French printmaker Daumier / FRI 12-11-20 / Ziff antagonist on The Simpsons / Shrubland sight / Point on a vane in Spain / Feel the onetime political slogan / Phenomenon discovered by Apollo astronauts / drop British sweet treat / Set of awards won by John Legend and Rita Moreno for short

Friday, December 11, 2020

Constructor: Ari Richter

Relative difficulty: Mediumish? (cluing seemed to be trying really (too) hard to be tricksy, but puzzle was still pretty pliable)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: MOONQUAKE (3D: Phenomenon discovered by Apollo astronauts) —
a seismic event on the moon (
• • •

***HELLO, READERS AND FELLOW SOLVERS IN SYNDICATIONLAND (if the date is Friday, January 15, 2021, that's YOU!)!***. The calendar has turned on another year (thank God), and while that might mean a lot of things to a lot of people, for me it means it's time for my annual week-long pitch for financial contributions to the blog. Every year I ask regular readers to consider what the blog is worth to them on an annual basis and give accordingly. Last year at this time, I wrote about what a melancholy year 2019 was; my oldest dog had died and the world was kind of a wreck. And then 2020 happened, and I learned what a real wreck looks like. In February, my other dog died (R.I.P. Gabby). And then, well, COVID. And let's be honest, even with a new president, 2021 is going to be, uh, challenging as well. But I hope that the regular ritual of solving crosswords brought some solace and stability to your lives this past year, and I hope that my blog added to your enjoyment of the solving experience in some way. This year my blog will celebrate its 15th anniversary! I feel so proud! And old! A lot of labor goes into producing this blog every day (Every. Day.) and the hours are, let's say, less than ideal (I'm either solving and writing at night, after 10pm, or in the morning, before 6am). Most days, I really do love the writing, but it is work, and once a year (right now!) I acknowledge that fact. As I've said before, I have no interest in "monetizing" the blog beyond a simple, direct contribution request once a year. No ads, no gimmicks. Just here for you, every day, rain or shine, whether you like it or, perhaps, on occasion, not :) It's just me and my laptop and some free blogging software and, you know, a lot of rage, but hopefully some insight and levity along the way. I do genuinely love this gig, and whether you're an everyday reader or a Sunday-only reader or a flat-out hatereader, I appreciate you more than you'll ever know.

How much should you give? Whatever you think the blog is worth to you on a yearly basis. Whatever that amount is is fantastic. Some people refuse to pay for what they can get for free. Others just don't have money to spare. All are welcome to read the blog—the site will always be open and free. But if you are able to express your appreciation monetarily, here are two options. First, a Paypal button (which you can also find in the blog sidebar):

Second, a mailing address (checks should be made out to "Rex Parker"):

Rex Parker c/o Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton, NY 13905

And heck, why don't I throw my Venmo handle in here too, just in case that's your preferred way of moving money around; it's @MichaelDavidSharp (the last four digits of my phone are 4878, in case Venmo asks you, which they did that one time someone contributed that way—but it worked!)

All Paypal contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by email. All snail mail contributions will be gratefully acknowledged with hand-written postcards. I. Love. Snail Mail. I love seeing your gorgeous handwriting and then sending you my awful handwriting. It's all so wonderful. And my thank-you postcards this year are really special. They are portraits of my new cat Alfie (a bright spot of 2020), designed by artist Ella Egan, a.k.a. my daughter. And they look like this:

He's eating kale in that middle one, in case you're wondering. Anyway, these cards are personally meaningful to me, and also, I believe, objectively lovely. I can't wait to share them with the snail-mailers. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just indicate "NO CARD."  Again, as ever, I'm so grateful for your readership and support. Now on to today's puzzle...

* * *

I liked this grid pretty well, but the cluing ... for the first 1/4 of the solve, I found it incredibly irritating, with clue after clue just trying oh so hard to confuse you by using words in unexpected ways, which, yes, is what crossword clues do on the hard days, but it's a matter of degree. There were three clues all bunched up that were doing awkward things with "it" or "something." [Can you believe it?] = TENET? Yuck. That "?" clue needs a "?" clue, so tenuous is the connection here. Why are you asking me? What TENET? There is no context for this. A TENET is something you believe, great, but the interrogative here is a nightmare. Then, "it" again: [It requires some assembly] = QUORUM. At least that one isn't ridiculous, but still. You try to make me think of some furniture or something but it's not, yes, ha ha, good one. Then "something": [Something about which you might say "It's good!"] = EXTRA POINT. This is the best of the three, but I still felt like I was in a child's book of riddles with this one. Speaking of child, POTTY HUMOR, ew, what? My "ew" is for the infantilizing use of "potty"—if the clue doesn't indicate that you are specifically talking to a child, then the clue is off-putting ... like adults who use the word "potty" with anyone other than children. Also, I'm trying to see how you get from "crack" to POTTY. Is this supposed to be about butt cracks, aka plumber's cracks, i.e. the cleft in the upper buttocks? There's nothing POTTY about the mere fact of a butt crack. If this is some other "crack," then I don't know. Can't be drugs, that is even less POTTY. See, this is what happens when you want so bad to be the king of wordplay that you have lost all perspective. 

Struggled with DAMP (1A: Still on the line) (again, clue designed to look like it's about the phone, or maybe fishing, but no ... drying clothes ... which, honestly, there is no necessary connection between being DAMP and being "still on the line"; dry clothes are often (always?) "still on the line"). Struggled with WOOT (the clue desperately needs the word "online" somewhere) (17A: Informal cheer). Another pat-myself-on-the-back-for-my-cleverness clue on STAY (9D: Command that one shouldn't follow). Ah you thought "that" was a relative pronoun well what an idiot you are. It's a conjunction, sucker. So fun :(

Had CITY at the bottom of 21D: Penguin's home and struggled mightily to remember the nickname for Pittsburgh. Charm City ... nope, Baltimore. Rip City ... Portland. Gah. But then the Penguin wasn't a hockey player from Pittsburgh—he was a Batman villain. I never think of Gotham as anything but Gotham, but technically GOTHAM CITY is correct. Weirdly, I later encountered a very similar-sounding clue, 35A: A home?, that was, in fact, about a member of a sports team (MLB's A's play in OAKLAND). No idea who the HONORร‰ person was (43D: French printmaker ___ Daumier). Just inferred a French name after I got some crosses. Had IN A SECOND and IN A MOMENT before IN A MINUTE because of course I did, that's exactly how that is always going to go (31D: Shortly). LEMONADES before LEMON ICES (32D: Cool summer treats). 

