Beheader of Medusa in Greek myth / FRI 1-22-21 / Murphy's co-star in 1982's 48 Hours / army villainous force in Disney's Mulan

Friday, January 22, 2021

Constructor: Daniel Larsen

Relative difficulty: Medium, I think

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Rabindranath Tagore (41D: Language of the Literature Nobelist Rabindranath Tagore => BENGALI) —
Rabindranath Tagore FRAS (/rəˈbɪndrənɑːt tæˈɡɔːr/ (About this soundlisten); born Robindronath Thakur, 7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941; sobriquet GurudevKobiguruBiswakobi) was a Bengalipoet, writer, composer, philosopher and painter. He reshaped Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art with Contextual Modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Author of the "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse" of Gitanjali, he became in 1913 the first non-European as well as the first lyricist to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Tagore's poetic songs were viewed as spiritual and mercurial; however, his "elegant prose and magical poetry" remain largely unknown outside Bengal. He is sometimes referred to as "the Bard of Bengal". (wikipedia)
• • •

All the symmetries! 180º rotational, 90º rotational, axial, mirror ... wait, are axial and mirror the same thing? Looks like axial is more for 3D objects. Whatever. The black squares are arranged here to give the grid the made-up term I (now) like to call "hypersymmetry." None of this has anything to do with how good the puzzle is; just something I noticed. The grid is also shaped (in the white squares) a bit like a wandering path, one that you can walk through (clockwise or counter-), solving the entire puzzle, without having to take any detours or double back on yourself or anything. That's not exactly how I solved it (I went west to east and then got mildly hung up and went back to the west and then down and counterclockwise around). The only real downside of this grid shape is that there are no long answers. Literally nothing about seven letters. This kept the grid feeling pretty reserved and conservative. I like splashy long stuff, a grid that has answers that zing and slash and burst open across the grid. This grid, while solid, stays in a very safe lane the whole time. Well, I say safe, but apparently it thinks you should catch a GRENADE, what the hell!? (31A: Dangerous thing to catch). Such a weirdly morbid clue there. But overall, tame. Fine. OK. Nothing splashy. A calming if somewhat eventless stroll.

I think maybe they should retire LOLCATS. It feels like an answer from 2004. Or one that should've been from 2004, but since the NYTXW is routinely on a cultural time lag, it's probably an answer that started showing up much later. Feels very early-internet speak. Cats still definitely rule the internet, but LOLCATS has a whiff of dust on it. Internet dust. It did help me get started early, though. I went CDS to TRULY to LOLCATS. Unfortunately, I then gutted TRULY when I assumed that the answer to 15A: Apple product launched in 2015 was IPADAIR. Ended up having to build most of that NW corner before finally seeing the PRO. My MacBook (this MacBook in front of me) is a PRO. I have never owned an iPad, so I missed that the PRO came out. Or I noticed and promptly forgot. Cannot keep up with the Apple product permutations, which, considering how often they appear in grids, is sometimes a problem. Like today. But I just made the correct answer out of Apple product parts—a little IPAD here, a little PRO there, voilà! Correct answer. After that, not much trouble. Except for the part where I spelled DAYAN correctly but then swapped the "Y" for an "I" when I (very incompletely) read the clue on the cross: 35A: Do or ___ (punny hair salon name). My eyes only went as far as the fill-in-the-blank. The apex hair salon pun name is, of course, "Curl Up and Dye," though "Do" (with its pun on "hairdo") is not bad either. The "or" is off, though, since presumably it is the do that you are dying. But back to the point: I finished with an error because I "fixed" DAYAN. After having it right the first time. The second time I did that today (see TRULY), only this time, it was fatal. I did indeed d(i)e. TRULY.

The one thing that keeps this long answer-free grid from being lifeless is the high number of multi-word phrases in the seven-letter stuff, particularly the weirdly high number of two-letter parts inside those phrases. It can be more fun, but also more difficult, to parse multi-word phrases, especially if they are reasonably short and therefore you are not really expecting them.  And two-letter elements can really make things challenging. Today we get OE in "ALOHA OE" (59A: Elvis Presley sings it in "Blue Hawaii"), OP in PHOTO OP (37D: When a poser might be presented?), OK in "OK, SHOOT" (43D: "Yeah, I'm listening") and E.R. in E.R. NURSE (16A: Vital hosp. worker). That last one wasn't exactly hard, though it did make me think there was a very important guy working in the hospital named ERNESTO. I did not know SLUMDOG was an actual word that had been coined, as I've only heard it followed by "Millionaire." I thought 21A: Attachment to Christ? (MAS) (because Christ + MAS = Christmas) was IAN. I don't think of HAIL as "bad"—weirdly judgey weather clue there (54D: Bad fall?). I enjoyed remembering "Battlestar Galactica" and "48 Hours." All in all, a pleasant enough experience.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Z 6:24 AM  

The eyebrow twitched at the A.P.P.* in the NW. I haven’t done a lot of tracking, but it does seem like Apple prefers the A.P.P. to happen in the NW corner.

Anyone else sorely sorely sorely disappointed that RYE wasn’t a town with a marina today?

I’m not quite sure about the mild obsession with body piercings in this puzzle. LIP RINGS and studs in the EAR LOBE and N’SYNC ear worms. Enough already.

Which reminds me, if Joe could get Bon Jovi to sing on pier in Miami it seems like a major snub not to have N’SYNC perform from the RYE Marina. Just saying.

I also played “One of these doesn’t belong” with the central 7’s:

Oh, the solve... Easyish. Self inflicted nanosecond sucks with PEgasUS briefly giving Medusa the snakectomy and TRIpodS holding up my pot... which, BTW, WTF are TRIVETS and why does our 11 year-old constructor** have it in his word list? Going Congresswoman instead of Kilmer for the V seems pretty naticky. There are maybe four or five members of the House that are crossworthy and I don’t think VAL Demings is one of them yet.

My PEgasUS error also had me pondering an ERN URSE - Like PEgasUS only a bear instead of a horse.

One serendipitous gimme was MARLA Gibbs. Detroit Historian Ken Coleman shared this on Twitter three days ago: On this day in 1975: "The Jeffersons" situation comedy debuts on the CBS television network. Among the cast is Marla Gibbs who lived in Detroit during the 1950s and worked as a telephone operator at the famed Gotham Hotel, a Black-owned institution located on John R. Street. I would have had no idea who MARLA Gibbs was four days ago.

*Apple Product Placement
** He’s not really 11. He’s at least 12.

DL 6:27 AM  

MSU is a football powerhouse? I had OSU in there as they actually are and have been...

Other than that, enjoyed for a Friday.

Z 6:37 AM  

@DL - Clearly “in 1967” was somehow accidentally omitted from the clue.

Lobster11 6:41 AM  

I'm usually more of a glass-is-half-empty guy but, in this case, I'm not bemoaning the absence of 8+ answers but rather marveling at the number of 7s. If I'm counting right there are 8 in each corner, so 32 altogether. 7s might not generally be as much fun as grid-spanners, but they're a lot more fun than 3s and 4s. And I thought the fact that several of the 7s were 2+5s was a feature rather than a bug.

