Los Angeles suburb bordering Griffith Park / FRI 12-4-20 / 6-9 months / 1986 sci-fi film sequel / Trees symbolizing death in Celtic culture / Survivor at the end of Hamlet / Brand for determining if you're expecting

Friday, December 4, 2020

Constructor: Patti Varol and Doug Peterson

Relative difficulty: Easy or Easy-Medium, maybe (solved methodically, early in the morning, and still came in only a shade over 5)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Donald FAGEN (11D: Steely Dan singer Donald) —
Donald Jay Fagen (born January 10, 1948) is an American musician best known as the co-founder, lead singer, co-songwriter, and keyboardist of the band Steely Dan, formed in the early 1970s. He has also released four albums as a solo artist and in 2001 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The 2017 death of Steely Dan's co-founder Walter Beckerleft Fagen as the only remaining original member. (wikipedia)
• • •

These two! I know and love them both, and know they are friends, but I don't think I've ever seen them on the same byline, which seems bizarre. They are both veteran puzzle-makers (and editors), and they both live in the L.A. area (hence, I assume, the little GLENDALE wink in this puzzle) (36D: Los Angeles suburb bordering Griffith Park). Anyway, they are delightful and this puzzle was delightful. Friday, best day, so happy. Patti and Doug are both roughly my age (uh ... grownup age) so I'm not too surprised that I was right on this puzzle's cultural wavelength, right from the beginning. Best of all, the proper names gave me almost no trouble—it is a little name-heavy, which is the only (admittedly mild) criticism I have. Maybe FAGEN crossing NEAL might've roughed some solvers up? I don't know how that box could be anything but an "N," but still, when you cross names like that, you gotta make sure the cross is at least inferrable. Me, I own three of Donald FAGEN's solo albums and one of my good friends (mystery writer and former student of mine, Libby Cudmore) is a Steely Dan superfan. She actually gave me one of my Donald FAGEN albums—his most recent one, Sunken Condos (2012). My sister loves Steely Dan and FAGEN's solo albums too. And they say Steely Dan is just for dudes. Shrug. So FAGEN's name, easy for me, and NEAL Stephenson, same, as I just read the gigantic and slightly harrowing Fall; or Dodge in Hell last summer. I also read Snow Crash back in grad school (aka the '90s). Hey, Stephenson wrote Snow Crash, and Donald FAGEN has a song on Kamakiriad (1993) called "Snowbound," so ... Snow Crash crossing "Snowbound." This pleases me. 

Grew up listening to Jim Croce (one of my dad's favorites) so "I GOT A NAME," also a piece of cake. GRETA GERWIG! Nice one. Just watched her Little Women for the first time a couple months ago. Basically everything was coming up Rex today. Some days, you get lucky.

The one name that did give me trouble was NATALIE COLE, and only because NAT KING COLE fits in the same number of boxes (56A: "Unforgettable ... With Love" Grammy recipient). I know she sang "Unforgettable" as a duet with her father, who had been dead well over two decades at that point. So because he made the song famous, and I had NAT- in place, I just automatically dropped in KING COLE. But then KING started chafing (as wrong answers will), and the "K" in particular became impossible, and then click, oh yeah, NATALIE! ("Unforgettable ... With Love" is actually the name of a Grammy-winning *album*). Only other thing I struggled at all with was CAMPY, actually (1D: Absurdly exaggerated). Needed every cross. The clue is accurate enough, it's just ... without proper context, I couldn't find my way from the clue to the answer. These things happen. I'm glad I already had the "C" in place by the time I saw the clue for MARCO (45D: One of the racing Andrettis) because I would definitely have dropped in MARIO and it would've felt *very* right ... until it wasn't. I didn't even know there *was* a MARCO, but the "C" was solid and MARCO was the only name I could make there. Again, lucky. It was a good day.

Just in case the logic escaped you:
  • 37A: 6-9 months (SUMMER) — because 6 = June, 7= July, 8 = August
  • 42A: Pair of skivvies? (VEES) — because there are a "pair" of VEES in the word "skivvies" 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. Happy Birthday to Jay-Z, who turns 51 today. 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


bocamp 6:29 AM  

@Patti & @Doug, thank you both! This was a delightful puzzle and just happened to be right down my alley. :)

Got a good start in the NW and never looked back. No significant holdups. 1/2 av. Fri. time.

Write-overs: "Neil"; "damsal".

New: "yews" (as clued); "Anns" (as clued); "Greta Gerwig"; "aqua vitae"; "Ept"; "The Congo" (as clued); "Glendale" (as clued); "I Got a Name"; "Fagen".

Hazy: "Fandango"; "Number Ten"; "Horatio"; "Marco".

Sp.: "Neil" vs "Neal"; "dams-l"; "agor-phobia".

Side-eye: "ism".

Fav clues/answers: "cattle thief"; "ministering"; "mote"; "vanish"; "anon"; "Fandango"; "groomed"; "summer"; "plotters"; "tabs"; "vees"; "muss"; "air lifted"; "Santa"; "Natalie Cole"; "store fronts"; "campy"; "trips"; "damsel"; "eins"; "sore losers"; "teapot"; "mantra"; "fest"; "aqua vitae"; "number ten"; "stilt"; "sages"; "frat".

WOTD: mantra

LOTD: Sanskrit

SOTD: Natalie Cole - Unforgettable

FOTD: "Ore"-Ida

Didn't need "pine tar" in Little League. The aluminum bats we had all came with gripped handles. However, I believe there are individual leagues that have gone over to wooden bats, so "pine tar", yes/maybe …

Love "Neal" Stephenson; have read many of his books, Seveneves, being my fav.

I'm A Little "Teapot" - Sing with Bella

Peace Shanti Pax Amani Fred Paz๐Ÿ•Š

Calendar Girl 6:33 AM  

Month #9, September, is also SUMMER.

Conrad 6:41 AM  

What's the opposite of wheelhouse? Steerage?

Anything but easy. Didn't know NEAL, didn't know FAGEN, didn't know FANDANGO, no clue on GLENDALE, didn't know the Croce song, don't know the world's rivers in depth order and needed Sergey & Larry for the Celtic death tree (was thinking fir). Luckily, the south was easy and I was able to work my way up from there. Not a bad solve, just not easy.

