Award-winning architect Zaha / FRI 1-8-21 / Chef Lewis who wrote the Taste of Country Cooking / Whom Grogu resembles on the Mandalorian / Home to the so-called Silicon Docks European equivalent to Silicon Valley

Friday, January 8, 2021

Constructor: Evan Kalish

Relative difficulty: Easy except maybe for a few names ...

THEME: none — well, there are a lot of "IT"s, but I presume that's not thematic ...

Word of the Day: Zaha HADID (36A: Award-winning architect Zaha ___) —

Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid DBE RA (Arabicزها حديد‎ Zahā Ḥadīd; 31 October 1950 – 31 March 2016) was a British Iraqi architect, artist and designer, recognised as a major figure in architecture of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Born in BaghdadIraq, Hadid studied mathematics as an undergraduate and then enrolled at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in 1972. In search of an alternative system to traditional architectural drawing, and influenced by Suprematism and the Russian avant-garde, Hadid adopted painting as a design tool and abstraction as an investigative principle to "reinvestigate the aborted and untested experiments of Modernism [...] to unveil new fields of building."

She was described by The Guardian as the "Queen of the curve", who, through her signature adoption of non-Euclidean geometries, "liberated architectural geometry, giving it a whole new expressive identity". Her major works include the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics, the Broad Art Museum, Rome's MAXXI Museum, and the Guangzhou Opera House. Some of her awards have been presented posthumously, including the statuette for the 2017 Brit Awards. Several of her buildings were still under construction at the time of her death, including the Daxing International Airport in Beijing, and the Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar, a venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Hadid was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004. She received the UK's most prestigious architectural award, the Stirling Prize, in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, she was made a Dame by Elizabeth II for services to architecture, and in February, 2016, the month preceding her death, she became the first woman to be individually awarded the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects (Ray Eames and Sheila O'Donnell had previously been awarded it jointly with Charles Eames and John Tuomey respectively). (wikipedia)

• • •

***HELLO, READERS AND FELLOW SOLVERS!**. 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...

* * *

Several names I didn't know here, but the rest of the puzzle was so easy (for me) that I blew right through them. I really should store EDNA Lewis's name away somewhere in my brain, as this is not the first time I've seen it. But I definitely forgot it. When I see "country" and "cooking" and four letters, my brain, from past trauma of multiple solving experiences, automatically jumps to DEEN, ugh. Gotta retrain it. Here's a deal: I'll remember EDNA Lewis (she can be the number 1 EDNA as far as I'm concerned), if the NYTXW never mentions Paula DEEN's name again? Yeah? We good? Good. Who else did I stumble on? Oh, HADID! Now that I see her face, I have definitely heard of her, but her name just hasn't stuck the way other crossword architects have, guys like GEHRY and of course our fearless leader I.M. PEI, R.I.P. Seems like HADID is more than worthy of inclusion, and has a very grid-friendly name, so it would be great to see her more. It would also be great if when we saw her, she had much, much better clues than this one. "Award-winning architect" tells us nothing, not even the "award" that she "won"—hello, she was the first woman to win the bleeping *Pritzker*, which is a known award name. You can say it / include it in your clue. Or you can include some other pertinent fact, like one of the many, many buildings she designed. *Something* that defines her for the solving audience. The work of inclusion involves establishing worthiness and bringing the audience along. Last name on my "huh?" tour is HENRI. Don't feel too bad about that one, as I can only name [... counts on fingers ...] huh, zero, zero milliners. I guess the full name Henri Bendel was an NYC-based accessory store. Not on my radar. But as with EDNA, I got crosses, and as soon as I could make a name out of the letters I had, that was that. With HENRI and EDNA it wasn't hard. HADID took a little more work. But as I say, that's it for difficulty today, for me.

Nicest part of this puzzle actually came before I solved it, at 4:45am, when my phone alarm went off and I reached over, picked it up, and saw the following text from my daughter on the notice screen:

(PR) = personal record

She is right about the age I was when I started doing crosswords religiously—towards the end of college. And with it being winter break at The U (of Minn.), and with all the pandemic-induced staying at home, she's had a lot of time to practice. All I ever wanted was a kid who would commiserate with me about crosswords. [Sniff] I'm so proud. Actually ... I guess I now have to look forward to her eventually a. dunking on me with her faster-than-me times, and then inevitably b. pitying me and helping me out with all the pop culture that means less than nothing to me. Ah well, we're in a father/daughter sweet spot right now, crosswords-wise, and I'm just gonna enjoy it. 

"The Mandalorian" is my new "Game of Thrones," in that I would prefer not to. Sometimes the hype of something becomes so unbearable that I just ... refuse. I figure I'll learn everything I need to know (like this YODA clue, 49A: Whom Grogu resembles on "The Mandalorian") from crosswords and from people never shutting up about it. I should probably also store GROGU away for possible future use. I've taken a hard turn away from all forms of Fandom in general, and "Star Wars" fandom can be Particularly unbearable (see also Marvel fandom). There's something about fandom mindset that brings out bad, weird, cultish behaviors in people. Idolatry over enjoyment. Inflexible mind. It reminds me of political fandom, which is ... how we got ... here [vaguely gestures toward the window, in the direction of D.C.]. I'm sure it's good TV, I just have quirky aversions to oppressively popular things, so I'll pass. I'l also pass on E-SCOOTERS (66A: Rechargeable city transport), which sound all cool and green or whatever, until you're a pedestrian just trying to walk around Denver and every stupid yokel and careless kid is riding those damned things every way they're not supposed to. Oof. Just walk, ffs. What else? I like how "THIS GUY GETS IT!" is splattered across the middle of the grid (37A: "See, SOMEONE understands what I'm saying!"), both because it's a snappy (if somewhat bro'y) phrase, and because it really seems like a self-referential moment; that is, this guy seems really into the word "IT." We get it. No, seriously, we get "IT"—three times, including an "IT" that crosses the "IT" in "THIS GUY GETS IT" ("AS I SEE IT"). I'd say COOL IT with the "IT"s, but at least it's given me something to talk about. Adieu.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


vtspeedy 6:23 AM  

When you immediately go “Coke is it” at 1-across and blow up the NW corner. Worked around clockwise, and finally did the dew to finish.

Z 6:44 AM  

We’ve had a run of excessive IT lately, haven’t we. I guess that’s better than excessive s*it.

I was really enjoying The Mandalorian, it is well done sci fi eye candy and the Star Wars universe is almost irrelevant to enjoying the story. And then I hit halfway through episode 7 of season 2 and it’s sitting there unfinished in my viewing queue. Look, I know why the director did what he did, but no. just no. You can’t have your savvy hardened criminal do something that overtly stupid and have nobody notice and expect me to continue to suspend my disbelief. Gah. It was sort of mini series equivalent of Maximum Fill Random Pope™️.

Besides the IT s*it, this puzzle got off to a less than impressive start with the caffeinated carbonated sugar water slogan and the cosmetics brand. Double PPP to lead off the puzzle is a great way to foul the mood.There’s a lot to like here, but when you start with UghUgh you’re stuck scrambling to just get to “meh.” Overall this puzzle is better than “meh,” but I had to step back and convince myself because while solving I was less than pleased. Remember, first impressions matter.

Right with Rex on the whole “award” thing. I mean, I don’t think my 8th grade Chess Club award is quite on the same level as the Pritzker, but I. too, am “award-winning.” Changing “award winning” to “Pritzker winning” doesn’t help me with the solve, but it does say “crossworthy” much better.

Apropos of nothing in the puzzle, Angry Elvis is the best Elvis.

Lewis 6:59 AM  

I liked the colloquial focus in the answers, I loved WRIST SLAP – a NYT debut that it seems to me should have appeared way before today, and for some reason this puzzle got my mind spinning out wordplay:

Before you DO THE DO, you have to COOL IT, WOULDN’T YOU AGREE?
I like that ONIONY AROMA; what’s for DINAR?
We don’t have to give THIS GUY a NOOGIE, DEWEY?

A bit of good Friday resistance to add to the fun as well. Just what the doctor ordered. Grazie mille, Evan!

Marissa McCool 7:01 AM  

I’m right next door to the U, at Augsburg. This has definitely been a year of many crosswords.

Andy 7:03 AM  

now that i think about it, "do the dew" is the only soft drink slogan i can bring to mind, but couldn't this morning.

haven't heard someone say ESCOOTER, seems like we're out of the era of "e-" and ready to say "electric."

TokyoRacer 7:13 AM  

Rex, you're getting soft, or maybe it was too early...
Actress Christine crossing architect Zaha is a friggin natick. Give the damn editor what for!! Proper names can't cross proper names! I'm expected to watch every damn TV show and know Iraqi architects just to solve the crossWORD puzzle?

