Granddad was a minister for a while and I loved him dearly because he wasn't all preachy - just full of beans. When I stayed with them as a child they'd take me to their tent of a church and my grandmother always took a bunch of fried chicken for the afternoon gathering.
I paused at MEZZO, thinking soprano. Then I remembered it means half in Italian. I wasn't crazy about the cluing of that one. Then I went on to (I Got a Gal in) KALAMAZOO. Smiled at ISABELLA Rossellini because I've always loved her. We're about the same height and I have her smile (sorta).
After a DEEP SIGH or two, I meandered over to the right. Came to a halt at my first unknown. I didn't know HEDBERG. That one name just wouldn't yield needed acrosses. If your stand-up wasn't my two favorites: Robin Williams or Joan Rivers...then chances are I don't know you. Why do funny people have to die so young.
Then I get to KEANE. I forgot all about her. I hated her big eye paintings. I know lots loved her art work but those eyes bugged me.
Move right along to JASON FOX. Oh...that one. Never could stand that cartoon either. What's with the eyes? You put everything on the side of your face? That's all I focused on....EYES EYES EYES.
So I finished. I will tell you, though...that my favorite entry was NERUDA because I love the name Pablo (Hi @pablito) and because I read his LOVE POEMS (even though I don't understand poetry)...But I read the book because a friend gave it to me and it's lovely. I read in Spanish so I understood it....
So that's the end of my boring story.

Joaquin 10:44 AM  

I nominate "quidnunc" as one of the top ten weird English words. And, has anyone here ever used that word in a normal conversation?

(Actually, I did once. It was last night when I asked my wife, "Do you know what 'quidnunc' means?" She didn't.)

Hack mechanic 10:54 AM  

Totally done in by silex also, just couldn't see it. Easy otherwise.

jrstocker 10:55 AM  

As a fellow Minnesotan, LOVED seeing Mitch Hedberg in there, instant drop in.

The SILEX, KEENE, BRISK cluster? Not so much. Can't read a lick of music, and having worked many years in Lab settings, always think of PYREX as the heat resistant glass of choice, never heard of SILEX. So that really screwed me up.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

anyone prove that SILEX is, of itself, a type or even brand of glass??? to the best of my memory (and wiki approves) Proctor SILEX is a brand name that makes/made glass vacuum coffee makers.

mathgent 10:57 AM  

This was a terrific puzzle. For me, a good puzzle is one that totally engrosses my mind. The rest of my life is blotted out and I am single-mindedly devoted to solving the damned thing. Solving it isn’t really enjoying it like eating an excellent meal. Just like I don’t enjoy playing a tough tennis match. The sweating, the pounding, and the fighting for breath aren’t enjoyable. It’s being totally engrossed that’s good. And also winning. Winning a puzzle is getting it right without a lookup. So when I say today’s puzzle was terrific, I mean that it was totally engrossing and that I won.

Of the 68 clue-entries, 16 were mysteries to me, just short of the 25% limit of solveability for me.

Margaret KEANE is pretty well-known. There was a movie about her paintings and her struggles with her husband Walter. She was played by the luminescent Amy Adams. They had a gallery here in San Francisco around the sixties.

@kitshef (7:19). Thanks for reminding me of that great Aussie, Roy Emerson. Magnificent singles player but perhaps even better in doubles.

I don’t think that our papers have carried the JASONFOX strip.

tkincher 10:59 AM  

I don't know about Margaret KEANE being "not legit famous", as there was a whole movie about her (Tim Burton's "Big Eyes"). I haven't seen it, but I've at least seen the trailers which was enough for it to lodge in my brain.

sixtyni yogini 11:01 AM  

Thought it was a good one! But then I had fun pretending it was a leftist 😱 conspiracy 😂 (to tell the truth) about someone in this 2020 election:
From No drama (Obama)
To and
Baseless, amoral, dominate, meddles deep sigh, booty, DeSade. (You-know who.j

sixtyni yogini 11:05 AM  

Oh and I think it’s a beginner’s phase but I love puzzles xs and z’s

egsforbreakfast 11:29 AM  

Other approaches:

20A. Way to get around in Espana - ELTREN
32A. Hole left by an obscure knife - SNEERING
45A. Frenzy around a current vice presidential candidate- KAMALAZOO

ROOTBEERS gains you nothing unless the object is to accommodate KALAMAZOO, which given Trenton Charlson’s joie de Scrabble, I suspect it was. Some very enjoyable clues, some too-obscure names. Overall, pretty fun.

