Fruits that are the basis of Marillenschnaps / FRI 1-15-21 / Fashion designer's portfolio / Ferrari alternative slangily / Percussion in some folk music that may be improvised / Model Boyd who inspired songs Layla Wonderful Tonight / Topic in property law colloquially / Bottom of an interrobang

Friday, January 15, 2021

Constructor: Josh Knapp

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium ("Medium" only because I had some trouble getting those central Acrosses)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: EGO DEATH (48A: Complete loss of self-identity) —

Ego death is a "complete loss of subjective self-identity". The term is used in various intertwined contexts, with related meanings. In Jungian psychology, the synonymous term psychic death is used, which refers to a fundamental transformation of the psyche. In death and rebirth mythology, ego death is a phase of self-surrender and transition, as described by Joseph Campbell in his research on the mythology of the Hero's Journey.It is a recurrent theme in world mythology and is also used as a metaphor in some strands of contemporary western thinking.

In descriptions of psychedelic experiences, the term is used synonymously with ego-loss to refer to (temporary) loss of one's sense of self due to the use of psychedelics. The term was used as such by Timothy Leary et al. to describe the death of the ego in the first phase of an LSD trip, in which a "complete transcendence" of the self occurs. The concept is also used in contemporary spirituality and in the modern understanding of Eastern religions to describe a permanent loss of "attachment to a separate sense of self" and self-centeredness. This conception is an influential part of Eckhart Tolle's teachings, where Ego is presented as an accumulation of thoughts and emotions, continuously identified with, which creates the idea and feeling of being a separate entity from one's self, and only by disidentifying one's consciousness from it can one truly be free from suffering (in the Buddhist meaning). (wikipedia)

• • •

This one got better as I went along, and there were a few genuinely good surprises along the way. It was also mostly easy, with the only thing putting the brakes on my solve being the structure of the grid, i.e. how sequestered the NW corner is. I finished up in the NW fairly quickly, but there's just that little exit at the bottom of that corner, and STO- and ST- were no help to me in getting those first two long Acrosses. Thought STO- was gonna be STOOD ... OUT ... somehow. No idea what ST- could be. First passes at the adjacent short Downs (LAMBO, FERAL) yielded nothing, so I had to jump down to the SW and reboot. Luckily, this wasn't hard. FABLE FORGOT POLO POEMS. Swung around to the middle of the grid and got RIGHTS ... but had no idea what kind of RIGHTS (7D: Topic in property law, colloquially). This was now the second time I was thwarted by the center of the grid. No help, stalled progress. So I took hacks at the shorter Downs in the middle. Got MOSHE and (despite its tricky clue) SHIFTS (27D: Uses a manual, say), and the adjacent "FH" there was on its own enough for me to be able to see MAIDS OF HONOR. Things sped up from there. Once middle came into view, SQUATTERS was easy, and the "Q" made "QUEER EYE" easy (actually, that would've been a gimme without the "Q") (16A: Hit Netflix reboot starring the Fab Five), so the NE didn't put up much of a fight. Finished in the SE, which was the easiest section by far. It's just as sequestered as the NW corner (what w/ grid symmetry and all), but having the first letters on the long Downs *really* helped. Got LOOKBOOK off just the "LO" (34D: Fashion designer's portfolio) and RESORTS off the "R," then all the short Acrosses, one after the other, then JEAN and MCS and done. Finished that corner so FAST I surprised myself. So overall, more easy than hard, but the middle of the grid gave me enough trouble to keep it from being too much of a walk in the park. 

Once again, I tripped right out of the starting gate. Went with UMPIRE / ROOD instead of BATBOY / ONUS. And I thought I was so cute getting ROOD so easily, ugh (5D: Cross to bear). This is the kind of error you make when you teach Old English poetry (see "The Dream of the Rood"). Luckily YEP got me out of that error pretty quickly. Forgot Julie BOWEN's last name, so that was the toughest thing up there by far. In fact, as is fairly typical, it's the proper nouns that provided the most significant barriers along the way. For me, today, BOWEN and LAMBO (30D: Ferrari alternative, slangily) and TYRONE (13D: County in Northern Ireland) were the ones that took a lot of hacking to get at. I forgot that anyone called a Lamborghini ... that. And the only TYRONE I know is Power. But at least it was it was a recognizable (presumably Irish) name. The only answer to make me screw up my face resistantly was SPOONS (31D: Percussion in some folk music that may be improvised). This is one of those clues that takes me farther from the actual answer the more it goes on. Can't any instrument be "improvised"? SPOONS aren't part of any "folk music" I've listened to, but ... yeah they are a percussion instrument. Just couldn't get there from the clue. 

The grid overall is remarkably solid. Really enjoyed seeing THE ROBOT, EGO DEATH, and SQUATTERS' RIGHTS. Nothing particularly tricky in the cluing today. Smiled when I got USED CARS (18A: There's a lot of them for sale). Just a nice-lookin' puzzle, honestly.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Dale Gribble 6:12 AM  

"Outre" was the gold star of the puzzle for me. Great word, great clue.

puzzlehoarder 6:32 AM  

I've learned that there's no Y in the word mohel but that didn't stop me from putting in MOYSE at 28D. It didn't look right even to myself. Initially I thought that was due to the S being ahead of the Y. That helped me to come up with PISTOL. Only when HONOR took shape did I learn full extent of my mistake.

Otherwise it was smooth sailing with just enough resistance to feel late week. The quality of the material enhanced the solve.

The NE corner was a little bit of a flashback to last week's Saturday but not too much.