Really loved DON'T GET ANY IDEAS (always good to stick the landing with those marquee answers), as well as PET TURTLE (no idea why I like this, but I do). INONEGO (38A: Without stopping) and STJAMES (40D: Name on an orange Monopoly property) have funny letter combinations if you aren't parsing them right, so I like them too. The grid is very clean and polished, which I appreciate. Its (cluing) voice was not at all to my taste, but it still seems like a very respectable Friday effort.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 6:33 AM  

@pabloinnh from yesterday Thanks for the recommendation. This rendition was lovely I bet it's a lot of fun to sing, too. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Do my eyes deceive me or is there not one single 3L word in this grid?
I hope @M&A doesn't break out in hives or shingles

What a pleasure this was to solve with all those yummy clues and lengthiness! MOONQUAKE, PETTURTLE (Hi, Gary!), EXTRAPOINT (as clued!), and GOTHAMCITY took me longer than it should have. Etc. Etc.

***Miscellaneous Observations Alert***

It's been a while since I've purchased a magazine. Do they still put those SCRATCHANDSNIFF (or really just SNIFF - no scratching necessary) perfume ads in there? Gagapalooza, those. Had to rip them out before I could even hold the mag lest the olfactory assault kill off all my parietal lobe cells. Honestly. There's a special place in hell for the creator of that little marketing ploy.

UPNEXT before NEXTUP. I associate the former with baseball and the latter with something said before a commercial break. And that really, really matters! (Sometimes I just want to yell that after I write, well, anything.) ๐Ÿคท‍♀️

***Reptile Porn Alert***

What do you get when you cross a PETTURTLE with a Croc?

And on that classy note, I bid you good day.

๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง 

R.I.P. Henri, le Chat Noir ๐Ÿ’”

Henri, 2 Paw de Deux

Conrad 6:49 AM  

@Frantic: Very sorry about the loss of Henri.

I count four threes: 27D & 28D and their symmetric buddies at 36D & 37D.

@Rex: "Potty Humor" (aka "Toilet Humor") is a thing.

Hungry Mother 6:49 AM  

Flew through this one, almost a PR for Friday. Viewed “Curly Sue” last night and watched Jim Belushi SCRATCHANDSNIFF a perfume ad.

RK from Switzerland 6:57 AM  

Your eyes deceived you - NIL and DEO - but I agree with your point. It is nice to have so few 3 letter words.

Todd 7:01 AM  

Found the mid west with Heath, Pear, and shop a little rough but still came close to Friday personal best.

amyyanni 7:09 AM  

The legacy of this puzzle is "Witchita Lineman," which (!) sprang into my mind at the start (1 Across) and still remains, grr.

kitshef 7:23 AM  

Seems like a fine puzzle, but I got little joy today. There are certainly some clever clues – Take turns, A home, It requires some assembly, Command that one shouldn’t follow. Those are all good. But there is a kind of sameness about them. A predictability. Once you pass the clue for STAY – the best of the bunch - you are primed to see right through the others.

I think we need a new crossword ARTIE – Shaw being a bit dated now. But I don’t think Ziff is up to the challenge.

kitshef 7:30 AM  

@Frantic Sloth - sorry, but NIL DEO REI ERA.

Quite often, Rex's favorite thing in a grid will be my least favorite. Today that's DONT GET ANY IDEAS.

ChuckD 7:33 AM  

Agree with Rex on the strained cluing here - not a bad puzzle but just not a smooth solve. Most of the longs are solid - MOON QUAKE and PIZZA OVENS being my favorites. The result though was rough 3-4 letter fill - NIL, DEO, ERN, BERN etc. The TEAK clue should have been Boat deck wood - as most can’t afford it for a backyard deck. I’m sure the plural police will be here for UTERI - it is odd. I’m not sure you SCRATCH fragrance inserts anymore.

LEMON ICES brings back fond memories of the Corona Ice King.

pabloinnh 7:37 AM  

Quick start in the NW, then nothing, over to the NE, and thus around clockwise in a smooth and pleasurable experience, ending in the NE again when the elegant MOONQUAKE completed a fun solve. Agree with OFL that some of the clues tried too hard, especially the "crack jokes" which fell flat, but otherwise a fine effort. MULLS for MUSES was my only real snag. but HONORE took care of that, it being a memorable name in that I can't think of another HONORE.

Nice Friday, AR. Thanks for the fun.

@Frantic--You're welcome. And you're right, it is lots of fun to sing. Why am I always pleasantly surprised that someone actually would take me up on a suggestion? Anyway, thanks for that, and a video which I now can't unsee.

bocamp 7:38 AM  

Thank you @Ari, for this smartly clued, Fri. puz, in which I wasn't at all "derailed". Any puz that includes "Jackie Robinson" is worth much more than an "extra point! And, yes he did play football at UCLA, among other sports.

Another easy Fri. with no holdups. Very pleasant solving experience.

Write-overs: "up next"; "Dei"; "in a moment"; "lemonades".

New: "pear" (ac); "Artie" (ac); "Honore".

Hazy: "Hutu"; "St. James"; "Bern".

Side-eye: "Oakland"; "uteri" (I think I figured them out, tho)

Fav clues/answers: "damp"; "tenet"; "woot"; "extra point"; "don't get any ideas"; "quorum"; "zesty"; "derailed"; "in one go"; "preemies"; "vamos"; "potty humor"; "muses"; "moonquake"; "steer"; "stay"; "Gotham City"; "lemon ices"; "mated"; "chum".

WOTD: "Honorรฉ"

LOTD: "Rwanda-Rundi"

SOTD: Dean Martin - That's Amore

"When the moon hits your eye like a big "pizza" pie, that's amore"

FOTD: "lemon ices"

COTD: "pear drop"

"Jackie Robinson"

Had a beautiful orange tabby, name of "Aspen"; so friendly, he'd roll over to have his tummy scratched, even by strangers.

y.d. p.g. -1

Peace Rwanda-Rundi Pace Pax Paz ๐Ÿ•Š

albatross shell 7:40 AM  

Ads and ads in magazines seem to come pre-scratched these days. Eww ick and yuk. MyK was just complaining about them while ripping yesterday morning. Maybe that's why I got that one with only 2 crosses. In fact, all the clues Rex complained about except for WOOT (I HAD hOOT) and QUOROM went in quickly. STAY was a good one.

Shirley 7:42 AM  

Daumier was someone you would probably like a lot, Rex. More than any of the Simpsons, even. He was a lifelong leftist and democrat who at the age of 15 began drawing biting caricatures of the rich and powerful. He was quite prolific and productive -- lithographer, sculptor, cartoonist -- but was known mostly for those caricatures and satirical cartoons. In fact, King Louis-Philippe was so angry over a caricature of himself that he imprisoned Daumier for it.

Later Daumier developed the style we know as Impressionism. In the 1980s in my first visit to Boston I saw an incredible painting of his at the Boston Fine Arts Museum: "The triumphant advocate." It depicts a haughty lawyer standing on the stairs inside a municipal building. If you only glance at the painting, that's all you see. But look closer and there, in the dark rear corner, almost under the stairs, is the victim of the advocate's triumph: a woman, crouching and defeated, in despair, obviously poor, holding a baby.