TJS 11:34 AM  

Gotta think you're starting this at bat with an 0 and 2 count @Z. The Loop is an area, not "a way around". And who would think of dipping their French dip in water?

Barbara S. 11:37 AM  

I found this one tough, especially NE and SE. Didn’t know HEDBERG, KEANE or JASON FOX. Took an age to see DE SADE, although once I did the NE fell. I actually Googled “heat-resistant glass” and merrily filled in what turned out to be a wrong answer: SImaX instead of SILEX. (Cheaters never prosper.) (Unless they do.) Anyway, a bit of a dog’s breakfast, all around. I had another malapop, though, and malapops always give me a smile. I filled in AMULETS for Charms (43D) and then AMULET turned out to be the answer for 16A (Something worn for protection). That’s 3 malapops within the month of October – I’m going for the record.

I know that Pablo NERUDA is a controversial figure in literary and feminist circles. But he was a writer of beautiful poetry and prose. Here’s an excerpt taken from the beginning of the English translation of his “Memoirs” (published in English, 1977):

“Under the volcanoes, beside the snow-capped mountains, among the huge lakes, the fragrant, the silent, the tangled Chilean forest…The wild scent of the laurel, the dark scent of the boldo herb enter my nostrils and flood my whole being…A gorge; below, the crystal water slides over granite and jasper…A butterfly goes past, bright as a lemon, dancing between the water and the sunlight…I have come out of that landscape, that mud, that silence, to roam, to go singing through the world.”

Whatsername 11:41 AM  

Painful slog for me. More DEEP SIGH than happy dance. I feel a little better knowing that not even Rex knew JASON FOX. I loved NO DRAMA which certainly elicited some nostalgia for a kinder, gentler, more peaceful time.

@Z (8:20) Re 40% percent Propers - thank you! I’m never quite sure exactly what counts as a PPP to calculate that figure but I knew it had to be high in this one.

Z 11:54 AM  

@TJS - Ever spend a day at the beach, get a little too warm, and go for a dip? “French dip” —> JUS is boring and straightforward. “Eau makes you reimagine both “French” and “dip” in the clue.
Also, any idea why the neighborhood is called The Loop? Granted, Chicago is a bit more sprawling, but that “in” in the clue really suggested the Loop, too.

Grouch 11:54 AM  

"Decreases" is a fine stand alone clue on a Friday. The "in a way" and the "?" are superfluous and condescending. God forbid we should be expected to think.

fiddleneck 12:08 PM  

@Z Why is eau clever.? The phrase is au jus.

Nancy 12:23 PM  

Enjoyed your post today, newly blue @Barbara S. Both the NERUDA translation and your various "malapops". But you're pulling our collective legs, right? You do know it's malaprop, based on a certain Mrs. Malaprop, yes? Either way, "malapop" is a pretty funny malaprop of its own, deliberate or not.

@Kathy -- So I went back to check on Margaret KEANE and her paint-off and there's much more online info than I could have imagined. Evidently, hubby was a monster who threatened to kill her and her children if she gave him away. See this reference, for one.

There's also a 2014 movie on the subject called "Big Eyes". I was hoping maybe I could get it on Netflix...until I watched the trailer just now. It looks like a garish, cartoonish, horror-genre sort of flick and thoroughly unpleasant. I've decided to miss it.

The Joker 12:31 PM  

I'm trying to call Amazon TV. Does anyone here know the Prime number?

Mme Laffargue 12:35 PM  

Exactly Fiddleneck. And if you were on a beach one goes in le mer not eau.

What? 12:37 PM  

Liked the puzzle, almost 100.
Didn’t like EL TRAIN. Although “officially” ok (Wikipedia), I think it’s L TRAIN, like X-RAY is not EX RAY. Whatever.

Whatsername 12:49 PM  

From yesterday —

@JC66: Sorry to hear you’re temporarily out of commission. Let the healing begin and your recovery be swift. You are missed. 😟

@GHarris: Unfortunately I was unable to access your letter without a full NYT subscription. Would be great if you could post a link to it.

