YouTube star Chamberlain / FRI 11-6-20 / Rutherford and Shackleton for two / Soup-soaked bread say / German opposite of junge / More familiar term for omphaloskeptics

Friday, November 6, 2020

Constructor: Aimee Lucido

Relative difficulty: Medium (started out eeeeasy, but then wow I got repeatedly roughed up the Whole SW area) (mid-6-minute mark, somewhere in there)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Ernest Rutherford (49A: Rutherford and Shackleton, for two) —

Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of NelsonOMFRSHonFRSE (30 August 1871 – 19 October 1937) was a New Zealand–born British physicist who came to be known as the father of nuclear physicsEncyclopædia Britannica considers him to be the greatest experimentalist since Michael Faraday (1791–1867).

In early work, Rutherford discovered the concept of radioactive half-life, the radioactive element radon, and differentiated and named alpha and beta radiation. This work was performed at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is the basis for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry he was awarded in 1908 "for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances", for which he was the first Canadian and Oceanian Nobel laureate. (wikipedia)

• • •

Despite having no clue about 1A: YouTube star Chamberlain, whom The Atlantic called "the most talked-about teen influencer in the world" (EMMA), I got off to a fast start on this one and was quite enjoying my trip around the grid, across the top and over into the NE and down into the east and center and then ... sputter sputter sputter. If you draw a diagonal on the grid from NW to SE, I have almost no green ink above that line and a sea of green ink below it. Just couldn't make sense of a bunch of clues and, crucially, didn't know who either of the ERNESTS was. That was especially unpleasant, as plural names are never that fun, and plural long names, less fun, and then when you don't know the name(s) ... all fun gone. Important dead white guys, no idea. Oh well. That answer was a connective answer, which could've led me into the SE, but didn't. It crossed another answer I couldn't get, this time because the clue didn't mean anything to me. I don't think I know what [Diagnostic computer setting] means. I've heard of SAFE MODE, but don't know what it has to do with diagnostics. So that's two longer connective answers that were just blocked for me. Clue on YEOMAN didn't help me (wanted CORGI but it wouldn't fit) (52A: Buckingham Palace attendant) (a little weird to have "attendant" in a clue when INATTENTIVE is in the grid, but OK). UNC before UVA (58D: A.C.C. basketball powerhouse). OURS before ONE'S (64A: Gender-neutral possessive). Absolutely no idea about OR IN (always sucks to have the bad fill be the struggle point) (53D: "... now ___ the future") (Me: "ON TO"!?!?). No idea about yet another computer-related clue at 57D: !, in some programming languages (NOT). DROVE NUTS is right!

I think FOR ALL I CARE is PRIMO fill, for sure. Same with BITTER END, though it's a bit, uh, on the nose for our current political moment. I was less thrilled about the clue on NAVELGAZERS (25D: More familiar term for omphaloskeptics). Yesterday it was a Latin clue, today Greek, and with this one crossing the German ALTE (36A: German opposite of "junge") ... I just didn't find it pleasant. Also, I just don't believe anyone calls NAVELGAZERS "omphaloskeptics." That clue is just a "Hey, do you even know your Greek root words, you PHILISTINES!?"-type clue, and meh to that, say I. I will say that I really should know ALTE by now—crosswordese I've seen a bunch, but somehow couldn't get to. I think it's because ALTE looks like it should mean "high" (as in "elevated," not "stoned"), so it's always slightly surprising to remember it means "old." Clue on AURAL also not great to my ... ear (!). It's a hearing exam. There are oral exams, and there are hearing exams. Calling it AURAL ... people tend not to do this because it sounds so much like "oral." And since I originally wanted BONKERS for 47A: Absolutely crazy (BANANAS), I had O-RAL and for a half-second worried that there was some kind of rebus or other trick going on. Why was there an additional blank square in "ORAL"!? But it was AURAL. Sigh. Lastly, clue-wise, I superduper object to the clue on SPLAT (22D: [Kerplop!]). [Kerplop!] is the sound of an object being dropped into water; SPLAT is the sound of a fly being flattened by a swatter. They are fundamentally different sounds. So I like the grid on this one OK, but many of the clues just missed me, either because they were bad, or because I was dumb. A little of both. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:15 AM  

Medium. It would have been easy-medium if I hadn’t left nesTea in for way too long. My only excuse is that it showed up in a recent puzzle (no idea which one), so I was primed to stick it in.

Plenty of sparkle, liked it a bunch!

Harryp 1:19 AM  

I only saw it when I looked up after the Happy Tone, and noticed BAR TRIVIA! With search engines nowadays, you don't have much of that kind of bet, but nice clue and answer. It matters who writes history when it come to the Philistines, Goths, Vandals; pick your own who had their stories told by others. Liked it more than OFL, but he is an expert, so I value his judgement.

bocamp 1:27 AM  

Thank you, @Aimee for the smoothest Friday I can recall. This was a puzzle made for me, in every way! :)

2 1/2 x under Fri. ave.

Felt like a Tuesday with "candy" for fill.

New to me:


All I can say is, WOW! I'll be looking for more puzzles from @Aimee in the near future. 🤞

Spent lots of time staying in youth "hostels", late '60s Europe.

Tetley's was my go-to for many years. Gave up tea and coffee a couple of years ago. Sleep much better now.

Bananas every day with coconut yogurt. 😋

Yeoman in the Navy, early '60s.