Ted 7:55 AM  

Indeed, easy-ish for a Friday. But a fun solve!

The clever cluing that tripped up Rex fell right into my wheelhouse, apparently. EXTRAPOINT was a gimme off just one cross. DERAILED, LEMONICES, INAMINUTE, SCRATCHANDSNIFF all came off a few crosses in one guess. This was like... Wednesday-level time and difficulty for me.

Honorรฉ 7:55 AM  

Constantly amazed at how many English profs know so little about art. It's not like Daumier is obscure or anything. We art historians may not analyze Chaucer or Boccaccio, but at least we know who they are.

anonamorous 8:10 AM  

Looks like the Croc gave consent.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

Can someone explain the STAY clue to me? Rex’s grammar explanation goes over my head as I’ve never remembered the official terms for anything beyond verbs, nouns and adjectives.....

Still got the happy music at the end, and generally liked this grid.

TTrimble 8:23 AM  

Agreed, the "crack jokes" answer (POTTY HUMOR) is completely idiotic. I had put in HUMOR and intuited where this was going, all the while going "please don't go there, please don't go there..." In the NYT. Embarrassing. Juxtapose this potty/crack business with SCRATCH AND SNIFF and... um... well now who's being embarrassing. (Hey, it's not my fault.)

Something about the spelling of PREEMIES has always bothered me. I'm not disputing this is the received spelling. It just looks wrong. To me.

Anyone else notice this had every letter of the alphabet? Usually Rex says something disparaging about that. I don't mind it myself, and something like MOONQUAKE is quite alright in my book (cool word). Also like seeing ST. JAMES: memories of childhood, playing Monopoly (also, visualizing the board and coming up with the answer was enjoyable).

For 10A (ATRA) I was expecting to see someone's name, like Gillette. No, it's more like the model, as in the Gillette ATRA. Okay... I would have said Gillette is the big name here. But again: that's me.

I don't recognize EGOT.

I don't mind 9D (STAY), insofar as it made me think a little. (That's what Friday puzzles are supposed to do, right?) I thought it was cute. On the other hand, I don't care for the style of cluing we see exemplified in 15A, where the answer is what "it" is. As Rex points out, TENET has been decontextualized so that the can-question itself doesn't admit a crisp answer, only something along the lines of, "well, sometimes, it all depends". Unclean! Unclean!

I learned the other day that GOTHAM as a nickname for New York City is due to Washington Irving (1807). GOTHAM CITY a la Batman first appeared in 1940.

Twangster 8:36 AM  

Unless it's a tie game with 5 seconds or less on the clock, you rarely hear anyone say "It's good!" about an extra point. More like, "and the extra point is good, making the score ..."

"It's good!" is more likely to follow a 50+ yard field goal.

TJS 8:41 AM  

Emmy,Grammy,Oscar,Tony. I didn't know it either.

JonB3 8:43 AM  

EGOT - The Grand Slam of awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.

Rich Glauber 8:47 AM  

When you say 'Stay' to your dog, it's a command to not follow you.
I liked the tricky clues... it's the best part of doing crosswords, that is, seeing other possibilities for word meanings. It seems to keep the brain active and engaged. Otherwise this one would have gone down with no resistance. I thought it was an excellent puzzle...

Joaquin 8:47 AM  

Despite his being gone this week, @Lewis has promised to list his favorite clues. I have no idea what his top pick will be but I can't wait to find out if "Crack jokes/POTTYHUMOR" comes in at #2.

TJS 8:49 AM  

@Honore, Not if your specialty in the field is comic books.

Rube 8:54 AM  

Agree with Twangster, but not a big deal.

For me, I got growth SPURT to prove ANTARCTICA for 21d. And even with this big error, this was a fast solve. Too fast but enjoyable. I had to work around the SW corner and back to CLOTH and the c gave me GOTHAM. I wanted PITTSBURGH too, and with extra point and Oakland, that would have been a near theme of sports stuff.

Ann Howell 9:10 AM  

Agree with Rex on most of this. Plus, I happily slotted in ANTARTICA at 21D, which messed me up for quite some time. Always happy just to get through a Friday without much trouble, so will count my blessings...

Unknown 9:16 AM  

I think rex protests far too much when he *strains* to find the connection between the crack and potty humor. Butt I digress.

Given all the negative comments he made about the puz, it's hard to believe he kind of liked it.

And his complaint about STAY went right over my head.

Personally I thought this puz was a joy.

ulysses 9:19 AM  

Came here to see if anyone finished with CLITS instead of CLOTH not understanding the clue. I did not know HONORE and an "S" at the end of a clue that seemed to ask for a plural seemed okay. Thought DEO was DEI. Ended up with some masks being CLITS which was confusing but what do I know. Otherwise, an extremely easy Friday for me.

chuck w 9:21 AM  

Command meaning, "Don't follow, stay where you are."

RooMonster 9:31 AM  

Hey All !
Lots of "third meaning" clues. Which means like STAY, e.g. in that it makes you think deep into the definition. If you know what I'm trying to say...

Had INAMoment for a bit, which got me SCRATCHANDSmell, and was gonna raise a stink (har) that it's supposed to be SCRATCHANDSNIFF. Did have ESTE in, but took it out, seeing as how I now thought it would start with T. Plus LEMONadES not helping. Gave me TS as the start of 63A. Huh? TSAR? No, that's not a direction in Spanish... Finally noticed out of the corner of my eye, JOINoN, and said, "Hey, if I change tgat to I to get IN, and the M of Moment to an N, I'll have SCRATCHANDSNIFF like it should be!" Which got me to LEMONICES (what the what? Icees, maybe, but ICES?) and let me finish the corner seeing my ESTE was correct all along.

Didn't notice the pangram, so thanks @TTrimble for that. Devious clue for GOTHAM, also had anTarctica like some did.

sodoI-ASdoI-ASAMI. That's like the playground retort clues.

Two F's - SNIFF TEST - Har

CJG 9:32 AM  

Managed to use all the letters of the alphabet.

RooMonster 9:34 AM  

"Things we're thankful for"

People who have rationally heeded the call and wear their masks, properly, covering the nose. Let's get on it!


Z 9:37 AM  

Objectively this is a very good puzzle. Low in the stuff I hate (PPP is 17 of 68, 25%), and high in the wordplay cluing, so I was a little puzzled that I didn’t enjoy the solve more. Part of it is due to the specifics of the PPP. Hand up for understanding that ARTIE Shaw is dated but still wrinkling my nose at yet another from the infinite list of Simpsons characters. And the OAKLAND A, just one of them, clue struck me as a wee forced. I guess I should just be happy that we didn’t get a Black Panther clue to balance the Batman clue. And I’m really really really glad we didn’t get some Penguin/Joker/HEATH Ledger mash-up there. Three other answers also made my nose wrinkle, it is W00T not WOOT, Feel the BERN (uh, no thank you, he is most definitely not in my list of people I’d like to SCRATCH AND SNIFF with) and UTERI. Hence the frisson between, “that seems really well done” and “what stinks?”