Hungry Mother 7:28 AM  

I got to the crossing of all of the names and walked away. What a waste!

ChuckD 7:43 AM  

I liked the wordplay longs here but I agree there some names I had to back into. HADID was new for me and caused that entire NE to go slow. I was HAPPY NOW when I saw THE SHIRE - Tolkien’s birthday was earlier this week. Agree with Rex on the danger of ESCOOTERs in conflict with peds.

@Z - kind of with you on The Mandalorian although it does clean up by the end of S2.

LaurieG in CT 7:49 AM  

Puzzle seemed too easy for a Friday but "Happy Now?" made my day.

Anonymoose 7:58 AM  

I stopped watching "Designated Survivor" for a similar reason. May I add to your 1A description? Good.

Artificially flavored caffeinated carbonated sugar water slogan

GILL I. 7:59 AM  

Wasn't there a GOT PEPSI? Who does DO THE DEW? WOULDN'T YOU AGREE I know nothing about stinking soft drinks?
May I continue with "A few names"......A few? Holy guac...a few? Let me count the EDNA HENRI ANN YODA LAHTI NICOLE DOWD HADID DEWEY EGAN. They all went into a bar together and ordered a COSMO. At least they had taste. Speaking of taste......The farmer in his DELL has a special on CRAWDAD FISH, the PEA was mushy and had an ONIONY AROMA, other than that, THIS girl GETS IT.

bocamp 8:08 AM  

Thank you, @Evan; This was a challenging puzzle for me; well worth the effort! :)

Medium solve.

Not on my wavelength, but somehow managed to finish in av. time. I think the key for me is to not dwell on anything I can't get within a few seconds, continuing to chip away, knowing the puz will eventually break my way. Then I can come back with crosses in place to finish off all the empty cells.

Mountain "Dew" was my beverage of choice when working at the Mini Mart ('68).

"Happy Now" - Zedd & Elley Duhé

SB stuff

Both "bialy" and "oniony" show up in SBs from time to time. Got them in my @"Jae's List".

yd -1, but not done with this one yet!

Peace and Tolerance 🕊

ncmathsadist 8:09 AM  

too many proper names

Rug Crazy 8:19 AM  

Never saw the word BROOK used this way. YEAH ANjust bad

pabloinnh 8:20 AM  

I'm with OFL on some unknowns, such as HENRI and HADID here. Fortunately one of our local tv weathermen has the last name HADAD, so that was at leas some help. Less help was reading "welcome abroad" , which I would have known instantly, as "welcome aboard", which was a major IDK. ALMAY? OK, but not something we have around the house. ALKANE is news to me.

Also it took me a very long time to connect "rage" to MANIA, as I've been watching far too much of the other kind of rage for the last couple of days. And more than a few times I've looked at some of our elected "leaders" encouraging said rage, and just wanted to ask them HAPPYNOW, so that one seemed exceedingly accurate.

Nice crunchy Friday, EK, with a few clues I would expect to see in a Saturday Stumper, which is my idea of high praise. Thanks for the fun.

Ted 8:21 AM  

Names names name.

I can get the ANNs and DOWDs and DEWEYs and such from crosses... but LAHTI HADID HENRI? At least NICOLE was a gimme.

Then there's the French/non-English word jumble in the NW... BIENVENUE over LOIRE over ALTA crossing FETE. All gettable, but like... a bit compressed.

Rex, I think you should either cave and watch the Marvel stuff and the stuff like The Mandalorian... or just not talk about it. The AGGRESSIVE "I refuse to watch it" posting every time a Marvel clue comes across just makes you sound 20 years older than you are. And grumpy. It's fun stuff, but if you DO NOT want to watch it... THAT'S FINE! Just stop ranting and raving every time something SUPER EASY comes across because you don't know the names of the Avengers. The most popular movie series and TV series in the nation, bunches of fun that you do NOT need to be a comic book nerd to enjoy, but you adamantly refuse to partake.

Again: that's fine! Just stop going on about it every single time. Complaining about a gimme clue for YODA while giving a pass to ALKANE next to VESPER says "I've made my choice about the age these puzzles are written to appeal to."

H. Gunn 8:22 AM  

It had me at "digital filing service?

The rest of the puzzle could have been absolute dreck (though it wasn't), and I still would have loved it for that one clue-answer.

Z 8:35 AM  

Of general interest to crossworld, The Merriam-Webster Word Matters podcast discusses antagonyms. The link is to apple podcasts, but I’m sure you can probably find it wherever you get your podcasts.

Meghan 8:37 AM  

As a woman in the construction industry, it made me VERY happy to see Zaha Hadid's name pop up!

All of the other names were somehow in my wheelhouse, so I finished in a PR of about 16 minutes instead of my usual Friday 45 minutes.

Looking forward to struggling a bit more on tomorrow's puzzle.

Joe R. 8:53 AM  

I don’t love how often we see TASE in the crossword, and have to think about all the people who get tased (or worse) for no good reason. It’s all the more galling this week, when juxtaposed with the WRISTSLAP that actual insurrectionists looting the Capitol and terrorizing Congress seem to have gotten.

Unknown 8:56 AM  

OK, seriously, how many of you actually *knew* HADID? And didn't have to infer it from the crosses? Yeah, I thought so. And you guys are a pretty sharp crowd.
I thought the cluing for DRE was poor (I went with WHO at first); likewise the friend or foe for NOUN? Maybe that's fair game for a Friday, but not my favorite style of clue. And while I always deduct a point for references to Star Wars of the Hobbit or Harry Potter, i didn't mind today's clues so much. Maybe because the answers were pretty inferable once you got a few letters. A solid friday; nice!

To Z re: yesterday, if you were being sarcastic, then i apologize. I truly thought you were being totally serious. Nuance can get lost in a blog posting.

Jessica Katie 9:04 AM  

Excellent information and thanks keep updating.

DavidL 9:20 AM  

LOVE the clue for MANI PEDI. Very cute.

Can anyone help on why PEA would precede "body", except in the name Peabody? And if there's no other way, then is that a fair clue?

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

No idea what you said

RooMonster 9:22 AM  

Hey All !
First, funny. Had Ebicycle in for ESCOOTER. Har. Why would a bicycle need to be Electric? Good stuff.

Next, had a two-letter DNF today, which I maintain doesn't hurt as bad as a one-letter one. Maybe that's just me. Had cOOtIE in for NOOGIE, even though I was giving the stink-eye to NOUc. EtAN I could buy, but still thought cOOtIE could be right, albeit kind of gross. Oh well, didn't want to try to search for my mistake today, so hit Check Puzzle, and saw the error of my ways. When was the last time you gave/received a NOOGIE? I hated those. And nipple twists. And Indian burns (or whatever those things are called when you grab someones arm and rub your hands in opposite directions.) WOULDN"T YOU AGREE?

Anyway, had THISGUYGETS__ and was deciding twixt IT or ME. Either one plausable. Took forever to grok (Hi, to whoever explained grok YesterComments!) MANIPEDI, got a good chuckle when I got it. YEAH AND was a fun combo, too. Thanks for the brain-wanting-to-see "aboard" for the Welcome abroad clue. Even after I got BIENVENUE, I thought it must be what they say when you get aboard a ship overseas!

I should know Dr.___ is DRE, not WHO by now, wouldn't you think? However, I can almost guarantee the next time I see DR. ___ and immediately throw in DRE, it'll be WHO.

DO THE DEW. I was in the Army, stationed at Ft. Irwin in California, which is 45 minutes from Barstow, when my roommate said he heard that Mountain Dew came out with a Diet variety, I said, "No way! There's no such animal!" (this was Circa 1988). So he said, "Well, let's go to Las Vegas and try to find it! If it's anywhere, it'll be there!" So, being young, and him offering to drive, we jump in his car and drive to Las Vegas. (About a 2 1/2 hour drive from the base.) We get there, and being tourists, think The Strip is the only place in Las Vegas (I live here now, and know there is an actual city attached to said Strip, and once you get off The Strip, is pretty much a regular city), so we drive up and down, stopping at every convienet type store we find. Never did find it, but I bought a six pack of King Cobra, and enjoyed that one the ride back! Me, not him, as he was a religious type who didn't drink, which was great, as he was driving! Did eventually get it from a store in Barstow.