Frantic Sloth 12:50 PM  

Big Eyes trailer The movie will anger you, and then...

bocamp 1:12 PM  

Mitch Hedberg on the Late Show 3/12/03

@Z 8:20 AM

Same thought re: "eau" for "jus", (with alternative wordplay on "dip", and yes, to the poc for "root beer".

Fond memories of A&W drive in restaurants.

"Alateen" is a support group for young people who have a relative or friend who is a problem drinker. Those who attend "Alateen" meetings do not necessarily have drinking problems themselves.

Margaret Keane paintings

@Sir Hillary 10:02 AM

Side-eye here too, re: "advocate" for the "Devils'". I guess the league does advocate for its member teams, tho, so ok, I'll reluctantly buy it. :)

Devil's Advocate (1997)

@Russell 10:42 AM

I was thinking more along the lines of "ironing", but don't see why your explanation couldn't be valid, as well. Creative thinking on your part, I'd say. 🤔

@Joaquin 10:44 AM

Thx for the "quidnunc" chuckle. 😂

41A, first thought was "pyrex", but the crosses wouldn't cooperate. Looked at "silex" and thought of Proctor "Silex", so all was good.

@mathgent 10:57 AM

Thx for the heads-up re: the Margaret Keane movie. It's Big Eyes; I've got it cued up on the "Prime Video" app (Canada) on Apple TV.

@Anonymous 10:55 AM wrote:

"anyone prove that SILEX is, of itself, a type or even brand of glass??? to the best of my memory (and wiki approves) Proctor SILEX is a brand name that makes/made glass vacuum coffee makers."

Agreed; it's a bit hazy. Wikipedia has this: "Silex is now most commonly used to describe finely ground silicates used as pigments in paint. I guess an extrapolation could be: silicates = glass. WDYT? 🤔

@Barbara S. 11:37 AM

Had a reverse "malapop" at 43D. Wanted "amulet", but already had it at 16A. Needed lots of crosses to get "enamors". :)

@Nancy 12:23 PM

Is not "malapop" the blog's adaptation of "malaprop"? Isn't there some history here around the term? I may be mistaken.

@The Joker 12:31 PM

Prime Video contact info (bottom of link page): here

Peace Shlama शांति Paix Mir Pace Paz ειρήνη Rugare 🕊

Joe Dipinto 1:23 PM  

Eau, jus stop it already.

Anoa Bob 1:25 PM  

Attention on deck! Now hear this:

Mariners go by a 24 hour rather than a 12 hour daily time cycle. There is no a.m. or p.m. distinction. For example, noon is called "12 hundred hours" and midnight is "24 hundred hours".

The 24 hours are divided up into 4-hour segments, 4 hours being the traditional length of a "watch" or duty station assignment. Each 4-hour span has bells rung on the hour and half hour, one bell for 30 minutes into the watch, two bells at one hour, three bells for an hour and a half, and so on, up to eight bells at the end of the watch.

So "Two bells, nautically" (28D) would occur six times each day starting at zero one hundred hours (landlubber's one a.m.), zero 5 hundred hours, zero nine hundred hours, 13 hundred hours (landlubber's ONE P.M.), 17 hundred hours and 21 hundred hours.

To repeat, there is no ONE P.M. nautically speaking.

That is all. As you were. Continue ship's work.

Teedmn 1:27 PM  

I shared a few of Rex's experiences with this puzzle. I heaved a DEEP SIGH when I realized that 28d was ONE PM when ASEA because DEEaSI__ was looking a bit crazy. And FOXtrot, the comic strip, doesn't show up in our paper so that was an unknown.

I was thinking SILEX (sounds like a cross between hILEX bleach and SILage) might sink my solve today but I let it stand and it worked.

I knew about the "Big Eyes" movie but couldn't remember the artist's name.

Trenton Charlson, nice Friday puzzle.

@Carola, thanks for the keen juxtapositions and your philosophical DE SADE!

Barbara S. 1:29 PM  

@Nancy 12:23
Heaven knows I wouldn't shy away from pulling legs, collective or not, but in this case, my understanding is that "malapop" is a term coined by ACME (before my time on this blog) to refer to the insertion of what turns out to be a correct crossword answer in the wrong place in the grid (as in the example I cited at 11:37 a.m.). That sentence was too long, but I hope it was reasonably clear. I can only assume that in developing the term, she started with the concept of the malapropism and tweaked it for the crossword context -- i.e. you pop a word in the wrong place, you have to take it out, and then you end up popping it back in when you discover its correct slot. Veterans, help me out here. Is this right?

