## Friday, October 23, 2020

Constructor: Robyn Weintraub

Relative difficulty: Medium (slow, for me, for a R.W. puzzle, but still right around 6)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: CPI (35A: Cost-of-living fig.)

consumer price index measures changes in the price level of a weighted average market basket of consumer goods and services purchased by households.

A CPI is a statistical estimate constructed using the prices of a sample of representative items whose prices are collected periodically. Sub-indices and sub-sub-indices can be computed for different categories and sub-categories of goods and services, being combined to produce the overall index with weights reflecting their shares in the total of the consumer expenditures covered by the index. It is one of several price indices calculated by most national statistical agencies. The annual percentage change in a CPI is used as a measure of inflation. A CPI can be used to index (i.e. adjust for the effect of inflation) the real value of wagessalaries, and pensions; to regulate prices; and to deflate monetary magnitudes to show changes in real values. In most countries, the CPI, along with the population census, is one of the most closely watched national economic statistics. (wikipedia)

• • •

But two answers killed me more than any others, and I'm mad at the puzzle in one case and myself in the other. Let's start with the puzzle—I really don't like the clue on SHORT LIST (20A: Most promising slate of candidates). The problem for me is "slate," which is the word for the list of candidates *voters* have to choose from, whereas a SHORT LIST is something (most famously) a presidential candidate chooses his veep from. Now I *know* that you can read the clue totally apolitically, i.e. to mean "most promising set of choices, so the prez/veep context is not a given, but when you run a clue with not one but two political terms in it, and the answer itself is very much a political term, it's galling that those political terms don't match up. "SHORT LIST" and "slate" just clank. Without the "S" from PATSY, I couldn't see this answer for a long time. But the more upsetting D'oh moment was a failure that was all mine. Just as yesterday I couldn't think of any words that began DUVE-, today I could not think of any words that began ANCE- (24D: Tree toppers = ANCESTORS). This is likely because I was thinking of fir trees and not family trees. and my brain was probably only scanning botanical terms. Still! Ugh! I felt like such a PATSY

There was slightly weaker short fill than I'm used to seeing in R.W. puzzles, but when I say that I'm really only talking about CPI, BRAE, and EDER (blanked on, got immediately, wasn't sure about the first letter, respectively). All the other short stuff failed to IRK, and was in every case propping up the very nice longer stuff, which is all you're likely to remember. Hope you enjoyed it, and fell on your face somewhat less often than I did. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Anonymous

I disagree with the complaint about the clueing on 20A. It’s classic misdirection, just like the clue on 24D.

B. Evaristo

Book prizes, for example. Most first develop a "short list" of candidates that the members of the committee will read, explore and debate more closely before casting a vote for the awardee.

The idea that is is used "most famously" may be true for Michael Sharp, but I suspect many others understand and use the term more broadly.

Lewis

More and more, I feel like Robyn is my twin because it seems like we have the same brain. Her twinkle-in-the-eye clues trip off the correct answers in me on weekend puzzles more, I think, than any other constructor. Yet those clues still feel original and fresh, prompting a “Hah!” here, a “Yes!” there, or a “That’s good!” elsewhere. Okay, we’re not twins, but maybe we have a common ANCESTOR.

Today brought that joy from her cluing, plus a host of terrific answers that never appeared in a NYT puzzle before: FAKE EYELASHES, FREE SHIPPING, LEATHER SEATS, PINSTRIPE SUIT, RISKS IT ALL, and STAR POWER. To me, debut answers make a puzzle feel fresh and wondrous. With them, I’m not just recalling previous answers and clues. They give my brain that labor it craves, figuring things out.

Funny that I mentioned you in my comment yesterday, Robyn, as one of the top two in my Pantheon of Entertaining Constructors, not knowing you’d appear today. What a happy surprise, and as usual, what an entertaining puzzle. You do crosswords proud, Robyn. Thank you for this!

Harryp

I liked this one. A lot of surprising answers and great clues. No attempts to purposely deceive like yesterday's offering. Thank you Robyn Weintraub for giving us his jewel.

Frantic Sloth

My god I love me a Robyn Weintraub Fridee!
The cluing was top-notch and elicited a "D'oh!" or an "AHA!" on several occasions.

I just stopped halfway through to make some notes so the solve wouldn't end so soon. Early highlights include (but are definitely not limited to):
"What's before after, at the end?"
"Jobs at Apple, once."
PATSY
And IVES (for us oldsters.)
"Legal pad alternative" (back in the day)
"Lightly-lined apparel"
"Tree toppers"
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Plus, it's such a thrill to have misdirects like "B+ or A-" at 18D that entertain without overworking it and frustrating me.

Only halfway through and I could go on, but I'll try to stifle.

This puzzle does what I love most about crosswords - it forces you to examine almost every word or phrase for alternative meanings and then roll it around in the ol' bean until... way down deep in the gray matter convolutions...the sneaky little bugger reveals itself, all shiny an' purdy an' ripe for the pickin'.
I think I just channeled my late father-in-law there for a minute. Figures because this puzzle brings me almost as much joy as he did.

But wait! There's more!

I'm doing the second half now and the hits just keep on coming. "The season opener?" and "Batting equipment" could easily refer to baseball, but how boring!

And so it goes...Yul?

Oh, boo. It's over.
In case my subtleties elude you, I. LOVED. THIS.

The rest of the day is all downhill from here. 😕

🧠🧠🧠
🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉

ChuckD

Not as clean and sparkly as her usual offerings - but still really good. The center long stack was solid - liked all of them. The other longs just felt a little off - STAR POWER, WIKIPEDIA and FREE SHIPPING eh. PSORIASIS not exactly stellar. Liked the clue for ANCESTORS. I’ll take PBRs over ASAHI - which I’ve seen on the shelf but never tried. I like the word BRAE - but it is fully crosswardese. Agree with Rex that the glue here was a little much. Learned that Musetta is not a Rent character.