"Taxi" Driver - Trailer

Louis "Prima" and Keely Smith "Black Magic"

y.d. -2 and not ready to pack it in yet 🤞

Peace Pace Frieden Paix Camātāṉam 🕊

JMS 1:36 AM  

If you don’t know who Ernest Shackleton is, you need to do some reading about the great polar explorers. Seriously.

chefwen 1:45 AM  

Almost fell asleep reading 1A, that was one looong clue. Had to get it with downs, no idea. Of course it’s been quite a while since I was a teen.

It took me EONS to get this one done as I was totally distracted by the Packers making hash out of the 49ers. Fair play as the 49ers made hash out of the Pack last year.

Had to look up what the hell OMPHALOSKEPTIC was, if never seen that again it’ll be too soon.

Read 33A as sides of a conversation about eight times, like I said, I was distracted.


okanaganer 1:55 AM  

This puzzle was kind of a big putdown:

I was grateful for several gimme clues tonight, including:
57 across: "!, in some programming languages".
Which compels me to dive into this fun programming fact...please feel free to skip...

Many languages like Javascript have what is called a "loose equality". In this, all the following are equivalent when compared by the symbols "==":
- 0 (the number zero)
- a text value with zero length (technically an 'empty string' aka '')
- the boolean value FALSE
- anything that is undefined
- and some others...
So 0 == FALSE, and 77 == TRUE, for example.
And finally we get to the fun fact: this loose equality is called "truthy" as opposed to "true". And no, I am not parodying an SNL skit from the George W Bush era, it's a real thing. Honest.

An exclamation point (called a "bang"!, don't ask me why) is the NOT operator, and negates whatever follows it. So if it is inserted before the double equals, it negates the comparison. So 0 !== TRUE, and 77 !== FALSE. This loose non-equality is, of course called "falsy".

You're most welcome.

Blackhat 3:47 AM  

7 names, 7 foreign words.....

Unknown 6:01 AM  

The last to fall was the NW corner. I was convinced that EMMA was EMMY. Aimee wrote a YA book called "Emmy in the Key of Code" so....

I really liked the puzzle - the good outweighed the AURAL and the clue for NAVELGAZERS. I laughed out loud at SPINART - one of may favorite christmas presents as a kid.

Overall a very smooth Friday.

BTW, read her book. It's quite good.

Happy Friday.

ChuckD 6:24 AM  

Eh - this one tried way too hard. I liked the the CS/science lean but so much of the fill was forced. Liked BAR TRIVIA and the FOR ALL I CARE, PHILISTINES stack. But EAR CANDY, EGO SURF etc are terrible.

This was an unenjoyable slog.

Z 6:31 AM  

Hand up for nesTea. Also threw down axel before LUTZ. And pottery before SPIN ART. Yes, many wasted nanoseconds ensued. Also, what the heck is SPIN ART?

Rex missed an infelicity, FOR ALL I CARE and SAT FOR. That made me doubt the entire SAT FOR area and, again, many wasted nanoseconds.

I thought Greta Thunberg was the most talked about teen influencer in the world. EMMA came from all the crosses and I immediately wondered if Austen had lost her control of the EMMA clue and then saw “YouTube teen influencer” and decided this clue would probably go the way of Leif Garrett. BTW - that 16 word clue for EMMA is pulled straight from her Wikipedia entry. I have never heard of any of the things the entry mentions. Of course, it has been a long time since I was a teen and my immediate reaction to anyone described as an “influencer” is “Oh, really??? Someone else to ignore.”

Anyway, tougher than normal here, mostly of my own doing combined with not being on the right wavelength. There were several times this morning when a long answer finally clicked and I wondered why it took me so long. Since Lucido is part of the regular New Yorker rotation you’d think her puzzles would be easier for me. NOT the case.

@bocamp - She has a puzzle every four weeks or so in the New Yorker.

kitshef 7:09 AM  

One of those puzzles that appears to have been constructed by a non-English speaker using iffy translation software. How else to explain:
hunches – SENSES
DESC. on a family try
“sides of a conversion”
TAN LINES being a strip
SPLAT – Kerplunk
SOYAS. An especially egregious PoC, particularly with no theme putting pressure on the grid.

Joaquin 7:10 AM  

As the ancient Greek omphaloskeptic Testeclees said, "One man's wheelhouse is another man's Natick." I filled this in with zero write overs.

Side note: Last night I was watching a fairly current (but recorded) Jeopardy!. One of the answers was ERNEST Shackelton.

kitshef 7:19 AM  

Oh, and I strongly recommend Endurance by Alfred Lansing, about Shackleton's incredible failed attempt to cross Antarctica. Trapped in the ice for over a year before being forced to abandon ship, the story of their safe return home is astonishing.

Todd 7:42 AM  

Rex, if you know the names of every obscure rap artist but not the names of a famous explorer and the father of nuclear physics you need to work on that.

mathgent 7:43 AM  

I remember Le Havre from WW2. I was about ten on DDay and followed the invasion of France by reading the newspaper. We captured the strategic harbor at Le Havre months after DDay even though it is on the Normandy coast only a few miles from Omaha beach. It was quite a battle leaving the city of Le Havre almost totally destroyed.

I liked the puzzle but I expect more sparkle on a Friday: only 11 red plus signs in the margins. I also would have liked more word play.

Craft on a rotating platform? I immediately thought of Demi Moore in Ghost. But it wasn’t POTTERY.

Not a single Terrible Three in the fifteen rows and only 12 in the columns. Nice reduction from the clogged grids this week.

Schuly 8:00 AM  

Rex doesn't care about "dead white guys" because, you know, they're white.