I also really liked the grid layout which, as Rex noted, allows for smooth movement from corner to corner in any direction. Fun solve for me.

Kevin 6:44 AM  

I agree that “Bad fall” seems off for HAIL. I get it, but is hail necessarily a problem more than snow? We don’t normally get either in South Carolina, but it does seem judgy. Seems like “Hard fall” would have done the same misdirection much better.

JOHN X 7:05 AM  

I don't think rain or snow compare with the "bad fallness" of HAIL.

Here's a little video to illustrate this:


Also, I'm still at the gala and I've been awake for 72 hours. Pretty good party.

Lewis 7:08 AM  

Highlights for me:
• Forcing myself NOT to look at the keyboard to see what was above the “3”.
• The simple and elegant placement of the black squares.
• The PHOTOOP dook.
• Learning all about ROYAL WE, including the most wonderful term “nosism”.
• Looking at Daniel’s photo at XwordInfo, where he looks like he’s eight.
• Seeing JETS cross GEYSERS.
• Clues for OPEN BAR and TRIVETS.
• The paean to the number seven. There are 36 seven-letter answers in this grid.
• The feeling of calm as I coursed through the puzzle. No strong highs or lows – just a steady and interesting journey, which I have left feeling most peaceful.

Thank you for all of this, Daniel!

Lewis 7:18 AM  

p.s. -- I think Daniel is actually 17 now, and sir, my comment on your youthful looks is no dis. May your good looking and youthful appearance continue for the rest of your life!

kitshef 7:21 AM  

Very, very easy Friday, but what the flaming fudge are LOLCATS? I think that and VAL were the only holdups. This could easily have run on a Tuesday.

Are HOME GYMs really convenient? I feel like the folks that have them never use them. Pre-COVID, I had just started doing regular workouts at our county rec centers. Once they shut down, I found I could still do weights at home easily, but lacked the willpower to do aerobic exercise on my own.

Between the wildlife and the GEYSERS, Yellowstone is simply fantastic. Go there before you die. In May or October.

Do and DYE would be a much better salon name than Do or DYE, both in terms of what a salon does and in referencing The Charge of the Light Brigade accurately.

ChuckD 7:26 AM  

Eh - it wasn’t a lot of fun but it’s not a bad puzzle. The grid is so contracting forcing all the short longs - this is not an easy one to construct. Like Rex - I liked the two word shorts - ALOHA OE and OK SHOOT are good. Not so keen on the ARGOT x AGONIST cross and the clue for HOT DATE seemed off. TRIVETS is great word and I really liked the the clue for OPEN BAR. A lot of names and nouns but I knew them all so it worked for me.

Decent solve but not the Friday I look forward to.

amyyanni 7:29 AM  

AGONIST and ERNURSE put up a lot of resistance, as did HUN and ARGOT. Stared at that NE corner until my eyes crossed! Enjoyed BALLHOG looking up at SLUMDOG with LOLCATS giggling at them both.

Anonymous 7:37 AM  

I got SANDBOX early, then immediately placed "ibex" instead of ORYX in the SW...completely torpedoed me. Inoffensive puzzle otherwise. Is it still a Natick if the only options are vowels? (VAL crossed with ASSANTE)

Declanmcman 7:39 AM  

“I’d catch a grenade for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)” is not morbid - it’s Martian. Bruno, that is.

pabloinnh 7:46 AM  

LOLCATS may be old and musty but it was news to me. Got to catch up.

I've done lots and lots of crosswords and almost never notice the grid design. I resolve to work harder on this, as it seems to be very important to many people.

I'm co-teaching a course on Elvis right now and am halfway through his biograrphy, Las Train to Memphis, which is fascinating, but I haven't got to Blue Hawaii yet. ALOHAOE is the go-to, however. Harder question--name another Hawaiian song (not Tiny Bubbles).

Didn't we just see SOSUEME?

A BALLHOG appears in National Lampoons parody of LOTR, called "Bored of the Rings". Replaces the Balrog, of course. Funny stuff, if borderline blasphemous.

I really liked this one. Just crunchy enough. Keep at it, DL. You may have a future in this.

Frantic Sloth 8:08 AM  

Quicker than yesterday and definitely a wavelength thing. Dude had me at LOLCATS. Also SLUMDOG, BALLHOG, ROYALWE, OPENBAR, and others.

I guess that GRENADE PLAYSET is where these people go to play catch. Gotta be a better hobby.

Already sick of SOSUEME. Why does Shortz insist on latching onto a term and repeating it in successive puzzles?? Do people like this? Asking for a me.

I have an OPENBAR EARLOBE. It operates much like a dowsing rod and starts flapping when it senses free booze is near. It can be a bit embarrassing when it goes off, but I wouldn't trade it in a million years for, say, an OBESITY LOCATOR. Besides those have been rendered obsolete with the uninhibited propagation of so many Walmarts.

This was fun, though over too soon. Eh, who cares? It's nice to feel smart once in a while, no?


David Eisner 8:18 AM  

I felt like 8D should have been "Watch out!" and not "Watch it!".

Z 8:20 AM  


@Lewis - I think that pic is from his debut in 2017 when he was 13.

@pabloinnh - LOLCATS are still around, but the hot current meme is Bernie.

@Anonymous 7:37 - I call that Whac-A-Vowel.

Anonymous 8:37 AM  

Same question on the repeated term thing. Why does Shortz (seem to) intentionally do this?

Pablo 8:45 AM  

As a "younger" person (south of 30, at least), I always find Daniel's puzzles to be much, much easier. That came through especially today after some of the tougher Wednesday/Thursday puzzles in recent memory this week (for me at least). I finished this in literally half the time it took me to do Wednesday and nearly 1/3 of my Thursday time. Really enjoyed LOLCATS, even if it's a bit of a dated reference, and the rest of it was fun and smooth. The clue for HOTDATE was a little off, but otherwise very few complaints today. Very nice puzzle!

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

I live in Dallas, and HAIL is a bad fall. Those of you who disagree have never had their home or vehicle pummeled by softball sized hail. I had a colleague whose home's roof was punctured by a hailstone. It punched its way through the roof and ceiling and ended up in his living room.

I dread a hailstorm more than a tornado.

mathgent 8:55 AM  

I count 23 entries which are either multiword or compound-word-like, about one- third. That made the solving pretty easy. Fridays are usually tough for me.

Thanks to Lewis for introducing me to "nosism," the practice of using "we" instead of "I." We are amused.

I liked the grid. Very pretty.

AGONIST is new to me. Is it really a word or does it come from "protagonist"?

Not much fun. Crunchless, sparkleless.

We surfed Netflix last night and found Charlie Wilson's War. I hadn't seen it since it came out in 2007. Great film. Wonderful dialogue by Aaron Sorkin. Directed by Mike Nichols. Terrific performances from Tom Hanks, Amy Adams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julia Roberts, John Slattery.

bocamp 8:58 AM  

Thank you, @Daniel, a very enjoyable Friday puzzle; liked it a lot! :)

Overall, easy solve. Top half very fast; SW typically Friday tough, SE to a lesser degree.

I Do NYT puzzles on an "iPad Pro".

Son played trombone in the "pep band".