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

SILEX is not a glass, nor a brand name for a glass. Silex® is a brand name for a concrete polishing & filling compound made of silica. Pyrex® is a brand name for specific heat tolerant glass. The company Proctor Silex makes and sells products with their own heat tolerant glass, but the Silex part has nothing to do with glass, they were a company that made coffee makers and other products. SILEX is in no way a glass, heat-resistant or not.

Frantic Sloth 1:30 PM  

@JC66 I'm so sorry to learn you're ailing and will keep you in my thoughts. Rest up and take care so we can have you back in fine form ASAP! ❤

Okay, so I was trying to track down the origin of ACME's coinage of "malapop",but ran into this instead.
Maybe @Barbara S knows where to look!

@Whatsername 1249pm I just copied that letter here. I hope @G Harris doesn't mind. 7

To the Editor:

On election night the exit polls and the completed count in many states indicate that Joe Biden will win the popular vote by a substantial margin and the Electoral College by a lesser edge. Many states will announce that the winner cannot be declared pending the completion of the ongoing count of mail-in ballots.

President Trump will claim that the “radical left” is stealing the election by fraudulent means. He will call upon “patriots” to protect the nation, and armed militias will take to the streets, surround election sites and attempt to confiscate ballots.

In some cities the police will act to disarm and disperse the mobs; in other cities the police will take no action. Mr. Trump will challenge the vote count in the courts and, ultimately, a fiercely divided Supreme Court will deliver the presidency to Mr. Biden. The military will restore order in the troubled cities and ensure that Mr. Trump leaves office at the end of his term.

Gerald Harris
New York

Joe Dipinto 1:50 PM  

...I'm gonna send you two by two,
Two for Paul and Silex...

Kath320 1:53 PM  

One of my favorite Mitch Hedberg jokes: "They should call a cheese grater by what it really does, a sponge-ruiner...

Barbara S. 1:58 PM  

@Frantic 1:30
I don't know how to find documentary corroboration of the "malapop" derivation. I got the details from one of @Z's posts a while ago.

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

And, was I the only one who got ear-wormed into DEEPSh!t???

Ditch 2:05 PM  

fox trot is one of the all time classics! definitely not obscure comic. one i got the J i got it. definitely disagree that it’s an obscure comic

Masked and Anonymous 2:07 PM  

Puz had lotsa scattered unknown stuff, but also several long almost-gimmes, at our house. On average, doable but no walk in the picnic. A worthy challenge.

fave sparkly stuff: ZAMBEZI. KALAMAZOO. ROOTBEERS.
Gratefully received almost-gimmes: The three above, plus: ISABELLA. HOTLAVA. SNEERING. NAZARENE.
Knew except for spellin: KEANE. Have heard her name before, but don't recall seein it written.

Staff weeject pick: JUS. The NW combo of unknown stuff (ALATEEN. HEDBERG.) and feisty clues (JUS. STEAMS. AMULET [wanted HELMET]. DESADE.) drained several precious pints of nanoseconds.

@Shortzmeister: Do we maybe get a Halloween puz tomorrow, instead of a themeless? M&A desperately hopefully strongly votes "yes". But we may have to resort to a runtpuz one, if absolutely necessary.

Thanx for the AM ORAL EXAM, Mr. Charlson. GOODJOB. M&A coulda maybe been a contender with a doubled @RazorP solvetime, if it hadn't been for JASONFOX. And NERUDA. And MEZZO. And that there furschlugginner NW region.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


RooMonster 2:08 PM  

Har! @The Joker was joking, hence his name. Prime number. Get it? 😂

But thanks for the info regardless.

RooMonster Sometimes Stuff Flies Over Ones Head Guy 😅😎👍

Nancy 2:18 PM  

@Barbara S. -- Sorry for not reading your sentence more carefully. ACME was here before my time on the blog as well, and I'm not familiar with her malapop coinage. I don't really understand it too well: it means your answer IS in the wrong place? It means your answer ISN'T in the wrong place, you just thought it was? You "pop" it in, you "pop" it out, you "pop" it back in somewhere else? All very confusing. Not a coinage I expect to be using in the future.