DrBB 8:05 AM  

>>I was less thrilled about the clue on NAVELGAZERS (25D: More familiar term for omphaloskeptics). Yesterday it was a Latin clue, today Greek, and with this one crossing the German ALTE (36A: German opposite of "junge") ... I just didn't find it pleasant.<<

Oh come on. DER ALTE is bog-standard xword fodder, that gives you "opposite of junge" and "omphaloskeptic" is one of those jokey hifalutin terms I've come across plenty of times. Took me a sec to remember, but then it clicked--"omphalos" isn't that obscure, neither is it hard to figure out what "skeptic" means in that context, kind of a nice little "aha!" for me. Seriously, you're a lit professor. LOTS of puzzles require you to have a modicum of linguistic or etymological knowledge for getting this sort of clue even if you're not fluent in whatever language it is. And the "junge" thing was a particularly original way of cluing "ALTE" without referring to tired old Adenauer.

At the start I thought it was going to be too easy for a Friday but moving south it put up just enough resistance to be fun. Nice job Aimee!

pabloinnh 8:05 AM  

Know AL from the New Yorker puzzles and always find her stuff to be tough but fair, and today was no exception.

The top went in zip-zap, and it didn't hurt that we just had the BITTEREND learning experience. RETAIL for RESALE was a snag, but TETLEY to the rescue. The OMPHALO part of that clue is close enough to the Spanish "ombligo" (navel) to suss that out, and finally changing NEXT to TAXI opened up the SE, which was further slowed by my ignorance of computer languages and commands.

Oh and AURAL and ORAL will be familiar to any language teachers, as you have to test for both skills, or in my case, you have done that and don't have to any more.

Le HAVRE reminds me of Le Petit Havre, which used to be a great restaurant in Old Montreal, and any puzzle with EMMA The Amazing Granddaughter will always make me smile.

Thanks for a nice Friday challenge, AL. Tough but fair indeed.

lpkatzen 8:06 AM  

I knew the opposite of Junge in German only because I remembered that 87 yr old German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who served as the first Chancellor of Germany after WWII, was called "Der Alte." He served a long time: 1949 to 1963. The two Ernests were gimmes -- either name would have been enough as both are extremely well known.

Debra 8:19 AM  

Fantastic Friday. Really had to work for it. Best all-around nytimes puzzle in quite a while. Thank you!

Frayed Knot 8:20 AM  

Does the pediatrician give kids ear candy after their exam?

Mike Herlihy 8:35 AM  

@chefwen - I read 33A as "conversation" until I read your comment and wondered what I missed.

ALOT, apparently!

Z 8:36 AM  

Don’t we know ERNEST Shackleton for the same reason we know General Custer? That is, mostly for the guys’ fatal failures. I guess Shackleton is worth knowing as a cautionary tale but my impression is some of you think he’s some sort of hero. He’s more René Belloq than Indiana Jones, all hubris and more than his fair share of stupid decision-making. And, seriously a couple of you, try the comic book line instead of the rap star line. The rap star line makes you look like a bigot. Unless you are a bigot, then by all means let us know.

Old White Guy 8:40 AM  

NW. Again. Decent puzzle

Unknown 8:51 AM  

I seem to recall OMPHALOSKEPTIC from the first few pages of Joyce's Ulysses.
Of course, that was a book written by a dead white guy, so probably verboten in rex's universe. To quote rex: "Important dead white guys, no idea." Ah, the daily train wreck.
He'd rather teach his students about the Silver Surfer. Don't ask.

Re: Todd 7:42 Exactly. EAZYE and DRDRE routinely make the cut without any problem. But Ernest Shackelton is a mystery? P.S. EAZYE was a true misogynist. Like, even I get offended listening to some of his lyrics, and that takes a lot. I wonder if rex actually has listened to his work.

Sixthstone 9:05 AM  

I fought to the BITTER END looking for a drink, but I'll have to settle for TETLEY tea while listening to EAR CANDY and playing BAR TRIVIA. Fun puzzle with a few misguided clues.

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

Spin art is a form in which a canvas or cardboard square is secured to a rotating motor and enclosed in a protective box open at the top to allow dripping paint into it. Seen at fairs and boardwalks.

RooMonster 9:13 AM  

Hey All !
Dang, I'm an omphaloskeptic and didn't even know it. You know, when those 20something women wear those crop top tops where the stomach is exposed. As a guy, you can't help but look. I don't actually fixate on the NAVEL, but it is nice to see. Same with the low cut tops that expose some boob. I'm a guy, of course I'm gonna look. Don't deny you wear something like that not for guys to look at you. And stop getting mad when we do.

Anyway, rude guy stuff aside, actually had NAVaLGAZER first, as ALTa (to me) is a legitimate alternative for ALTE. Laughed at who would GAZE at the NAVy? Hey, one never knows.

Nice fill all around, had to wrack the ole brain in areas to figure stuff out. BAR TRIVIA got a chuckle once I got it. The "Bo-o-oring" clue was read by me as "Bo-o-ing" and was looking for a bounce sound. Har. SPINART is a new one. Had _P_jArS at one point. sPyjArS? Agree SPLAT and Kerplop! are two different sounds. Kerplop should be "sploosh" or somesuch. SPLAT is a Monday pie in Garfields face. EARCANDY is just silly.

But, an overall enjoyable, brain using solve. A little OOHED here and there, not BLAH. So says the puzzle answer analogy!

Three F's

Conrad 9:14 AM  

Wanted VOTES FOR TRUMP for 7D but it wouldn’t fit :(

Sami 9:34 AM  

@Shukly if he didn't care so much about dead white guys, he would have featured the Amazing Emma Chamberlain instead of Ernest Rutherford, who I knew from my Graduate work in International Security and Arms Control, and my work as the Managing Editor of Arms Control Today in the late 1990s.

So am I the only person who got familiar with Miss Emma, her amazing house, her frozen box of creamer and her Ned Beatty routine?