Nice puzzle - enjoyed the solve.

thfenn

I thought the grid looked plenty daunting but really enjoyed getting through this one, and all the 45+ minutes spent on it. Confidently had ArboristS for 24D so that took awhile to sort out, as did 'softenup' before BANKSHOT. oDER instead of EDER left the PANEL/PATSY entry as my last before those much desired chimes rang. Overall thought the cluing was great - and on the heels of yesterday's gem am very happy this AM.

kitshef

A nice puzzle, perfectly suited to a Friday

Technically, pomegranates don’t have arils. They have testae. Yeah, you can weasel into it with the "common misuse" defense, but you shouldn't.

My displeasure when arils appeared was compounded by the minor irritation of the missing ‘d’ in pin-striped suit.

But overall, a grand time was had.

Darren

I loved this puzzle a lot! It was fun and I actually said “wow” several times! Patsy/Panel took me awhile, but flew through lots of it..

Unknown

I liked it very much. Way,way too easy for a Friday tho. Sorry

Ann Howell

Really solid Friday themeless! As above poster mentioned, "short list" is very often applied to literary prizes, so the clue was 100% fine. Screwed myself up a little bit by filling in "FALSEYELASHES" at 34A and taking a while to see that I was missing an 'E'. The only slight wince was at 30A - WORDPROCESSOR felt very 90s! The rest of the fill was so tight, though, that it was easily forgiven...

Kevin C.

@Lewis Those long answers were the highlight of the puzzle for me. Especially FREE SHIPPING, STAR POWER, and the (not quite new) WIKIPEDIA -- three words/phrases I see all the time, just never in crosswords.

Z

LOL re SHORT LIST. @Anonymous6:53 is absolutely correct - Rex was just misdirected, probably from watching too many cable news PANELs about the election, and got locked into one very narrow meaning for the words. The clue and answers are fine.

Played a little tougher than normal here, mostly because the NW was not falling into place and even though the “?” told me it wasn’t hitting related I didn’t want to leave the ballpark so misunderstood the clue as looking for something related to the bunting teams hang around stadiums for the Fourth and often the World Series. Had to have all of FAKE from the crosses before I understood the clue.

Agree with Rex that some tired short fill snuck in, the kind that I am always just slightly embarrassed to know because I don’t actually know EDER or BRAE, I just do crosswords. It’s like solving with pen, people are impressed but it’s not really impressive (I solve in pen because #2 pencils on newsprint is hard to see) But the esey answers never distracted me from the fun elements, so mere forgivable infelicities.

Speaking of, @Kenny Mitts late last night - Good point. That flew right under the radar. Not that it justifies it, but I don’t know the roots of “gyp” from personal experience. It was just another word to me until I was in my 40’s. I avoid it, now, but it still doesn’t really register. I didn’t even believe @Frantic Sloth had used it (and she used it the way I would have before I learned where it came from), but yep, right there. Going back to yesterday’s word, the error was not in using it, it was in knowing that it could be offensive and then not changing it. “I don’t care if you are offended I’m going to use it anyway” strikes me as the real offense and I’m constantly surprised at smart people who can’t seem to hear what they are saying.

pabloinnh

Hand way up here for being in the RW Fan Club. This is a Friday with a wonderfully high entertainment value, misdirections that are far more fun than annoying. Just a delight and hard enough to get a Friday workout in and still enjoy it.

Couple of things--I think anyone who has sung "Loch Lomond" knows what a BRAE is. Hasn't everyone sung "Loch Lomond"? Why not? Also I wonder if the AHA="Puzzles solver's cry" is a subtle shout out to those of us here in RexWorld, who are fond of finding that AHA moment. Probably not, but it doesn't hurt to feel noticed once in a while.

Great stuff, RW. You can do my Friday puzzles any time. In short, Fridazo!

mmorgan

Terrific puzzle but I had a typo that gave me something like FRESH SHOPPING for 21D and I just kinda shrugged at it. Otherwise, for a hard puzzle it was fairly easy.

Snoble

Just back from a month-long meditation retreat and was delighted to see a Robyn Weintrub as my re-entry to the x-word world. The sheer joy with “batting equipment” makes me happy to be back in spite of the insanity that is still rampant.

bocamp

Thx, @Robin, another masterpiece by a true "artist"!

Other than "yin" and "Eder", couldn't get a solid foothold in the NW. Had "Canon" at 3D, and couldn't recall the beverage at 2D. Thought I might be in for a tough go, but got bailed out of The Great Lakes with "Ives" and "ever", giving up "shortlist" and "take a break". Finished off the NW and G.L.'s, then drove down to New Mexico in style, with "leather seats", and the rest of the puz fell into place nicely.

Finished 4x faster than the other Friday I did earlier in the day. (from Aug. 22, 2003). It, too, was a great piece of work, but I just wasn't on the constructor's wavelength. Did manage to eventually finish it correctly, but this one, the waves were comin' thru, with few interruptions.

New to me: "Mimi", pomegranate "arils, and "Kelso". "Asahi" I've seen, but… "poof"

Have taken many "forks" in the road; one was a very bumpy path that eventually got paved. Still traversing the maze, looking for the best options along the way.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Burl "Ives"; one of my favorite singers, and a great actor to boot.

Peace Wapána 和平 Frieden мир Paix 平和 Sith 🕊

Karl Grouch

Only spot of real trouble was the SE for me.
Had no clue about the cluster of proper names down there and got stuck for quite a while.

My other woes came from a brain-freeze moment; had FREE SHIPMENT for some reason which made me think that STAR MOWER was a thing..!

Apart from that, it was BANK SHOTS all around, helped by great clueing (FORK, so simple, yet so inspired!) and original fill.

Billiards and bball, ¡yes ma'am! and thank you for the entertainment!

(aril

noun
ar·il\ˈa-rəl, ˈer-əl\

: an exterior covering or appendage of some seeds (as of the yew) that develops after fertilization as an outgrowth from the ovule stalk
Origin probably from New Latin arillus, from Medieval Latin, raisin, grape seed.
First known use: 1794)

Did yew know that?