"Aloha oe" ~ Elvis, from Blue Hawaii (with lyrics).

yd pg -3

Peace Tolerance Kindness Togetherness 🕊

Unknown 9:02 AM  

We have had to have multiple roofs replaced due to hail in Texas. We’ve also had to have three cars repaired because of hail dents.
I think the insurance companies would agree hail is a big problem.

OffTheGrid 9:04 AM  

@pabloinnh. "Pineapple Princess" Annette Funicello, 1960. HERE IT IS

Mikey from El Prado 9:07 AM  

Loved the BALL HOG, OK SHOOT cross.
LIP RING and EAR LOBE (place for a stud).

Nicely done.

benny boy 9:08 AM  

Overall great puzzle, but I have one major gripe: the number 3 does not share a key with a HASHTAG. It shares a key with a “pound sign” or a “hash symbol”. A HASHTAG as you see on Twitter and elsewhere is the entire string - HASH symbol plus text (the “tag”). This really should have been caught by the editor.

puzzlehoarder 9:11 AM  

An easy Friday. From the lower half of the NW corner I went counterclockwise to the lower half of the NE corner with little resistance. At that point I ran into my only write overs with CARLA at 30D supported by CORRS at 30A. This prevented me from recognizing ASSANTE and GETLOST. Not a problem, returning to the NW I restarted and went clockwise around the NE corner and fixed my mistakes.

The easyness was no surprise just based on how interconnected the grid is.

The repetition of SOSUEME went right over my head. What I did notice was that last week we had MOSHE and today we had DAYAN.

Another thing I missed while solving was the connection between HOTDATE and its clue. The solve was going so smoothly I didn't want to stop to think about it.

Sir Hillary 9:14 AM  

Because I am a geometry-obsessed dork, when I first started making crossword grids (none published yet!) this was the shape I chose, due to the full rotational symmetry, which looks so cool. Problem was, I was constructing for me, not for solvers, and today's grid illustrates the problem with that. The 7-letter maximum just kills any sense of excitement. There was exactly one entry in this puzzle -- ROYALWE -- that impressed me. The rest was a snoozefest.

To spice things up, I looked at specific rows and columns:
-- GRENADE PLAYSET. Hopefully no such things exists.
-- OOHLALA ALOHAOE. Near-anagrams.
-- PEDDLES INKJETS. Sells some printers.
-- LIPRING PHOTOOP. Dennis Rodman portrait.
-- LARAMIE PSYCHED. Headline about Josh Allen's college town celebrating his playoff success.
-- TRIVETS HOTDATE. There's a really bad joke somewhere in here ("I had such a HOTDATE, I needed...")
-- ASSANTE: OKSHOOT. Armand says, "I'm on set; let's roll already."

MSU a football powerhouse? Maybe for a few months in 1966. OSU and PSU are having quite a giggle right about now. Meanwhile, Tom Izzo fumes.

Daniel Larsen's talent and body of work are very impressive, particularly given his age. Now that he has proven he fill a grid of this type, my hope is that he's gotten that out of his system.

mmorgan 9:17 AM  

Nifty hypersymmetrical grid!

I kept thinking it just had had had to be BALLbOy but HOG makes good sense.

I’d like to try that new kind of Vietnamese soup — PHO TOOP.

algiardello 9:21 AM  

Demings was said to be on Biden’s shortlist for VP, so a pretty big name, I think.

Frantic Sloth 9:24 AM  

I forgot that this Daniel dude is like fresh out of puberty. If not for my annoyance at this freakish factoid, I would be impressed. 🤣

Oh, Rex. Don't you know that LOLCATS is timeless?

Well, I hope all the "poor, misunderstood little HAIL" people got a lurnin' from @JOHN X's 705am video.

@Z 624am I'll go on record right here and now: RYE should never be clued any other way. Period.

@Lobster11 641am Ditto! Well said (if not well-counted - see @Lewis 798am). 😉

@Z 820am Mrs. Sloth has been in the Bernie meme wormhole for 2 days now...and counting. 🤣🙄

Unknown 9:35 AM  

As far as HAIL goes, I'm just grateful that we now have an administration in place that is taking the threat of global climate change seriously. We have rain in New England in January, something that *never* happened when I was growing up. Now it's a regular thing. It's not that climate change is coming folks; it's already here big-time. We just live our lives as if that's not the case, and argue or banter about stupid XW trivia.

I thought this was an easy puz overall, but the SE corner flummoxed me.
Never was an Elvis fan. More a Public Enemy fan.
Some of you will get the reference.

Richard 9:40 AM  

Pretty easy, straight-forward Friday. My only real pause was at 29A Big Ten football powerhouse. Had to be either OSU or MSU (Mornin'!, @DL 6:27), but confidently dropped in the former thinking no way it's the latter. Wrong (both me and the puz), hence, my only write-over.

We x-worders conjure up our own challenges. Some, like OFL are speed solvers; some (especially on easy Mondays/Tuesdays) solve using just the downs; some, like me, try for a clean, mistake-free grid;* others find myriad ways to liven up the battle. Lesson to be learned if one is interested in completing the puzzle sans write-overs: wait for the crosses when faced with more than one possible fill, even when you're 90% sure.

*fn: I solve on paper in ink, not because I'm so confident I won't make mistakes, but rather because my mistakes show up so prominently on the grid. Clean grid: easy; messy grid: hard. Simple.

GILL I. 9:45 AM  

Holy snip and color me crazy....this was fun. Not exactly to DYE for, but I say HAIL to young Daniel for making me smile.
Nothing gave me trouble except for maybe BALL HOG. I HOG sheets and potato chips. Finally got the oink at HOT DATE OK SHOOT AND GEYSERS. Sounds like a law firm......Speaking of HOT DATE....I want to join @mmorgan and eat some of his PHO TOOP soup. We could also order a side of HO MEG YM .
I see OOH LA LA and I think of our friend, @Quasi (where are you?) and you clue me Corpulence, I think of Santa Claus.
Nice Friday, RYE bread and all.

Suzy 9:49 AM  

@Z. whack-a-vowel— how many ways can you spell ‘Naiad?”

Thanks, Daniel—. nice puzzle, terrific grid!!

Monty P 9:50 AM  

According to the Book of Armaments, in order to safely handle a grenade, one should: "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it." Amen.

Nancy 9:53 AM  

I always glimpse the top comment on my way down here, and I must say I agree with @Z's observation about the odd focus on body piercings. I had earRING before LIP RING, but threw it out because of the IPAD. So by the time I got to EAR LOBE, it wasn't a duplication.

Lovely clues for SLUMDOG; PHOTO OP and HOT DATE, though that one's not new. Neither is OPEN BAR, which I got with no crosses because I've been doing puzzles for too long.

The hardest clue in the puzzle for me was "Not serious" when I had M---. I'm thinking MERE. Then I'm thinking MILD. MOCK was nowhere in my thoughts.

ALOHAOE is one of the DOOKiest answers I've ever seen. When I finally pulled ALOHA out of the letter combo (what's the OE part? I have no idea), it helped me get CYLON where I wanted CYMAN...which helped me get LOCATOR (I wanted LEG something-or-other)...which helped me get MOCK.