Army story aside, nice FriPuz. XXXX's all. :-)

Two F's

Z 9:30 AM  

@Unknown - I think how I put it on my profile is,” I only mean half of what I say. I’m never sure which half,” so no worries. As a general rule, I prefer to evoke a smile rather than consternation. Unless, Unless, you say something is a fact when it’s not. Boy howdy, that bugs me.**

As to your HADID question, I know IM Pei and Brunelleschi and Frank Lloyd Wright. After that my architect file is pretty barren. But I did spend most of my career in the largest* Arab-American community in the US, so I only needed a couple of crosses to infer the name. DEWEY actually took me longer because of the FDR misdirect. Everyone knows “DEWEY defeats Truman,” so that took a couple extra nanoseconds.

@Joe R. - I don’t usually condone mocking the dead, but when they are murderous seditious traitors I make exceptions, so I am guilty of being amused by the self-inflicted testicular tasing resulting in cardiac arrest story. I don’t know if it is 100% true, but I want it to be.

@Ted - "I've made my choice about the age these puzzles are written to appeal to." Boy howdy, are you new here? Only read once in awhile? What? The typical accusation is that Rex is ageist/anti-older people. Rex is clear why he doesn’t watch Marvel and it has nothing to do with it being aimed at younger people. Sometimes the hype of something becomes so unbearable that I just ... refuse. QTIP.

*Angelinos sometimes make this claim. They are wrong.
** HeHe

Azzurro 9:33 AM  

Iraqi architect crossing obscure actress. That’s the worst Natick I can recall in a while. Is no one editing this thing? The rest was enjoyable, but the NE ruined it for me.

TJS 9:36 AM  

Someone explain to me how a review of this puzzle makes no mention of "yeahand". That whole corner with "manipedi" and the unknown architech was bullshit. I feel like @Southside. The rest was more wednesday than Friday, IMO.

Andrew Hazlitt 9:38 AM  

Wonderful to see Zaha Hadid in the NYT puzzle. Her work is amazing as is her story. I grew up in Louisiana and we never referred to crawfish as crawdads, sorry.

Seth 9:40 AM  

Can Dame EDNA be our go-to EDNA? Please?

JD 9:57 AM  

Another swirly puzz in my pinwheel house. Got a toehold in the SE corner, then west up that escalator. Happily puzzled around til I hit the NE corner and DNF. Stared at it a looong time, finally hoisted on the petards of Manipedi and Yeah And.

Yet, Henri Bedel was deep in my brain somewhere, causing me to think it knows things I don't even know. so I'm happy.

But the real spark of joy was at Bienvenue, remembered because of the fabulous Joel Grey in Caberet, "Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome Im Cabaret, au Cabaret, to Cabaret." Next step, hunt that flick down this weekend!

@Gill, you crack me up!

Mr. Grumpypants 9:59 AM  

YEAH AND ... the NW corner of this puzzle stunk.

Nancy 10:02 AM  

I'm so proud of myself for not cheating on HADID, which I thought I'd have to do. The NE seemed impossible, since Revlon could have owned just about any cosmetics company; how could I possibly know which one? and YEAH AND is one of those phrases that could have been anything. I thought of PEA, but can't see it with "body", only with "brain" and even then it should be PEA-brained.

And then...

MANI PEDI came to me off just the final "I" and the section finally filled in.

Is "THIS GUY GETS IT" Green Paint or what? I think the whole Green Paint concept should be expanded from arbitrary adjective modifying arbitrary noun to made-up phrases that help a constructor complete the grid. YEAH AND would qualify too.

Other problems in other sections: "Void in a way" was REDEAL before it was REPEAL, keeping me from seeing the also-green-painty-ish HAPPY NOW. "WHY'S that" was "WHO'S that" at first. And I originally had BERLIN instead of DUBLIN. Somehow I think of Germany as being more tech-innovative than Ireland.

I've been muting commercials for decades, so DO THE DEW was completely outside my sphere of knowledge. Not sorry I missed the ad. Sounds obnoxious.

What I liked about the puzzle: UNHEARD OF; BIENVENUE; WRIST SLAP and the way LOB is clued. And the fact that the puzzle made me do a lot of thinking today -- always a good thing.

Michelle Turner 10:04 AM  

Hello possums! I’m with Seth on Dame EDNA.

Joaquin 10:21 AM  

Many posters here (including me) were not familiar with Zaha HADID and considered her crossing LAHTI to be a Natick. I feel your pain.

What I don't understand is why so many are opposed to learning something new. HADID, as I learned, was a major player in the field of architecture, no small thing. She is definitely someone who, if we didn't already know, we should be glad to get to know. Thank the crossword for expanding your knowledge.

And Christine LAHTI has been a lead actress for the better part of four decades. Surprised folks have not at least heard of her.

Carola 10:22 AM  

Easy, thanks to the happy chance of my knowing EDNA, HADID, and HENRI, remembering ANN, LAHTI, and ALMAY from previous puzzles, having a grandson who is smitten with "The Mandalorian," and being a big fan of Jennifer EGAN. I liked the "rhyme" of DO THE DEW with BIENVENUE and imagining the shudder that rhyme might provoke on the LOIRE. Do-overs: london before DUBLIN, MANIcure, red before CAV, WHo''S before WHYS. No idea: ALKANE.

Sir Hillary 10:25 AM  

I am only a semi-frequent commentator, so a brief INTRO/confession: ASISEEIT, a proper NOUN in the NYT crossword is always BIENVENUE. This is due to my MANIA for trivial nonsense which SITS in the NOOKS of my PEA-brain, crowding out things like, oh, investing more wisely and devoting more energy to helping the less fortunate. I dare not ask WOULDNTYOUAGREE because THISGUYGETSIT that PPP is DIRE for many people. But I loved this puzzle, YEAHAND I'm HAPPYNOW. EGOS can be terrible things.

Anyhoo, my reactions to some of the specific PPP today:

-- The LOIRE. Lucky enough to have visited the Valley as a newly married man in 1990. Great clue today as well.
-- Zaha HADID. Her work is aesthetically amazing. I have no idea if she gets dings for emphasizing form over function, but any Pritzker winner cannot only be designing sculpture.
-- USA. The place, the idea. Not so much the chant these days.
-- The CAVs. As a former Cleveland resident and lover of underdogs, I will always have a place for them.
-- NICOLE Kidman -- Elevates everything she is in.
-- DUBLIN. Been once, only for golf. Can't wait to go back and experience it more broadly. I loved the people.
-- VESPER. Not as clued, but the cocktail. Gin + vodka + Lillet blanc + lemon peel = perfection.

-- ALTA. Hear it's a great mountain, but never been. No snowboarding, right?
-- YODA. I loved the initial trilogy, but have never watched anything since. Rex has a point about it feeling a little cult-y.
-- DRE. Tough to reconcile his status as a groundbreaking artist and businessman with some of the things he's said and done. But I realize that could be said about countless other successful people from all walks of life.
-- Jennifer EGAN. While I haven't read the book that won her the Pulitzer, I found "Manhattan Beach" good but not great.
-- Christine LAHTI. I watched "Chicago Hope" back in the day and thought she was good, but I just know much about her broader body of work. Wasn't there a funny episode at an awards show when she was in the bathroom as her win was announced?

-- DOTHEDEW. Catchy slogan, but I can't stand the drink. Hell, I'd drink TANG first.
-- Maureen DOWD. Very predictable and nowhere near as clever as the NYT editorial board seems to think.

OK, I can hear the calls of "WHYS he blathering on?" so I'll COOLIT at last. Have a great day.

mathgent 10:34 AM  

I thought that it was absolutely great. It had everything that pleases me in a puzzle. Crunch, significant but not overwhelming. Sparkle, 16 red plus signs in the margins. Smart, precise cluing (I wasn't sure about the clue for LOIRE until I realized it represented the river, not the valley). I learned some things -- THESHIRE, "Silicon Docks," ALKANE. Immaculate grid, nothing even close to junky. Twelve longish entrues, only 12 threes. Catchy phrases among the entries. Wow!

My idol Nancy hasn't posted yet, but I'm sure she'll complain about all the proper nouns. I count 17. But 12 of them are pretty common. Anyone who has done the puzzle for a while has seen LAHTI, DRE, and ANN (Curry) several times.

People here aren't mentioning Spelling Bee much lately. I'm completely hooked on Two Not Touch. Solving it requires a different kind of thinking from what is needed to do a crossword. I solve very few of them but I'm getting better. There are a few tricks that I'm learning.

Newboy 10:35 AM  

Heavy PPP as many noted above, but all were possible to infer/guess. Certainly not easy in our household, but both able to struggle back to the top for finishing in the NW. The NOUN/NOOGIE cluing got an audible giggle just N time to open that middle sorta cramped section of the grid. CRAWDAD always brings good memories of the NOLA jazz festival that is truly a bucket list essential if you enjoy music. Oh for the days to return when live venues allow fandom freedom! Until that day arrives, xworld will provide our daily happy NOOKS thanks to delightful grids like Evan’s.