Richard Stanford 6:42 AM  

Fun puzzle although my times were of course longer. I enjoyed having HERONS and IBISES both. Can someone explain ISM though?

amyyanni 6:53 AM  

Female Steely Dan fan here. Loved this puzzle. Also a Natalie Cole fan. And there was a little extra coffee this morning so I am off to a decent Friday.

Lewis 7:06 AM  

The highlight of this puzzle for me was in the cluing. I enjoyed the three clue pairs – STICKY STUFF, YOUNG WOMAN, and LONG-LEGGED WADERS – as well as that quirky clue for ISM, and wordplay in others (TEAPOT, SUMMER, CATTLE THIEF, AQUA VITAE). When the cluing shines, the solve sparkles.

Getting in my way to the finish were things I didn’t know. I kept bumping into them and thinking, “Will I overcome this?” But I did, to great satisfaction.

I liked seeing SEER in the same quadrant as SAGES, and not only did we have a fifth of five in EINS, but we had a double of it at NUMBER TEN.

No over-the-top wows, and none needed. A very crosswordese-shy, brain-engaging get-through with an aftertaste of “This was a high-quality creation” and thumbs strongly up. Thank you, PV and DP, and way to go, Patti, on your NYT debut!

Hungry Mother 7:10 AM  

Wow! I stared at CA??Y for so long before CAMPY came to me. Then MINISTERING filled out and I was done. I’m still shell-shocked after eking out Genius in SB. Anyhoo, I’ll take the W (my puzzle is not UNWON).

CG 7:12 AM  

(Rex omitted it in his write-up.)

Anonymous 7:21 AM  

“To” now, equal “to” late “to” and not a word?!! Oh rex. You sweet sweet man. You remind me of Beatty sometimes!

Cathianne 7:23 AM  

ISM as in the suffix for belief systems. Hinduism, Buddhism, atheism...

kitshef 7:33 AM  

This is a really impressive piece of work. So many good, long entries. I was not a fan of the dupe cluing, but the rest was lovely.

Funnily enough, had a discussion about the PINE TAR incident just last night. We were doing virtual pub trivia, and a question came up about the Royals in the hall of fame, and we went from there. Then someone mentioned that the song “Royals” was inspired by a picture of George Brett which Lorde saw – which will probably come in handy on some future trivia night.

Movin’ ahead so life don’t pass me by…

ChuckD 7:35 AM  

Too much trivia for a Friday - but overall an enjoyable solve. I tend not to like the dupe clues - this one does it twice. Side eye to the EQUAL TO and LATE TO near cross. Liked the AQUAVITAE and NUMBER TEN stack. SE corner was just too many names.

The Dan was a band that spurred so much of the 80s alt rock direction away from structure and musicianship. I can’t listen to FAGEN solo - but the first two or three Dan records are pretty solid - mainly due to the playing of Dias and Baxter. I’m assuming the constructor’s must be fans.

Not a great Friday of wordplay - but I’ll take it.

DeeJay 7:37 AM  

I do the outer borders first and only got AARP. But that was enough to start my uninterrupted walk up the lower staircase, (with a slight pause to fill in the elevens in the southeast), then a similar walk up the upper staircase. Not familiar with ISM. And if I never hear a Jim Croce tune, it'll be too soon. The H in CATTLETHIEF helped break the northwestern elevens. My last entry was the Y shared by CAMPY and YEWS. Fun puzzle!

Frantic Sloth 7:47 AM  

Wow. Jim Croce, Steely Dan, and CASSETTE(S) tapes...Hello - flashback alert!

The combination of wheelhouse and mystical powers propelled me through this Fridee ridee as if I were AIRLIFTED over the usual traffic jam of misfiring synapses in my brain.
And it was fun!

Wheelhouse is self-explanatory, but mystical powers?

It's the only possible explanation for why all but one of my guess answers (i.e., the remainder of the grid) were correct. It's certainly not because I knew anything.
So the universe smiled and allowed me to live, so to speak. I'll take it!

The triple-stacked 11s and double-columned 9s (each with an intersecting 9-letter diving board) were all quite shiny and lively, with the rest of the fill keeping up the standard.
The one detraction was GOO; however, if one must have a slog, it might as well be through GOO. And that was too short for a true slog anyway...more of an "og", or the briefest "anti-go".

The added plus of creative clues for TEAPOT and FRAT and a few other "questionenders" wrapped the whole thing up in a big, red bow of delightful satisfaction.

Somewhere, it's somebody's birthday today! Cheers!

๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง 

Z 7:49 AM  

For anyone still puzzled by the clue fir 11A

Well, Rex is wrong. Well, not all that wrong, but the puzzle comes in at 21 of 68 in the PPP department, for an all too typical 31%. So it is getting near the excessive 33% line, but doesn’t actually cross it. I suppose GRETA GERWIG and NATALIE COLE in the SE corner feel like four proper names instead of two... Okay, I guess a case can be made that when the PPP includes especially long names 30% might be a more reasonable cut-off for “excessive.”

@Conrad - “Steerage” is good but around here we’ve been going with “outhouse” as the opposite of “wheelhouse.”

I saw NEAL Stephenson in the puzzle and assumed every regular reader of the comments would have a gimme. I guess I *cough bocamp cough* I was wrong. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Rug Crazy 7:53 AM  

Liked it all, except UNWON

pabloinnh 7:58 AM  

Put this one in the "satisfying" column. Started with AGORAPHOBIA, thence to IGOTANAME, south through ELPASO to NATALIECOLE, then AIRLIFTED through EQUALTO and back to THECONGO, where I learned fun fact. Substantial toeholds in every quadrant, huzzah.

Maybe someone will link to the George Brett PINETAR meltdown, which is always fun.

Or maybe @JoeD will give us Marty Robbins' ELPASO. Nah, way too long. Although it does have the memorable lyric, "I caught a good one, it looked like he could run". Classic.

Very nicely done, PV and DP. Swell start to the day, and it was over way too soon. Thanks for the fun.

Just Wonderin' 7:58 AM  

Does a TEAPOT come with a POTTOP?

TTrimble 8:02 AM  

Well done, you too! The number of blocks is 27, so well outside the "sweet spot" as identified by @Anoa Bob (which is 34-36), but this seems to work well. The vast open expanses might seem intimidating at first, but once I dug in, found that I solved this in a little over half my average Friday time. (And I love these types of puzzles which look scary at first.)