Nice and crunchy. I could have skipped some of the PPP, but basically I liked it a lot.

Lewis 9:54 AM  

@z -- I think you're right about Daniel's photo. It's the only one I remember seeing. Jeff Chen has no requirement to update photos. Mine, I believe, is seven years old.

pabloinnh 9:57 AM  

@Z-re. the Bernie meme--Yeah, but those of us here in the far NE are wondering why it's remarkable that someone is wearing mittens in cold weather.

Carola 9:59 AM  

A treat of a Friday - plenty of grid PEP, not a brain-racker but offering enough points of resistance to keep things interesting. Happy crosses of LIP RING x PERSEUS and HASHTAG x SNOG unlocked a HAIL of Down answers that made the top half go fast. Then, following the DYE ERA, I had to get to work. Last in: PHOTO OP x TLC.

Like others, I enjoyed the pairings and match-ups: the CATS, DOG, and HOG; the pierced LIP and LOBE, PERSEUS and the NAIAD, the PEP BAND at the game with the BALL HOG, BENGALI x ALOHA OE. @Sir Hilary, Thank you for yours!

Do-overs: SAND Bar (I'd already forgotten the open one above) before BOX, followed by ibeX. No idea: ASSANTE, CYLON.

Joe Welling 10:04 AM  

The Apple clue and the repeat of SOSUEME made me think of the system sound on my old compact Mac: "sosumi."

Nancy 10:13 AM  

Was that harrowing hail link completely necessary, @JOHN X? I don't have enough to worry about in my life already?

Nosism?????? I suppose I should go look it up.

Jesse 10:15 AM  

MSU is a football powerhouse? Really?

Also, Slumdog was the 2009 best picture, not 2008.

Old White Guy 10:32 AM  

Easy, segmented, little to grouse about. SLUMDOG 2008, awarded in 2009 - no problem, want it on a spoon?

Well ... AAPL yet again and SO SUE ME, what five times in a week?

Def EASY Friday, fairly quick solve while talking to my wife and eating breakfast.

jae 10:35 AM  

Easy, probably a wheelhouse thing. I knew ASSANTE, IPADPRO, ALOHA OE, NAIAD, NOLTE...

Lots of sparkle, liked it a bunch and Jeff at Xwordinfo gave it POW (although, he did give the ARGOT/AGONIST cross the side eye).

I recently was reminded, while doing a pre-Twitter puzzle, that the symbol on the 3 key was for a long time a hash mark/sign, or an octothorpe, or a number sign, or a pound sign. HASHTAG came into the lexicon in 2007.

Ethan Taliesin 10:41 AM  

Zero resistance today. Felt like a Tue/Wed to me, but of course I'm near certain my time still far exceeded Rex's.

Same old story 10:41 AM  

@"SLUMDOG won in 2009 NOT 2008" folks - See FAQ 16A, thoughtfully provided at the top of the main page.

Nancy 10:55 AM  

I'm always amused by the people who argue over movie Oscar Award years. 2008? 2009? Heck, you could have told me SLUMDOG won the 2002, the 2005, the 2012 award, whatever, and I would have believed you.

I remember that GWTW won the 1939 award and not much more than that. I don't remember what years various things happened in my life, so why should I remember the years things happened in movie stars' lives?

I think that people who remember Oscar Award years are the same people who remember which NASA space launchings were which. I never have any idea -- don't know my Geminis from my Mercurys from my Apollos, and even less their respective numbers -- which means that if I were on Jeopardy when "U.S. Space Program" was a category, I'd lose bigly.

It must be so wonderful to have a memory like everyone else.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

I went to college in Potsdam back when Clarkson was just a College, best known for Canadian hockey players, not its chemistry department. Potsdam, of course, had a "Dew Drop Inn". Really. I suppose Binghampton did too, and still does.

RooMonster 10:59 AM  

Hey All !
Neat FriPuz, digging the "hypersymmetry", as Rex coined it. For those who aren't really sure what rotational symmetry is, turn the (blank) grid in any direction, and the grid design is the same. Cool, eh?

@Monty P 9:50
LOL! (no CATS involved) Always welcome a Holy Grail reference.
"One, two, four!"
"Three, my lord!"

@Jesse 10:15
OK, here is how it works. I'm sure some are sick of all this, but it niggles (Hi @Z!) me every time I see. For a movie to be considered for an award, the ENITRE year of movies has to end. As in, all of 2008 movies, even the ones that came out in December, are considered for an award. So, naturally, the award for that year (2008) cannot be given out in that year. The awards have to wait to be given out the next year (2009) for the 2008 movie. So, Best Picture, Oscar,, are given out in 2009 for 2008 movies. So, SLUMDOG won the Best Picture for the year 2008, but was given out in 2009. The year of the Awards is always for the last year. This years awards, 2021, will be for the 2020 movies. Ergo, the winners this year, 2021, will not be the winner for 2021 movies, they will be the winners for 2020 movies. Get it yet?

Rant much? Har. Pet peeve, and all that.

Other pet peeve? My one-letter DNF! Har! After struggling pretty good throughout puz, finally managed to suss everything out, put in last letter, and... Almost There! Argh! Dang, after puz fighting back pretty well, I wasn't even going to try to find my mistake, so hit Check Puzzle, and saw my PERSiUS mistake. APiS made no sense, but hey, I had got that section second, and had completely forgotten anything about it by the end! But still a good puz. Better than the last two days. :-)

Kept trying to get ___TOOP to mean something! SCHTOOP? Har. Really wanted BALLbOy for BALLHOG, but the G in GEYSERS was quite solid, so kept chipping away at that area. Make up my mind about OOLALA or OOHLALA! Har. That's like TEHEE and TEEHEE, TEPEE and TEEPEE.

Spectacular SB today. I'm at 60 words and 400 points, and there's still more! Yow.

No F's - Not an AWOKE puz. :-)

Barbara S. 11:05 AM  

I solved this last night on paper (with pencil) – the first time in 3 years that I’ve not solved on a screen. It seemed very awkward, like when you come ashore after a long sea voyage and don’t have your land legs. The completed grid was not aesthetically pleasing: it looked like it had been filled in by a 5-year-old who hadn’t yet mastered printing, compared to the crisp, clean regularity of the letters on the App. And I hated the lack of interactivity – where was the happy music to tell me I’d been a clever girl, or the you-can-do-it-if-you-try message to keep me in the fight? It was weird to finish and then not know whether I had, in fact, finished. The only thing I liked about it was the tremendous ease of relocating on the grid. I think one of the reasons I’m such a slow solver is that I’ve never got the hang of fast cursor repositioning.

Why did I put myself through this unsettling exercise? you ask. I’m a crappy sleeper and it’s been suggested that I should avoid looking at screens for the 2 or 3 hours immediately before bed. Apparently the blue light they cast has the effect of fooling your brain into thinking it’s daytime and Wee-ha! Let’s get this party started! The only positive thing about waking up a dozen times a night is that I remember my dreams more vividly. For example, last night I had one heck of an encounter with Johnny Depp [mopping brow and wrenching self back to present]. Anyway, yesterday’s experiment didn’t help my sleep one little bit, but one night doth not a test make, so I’ll have to try it for at least a month(?) and see what happens.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Who was that politician who repeated the canard about being caught in a Texas hailstorm? Are they really worse than a Vermont one?