@Nancy thanks for the letter link & the well-articulated plea yesterday.

SJ Austin 10:36 AM  

Just could not see NOOGIE, and that ruined my chances of being able to figure out the LAHTI/HADID crossing. Other than having those two names plus EGAN all imposing on each other, which all seems really unfair even for Friday, this puzzle was really great!

And once again, you can dislike GoT or Star Wars, but you really can't complain about their content being in the puzzle if you are also going to be (rightly, IMO) railing against the staleness of the puzzle. They are enormous parts of our collectively shared culture.

jae 10:38 AM  

Easy-medium with the top half being the medium part. NE was the last to fall.
This was chocked full of good stuff, liked it a bunch!

Me too for not knowing HADID, EDNA (as clued), and HENRI.

Jennifer’s Pulitzer book is worth reading.

Alex 10:39 AM  

I had 10 Down as LEAD and 22 Across as DISH both of which work perfectly. This puzzle has multiple answers!!

KRMunson 10:53 AM  

43D LOB as the answer for “Really easy question”? In what universe? Not mine.

Guilherme Gama 11:05 AM  

I've been avoiding _The Mandalorian_ for the exact same reason. Regardless of the merits/flaws of the most recent films, the reaction of the fan base (including some personal friends) was disproportionate to say the least.

Z 11:25 AM  

@Sir Hillary - Very predictable and nowhere near as clever as the NYT editorial board seems to think. It is not at all clear to me if you’re referencing the OpEd editors or the NYTX editors.

@KRMunson - An interviewer might LOB a softball question to get an interviewee comfortable before asking the hard questions. The clue took me extra nanoseconds, too, but I think it works given a little lawyering.

re:LAHTI - You all know my dislike of PPP, but LAHTI has been in so many puzzles that I think it’s fair enough for Friday solvers. As for -ADID, if you went with wADID I feel your pain. Otherwise, seriously? I just can’t get that worked up over the natick claims.

@TJS - YEA HAND - Is that what they’re calling it now?

@DavidL - PEAbody - The “prefix” used differently is a cluing thing. Remember, later in the week the clues are more likely to twist and turn and stretch meanings. Fair? Maybe not. But this wordplay lover loved it.

tkincher 11:27 AM  

Speaking of architects, I don't believe I've seen an appearance from good ol' EERO Saarinen in the puzzle for some time.

Frantic Sloth 11:31 AM  

I'm late today, so apologies if I'm just duping everything that's already been said. Will that stop me? Guess.

This was fun. Just enough off my wavelength and on my radar to make it chewydoable. A rare combo in my experience.

Some PPP was beyond me, but the crosses rendered them only temporary frustrations.
e.g., Zaha HADID was a WhoOE. As far as architects go, I know Wright, Gehry, I.M. Pei, Mies van der Rohe, and Art Vandelay. That's about it.

Some thoughts:

Loved THISGUYGETSIT. Seems like a debut answer and something said IRL.
Likewise for DOTHEDEW...if people conversed in ad-speak.
UNHEARDOF is decidedly anti-meta, but does that make it meta? (This sounds like a Star Trek pun waiting its turn, but not today, Satan!)
WRISTSLAP makes me think of @LMS's "kicks" version of handwear. (And I hope it doesn't portend any upcoming justice decisions.)
MANIPEDI started out as MANIcure because I'm dense, ASI(and probably many others)SEEIT.

"HAPPYNOW??" is one of those things people always seem to be saying to me.
I don't get it. 😉

Lisa Loopner and Todd DiLaMuca wonder:
Did someone say NOOGIE?

Overall, I really enjoyed this one and hope Rex and youz did as well.


KRMunson 11:35 AM  

Z- thanks for the explanation of LOB. Not a common usage to be sure.

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

a LOB is the same as a softball [question]. forgot that DEWEY went 0 for 2, consecutively. that Truman front page pushes all else to the lower brain stem, if not out entirely. bending the rules with DO THE DEW? always thought that SATEEN was a cheap sub for satin; why use it in a gown?

Whatsername 11:43 AM  

I didn’t find it easy but I can see where a lot of people did. Got off to a bad start in the NW corner with LEMONY at 2D, AND DONT YOU AGREE in 8D, GALA at 26D and SEINE IN 19A. All pretty good answers on their own but with all the Propers up there it was tough to see my errors. Finally looked up Silicone Docks and gave myself a WRIST SLAP which was a nice break for my forehead.

Getting a NOOGIE looks like an unpleasant experience but it’s a heck of a lot better than a wedgie. I love Christine LAHTI, such a versatile talent. THIS GUY GETS IT sounds like something Rex might say when he’s fed up with ESCOOTERS getting in his way.

TGIF!! A simple DEW won’t DO but bring on the COSMOs. HAPPY NOW? WHY yes. Safe weekend everyone.

TTrimble 11:47 AM  

I "breezed" through this more quickly than most Fridays, despite being unfamiliar with some of the names (HADID, HENRI (Bendel), EDNA Lewis [who died in 2006]) and barely familiar with one (LAHTI). I liked the MANI-PEDI crossing MANIA, both in the cluing and the answers, and also the clue for FISH.

I wonder if Chef EDNA has a good recipe for a CRAWDAD boil (some people call it a crayFISH boil), with lemon slices furnishing some complementary TANG? If so, I'll bet it has an enticing AROMA. Something to serve up in a Louisiana home, where they invite you in with a friendly BIENVENUE! Quite the FETE that would be. Beforehand, a nice chilled COSMO would be just right, AS I SEE IT.

Anyway, I rather enjoyed the puzzle, with the possible exception of DO THE DEW (one of the nastier sodas IMO). Nice, clean construction, well-crafted in every corner. If you were to ask me, HAPPY NOW?, I's say, WHY, YEAH! And I'd add, speaking of the constructor, THIS GUY GETS IT. WOULDN'T YOU AGREE?

Unknown 11:50 AM  

How can you omit EERO from your xword architects?

Barbara S. 11:53 AM  

I amazed myself by powering through this (on my ESCOOTER) in slightly more than half my usual Friday time. By my count the puzzle included 10 names of people. I knew 6 of them, which was enough to hustle me through.

Come Alive, folks! You're in the Pepsi Generation! (Or are you admitting that you're not one of the "active, livelier people"??) And furthermore, Things Go Better with Coca-Cola! Things Go Better with Coke! But then again, perhaps, unlike me, you're not as old as Methusalah.

For @JD (9:57) Willkommen, Bienvenue. I watched this film about a year ago and it stands up like it was made yesterday.

Drat my art history education! For the longest time all I could think of was Angelus where VESPERS was supposed to go.

I think on a previous occasion I've droned on about my LOIRE trip. As it happens, one of my travelling companions lost the car keys in Tours and we spent an unscheduled night there. I remember that evening, in goofy high spirits, we galloped around the deserted square in front of this.

When I got to 22A, FISH (Drop a line, say), I had only the F in place, and I thought I was being *so* clever by filling in "Flub", as in mess up a line of dialogue on stage. I'll be magnanimous and say that the puzzle's answer was good, too (sniff).

I knew HADID (architecture being part of art history), but it occurs to me that it's a DOOK.
Clue: Carried credentials to get into the Club.
Answer: HAD ID.

@Nancy (from last night)
Wow. Words fail. Marlene really is sublime. She sings with such nonchalance and such emotion at the same time. How is that possible? She's a goddess.

Yesterday I found it hard to choose which songs of June Tabor's to link to. Almost without exception her material is grave, serious, contemplative. I didn't want to bring everybody down. I thought of linking to her rendition of "All This Useless Beauty", which I prefer to Elvis Costello's performance (yeah, yeah, I know he wrote it). But then I thought @Z would link to the Costello and before you knew it, it would be pistols at dawn in the orchard. Or, because we're cruciverbalists, EPEEs at EVE on the MESA. In any case, I like the slow solemnity of Tabor but in order to appreciate her, you have to have the right temperament or be in the right mood.

egsforbreakfast 11:56 AM  

Is it true that Zaha avoided a WRISTSLAP because she HAD ID?

Is the second chiming of a bell a REPEAL?

Don’t the Italians warn “Attente AL KANE”?

Don’t I have anything interesting to say today?

Ethan Taliesin 11:58 AM  

One error for me at the F-intersection of FISH and LEAF. I had a D in there.

I had LEAD for "Part of some tables." I was thinking periodic table.

Also had DISH for "Drop a line, say." I guess I was thinking about like "dish out gossip" or "dish out information." Not very good but it almost worked.