Blackhat

11 names, 3 foreign words....

Pamela

Hand up for arboristS before ANCESTORS. FREESHIPPING was almost a gimme, because I’ve been getting so much of it this year. Overall, great Friday puzzle!

Small Town Blogger

Total natick at 41A/42D. I could have guessed almost any letter. Boo-hiss.

RooMonster

Hey All !
Wanted OXYMORON at 20A Most promising slate of candidates. One letter short. 😁

Nice themeless. Some "wake up the ole brain" cluing. Good stuff.

10D, had spLiT first, giving me fits for 10A and 21A. Then wanted BAcKsomething to start BANKSHOT. One of the nice misdirects, 12D. Having __E_ for 7D, wanted CHER. Was she known yet in '64? I want to say Yes.

gIveSITALL-RISKSITALL messing me up nicely done there.

ANgelT__S first for ANCESTORS. Was thinking ANgel TOpS, but saw "toppers" in clue, and said to myself people's heads will explode if TOP was in the answer! Another nice misdirect, that.

Overall enjoyable FriPuz. Didn't tweak the ole brain too much, which for me is always a good thing. Har. ALLOT of fun!

Two F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

ChuckD

@bocamp - thanks for bringing it up. I still have my parent’s copy of his Holly Jolly Christmas album with his face in the wrapping paper. As the 70s were getting on I was moving on to other music but my dad would play that record every year and it kind of stuck with me. My favorite was Snow for Johnny. I always thought he was a quirky dude - but as you mention very accomplished. Check him out in the great The Big Country.

Rube

I have to disagree. Yes the clues and answers were very good, but I don't solve for speed (altho I keep track) and I eat breakfast and solve simultaneously. So 9 mins. for me is just too fast.

One example. After putting in LEATHER as the first part of 5d, I got WORDPROCESSOR with just the R. But rather than put it all in, I decided to go through the downs 1 at a time. With only that answer filled in, I immediately got 10 of the 12 remaining crosses. That's just too easy for a Friday.
Nice puzzle....for a Tuesday

burtonkd

Lovely puzzle over too soon!

After the gearhead supercharged discussion, I was thinking it is easier to see when someone else has hemmed themselves into one usage of a term. However, in support of Michael, Merriam-Webster (Hi, @Z) does define "slate" only in terms of "a list of candidates for nomination or election". So you couldn't have a "slate" of candidates to be hired.
While he gives credit for wider usage, the rock-solid quality of the rest of the puzzle make this the outlier.

I'm guessing today's clue for "same name in two different shows" is more Nancy-friendly than yesterday's Simpsons/South Park :)

Forgot to mention most depressing wrong answer from yesterday:
Lead up to a letdown = HOPE. Glad it turned out differently

Lewis and Frantic, you 2 should get together and do a daily cheer one-a-day calendar - thanks for the smiles:)

57stratocaster

What he (Lewis) said. A really fun 20 minutes. At about 5-minutes in I thought "no way" and then bit by bit it fell into place. Had GOODGRADE for a while, and wanted ANGEL-something for tree topper, so when I got those fixed it was AHA, and off to the races...or a fast trot in my case.

Great start to my Friday, which is what I love about the puzzle.

Hungry Mother

Very quick for a Friday. The proper names that I didn’t know were fairly crossed. Although I’m an octogenarian, I think Harper Lee and Truman CAPOTE play old. Most of it seemed Wednesdayish.

ulysses

Can someone explain the ASIDE answer to me? I put a D in there but want sure about the river. Otherwise, found this puzzle easy breezy.

Nancy

Boy, does this woman know how to clue! The hardest for me was "Lightly lined apparel". I'm going through my entire wardrobe, thinking it has to be for spring or fall: you wouldn't line clothing at all in the summer (too hot) and you'd line it heavily in the winter -- with fleece or some such. Never did I once think of PINSTRIPE SUIT. Aha -- that kind of lining! So clever.

FAKE EYELASHES is great, too -- though I did get it off just the AK and the Y. (Not your fault, Robyn -- I've been doing puzzles for a long time.) The word "equipment" is lovely here -- an indication that the EYELASHES are something you "equip" yourself with -- not something natural. Can you "bat" eyelashes that are natural? Perhaps if you're Scarlet O'Hara.

Also love the clues for ANCESTORS, EVER, and BLOODTYPE. WORD PROCESSOR (30A) is a bit of a stretch: the secretary who's a whiz at one process may be a dud at the other. And vice versa.

I love Robyn Weintraub. Her puzzles are so well-clued, so junk-free, so lively and so entertaining. And they always feel effortless in the making. She never lets you see her sweat.

Carola

My words of the day are AHA and STAR POWER, although the first is a little tame for jolts of delight I felt when I finally had enough crosses to get the long answers, especially SHORT LIST, PIN STRIPE SUIT (terrific clue!), and FAKE EYELASHES. And the second - well, on this gloomy, 40-degrees-and-rain morning, just seeing Robyn Weintraub's name at the top brightened my day. I thought this was one of her best in its wit and challenge-reward ratio. I agree with @Rex on it being a tougher one; I had to piece things together, working inward from the edges (MIMI, ARLEN, RPI, FCC, etc.). Speaking of piecing together, my first thought on the batting equipment was "quilting frame."

Help from previous puzzles, not: ASAHI, which I can never remember; do-overs: sole before LONE, nee before AKA. No idea: KELSO.

Anonymous

Arborists for ancestors is a great wrong answer. Hats off to those creative thinkers.

Anonymous

Exactly; think of the literary Booker prize.

Unknown

PINSTRIPESUIT was sooo clever.
Puzzle was tough, but a fair Friday.
It shouldn't IRK me that rex again coyly only gives us the GIST of his finish time.
I think it's because it reminds me of friends who, after a race where they run a disappointing time, say something like, "Oh, I wasn't really trying, I was just running it as a workout." I'm always like, "Dude, STFU." rex reminds me of those folks. A little too much ego.