I marvel at the teeVee adverts for these various home sited exercise machines, with the users (in the adverts) sweating like pigs (I know, they don't actually dew so). What's the benefit of having your living room smelling like a YMCA locker room with all the lockers open?

AGONIST, while it may have a general meaning, is commonly used in medicine to describe a drug.

One thing I find amazing is that the Conservatives in politics are steadfastly opposed to what conservative used to mean: willing to adapt to change. Social Darwinism, which they have always preached, but seldom admit outright since it gives away the gag to those it exploits, is supposed to reward those who best adapt to change. Not these angry, grievance spewing, old, white, rural men. They want to return to the thrilling days of the 19th century when government was hands off, except when it came to handing out money and jobs and influence through the Spoils System.

Z 11:16 AM  

To make it even easier than @Same old story did... 16a. The clue says Marisa Tomei won the 1992 Oscar, when she clearly won it in 1993. I remember because I hosted an Oscar party that year. Why would the NYT make such a stupid error?

You are the one who has made the error. Oscars are handed out for achievements that took place in the preceding year. Thus, 1992 Oscars are handed out in 1993, but they are still 1992 Oscars. If your complaint is about a different awards show, chances are the same system applies.

Click on the blue text for even more answers to your questions.

@benny boy - One of the octothorp’s many names is HASH TAG. As far as I know it is never called just HASH.

@algiardello - VPs are barely crossworthy, so making a candidate’s short list doesn’t qualify IMHO.

@Richard - I use pen, too. My reason is that pencil isn’t dark enough unless you make it dark enough that erasing rips the paper.

@Suzy - 🤣😂🤣😂🤣 - I don’t know about you but I always wait for all the crosses. I don’t have any space in the memory attic for all the nymph names.

@pabloinnh - HeHe. TBF - It’s not just the mittens, it’s the whole “get off of my lawn” vibe of that look.

Jim 11:19 AM  

It's called D4h symmetry.

There is no need to invent sloppy new terms for things that are already succinctly defined.

A 11:26 AM  

What a pleasant puzzle, with much to love (especially PEPBAND -made me nostalgic for performing live with others), but my solving cheer was eclipsed by bad news. A long time family friend contracted Covid while in the hospital. He’s a brilliant man who had a successful career with IBM despite physical limitations due to severe cerebral palsy. He is an avid and astute music lover and his LP library is a collector’s dream. After losing the ability to walk, he drove his scooter to symphony concerts on a regular basis. So far they have been able to avoid intubation.

Grateful to young Mr. Larsen for the diversion, and for exposuring me to a new word:
(from Online Etymology Dictionary)
argot (n.)
1860, from French argot (17c.) "the jargon of Paris rogues and thieves" (for purposes of disguise and concealment), earlier "the company of beggars," from French argot, "group of beggars," a word of unknown origin.
Gamillscheg suggests a connection to Old French argoter "to cut off the stubs left in pruning," with a connecting sense of "to get a grip on." The best English equivalent is perhaps cant.

which led to:
cant (n.1)
"pretentious or insincere talk, ostentatious conventionality in speech," 1709. The earliest use is as a slang word for "the whining speech of beggars asking for alms" (1640s), from the verb in this sense (1560s), from Old North French canter (Old French chanter) "to sing, chant," from Latin cantare, frequentative of canere "to sing" (from PIE root *kan- "to sing").

ow a paper cut 11:29 AM  

I don’t know from LOLCATS or SLUMDOG but otherwise I did pretty well : )

egsforbreakfast 11:35 AM  

31A. Dangerous thing to catch. You would think that the answer would be something people actually do catch and then often suffer undesired consequences, COVID, hell,a slug from a 45. Theses are things that you may actually catch and the catching of them may be dangerous. Another dangerous thing to catch, and one that seems as relevant as GRENADE, is a flaming Tesla dropped from a passing airplane, or perhaps a misdirected SCUD missile.

Between their two most recent Rosebowl appearances (1988 and 2014) the powerhouse Spartans of MSU have played in the Gator Bowl,Aloha Bowl (twice),John Hancock Bowl, Liberty Bowl , Independence. Bowl, Sun Bowl. Florida Citrus Bowl, Silicon Valley Classic, Alamo Bowl (twice), Champs Sports Bowl, Capital One Bowl(twice), Outback Bowl and the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Now who was saying that this school ain’t a powerhouse?

But still, the puzzle was enjoyable, although not so much as the absence of Trump.

MickMcMick 11:38 AM  

Test in chemistry, does not compute. S.E. Was a challenge

jberg 11:39 AM  

Hardest thing for me was BENGALI—I knew Tagore was Indian, but could only think of Hindi and Tamil for languages— even the B wasn’t enough, I needed the BE, after which I kicked myself.

Newboy 11:40 AM  

Thanks @Nancy. With your permission I bravely admit I’m probably the only solver held up by where to place the “H” in GEYSER....and then there was NAIAD without an expected “Y”....sigh! It must be Friday? And I was solving today safely tucked into the center lane on cruise control safely following our fearless leader feeling just a bit of guilt for never having read Bengal’s Shakespeare equivalent. Any day with a double dose of humility can’t be bad. Now I’m off to enjoy the clever posts above.

Hungry Mother 11:51 AM  

A bit on the easy side of medium here today. I think I know what LOLCATS are, but I avoid them like the plague (Covid). I’m working on my second IPADPRO, but I wanted “air” in there for some reason.

Nancy 12:01 PM  

#Barbara S (11:05) -- Welcome, welcome to the wonderful world of puzzle-solving on paper. I have a hunch if you do it for a while, you'll never want to go back. The ability to see the entire grid and all the clues simultaneously is worth its weight in gold. You don't have to "toggle" anywhere, manipulate anything, or deal with the outrageous insubordination of gadgets with a mind of their own. You will find yourself the sole master of your Fate, the sole captain of your Soul. You will be One with your puzzle -- and no annoying intermediary shall ever again come between.

Step 1 -- and indeed the only step: Buy yourself the Papermate Erasermate pen. Doing a puzzle in pen is so much easier to see. The writing process is smoother. And the ability to press down either hard or lightly means you can tell the difference at a glance between the answer you're sure of (in dark ink) and the answer you're unsure of (in pale ink). Pale ink is also much easier to erase.

Forget about speed. Focus on neatness, so that your finished grid will please you.

Do it for three months, @Barbara S. Then we'll talk.

Whatsername 12:06 PM  

Beautiful grid, so pleasing to the eye that it almost seemed a shame to fill in the blanks. LOLCATS? Alrighty then. As nearly as I can tell, an OREX looks a lot like a wrist watch according to Google but there’s also one that looks similar to an IBEX which is what I first tried at 49A. Even though MSU has won the Big Ten championship nine times since 1953, I’m not sure it would be considered a powerhouse.