TTrimble 12:16 PM  

I don't see Two Not Touch. Is that in the online puzzle section? You don't hear much about SB except in somewhat muted, possibly cryptic form; I don't think any of the "regulars" are much interested in igniting the ire of some other regulars who complain loudly about it, so some of it is in a kind of surreptitious "code" between us. I don't plan on quitting entirely, though.

I saw yesterday that you live in Hawaii. I saw The Descendants again last night for, I don't know, the fifth or sixth time? Wonder what you thought of that movie (if you've seen it). I really dig the sensibility of the director Alexander Payne and would gladly check out anything he puts out. Really nice cinematography, which sets me off on flights of fantasy of living in Hawaii. I've even fantasized about changing fields of mathematics if it meant that I could be a member of a mathematics department in Hawaii where they specialize in it (e.g., lattice theory? I know some names of some of the big experts in Hawaii, but probably they're emeriti by now).

Sorry -- this is getting terribly off-topic. I agree very much with your assessment of today's XW, @mathgent.

Barbara S. 12:17 PM  

Oops, link disaster! That's what I get for trying to show off with more links than I've ever included in a single post.

"You're in the Pepsi Generation!"


puzzlehoarder 12:19 PM  

This marks my second single letter dnf for the year. I had LAHTE crossing NOOGEE. Maybe I was confused by the word 'latke' maybe I just can't spell. When words sound the same using two different vowels I'm often at a loss to tell the difference.

My initial guess of 1A was DOTHEDOO. That was easy to correct. I was probably misdirected by that John Lee Hooker line "When you see her do the do."

What makes the LAHTI misspelling especially ironic is I was going to include it in my list of gimmes from every section of this puzzle that made it easy to solve. I'm talking about ALMAY, LOIRE, THESHIRE and NICOLE. Everywhere I went there was something giving the solve away.

My write overs were BERLIN/DUBLIN, WOULDN'TYOUADMIT/WOULDNTYOUAGTEE, MANICURE/MANIPEDI and the above mentioned 1A thing. All were easy to fix.

Employee from Vandalay Industries 12:42 PM  

@Frantic Sloth...LOL on Art Vandalay! At any rate, I tore through this puzzle in record time (according to the timer and I do not try to speed solve). This being the case, I’m very fond of this puzzle because it made me feel like a big smarty pants. I did not know HADID but did know LAHTI so no problems there. @Nancy, I really don’t think that THIS GUY GETS IT is green is a turn of phrase.

Crimson Devil 12:45 PM  

Amen. YEAHAND & HADID got me.
Otherwise OK.

mathgent 1:00 PM  

@TTrimble (12:16). Two Not Touch is next to the Crossword in the print edition. NYT buys it from There are free puzzles there.

I live in San Francisco but we spend several weeks a year in Maui. We have a timeshare on Kaanapali Beach.

Do you like lattice theory? I co-authored a paper in lattice theory with one of my teachers, Willy Moser from McGill University. He was Leo Moser's brother. If you'd like to discuss it a little, my email is on my profile.

Nancy 1:04 PM  

I'm blushing, @mathgent. Thank you!

I don't think anyone has mentioned THIS soft drink commercial, have they? So infectious, so happy, so openhearted. One of the few commercials I never muted, btw. I'll probably have an earworm for the rest of the day.

@Barbara S (11:53)-- Nonchalance and emotion at the same time. I love your description of Dietrich's performance and I think the secret is -- a quintessentially German concept. Has anyone ever possessed as much weltschmerz as Dietrich?

It's the same reason I feel that only Piaf can sing "Non, Je ne Regrette Rien". It's such a French song in its attitude toward love, and Piaf is so quintessentially French.

I was trying to come with a song so quintessentially American that only an American could sing it with any real authority. What I came up with is "Don't Fence Me In." You're all welcome to submit your own ideas.

Teedmn 1:11 PM  

berLIN, DUBLIN, somewhere over across the pond anyway, where I stayed with @Nancy and @puzzlehoarder. But that error held the NW hostage for long enough that my time came in a few seconds longer than Rex's daughter's time. I sat with the LL of DELL and everything below that filled in and couldn't bootstrap myself from LOIRE, INSIST, NYT, EAVES to the rest of the NW.

I wanted Dr. Who also, and after WOULDN'T filled in, I thought the soft drink slogan would end in woW (not watching commercial TV has left me ignorant of most slogans). I finally dredged up rIEN VENUE which broke the dam, with a final Duh for DUBLIN head- and WRIST SLAP.

With the C starting 40D, I thought we might have a FISH dupe today (for catfish) but THE SHIRE and ASP led me to the CRAWDAD hole.

Great job, Evan Kalish, it held my attention nicely.

And @Lewis, such groaners, I'm impressed!!!

Anoa Bob 1:19 PM  

I've never bought into the notion that the NYTXW gets compen$ation for product placement but starting this one out with two of them in the top row, Mountain DEW and ALMAY, is enough to challenge my belief and make me think that some kind of shadowy conspiracy is going on. Maybe the dark side marketers are trying to steal the reins of the puzzle. That subtle repeat DEWEY in the bottom row is further evidence, WOULDNTYOUAGREE?

Speaking of which, this puzzle is replete with what I would call random conversational snippets, what with the aforementioned WOULDNTYOUAGREE along with ASISEEIT, YEAHAND, HAPPYNOW and THISGUYGETSIT. One or two of these can enhance the flavor of a puzzle but I think that in the case it was a surfeit of snippets and the effect was like adding too much salt to a recipe.

So EDNA, EGOS and EGAN walk into an ESCOOTER store....

camilof 1:24 PM  

If you didn't know Zaha Hadid before, this puzzle did you a favor. Great to see (women's) names I actually know and no (male) athletes anywhere! Also Rex–– Hadid should get an extra RIP as she was gone far too soon.

GILL I. 1:24 PM I've told my scooter story about the handsome waiter who gave me a ride on his Vespa in Rome so now I'm going to tell you my E SCOOTER story in San Diego......
My girlfriend and her husband own this nice little condo in San Diego and when they aren't renting it, we go down to frolic and drink. Anyway, Rozo and I had been in a local bar in Mission Beach Boardwalk drinking some bodacious Bloody Mary's. When we came out, there was this cute blonde dude that talked us into renting one of those things. We did. Now neither Rozo nor I are exactly spring chickens, but cute dude told us that "old" folks rent them all the time....Just what we wanted to hear, right? So we kinda adjust to this thing meant for 12 year olds and we decided to stop for ice cream. My friend is as tall as I am but she probably weighs 10 pounds dripping wet and she eats anything she wants (in large quantities). I order just one chocolate scoop on my cone and she orders three. Rather than stay and eat we head back happily licking our new-found goody. Well one of the scoops from Rozo's cone (the strawberry one) goes flying off. She instinctively reached for the flying scoop. Well, when you do that on a SCOOTER, you lose your balance, right? She did. She took a dive that made Mia Hamm look like an amateur. Broke her wrist and twisted her ankle. She actually laughed when the ambulance came to get her. I had to take the damn scooters back.
Moral of the story: Don't drink and drive an E SCOOTER.

Frantic Sloth 1:31 PM  

***A-Lot-of-This-Is-Just-Rex-Rehash-And-You-Might-Want-To-Skip-It Alert***

After reading Rex, it seems I've done myself a great disservice for not knowing more (or anything) about Ms. HADID. Anyone described as having "liberated architectural geometry, giving it a whole new expressive identity" sounds like my kind of person. A quick perusal of some of her works bears that out. It saddens me that she died at only age 65, but I look forward to learning more about her.
Agree with Rex about how she was clued, too. Lame.
(BTW Really liked the sweet story about the Rex/Ella crossword relationship, too.)
Also, like Rex, (geez - sounds like we're twinsies today. I hate when that happens. I'm my own person, dammit!) whenever I saw the unavoidable pictures of "Grogu", I just assumed it was YODA as young'n. Despite enjoying the Star Wars franchise, I've yet to watch minute one of "The Mandalorian" - and most likely for the very same GOT reasons Rex mentions. 'Tis pity, but I'll live - even if I begin to regret it crossword-wise.
Ditto all things fandom, too. Crikey! Somebody stop me! This is the problem for writing my reactions in real time with reading others. Ugh.
And what is IT with all the ITs, especially of late???


Oh, hello @Z 644am! Gotta love the angry Elvis. "No God for the damn that I don't give" indeed. Thanks for saving me the time-sink of watching The Mandalorian. Look, if I'm kind enough to suspend my disbelief, you'd better not f@@k with it! I hate when that happens.