I notice since I WAS a teenage girl, and I'm about to be raising one that I'm the prime person to fill in this puzzle, and I'm now noticing a clear trend of enjoying female constructors way more than I enjoy the men, or the male critics.

Seriously, I have a tiny version of this Emma here: where you can see an interview with Kodi, who will soon, I'm sure, be a xword puzzle household word.

I want to know from the computer nerds and @okanager whether you call ! a BANG, which is my favorite thing to call it. If I'm hiring a computer guy, I decide to hire him based on whether he calls it BAND, and if not, I make sure he knows that I think ! is called BANG.

Sgreennyc 9:45 AM  

Important dead white guys? What does race have to do with Rutherford and Shackley? Is Rex trying to show us how “woke he is?” What a pathetic jerk. He’s for sure the kind of idiot professor you hope your kid never gets in college.

longsufferingmetsfan 9:52 AM  

Clever cluing, a pleasant Friday mental workout. Thanks, Aimee, well done!

JOHN X 9:54 AM  

@ Z 8:36AM

Are you calling Todd @ 7:42 AM a bigot? Be specific and support your allegation with facts.

That's a nasty word to throw around casually which you do quite frequently.

Carola 10:03 AM  

Nicely resistant, fun to fill in (SPLAT!), satisfying to finish (BAR TRIVIA, which really did take me to the BITTER END to see).
Happy to know: ERNESTS, YEOMAN. Do-over: DEvil. No idea: EMMA, SPIN ART. Me, too: read 33A as "conversation" (hi, @chefwen and @Mike Herlihy).

TAN LINE + TIDES OVER made me think of being at the beach, that is, an ocean beach, for the first time. With my only experience of beaches being on Midwestern lakes, I had no concept of actual TIDES so blithely placed our beach towels a few yards from the water's edge and went to supervise my kids playing in the waves...until a nice lady waded in to tell me, "Ma'am, your towels are about to wash away." Indeed, water was beginning to wash OVER them. Years ago, still recall my astonishment (at the occurrence and at my having had no idea that this could happen).

Nancy 10:08 AM  

While I had already forgotten it between the time that I wrote it in and the time I sat down at my computer, it was amazing to learn that there's a 15-letter word for NAVELGAZERS. When NAVELGAZERS came in, I just OOHED. You must have looked that up, you just must have, Aimee. But it was fun.

And I loved the clues for EGOSURF; TAN LINE; and especially EON for the length of time seemingly spent on hold. If it's too long an EON, I usually just give up quietly and hang up.

But I must protest the 586 words used to introduce EMMA Chamberlain, "the most talked-about teen influencer in the world". I've never heard anyone talk about her, thank God. Certainly I've never talked about her. And what's more... (there's a rant coming; feel free to whiz right by):

What has our EMMA done at such a tender age that she has earned the right to "influence" anyone??? It used to be that people who influenced other people had actually accomplished something. They were great leaders...great writers...great scientists...great philosophers...great artists. They were known by their various areas of expertise; they were not known simply as "influencers". How does one get to be an "influencer"? Could I get to be an "influencer"? Would you accept me as an "influencer"? (Please don't answer that.) Anyway, maybe you should grow up, EMMA, and do something consequential in life before you have the chutzpah to declare yourself an influencer. You've already gotten three times as much ink in today's puzzle as the two ERNESTS combined-- each of whom has actually done something of note.

(Rant over.)

Wi-Fi 10:13 AM  

Agreed. It's one of the greatest survival and endurance stories of all time.

Mr. Cheese 10:14 AM  

I also read “conversation”! Is it contagious?

jberg 10:17 AM  

Loved it! So many great answers. Even interesting see, like LUTZ.

@z Shackleton’s fame is less from the failure but from the amazing self-rescue, including a trip of 2 or 3,000 miles in a lifeboat. And it didn’t hurt that they made a movie while they were doing it.

I wouldn’t call Nestea a Lipton competitor; I’m not sure they even sell actual tea (as opposed to powder or tea-flavored iced drinks).

Isn’t Rutherford a California wine estate?

longsufferingmetsfan 10:17 AM  

The father of nuclear physics and a pioneering Antarctic explorer: He must be pulling our leg, stirring the pot to amp up readership. Just a couple of "important dead white guys", because the really essential people in history are comic book creators and dime store novel writers.

The self loathing white guy routine has gone way beyond its freshness expiration date. How about if we get back to the original intent of this blog of unbiased and sometime humorous reviews of crosswords, all of this other crap is so tiresome.

Yet again, the train wreck is in full view this morning.

Grouch 10:20 AM  

I get the Loaded(drunk)/BAR thing for 13A but how are BAR TRIVIA(questions) Loaded(drunk)? It doesn't make sense. Questions can't be drunk. This kind of sloppiness is all too common in NYT puzzles.

Unknown 10:20 AM  

@ JOHN X 9:54

Maybe I'm wrong, but since they're both black men I think he's inferring from my comment that I'm bigoted.
I don't think I/m particularly bigoted, but I certainly know I'm not as woke as rex or Z.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) would be surprised to learn that they are no longer the funding organization for PBS, and that the NYT crossword has assigned that responsibility to the NEA.

Barbara S. 10:22 AM  

Dang, blast and splutter! I had a DNF thanks to SPuNART/uNATTENTIVE. Phooey! I’m mad because I really liked the sparkle and challenge of this puzzle and I thought in the end I’d won through. Still like it, and hope for better future outcomes.