Lewis 6:34 AM  

It was like the STARTER PISTOL went off, and I flew like a FAST METEOR through this, feeling FERAL – and for Friday, that is an OUTRE experience for me. Kazaam! An anti-EGODEATH. That CARROT kept leading me on, and GOB by GOB, I STOLE THE SHOW. Highly unusual, and, to use an answer from yesterday, a BLAST.

Some terrific answers – SCHMALTZ, STOLE THE SHOW, CUSHY, SQUATTERSRIGHTS, OUTRE. Some terrific clues – For IPHONE, HENS, HEEL, FAST, USED CARS,, and especially MAIDS OF HONOR and POEMS. I never heard of LOOKBOOK or EGODEATH, but love them both and will remember and try to use them.

Two heartwarming answers, SPOONS and STEPDADS. Regarding the former, have you ever heard a really good spoon player, where every click is crisp and in perfect rhythm? It is heavenly. Abby, who is in Rex's video, and who I’ve heard in person often and is a marvel -- give her a listen! Regarding the latter, I’ve been a stepdad to two, who I met at 5 and 7 and are now 43 and 45, and who are simply immeasurable gifts to my life.

This puzzle was a lift in so many ways. Thank you greatly, Josh!

!+? 6:57 AM  

My word of the day is from the 21A clue. Interrobang. After I solved I googled to see what it is. I love it and wish it were part of English punctuation.

Frantic Sloth 7:03 AM  

@Anoa Bob from last night - I agree. Falsus Rebus is much better. Let's keep it all in the same language! Duh. πŸ˜‰

Today's puzzle is nothing but good news. Took me a little longer than my average Fridee without frustrating me. A fine line to walk and it did it beautifully.

Pangram! And managed without the usual scrabble-copulation. I like when that happens.

EGODEATH is a term not often seen by the average bear. I like it. It belongs in this grid.

Nice longs, a shiny grid-spanner, and no rubbish to grouse about.

That's a shame. πŸ˜‰


Loren Muse Smith 7:18 AM  

So much to love here. Wowsers. I had never heard of EGO DEATH. I looked into it, and it seems that actually some people seek this out through LSD. Hmm. I’d rather repurpose the expression to describe the experience of being knocked off your pedestal by being caught (ON CAMERA?) doing something stupid. Like walking into a room dragging a length of toilet paper stuck to your shoe. Teaching a class not knowing your fly is down. (Saying γγ‚…γ†γ‚Š instead of γγ‚…γ†γ‚Šγ‚‡γ† during an interview with a potential Japanese TA, so that my helpful contribution was to remind everyone that we hadn’t discussed her cucumber yet. My EGO died a quick and decisive DEATH that day.)

First entry was DOT because what’s not to love about the interrobang?!

LOOK BOOK. I know this phrase from Erika Girardi (Real Housewife of Beverly Hills), whose glam squad assembled a LOOK BOOK before any trip. So Erika could flip through the little magazine-type dealie and see the outfits they would be packing for her. Can you imagine? I try to envision outfits to pack for a trip, but the ideas are vague and not well thought-out.

BIG WIG – another rhyme entry. I like rhymey phrases and usually wonder if the rhyme is deliberate or serendipitous. Shop till you drop, brain drain, chick flick, Piggly Wiggly. . . Ok, Piggly Wiggly is definitely deliberate. Our local store just changed hands and is now a Piggly Wiggly that our farm manager calls Piggy Wigs, and I can’t tell if he’s just messin’ with me or if he’s being serious.

Love the show QUEER EYE. Love it. Yeah, yeah, it gets SCHMALTZy a little, but it’s so sweet. And how can a Hallmark movie devotee gripe about SCHMALTZ anywhere?

My son is getting married next year, and we’ve been talking about the father/daughter dance. A SCHMALTZ waltz. Hah.

My biggest take-away this morning is thinking about the difference between a kneeler and a SQUATTER. I guess it mainly involves which body parts touch the ground. If you’re kneeling, at least one knee is on the ground and you’re doing something cool. If you’re squatting, only your feet are touching the ground and you probably need a bit of privacy.

PS - @Dale Gribble – I nominate the clue for MAIDS OF HONOR as the star today.

ncmathsadist 7:21 AM  

wtf on 19A? WIRES???

Ryan 7:22 AM  

My initial answer for EGO DEATH, TRUMPISM, was sadly incorrect.

ChuckD 7:26 AM  

Nearly ideal themeless. Elegant worldplay and little to no pop culture names or things. Clue for MAIDS OF HONOR was fantastic. Liked all of the longs especially THE ROBOT and LOOK BOOK. Didn’t know Sophie DAHL - little side eye to the plural. Go to a Jewish market in Brooklyn and you’ll get a tub of chicken fat when you say SCHMALTZ.

My mother was from Dingle - there’s a chance she would not have even filled in TYRONE.

Just a great puzzle all around - not sure this will be bested.

pabloinnh 7:27 AM  

I liked this more than OFL, as usual, but for once that means I liked it a lot, because even OFL was pretty pleased by it. This is the kind of xword that keeps you smiling as you go along. The 1A "Ballpark figure" could have been lots and lots of things, so I started with SCHMALTZ and ZESTS and proceeded apace, with just enough gimmees to make the long answers evident. Add some fun cluing to all this and you get a terrific Friday.

Agree with @Lewis about SPOON players. We had a pro show up at our little pub hootenanny one night and he was just great. There's something else that will make you smile.

No clue about Julie BOWEN, and I've never heard LAMBO or LOOKBOOK, so learned something, always a good thing. I wish a few people I can think of would grasp the concept of EGODEATH and employ it. The world would be a better place.

Very nicely done indeed, JK. This was a great start to a Friday morning, for which many thanks, and please accept your Fridazo prize as a token of my appreciation.