Living in the Midwest, I can attest to the fact that HAIL is most definitely the definition of “bad fall.” Just about every spring, hail storms cause millions of dollars in damage to homes, vehicles, and crops. In the past 20 years I’ve replaced my entire roof twice. The first time it came down with such force that there were actually holes in the roofs and siding of a lot of homes, not to mention the broken windows. The upside is that if your roof is starting to show some wear, there’s a good chance the insurance company might buy you a new one if you can wait long enough.

Shang 12:30 PM  

Clues and entries reflecting 1960s (Blue Hawaii), 1970s (Jeffersons and Battlestar Galactica), 1980s (Assante and 48 Hours), 1990s (Mulan), 2000s (NSync and Slumdog Millionaire), 2010s (iPad Pro), and 2020s (Val Demings). Hats off to Daniel

Chip Hilton 12:36 PM  

Wonderful Friday. Appropriately difficult, lots of fun phrases, opposite direction ways to get around difficult proper nouns. Loved ROYALWE and HOTDATE, among others. Thanks, D. Larsen.

rochdale 12:40 PM  

@DL, my thoughts exactly. I don't know why this vexes me. As a UW alumni (Badgers), I would argue that OSU is the ONLY football powerhouse in the Big Ten. I could see MSU as a hockey or basketball powerhouse but not football. I wonder if the author of that clue is a Spartan alumni?

What? 12:56 PM  

At first glance nothing. Then I solved it. 100%. I have no idea how that happened. Very strange.
My grandkids are graduates of MSU. The school does have a football team. Occasionally it’s a powerhouse. But not recently.
I love the grid - looks like nothing over seven. I’m going to use it for my next construction. I hate try to fit in 15 mers

pmdm 12:57 PM  

Kevin and whoever else is interested: Late week puzzles tend to have clues which can point to multiple correct entries. The solver has to figure in the cross entries to determine which of the possibilities is actually the answer. And sometimes the possible entries consist of the same number of letters. So a fall fall can be either hail or snow. For those under threat of hurricanes, even rain is a possible entry. So don't think that just because the correct entry in the puzzle today is HAIL that an entry of SNOW would be any less apt. The way I read your comment, it sounds like you require an entry to be exclusively correct, which is in fact not required. I may have read your comment wrong, because I am listening to Cuomo's press conference at the same time. My apologies if I made that mistake. It certainly is probable when Melissa breaks in.

old timer 1:01 PM  

Straightforward solve, suitably Fridayish I thought. Hands up for misspelling DAYAN briefly. The last entry, because I never heard of it until today, was CYLON. The least likely answer was HOT DATE.

I liked Yellowstone and its GEYSERS. But I gotta say, it was the Tetons that blew me away, so much so I took my family back a second time, just to stay at the fancy Jackson Lake Lodge -- we had camped or stayed in tent cabins the first trip. It was quite lovely!

On one of those trips, we spent the night in Thermopolis, a place that felt like it ought to be a college town like LARAMIE. In fact, it is a town populated entirely by hippies, escapees from the old Haight Ashbury -- or so it seemed to me at the time. They did have to wear bathing suits in the hot springs which are Thermopolis's reason for existence. You can bet no suits are worn when they visit the hot springs in more rural places.

Teedmn 1:16 PM  

Medium for me, and I had the desultory solve that Rex describes. I went counter-clockwise and started back up top when I became completely stymied, with BENGALI and HOMEGYM making up the limits where I could go no farther. @Nancy, my choice for a four letter M word at 55D was MOot, though I didn't put it in.

Starting over in the NE, again the solve started flowing though TRIVETS was hiding from me even as I envisioned the ones on my stove top. Like @Lewis, I had to restrain myself from looking at my keyboard for 8A - H_S had me thinking H something Signs, but I remembered the 2 key is the @ so the 3 key is, yes, #. Fun.

But once again, hitting the SE, BA_______G was as far as I could go for a time. That L_E in 26D, which I wanted to fill in with a W but which made no sense as a set of letters LWE finally did make sense and helped break open the blockage.

ROYAL WE, HOT DATE, and the signing APES were all nicely clued.

Thanks, Daniel Larsen, and congrats on your POW for this puzzle!

Anonymous 1:17 PM  

Not only not required, but rarely even possible, except for very specific PPP clues.

Crimson Devil 1:21 PM  

More of basketball power; Izzo
Just heard Hank Aaron died, a class gentleman hero. R.I.P.

KRMunson 1:30 PM  

Go Badgers!

sosumi 1:31 PM  

"Tough luck ... I don't care what you think"
Made the puzzle again!

BEE-ER 1:31 PM  

Anyone doing today's SB? Wow! I just hit Genius at 376 points, which means the Queen is 500+. I haven't checked to get the exact #. I must have at least 5 pangrams. What a ride!

Anonymous 1:49 PM  

It is unfortunate, but not really important, that the year of a movie and the year of that movie's Oscar are not the same. It obviously causes confusion but isn't worth getting upset.

bocamp 2:03 PM  

SB stuff

@RooMonster 10:59 AM / @BEE-ER 1:31 PM

Heartily agree!

Looks like we're all at approx. the same point along the path.

Good luck to you both. 👍

Peace Tolerance Kindness Togetherness 🕊

Whatsername 2:09 PM  

@mathgent (8:55) I agree with you about Charlie Wilson’s War. Good movie and great cast. You might also like Bridge of Spies if you haven’t seen it. A true story and again starring Tom Hanks in a somewhat similar role as a government negotiator. Recently read where Hanks has signed on to produce and star in the movie version of the book A Man Called Ove. Sounds promising.

@Barbara S: I wholeheartedly endorse @Nancy’s recommendation that you continue to try solving on paper. After a while, you will find that the beauty of your finished grid is every bit as satisfying as that manufactured jingle. And forget about speed, just relax and enjoy the experience. I’ve had to solve on my IPAD the past few days due to printer problems and to me, it’s very stressful and annoying. The cursor skips around to places I don’t want it to be and I’m continually having to switch back and forth or scroll to find the clue I want. I get my fill of “smart” devices bossing me around without having one tell me how to do my Crossword. It’s like Nancy said, I just feel much more in control with that paper on my clipboard. Only thing I do differently is use a nice mechanical pencil with a sharp .5 mm lead and a good eraser because I usually need it. I have not tried that Erasermate but I’m going to go buy one today,

Birchbark 2:20 PM  

From "The Elements Rage" (1965), by Frank W. Lane:

"J.R. Norman, the British ichthyologist, says there is a record of a HAILstone as large as a hen's egg which fell during a heavy storm in Essen, Germany, and that inside was a 1-1/2-in. carp. A small turtle is also said to have fallen coated with ice.

"I have not read of a bird becoming embedded in a HAILstone, but such an occurrence isn't impossible. [Nice use of the triple-negative here, as a segue to hearsay followed by speculation.] Charles F. Brooks says that during a storm at Worcester, Massachusetts, there was a fall of iced ducks. Had a very strong updraft been blowing it is possible that these ducks would have received several more layers of ice before they finally descended."

For my own part, I have not read of an LOLCAT becoming embedded in a HAILstone, but such an occurrence isn't impossible. I picture a caption that says "I hate Mondays" or the like.