Do any of you do the Newsday puzzles? I did last Saturday's stumper, & really really liked it. A level tougher than the typical NYT Saturday.

Frantic Sloth

@Z 802am prompted my revisiting late night comments from yesterday. @Kenny Mitts raised a valid point which, begging your indulgence, I'd like to address.

****PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SKIP THIS IF YOU'RE SO INCLINED***

First of all, let me just say that if someone tells me they are personally offended by some idiotic thing I said, a sincere apology is my immediate response, and I am always grateful for the edification. Unfortunately, the fact that I'm not inclined to think about etymology every time I use a word, (especially one that's been part of my quasi-innocent vernacular for [ahem] years) means this can happen on occasion.
However, if your motivation comes solely from some self-serving, deep-seated neurotic compunction for waving your UNPC banner in my face for the sole purpose of proving your moral superiority, then you're going to be disappointed with my reaction. This is the nicest possible way I can word what I really want to say.

My mistake yesterday was using the word "gyp", which is indeed a word that has always had no other meaning/usage than that of denigrating an entire race of people. Upon further reflection, it should have been obvious to me, but then so many things should be and just aren't. Regardless, I owe an apology and so: I'm sorry. I have learned a valuable lesson and will remove the offending word from my vocabulary.
Now, it seems to me that the whole "nip" fracas from yesterday was a whole different animal and came down to two different positions: (1) It's offensive to some people so it should never be used [in crossword puzzles, of all things] and/or (2)Someone has said it offends them personally and requested that it be changed to something innocuous and viable.
The first case is an overreaction IMHO and a blanket rule of eliminating any words that can have one offensive interpretation (among many other innocent meanings) is just ludicrous. The second example is much more objectionable, and the refusal of honoring such a simple, legitimate request shows a blatant disregard for any appropriate level of sensitivity. No good reason to not change it.
Upshot? Blanket rules are not helpful. Follow the lead of anyone who is trying to tell you how something you said/wrote affects them and be a freakin' person about it.
Just my 63¢

And with that, I'm done here today. As you were.

chuck w

Ulysses: An "aside" is a dramatic device. It's when an actor says lines to the audience, which are meant not to be heard by the other characters.

Anonymous

SIRI IS NOT A PERSON! (45 Down)

Nancy

@burtonkd (9:12) -- Lol. I don't know much more about opera than I know about The Simpsons and South Park*, but I do know a teensy-tiny-wee-little bit more. As in MIMI. I've never seen Rent and I've never seen La Boheme, but MIMI is in the zeitgeist. One of the few opera characters I do know. Of course I know the title characters like CARMEN and DON GIOVANNI. It's the non-title characters who are hard. I think there might be a NORMA? But I don't know any of the men. Could that be because they're not the ones who die at the end?

*I have no idea if The Simpsons and South Park are good shows or not. I've been told they are and they well might be, but I can't watch them. I'm a person who reacts viscerally to sounds and the sound of animated characters "speaking" is really, really painful to me. Why television actually managed to spoil the greatest comic strip of all time: "Peanuts".

sixtyni yogini

Good one.👏🏽 👍🏽🤗👍🏽👏🏽
And the same slow areas as Rex.
🎃🤗🎃

KnittyContessa

Loved it! Fresh, fun, clever clues. It took me awhile to get into the groove, probably because I wasn't fully awake, but then it all started to fall. FAKE EYELASHES and PINSTRIPE SUIT! I smiled a lot solving this one. Thanks Robyn!

OffTheGrid

@bocamp. You have probably seen "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". But if you have not, I recommend it highly.

Otto

LEATHERSEATS was pretty easy to get but I was thinking that's not really a dealer provided option or upgrade. But if you are shopping the lot you can select an upgraded trim level that includes leather. So, OK. I prefer cloth myself.

albatross shell
This comment has been removed by the author.
jberg

@ulysses, an ASIDE is a remark by an actor that is heard by the audience but not by the other characters on the stage.

@pabloinnh @Z I thought the same thing about BRAE, but then I realized that I’d been singing that song for about 20 years before I learned what the word meant.

Wonderful puzzle. My biggest problem was starting to write in FAlse EYELASHES and getting as far as the H before I noticed it was too long. I quickly changed it to FAKE, but now there were a bunch is squares with one letter written over another, so it looked like the pomegranate pieces were ARIeS. I finally noticed, though

I’ve never seen “That 70s Show.” Does Ashton Kutcher really play a racehorse?

emily

Isn’t that why we do xwords? To keep up on current culture? Lizzo is a kick in the pants!

MarthaCatherine

I really liked this. My only quibble: PINSTRIPESUIT. I got hung up because I had PINSTRIPEd_ _ _ and couldn't think of a three-letter clothing item.

Most people would use the "D" in speaking this term, I think.

Also liked seeing our old friend "ARIL". When I first started xwording, it seemed like ANIL and ARIL were in every other puzzle. Took me a while to figure out how to remember which was which (aNil goes with iNdigo). Now I wonder how long it will be before we see "ETUI" again...

emily

Theatrical (stage) where a character speaks to audience.

Tom R

I can't believe Rex didn't highlight 49D - RBG by quotation.

What?

Same brain, yes a good description of how I guess I think alike with Robyn. I just zipped through it. The answers jumped out into my head without much effort - ordinarily I prefer a challenge but the fill is so terrific I didn’t mind.

GILL I.