TokyoRacer 7:35 AM  

My life is immeasurably better now that I am aware of the Spoon Lady. Thank you.

lpkatzen 7:47 AM  

Re: Marillenschnaps -- apricots are marillen in Austria but aprikosen in Germany. Not surprisingly, marillenschnaps is from Austria.

Richard 8:12 AM  

Ain’t no wires on my desk nor sticks in my s’mores

Hungry Mother 8:16 AM  

Nice one! Very good challenge and well worth my time. Fun getting the long ones and figuring out the short ones.

Barbara S. 8:16 AM  

@TTrimble (4:14 PM, yesterday)

Sorry for seeming to bail on you yesterday. We mysteriously lost our internet connection in the late afternoon and then just as mysteriously regained it overnight. Ain’t technology grand? Anyway, to answer your question, check out this discussion from The Open University. It provides a fairly in-depth examination of a number of examples. And one of the interesting things about it is that it doesn't accept the "moral theory" of Dutch painting without question, but asks you to think and consider the issue from various points of view.

JD 8:17 AM  

Approached the NW corner as my nemesis. Saw Ball Park Figure and thought, "I got your number pal! Hot Dog!" Dumped that soon after getting Onus and Yep and then threw in enough stuff during the stroll to the south to circle back north and get Squatters Rights, which led to Queer Eye and the fun aha moment Used Cars.

A little problem with Moshe because somewhere in my life I threw an I in there for Moishe. Again, quickly disabused by the crosses.

I did this a the warp speed of under 25 minutes w/none of the usual typos to hunt down. It would've been an excellent themeless Wednesday.

bocamp 8:21 AM  

Thank you, @Josh, for the snappy Friday puz. Lots of crunch! :)

Easy solve; very much on my wavelength.

Only one card in my "iPhone" Wallet: Starbucks. Haven't visited them for a couple of years. Used Apple Watch for payment, which was novel at the time.

Never owned a new one; all "used cars". Now the bus is my mode of transportation. I'll be sorely tempted in 2024 if and when the Apple/Hyundai comes out. Pretty sure I'll be able to resist, tho. LOL

The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Madame Badobedah - Q&A with Sophie "Dahl"

Roald "Dahl" ~ Fantastic Mr. Fox


Peace Tolerance Kindness Togetherness πŸ•Š

Z 8:29 AM  

This puzzle got off to an inauspicious start. Not one but two APP™️ clues in the NW (that’s Apple Product Placement clues) plus the “which decade is this” clue for WIRES. Unlike Rex, when I stalled trying to escape the NW I jumped over to the NE. QUEER EYE was indeed automatic and USED CARS nearly so, so equally easy but better because it’s anchored by regular old PPP and not APP. MOSHE again raised the “which decade is this” specter, but how many crossworthy MOSHEs are there, so that’s at least understandable. Nothing especially remarkable in the south, although I did waste a precious nanosecond or two to wonder if they really yell “action” on MOVIE SETs. Seems a tad bit emotive when “begin” or “start” or even “let’s go” would do just as well.

This is a solid Friday. Maybe go with religion on the ICON clue and something non-Western Uniony for WIRES, but otherwise no real complaints.

Eric NC 8:29 AM  

@rex. Thanks for the Spoon Lady. Good start to my day

Edward 8:37 AM  

Big fan of Abby the Spoon Lady so very pleasantly surprised to see her in your post. Also pleasantly surprised that my German studies allowed me to get APRICOTS straight away.

Frayed Knot 8:43 AM  

Best puzzle in ages.
If you've never seen or heard the Spoon Lady watch the video. What a treat!

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

Regarding the SPOONS video, is it considered cultural appropriation or offensive for musicians who look they they stepped right out of Flatbush, Brooklyn to dress as 'hillbillies' and record their citified versions of 'mountain music'?

Joe Welling 8:52 AM  

I wanted WIPES instead of WIRES to reflect disinfecting efforts at the home office during the pandemic.

Is there such a thing as a singular S'MORE?

RooMonster 8:58 AM  

Hey All !
Apparently this was an easy puz for the "experienced" solver. I put experienced in quotes, because, although I can get some of these puzs solved fast, I really don't consider myself experienced in All Puzzledom, as I usually just do the NYTXW. Occasionally I'll do the Puns and Anagrams, which usually has me at sea, so much so, I usually cheat my way through. I'll do an occasional Cryptic now and again, but I'm always using Check Puzzle on that, and back and forth twixt quote and clues about a zillion times, with no compunction of cheating.

All that to say, I felt like USAIN BOLT doing this puz. Timer says I finished (error-free, mind you!) 10 seconds under 14 minutes. Wowsers. That's 24 seconds more than my Record for a FriPuz. So, close. Normal time average is 33 minutes. (The NYT puzapp tracks all this, whether you want it to or not.) So yes, easy. :-)

Solve went SW, NW, NE, Center, SE. Favorite clue was Shower heads for MAIDSOFHONOR. Har, good stuff. For 16A, Fab Five clue, thought "NetFlix has a new show about the Beatles?", but then realized they were the Fab Four. Throwing an extra member into the band.

@Frantic mentioned the Pangram. Funny, I didn't realize it or see it. That's the mark of a great Pangram, subtlety, not cramming all your "scrabbly" letters in one area. Heck, Rex didn't even make one peep about it.

Had the STAR start to 32A, and put in STARatheletes, but quickly decided that couldn't be it, because 1) the clue has "fired up" in it, which is a clue that it would be something related to that, and 2) it is a SatPuz, after all, too straightforward of an answer. Never saw MOSHE, filled in from crosses. Good thing, too, unknown to me.

Wasn't there a BATBOY sometime in Batman? Original TV show, all the various movies? Maybe?