I liked having both EBB and TIDES OVER, and also BANANAS and DROVE NUTS. I liked the apt pairings of INATTENTIVE beside NAVELGAZERS and FOR ALL I CARE beside PHILISTINES. I liked the clue for EON (“Length of time spent on hold, it often seems”). BITTER END again so soon! Have to tell you my silliest writeover. For "Rutherford and Shackleton, for two" I had _R_ESTS and without thinking popped in pRiESTS! I'm not sure who these famous Fathers Rutherford and Shackleton are, but I guess they reside in an alternate universe.

Sometimes ONE’S art history training comes in handy (see, Dad?). I give you Omphalos. Note that both Omphalos and YEOMAN appear in the third excerpt from Joyce.

Mohair Sam 10:24 AM  

New Yorker regular Aimee Lucido a favorite constructor here. And she didn't disappoint today - fun cluing, nice long downs (NAVELGAZERS!), and learned some stuff (SPINART).

@Z - Your best comment ever ("my immediate reaction to anyone described as an “influencer” is “Oh, really??? Someone else to ignore.”") followed by your silliest post ever (comparing Shakleton to Custer). Custer died for his mistake and took all of his men with him. Shakleton survived and saved every one of his men. Significant difference I'd say.

The book "Endeavor" about Shakleton's failed polar mission and subsequent survival story is one of the most fascinating non-fiction works I've ever read.

Kinda cool how @Rex grumbled about our ERNEST Shakleton, unknown to him, and threw us a Rusty Shakleton, unknown to us.

Got the BA for BANANAS and really wanted BAtsh*t, lots more fun and just as accurate - but might not clear editing.

Swagomatic 10:36 AM  

Well, I came in under 3 Rexes. I liked it!

GILL I. 10:42 AM  

So I read 1A and I'm thinking that clue is like listening to Greer Garson give the l longest Oscar acceptance speech in history. (just some BAR TRIVIA).
I'm on smooth sailing mode until I get to that ompha thing. I'm thinking Willy Wanka and his Oompa Loompa doompadeedo. What the heck is that thing. I looked it up in my dictionary because I didn't want to cheat. Oh...Someone who gazes at their navel. I don't think I've ever gazed at mine. well...maybe to check to see if there's some lint hanging about.
I usually like Aimee puzzles and I like this but there seemed like a lot of SINS SPLAT PHILISTINES DROVE NUTS DEMON EGO things. I liked EAR CANDY. My EAR CANDY is listening to Adele.
Since you had a lot of foreigner type words, too bad you did clue UVA as a Spanish grape......
Where IS @Frantic to give us a Frideeee laugh?

Gordo & Deke 10:48 AM  

Apollo 13 is also famous for its failure.

CDilly52 10:58 AM  

@bocamp 1:27 am. The Eurail Pass and HOSTELS. And life in the late 60s. The most expensive part of a wonderful trek through Europe was getting there and back! I, too have such wonderful (mostly) memories of my two long summers. Different time.

RMFL 11:07 AM  

My memory of “Buckingham Palace Attendants”, from when I left the UK fifty years ago, is that soldiers from the Guards Regiments were stationed outside the Queen’s home. The Yeomen of the Guard are on duty at The Tower of London, where many a Royal lost his or her head. They are also known as Beefeaters, and one appears in his colorful tunic on bottles of gin of that name.

newspaperguy 11:08 AM  

RE: the cheap dismissal of Shackleton and Rutherford as "dead white guys." Pathetic and profoundly ignorant.

Steve M 11:14 AM  

Top flight Friday

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

clue doesn't say either 'sole' or 'principal'. NEA does support some content. decent clue.

RE: Shackleton
"Away from his expeditions, Shackleton's life was generally restless and unfulfilled. In his search for rapid pathways to wealth and security, he launched business ventures which failed to prosper, and he died heavily in debt."
[the wiki, and for what it's worth] he died on one such expedition

Whatsername 11:19 AM  

Enjoyed this, lots of good stuff here. It was a little bit of work; for me the foreign phrases were a challenge but not too many proper names so that helped. Overall just seemed fresh and pleasant and not your same old same old Friday. Very nice job Aimee!

Like @mathgent, I visualized Demi Moore at the spinning wheel and wanted POTTERY at 22A. I don’t NAVEL GAZE, even during a pandemic, sounds terribly BLAH. I have however, taken many a “good long look” at myself in the mirror, but I certainly wouldn’t call it an EGO SURF. More like “how on earth did this happen?”

I have had a bottle of Prosecco chilling since Tuesday. Fingers crossed I’ll have reason to open it soon.

@GILL: I just emailed @Frantic. Hopefully she’ll check in.

Smith 11:42 AM  


Last summer (19) in Idaho or Wyoming somewhere found a spinart booth using old LPs. Cringe. But our "grand-cousins" loved it.

Banya 11:45 AM  

ERNEST Shackleton is an incredible figure. I learned about him mostly because I was in an off-broadway original musical...comedy (That's right, musical comedy) about his Antarctic journey. I did not play the title character, but I'm pretty sure my title had YEOMAN in it.

Mostly, I thought this was a medium-difficult and very worthwhile Friday Puzzle. Liked the clues on BARTRIVIA & EGOSURF.

Ariel was a big gimmie. No idea who this Emma person is - but hey, at least the NYTXW is trying with the young stuff?

Smith 11:46 AM  

@Pablo 8:05

I "have done that and don't have to anymore", also reading and writing, to get all the domains in. Former esl teacher. Ahhh, retirement. Perfect timing.

pmdm 11:52 AM  

Enjoyed this puzzle quite a bit. Excessive PPP? No. Interesting entries? Yes. Thumbs up? Yes.