@Frantic (1:30)-- I couldn't get through the whole clip. It just went on and on. A perfect embodiment of today's word, NATTERS, I'd say. But please don't tell anyone I said so :)

Z 2:28 PM  

Malapop Coinage precedes my time here, as well. @Barbara S has it right. When you put in a wrong answer in the puzzle only to discover it is a right answer for a later clue in the puzzle. An instance might be putting in “eau” where “mer” is the answer only to have “eau” be an answer later.

@Mme Laffargue - Of course. And everyone knows that la mer is made of jelleau.

Anonymous 2:30 PM  

Mr. Harris,
Your fantasy is deeply disturbed. Perhaps the result of poor nutrition, or some pharmacological misadventure.
In any event I have no beef with fiction as a rule. But seeing it in the paper of record as if it were within the realm of the posible is deeply disturbing.

oldactor 2:35 PM  

#Nancy: More on Mr. Keane: When those paintings were all the rage and very pricy, a young, very rich friend of mine, passed the Keane shop, probably on Madison Ave. She was wearing jeans and sneaks and looked sorta hippyish. As she browsed the wares, Mr. Keane ignored her and evidently was quite rude.

Before leaving, I think just to see the look on his face, she bought a painting. Lord knows what she paid. An odd way to get even, but what fun to be rich.

Some time later, after his downfall, I noticed it was no longer hanging in her living room. I never asked.

Unknown 2:36 PM  

Really tough puzzle for myself and my coworker that solve on Fridays. We are more novice solvers and the sheer amount of unguessable proper nouns in this puzzle gave us fits. Even the easy ones like EXALT and MEDDLES were clued with difficult vocabulary. I guess its a Friday puzzle and that's to be expected, but I wish this puzzle didn't rely so much upon know-it-or-don't clueing.

bocamp 2:39 PM  

@RooMonster 2:08 PM

Har! is right! yes, "hopelessly gullible, again, I am" The last time I got hooked, it resulted in a reply from me re: "veganism". You were among the first to point out the chicanery, as in this case. Bless your pea-pickin' heart, Roo; you're not really a "monster", then, are you. 😂 BTW, my gaff might be classified as a cousin of ACME's "malapop", because I noticed @The Joker's 12:31 PM post just after I had researched the "Big Eyes" movie and found it on Prime Video. The image of "Amazon" and "Prime" had not yet faded from my vision. 😉

Andrea Carla Michaels' (ACME) tutorial re: "malapop" from Rex's blog of July 8, 2009: here or quoted below:

"As for malapop, I guess I'm the most guilty of using/abusing it...and having coined it, I'll try and explain it again (or at least how I intended it)

It's when you put in a word that turns out to be wrong, but then later turns out to be in the grid in an entirely different place with an entirely different context.

(So not just if there are two words that could be the same (like RANT/RAVE and is RANT in one place and RAVE in the other and you just misentered...)

I'm trying to think of an example.
Say you conflate an author...like there is a clue for some English book you confuse with Lucky Jim and you enter AMIS which is totally wrong. But later in the puzzle they ask for "Friends in France" and the answer is...AMIS!
The first AMIS you entered for the author (which turned out to be KANT or someone else) would be the MALAPOP...bec you popped it in and it was wrong, but was later right for something else.
AND YES< it was supposed to also be a play on the word malaprop (that is the extra magic square connect the dots bonus of it all!)

Pfew! Is that clear (er)?"

Peace Shlama शांति Paix Mir Pace Paz ειρήνη Rugare 🕊

Knitwit 2:45 PM  

I feel like there was a movie about this artist. In the ‘60’s my folks had 2 of this “big eye” paintings (imitations I’m sure) in our living room.

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

Mozel tov! Just saw your Tigers hired AJ Hinch. You've already told the board that cheating isn't problem for you. In fact, you called it normal when defending that other cheater Cal Cunningham. So a prefect fit. Enjoy!!

PS Mods. Please allow the post. Z has made his work in this election clear in a number of posts, and G Harris's letter ahs beeen posted. Neither has anything to do with the puzzle or Rex's criticism of it.