Liked the interrobang clue. That was one of the learned-from-doing-puzs things. INTERROBANG was an answer in the NYTXW a while ago, and such a cool word, actually stuck in the ole brain. Now, That's tough to do!

Never owned a LAMBO, cause I ain't the rich folk. Har. See plenty of them here in Las Vegas (well, I did, but since COVID and hardly a drop of work, don't get down to The Strip often enough now.) (Yes, as locals, you don't hang out at The Strip, like NYers don't hang out in Times Square.) Anyway, the mid 1990's Diablo would be the one I would get if having the funds. They are sleeker looking than the new ones, even though they are still priced basically the same as the new ones! Holds it's value. Not like my 1970 Hornet!

Three F's

mmorgan 9:01 AM  

I am with those who had a real problem with WIRES. I also had mOB for Mass. GOB?!? Except for those two things, this was great!

Total Novice 9:01 AM  

I was flying along until my longshot long guesses gummed up the works and stalled me for longer than I care to say:


Well, they didn’t seem so out there when I filled them in, and the STAR in particular seemed to catch the ‘fire’ of the clue. It’s amazing what knots you can twist yourself, and the grid, into, before groping towards the light...

Z 9:05 AM  

@Richard - Are you making your S’MORES in a microwave? Because if you’re making them the way god intended you are sticking a stick into that sticky marshmallow to hold it over the campfire.

@Barbara S - I don’t have time to read your link so maybe it shares really good reasons to question the “Moral Theory,” but be serious here, we’re talking the Netherlands in the age of John Calvin. Everything was filtered through a lense of morality.

@Jet fans - Hey! Your new coach was one of my students. Well, one of 1,600 and I was responsible for 9th graders not seniors, but still. A lot of Dearbornites are disappointed that the Jets hired him instead of the Lions. I realize that there are only 32 of these jobs so you take one when it is offered, but mediocrity would be an improvement for both clubs so I wish the guy good luck. He’s going to need it.

If you go to the Wikipedia page for the ‽ you can copy the glyph.

Rube 9:12 AM  

Hard for me which is good. As an anti apple product person, tho, for me, ICON and IPHONE were not obvious. It also did not help that I threw in DETROITPISTON . Notice that R fits.

Oh well. Nice challenge today.

@lorenmusesmith. Mazel tov on upcoming nuptials but schmaltz and waltz do not rhyme. The a in schmaltz is a short O sound.

Ann Howell 9:20 AM  

Very solid themeless - loved it! Got a kick out of "LAMBO", as my 12 year-old nephew is obsessed with them at the moment :)

Doorboy 9:20 AM  

The SE was the hardest for me. I had “slink” instead of SNEAK, and couldn’t get JEAN, which held me up forever. Getting that part probably took me as long as the rest of the puzzle.

Nancy 9:24 AM  

Some really terrific cluing, combined with lively, imaginative fill, made this one a winner for me. I was sorry when it was over.

I especially liked the clues for STARTER PISTOL; USED CARS; CARROT; SHIFTS; and POEMS. As for answers: SQUATTERS RIGHTS and EGO DEATH are particularly nice. (Perhaps what our narcissistic, self-absorbed world needs right now is a little more EGO DEATH.)

I've never heard of a dance called THE ROBOT, but, yes, I should think the movements would be a little jerky. I've also never heard of a LOOKBOOK, but maybe I haven't watched quite enough QUEER EYE. (Haven't seen that show around in a while; it used to be something of a guilty pleasure.)

The only thing I didn't like about this puzzle was the clue for OUTRE. It means outrageous, exaggerated, over-the-top, way ahead of its time. You can clue it as "out there", but I don't think it's something that's "written" anywhere and certainly not in the stars.

I found this a very engrossing and entertaining puzzle. I did feel the whole time that I was on this constructor's wavelength. But in order to feel that way, I can't feel that the puzzle is easy; only that I'm on his wavelength and that other solvers, poor things, may not be :)

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

You can just feel Rex’s pain when he can’t bring himself to say the puzzle is a piece of trash

albatross shell 9:34 AM  

ZESTful near-pangram (no X) Friday. The long trio in the center crossing SQUATTERSRIGHTS made a wonderful central core. SHIFTS I managed to think of quite quickly. Took a long time to confirm it. I had slowest solve in the SE. Thinking Oxen was a great answer for symbols of strength, and there was an etoN jacket, and if oxen were wrong then eerie was really weird, and forgetting COE, and blanking on the obvious CARROT, and not knowing LOOKBOOK all made for a mighty tangle to undo.

POEMS that often rhyme where you might expect rimes to be. Many surprises all through this one.

Excellent fill except for the POC sensitive.

RAD2626 9:35 AM  

Terrific puzzle. Great cluing and long entries. NW killed me. Had messy fIlEs on my desk which gave me BIG fIsH and THE limbo Which took a while to sort out. But definitely worth it. METEOR clue makes up for XXXL fat shaming. Rochester Jumbo and Tall. Doesn’t have a nice ring.

Grown-Up Autistic Kid 9:38 AM  

SE also (by design, duh) sequestered and my only slowdown on this medium-challenging Wednesday puzzle.

I want my Friday!

ChuckD 9:41 AM  

@Z - very cool. He comes highly recommended - I just don’t know if his rah rah energy will translate well to the NY media.

bagelboy 9:47 AM  

Also had DRAIN for DEATH, WIPES for WIRES. Both easy fixes. Slowest part upper right, even though I knew QUEEREYE.

Charles Flaster 9:48 AM  

Really enjoyable with some great cluing for:
USED CARS( loved the hidden “lots” )

Back in the fifties we knew the names of the BATBOYs for Giants, Dodgers, Yankees. They were celebrities too.
No longer.
Beautiful puzzle.
Thanks JK

57stratocaster 9:48 AM  

Liked it a lot. Faster than average time, but not too easy. My coffee is still warm.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Pangram? No "X".