After I began reading the write-up, I said to myself "Seems Sharp prefers puzzles that don't challenge him." Don't think it was supposed to come out quite that way. Later on, he mentioned his unfamiliarity of Safe Mode. To respond to him (and others here who don't know and/or don't care), I'll try to be brief. I'm not sure if Safe Mode was available on a Mac before a Windows platform, but who cares? When you boot a computer, certain programs can run that add functionality to the computer (for example, which peripherals can run or which programs can run). When booting if Safe Mode, this type of computer code does not run. While some programs and peripherals might not be accessible, you can troubleshoot and be sure if you find a problem it's origin is not a connected peripheral or any computer code not derived from the unadulterated operating system.

Or something like that. Feel free to add corrections or conditions I've missed.

CDilly52 11:55 AM  

New word for NAVAL GAZER, and that will be a BAR TRIVIA night gem for sure! Like so many, I stuck to nEsTea way too before TETLEY, and I threw in an axel before a LUTZ. Guess it’s been too long since the Winter Olympics and I have forgotten my figure skating vocabulary.

SPIN ART brought back memories. One Christmas, THE toy of the year was a little battery operated paint kit. It had a spinning plate at the bottom of a bowl. The whole thing looked just like a mini-cotton candy machine. It had a somewhat variable speed and you started it spinning and then dropped, drizzled, splotched or otherwise delivered paint to the spinning cardboard “canvas” at the bottom. It really was a fun art tool. We learned all kinds of things about the effects of centrifugal force and speed of revolution and used tools later on like colored pencils and paint brushes to really do all kinds of interesting designs. I guess it was “art.” Who’s to say.

This one has fill that was all over the place and some odd clues that slowed me down in spots, but most of my troubles came from misreading clues (33A for example). I thoigbt it was “sides of a conversation” and didn’t figure it out until the crosses gave me FAITHS and while I was scratching my head the light bulb went on. Sheesh

Hardly any real clever clues, and had a wide range of types of clues without much in the way of a hint and the fill in the blanks that could be anything. Took me a while . The NW was the killer for me. Even though I got EBB, MAI, MR T and ATT, right from the jump, I had EMMA, but never heard of her, and with so much of the two long answers below 1A, I was at the BITTER END of the puzzle before I could see BAR TRIVIA, probably because I had BART. . . and my eye wouldn’t see anything else. Could be that I am still sleep deprived and cross-eyed from this week of tense election watching.

Overall, a decent Friday. I look forward to more from Ms. Lucido. Lots of potential for enjoyable solves to come. Happy weekend everyone!!

skepticaljesus 11:58 AM  

In case you wanna brush up on your yiddish, "alte kaker" roughly translates as old fart.

bocamp 12:04 PM  

New to me: "Emma" Chamberlain; "omphaloskeptics"; "spin art"; "Ernest Rutherford";

"navel gazing (omphaloskepsis)

Holdups: not a speed solver by any stretch, but holdups today were insignificant. Normal Friday is 25 min., this one fell in 10. Probably just one of those rare "wavelength" phenomena.

@Z 6:31 AM

Thx, I'll have a look. Guessing I won't find all her puzzles this easy. 🤔

Bar trivia, pub quiz, trivia nights, quiz nights.

@okanaganer 1:55 AM / 7:19 AM

Yes, there was some "sour candy" here, but as a great mind once said, "take lemons and turn them into lemonade". 😉

Thx for the book recommendation. One of my favorite genres. Local library has both the ebook and audiobook.

Hands up for "conversation" before "conversion". Striving to overcome a tendency to jump to conclusions – literally and figuratively. Got to take the extra time to read the fine print and/or between the lines.

@CDilly52 10:58 AM 👍

tabbed y.d.'s at -2; embarking on today's 🤞

Peace Pace Frieden Paix Camātāṉam 🕊

Magpie 12:05 PM  

Omphaloskepsis is one of my favorite words.

I had trouble with ERNESTS because I confidently filled in EARNESTS where EARCANDY was supposed to go. Oy.

Happily my 16yo daughter peered over my shoulder and gave me that opening EMMA.

zephyr 12:18 PM  

Easy friday in all hut for the misconceptions. Spin art is not a craft. Pottery is. Ear candy is not what to hear but what to wear, like earbuds, earphones, earrings.

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

You tell 1em Rex! What have white guys who've died ever done for the world.


Caesar (Julius)
Alexander the Great
Da Vinci
Paul (of Tarsus)*
Wilbur and Orville Wright
Watson (& Crick)
Babe Ruth
Samuel Colt
Cary Grant
Carl Zeiss
* unless the Levantine aren't white in which case, St Paul and Christ bow out

Taxed Too Much in NJ 12:40 PM  

Ciao! Liked this solve—regular Friday challenge without being frustrating! Listening to Ariel sing Part of Your World over and over until the Bitter End of the track in the mom Taxi almost Drove Me Nuts but it was pure Ear Candy and an Aural delight for my then 4-year old’s Senses, but !, mine. With what’s on the radio and internet these days, I never realized we were traveling in Safe Mode with Disney tunes! Ah, the good ol’ days, And So, thanks for bringing them back to me! Ciao!

Masked and Anonymous 1:48 PM  

FriPuzs always have a higher bar to jump over, to please the M&A. I prefer those puzs that have a clever theme. This one was ok, but ! an overwhelmin fave.