@pabloinnh 820am That clue "welcome abroad", while being one kind of clever, was also another kind of itch that I couldn't scratch. I knew it was a misdirect, but it! I hate when that happens. But I was satisfied in the end, so...I guess I'm over it now.

@Roo 922am I read your word as ebi-cycle and wondered "what does the prefix 'ebi' mean?", so thanks for that. 🤣
I agree that NOOGIEs hurt, but dunkings always scared the bejesus out of me. Luckily, they were usually perpetrated on me by much older boys because they were so brave and stuff. Kids my age wouldn't dare. (What is this - Dr Phil?? Tripefest: my specialty.)
I love the antithetical innocence of your Mountain Dew Las Vegas story. How many times can it be said that that's the "Vegas attraction" for your average bear?

@JD 957am Ditto on BIENVENUE. Good luck finding Cabaret for free or streaming anywhere. At least, while "Fosse/Verdon" was airing it was nowhere to be found, unless you bought it, which I don't do. We did eventually find it - know not where - so you might have better luck.

@Joaquin 1021am 👍👍

@Z 1125am Re: Natick claims. Agreed. Big surprise there, huh?

@Barbara S 1153am Thanks for the clip -- and the movie definitely holds up! And thank you for noting the "grave, serious, contemplative" nature of June Tabor's material. I thought it was me. (I enjoyed her voice/talent all the same.)
@Barbara S 1217pm LOL! Thanks for that - again, thought it was me. "Why were they galloping around a painting? And what was it doing in the square?"

To all y'all complaining about Rex complaining about what he complains about: Oh, never mind. I'm just so sick and tired of beating that drum.

This commentary brought to you by "I Hate When That Happens".

Slogan? "DO THE DON'T"

sixtyni yogini 1:31 PM  

“I knew Hadid!“ the newbie crowed.🤸🏽‍♀️
(But not much else. 😂)

Barbara S. 1:47 PM  

@Nancy (1:04)
"Shenandoah"? "Old Man River"? (I seem to have a water theme going here.)

okanaganer 1:56 PM  

I went to a talk by Zaha Hadid in about 1991 in Vancouver. This was when she was first bursting into world fame, and she was a hot item (artistically). Looking online I can't remember which early works she was known for; it may have been only unbuilt projects to date. But trust me, she was already famous among young architects.

The thing I remember most is her comment on how difficult it was for her to get through customs, since she was of Iraqi background and the first Gulf War was in progress (remember Operation Desert Shield?).

Nigel Pottle 2:10 PM  

I knew HADID (although I thought it might be spelled Hadad. Not everyone is unaware of one of the most brilliant architects of the recent times. Her name should be up there with Gehry for you crossword puzzlers. She was also a naturalized British subject and a Dame of the British Empire. And other than HENRI Bendel, the proper names were all familiar to me. PS you don’t have to read or watch tv or movies to know the characters in current media shows. Seriously, I don’t own a television, I no longer subscribe to a newspaper, I get most of my news from the Facebook, ferdawdssake, but I know who Christine LAHTI is, I know who Baby YODA is and I’m well aware of Avengers (both comic book and Diana Rigg/Patrick McNee. It’s a matter of being eclectic. I don’t think you get to complain about currently trending things in your crossword puzzle - I mean when was the last time you watched Cleopatra, yet still know that danged ASP that she used to commit suicifde. I’m so glad to see new names appearing in crosswords. Because really how many of you even know that Yma Sumac was a coloratura soprano? She’s just an answer in crossword puzzles for most of you and she was famous in the 1950’s.

Nigel Pottle 2:17 PM  

I had a thought. No one is upset that Nicole Kidman, an Australian, is in the puzzle - but those Furriner names like HADID and LAHTI get your knickers in a knot. Is this the American bias against names that don’t sound like they could be American? I sense some xenophobia here.

Smith 2:19 PM  

Super late today; just dropped in to thank @Nancy for linking to her prescient letter to the editor.

Also re bee, mstly hanging out at wordplay.

albatross shell 2:44 PM  


HAPPY NOW is not green paintish to me because it means "well, you got what you wanted and its a disaster. HAPPY NOW? I believe Melania was suppose to have said to Donald the night he won the election. Many people said it to Ralph Nader 16 years before. Yesterday you mentioned the revealer should be STRIKE = THAT. I fail to understand how that makes sense. STRIKE THAT easily translates to X out THAT one letter at a time.
Sorry, did not read the comments until this morning.
YEAH AND also has a touch of sarcasm or snark to it
that seems non-green non-paint.

One woman in college had emotional problems when her parents split up. She spent most of the semester in bed with her boy friend, skipped classes and withdrew from college just before the semester was over. She got her grades from the college. An X in each of 4 courses which was code for dropped or incomplete. She found it hilarious because that was the brand of birth control she was using all semester. A 4X true story.

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

HADID was a gimme for me.

But "This guy gets it" sounds like the answer to "Mob Threat" and not the actual clue given!

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

but those Furriner names like HADID and LAHTI get your knickers in a knot.

c'mon! Nicole is caucasian, those others, are just that furriners from sh!thole countries.

JD 3:23 PM  

@Barbara, I found the movie on YouTube and Amazon Prime!

@Roo, Love your road story. In college we drove all night to cross a state line and test a guy's boast over the best french fries ever made. The place was closed when we got there and we turned around and drove home.

Anonymous 3:45 PM  

I guess I'm not very woke but I don't get all the gushing over a female architect. First, architects as xword fill are more niche and obscure than Star Wars or The League of Justice or whatever. Second, it strikes me as a bit patronizing. Why shouldn't a woman be a great architect.

Anonymous 3:52 PM  

HADID crossed with LAHTI at the H was not cool.

Dave S 3:53 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle, except that I thought I was being so cleaver immediately writing in "ear" for nine down and screwing up the NE for a good ling time. Oh, and getting the G in head-scratcher, and knowing it was enigma, which of course it wasn't. So, basically stepped in it everywhere it was planted, but it was fun extricating myself.

Anonymous 4:02 PM  

Why shouldn't a woman be a great architect.

any number of reason, historically.
- the architect is fully responsible for the building; s/he can't point the finger at the engineers or material suppliers or anyone else if there's a failure. IOW, s/he needs to know more about everything than anyone else
- since there's so much engineering involved, there's also maths, so girls obviously can't grok it
- like doctoring years ago, the boys still protect entry to the club
- architecture is more like quarterback: lots of marginal players but only a handful that get ink, given the male/female balance not so many girls get ink
- most architects do houses and barns and anonymous shopping malls as wage slaves to the Firm

pabloinnh 4:09 PM  

@Nancy--For "quintessentially American" song that "only an American" can sing with real authority, I'd submit "America The Beautiful" and the American singing it has to be Ray Charles.

In fact, this should be our national anthem and played at sporting events and other occasions when we see fit to play our current mess of a song, which Kurt Vonnegut described as "the only national anthem full of question marks and exclamation points".

Z 4:10 PM  

@Barbara S. - What shall we do, what shall we do, with all this useless beauty. You’re right, I like Tabor’s version but I’m still partial to Elvis. I like this stripped down version.
@Anyone new to this song and wondering - It’s 25 years old so
Nonsense prevails, modesty fails
Grace and virtue turn into stupidity
While the calendar fades almost all barricades
To a pale compromise

And our leaders have feasts on the backsides of beasts
They still think they're the Gods of antiquity
If something you missed didn't even exist
It was just an ideal, is it such a surprise?

were not written about current events... at least not directly.

@Gill I - As I read your ESCOOTER tale the moral seems to me to be Don’t Scoop and Drive, or maybe The Strawberry Ain’t Worth It.

@Frantic Sloth - As a stand alone it really is pretty good. I’m 29 32nds into it so now I will finish it. I just wish the egregious gaffe (to my eyes) had happened earlier.

@Nigel Pottle - NICOLE is a pretty common first name with no variants (I can think of five I know well), so even if you somehow don’t know Kidman (and I think it is fair to say that she’s more famous than LAHTI) the name is inferable. If you have never heard of LAHTI then last name LA-TI has 11 or 12 consonants that seem reasonable (and one can never rule out the unreasonable where names are concerned). I think -ADID is easier because only H or W strike me as reasonable, hence my earlier sympathy for LAwTI. But the issue is that names are hard if you don’t know them so crossing them always risks causing a natick. I still think LAHTI has been in enough puzzles that Friday solvers shouldn’t have a major problem, but I don’t think it is the foreignness of the names that threw people.

JD 4:16 PM  

@Anon, did you just have that whole three string conversation with yourself?

Z 4:23 PM  

@Anon4:02 - I think I know what you mean, but don’t be surprised if someone accuses of saying the opposite. I read your post twice to suss it out.