If it helps, I think Trenton Charlson is the constructor to match. Weintraub aint pacth on his....arm.
Loved the plural of rootbeeers in particular because i have a friend who has rootbeers ranked. ( Barqs #1) Love Neruda too.

Barbara S. 2:54 PM  

I wrote another explanation of malapop and how it relates to my solving
experience today, but given that others have weighed in, maybe it's a bit deceased equine to post it. But if you'd like me to, just say the word and I'm at your service!

JC66 2:55 PM  

Thanks, all for your kind thoughts.

Anonymous 3:04 PM  


I don't see it in the stores all that often so I forget, and the font is sufficiently wacky that I say to myself, "self, why would anyone name their stuff Barf's?"

Whatsername 3:07 PM  

@Frantic (1:30) THANKS a million. However it shakes out, I just want him to be right about JB being declared the winner. The rest of it is very scary and I really hope that there is no reason for it to ever go before the Supremes, no matter which way it ends up.

Joe Dipinto 3:13 PM  

Nowhere online do I find "decrease" defined as "remove creases from". It's unilaterally defined in terms of "lessen". Personally, I say "uncrease" to mean "remove creases from", as with a steam iron.

Frantic Sloth 3:13 PM  

@bocamp 239pm I should have known that you would be the one to dig it up! Funny, but I always thought it was more commonly used (here) than it apparently is.

I blame @Z. Oh, hell - why not blame @Z for everything? I'm sure he's guilty of something in equal portions nefarious and delectable.

Look no further than the infatuations of adoring anonymice if you require proof.

Unknown 3:16 PM  

Mitch HEDBERG was my undoing. I'm curious how many folks 50+ had ever heard of him?
But I'm not complaining; lots of times I wonder how a 30-year-old can guess some of the answers.

I counted 4 Zs and 3 Xs in the grid, which is pretty impressive.

Charles Flaster 3:17 PM  

LOVED this one.
Easy but thought-provoking especially the misdirects like STEAMS.
Only one small nit with emanATES before RADIATES.
Thanks TC

phil phil 3:23 PM  

I know it’s suppose to be clever and misleading but I can’t see
Half OF Italy being legal.

Is it a stretch or not?

Half IN Italy or Half OF Italian (though not tricky)

I can mangle a preposition better than anyone, but this doesn’t seem to ring true.

Joaquin 3:28 PM  

Note to @Whatsername - Instead of using a stock photo as your avatar, why not get the real thing? A 2019 KC Super Bowl ring is currently at auction with the high bid (as of this post) being a low, low, price of $70k. Or, for all I know, perhaps that is your bid!

Anonymous 3:29 PM  

Glenn Miller fan, and knew ELEANOR so that section easy. Also know HEDBERG.
Hardest part to get through in the upper left. had BANTERS for 7D and seemed correct.

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

Malapop was a coinage of Andrea.

Anonymous 4:25 PM  


I don't care what you say, I'm not infatuated with Z. I only tolerate him/her.

Birchbark 5:22 PM  

KALAMAZOO: Seeing it in the puzzle changed the vibe from roadblocked to a steady, pleasant solve. It's my hometown. My dad taught at WMU, and my Mom still lives in the house I grew up in. Like @Z (8:20) and @Anon (8:36), I attended Kalamazoo College as an undergrad (K'86). Ultimate Frisbee appears on my college transcript in partial satisfaction of a PE requirement. And yes, the Club Soda was perfectly suited to its purpose, especially outdoors, and especially during that smart-aleck stage of development.

A former local's take on "I Got a Gal in KALAMAZOO" (@Mohair Sam (9:29), @Nancy (10:18)) -- It's a real tip-a-roo, and one I'd happily join in if prompted. But like a lot of big band music, it wasn't too widely known (at least to the younger ones) back in the day. I first heard it in 7th or 8th grade, when a touring Ice-Capades-type show came to KALAMAZOO and opened with it. My younger sisters got to skate in a couple of the other songs. I sing it now and then around the house.

In my humble opinion, the song's opening


would make a fine three-part, 33-letter theme answer on a Tuesday (E.g., "With __-across and __-across, a noted Glenn Miller intro"). You saw it here first.

Barbara Bolsen 5:31 PM  

I wish someone would tell Will Shortz that in Chicago we take the L or the train, but never the El or the L Train. Please!