Things I did ! know:
* EMMA. Sunk my hopes right outta the rodeo chute, with a person of mystery.
* BARTRIVIA. Inferrable, tho … thuuus … ! a foul, there.
* ERNESTS. More folks of mystery. But -- all the crosses were pretty fair, and the name(s) was pretty common. Nice, desperado POC, crossin SOYAS at the -S.
* ! = NOT. Not (!) a programming lingo that I know. But I'm more of a FORTRAN/COBOL/BASIC/Assembly Lingo/RPG/HTML dude.
* SPINART/PEELE/omphhaloskeptics. Here is where the nanoseconds went spinnin down the drain, big time. You've just crossed over … into The Tougher-than-snot Zone. [Note: U may prefer the Tougher-than-s! notation.]

staff weeject pick: ! Perhaps this means "NOT" in Trump Inaugural Ball programmers' lingo?
PRIMO weeject quad stacks, in the NW & SE.

SENSES clue made no hunch, at our house. There were several feisty clues, but this one was k!tier than most of that whole litter end.

Thanx for the moo-cow eazy-E workout [!], Ms. Lucido darlin. It was apocalyskeptic(al). And still kinda fun.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

**, in some languages:

Jean 2:00 PM  

Remembered "alte" from Der Alte for Adenauer. Sometimes it pays to be old. (And coincidentally to have lived in a town next to Natick.)

Anonymous 2:04 PM  

Why inattentive and not unattentive? Correspondingly, spun art rather than spin art. IMHO, there's no reason to prefer an i to an o.

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

I see no reason to prefer inattentive over unattentive, and correspondingly, spin art over spun art.

Hungry Mother 2:25 PM  

Getting to it late today because SB, but close to a PR. Very much in my wheelhouse.

Greg 2:26 PM  

Got stuck by having PRIME instead of PRIMO first, and then wondering what DETE could mean.

Larry 2:30 PM  

I used to work for a German reinsurance company in NYC. One summer the home office in Munich sent over some interns to work with is for a few months. We took them to an annual insurance convention in Las Vegas. We hit the pool after the sessions and one of the German girls immediately took her top off - “Oh, I don't like TANLINES”. She was very good looking and us Americans did our best to stop drooling. The Europeans all took it in stride but it is a moment, even 20 years later, I won’t forget.

Jim McConnell 2:31 PM  

I had BA and thought bat____ as well! But not in the Times!

Hungry Mother 2:39 PM  

@okanaganer: nice to see some discussion of C-type languages. It was always fun on day 1 to discuss = and ==. I always thought if was called “bang!” because of emphasis.

Nancy from Chicago 2:48 PM  

@Greg, I did the same thing with prime/dete. For some reason I got hung up on thinking of "spoil" in the sense of "give away the ending" and I thought "dete" might be slang for "give the details." A stretch, as I realize now, but eventually I did see my mistake.

Todd 3:09 PM  

Not following rap music and ergo only barel;t the names of even the most famous rappers isn't racist. I probably know fewer country stars than rap ones and it doesn't mean I hate white guys with cowboy hats either.

Kathy 3:27 PM  

@Nancy 10:08. Your teen influencer rant was so delightful that I read it aloud to my husband!
I am in awe of writers like you who can so precisely give voice to the reactions that are in my head. 1A was no way to open a puzzle.

But the comments today are in rare form indeed!

dusky 3:52 PM  

Ernest Shackleton is an absolute hero of polar exploration! His boat, the Endurance, became ice bound in the Antarctic Ocean. He took a few men in an open boat and made it to South Georgia Island, more than 800 miles away. in an open boat--and made it. Then they had to climb a mountain to get to the station there. Shackleton then returned in a ship to the encampment where he left the remaining crew, and rescued all the men who had been on the Endurance. He is an amazing figure in exploration.

I am surprised that you thought this was an obscure clue.

Z 4:14 PM  

@Sami - Never been a teenage girl, never had a teenage daughter, and it’s been a decade since I worked with teenagers, so totally outside my purview. EMMA’s 15 minutes of fame has missed me entirely. Still, my jibe is more at the notion of an “influencer” than EMMA specifically. For all I know she deserves the hype, but calling her an “influencer” just makes me roll my eyes and want to move on. It probably says too much about me but the only teenagers or recent teenagers I am aware of are Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai, David Hogg, and EMMA González.

@John X - Is there something unclear about The rap star line makes you look like a bigot? Let me spell it out again: denigrating knowledge of African-American culture looks bigoted. If a writer doesn’t want to look like a bigot maybe choose a comparison that doesn’t evoke such perceptions. Candidly, I find the comic book line narrow minded, too, but at least it doesn’t make one look like a bigot.

Regarding all the Shackleton love - Wow. Nothing like a movie and a book that downplay and ignore the “hero’s” faults. Let’s cut to the chase, he’s famous for not dying that one time, that’s in. Wow. Impressive. I’ve managed to not die for 13 years longer than him already, so where’s my movie? If he had been just a little bit more competent and not sunk his ship, stranding his crew, we would never have heard of him. And what’s with the ‘he kept his men alive” bull? Somehow I think it was more the crew that kept him alive. Yes, it is a good story. But, no, Shackleton is not a hero and should not be revered. @Mohair Sam - My intended point was that the hubris of Shackleton matches Custer’s. Having those in your charge not die is about as low as a bar can go, but yes, in that one respect he is less awful than Custer. Still, if Shackleton gets any credit it should be for his ability to keep getting funding after repeated failures. But is that really a point in his favor or evidence of others’ gullibility?

Diane P 4:34 PM  

Although I knew that both Rutherford and Shackleton were named Ernest, as a former science teacher, I wanted so much to write "scientist" in that spot that it held me up. There's nothing worse than searching for a rebus entry when it doesn't exist. I enjoyed the puzzle even though I found the NW corner a bit challenging.

Pete 4:50 PM  

@Z - You mean using Rap Star's names as the exemplar of something no decent person should be expected to know might be considered bigoted? Surely you're kidding.