The long acrosses juxtaposed like that are quite impressive. In the NW there was a slight bit of awkwardness with TO NOW, where the usual expression is "up to now" or "to date" (or "so far", which is what I first put in, or "as yet", etc.). I think maybe it could have been clued differently and it would have worked fine.

Hell, the long downs are impressive as well. Really like AQUA VITAE next to NUMBER TEN, and who (of a certain age) doesn't like Jim Croce's I GOT A NAME? (I just now looked up AQUA VITAE which Wikipedia says is "archaic", but I had put it in readily. Yay, Latin.)

NEAL crossing FAGEN: not an imposition (hand up for liking Steely Dan). Was slightly held up by putting TEAbag instead of TEAPOT. The only Andretti I could think of right away is MARiO, which is close, but I had NATALIE COLE already entered to block my making that mistake.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Another Anon 8:05 AM  

Yes, good point. Two too many to's.

DSM 8:08 AM  

I think this puzzle set the record for recycled/reused clues. I propose calling them “identiclues.”

thfenn 8:09 AM  

@Lewis there was also the nonverbal communication pair, and yes, enjoyed all four. But my kingdom for an Egret. Lass and damsel can be the same 'thing', as can goo and pine tar. But ibises and herons cannot. So I think egrets and herons would've worked a little better, but then nods and signs are also quite different, so maybe there's some symmetry there with ibises and herons as a pair.

Struggled mightily in the NW, having kicked off confidently writing in caringafter at 17A and something else I've long since forgotten at 1A, and then started over by going with handy over agile, but it all eventually came together.

Z 8:16 AM  

I am resplendent in divergence has a certain Whitmanesque quality to it. Oh, you didn’t make it to the end of my previous link? Sorry about that.

PPP Analysis
Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns as a percentage of the puzzle. Anything over 33% will cause some subset of solvers to struggle with the puzzle while another subset of solvers often finds the puzzle especially easy, the “wheelhouse/outhouse” effect.

21 of 68 for 31%

The List

NEAL Stephenson
ANNS Patchett and Brashares
Issa RAE

Donald FAGEN
NUMBER TEN Downing Street
MARCO Andretti

Todd 8:26 AM  

Neil verses Neal took a sec to correct. I also had Mario long before the big crosses but knew there were a few racers in the family with M names. And once I had Natalie it worked out.

albatross shell 8:36 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Twangster 8:39 AM  

Definitely not easy for me ... had to google a couple to finish it.

Biggest problem was I was locked into CATTLECHIEF instead of THIEF, which left me wondering why I had never heard of a deep river named CHEBONGO, CHELONGO, CHEVONGO, etc. Also mixed up EINE with EINS and don't know any Jim Croce besides Leroy Brown.

kitshef 8:45 AM  

Started to work through the “hard puzzle” recommendations from yesterday. Started with September 17, 1998. Fairly tough but finished in a reasonable time but with two incorrect squares thanks to a 'unido Natick' (one unknown crossing two others).

November 6, 2008 took a bit longer but no errors. Neither came even close to the difficulty of Nancy's recent puzzler (8/27/20, for anyone that missed it).

Sir Hillary 8:48 AM  

Yep. Donald FAGEN, Jim Croce and NATALIECOLE on CASSETTES -- definitely an AARP-FEST. So of course, I loved it. The puzzle had me at FAGEN, "The Nightfly" being one of my top 10 favorite albums of all time. But there was so much more to like -- AGORAPHOBIA, GRETAGERWIG, AQUAVITAE, FANDANGO, HORATIO, just to name a few.

Wonderful clues for CATTLETHIEF and TEAPOT. A few of the other "?" clues struck me as too cutesy by half, but no big deal.

Only real side-eye from me was the TONOW-LATETO-EQUALTO trifecta, but again, not a big deal.

Too much knowledge of places in southern California had me briefly wondering if it was GLENDora.

@Z -- I know this sounds weird given COVID*, but feel free to *cough* on me regarding NEAL Stevenson. Never heard of the man. (And on reflection, that sounds weird even without COVID -- sorry.)

Grouch 8:51 AM  

If you absolutely have to have VEES in your grid, please clue it as "casual top choices" or "more than one five in old Rome" or simply "victory signs".

Twangster 8:58 AM  

Upon closer inspection, I Got a Name sounds vaguely familiar, and of course there's Time in a Bottle.

Also, for the record, the Donald Fagen solo album Rex mentions is Sunken Condos, not Stolen.

The Joker 8:58 AM  

A CHEBONGO would be Guevara's small drum.

RooMonster 8:58 AM  

Hey All !
Rex: *Yawn* puz easy.

Har. As you may have intuited, puz was quite a toughie for me. Got stuck in pretty much every quadrant. Had dAffY in at 1D for quite a while, till finally decided to erase it to see what else the ole brain could come up with. Also had TONOW, but erased that too, but mentally supplying it, got me to see CATTLETHIEF, and was able to mop up that section, which was my last. However, no Happy Music. Dang. Hit Check Puzzle, as I really didn't want to try to find my mistake. Where was it? Why, MARiO, of course. Kept thinking NATALIE iOLE was a singer I just hadn't heard of. Ms. COLE never even made it into thought.

Wanted Operator for Croce's song, too short. Then Bad Bad Leroy Brown. Har, too long. I have a Quadraphonic 8 Track of Jim Croce in my 1976 Lincoln Mark IV. ☺️

So a nice, tough nut to crack themeless. Some neat clues, like for SUMMER, e.g. Some tricksy, could be either answers, like VALE, I had dALE for some time. Good job, you twose.

Four F's

TJS 8:59 AM  

I really enjoyed this one. Pretty much worked from the bottom up, from SE to SW and eventually to the dreaded NW where I had nothing, and I mean nothing !
I had so many "Aha" moments today, "cattle thief" being the final inspiration.

I am embarrassed to admit that until arriving at Rexville, I just briefly wondered why I had never remembered "Numberten" as the PM's home. Major "Duh" moment, which I kind of like, as long as they don't start coming in bunches.

Not sure about that one Steely Dan comment. I have always considered their emphasis on great musicianship their signature. They were known to be fanatical about getting the "sound" they were after through take after take.

ghkozen 9:07 AM  

This puzzle lost me—completely—on the clue for ISM, so much so that I got no joy whatsoever from anything else there. Stop it Will. Just stop it. You’re ruining crosswords as a pastime.