Hand up for having to twist and turn to make sense of “Crack jokes, perhaps?” Also up next before NEXT UP and pierRE before HONORร‰. I am familiar with Daumier, just forgot his first name and had the RE in place. Hand up for wondering why Pittsburgh and later Steel CITY didn’t work. Given recent discussions PIZZA OVENS made me smile. I also liked IN ONE GO over VAMOS. CLOTH masks got the thumbs up for currency and thumbs down for 2020.

@Frantic Sloth - that PET TURTLE doing the SCRATCH AND SNIFF is hilarious.

@Nancy late yesterday- I was surprised there was so little discussion about the related themes. I agree that yesterday’s puzzle was the better execution.

Andy 9:37 AM  

@ulysses i...did not have CLITS, and would never expect to see that as an answer in the NYT.

tripped up on the same ones as most here, INAMOMENT and INASECOND before INAMINUTE, LEMONADES before LEMONICES, then had _E_T___LE for PETTURTLE and thought it must be "REPTILE" which slowed things down, but still my fastest friday yet

Linda 9:43 AM  

I thought this was incredibly easy for a Friday. Still don’t understand “stay” from “command that one shouldn’t follow” though.

Z 9:48 AM  

“Why didn’t Rex complain about the pangram?”

My guess is that it isn’t particularly forced. Indeed, the high value letters are in some of the more ZESTY answers, MOONQUAKE/QUORUM, PIZZA OVENS/ZESTY/VAMOS, ST JAMES, EXTRA POINT/NEXT UP. The only one that I didn’t like much JOIN IN and that’s picking nits. There’s no QVC or LEO X in a tiny corner needed to get there. I don’t care if a pangram happens, but if you do this is the way to do it.

Z 9:50 AM  

STAY is what you say to a dog when you don’t want them to follow you.

(I know - but it was asked again so I’m just highlighting it)

Eddie 9:53 AM  

If you know Daumier you know Balzac.

mathgent 9:58 AM  

Like Trimble, I detest clues like 15A. A sentence replacing a noun. But besides that, the clue doesn't make much sense. A dogma is something you may or may not believe in. A TENET is a sort of an assumption, like an axiom.

John Legend is probably the least talented member of the small EGOT club. Gimme Cher!

Not enough sparkle for a themeless. Only eight red plus signs in the margins. My Friday average is 11.

Loved seeing MOONQUAKE. I'll be looking that up.

Richard 10:02 AM  

So...I'm staring at 56A, P _ _ TYHUMOR, clued "Cracks jokes, perhaps?" and thinking, "uh, oh, breakfast test." But with so much civility out the window the past four years, I went ahead with PanTYHUMOR -- the word "crack" conjuring up a wedgie in my now-crude-normalized mind. The crosses (46D SCORE and 47 D ARTIE) weren't helping much at first, but POTTYHUMOR slowly came into focus.

Seemed pretty easy for a Friday. Never heard of WOOT, but the cross, Maureen DOWD, was a gimme -- apart from a momentary hesitation about the spelling: DOuD? Nah. So, WOOT it is.

Done and done. Nice one Mr. Richter

TTrimble 10:06 AM  

Some people have asked to have STAY explained.

Rex already half-explained it, but a little bit obliquely. Let's put it differently: parse it as "command whose intent is that one shouldn't follow". Stay, Rex! Don't follow me! (Woof!)

mathgent 10:11 AM  

I just read the Wikipedia article on MOONQUAKE. They were discovered after we planted seismometers on the moon. There are also Marsquakes, Venusquakes, and sunquakes.

GILL I. 10:13 AM  

I'm just a little bit saddened that @Rex and some of you haven't heard of Honore Daumier. I'm an idiot when it comes to baseball and math so I guess everything is fair? @Shirley 7:42 nailed it. I was going to add that his caricatures are stare worthy. I have a Don Quixote and Sancho Panza poster of his that I cherish.
Speaking of posters.....@Frantic I have a Theophile Steinlen poster of Tourney du Chat Noir de Rodolphe Salis hanging in one of our bathrooms. It tends to evoke POTtY HUMOR.
Speaking of...Someone gave me a Poo-Pourri Gift Sets Scents called Master Crapsman that I keep in the Loo.
Speaking of SCRATCH AND SNIFF... My office in downtown Sacramento was next to Macy's. I'd go there and look at goodies during my lunch break. Inevitably, EVERY TIME I'd head over to the perfumes, some very pretty, heavily made up, sweet young woman would spritz me with the latest perfume. I'd then skip to the Loo. and wash it off. It always seemed to be ESTEE Lauder and her sickly sweet scents.

the puzzle was fairly easy for me. I always tend to struggle on Fri/Sat. My only Egad was at EGOT. I had to look that one up. I also agree with @Rex that the cluing seemed to be trying a tad too hard to confuse. That's not always bad since you have to scratch your head a bit harder than usual. I'm going to use ANONEGO and ASAMI in my BRAN muffin, a sprinkling of WOOT to make it ZESTY, and a SPURT of ABOO with some CHUM. (Isn't CHUM shark bait?)

jae 10:14 AM  

Easy. Solid and pretty smooth with some delicious cluing, but more of a Wed. Liked it. I don’t think the easiness was a wheelhouse thing. The most obscure PPP for me were ARTIE which I knew and HONORE which I didn’t.


Guilherme Gama 10:15 AM  

Well, Merriam-Webster does list "uteri" as the main plural, though I gather it's less commonly used...

TTrimble 10:24 AM  

@Frantic Sloth
My condolences for your loss of Henri.

Leah 10:29 AM  

If you tell a dog to "stay" you are giving them a command to not follow you. So stay is "a command that one shouldn't follow." Follow as in walk behind you, not follow as obey the instructions.

Anonymoose 10:31 AM  

I am proud that I didn't know HONORE. More TV clues, please.

BTW, GOTHAM on Netflix is the best!

Nancy 10:35 AM  

What's a WOOT? Is it halfway between a hoot and a whoop? Never heard of it. But other than that, liked this themeless quite a bit.

Well actually, it's pretty theme-y for a themeless, what with the way OAKLAND and GOTHAM CITY are clued. Maybe it started life as a themed puzzle and then was told DON'T GET ANY IDEAS.

Especially nice clues for EXTRA POINT (18A); STAY (9D); and POTTY HUMOR (56A). The clue for QUORUM (22A) is a bit odd.

For those of you who wanted SNIFF TEST yesterday, here it is. The SNIFF you craved. For those of us who haven't yet exhausted our compulsive desire to talk about PIZZA, PIZZA is back today. Another opportunity, so let's not waste it.

I overslept this morning, it's nice out, so I won't have a chance to read y'all till later. Enjoyable puzzle, medium difficulty.