Steve M 9:58 AM  

Top flight

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

It’s a bit of a stretch, isn’t it?

Unknown 10:02 AM  

I've heard of a STARTGUN, but never STARTERPISTOL.
And I've competed in, and officiated at, numerous track meets.
Not saying it's not a thing, but that it's pretty rare.

Only eight 3-letter answers. I don't track this sort of thing, but it feels like it's on the low end.

Just once I'd like to hear rex say that this was a wonderful puzzle.
Because today's truly was wonderful.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

I got SPOONS with the SP - and the clue is perfect. The reason it's "improvised" is because it's the one instrument that never, ever has a sheet music score to play from. It's up to the performer to improvise his/her part, every time.

burtonkd 10:05 AM  

@Z - don't you have more wire clutter than ever? I sure do.

@anon 8:44, if it is appropriation, that has been the situation since the beginning of the popularization of “hillbilly” music, as well documented in Ken Burns’ country music doc series. The music used nostalgia to peddle goat testicles as a cure for male impotence, among other things. This brand cynical hucksterism certainly has a long tradition in the US of A.
The spoon lady’s dental condition doesn’t speak of a modern Brooklynite.

Oh yeah, liked the puzzle. I had no traction in NW at all, but it eventually worked out.

Nancy 10:08 AM  

@Barbara S (8:16) -- Thanks for the link to the very interesting interpretations of 17th-century Dutch paintings.

Boy, those Dutch men and women sure knew how to take the joy out of absolutely everything, didn't they?

Right now I'm getting down on bended knees and giving thanks that I did not live in 17th-century Holland. Admittedly, this is harder to do in late 2020 - early 2021 America than it would have been, say, just six years ago. But after weighing all the pros and cons, I have to say that 17th-century Holland -- apparently so strict, joyless, pious, moralistic and humorless -- would have been an exceedingly bad "fit" for me.

TJS 10:14 AM  

Excellent Friday challenge. Great way to start the day. Gotta check out the Spoon Lady after reading the comments above.

Elaine 10:16 AM  

Office desk clutter?

Swagomatic 10:26 AM  

Enjoyable, but very tough for me. I was +30 on my average time.

CT2Napa 10:27 AM  

@Nancy 9:24

I think you read the wrong clue for 43D.

A2JD 10:32 AM  

Who else always goes to the iconic Michigan basketball team of the 90’s when given Fab Five as a clue?

jae 10:37 AM  

Easy. Putting in SCHMALTZ with no crosses helped. Solid with some sparkle, liked it a bunch!...and Jeff at xwordinfo gave it POW.

Saturday Stumper comment (no spoilers):

For those of you mourning the demise of The Saturday Stumper you might want to give Club 72 a try. It’s a freestyle crossword that Tim Croce puts out every Tuesday. I did his Freestyle Puzzle #579 last weekend after discovering that the Stumper was now just a themeless and after reading comments on Amy’s Crossword Fiend blog about Croce’s puzzle site. My initial feeling when I started it was “no way I can finish this.” Four days later after putting it down and picking it back up numerous times I did finish. It was diabolical in places and I might have been a tad lucky, but it felt great to do it. As always, your milage may very.

CT2Napa 10:41 AM  

Office desk - wires?

power cable for laptop
HDMI cable from laptop to big screen
power cable for big screen
USB cable to printer
desk phone line out
desk phone handset cord (often twisted and knotted up)
charging cord for cell phone
charging cable for iPad
pencil sharpener?

Joe Dipinto 10:46 AM  

Abby the Spoon Lady, Hubie the Fork Dude.

Carola 10:50 AM  

My word of the day is an emphatic YEP, to agree with all of the praise for this puzzle's terrific entries, clever clues, and just-right-for-Friday difficulty. For me the solve was like a reversed S'MORE: softer on the top and bottom, crunchy in the center; I also got burned a little in the NW, with BIG fish x messy desk files. I liked the parallel MAID OF HONOR and STOLE THE SHOW (= recipe for an unhappy bride).

GILL I. 10:52 AM  

Holy little ant hills. You found this easy? You know interrobang, Marillenshnaps and some game played on bicycles and elephants? I dance, I like to dance but THE ROBOT? And holy crickets, that Spoon Lady looks like she could use a JUMBO CARROT.
Where did I go wrong? I'll start with.....everywhere. I just could not get on this puzzles QUEER EYE. least I got that one. Remember "Father Knows Fish?" So I sat and sat and did my Friday laundry. Come back....sift, sift, pour another little glass of wine.....
So MAIDS OF HONOR are shower heads? And Baba ghanouj isn't an old man? And NASA is that hidden figures thing? And what is a Story ARC?
This was out of my pea pickin brain league. I feel as though I need to go drown in some EGO DEATH (a term I've never heard of) and go ride an elephant. A SMORE is snack with a stick? Aaaaargh.

Nancy 10:55 AM  

You are so right, @CT2Napa!! Thank you!! So glad to know that there's nothing at all to spoil this quite wonderful puzzle.

Explanation of my confusing 43D with 42D (for anyone who cares): I write in pen, and I write clues I'm sure of in very heavy pen. The O of OAKS at 43A was written heavily, it was written large, and it covered the lower half of the 3, making the 3 look like a 2. So when I filled in OUTRE at 43D, it looked for all the world like 42D. This is not the first time something like this has happened and I'm sure it won't be the last.

If Josh Knapp reads this blog, my apologies for a completely unjustified criticism. Your puzzle is really quite remarkable and you should be very proud of it.