Pete 9:17 AM  

I wish stupid blogger permitted the embedding of images, or I would post proof of my sub (1:57) two minute solving time. Odd, as I know for a fact that it took me over 2 minutes to successfully thumb in AGORAPHOBIA on my tablet, in bed, after taking a sleeping pill. I'm guessing the nefarious people who hacked the election are making further efforts to alter the world to my will, making me a XWord super-solver.

Had no, or little, knowledge of many of the people in the puzzle. My knowledge of Steely Dan begins and ends with the fact that it was named after a brand of dildos. Lord knows I never object to self gratification, but people, be discrete. A little modesty never hurts. My knowledge of Maximalist Post Cyberpunk authors is affirmatively zero. This last fact was actually helpful, as presented with _EAL as the name of an author, N was the only viable answer, unless you knew that he was a Maximalist Post Cyberpunk author, at which point Z would come into play heref. Or maybe T. Had NATKINGCOLE for a nanosecond too long, as we listened to him on PBS last evening, marveling, as I do every time I listen to him, at what a magnificent voice he had. He was totally robbed by the Grammy committee, and in concert with his daughter no less.

Pete 9:25 AM  

Oh, I forgot - I did know ANN Patchett. In the before-times, where there were bookstores one could shop in, she would have a full 5-10% of the shelf space. Literally, floor to ceiling sections of her books. I was awed by the marketing power of her publisher.

Nancy 9:25 AM  

I saw both CATTLE THIEF and CAMPY immediately, with no crosses, and thought happily that I was on the same wave as the constructors. Not so fast. The NW did speed by in a nonce, but then came all the awful names -- names that sometimes crossed. Plus the two clues that almost killed me:

EINS. I always, always think it's EINe. Probably because of Eine Kleine Nacht Music. You have no idea how hard that made it for me to get CASSETTES. I had CASE something-or-other.

And the toughest clue (other than the PPP) in the bunch: ISM (12A). First I thought "lie" or "fib". But then when I had either SORE LOSER or pOor LOSER (I wasn't sure which), I was left with either ?S? or ?P? and I had no idea. That's because I didn't know either the song title (12D) or the tavern (14D). See what pop culture always does to me?! ESP seemed a possibility, but the song title had to begin I G, not EG. Finally I saw ISM -- a terrific clue.

A split decision on this one. Left side -- Yay! Right side -- some definite Boos.

albatross shell 9:41 AM  

Pair of skivvies? First bvdS. Then tEES which is the correct answer, if there were no question mark. Then VEES because VITAE. I felt cheated because clue should be "Pair in skivvies?". Question mark showing it's a meta-clue. Maybe a Saturday exemption? If I only had the unwritten rules. I notice Crosswrd-info has some of Shortz's skivvies.

SUMMER filled in with no write-overs even though it took Rex to explain it to me.

FANDANGO: Best word with the most boring clue.

Hey do ya remember what I mentioned last week? Of course not. Its Friday and I finished googlelessly. Again this week. Well household finish. MyK was looking over my shoulder and suggested ORE where I had doubtfully put in eyE.

I was hoping for a wading bird trifecta too.

My solve went NW triple stacks. The South up to SUMMER PLOTTERS. Then closed the gaps ending in the NE. TEAPOT clue, ha! I knew how to spell NEALvNeil because of last week's discussion. Took forever to remember the Croce song. Needed a lot of crosses.

Ann Bra-shares. That must have been a burden in junior high. I mean middle school... which reminds me: Any of you youngins need 20A explained??

albatross shell 9:44 AM  


Anonymous 9:50 AM  

What is “PPP”?

Z 9:52 AM  

@Sir Hillary - Buck O’Neil was in a puzzle last week, prompting me to observe that there are more crossworthy “O’Neals” than NEALs which then prompted a NEAL Stephenson discussion. I just looked and you didn’t weigh in that day. It was an oddly off-topic way for NEAL Stephenson to come up and I imagine some people reading the comments would not have heard of him before that line of discussion. And then, boom, 10 days later he is in the puzzle.

@albatross shell - Urizel o Urizel, if only I could count/read. I also managed to spell “for” with an I but, hey, it’s the Xmas season so “fir” is timely.

@TJS - Not sure about that one Steely Dan comment. I’m with you. That comment made my eyebrows twitch as they arched. It’s funny to me that there is a whole genre of Steely Dan haterade on social media. I’m imagining it being a sociologist’s dissertation topic sometime in the not too distant future because it all seems completely disassociated from the music itself and has everything to do with people’s relationships to their fathers (over-generalizing here).

Maybe my love for Under Heavy Manners skewed my reaction but I’m a little surprised at the reaction to the ISM clue. Even @Lewis’ mild “quirky” strikes me as off. Despite the interrobang in the clue I thought the clue was overly direct.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

I concur. Phrases are not “clues”. Especially ones which have no real connection to the answers.

Nancy 9:58 AM  

Thanks for the very nice and completely unexpected shoutout, @kitshef!

mathgent 10:02 AM  

I agree with Trimble. It was scary at first but played out rather smoothly.

I go through all the clues and fill in the gimmes. Then I start in where the gimmes are. But the only starting gimme I had today was the first name of Ann Patchett (I've read Bel Canto). So not much of a foothold.

I went back over the clues and correctly guessed that 15A ended PHOBIA. There was my foothold.

As Trimble noted, only 27 blocks, leaving room for lots of lovely longs. Sixteen eight-or-longers, only eight Terrible Threes.

Very nice puzzle but not terribly exciting.

longsufferingmetsfan 10:12 AM  

A well done puzzle, my only minor nit is a little too easy for a Friday.

I'm a huge Steely Dan fan. Not the best band to see in concert, I've seen them a couple of times. Donald is not the most audience engaging performer, perhaps due to his stage fright issues. But their music is heavenly. The way Fagen and RIP Walter Becker merged jazz with rock, brilliant. The wink at you lyrics, the use of unique instruments, the way they surrounded themselves with top notch musicians and vocalists.

Timothy B Schmitt of the Eagles tells a story that before he joined the Eagles, he was a session musician for Steely Dan. The entire band was cutting a track and they had played "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" about a dozen times and he says as we're playing it for about the 12th time, hes thinking to himself, this time its perfect, we really nailed it. The song ends and Donald Fagen rises from his piano stool and says "Everybody, that was great, but lets do it one more time"

Joaquin 10:12 AM  

A memory-filled puzzle for me.

I almost never watch baseball on tv (unless I need a nap). But I did happen to tune in to the legendary "Pine Tar" game about five minutes before George Brett came to bat. And what an at-bat that was!