If I met Robyn at a cocktail party, I would gobble up all of her time. I'd get her some canapés and I'd make sure the handsome waiter would refill her glass with Moet. I'd want to pick her brain apart and ask her how she came up for the clue for Batting equipment. I mean really.....sip, sip, sip...Does she dream up these clever clues or what? I've never worn FAKE EYE LASHES but the next time I meet up with Niki Minaj I'll ask her about her equipment. And then I'll try and find an arborist and ask him about his ANCESTORS. Oh, Lord...stick a FORK in me...I'm done. WAAAAAAH...this is over too soon. I want more champagne.
This gave me the oof oof de oofs to start with. I looked at MIMI for way too long. I wanted her to finally die in "La Boheme" because she kept going on and on and never did. She was the only thing staring at me up in the attic. I really had to TAKE A BREAK before intermission and then....then... the curtain parted, the lights came on and I began to silently sing away. Don't end yet....I don't care if MIMI dies, I don't care if the PSORIASIS or the ACNE causes me to not get invited to the prom, I'll wear my PIN STRIPE SUIT and GIRD my loins if it makes you last a little longer puzzle ARTIST. BUT...like all good things....it too, must come to an end. SHORT LIST and all, and to all a good day.
Did I mentioned that I loved this puzzle?

ulysses

Thank you

mathgent

As Nancy observed, lots of smart and clever cluing. Friday-level sparkle. Fifteen longs (8 letters or more), half the maximum for a 15x15. Absolutely no junk, unless you count EDER (it used to be in the puzzle all the time). Bottom line: very good puzzle.

I guessed PINSTRIPESUIT from the crosses. We don’t use that term out here. We have seersucker suits which are unlined, although our weather isn’t warm enough most of the time to wear them. Seersucker suits are kind of pinstriped. Are they the same?

,

Whatsername

It’s funny how crosswords can affect your mood. Some (like yesterday’s) set my teeth on edge and others, like this lovely creation today, can almost bring on a feeling of serenity. I always wait til I’m finished to see who the constructor is, and as soon as I saw her name I knew instantly the reason for that peaceful easy feeling. Thank you so much Miss Robyn!

Talk about a great clues! It’s no SHORT LIST and others have already sung those praises so I won’t repeat, but “Kodachrome” and legal pads took me back to the start of my civil-service career, deciphering handwritten scribbles to produce briefs and motions with a typewriter and blue stencil. Long before anyone EVER heard of a WORD PROCESSOR or WIKIPEDIA but even then, the lawyers wore PIN STRIPED SUITS.

What?

An aside is when an actor breaks the “fourth wall” and speaks directly to the audience.

What?

Also in movies. See “Annie Hall”.

Hack mechanic

Totally naticked at arils,acne & ancestors otherwise a fine puzzle.

jae

Easy. Solid and smooth. Nice to see some old friends from my early days of solving crosswords. Hi there ARILS, EDER, and BRAE. Liked it.

Z

Regarding PINSTRIPE SUIT, it didn’t cause me a problem but PINSTRIPEd SUIT doesn’t sound wrong so I checked out the example sentences over at Merriam-Webster. All the examples seem to be D-less. I bet @LMS could tell us why we all want that D.

@burtonkd - Huh? I checked American Heritage and it agrees with Merriam-Webster. And yet I’ve sat on hiring committees where everyone in the room had at least a Masters degree and many also had doctorates and we would discuss the “slate” of hiring candidates. In our defense, we were the people who would “elect” the SHORTLIST for the superintendent.

@RooMonster - “Oxymoron” 🤣🤣🤣

@Hungry Mother - To Kill A Mockingbird is still very popular in high school English curriculums, so not quite that dated. CAPOTE seems pretty pre-millennial to me, though.

@Anon9:50 - HAL would like you to prove it.

@Frantic Sloth - I can think of some blanket rules that are okay. “Don’t hog the blanket” for example. Also, “if someone says something is offensive to them, believe them.”

Newboy

Isn’t it great to have at least one topic that Rex’s PANAL can agree with totally! Robyn is a Crossworld treasure. Ditto to all the above singing her praise.

Rug Crazy

"E" in Eder last to go in. Easy for Friday. Well done!

TJS

Hey @Roo, I seem to remember Richard Burton referring to Sandy Duncan as "Angel t_ts" in "Virgina Woolf".

@Nancy, those Peanuts specials have always been unwatchable for me for the same reason. Those voices. Oddly enough, the Dr. Seuss narration kinda adds to the enjoyment for me.

Puzzle was too easy for a Friday, but still a great construction, imo.

Anonymous

Got it! Loved it!
Perfect mix of mind-meld/ESP/somehow-just-thought-of-its with working-my-grey-matter-really-hard-to-figure-it-outs.
Satisfying.
And on a Friday!
- newbie

Swagomatic

I gotta say, that clue for EYELASHES was amazing!! That made the whole puzzle for me.

Really smoooth fillins, along with really feisty clues. Superb FriPuz fare, complete with The Jaws of Themelessness. themelessthUmbsUp.
Ms. Weintraub darlin is settin the bar mighty high. She may be the new Patrick Berry, wherever he went off to.

fave sparkly spots: TAKEABREAK [it dares to inject a coupla K's]. PINSTRIPESUIT [it dares to inject the puz's "U" … and has a really cool clue].

Speakin of great clues, that whole central area of up/down longballs really had some gems. The FAKEEYELASHES one was especially extra-batty.

ARILS and pomegranates … who knew. Better ARILS clue: {Concealed liars??}.

staff weeject picks: CPI & RPI. Hard to turn down a double servin of PI.

Thanx for the primo solvequest, Ms. Weintraub. Themeless Bar is now too high, for M&A to do anything except crash into it with his masked mug -- I'm gonna just submit themed puzpups.

**gruntz**

Chip Hilton

Several great clues (Tree toppers my fave) and an RBG quote as an antidote to having to watch and listen to the guy on the left last night. I’ll echo an earlier comment: two great day-appropriate puzzles in a row.

Anonymous

i had SPLIT instead of ALLOT, which gave me some trouble.... i was pretty proud of myself, though, for getting most of the longer answers fairly quickly, and for guesses that turned out to be accurate. those longer answers were very fun, but the acronym crossings (FCC + CPI, RPI + IRAS) and the places where an acronym crossed with a more obscure word (APBS + BANKSHOT, AKA + KELSO, RBG + BRAE) bother me on principle, even though i figured them out just fine. still can't figure out what a cushion has to do with a BANKSHOT

p.s. @Hungry Mother @Z - i'm gen z and i got CAPOTE immediately, for what it's worth

jb129

I love Robyn's puzzles - especially 34 across False Eyelashes & especially on a Friday.