Does WS read this blog and try to keep us all happy?

Whatsername 10:39 AM  

I love a pangram and who could ask for anymore from this sparkling Friday themeless? So many great clues and the best part was I didn’t even have one single cheat. No really, I didn’t. This was just a pure pleasure from start to finish. Thank you so much Mr. Richter!

A few missteps with on the go for IN ONE GO, lemonades for LEMON ICES and deranged for DERAILED but I think that’s because my brain is positively sodden with the continuing saga of “how long can I stomp my feet and hold my breath and keep pretending the election’s not over.” Then again, either one would be an accurate description.

Loved the sports clues for EXTRA POINT and OAKLAND. However not quite sure how I feel about SCRATCH AND SNIFF sitting right above POTTY HUMOR. All I can say is DON’T GET ANY IDEAS CHUM!

Z 10:48 AM  

@Gill I - I'm just a little bit saddened that @Rex and some of you haven't heard of Honore Daumier. “It’s just comics” apparently isn’t a new attitude. As for Rex, I agree with whoever said Rex would love HONORร‰ Daumier. My guess is he’s just never been exposed to his work. As has been pointed out, you actually need a heads up that there is more there or it is easy to miss what’s going on.

@mathgent - John Legend is probably the least talented member of the small EGOT club. Is that like being the dumbest MENSA member? Also, I respectfully disagree. Getting Grammys for spoken word albums or comedy albums feel like cheating to me, like getting in on a technicality. OTOH, Andrew Lloyd Rice and Tim Rice finally getting in because Jesus Christ Superstar was performed live on TV seems just the opposite, almost like they had to go slumming to get into the club.

@Nancy - Does WS read this blog and try to keep us all happy? ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ - No, unless he occasionally hate reads Rex. That bridge is so burnt even the ashes have been burnt.

Nancy 10:55 AM  

I did catch a bit of @GILL's comment just now. There are two ways to handle aggressive perfume salespeople in stores intent on spritzing you whether or not you want to be spritzed. There's @GILL's approach of going to the ladies room and washing it off. And then there's my approach, which is to fix the would-be spritzer with a venomous stare evil enough to STAY her spritzing scheme before it even begins, and to say: DON'T GET ANY IDEAS!!!

Bottom line? I have never once been spritzed!

TTrimble 10:58 AM  

Well, WOOT is Googleable. The way I see it mostly used today is like, whoopee! Originally broke into the big time around 1996 in the online gaming community under the "leetspeak" spelling W00T (with zeroes, not O's).

Apparently the etymology is a slight lexicographical challenge. There is some connection with the rap song "Whoot! There it is" which is something you've very likely heard, even if you try your best to avoid rap. I won't try to summarize the whole story here, but see Wiktionary. You'll also see a link there to leetspeak, which again saves me from having to go into details here.

sixtyni yogini 11:19 AM  

The clues flexed my brain.๐Ÿง ๐Ÿคธ๐Ÿฝ‍♀️๐Ÿง 
Liked it.

ow a paper cut 11:38 AM  

Another fun Friday puzzle. I was unfamiliar with EGOT

oceanjeremy 11:38 AM  

I'm nowhere NEAR as good at solving as Rex or most of the commenters here, but I found this one delightful and easy.

I usually come to Rex Parker hoping he'll hate on a puzzle that I found unfair or impossible. Today I'm amused that Rex didn't like the exact same parts of this puzzle I found most enjoyable.

I scanned quickly through all the clues without getting much traction until I filled in SCRATCH AND SNIFF with no crosses. My first instinct on "It's good!" was "field goal," which didn't fit. But that meant I got EXTRA POINT with only two crosses. And my first instinct on "Crack jokes, perhaps?" was "butt humor" — which also didn't fit, but I got HUMOR under the SCRATCH AND SNIFF and the mid-south and southeast just filled themselves in. Almost all of Rex's nits were something I took great pleasure in.

Toughest spot for me was the southwest corner. No idea who ARTIE Ziff is, and I still don't understand how "two X's make" SCORE.

@amyyanni: Funny that you had Wichita Lineman in your head while solving this puzzle. The WFMU DJ just played "Colour of Anyhow" by Beverly Glenn-Copeland, which has the same chord progression and melody in the chorus as Wichita Lineman. So I have had it stuck in my head for the last half hour, too, though for a very different reason.

Anyone care to enlighten me on the "two X's make" SCORE clue?

GHarris 11:45 AM  

In times past walking the banks of the Seine every other book stall sold Daumier prints mostly depicting courtroom scenes. My favorite; the victorious avocat being hugged by his grateful client even as the thief picks his lawyer’s pocket.

Joaquin 11:47 AM  

@oceanjeremy - Roman X=10 and a SCORE=20.

mathgent 11:51 AM  

@Z (10:48). Nice comment. I enjoyed your link to the EGOT winners and was saddened to see that my sweetheart Cher is not in. She's short a Tony but she has a show coming to Broadway.

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

@Oceanjeremy. X=10 2x10=20 20=SCORE

Newboy 12:00 PM  

Friday fun as noted by QUORUM above. Liked yesterday’s more, but Ari did just fine with clues to puzzle over and an A to Z run of fill that didn’t pander to any specific interest or genre—everyone was invited to JOIN IN. That’s nice.

@Frantic you deserve applause for great posts on back to back days. Yesterday’s “progression” nailed it and today’s Henri homage resonates with any feline fancier. We never own cats, but it is always wonderful to enjoy them as they are on loan to us. I suspect you are/were a subscriber to “Simon’s Cat” which sadly ended a decade ago.

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

only two write-overs: MUllS to MUSES and DERAngED to DERAILED. so I guess it was a good one. didn't find your 19th connotations all that off-putting. better than rebus nonsense.

Penelope 12:04 PM  

@Ulysses 9.19am. Finally...!

bocamp 12:14 PM  

@RooMonster 9:34 AM ๐Ÿ‘

Ari & Jeff comments at "XWord Info": here.

Amy Reynaldo comments at "Diary of a Crossword Fiend": here.


Peace Rwanda-Rundi Pace Pax Paz Woof ๐Ÿ•Š

Matt 12:16 PM  

Oh, Rex, you're such a curmudgeon some days. I found this puzzle perfectly charming, right down to the feints (I made the early mistake of writing in ANTARCTICA for the penguin's home, which fit perfectly, and it took the crosses to get the beauty of "A Home").

As for 'potty humor', it's a perfectly fine term used in general circulation, not just for kids, but the idea of a (butt) crack is particularly good penumbra of juvenalia for the clue, which I found hilarious when I solved it.

My biggest brain freeze was parsing the answer "Inonego" before I had the "DUH" moment.