And ... the junior high school I attended was located in an upscale neighborhood. The Nat "King" Cole family moved in directly across the street, thereby integrating the neighborhood and causing a major brouhaha for the locals. This was in the mid-50s so, of course, many long-time residents felt the Cole family should "know their place". During that era, Carole, one of the Cole girls, attended the public school, along with lesser-knowns such as me.

RooMonster 10:13 AM  

"Things we're thankful for"
Truck drivers, for without them delivering our essentials, the Country would grind to a standstill.

RooMonster Thanks! Guy

Andy 10:17 AM  

NEAL crossing FAGEN and MARCO crossing NATALIECOLE got me, and i know nothing about jim croce, other than how much he likes pirate ships. i'm not near AARP age, so a lot of this PPP was lost on me, but still my fastest friday

TTrimble 10:20 AM  

I don't see a hating-on Steely Dan comment (cf. comment by @TJS). As an aside, I do recall George Carlin once on a rant about yuppie bourgeois consumerist types who go around wearing fanny packs and listening to Steely Dan.

The only comment I saw that came close was @pete's, making reference to the name "Steely Dan", but wasn't that the name of a fictional dildo in Naked Lunch? Not AFAIK a "brand".

ARoss 10:21 AM  

My first crack at 29A, I had __N_AN_O and didn't notice that "Rotten Tomatoes" was capped. So-- impressed by what I took to be a vaguely edgy, editorial commentary-- I filled in MONSANTO. I doubt this was an intentional trap, but it cost me at least 5 minutes.

albatross shell 10:21 AM  

My 12A comment was suppose to be @Z 749am. I replied it to your 816 am comment because of your reply to me late yesterday about the use of the reply button. More people likely to see it. Yes it would be better if everyone had the reply button. Of course that would mean everyone would have to scroll through all the comments to see continuing conversations all the time. That would be a bit awkward too. Especially late in the day. It would also be better if nobody had it, but that has its drawbacks too. Which was my point yesterday.

Whatsername 10:24 AM  

Loved both clues and answers to 1A and 1D right outta the chute so got off to a great start. Then very much on my wavelength until it wasn’t. Breezed through only to get totally mired in the SW with MARIO at 45D and no idea on the movie Director or Grammy winner. Kept thinking 46D couldn’t possibly be UNWON, could it? Went for it out of desperation which gave me GERWIG and COLE and after much gnashing of teeth, finally got there.

Second time recently for PLOPS and same clue if I recollect correctly. Rex took the time to explain how “6 to 9 months” is EQUAL TO SUMMER which I get but didn’t like. In my mind that is an infant clothing size, but maybe it’s because I’ve been shopping for my grand nephew Henry, who’s due to join us in March.

Tried EGRETS for “long-legged waders” in both 9D and 26D. What was with the duplicate clues today anyway? I counted four sets of them. Maybe it’s me but I don’t recall ever seeing that many up TO NOW.

Whatsername 10:32 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Xcentric 10:36 AM  

This was a fun puzzle - took a while to get a foothold, but there was enough help with crosses to claw my way through.
Really enjoyed Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, System World). I remember that when reading them was when I really got serious about my internet passwords.
I don’t want to be a sore loser, but I felt that some of the clues were right on the edge of a reasonable definition of a word. For example, before thou knowest seemed to suggest something that would occur very quickly, rather than at some later time or just the nebulous “soon.”
Especially “soon” as used in “I’ll be releasing my tax returns soon.” Or “We will be releasing a comprehensive health care legislation soon.” Or any one of hundreds of “soons” we’ve heard in recent years.
Crumb was a crummy clue for mote - motes are very small particles, as in “motes of dust dancing in a shaft of sunlight.”
I don’t think any crumbs I’ve ever made or seen are small enough to float in the air - certainly not the crumbs when I cut my hard rolls, or on my apple crumb cake, or Brown Betty.
But there were enough, hah -very cool moment to make up for them. For example, plotters and sore losers.
So all in all a worthy Friday with just enough crunch to make it a pleasurable solve.
Thanks Ms. Varol and Mr. Peterson!

jberg 10:37 AM  

I needed Duck Duck Go for this one, first because of that FAGEN/NEAL thing, and then because the only racing Andretti I know of is MARiO, which made it hard to see NATALIE COLE. It was even harder because I read the clue to 46 as pizza rather than prize. Shoulda known better, as the clue for 45d warned that there were multiple Andretti’s. I just figured if one was Mario, the other must be Luigi. Sigh.

jberg 10:39 AM  

I saw GLENDALE in another puzzle, I think by Aimee Lucido, with the exact same clue. Do the databases suggest clues as well as answers? Seems a pretty unlikely coincidence!

Leslie 10:42 AM  

Please help--why is EINS the fifth of five? Thanks
Really enjoyed this puzzle.

Steve M 10:45 AM  

Now that was a dandy!

GILL I. 10:50 AM  

Oh dear...so many names...so many repeat clues....the only FANDANGO I know is one I dance to.
If I were AIRLIFTED from the burning fires of GLENDALE, would my handsome rescuer tell me he choppered me to the nearest hospital? Would he give me a little sip of AQUA VITAE to sooth my newly acquired AGORAPHOBIA?
I will say, though, that you throw in Jim Croce and a song that I sing to the top of my lungs, I will forgive you all of the FAGEN/NEAL/ANNS etc etc.....
I haven't red @Rex yet not any of the comments. I will do so because it's rude not to. I just hope I'm not the only dunce who never heard of GRETA GERWIG nor know why ISM and ATT even exists.

Carola 11:04 AM  

A pleasure of a Friday, elegant and fun to solve...jussst resistant enough (a challenge accompanied by a smile rather than hair-tearing). Extra NODS of appreciation for SANTA next to AIRLIFTED and the cross of FANDANGO and THE CONGO.

Z 11:05 AM  

@albatross shell 10:21 - Agree that nobody having the reply function would be an improvement and that its utility is at least partially a matter of preference. I do think the current state is the worst.

@Leslie - My clue reads Fifth of fรผnf, indicating the answer will be the German word for “fifth of five” or “one.” Hence, EINS.

@jberg 10:39 - I see this phenomenon all the time. People have mentioned that Xwordinfo has a clue database.