Birchbark 5:53 PM  

Actually the "Intro" referenced in my proposed ZOO-ZOO theme above is much later in the song (3:48) in the @Rex video. And they elongate one of the ZOO's in place of two above, so it's only 30 letters in totem a-la @Rex.

Not as I've sung it, but the world can't be expected to know that. I do think it's a Tuesday-type theme worth considering.

bocamp 5:56 PM  

@Frantic Sloth 3:13 PM - re: "malapop" vs "malaprop"

I think the use of "malapop" may have ebbed somewhat in the ensuing years, after ACME left for greener pastures. I had forgotten that it was she who had originally coined the term. Makes sense, as she was big on "wordplay", often posting with a unique handle, using a combination of the letters a c m e.

@Anonymous 3:29 PM

Big fan of G.M., here, too. Got "In the Christmas Mood" playing on Bose right now.

I've got a Gal in Kalamazoo - Glenn Miller, from the 1942 movie, "Orchestra Wives".

Michael Card - The "Nazarene"

The secret to Mark Twain's friendship with Nikola Tesla

The "Zambezi" River: Mozambique's Force of Life | Full Documentary

p.g. -10

Peace Shlama शांति Paix Mir Pace Paz ειρήνη Rugare 🕊

Z 6:32 PM  

@Birchbark - Remember when you took Ultimate? I was the “instructor” for several years in the mid-80’s. Your senior year for sure, maybe your junior year, too. Someone else was doing before that.

@Anon - Methinks thou dost protest too much. Your deep infatuation is obvious to everyone. I’m just glad that you disapprove of cheaters so are voting for Biden.

On dinner break. Processing another 3,000+ absentee ballots taking this week’s total to nearly 10,000. The director mentioned that the county is already at 62% turnout. W00T! Now go vote.

Birchbark 6:54 PM  

@Z (6:32) -- As if the world weren't already small enough -- I wish I could remember better. I'm guessing junior year. I have no doubt that all that is good of Ultimate I owe to you.

If it helps, I was the guy who made that incredible defensive block in the "end zone" that one time. I remember it on nights when sleep eludes. Otherwise, more of a journeyman, getting the disc to the right hands and keeping it out of the wrong ones. I do remember that our discs were custom printed -- orange, with a Frank Zappa quote ("Sons of Orange County"), which needed to be explained to me even though I like Frank Zappa. I also remember the cardio-vascular assault of sustained running and jumping without end. Down on the lower quad in front of Hoben Hall. Just wish I could remember more.

Nancy 7:02 PM  

@Barbara S -- Thanks for the offer to expand on your explanation, but @bocamp's unearthing of ACME's original explanation is helpful enough. (Thanks, @bocamp.) I now see what ACME meant for "malapop" to convey, even though it doesn't seem to be a situation that would happen to many solvers or that they would need a special made-up word for.

Anonymous 8:17 PM  

Infatuation with what? Or whom?
You backed the wrong horse in 16– and had the gall, to give us a lecture of what The GOP needed to win back the Ehite House and the Congress🙄—and you’re doing it again.
But, yeah, deflect, deny and dissemble. Enjoy four more years of MAGA.

bocamp 8:20 PM  

@Nancy 7:02 PM yw :)

@Barbara S. 11:37 AM

I think your "malapop" today would be bonafide, according to the spirit of ACME's definition. You popped "amulets" into 43D only to discover that it was the correct answer for 16A, the clue of which was completely different in meaning than that of 43D. She might disqualify you, tho, due the plural. You should email her on that. LOL

I've had two or three mental "malapops" this month. Does it count if one thinks a word, but doesn't actually plop it in, and then discovers that it's the correct answer for another clue?


I trust all is well with you and your work. Looking forward to your return to the blog. 😊

p.g. -7

Peace Shlama शांति Paix Mir Pace Paz ειρήνη Rugare 🕊

Anonymous 8:22 PM  

In love with yourself much? Get over yourself. You post 100 times a day. That I respond periodically isn’t an indication of infatuation, just a preference for sanity, rather than your drivel.

Juanitobronx 8:34 PM  

De-CREASE. As in de-wrinkle.

Whatsername 9:03 PM  

@Joaquin (3:28) LOL. I couldn’t even afford a ticket to the game, much less the ring. But just the memory of it is priceless to me.