Z 12:22 PM  

@mathgent - The more I look at that list the more the whole EGOT status seems more than just a little random. There are a couple of people I’ve never heard of. Rita Moreno makes it because she appeared on The Rockford Files and The Muppet Show. Audrey Hepburn’s only Oscar is for Roman Holiday and not Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I love Whoopi Goldberg but I would never have considered her multi-talented (one of her Emmy’s is for being a talk show host - we give awards for best talk show host?). I think Helen Hayes has the longest gap for both first award to achieving EGOT and from first to last award (30 years and 45 years). It’s all fascinating but also speaks to the capricious nature of these awards. I may have to track down Two Women to see how Sophia Loren beat out Audrey Hepburn, now. I mean, as research goes, watching Sophia Loren act isn’t too strenuous.

CT2Napa 12:23 PM  

FYI from last Thursday (Dec 3)

5D Part of EGOT

Whatsername 12:37 PM  

@Joaquin (8:47) and @Unknown (9:16) You guys CRACK me UP with your you-know-what HUMOR.

@GILL: I’m with @Nancy in giving the venomous stare and STAY command to those aggressive spritzers and with @Frantic on the SNIFF ads. They don’t even make it inside my house. I stick them straight in the outdoor trash can. Bleh!

@Frantic: Enjoyed the links to the Henri clips. What a handsome boy he was. Looks a lot like a wayward little tuxedo girl I recently adopted.

old timer 12:42 PM  

DNF here -- just did not get POTTY HUMOR. Little kids enjoy POTTY HUMOR, but never joke about cracks. Grownups do that, often about plumbers or bathing suits that reveal one kind of crack or the other. Kids are all about the poo-poo and pee-pee. The clue was totally off.

Otherwise a good tough Friday, though I had to look up DOWD (forgot about her Pulitzer), and even then, I did not see "PET" TURTLE, wanted it to be "red" or possibly "sea", and WOOT mystified me.

Speaking of WOOT, wasn't its first appearence in those Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comix? Seems to me one of that tremendous trio was fond of saying WOOT when he meant "yay".

burtonkd 12:43 PM  

@Nancy & Z, I recall WS checking in at one point when Rex went on a huge rant about WS holding a puzzle back for years. WS held it back bc it had a similar theme to another puzzle and explained that he had told the constructor and offered to give it back to him and wondered how this was somehow dishonorable. He mentioned it was his first time checking in for a long while and was clearly stunned at the level of vitriol. Whether it was his last or he just hasn't offered any comments, who knows?

ASAMI, ASDOI, SODOI, METOO - I never guess right.

Fun puzzle, clever clueing right up my alley.

Master Melvin 12:47 PM  

Tricky clues on a Friday! What a scandal!

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

Penelope 12:04 ( as if there could be another),

It hasn't quite been twenty years, but it sure feels that way. Anyway now that an actually liberate and funny comment has finally been posted, my destiny of faith has been fulfilled and I can pass into the darkness of death.



Crimson Devil 12:58 PM  

Good cluing for A HOME and STAY.
Very nice Fri.

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

Yes. But its worth adding that Sharp never retracted nor apologized for the his calumnious and defamatory statements.

Teedmn 1:06 PM  

This was easier than a Robyn Weintraub Friday puzzle. I think I set a PR without even trying. DERAngED didn't DERAIL me nor did my "growth chaRT".

I mostly missed the cute clues, except for POTTY HUMOR. I had ___T_HUMOR and thought "butt" humor but that Y slot gave it that EXTRA letter I needed to fill in.5D's STEER struck me as fun also.

Ari Richter, thanks for a nice Friday.

egsforbreakfast 1:11 PM  

Who wants to chip in and get Rex a book of dictionary definitions without the defined words? One of his frequent complaints is like this one from today:

Struggled with DAMP (1A: Still on the line) (again, clue designed to look like it's about the phone, or maybe fishing, but no ... drying clothes ... which, honestly, there is no necessary connection between being DAMP and being "still on the line"; dry clothes are often (always?) "still on the line").

This, for those of you who are unfamiliar with crosswords, is how clues, especially late-week clues are written. If you need an exhaustive and completely accurate clue, you will be happier reading a dictionary while covering with your thumb the word being defined. See if you can guess the word before uncovering it.

Additional 3 letter words missed by others: ATRA, OBOE, TENET, WOOT, ERIE, NEED, ESTE, DOWD, ABOO, HUTU

Liked this puzzle a lot for themeless-ish. Thank you Ari Richter ( I love your scale, especially for MOONQUAKES).

Masked and Anonymous 1:28 PM  

Fun themeless rodeo. The clues were extra-feisty, even when not of the ?-marked variety. Interestin, that all the ?-marked clues were for Across answers. Sooo … if U are one of them folks that solve Downs-only for FriPuzs: 1) U are very raised-by-wolves, and 2) U should go on Jeopardy, and 3) Maybe the Down clues were at least conveniently somewhat friendlier?

fave stuff: SCRATCHANDSNIFF. MOONQUAKE. PETTURTLE. GOTHAMCITY (that Down Penguin clue is kinda feisty, btw).

staff weeject pick: REI. Can never remember this puppy, even tho it's reared its outdoor equipment head several times in puzs of the recent past. Stands for Recreational Equipment, Inc. Maybe that's what threw m&e … "equipment" was in the darn clue. Made it too easy, which I wasn't expectin.

MUSES. [sigh] Missin @Muse darlin's posts. Know she's impossibly busy, tho.

Thanx for the PIZZA and great delivery, Mr. Richter.

Masked & Anonym8Us

Unknown 1:46 PM  

Amen! And thank you!

PeeWee Herman 1:50 PM  

my favorite example of potty humor:
If you're American going into the bathroom, and American coming out of the bathroom, what are you when you're in the bathroom?

(say it out loud):

jberg 1:57 PM  

You know you are retired and trying to make your IRA last the rest of your life when your first thought for 24A is Growth Stock. I was really embarrassed when I saw the error.

Me, I liked the tricky cluing. Not so much having to remember the colors of Monopoly deeds. Have to admit, though -- once I got it from the crosses I thought, "ah yes, it is orange, isn't it?"

sanfranman59 2:01 PM  

Medium NYT Friday ... I'm generally in agreement with Rex's review of this grid (unusually so). I got through it pretty well, but not without a fair amount of muttering. While I expect that with a Friday NYT puzzle, there was a little too much trying too hard cutesiness in the cluing.