Also, I too failed to reach the South Pole on multiple occasions. What's the big deal?

Anonymous 4:55 PM  

@John X- When your only tool is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.

Charles Emerson Winchester III 5:06 PM  

I am astounded OFL hadn’t heard of either Ernest. How is that possible for even a moderately educated person? (Shaking my head). And the gratuitous insult that they are just “dead white guys.” Its the sort of reflective prejudice that gives academia a bad name. Yes they were white guys and they are dead. But their achievements have nothing to do with their race, gender or liveliness. They are noteworthy for what they discovered, not anything else, and it behooves us to recognize them for that.

Newboy 5:11 PM  

Any grid that can recall moments at Delphi gazing on the stone that represented the center of the world is an automatic winner in my book. Thanks for sharing an opportunity to gaze again at that umbilical connection Aimee. I can only say 🙏🏾.

Anonymous 5:56 PM  

@ Z 4:14 PM wrote:

If he had been just a little bit more competent and not sunk his ship, stranding his crew, we would never have heard of him

Wow. Just wow.

Maybe if the crew of Apollo 13 had been just a little bit more competent and not blown up their spacecraft we would have never heard of them. NOT HEROIC

Maybe if Louis Zamperini had been just a little bit more competent and not crashed his aircraft we never would have heard of him. NOT HEROIC

Maybe if John McCain had been just a little bit more competent and not gotten captured we never would have heard of him. NOT HEROIC

Maybe if Amelia Earhart had been just a little bit more competent and not disappeared we never would have heard of her. NOT HEROIC

@Z, you sound like a cross between Joseph McCarthy and Donald Trump.

Anonymous 5:57 PM  

Z, Pete, Michiganman, Sybil- LOL

Joe Dipinto 6:27 PM  

@Banya 11:45 –

Is this the musical you were in? Somehow I missed hearing about it at the time.

Nancy 8:04 PM  

@Kathy (3:27) -- Surely one of the nicest compliments I've ever received on this blog. Thanks so much. I really appreciate it.

As far as today's great Shackleton kerfuffle is concerned -- and btw, whoever expected that there would one day be a Shackleton kerfuffle? -- I hold no opinion at all. But I must say that I found @Pete's 2nd paragraph on the subject at 4:50 to be extremely funny.

Ricardo 8:26 PM  

Well I finally made it to the day of show... have been solving for years on the syndicated version. This one was super easy, no resistance whatsoever, which is weird on a Friday... Hoping for more crunch.

Anoa Bob 8:38 PM  

Anonymous @4:55, yes grasshopper, but the yin to that yang is that a nail that sticks up asks to be hammered back down.

RPCV Cameroon 8:44 PM  

Ernest Rutherford even has an element named after him #104. Nobel laureate. Seminal contributions to physics. I’m with Charles Emerson Winchester. C’mon Rex. While we certainly have a ways to go towards diversity in science Rutherford’s contributions are still important. And after reading Endurance remain in awe of Shackleton.

Anonymous 10:29 PM  

Meh. Many of this week's puzzles have been oddballs, IMO, as if written by someone in some other reality.

I don't know if my brain was distracted by the election, or if the standard for NY Times puzzles is getting ever lower. When I stare at the grid and NOTHING comes to mind for most of the clues, it's a bad day indeed.

JOHN X 1:00 AM  

@ Z 4:14 PM

You never answered the question: Are you calling Todd @ 7:42 AM a bigot? It's a simple question. Please back it up with facts or please choose your insults more carefully. Maybe apologize.

@ Z, I'm sure you're a very nice guy in person, but on this blog, you come across as a self-righteous a**hole. Maybe that's what you're going for, I don't know. But I do know that nobody "denigrated knowledge of African-American culture" anywhere here. Yet you (and Rex) call people bigots and racists without any proof or evidence, just your own whims.

You're free to have your own opinion, but your opinion is just that. Want to hear my opinion? I've read a thousand Rex posts and a hundred @Z posts, and you are two small-town white guys who've never lived in a big city and don't know sh*t from Shinola. That's just my opinion.

Peace, bro.

me 7:14 AM  

This puzzle pissed me off.

me 7:19 AM  

EGO SURF?!! That’s not a thing! This is upsetting

Dave S 7:55 AM  

This was, for me a tough puzzle, so not always fun, but this is Rex at his worst. The Ernests are one guy everyone should know about and one guy I thought everyone did since his story is hugely entertaining and has been celebrated in books, movies, television, massive museum exhibitions and even a play. Omphaloskepsis I can remember being batted around in the 1970s far from academia as a playful ten dollar word by word fans-you know, the sort of people who do crossword puzzles. I liked a lot of the long answers here, even though , as I say it took me a long time to muddle through. But I was tired and slightly dense, and don't blame the constructor or editor for things I can't recall.

Z 8:35 AM  

@John X - “What you write makes you look like a bigot.”
“You are a bigot.”
Do you see a difference?

DigitalDan 3:11 PM  

The witch in "Into the Woods:"
SMOOSH is much inferior to SQUISH.
Never heard of ART ROSS, never will again.

Banya 3:58 PM  

@Joe Dipinto
Surprisingly, that's not the one! I don't think ours was reviewed by the NYT - it was probably more off-off.

Music Man 11:11 AM  

Yes, thank you for saying that.

Music Man 11:14 AM  

The film “Get Out”, directed by Jordan PEELE (23D) is one of the best, horrifying, edge of your seat films I’ve seen in a long time.

Taxed Too Much in NJ 8:58 AM  

Hilarious—still burned in your retinas. Experiencing different cultures has many benefits.

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