Same old story 2:46 PM  

@Z 11:16 - You're either a much nicer human than I (mighty likely) and/or one of those Socialists who believe everyone should be spoon-fed everything (obviously). Your way gives everyone the answer, my way enables anyone who wants the answer get it relatively easily, but also see the answer to a multitude of other questions they likely have, or to know where they are once the questions pop up in their lives. Now apologize to me so that we can "Unite".

okanaganer 2:47 PM  

@Joe Welling 10:04am and others, way back in the 80s-90x there was indeed a "system sound" on the Macintosh called Sosumi. The story of the origin of the name is this: (full story on Wikipedia is kinda funny, involving the Beatles!)

Sosumi is an alert sound introduced by Jim Reekes in Apple Inc.'s Macintosh System 7 operating system in 1991. The name is derived from the phrase "so, sue me!" because of a long running court battle with Apple Corps, the similarly named music company, regarding the use of music in Apple Inc.'s computer products...

JC66 3:03 PM  

@Z, et al


JC66 3:06 PM  

****SB ALERT****

When there are more than 70 correct words, I quit at Genius.

CDilly52 3:11 PM  

Daniel Larsen is a personal nemesis, and I really got myself well and truly confused in the SE. everything else worked through in average Friday time but not down there. Once more hubris got the better of me.

First mistake, I was certain that MARiA rather than MARLA Gibbs appeared in The Jefferson’s. Would have bet the farm and lost. Next, my struggle with High School chemistry, and my absolute belief that because I had nailed Mr. Larsen’s clever misdirect and figured out that the “non-team player” was not a BALL HOG but a BAiL dOG had me certain I was done, but instead got the “so close” rather than the happy music. Grrrrrr.

In retrospect, I think my mess is much funnier than LOL CATS, but you be the judge. So, I have confessed my MARiA/MARLA error, and absolute belief in same. Next comes the dOT DATE chemistry test.

Dr. Ray McKinty, who should, by his death have been Saint Dr. Mac, is the only reason I passed high school chemistry. And with a B-minus. It was a gift just because I tried. My lab partner, Jerry H, was as chem challenged as I but we muddled through. Sad thing is I didn’t retain much. For example, I know that Carbon Dating is a test, why couldn’t a dOT DATE process test something? Could be reported on a dot matrix printer? Hell, what do I know? (Maybe don’t answer that, friends.). Makes as much sense as other things that happened in chemistry (to me anyway).

OK, I have explained and confessed my hubris that led me to believe in the MARiA rather than MARLA answer as well as the dOT DATE rather than a HOT DATE. But what in the XW Universe you ask, does a BAiL dOG have to do with being a team player (or not)? Easily justified if one is always challenged by a XW constructor’s cleverness and facility with misdirection. Mr. Larsen is that person for me. Always tough but I rejoice when I successfully conquer one of his puzzles. As I expected to do today. But no.

So, we need someone in a team who isn’t a team player and we have lots of letters: BA_L _OG. What kind of teams exist other than sports teams? That’s just way too easy for Larson. Has to be some other kind of team. Hmmmm, what words would fit, ooh BAiL something. And here we go down the rabbit hole of belief in misdirection when none exists.

Anyone recall the ridiculous reality TV show about a bail bondsman/bounty hunter who called himself “Dog”? Horrible show. Guy who wants to preen to a camera and get his excitement from stealing the show to arrest fugitives from justice, through various outlandish schemes that certainly made “Dog” the star of his own epic scenes. He had a business team and a production team yet always seemed to need to be in the forefront of everything. Not a team player. AHA!!! that bail bondsman on tv, says self! Oh you clever constructor, Mr. L, deep deep misdirect, but I got it!!! BAiL dOG.! Oh the cleverness of me as Peter Pan would say. Not.

So there it is, my crazy justification for silly answers the product of pure hubris. Well, I finally figured it out, got my happy music, and a really good laugh at Self. Funnier than LOL CATS?

Excellent Friday, Mr. Larsen, tough but certainly entertaining.

Masked and Anonymous 3:18 PM  

Wow … different. The only 4 word lengths in this puz were 3, 4, 5, and 7. Runtpuzs often have a tad more length variety. They're sorta Heinz-57-type pups. [Not so much today, tho.]

staff weeject pick MAS. The {Attachment to Christ?} clue was a bit, well, … puzzlin. Do PAS ever also get to have such holy connections?

fave 007-sparklers, due to odd-lookin letter combos, mostly: HOMEGYM. ALOHAOE. ROYALWE. PHO-TOOP. PSYCHED. [Odd always appeals to the M&A.]
fave other-sized one: NAIAD. Lil M&A first learned this word when he found it as a Jumble puz word, back in the 50's. Really stuck in the M&A brainpan, ever since.

Difficulty-wise, I'd vote for "Medium Think", kinda like @RP.

Thanx for includin 3's in the length lineup, Mr. Larsen. Cute puzgrid design … depictin a GRENADE explosion, perhaps?

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Anonymous 3:27 PM  

@Same old story:

you shur do sound like one of those failed conservative Social Darwinists of which I spoke earlier. your way has only given us the most unequal society and economy since the roaring 20s, and before that, much of the 19th century. almost all of the tech, and other, progress has happened since FDR attended to all of the USofA population, not just the Rich. and, by the way, if not for FDR and his many programs, the South would still be mired in rural poverty through and through. FDR gave them (you?) electricity, clean water, clean sewerage, some level of employment. what the Social Darwinists have refused to acknowledge is that for Capitalists to survive, the 99% have to have the wherewithall to buy the stuff produced. the 1% don't buy much with all that excess moolah except stocks and bonds. you can't eat or drive or live in or play with them.

albatross shell 4:32 PM  

@anonymous 837am
"Why does Short do this?"
Repeat clues, answers or reverse them. I think mostly does it for one or two reasons:
1. To reward everyday solvers with faster times or an easier puzzle.
2. To teach us new stuff by repeating it 2 or 3 ties so that when it reappears in 2 to 6 months we might still know it. Did pre-Short editors also do it? No idea.

Glad to find that I was not the only one who never heard of LOLCATS. I, cleverly I thought, put in LOLCuTe thinking of baby animal video clips. Gave me utES for sign language users. But the apple plug proved unworkable. MOTTS is another apple plug.

@whoever this makes sense to.
Like The OSU, there is only one The Public Enemy: James Cagney. Elvis connection???

ORYX not OREX. Typo?

@Z, frantic
I prefer the word WRY to the word RYE. I prefer the drink and the bread to the town. As a town, the answer RYE is merely a niggling natick-in-waiting. But in this vein, if 38D needed a plural answer and we were not limited to 7 letters, we could have had EARLOBOPODE.
Also find any symmetrical quartet of answers that match.

I do not know if I would like mirror symmetry(+or not) if most puzzles had it, but I always seem to enjoy it when it shows up.

ARGOT was dandy. AGONIST was a mystery.