Frantic Sloth 11:02 AM  

How on earth did I not see LAMBO??

LAMBO Carlissian. He's a knave and a thief of only "the best" space vehicles.

"LAMBO: First Dud" Action(?) movie about the first failed prototype, affectionately known as "Little Edsel".

LAMBO: Favorite party game of drunken sheep. The goal is to slip under the fence, hooves-up, without getting hopelessly wedged. Naturally enough, only the smallest succeed. Hence the name.

LAMBO Guinea: Un-PC pejorative for an Italian-American, most often applied to Mafia dons.

I could go on, but nobody wants that.

The Joker 11:05 AM  

I tried playing steak knives once. Not recommended.

albatross shell 11:08 AM  

I'm more than a decade or two outta date, but I have a computer on a desk and a tangle of wires. I do not use it often. Also fab five: surprised no mention from @Z and it was automatic for him, cause the only fab five I could think of was the MSU basketball team. (Oops: I see @A2JD beat me to it). The answer came after getting enough crosses to intuit it.

Playing spoons in hillbilly get-ups. Cultural appropriation? Sure. Hurtful emotionally or financially to anyone? I hear crickets. But I'll go watch the video. See if I change my mind.

sixtyni yogini 11:10 AM  

Lots of clever clues, unexpected answers.

(Probably someone has noted this. Spoons are a big part of Appalachian music.)

TTrimble 11:11 AM  

This puzzle and I were not on the same wavelength -- I finished about 4 minutes over my average time. Nuts. I had Logo instead of ICON which messed me up, and I don't know about you, but I don't have WIRES cluttering my office desk. Near/under my desk -- maybe, sometimes. BOWEN I had to get off crosses. I don't understand this "wallet holder since 2015" -- again I had to get it off crosses. LOOKBOOK? Sorry, not familiar. Nor with COE.

I tried Pamela before PATTIE. (Where has our friend Pamela gone? Miss her.) Also had Fens before FINS.

I like the word SCHMALTZ and was aware of its culinary meaning, but I don't know how it came to signify sentimentality. Something to look up. Is it supposed to conjure nostalgic feelings in Jewish men, as in (guessing here) when their mothers would put a schmear of SCHMALTZ on a piece of rye bread to tide them over until dinner? (Something mentioned in passing in Portnoy's Complaint.) The answer EGO DEATH is kind of cool too. Interesting bit from Loren Muse Smith about LSD trips. My own association would be more with Buddhist meditation, e.g., enlightenment experiences and liberation from the subjective sense of self.

Someone (9:57 AM) beat me to it, but I didn't see an X either (in which case, no pangram).

With regard to BATBOY, I don't remember a Batman character by that name (there was his sidekick Robin, the Boy Wonder), but I remember, indelibly so, the Weekly World News character by that name.

@Barbara S.
No worries, of course! (Technology, bah. I almost missed an interview this morning on account of a technology glitch.) Thanks for getting back to me! I'll check out your link after I submit this comment.

Anonymous 11:15 AM  


yeah, I've always connoted spoon playing with 'Deliverance' rather than a Weavers concert.

Unknown 11:17 AM  

Delightful puzzle - and thank you for finding the fine "spoon player" as well.

In your notes I believe you have one mis-read of a clue. It's not the instrument that is improvised but the folk music that is improvised.

Squatters rights was a nifty surprise too.

Thanks as always.

Cheesehead 11:21 AM  

LAMBO made me think of the Green Bay Packers' home stadium, Lambeau Field.

Whatsername 11:24 AM  

This really STOLE THE SHOW and I can see why it was chosen as puzzle of the week. Loved the clues for MAIDS OF HONOR, POEMS and SHIFTS which reminded me of something funny I saw the other day. A sign that said “I may not do Tik Tok or Snapchat but I can drive a stick shift, read cursive, count back change and do math without a calculator.”

To add to that: I’ve done the Twist, the Swim, the Stroll and the Mashed Potato, but I don’t know THE ROBOT. Or the baba ghanouj.

I know a few politicians for whom an EGO DEATH would be an improvement. Why is it always an Irish county? Hidden figures is an excellent movie and book about the early days of the space program. Must go now, they’re having a sale on USED CARS. Maybe I’ll SNAG a LAMBO.

Michiganman 11:26 AM  

@albatross. You tease. You know it's the University of Michigan Wolverines that had the Fab Five.

better product labeling 11:28 AM  

Good lyrics for a song.

Z 11:30 AM  

The Spoon Lady is is who she is.

@Nancy - Do you know why the Dutchman doesn’t believe in pre-marital sex? Because it leads to dancing. (I know I have shared this joke before, but it really does capture the Calvinist wringing the joy out of everything vibe)

Re: Fab Five - As far as I know there’s been no Netflix reboot of the Wolverine’s Fab Five. I’m not sure how anyone thought basketball on that clue.

As for Rah Rah not playing in NYC, pshaw. It’s pretty simple, win and whatever you do breeds imitators. Lose and even winning a super bowl three years ago doesn’t matter much.

(On my IPHONE so finding what I am replying to isn’t as easy as even on my iPad)

chinch 11:30 AM  

@Barbara S

Your illuminating discussion of the of/about distinction yesterday suggested to me an analogous distinction from classic psychodynamic theory: manifest content (of, say, a dream) and its latent meaning.

albatross shell 11:38 AM  

Yep. Getting you teeth extracted and busking in Ashville playing mountain music. Pure cultural appropriation. Almost as bad as the New Lost City Rambles. So hateful.

KRMunson 11:41 AM  

Go Packers tomorrow vs Rams!!