@Xcentric - I didn’t even blink at Crumb —> MOTE. Look at the second example for definition #2. I could easily make that, “not a mote of kindness for you” and get the same meaning. There are lots of times where they are not interchangeable, but there are also times where they are.

@Whatsername - @thefenn pointed out the nonverbal communication as the 4th duplicate clue. Personally, one a puzzle is cute. Four struck me as a little too too.

albatross shell 11:07 AM  

Funf is German 5. Eins is German one. Math problem

albatross shell 11:14 AM  

ATT short for attempts, meaning attempts passing by a quarterback in football. You may now pretend it doesn't exist.

ISM see @Z 749am link. You won't care too much for that one either.

Nancy 11:20 AM  

@albatross shell and @Z -- I don't have a "reply function". I don't even know what it is. I suppose it's something you find either on one of the many, many gadgets I don't own or one one of the many, many apps I don't subscribe to.

Still, I do know how to "reply". Call it the intuitive analogue version of replying. I simply type the name of the person to whom I'm replying and then type my reply next to it. See above.

@Z -- I think "a little too too" is a perfect way to describe the four duplicated clues. I'm guessing that perhaps it began life as a Theme and was then dropped in favor of a themeless.

It's so interesting how differently people solve puzzles. Evidently @Whatsername and I had eerily similar experiences today (NW welcoming). @mathgent and @TTrimble had just the opposite experience (NW "scary").

JC66 11:20 AM  

Anyone else have branch before TEAPOT for 21D?

Newboy 11:25 AM  

@Lewis succinctly said it in his final paragraph. Me too.๐Ÿคญ

egsforbreakfast 11:40 AM  

Did you hear about the new GRETA GERWIG movie? It stars NATALIE COLE as woman MINISTERING from STOREFRONTS before developing AGORAPHOBIA and becoming a CATTLE THIEF near EL PASO.

Liked the puzzle except that I will dupe many earlier comments re: too many dupes.

Monty Boy 11:41 AM  

I liked this one a lot. I finished by using my rule for Fri/Sat a lot. Lookups are allowed for PPP. As with today, these are often WOE. FANDANGO, GRETTA, NATALIE, IGOTANAME,

I plunked CATTLETHIEF first thing and got a good start in NW. Didn’t know the deep river, guessed HORATIO. It took a while to parse MINISTERING.

Is this right? TONOW?? UNWON?? Artistic license, I guess.

I did like that both GLEN and I made the puzzle today.

And, the Broncos this week did a lot of El Punto, since the ELPASO game wasn’t going so well with the practice team receiver turned QB.

Hack mechanic 11:47 AM  

Never heard of 53 or 56A so ended up with Greta Perweg & Natal Deione from crosses. Plausible but wrong. easy otherwise

old timer 11:48 AM  

Silly DNF. Did not remember Natalie COLE, had NATALIE iOLE instead. Of course I remember the great Nat King Cole, and I also remember some of my parents' friends grousing about him buying a house in Hancock Park, the home of rich Protestant families in my day. Jews lived in Beverly Hills (also Brentwood, where I grew up). If a Negro got rich, he might be welcome in the hills above the Crenshaw district, but certainly not among the mansions of Hancock. I remember telling my mother's friends, "I'd be PROUD to live next door to Nat King Cole" and they were suitably shocked.

GLENDALE was easy. My stepfather loved to repeat Jack Benny's claim that he would only worry about the Japanese invading California when they got to GLENDALE. Which is also adjacent to Beautiful Downtown Burbank.

I really thought, except for the COLE Snafu, this was a very easy puzzle for a Friday.

One nit: Surely AQUAVITAE should be a strong spirit, not strong spirits. AQUA VITAE is literally the "water of life". Doesn't "whiskey" also mean the same thing, in Irish and Gaelic?

ChuckD 11:53 AM  

@TJS - no doubt they were all about the technical chops and slickness of the 70s. They were the poster boys for hyper production. That attitude pushed guys like Westerberg and Farrar towards the music and the song rather than the individual instruments.

Whatsername 12:02 PM  

@Roo (10:13) Truck drivers delivering our essentials. Another great choice of those who keep on keepin’ on and are so deserving of our gratitude.

@Z (11:05) I posted at 10:24 saying I counted four duplicates. Went back to to browse comments and saw @Lewis referred to only three. So okay, thought I must have imagined one and couldn’t find that fourth one even though I was pretty sure it was there. Then saw @thefenn and realized I was right the first time. Another senior moment. (*Sigh*) Some days it’s hard to keep up.

@Nancy (11:20) The same experience. I noticed that too when I read your comment. A split decision, left side like going down the slide at the water park and right side like getting a root canal. I didn’t help myself any by having ENCINO/NETS where I should have had EL PASO/LOTS but still.

jb129 12:16 PM  

For someone who still has them (somewhere up in the closet) I can't believe I was suck on "cassettes" (for tapes). Shame on me. I enjoyed this a lot.

Anoa Bob 12:30 PM  

Got them filled in by crosses but there were so many names and places that I didn't know in this one that I remained UNWON over by this puzzle. Had a bit of a Trivial Pursuit feel for me.

TTrimble @8:02, my hypothesis (gussied up word for "hunch") that 34-36 black squares/blocks is the optimum number for a 15X15 grid is for themed puzzles. My feeling for an themeless puzzle is that the number is around 30-32. This grid ostensibly has 27 blocks, but there are five (!) two-POCs-with-one S in the grid. The first one is at the end of 4D TRIP and 22A YEW. The last one is in the place where a two-POCs-with-one-S is most likely to be found, in the lower, rightmost square. All five of those Ss are cheater/helper squares that can be changed to black squares without losing much of interest or value. Then the actual plus virtual black square count would be 32.

Early on in my psych teaching days I pronounced AGORAPHOBIA with the initial stress on the second syllable, ah GORE ah FOE bee ah. Sounded more natural to me that way. I was surprised and chagrined when I learned that the initial stress is on the first syllable, AG or ah FOE bee ah. That's the way I pronounce it these days, but it still sounds incorrect to me.

Fun POC fact: IBIS doesn't match HERON or EGRET letter-count wise, but pluralize all three and then they do. Throw in some CRANES and you got a wading birds theme.

jae 12:42 PM  

Easy. Add me to the “wheelhouse” contingent. Liked it a bunch! This has been a good week. Nice NYT debut for Patti Varol.

Tablewine 12:45 PM  

"Leaves home" was poorly written; why not Leaves'?