Thanks as always, Robyn!

Z

Anyone do today’s New Yorker puzzle and get a schadenfreude laced grin at 8D? Just me?

@Anon12:04 - 👍🏽 - How many of your friends would get it do you think? Thinking of my kids (all born in the 90’s) I think they all would have gotten CAPOTE, at least two of them would have gotten the Sikh founder from yesterday, two of them (not the middle one) would have gotten MIMI, but none of them would have gotten EDER and probably not BRAE (unless it has been used in some video games). But I suspect my kids are less representative of their generation than most.

egsforbreakfast

I liked this as much as I ever like Robyn Weintraub’s puzzles, which is tons and tons and more tons. I was ready to pick a small fight about PINSTRIPEd, but that’s been hashed and rehashed. This leaves me only the yummy crosses to point out:

STAR crossing TSAR
HOT crossing BLOOD
PING crossing NOISE
COPA crossing PINSTRIPESUIT (I imagine COPA denizens to be wearing striped suits with wide lapels)

Amelia

Lovely puzzle. Easy for me. Same wavelength, I guess. TMI to follow.

I've had psoriasis my whole adult life. Doesn't itch at all. Freaking annoying and unsightly and all that. But doesn't itch. Perhaps there are some cases that do. But scaling is the primary symptom.

Thanks for listening.

bocamp

@ChuckD 8:49 AM - yw :) I'm fortunate to have the dvd.

@Z 8:02 AM wrote: "Going back to yesterday’s word, the error was not in using it, it was in knowing that it could be offensive and then not changing it. “I don’t care if you are offended I’m going to use it anyway” strikes me as the real offense…"

Right on! 👍
___

@Frantic Sloth 9:50 AM - Well said 👍

Walking on "eggshells" around so-called terms of endearment: the story of the "little rascal" vis-a-vis yesterday's "g"word discussion.

@OffTheGrid 10:10 AM - 👍

Having been a basketball player and wanna-be pool shark, effecting "bank" shots, was an asset. After moving to Canada and taking up curling, the understanding of the angles involved in these successful "bank shots" paid dividends. "Bank shot" equivalents in curling can be "in-offs", "chip and rolls" and "wicks", all being types of caroms where rocks "bank" off other rocks, rather than rails, backboards, etc. Technically, a stone that "banks" off a sideline (sideboard) is out of play, so "bank shot" is not a curling term, per se, but the effect is the same. Top 5 Most Insane Shots From Boost National Grand Slam of Curling

Amazon Prime "free shipping" is a boon, especially in these trying times. Bless all the workers!

Peace Wapána 和平 Frieden мир Paix 平和 Sith 🕊

Amelia

@b. evaristo

And you should know! I'm assuming you're just using the name for fun, or you really are the winner of the Man Booker Prize. (Yeah, yeah, she shared it.) Great book, by the way.

jdonhowe

FWIW, nobody in blood banking says "A-" and "B+"; it's "A neg" and "B pos".

Teedmn

I circled three clues as my favorites today, those being 33A, 37A and 24D. And getting PIN STRIPE SUIT from _INSTR_______ made me very happy. This was over too soon, certainly. I think this might be a RW-puzzle PR, speed-wise, and she's the queen of smooth, easy Fridays so that means quick indeed, pour moi.

I didn't have any of Rex's issues in the NW because YIN, ASAHI and NIKON were gimmes. And SHORT LIST made me think of book awards like the Man-Booker prize and held me up not at all.

Thanks, Robyn. As always, you deliver good puzzles.

Blackbird

Thanks for the Patsy Cline video, Rex. Classic, and terrific. I found the puzzle easy, and enjoyable. Yes, I made the same assumption about tree toppers that you did, fir, not family. With the first two letters "a" and "n", I assumed the word would begin with "angel", but the "g" didn't work. The cross with "word processor" gave me the "c", and the family tree answer, "ancestors", became clear. "Brae" will never bother me, because I love the Robert Burns song that begins, "Ye banks and braes o' Bonnie Doon, how can ye bloom see fresh and fair, how can ye chant, ye little birds, and I sae weary, full o' care". Folks who like Scottish music most likely would enjoy Dougie MacLean's version on YouTube. Solving crossword puzzles involves a lot of free association, and sometimes the clues, or the answers, lead us to all sorts of musings....

Richardf8

Take a Break is still in business? Is their Moussaka still good?

Nigel Pottle

I feel for OFL. This was one of the easiest Fridays ever for me. I finished it more than 5 minutes below my Friday average. Only a couple of problems - the same issue with Ancestors as Rex. I certainly don’t finish in 6 minutes or less - I have yet to figure out how that is possible. But seriously - easy-peasy. Thought it should have been a Wednesday level.

Nigel Pottle

Oh one more note. I live in an apartment building named Braeview Manor so Brae is totally not crosswordese for me.

Nigel Pottle

Anonymous - a bank shot off the cushion in billiards/pool.

GILL I.

@Frantic....I'll go so far as to say that anyone who reads you can infer that you don't intentionally offend anybody. You are a breath of fresh air in an otherwise offensive and very sensitive society. Tip-Toeing on eggs can be a cumbersome maze. I've broken my fair share of them and watched the yolks turn into a scrambled mess. I still call some Asians orientals and then do an oops. I mostly get smiles from polite people.
Here's my offensive word story.....
In my little neighborhood we have many seniors. We're lucky that there are parks nearby and one can stroll to a neighborhood store. It is bike and walk friendly. I know my elderly neighbors because I run errands for a few of them. Anyway, my 87 years old friend, (and a tiny bit senile) Bob has a bunch of innocent but very bad habits. He calls his neighbor, Mr. Miyamoto, a Jap. Not in a bad way. They are buddies. Mr Miyamoto is probably about 90 but you'd never know it. Anyway...to anyone who will listen...when the two of them are together in the communal garden, picking tomatoes, Bob introduces Mr. Miyamoto to everyone (loudly) as "This is my Jap friend." Mr. Miyamoto always laughs - always. No offensive interpretation. No apologies necessary. Just two old men who are dear friends. Amazing, no?