@Frantic Sloth - No God for the damn that I don't give - I mean, geezus, switch word order just a little and kick the listener in the ass. The guy is amazing. How about a French version with Iggy Pop. Pas de dieu pour le damné que je suis indeed.

Nancy 4:46 PM  

@Z -- I feel you're being too literal. I'm looking for a song that captures the essence of the American spirit and personality and what makes it unique compared with other cultures-- not a song about America. There's nothing about "America the Beautiful" in melody or mood that Ezio Pinza, say, or one of the three Irish Tenors couldn't have sung quite powerfully.

As far as making it our national anthem -- it's a beautiful melody, but some of those lyrics I find rather cringe-making:

O beautiful, for pilgrim's feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress,
A thoroughfare for freedom's beat
Across the wilderness...


My candidate is Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" -- simple, heartfelt, powerful, infectious, and really, REALLY easy to sing. Under the right emotional circumstances it can even make me cry. "The Star Spangled Banner" has probably never made anyone cry. And, though this may surprise you, "America the Beautiful" has never made me cry either.

burtonkd 4:49 PM  

@Nancy - Dublin set itself up as a tax-free haven for tech businesses to attract talent from all over the world. Doesn't matter if German or Irish talent is better. All the companies have HQs along the Liffy River.
(I would also point out that the phrases you quoted are very in-the-language idioms, the opposite of green paint.) That hollow blowing sound I now hear is everyone not saying "This guy gets it!"

Not upset about it, but LAHTI X HADID crossing at the H, which only rarely appears before a T and _ADID could be about any consonant, is as Naticky as it gets.

Rex and others: When it comes to exceedingly popular things, I take it upon myself to watch, listen to or read them to see what the fuss is about, even and especially if they are not in my usual interests. More often than not, I find something to like. If not, it is at least a sociological study to see what lands in our culture.

burtonkd 4:51 PM  

@Nancy, lest you think I'm picking on you, I'm glad that remembering your Opposite-Editorial led to others asking about it yesterday. Also glad that it didn't send the blog spiraling down a political morass. Perhaps the moderators deserve overtime?

Joaquin 4:58 PM  

@pabloinnh (4:09) - I am in 100% agreement with you regarding our anthem. "America the Beautiful" celebrates brotherhood, the physical beauty of our land, and its abundance. Our current anthem celebrates war.

I am still moved just thinking about Ray Charles singing "America the Beautiful" the night of 9/11. I even have it in the mix on my phone.

Anonymous 5:01 PM  


I thought it was obvious: many reasons why there's less opportunity to become well known.

Barbara S. 5:10 PM  

@Z (4:10 PM)
Well, I'm glad it doesn't have to come to a duel. I think all your Ultimate training might have given you a distinct advantage.

When I click on your link I get June Tabor again, but did you mean to link to this version of Elvis Costello singing "All This Useless Beauty"? The two versions make for a wonderful comparison, a sort of beauty and the beast pairing. I don't mean to diss Elvis by saying that: I like the roughness and huskiness of his voice in this.

kromiumman 5:10 PM  

ALKANE is anything but a "certain" hydrocarbon. It's a generic type of hydrocarbon that contains only carbons, hydrogens, and single bonds. But that includes "certain" hydrocarbons like ethane, propane, butane, pentane, etc. It's a certain *type* of hydrocarbon, but it is absolutely not a *certain* hydrocarbon.

albatross shell 5:24 PM  

Welcome abroad was easy for glad-I'm-almost-fluent-in-one-language me because of Cabaret. One great opening scene. Willkommen.


The vertical spanner, ASISEEIT, too bland or straight forward. THISGUYGETSIT a bit better.

DIRE DELL DENOTE DETERMINE DOTHEDEW (HADID?) pretty nice collection of D-words.

ALKANE, new to me. Citizen's brother? Kaline or Al Kaline I know.

That NE was a hell of a knot with some good clues. Did me in. Rest was easy except for a couple unknown names.

pabloinnh 5:57 PM  

@Joaquin-That's exactly what I had in mind. Wish I had your phone. Similarly, if anyone sings the national anthem, I want Marvin Gaye at the 1984 NBA all-star game.

@Nancy--Oh dear. I'm afraid you have confused me with our friend Z. I have to admit that was something I still find far outside the realm of probability.

Also, I only want the first verse of America the Beautiful. The rest is packing peanuts.

jberg 6:00 PM  

@Nancy, @teedmn, @puzzlehoarder -- I might have made the same mistake, but "Silicon docks" made me pick the port.

I'm very late in commenting, so will stick to two observations:

b) WOULDN'T YOU AGREE is one of those terms where its opposite, "would you agree?" means more or less the same thing (with a bit of different nuance, though).

c) I lied. @Roomonster--My daughter bought an electric bicycle because she had moved further away from her workplace but wanted to continue commuting by bike. It's the power-assist type -- you can pedal, but you don't have to.

Sixthstone 6:01 PM  

I'm not a big fan of these half generic clue phrase=answer phrase (YEAH AND?, THIS GUY GETS IT, HAPPY NOW?, WOULDN'T YOU AGREE). COOL IT! is a better answer but with a lame clue. Not terrible but just kind of hmm, ok. Pair this with a lot of obscure names and it left me pretty flat.

@Rex - I don't think you are missing much with Mandolorian. It's fine but certainly not worth any FOMO.

Thane of 13th 6:09 PM  

Anyone with the least bit of interest in modern architecture knows Zaha Hadid. She has an iconic building on the Highline in NYC.
One of the more annoying themes in these comments is the “I don’t know it, therefore no one knows it” rant.

RooMonster 6:11 PM  

@Z 4:10
I knew someone who spelled it NICHOLE.

I nominate "Down With the Sickness" by Disturbed as the new National Anthem! Har

RooMonster Disturbed Guy

Thane of 13th 6:18 PM  

Anyone with the least bit of interest in modern architecture knows Zaha Hadid. She has an iconic building on the Highline in NYC.
One of the more annoying themes in these comments is the “I don’t know it, therefore no one knows it” rant.

Greg 7:05 PM  

Just couldnt' get a toehold in NE. I had SATEEN, but that was it. No idea about HADID, and didn't know ALMAY either (how many cosmetic names have become crosswordese? Too many, for single guy that never goes into that aisle.) Finally had to Google Hadid and got it from there out.

albatross shell 7:09 PM  

Quintessential American Songs

This Land is Our Land
Yankee Doodle
I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy
Keep on the Sunny Side
Camptown Races
Boil dem Cabbage down
Over There
Oh! Susanna
Wabash Cannonball

albatross shell 7:16 PM  

And: Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah

pabloinnh 7:26 PM  

@albatross shell (and maybe @Roo too)

I keep thinking of Paul Simon's "American Tune"--

"I can't help it, I just wonder what's gone wrong."

Nancy 7:51 PM  

I see that @Z posted a comment right under your "America the Beautiful" comment, so I imagine I combined your post with his name. Can't think of any other reason. But you certainly have my apology for scanning the blog so carelessly today.

Anyway, now that I've pinpointed the right person to have this discussion with, what do you think of "God Bless America" as the national anthem, Pablo?

albatross shell 8:14 PM  

I don't know a soul who's not been battered
Don't have a friend who feels at ease
Don't know a dream that's not been shattered
Or driven to its knees

Helluva song, for sure. I feel maybe closer to it than some songs on my list. If I was going that way I might have tossed in some John Prine: Paradise, maybe. America never wants to admit defeat or mistakes. Always thinks can-do. Never admits to giving into unhappiness. Blues is the exception and cry in your beer country. But you can always be happy when you die. The sunny songs I chose do have some misery. But just ignore it.
Some of this is why Trump got 72 million votes.

Teedmn 8:34 PM  

@jberg, having put in berLIN from seeing the LIN, it wasn’t until I realized it was DUBLIN that the “port” sank in (or I sank in it).

TTrimble 8:54 PM  

An American Tune really is very beautiful; thanks for bringing it back into memory. Really the whole album There Goes Rhymin' Simon is special. Really singable stuff in there. Love the Dixie Hummingbirds (Loves Me Like a Rock).

Z 9:34 PM  

@Barbara S - Oops. Yes, that’s the version I meant to link to. What I liked about Tabor’s version is she captured the lyric’s mood. Here’s her doing another Elvis Costello Song and you can feel the anger (have I mentioned that angry Elvis is my favorite Elvis?) despite her voice being very different. I am mildly surprised that I can’t find a duet of the two, which I think could be powerful.