TTrimble 12:46 PM  

@old timer
Re spirits: I'm not sure. Under "spirit", my Random House dictionary has "21. (Often spirits) a strong distilled alcoholic beverage", and I think if someone were to ask if you have anything stronger than beer, you could say, "yeah, I think I have a bottle of spirits somewhere", or when you're going through customs, you could say, "I have a bottle of spirits to declare". Thus, I think the clue is fine.

Wundrin' 12:57 PM  

@Anoa Bob. Serious question, Is a tense of convenience using "S" equivalent to a POC? Do you group them together?

FMA 12:58 PM  

Really enjoyed this one - not even sure why....

Teedmn 1:05 PM  

Har, I saw 24A, NEAL and thought, "Well, @Z, there's our NEAL Stephenson reference."

I preferred Stephenson's "REAMDE" to "Fall". "Fall" makes a weird metaphor of the internet as heaven and hell whereas REAMDE is just a straightforward adventure story. @bocamp, if you can explain just how that transport from Earth back to the ring worked in "Seveneves", I'd be thrilled. I read the passage on the theory several times and then went online thinking some fan would have explained it but to no avail.

Great clues today - I circled 1A, 38A, 23D aqnd 27A. It just tickled me to imagine some child asking when the Mayflower would land and being told, "Before thou knowest."

Thanks, Patti and Doug, and congratulations to Patti on her NYTimes debut.

bocamp 1:07 PM  

I recant my side-eye for "ism"; I should have qualified it as ??, since I didn't really understand the clue. After reading the comments, I now grok, and have much more respect for it. :)

@Hungry Mother 7:10 AM ๐Ÿ‘ for g., just about to embark on the adventure.

The "Pine Tar" Incident. (hi @kitshef 7:33 AM / @pabloinnh 7:58 AM) - The upshot: sometimes the "spirit" of the law wins out over the "letter" of the law.

@Z 7:49 AM - "gimme" yes, sp. no", and will I remember which "Neal/Neil" probably not. And, I trust you were wearing a mask. ๐Ÿ˜‚

@RooMonster 10:13 AM ๐Ÿ‘ and for you and all those who put their safety on the line by going out and doing the jobs that need to be done.

@albatross shell 10:21 AM - Thx, I'm starting to get a better picture of the "Reply" button and its possible advantages and disadvantages. It also explains why there have been so many comments that give no indication as to whom they are intended, but are clearly meant for someone in particular. I'll have look at the blog on my iPad to try to get the full picture.

We called 'em "skivvies" in the Navy.

Peace Shanti Pax Amani Fred Paz๐Ÿ•Š

Masked and Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Good themeless name-dropper FriPuz. [FAGEN dropped into NEAL. MARCO dropped into NATALIECOLE/GRETAGERWIG.] Lost valuable name-oseconds, but generally had fun.

staff weeject pick: ATT. Do they in turn own FANDANGO? Nice weeject stacks in the NE & SW, which accounted for 6 of the 8 lil pups.

Neat clues, today ... fave: The TEAPOT one.

TONOW. har

Thanx for gangin up on us, Patti darlin & Doug dude.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Anoa Bob 1:58 PM  

Wundrin' @12:57, not sure how an S fits in the picture, but changing from, say, the present to past tense is a convenient way to boost a word's letter count and grid filling power. We get an example of this at 36A GROOMED. Another letter-count booster is to use the gerund/present participle as happens at 17A MINISTERING. I GOT A NAME for these and other ways to increase letter-count primarily just to increase fill power. It's Letter Count Inflation (LCI).

I'm wundrin' if 1D CAMPY qualifies as an LCI. It fills up 25% more grid space than the base word CAMP but does it add 25% more value or interest to the puzzle?

albatross shell 2:38 PM  

@Nancy and TWIMC
And if you care.
If you do not have a reply option at the end of a post and above the comment option, you can scroll te bottom of the page and you will see a View mobile version. Click on that and you will get a version that has the reply option.

If you want to switch back scroll to the bottom and click on view web version.

If you have the reply button and you are on a mobile device scroll to the top and click on those 3 vertical dots and you can can hit desktop site and you get a version without the reply option. You also see all the archives and general info on the Rex blog site. Good info there.

I don't know if this covers all possible ways of seeing this blog, but it covers how my phone and tablet are currently set. I am sure from my descriptions you all will understand my use of data-age equipment is limited to what I have actually used. My technical knowledge of computers mostly ended in the mid 60's when the IBM 360 were new and tapes were replacing cards. Do they still use flowcharts?

albatross shell 3:10 PM  

@Anoa Bob
I definitely agree with you that too many added on S, ES, ER(S), ED, ING(S), PODES etc. can deaden a puzzle. Two word answers with the add-ons ON, IN etc. can do the same thing. I have no complaint about somewhere around 5 showing up. I think your standard is 3. But it does seem a bit silly or artificial or technical insist on restricting their use. They are respectable words.. Maybe they should be no more common than use in normal speaking or writing?

If you make a 15x16 or 16x16 puzzle with an above average number of such endings can it be as interesting as a 15x15 puzzle? Is it density that makes the difference? I am not talking about words not normally pluralized or 2 letter abbreviations pluralized here.

RPCV Cameroon 3:18 PM  

Did I miss a comment about 13D sore loser (in chief)

Nancy 3:51 PM  

@albatross shell (2:38) --

I'm sure you're a sweet and lovely person, but your extraordinarily complicated Tutorial on how to figure out who you're replying to on the blog reads to me a bit like a send-up. You do know who you're directing your Master Class at, don't you? Lazy, technology-phobic, prefer-to-do-things-in-only-one-step me. If I spend that sort of tech-intense time and effort, I should at least be helping put someone on the moon or curing cancer.

And to think you probably spent 20 minutes writing it your thoughtful, knowledgeable and detailed comment-- why, in that time you could have typed up the individual blog names of 40 people you're replying to. Maybe 60.

When commenters identify the people they're replying to, I often read both ends of the "conversation". I assume that the commenter wants everyone on the blog to be a part of the back-and-forth. When the commenter doesn't identify to whom he's responding, I assume he only cares that the person he's addressing knows what he's responding to and I skip right past it.

Those are my priorities. Experiences may vary, of course.

Lewis 4:00 PM  

Good catch to those who correctly noted that I missed one of the double clues!

JC66 4:21 PM  


The "reply" option is only available on phones and tablets. Since you're on a computer, you don't have that option. Neither do I, so don't worry about it.