Anoa Bob 9:06 PM  

I apologize for neglecting my POC Watch duties. Maybe I was confused by the bells. Today's offering has a few POCs, including 2½ of the two-POCs-with-one-S variety. The first is when ROOTBEER and STEAM meet, the second where the AZALEA and AYE end, and the ½ in the lower, rightmost corner.

There are some of the run of the mill POCs here and there, but not so many that it AROUSES any antipathy for this otherwise fine puzzle.

Anonymous 9:29 PM  

Rex, you say, "This puzzle wasn't scary, just boring. It was the sudoku of crosswords, in that I had to spend some time filling in boxes ... yeah, that's it.
Why insult sudoku puzzles just because you don't like them? If it's not a crossword or a comic book, it's wrong? Besides, what is there to crosswords besides filling in boxes?

Anonymous 10:23 PM  


too bad you don't which of the mice you're arguing with. could even be that it's more than one of us. squeak.

Barbara S. 10:30 PM  

@bocamp 8:20 p.m.
I wondered a bit about a possible singular/plural disqualification for my malapop, but I made the executive decision to consider it valid.

Me too: PG -7.

bocamp 11:24 PM  

@Barbara S. 10:30 PM 😊


Peace Shlama शांति Paix Mir Pace Paz ειρήνη Rugare 🕊

Simpson 1:08 AM  

I actually thought Decreases was STEALS, since you’re technically decreasing their assets. 😅

Mr. Alarm 1:59 AM  

Loved seeing a Mitch HEDBERG answer clued by one of his typical jokes.

Other favorites:

“I like an escalator because an escalator can never break. It can just become stairs.”

“I wanted to buy a candle holder, but the store didn’t have one. So I bought a cake.”

“I want to be a race car passenger.”

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

I object to the silex clue. It’s a coffee-specific carafe. As written, heat-resistant glass, the answer should be Pyrex.

Stevied 12:15 PM  

They have stifled my comment that rex should keep his political opinions to himself

Anonymous 8:32 PM  

I couldn't figure out why PYREX wouldn't work in 41A. The Proctor-Silex coffee maker is labeled as being made with borosilicate glass from Pyrex, one (if not THE) best-known brand of products made from the glass. #$&*&$#@!!!


Anonymous 8:40 PM  

Silex designs products using Pyrex borosilicate glass. The cluing was wrong.


thefogman 10:14 AM  

A DEEPSIGH from me for getting a DNF on this one. Blew it on the BRISK - SILEX - KEANE crosses. I should have worn my xword AMULET. It STEAMS me when this happens but I can’t be SORE. The constructor did a GOODJOB.

rondo 11:09 AM  

GOODJOB on the puz, but I can’t believe nobody commented on HOTLAVA as being green paint – perfect example. Just like a WoF answer. Sure wanted Pyrex for SILEX, but already had the S.

ISABELLA Rosselini had her day.

Put me down on the positive side, though I must get my AYES EXAMined.

spacecraft 12:00 PM  

I had one writeover: thought the ZAMBEZI's second Z was an S. But the crossing with NAZARENE gave an uncustomary good start to my NW. It was the NE that resisted hardest.

Having seen The Glenn Miller Story a couple of times--yes, and cried like a baby at the end--I knew KALAMAZOO, and DOD ISABELLA crossing it made for quick SW solving. Foxtrot runs in my Sunday paper so I was able to use that help in the SE.

But the NE? Hey, I MAKE root beer floats, in fact I need to get some more soda at the store soon. Guess I had a little trouble with the plural. DESADE was hard to parse. Did not know the comic. Too bad he died so young; he sounds like Stephen Wright, and I always liked him. Birdie.

Burma Shave 2:24 PM  


GOODJOB, yet [DEEPSIGH], JUS’ be TRU to your duty,


Diana, LIW 2:24 PM  

Close enough for me for Friday. Didn't know the comic, either.

Diana, LIW

leftcoaster 4:30 PM  

With @spacecraft regarding the NE, except that he finished there and I didn’t.

Wanted HErBERt instead of HEDBERG and SNEERsat instead of SNEERING. Of course that scrambled a couple of other words there as well.

Grid seemed bit heavy with proper names and other PPPs, which slowed things down, but overall worth the exercise.

zaynting 5:20 AM  

It was so nice blog post. Please write a post on Hair wigs as well.

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