@Nancy - I was wondering how our Elvis discussion got tangled with the national anthem discussion. I too would be good with Marvin Gaye or José Feliciano or even Jimi Hendrix (which WOOD-TV used as its sign-off music back when TV stations still signed off (and I was younger and skinnier)) if we keep the current one. God Bless America got some racist taint by association with Kate Smith, so take that one of the list. Personally, my pick would be This Land is Your Land.

sanfranman59 9:47 PM  

@nancy (@4:46pm) ... re ""The Star Spangled Banner" has probably never made anyone cry." ... except for virtually every American gold medal-winning Olympic athlete ever ... except (probably) Tommy Smith and John Carlos in 1968

@pabloinnh (@5:57pm) ... for me, Marvin's version is only topped by Whitney's at the Super Bowl

@Thane of 13th (6:09pm & 6:18pm) ... re "One of the more annoying themes in these comments is the “I don’t know it, therefore no one knows it” rant." ... Yup, it's right up there with "I know it, therefore everyone should know it."

@albatross shell (7:09pm) ... re "This Land is Your Land" ... Yup, that's the first one that came to my mind

kitshef 11:18 PM  

Terrible, and not just in one way but in several. Obscure names? Check. Tepid phrases? Check. Words clearly grabbed off a list just to fit, like ALKANE? Check. Gratuitous reference to pop culture no one cares about? Check. Highly segmented grid, difficult to move between sections? Check.


Also ... Take Me Home, Country Roads.

TTrimble 11:46 PM  

Cf. these cuties: "Because really how many of you even know that Yma Sumac was a coloratura soprano? She’s just an answer in crossword puzzles for most of you and she was famous in the 1950’s." (2:10)

And "Furriner names like HADID and LAHTI get your knickers in a knot. Is this the American bias against names that don’t sound like they could be American? I sense some xenophobia here." (2:17)

A 12:36 AM  

Happy "Happy Now?" Day. ugh. But also, Happy Steven Hawking's Birthday!

Went traipsing around the world with the NYT 52 places piece today. Just got back.

Puzzle was fine. Happy to learn about Ms. Hadid. I'd have eventually remembered Lahti, but I placed another T above the TI I had for Christine, just to see where it (ITITIT) might lead. I usually wait, but this time no. Probably because I was cocky about BIENVENUE and --TTI seemed promising in a Chris Botti-ish way. Took forever to find that H.

@Nancy thanks much for the links yesterday to your letters and thank you for trying. I wish they would listen to you. Also, what a challenge to try to come up with an American parallel to Piaf/Non, Je ne Regrette Rien. You're right that it shouldn't necessarily be about the country, but represent some prevailing attitude. The singer should be on a level with Piaf, so who would that be for Don't Fence Me In?. Hmm. What about something like

Judy Garland/Somewhere Over the Rainbow? Hopefulness, innocence and possibility?

@Barbara S. had a couple of good ones with Shenandoah and Ole Man River. Robeson? Warfield? But, wait, what about:

Bernstein West Side Story - Something's Comin' would be perfect but maybe not as well known as Somewhere (There's a place for us).

rabbit hole alert - I found many, many more possibilities. Dylan. Baez. Need a new blog for all the songs.

@pabloinnh and others re the SSB: yes, it is a mess of a song but I bet it's the only national anthem that ends with a question. (First stanza only - does anyone ever use the rest?) "Oh, say, does that star spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?" I't s a challenge, and I personally appreciate the reminder of the fragility of our young republic. Plenty of ugly reminders recently, of course. Plus, it's hard to sing and that makes for entertaining videos of botched attempts.

Stay sane.

A 12:57 AM  

Happy "Happy Now?" Day. ugh. But also, Happy Steven Hawking's Birthday!

Went traipsing around the world with the NYT 52 places piece today. Just got back.

Puzzle fine. Happy to learn about Ms. Hadid. I'd have eventually remembered Lahti, but I placed another T above the TI I had for Christine, just to see where it (ITITIT) might lead. I usually wait, but this time no. Probably because I was cocky about BIENVENUE and --TTI seemed promising in a Chris Botti-ish way. Took forever to find that H.

@Nancy thanks for the links yesterday to your letters and thank you for trying. I wish they would listen to you. Also, what a challenge to try to come up with an American parallel to Piaf/Non, Je ne Regrette Rien. You're right that it shouldn't be about the country but represent some prevailing attitude. The singer should be on a level with Piaf, so who would that be for Don't Fence Me In?. Hmm. What about something like Garland/Somewhere Over the Rainbow? Hopefulness, innocence and possibility? @Barbara S. had a couple of good ones with Shenandoah and Ole Man River. Robeson? Warfield? But, wait, what about Bernstein West Side Story - Something's comin' would be great but is it popular enough? Rabbit hole alert - don't try to find the quintessential American song. Help me.....

@pabloinnh and others re the SSB: yes, it is a mess of a song but I bet it's the only national anthem that ends with a question. (First stanza only - does anyone ever use the rest?) "Oh, say, does that star spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?" I't s a challenge, and I personally appreciate the reminder of the fragility of our young republic. Plenty of ugly reminders recently, of course. Plus, it's hard to sing and that makes for entertaining videos of botched attempts.

Joe 6:11 AM  

I counted 11 names of persons or fictional characters in this, half of which I’d never heard. Made for a slog.

Citizen 11:53 AM  

It’s: yeah, and. Not yeahand

Citizen 11:53 AM  

It’s: yeah, and. Not yeahand

Citizen 12:20 PM  

We could only find that in the Urban Dictionary.

Thane of 13th 5:58 PM  

@sanfranman59 (9:47): Not sure if you are agreeing with or dissing me, however, after reading my original post, I suspect it’s the latter. But that sentiment was not my intention; I guess my annoyance got the better of me. I’ll rephrase my post to: MOST people with an interest in modern architecture PROBABLY know Hadid; she is not as obscure as the comments here would indicate. She did win all those prizes, after all. Anyway, the point being, there are billions of interests in the world that not everyone shares. Either attitude that “everyone” knows something, or no one does, is not an admirable one.

sanfranman59 7:10 PM  

@Thane the 13th (5:58pm) ... I was partly agreeing with you, but also making an additional observation. It works both ways. I know I sometimes find myself surprised by things that I think of as general knowledge that turn out to flummox folks here. The reverse tends to be even more common.

s1gna7 6:17 PM  

late to the fun but: i cannot believe there is no other puzzlesolver out there from new orleans like me and can accept Crawdad!!! cajuns boil crawFISH. and not crayfish either! i suppose you get crawDADs in ohio or something but NEVER in Louisiana!

Burma Shave 11:44 AM  




spacecraft 12:10 PM  

WOULDNTYOUAGREE that those names (HENRI as clued and HADID) are tough to get? I would. Reading HADID's resume, thoughtfully provided by OFC, made me embarrassed not to have heard of her...but really, not that many people know all that much about architects. After Pei and Wright, my PEA brain feels like it's been given a NOOGIE, like with rivers of the world.

The non-PPP parts of this offering weren't all that easy either, to me. In the end THISGUYGETSIT, but not without garnering considerable triumph points along the way. What the heck is an ESCOOTER? Something on which to "surf" the net??

My ignorant shame almost makes me give Ms. HADID another award--DOD--but honorable mention will have to do: NICOLE Kidman knocks her off the top spot. I know, apples and oranges...point taken. Anyway, birdie.

thefogman 1:00 PM  

I found this one to be challenging. WS should have filed it for Saturday. It took a while but I finished (like Rex’s daughter) with no mistakes.

rainforest 1:12 PM  

Another good puzzle, and more in the medium-challenging range, for me. Had to over-write MANIcure, and took way too long to get the "Y" in HAPPY NOW, but except for HADID, the names weren't an issue.
Good Friday.

Diana, LIW 2:23 PM  

Wish I could say that THISGalGETSIT, but once again my lack of knowledge of "famous" names gave me a one-letter dnf. So, another anf for me.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana, LIW 2:26 PM  

PS - @Spacey - we have had those Lime Scooters (they are electric, thus "e") for a few years, knocking pedestrians around in our downtown sidewalks.

Look up Lime Scooters.

Lady Di

rondo 3:55 PM  

Had nothing (correct that is) except EAVES and NYT in the NW until the central grid spanner came along and I got DOTHEDEW from the W and then the rest, correcting Dr. who and seInE along the way.

Gotta AGREE on NICOLE Kidman, YEAH baby.

Clean for me except that NW. Pretty good one.

leftoaster 4:38 PM  

PPPs are little but trivia and often a lazy substitute for clever cluing and wordplay. Today, for instance.


sdcheezhd 2:18 AM  

E-scooters aren't a thing. They're scooters.

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