Wundrin'

@TJS. Dr Seuss narrated the Peanuts TV shows?

old timer

hands up for having Oder before EDER. I have no Idea where the EDER is, but the Oder was part of the boundary between East and West Germany. Nice to see the notorious RBG, which gave me BRAE and GIRD. BRAE I know from poetry. Has anyone ever GIRDed anything but his loins?

The AKA/KELSO cross would have been my DNF, but I guessed right. A little unfair, I think. My only other problem was writing in "split" before ALLOT.

For me, PAPA BEAR was a brilliant touch. I never thought of him as a patriarch though. Why have I always assumed Baby BEAR ended up dying without issue?

I would distrust anyone who makes a point of objecting to GYP. Deception and fraud used to be art forms among the Romani, something they were quite proud of. At least according to George Borrow's The Romany Rye, a classic from the 19th Century that is still well worth reading (the author makes no bones about his liking for the people we call Gypsies, and in fact became an expert in the English and Welsh versions of the Romany dialect.)

Unknown

Ditto. Possibly my fastest Friday ever.

CDilly52

Hi everybody! I am hoping that I am finally back to daily contributing (not that I have anything very original to say) after a rather long illness-thankfully not COVID.

A Friday RW puzzle just made me so happy! I usually “get” her and today I was about half with her which made the solve a very happy and slightly crunchy experience. Y’all have pointed out the wonders and cleverness but I would feel remiss if I did not heap on some more accolades for this work of art.

First of all, I just must comment that over the years I have observed that each time @Rex struggles and has a (for him) “slow solve,” he complains that “misdirection” in clues is somehow a “foul ball.” I couldn’t disagree more.

Wordplay comes in many different shapes, sizes and colors! Misdirection is but one of the implements in the expert and clever constructor’s tool box. RW is one of the best (in my experience) at choosing the best tool for each job. I had just about every usage of “marks” for example other than the nefarious kind. I was absolutely sure that it was some sort of auto or furniture damage “mark” and when I got back up to the NW and had PAT_Y, I laughed out loud and gave myself a metaphorical head smack. And that to me is just exceptional and well played misdirection. I love it!

The long answers were my keys to the kingdom on this one. I got them all very quickly and consequently had lots of real estate to work with. Those and the breadth of variety of material as well as the marquee answers of ANCESTORS, FAKE EYELASHES, ARTIST etc just made this fun from start to finish-like the best scavenger hunt ever invented. Complete joy to solve and a perfect “Re-entry” for me. Now I need to go back and solve all the ones I have had to skip.

Please take good care everyone as flu season ramps up along side the virus.

pabloinnh

@jberg-I probably learned "Loch Lomond" in elementary (?) school, with a lyric sheet with an asterisk by BRAE that directed me to something like "hillside".

Also meant to say earlier that when I hear Paul Simon singing "I got a Nikon camera" I always wonder if he's a Nikonoclast. Sorry.

@CDilly52--Welcome back, and glad you're better.

B. Evaristo

@Amelia 12:41.

Alas, my namesake was the very last person (along with Ms. Atwood) to be awarded the Man Booker Prize, since it was decided that, immediately following the 2019 award, the Man would be taken out of the Booker. But lest you think this had something to do with the feminist themes of the two final recipients, it was simply a result of the Man Group (an investment firm) deciding to end its sponsorship of eighteen years, and the new sponsor opting not to attach its name to the award. So it is now just the Booker Prize.

The past few years have seen other changes on the award, most notability in the enlarging of the pool of qualifying authors.

But one thing does not change: the shortlist - which, as you know, is rendered as a single word.

Whatsername

@Frantic (9:50) That was as sincere an apology as I have ever seen, very nice. Also I was not aware of the origin of that particular word and had no idea there was any type of racial connotation to it, so your edification was my enlightenment. Thanks for sharing.

@CDilly (2:48) Sorry to hear you’ve been under the weather. Glad you’re back and feeling better.

Roth

As usual, what Rex found difficult, I found easy. Two different minds, for sure! The lack of TV stars, pop singers, sports figures, and Harry Potter made this way easier for me. (I once tried to watch an HP movie just for crossword knowledge, but couldn't stomach it.)

Anoa Bob

Hello EDER my old friend, you and BRAE have come to help my solve again. Okay, I fell into the ODER trap too.

I agree with yous that there's plenty of clever cluing in this one, although I'm hesitant to say which clue is whose because, in my experience, rewriting clues is where there is most likely to be editorial input. Or we could all use five-time ACPT winner Tyler Hinman's adage when he said (as I recall) of one of his puzzles that "If you like the clue, give me credit and if you don't like the clue, blame the editor."

This has some interesting grid architecture, especially those stealth bomber silhouettes we see on the left and right sides. Those almost always support stacked 13's across the middle and that's a good thing, right? Then it remains to be seen how the crosses will work. I think this one does it very well.

This one comes in at 34 black squares which I'm beginning to believe is about optimum for a themeless puzzle. If the two black squares below 13D STE and 34D FCC were changed to open squares, there would be 32 black squares and those four 4s (STE TAR FCC RPI) would become two 7s. But the rest of the fill may have suffered. So it's a matter of balance I think. Just musing a bit, It was an enjoyable solve,

One thing for certain, if yous ever see me in a PIN STRIPE SUIT, I'll be drinking ICE TEA.

Eniale

@mathgent - pinstripesuit took me a while, and like you I was thinking of the lining inside. Then it struck me that the lines of the pattern are light stripes!

jonkotaco

Natick for me at MIMI and IVES. Tried MAMI first... Otherwise very enjoyable.