Speed bumps and brow-furrowers:
-- DEO {37D: "To God," in hymns} ... I entered this without any crosses, so I guess it didn't confuse me, but I didn't know the Latin definition
-- 'up next' before NEXT UP {6D: On deck}
-- TENET {15A: Can you believe it?} ... ick ... trying a little too hard to be clever for my taste
-- WOOT {17A: Informal cheer} ... I think I've only ever seen this odd word in crosswords
-- STAY {9D: Command that one shouldn't follow} ... good tricky clue
-- HONORE {43D: French printmaker ___ Daumier} ... French name pattern-recognition
-- AS AM I {45A: "Same here"} ... ick ... As usual, I guessed wrong on this clue, trying both 'ditto' and 'so do I' first
-- SCORE {46D: What two X's make} ... the too-cute problem again
-- ARTIE {47D: ___ Ziff, antagonist on "The Simpsons"} ... no idea
-- POTTY HUMOR {56A: Crack jokes, perhaps?} ... breakfast test ... what's up with the bathroom-related answers in the NYT and LAT puzzles today?
-- PREEMIES {39A: Some early arrivals} ... I hate this spelling for this slang term. Part of the program I was in for grad school studied sudden infant death syndrome (SADS) in premature babies. I'm pretty sure that we always spelled it 'premie'. FWIW, here's what MedicineNet has to say about it: "Premie: Short and slangy for a premature baby. A preterm infant. Also often spelled (for obscure reasons) preemie."
-- 'StOw' before SHOP {24D: Store}
-- QUORUM {22A: It requires some assembly} ... another good, though tricky clue
-- OAKLAND {35A: A home?} ... and another
-- PEAR {25D: ___ drop (British sweet treat)} ... no idea ... the due-west section of the grid was definitely the toughest for me
-- IN ONE GO {38A: Without stopping} ... ugh

Frantic Sloth 2:55 PM  

Thanks, all! Oddly, I feel somewhat vindicated that my eyes did deceive me because I'm always moaning about being half-blind and unobservant. To me, this constitutes a sort of proof. So, I'ma go with that attitude. ๐Ÿ˜‰

@Conrad 649am, @TTrimble 1024am Thank you for your kind words. In truth I didn't know Henri personally, but adored him nonetheless. He was my favorite internet cat. Not an insignificant achievement.

@anonamorous 810am ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ‘ I agree. Far be it from me to slut shame footwear, but that poor turtle was no match for her siren call.

@GILL 1013am That poster is perfect for the bathroom. Henri would have given it an unopposable thumbs up.

@Newboy 1200pm Thank you for the compliment. I agree wholeheartedly with you on cats (and probably any animal companion). And I love Simon's Cat!! I've fallen down that rabbit hole numerous times, but it all started with this one.

@Z 1222pm If you have TCM, Two Women has been known to air there. It's a tough movie to watch, but Sophia Loren's performance makes it all worth it. She deserved that Oscar.

@Whatsername 1237pm Glad you enjoyed Henri. Mrs. Sloth is a real sucker for tuxedo cats - practically have to scoop her up with ladle after she melts at the sight of one.

Hand up for the "cracks" POTTYHUMOR poo-pooing. I tend to give humor a wide berth, but not my cuppa tee tee.

Like others here, I also missed the pangram. I hate when that happens, but since it is not borne of scrabble-f'ing...I'll allow it.

TTrimble 3:16 PM  

@egsforbreakfast 1:11 PM
Hear, hear. It's really surprising to hear someone with the considerable experience of Rex go on like that, because it's very noobish in nature.

The dead giveaway of his misunderstanding, which recurs frequently, is the use of the word "necessary", as in: under *every* circumstance. Whereas he should be thinking: if under *some* reasonable circumstance it's possible to substitute the answer for the clue, then the clue is legit. (I made this exact same point just the other day, in response to the same category of error.)

Child asks parent, "are my clothes ready yet?" Parent answers, "no, they're still on the line". With the implied and understood contextual meaning, "no, they're damp".

One could try to raise further complicating but spurious objections, such as, "no, maybe they're not damp, maybe the parent forgot to bring them in" -- but this just repeats the error above, that the answer must match the clue under all logical circumstances. The sooner one liberates oneself from that mode of thinking, the better.

Anonymous 3:21 PM  

I didn't know the Latin definition

in Latin, and its derivatives (Russian particularly, surprise), nouns are declined and verbs are conjugated. this is done, with exceptions (IIRC), by changing the suffix of the root syllable(s). I'm way too lazy to check with the wiki, but IIRC there a five cases (?) for nouns, and the 'object of' form often, if not always, suffix is 'o'. one attribute of such languages is that meaning is almost independent of word order. In German, the verb almost always ends a sentence, fur instance. here endeth the lesson.

Rube 3:49 PM  

Gettysburg. Do the math.

Z 4:23 PM  

@TTrimble3:16 - Agreed with every thing you wrote, but I think Rex’s error is even worse because being DAMP is the reason to put CLOTHes on the line. In other words, while not all CLOTHes on a line are DAMP, it is necessary that they were DAMP at some point.

@Frantic Sloth - I do have TCM. HBOMax has what looks like the entire TCM library so hopefully I will find it there.

@burtonkd - I don’t remember that specific instance but what you wrote does speak to one of the frustrations I see regarding Shortz, it’s never “I erred,” it’s always “why are you so mad?” One of my graduate school classes, Organizational Communication, dealt with organizations’ responses to crisis. Crossword kerfuffles are nowhere as serious as the case studies we looked at, but Shortz has been textbook “don’t respond this way” more than once.

TTrimble 4:29 PM  

@Anonymous, @sanfranman,
When I took Latin ages ago, I was taught that there are five cases for noun declensions, called nominative (subjective), accusative (objective), ablative, dative, and genitive (possessive), both in singular and plural. [Recently I saw another case which I didn't learn when I was growing up: vocative.] Declensions fall under various categories, partly based on gender (masculine, feminine, neuter), but they also subdivide further. There are something like five or six such categories.

Anyway, the Latin for 'god' is deus (nom.), then deum (acc.), deo (abl.), I think deo (dat.), dei (gen.), all in singular. So IIRC, 'deo' would be the form you use in prepositional phrases, like "to God". (I *think* the use of "to" here puts us in dative case, officially, but it's really been too long for me to be sure.)

Hopefully someone really knowledgeable can weigh in.

BTW: Russian doesn't derive from Latin. Russian is considered part of the Slavic family, whereas Latin is the progenitor of the Romance family.

GILL I. 4:43 PM  

@Nancy and @Whatsername....The venomous stare doesn't work for me. I'm actually scared of it and I'll tell you why.....We were at church for an Easter service and my then 5 year old daughter and 12 year old son (dressed in Sunday best) were fidgeting like mad in the pew. They did this often. Because they wouldn't stop and others were giving them a hush up look, I gave them the VENEMOUS STARE FROM HELLL. It made them giggle into their Bible. Then the part everybody loves came, we rose and began singing. "Amazing Grace." Danielle and the top of their lungs, began singing....I ONCE WAS LOST BUT NOW I'M FOUND. I was shamed into the shame hell. I will never, ever, forget that moment. It actually makes me laugh now that I remember it....but it still scares me! I'll still skip to my Loo.

@Frantic....Your little Henri looks like Chat Noir hanging in the best room of our house. :-)......