HOTDATE clue was perfect to me. He or she is attractive and you have date to test whether the chemistry between you produces a strong "reaction".

bigsteve46 4:39 PM  

If you've got to be 21 to get a drink in this country, you should be at least that old to submit a crossword puzzle to the NYT. There was some other 12 year-old (or thereabouts) whiz kid with puzzles a few years ago and he drove me nuts, too. I guess you can tell by my grumpiness that this one stumped me (in a couple of spots, anyway.) How about a few golden-ager puzzles for the future. Anyway, a 17 year-old ought to have something more exciting to do than create crossword puzzles. Anyway - its happy hour here in lower Westchester County, NY: skol!!

Z 4:47 PM  

@SOS - My reason was based on pure self-interest. Experience here suggests that just pointing to the FAQ will not result in people actually going there and so we would have ended up all suffering from a prodigious plethora of petty bickering. The sole reason I put 16A in hot link blue was to save myself from the pain of skipping numerous comments.

@Barbara S - As much as I think everyone should solve the way god intended, on paper with pen, I would feel guilty if I didn’t mention that most computing devices have a night time setting now. My iMac screen inverts, black screen with white print. My iPad dims and gets less blue, more yellow. I suspect your computer can do something similar.

@Jim - D4 symmetry? Dihedral Symmetry? And, uh, you have a different definition of “succinct” than I do. And, sure, applying mathematical terms to grids is fine, but you may have noticed that coming up with sloppy new terms is something we enjoy doing here.

@egs - C’mon man. You’re not going to find many bigger Michigan homers than me and even I guffawed at the clue. Picking one of those bowls at random I discovered that there were exactly 5 Silicon Valley Classics and the participants were Fresno State (4 times), Air Force, Georgia Tech, UCLA, Northern Illinois, Troy, and MSU. Now against that group MSU looks like a football powerhouse, but an actual football powerhouse doesn’t need to accept a bid to the Silicon Valley Classic.

Guilherme Gama 5:08 PM  

They could keep LOLCATS but change the cluing to "onetime internet meme" or something

pabloinnh 5:13 PM  

****Baseball alert****

I grew up in a small town in upstate NY that didn't have a black person living within ten miles of me, but somehow I became a Milwaukee Braves fHank Aaron was my favorite player. When I was ten they won the World Series and as he approached the Babe's record I began to become aware of the hell he was going through, not that you would know it from his on the field demeanor. Still the all time HR leader in my book, and an example for all of us.

RIP Hammerin' Hank. Thanks for the memories.

Diane Joan 5:50 PM  

I was thrown by "haj". Always thought it was "hajj" but I looked it up and apparently in English it can be shortened to "haj". Learned something new today via the puzzle. Thank you Daniel Larsen, and, of course, Rex and bloggers.

Barbara S. 5:58 PM  

@Nancy (12:01 PM), @Whatsername (2:09 PM), @Z (4:47 PM)
Encouragement re solving on paper much appreciated, but now I have a dilemma. Thanks to @Z, I did find the tablet setting that inverts the screen. It turns the crossword puzzle into a near-psychedelic experience with the black squares white, the white squares black, the letters light blue, the highlighting either dark blue or dark brown, and the square you're on light brown. Far out, man. So now what do I do: solve as if on LSD, or print out the puzzle each night? Hmm.

Oh -- just looked at this comments screen in night mode. Some people's avatars look fine, some look strange but cool, and some are unreadable. Emojis look demonic.

What? 6:03 PM  


72 words. 29 black squares

Lots of places to look up 7 letter words. Scrabble for one and here you can specify letter combinations and positions -begins, ends, contains. In addition, I have a book titled “The New York Times Crossword Answer Book”, listing words that have appeared in crosswords, and by size (up to 7 - how convenient). Time to get to work!

Unknown 7:12 PM  

bruno mars grenade

A Moderator 7:54 PM  

***SB ALERT***


No spoilers. please.

Go to NYbee to find everything SB.

bocamp 7:58 PM  

SB stuff

npg -3

Peace Tolerance Kindness Togetherness 🕊

Nancy 9:24 PM  

@Barbara S. -- I can't imagine how doing a crossword puzzle "as if on LSD" could possibly be sleep-inducing. I mean, yes, that supposedly harmful blue light that interferes with sleep will be gone, but what's taking its place sounds extremely...stimulating. I'm prone to insomnia too, and I can't imagine a screen more likely to keeping me awake than the one you describe. Or to give me nightmares if I do go back to sleep.

Stay with pen and paper. You'll grow to love it, Barbara -- truly you will. Have I ever lied to you?

benny boy 1:36 AM  

To clarify, I said “hash symbol”, not “hash”. Agreed that no one calls it just “hash”.

However – you say that “one of the octothorp’s many names is HASH TAG”. And yet, even the link you provided defines a hash tag as “a searchable keyword or sequence of characters prefixed with the pound sign (#)” – which is exactly what I said. The hash tag is the full string, not the octothorp itself. This is widely agreed upon as far as I know.

Not the main point, but interesting nonetheless: while no one would call it “a hash”, in programming, you pronounce the symbol that way. For example, the text “#!/usr/bin/python” at the start of file would be pronounced “hash bang user bin python”.

thefogman 12:24 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Burma Shave 12:29 PM  


my tongue LOCATOR is PSYCHED to probe,
on this HOTDATE, HEADSUP, kiss her jaw,
SHOOT, I’ll GETLOST and find her EARLOBE.


thefogman 12:33 PM  

DNF because of one error. I had NAyAD for 27A. A “Y” instead of a “I.” Rex also had a “I” instead of a “Y” for 35A. Cue the theme music from The Twitilight Zone...

rainforest 1:26 PM  

This was one of those puzzles that just fell together for me. I think the key entry was SLUMDOG, a bit of guessing involved, but it was a bridge from the NW to the NE which was the easiest part of the puzzle. SUE ME has been ubiquitous lately, and I'd seen LOLCATS before.

Toughest puzzle of the week, so far, but very enjoyable.

spacecraft 3:30 PM  

Impressive-looking grid with all those wide-open corners. Started with the {Nick} NOLTE/NSYNC/CYLON arch and spread out from there. Had quite a time with the _LW_ combo till I hit on the ROYALWE, a major aha! moment. The solution came not without a few mistakes, all fortunately corrected: I had my ERNURSE working in the OR, my IPADPRO was a mAc, and the ORYX was an ibeX.

Normally I wouldn't get near anything related to our erstwhile "Agent Orange," but I'll make an exception for DOD MARLA Maples. Wonder whatever became of her?

I make this a typical Friday puzzle with average difficulty. It breathes. Nicely done; birdie.

leftcoaster 4:14 PM  

Neatest grid and puzzle of the week -- but with a couple of spoilers:

The CATS in LOLCATS and dAL instead of the vaguely familiar Congresswoman, VAL Demmings. (As for the V, spouse had to show me a TRIVET sitting in plain sight.)


Diana, LIW 5:31 PM  

I did get most of it. How could I miss the LOL CATS? Oy.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana, LIW 5:33 PM  

PS - My neighbor is an ER NURSE. He is one of the true heroes!

Lady Di

wcutler 12:07 AM  

My favourite part of today's read was @Rex's comment:
"... it did make me think there was a very important guy working in the hospital named ERNESTO".

And it was funny @Lewis's commenting about how young Daniel looks in his photo. Lewis looks relatively younger in his photo in comparison to his own age (based on things he's said).

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