Anonymous

Hand up here for finding 4D to be grossly misleading.

The Oder is a major river of great historical significance; the Eder is neither major nor significant.

Yes it's a Friday, but really?

Joe Dipinto

If you wear a pinstripe suit with a checker shirt, don't wear a pattern tie.

Z

@Anon6:06 - But EDER is a short word and has useful letters so is as important in Crossworld as the Oder. Oder, EDER, Oise, Yser... They are all as major as the Nile in Crossworld.

Michigan Pub Crawlers

I've been reading this blog for the last couple years, religiously reading Jeff Chen at XWord Info and Mr. Sharp's blog after finishing a day's grid. My family is humored by me fervently yelling at my computer, agreeing or disagreeing with frustrating Naticks and a strange delight when an expert solver like Michael makes the EXACT same initial mistakes I did for certain clues. I just wanted to write because I so enjoy Robyn W.'s puzzles - she's my favorite by far, and when she's authoring a Friday puzz, then I'm in my happy place. Just wanted to say I share the joy. Thanks for continuing to write and blog - it doesn't go unnoticed.

Kenny Mitts

@Frantic, I would like to say that my comment yesterday wasn’t meant to impugn you. I have been lurking around this blog for almost a year now and I generally enjoy all of your posts. I simply wanted to point out that not all offensive language is policed equally. Thank you for your thoughtful response.

egsforbreakfast

@Joe Dipinto. When you said “checker” were you thinking of a plai shirt?

Lewis

@cdilly -- Welcome back!

Sami

That's Melissa Viviane Jefferson to you. And if you have Netflix you can catch a hilarious interview with her by Dave Letterman.

Everyone needs to know about all the crazy landmines I stepped on today:

I had Yser instead of Eder, which got me nowhere fast, and tatoo for 1D along with "Good Grade" instead of Blood Type, for the longest time. I'm still pretty sure there's a star atop that tree. I just invent things that don't go together to make everything hard.

Lots of xworking bonus time out of these false starts. Eventual success, but I still don't feel like one of us yet. I've only been solving since 1991, so even though Ives was the easiest answer for me, along with Nikon, Kelso and Arlen Specter, there are huge holes in my xword knowledge, most of which can be filled by something relating to Truman Capote. I still await a day when 'brae' is locatable after rooting around in my head, rather than causing psoriasis on my head.

The NYT xword usually gives me an idea for something I want to read or see. Today it was 2 things in one clue -- Rent and La Boheme.

TAB2TAB

Could someone please explain "Anne or Jeanne: Abbr."= STE ??

Nancy

Glad you've recovered, @CDilly and I'm sorry you were sick for so long. But welcome back! Your colorful, revealing and well-written comments have been missed.

bocamp

Penny's Brae - Kenny Kleinpeter

0

Peace Wapána 和平 Frieden мир Paix 平和 Sith 🕊

Joe Dipinto

@egs – no, plai is a bigger pattern. Never wear a plai necktie under any circumstances. (Remember that Democratic presidential primary candidate who always wore one? – I forgot his name.)

Monty Boy

I liked this one a lot. I used to look at Fri/Sat and not even try. I'd look at a few clues and say "never" would get those. Last couple of years I find it I try more than a glance, lo, I can do them. Today was like that. First pass through, I had about 3 words. I got FREESHIPPING and a few other SE words and kinda oozed my way upward. I wound up about 6 minutes under average - not a speed solver. Great to have the aha moment and finish with no lookups and a few lucky guesses.

jae

@TAB2TAB - STE is the French abbreviation for sainte which is the feminine form of saint.

Yesterday 0
Today 0

Anonymous

I understand it's the NY Times and by being in NY, it's inherently American--but for the love of Buddha, can we diversify some of the clues? I can take the American sports teams and the Indigenous references but outside the US, no one knows or cares about your senators and especially acronyms of your government departments.

John Tjia

Agreed. This can refer to a list of people applying for a job.

Anonymous

Isn't a seersucker suit chalk-striped?

JimG

Anonymous

Simon must have been a Nikonoclasper.

JimG

thefogman

Robyn Weintraub is on the SHORTLIST of the very best crossword constructors. This one rode like a full-size luxury car with LEAThERSEATS. No NOISE. Nothing IRKs. I liked it ALLOT.

thefogman

@ Joe Dipinto - Not THAT Paul Simon?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Simon_(politician)

Burma Shave

SHORT LEATHER SUIT

Did you EVER think MIMI was HOT?
CAKED make-up and FAKEELASHES SHOT?
PAPA RISKSITALL for this?
ACNE and PSORIASIS?
He should TAKEABREAK since he BEDS her ALLOT.

--- PATSY IVES

spacecraft

Plenty of Friday crunch in this one. The clue writer is the STAR today. TAKE "Tree toppers." With AN at the start, I was thinking ANGEL-something. Nope, not that kind of tree. More crosses finally gave me the AHA.

I did, though, get a big start with the E-tail perk: that was an instant 95% favorite to be FREESHIPPING. We take frequent advantage of that baby. I found the solve to be suitably, but not inordinately, Friday-tough, so, medium.

[ASIDE: Just re-watched "Psycho" last night on TCM, in which Marion answers a question with "Not inordinately."] Love the all-string score.

Thanks for the DOD PATSY Cline video, Fearless One. A Weintraub beauty: eagle.

spacecraft

P.S. As a lifelong S&G fan, I know most of their lyrics practically by heart, so NIKON was a secondary gimme.

leftcoaster

Can’t praise this puzzle enough. About the best I’ve seen (and in this case happily struggled with), not only on a Friday, but any day of the week. “AHAs" all over the place. So many good clues and answers that it would be presumptuous to list them all. It’s not a SHORT LIST.

Thank you, Robyn Weintraub

Diana, LIW

I agree with @Lefty.

And I never thought I'd get it all - or even get most of it. So much fun from Robyn!