Whatsername 4:57 PM  

@Frantic (2:55) I’ll email you a photo of this little precious little one I have recently acquired. Wouldn’t want to deprive Mrs. Sloth of so much cuteness.

TTrimble 5:58 PM  

Although I cast aspersions on inclusion of POTTY HUMOR and particularly its cluing earlier today, may I say, @Matt 12:16 PM, that I enjoyed your style of writing thus: "the idea of a (butt) crack is particularly good penumbra of juvenalia for the clue". There's just something about the mix of low-brow and high-brow language there that sings to me.

As long as we're going down that road of butt cracks and their penumbrae, here's a little nugget of vocabulary for your delectation: did you know that "dingle" literally means "a narrow cleft between two hills; a shady dell"?

Chance 6:20 PM  

Damn, what a downer. If you hate the fun wordplay that much, take a break, dude.

burtonkd 6:50 PM  

@Z, interesting response. I was thinking in that circumstance that WS was completely justified and in the right, but now that you mention it, it is perhaps a pattern in the totality of his responses that may eventually rub people the wrong way. Not sure if this gibes with your class, but it seems that acknowledging and legitimizing people's concerns is more important than justifying your "rightness" in many cases and makes you look bigger.

Anoa Bob 7:22 PM  

One of my first chores, from the time I was able to reach the clothes line, was hanging up and bringing in clothes, so the "Still on the line" clue for out-of-the-gate 1A DAMP didn't faze me at all, Okay, I also knew 1D DOWD, so that initial D sealed the deal on DAMP.

Continuing the reflections on POTTY HUMOR, the first time I ever heard "dingle" was in the phrase "dingle-berry", in USN boot camp. When I read TTrimble's @5:58 comment that "dingle" is a cleft between two hills, I thought "aha", that's why they are called "dingle-berries"!

Anonymous 7:32 PM  

Russian doesn't derive from Latin as a romance language, of course. Russian is considered part of the Slavic family, whereas Latin is the progenitor of the Romance family.

Russian doesn't derive directly from Latin, of course, but it is a highly inflectional language, at least as strict as Latin. "All Slavic languages make use of a high degree of inflection, typically having six or seven cases and three genders for nouns and adjectives." the wiki

which might be the chicken or the egg, or just separate but near identical constructions, ask a real linguist.

moreover, after doing the looking up to refresh the memory cells: "The complexity of its declensions resembles older languages such as Latin and Ancient Greek more than most modern languages." also the wiki. I recall being taught, having had a bit of both Latin and Russian in HS many decades ago, that St. Cyril built the language and alphabet from both other Slavic languages and Latin. could be wrong, but the structural similarities can't be denied.

TTrimble 8:06 PM  

@Anonymous 7:32 PM
I agree with your last comment; it's commonly accepted that Russian and Latin are members of the same Indo-European family of languages, with many of the older ones highly inflectional.

@Anoa Bob
Precisely! But I hoped to have someone else, not me, make that POTTY HUMOR inference! My lucky day! :-)

pabloinnh 8:57 PM  


Jeez, I finally got around to watching Henri, who. it turns out, is my cat Theo. Except Theo is a shorthair with a rat tail, unlike his brother Fenway, who is a longhair like Henri. We have had many cats, but Theo is the only one who does actual tricks, like rolling over for treats. He also knows "no more", when he has rolled over three times and hears that and knows he's done and slinks away. Also "out", which we tell him when he occupies our bed and must leave for the night. Often during the day he tucks in under the covers and puts his head on the pillow, happy as a clam at high tide.

He's named for Theo Epstein, BTW, as we got him and his brother in the fall of 2014 after the historic Red Sox World Series win. So far they're both doing very well, unlike the Sawx.

Condolences on your loss. Cats are great. Dogs are great too. Pet turtles, no experience there.

Anonymous 9:57 PM  

Consider that Rex’s charges against Shortz were false. And his attacks were calumnious and defamatory.

Sixthstone 10:59 AM  

Late to the party, but as a 50-year-old adolescent, I loved the crack joke SCRATCH AND SNIFF POTTY HUMOR. Ha ha. Still funny.

ZESTY puzzle with many clues that were annoying, but the payoff never fell flat. Just enough to make it challenging, but lots of fun.

Minor nits: I've seen enough OBOEs lately. Give some love to a timpani or something. Also, the puzzle has been dry as a bone this week. I thirsting for a sazerac, negroni, claret, or a nice winter porter. Hell I'll even settle for a standard crosswordian ale or IPA!

Linda 11:31 AM  

Ooooh! I finally got it! Thanks.

Roy Dimaggio 9:32 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
thefogman 10:36 AM  

My experience was identical to Rex’s. I agree the cluing was clunky. That’s mostly the editor’s fault - not Ari Richter’s.

Diana, LIW 11:20 AM  

A one-letter dnf - fine for me on a Friday.

And @Foggy - I must disagree. Wordplay is what makes a puzzle fun - and puzzling. Bring it on! (and leave the trivia names)

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for puns and wordplay!!!1

spacecraft 11:42 AM  

I've heard 17a, but never just a single one. It comes in pairs: WOOT WOOT! I think it was akin to the more modern OH SNAP! That W was a guess; didn't know 1d so it might have been DOdD. I just didn't like "dOOT" so I went with the W.

Likewise I didn't know REI; I'm much more of an indoor guy. But oNONEGO didn't sound as plausible as INONEGO, so I put I.

Two good guesses--and HUTU was 100% forced in on crosses. Yet outside of those trouble spots I found this so easy as to be misplaced on a Friday. The long answers just came to me, and most of the feisty clues didn't take me long to figure out. I think I'm getting inside of Shortz's head.

*Help! Let me outa here!*

DOD Rosie PEREZ should get an EGOT. STJAMES, a gimme for this longtime Monopoly player, puts me in mind of STJAMES' Baked Beans, which recipe I read in an Ann Landers--or was it Dear Abby?--column and decided to try it. We have been the hit of potlucks ever since.

A thorough enjoyment, even at Thursday level. Birdie.

Anonymous 2:08 PM  

Penguins home is obviously Pittsburgh.

Burma Shave 3:39 PM  


you’ll SCORE, but DON’T JOININ if


leftcoaster 3:58 PM  

More than enough to like here.

Longer answers, once you get them, are often quite helpful in filling out the grid, as they were here. It took extra time, though, to get GOTHAM CITY, the Penguin’s (singular, not plural) home in the Batman movies and comics. Wanted Pittsburgh first, but of course it wasn’t going to work.

WOOT(!?) and EGOT(?) were puzzling outliers.

strayling 6:11 PM  

Easy and enjoyable. Personally, I got a chuckle from the clue for POTTY HUMOR and another from Rex's rather anal over-analysis of it. Ironyyyy!

leftcoaster 9:06 PM  


tonyd 10:32 AM  

If you kept a PETTURTLE in a terrarium, it would die. Turtles are aquatic animals and need water. Now if it were a tortoise .....

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