Z 4:26 PM  

@albatross shell and others - More Reply Function talk - My iPad defaults to the “web version” and there is no option to see the “mobile version.” The same is true on my laptop and desktop. My iPhone defaults to the mobile version, but does give me the option to return to the “mobile version” from the “web version.” Assuming this is a Blogger thing and not a browser thing, this means that a large number of readers can’t see the mobile version even if they want to. I just checked and Diary of a Crossword Fiend, which is on WordPress, looks the same regardless of the device I’m on.
Another odd thing for me is that the mobile version doesn’t remember that I’m signed in to my google account, but if I click over to the web version it does remember that I’m signed in. So odd.

Following up on my assertion a few days ago that the New Yorker PPP falls in the same range as the NYTX, today’s puzzle is 20 of 72 for 28%.

GILL I. 4:45 PM  

Well I got the Christmas tree up and I've made chocolates for my neighbors and for the homeless people that my local church feeds.
Read all of the comments and @Rex. Speaking of sweet...@albatross, thank you for the ISM ATT. Sounds like something ex-Trump uses to call Binden as a crooked thief. Hah.....Does anyone need a laugh?
California is burning again and we are in lock down. I'll make more chocolate and you're all invited over....Just wear a mask...You, too, @Z.... :-)

bocamp 4:54 PM  

Patti, Doug, Jeff comments at "XWord Info": here.

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


Peace Shanti Pax Amani Fred Paz๐Ÿ•Š

albatross shell 5:06 PM  

Sweet and sour, I suppose.
I suspected and respect your position. That is why TWIMC and if you care. I think it may be my language more than the technology that was complicated. Technologically I am more in your position than many people here.

I may have some talent and training in abstract thinking, math, and logic. I hope my humor is at times apprecated by some here.

There are many good story tellers and talented writers posting here. I think I have only posted once here with anything that showed any literary talent. It took so long for me to put together it was posted late. I do not think many people read it, but I thank all here who inspired me to write it. I enjoyed writing it and reading it.

Azzurro 6:18 PM  

I loved 3/4 of this puzzle, but the NE had an awful lot of Natick.

Then again, I made it worse on myself by seeing Krusty and thinking Spongebob not Simpsons. Doh!

kvilksen 6:52 PM  


kvilksen 7:02 PM  

It’s many hours later. How am I the only one who is commenting on THECONGO? Rex hates THE.... in a puzzle. NE took a while due to NiAL Stephenson and never hearing of I Got a Name. And worse taking out NATLIECOLE because I was so certain of MARiO (who is Marco??) Still finished way ahead of average. Loved the NW.

Unknown 8:10 PM  

When you know all the proper names, the puz becomes very easy. That is all.

Z 8:45 PM  

Constructors Wanted

Zak 9:33 PM  

Just a terrible clue.

Sami 9:39 PM  

I had Monsanto for a bit instead of Fandango. That was just the beginning. I was finally hopelessly stuck with the Aquividae. Day 47, you were a doozy.

Anonymous 9:40 PM  

"sticky stuff" = PINE TAR? That is a TOTALLY sexist clue, b/c girls do NOT grow up cheating at sports by putting pine tar on sports equipment.

Is pine tar sticky in all situations? I guess the answer is yes (but maybe not when it's frozen) ... but how many of you have TOUCHED actual pine tar on a pine tree to know that? Very few, I would venture to guess.

Dave S 12:05 AM  

I had no problem with the number of duplicate clues, but a good part of the fun of these is when they go in completely opposite, unexpected directions, whereas these were, well, just alternative answers. But overall a fun, challenging but not frustrating solve.

Anonymous 1:19 AM  

Regarding tough Thursday puzzles, September 15, 2016 by Ian Livengood, please, hands down the toughest, over 200 comments on this site.

Leslie 10:23 AM  

@Z and @albatross aha now I see. One fifth of five. Thanks

Tony 11:12 PM  

I thought summer was 3 months.

Roy Dimaggio 9:35 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
spacecraft 11:18 AM  

Very unusual: knocked out the NW forthwith. Other parts, not quite so easy. Didn't know about FANDANGO but crossed it in. Bit of trouble in the SW before realizing that the 30-down plural wasn't an S. But the biggest hangup was the SE, where I wrongly began with SIGhS instead of SIGNS. Both bona fide non-verbal communications, for sure. Also don't know any Andrettis except for MARiO, so for a while 56a looked like gibberish. HATALIEIOLE, what was that?? Then, fortunately, the -ATALIE- part kicked in, the light went on, and I finished.

Strange that the very first thing I thought of when seeing "One who takes stock" was "CATTLE rustler." That wouldn't fit, but THIEF did. And knowing 15a gave me two rows to work down. Haven't had a NW like that since I can't remember when. Our DAMSEL of the Day will be GRETAGERWIG. Nice Friday. Birdie.

thefogman 11:24 AM  

It took me about ten Rexes to complete. Only 11 days, 12 hours and 40 minutes until the SORE LOSER in Chief vacates (or is escorted out of) the White House...

Burma Shave 12:53 PM  


Up TONOW she has LOTS of sass,
“Oh, SUMMER YEWS GLENDALE guys play THE game:
GROOMED TO get a little LASS.”


crabby 12:56 PM  

@tony - SUMMER *is* 3 months: 6/21 thru 9/21, hence 6-9. Some people's kids.

rondo 2:14 PM  

I was just last night listening to Donald FAGEN's 'Nightfly' on Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) on my new stereo. Nothing EQUALTO that.

One write-over square first having MeSS before MUSS. Two too many TOs: LATETO EQUALTO TONOW.

Perfect use of PINETAR. Could you really ever imagine that GOO on your road?

This is probably the only time you'll ever see GRETAGERWIG on top of NATALIECOLE. Fun FEST there.

SIGNS of good constructing today.

Diana, LIW 2:33 PM  

I was so proud when I finished, since I didn't know some of the "key" names that would help in the puz.

Then, of course, I saw my errors.

I'm still proud of what I did get. Tough puzzle - for me.

Diana, LIW

leftcoaster 5:03 PM  

Solid, gettable Friday puzzle. Not really CAMPY, but good and fun to do.

My careless error in the SW: Went for AQUA[L]ITAE instead of AQUA[V]ITAE, having gone for LEES instead of the VEES. [Aargh]

Enjoyed it nonetheless.

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