Anoa Bob 11:57 AM  

Even with a dnf I still enjoyed this fine Friday puzzle. Never heard of a dance called THE ROBOT and I have a large, very cluttered desk but there are no WIRES on it. They are all semi-neatly tucked behind and below said desk. I should have been able to piece that starting section together but I was GOB smacked by the ROBOT WIRES (and I didn't know this BOWEN person).

This has been a banner week for us legions of dedicated POC (plural of convenience) watchers. Especially prominent has been the two POCs with one S variety, where a Down and an Across share a final POCifying S. All those Ss are non-nutritional filler, so to speak, because they take up space (making it easier to fill the grid) without adding anything of value to the puzzle.

The bar for twofers was raise right away in the NE section, what with the DAHLS and their MEDS along with the HENS ZESTS. I count five full fledged and a couple of dang-near twofers. That's SMORE than I recall seeing in a single grid. Also included is a prime time imbedded POC at 35A MAIDS OF HONOR.

So albatross shell @ 9:34 AM, I would only slightly tweak your "Excellent fill except for the POC sensitive" to "Excellent fill especially for the POC aficionado."

Birchbark 11:58 AM  

Cluttered desktop WIRES made me wonder for a long time. Maybe the desk belongs to THE ROBOT, a likely wirehound. Or maybe a spy.

But on reflection I agree with @Albatross Shell (11:08) that WIRES is a sensible answer. It was confounding until I counted the number of them (cables, power cords) right here in front of me -- for work computer, second monitor, work printer, home laptop, desk lamp and cell phone charger: ten, and not counting the Bluetooth connections to the other stuff with its own WIRES on the other side of the room. But I don't think of it as clutter. They're mostly concealed, and they aren't tangled. Just orderly spaghetti.

@Gill I. (10:52) re "Drowning in EGO DEATH" -- quite a poetic image, like Ophelia in the stream.

CDilly52 11:59 AM  

@LMS- so happy you are back, and in fine form today. You could do stand-up! Your observation about the SQUATTERS took me back (so far I needed Mr. Peabody’s “way back machine) to law school when we had some less than G rated “rules” to define the definition between tenants holding over and SQUATTERS.

OffTheGrid 12:03 PM  

@TT. Weekly World News was the best!

CDilly52 12:10 PM  

Right there with you @Joe Welling. Not only did I want WIpES, but I stubbornly stuck to it because WIRES mad no sense to me-none! Thanks finished the entire puzzle with that NW staring me in the face with two blanks: the R for WIRES and the R for ROBOT. Finally figured out that wires referred to the spaghetti bowl full mostly under rather than on my desk.

albatross shell 12:13 PM  

Pretty good tease huh?

Actually I forgot.
Red-faced Albatross.
Was going to say Michigan basketball, and decided to shorten it and MSU just popped itself in. Totally oblivious.

CDilly52 12:28 PM  

Loved it- every single minute. Even the growling, hair pulling, frustrating minutes spent in the middle trying to figure out STARTER PISTOL (which for a bit I thought was _ _ _ _ _ _ _ PuSTul (minor EGO DEATH experience as I admit this). I am clearly spelling “challenged” this morning and just plain dumb!

MAID OF HONOR flummoxed me for the longest time. She eluded me even after I figured out that people actually do a dance called THE ROBOT (not criticizing - I did The Frug after all) and that people have WIRES on rather than under their desks.

When I finally understood the exceptional clue (one of many today as y’all have pointed out,). I let out a little whoop of joy, both for finishing and as homage to a terrific Friday puzzle! The gateway to the weekend. Have a good one everybody!

albatross shell 12:30 PM  

@Anoa Bob
I noticed the pile of doubles. And knew my phrasing was more cheeky than I wanted, but nothing else came to mind. Your phrasing solves that problem very neatly. I may steal it. I certainly do not want more plurals. And the excellent fill is worth the price of the plurals: that is to say fewer plurals here might make for less good fill in this particular puzzle.

Frantic Sloth 12:31 PM  

Sorry - meant to apologize at the end of my last post.

Holy cheese! That Spoon Lady video! The desk call bell was a nice touch. πŸ˜ƒ
Reading Rex reminded me that I forgot to mention a coupla things.

I learned the word ONUS from a crossword many years back using what I believe was an identical clue ("cross to bear"), so that was automatic.
Got QUEEREYE right away (used to love the original) and guessed TYRONE from the "Y" because of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night chucklefest.

@Roo 858am I love the Puns and Anagrams puzzles! (Hi, @Z!) I find them a lot easier than the Cryptics which I tend to "try" occasionally until I wake up from that dream. Thanks for "seeing" the pangram with me. @albatross shell 934am (and apparently about a bazillion other people since) knew better! πŸ™„

@Z 905am There's an actual glyph for the interrobang?! That's gotta be made universal and permanent!

@jae 1037am Thanks for the puzzle link! I don't often do the Stumper (unless someone here recommends a specific one) because I'm a lazy baby, but you've inspired me to try!

@GILL 1052am We're gonna need another bench. I'm right with you on the difficulty level...though probably for different reasons. 🀣

@The Joker 1105am 🀣🀣 Thanks for the caveat. I was eyeing the silverware drawer just now...

@TTrimble 1111am I echo your concern/curiosity about Pamela. And Quasi and others. But, such is the nature of blogs I guess. 🀷‍♀️ Boo.

@Whatsername 1124am Add "read time from an analog clock" to that sign and here's my money!

All the comments about EGODEATH are inspiring me to recommend Pretend It's a City for those who have Netflix. Fran Lebowitz, Martin Scorsese. Need I say more?

Masked and Anonymous 12:35 PM  

Primo fillins. Primo clues. themelessthUmbsUp.

Only 8 dear lil weejects … gotta give staff weeject pick to: YEP. honrable mention to DOT, due to its interrobanged-up clue. Learned somethin, there.
fave sparkler: SCHMALTZ. Tough for the constructioneer to fill around it probably, due to it havin only yer one consonant.

fave clue: {One getting fired up for competition?} = STARTERPISTOL. Lotsa layers to that puppy. One of 5 ?-marker clues in this FriPuz … altho … {Nested layers?} = HENS was more of a half-interrobanger clue. {Frost accumulation} = POEMS clue was pretty sneaky, w/o the ?-mark, btw.

Overall, this solvequest wasn't very hard, at our house. Didn't know QUEEREYE, EGODEATH, LOOKBOOK, interrobang-DOT, PATTIE, BOWEN -- but they were all kinda mostly inferable. It was them clues that schnarfed up the extra tasty nanoseconds, mostly. Helped a heap, that I got SQUATTERSRIGHTS off 3 or so scattered letters, tho.

Thanx for the GOB of themeless fun, Mr. Knapp dude. S'MORE, please.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Barbara S. 12:39 PM  

I'm with @Doorboy (9:20) and anyone else who got mired in the SE. I thought I was going to be relegated to DNF status thanks to that knotty little corner. Hung on to Oxen for way too long. Had tUbBy for JUMBO at one point -- talk about fat shaming (hi @RAD2626, 9:35). Wanted StEAlS for SNEAKS, although that would probably be a daft clue for "steals," but maybe not on a Friday. Anyway, these mistakes and others kept me from seeing things as straightforward as JEAN jacket for simply ages. Liked the puzzle, though. STOLE THE SHOW, STARTER PISTOL and MAIDS OF HONOR conjure a Monty Python skit.

Somebody posted this not long ago but it seems worth another look because of THE ROBOT. To an amazing degree, these guys eschew jerky movements in favor of fluidity.

I loved The SPOON Lady! I've tried my hands at the old SPOONS at various gatherings where music was being played, and I can see now that I've been much too dependent on my thighs as SPOON-stops. It looks like she has some HOW-TO videos. I'm going to check them out.

@Z, @Nancy, @TTrimble
Lest you think *all* Dutch art preaches the moral way, how's this for a come-hither look? Here's some commentary from Wikipedia.

@chinch (11:30)
That sounds about right (although "psychodynamic theory" is way outside my backyard). But the relationship between overt/apparent meaning and covert/hidden symbolism can, I'm sure, be found in many places.

jb129 12:52 PM  

Thank you, Josh for keeping me determined to finish this puzzle - which I did!

Nancy 1:30 PM  

Enthusiastic agreement with @Frantic Sloth's strong recommendation of "Pretend It's a City" -- Netflix's new series about Fran Liebowitz, filmed by Martin Scorsese. I've been watching for two days now and wanted to mention it myself earlier, but since it's not puzzle-related, I squelched the urge. But @Frantic's given me permission.

I, who am very much of a one-thing-at-a-time sort person, was happily ensconced in "Schitt's Creek", which I am absolutely loving, and wasn't planning on any sort of interruption. The Scorsese/Liebowitz trailer popped up on my Netflix screen above all my "My List" titles and so I looked for a button to add it to "My List", but I couldn't find one. The only option was "Play". Well, if you're as tech-challenged as I am and if you have as much trouble as I do trying to add anything from Netflix to your queue, I thought: "Better grab it while it's here. Who knows when/if I will ever see it again?" so I hit "Play" -- with the idea of watching for two minutes so it would safely be in my "Continue Watching" queue, after which I would watch "Schitt's Creek" as planned.

Well, I never made it back to the creek. I watched one, then two Liebowitz episodes and watched again last night. She has to be the funniest, wittiest, best conversationalist of all time. If there's ever one of those "you're having a dinner party; what famous writers living or dead would you invite?" questionnaires and I fail to include Fran, you may tar and feather me and ride me out of town on a rail. I feel like I'm enjoying a special invitation to the Algonquin Round Table -- only better. Sardonic and complaining as she can be, Fran has a warmth beneath her barbs that the late Dorothy Parker didn't. She's wonderful company, her comic timing is impeccable, and this series is highly, highly recommended!!!

My favorite bit so far: Fran describing the auctioning of a Picasso at Christie's for an obscene amount of money. I laughed until tears came to my eyes.

egsforbreakfast 1:37 PM  

I think of the phrase for the gun used by the race official as STARTER’s PISTOL. Maybe a better clue for STARTERPISTOL would be “Cap gun”. Start with that and, who knows, someday you may be able to take over your nation’s capitol.

As a non-lawyer, I’m familiar with the colloquialism SQUATTERS RIGHTS. I wonder what the legal term is.

wrollinson 1:50 PM  

Before Clapton, Pattie Boyd was the muse for George Harrison - She inspired the Beatle songs "Something", "I Need You","If I Needed Someone", "Love You To", and "For You Blue". Not bad.

I enjoyed this puzzle... some fun clues:

Ballpark figure (BATBOY)
Nested Layers? (HENS)
Breakneck... or something break (FAST)
One getting fired up for competition? (STARTER PISTOL)
Shower heads perhaps (MAIDS OF HONOR)
Peels off? (ZESTS)
Uses a manual, say (SHIFTS)
Frost accumulation (POEMS)

albatross shell 1:54 PM  

Fran is wonderful. Our Dorothy Parker? I've caught her a few times before. Just started with 2 episodes on Netflix last night while doing the puzzle. Fran had most of my attention.

pmdm 1:54 PM  

I seem to be an outlier here since I dislike the puzzle a lot. Nothing to do with its difficulty level since that factor seemed typical for me. For some reason, too many of the entries turned me off. That's what I get soliving the puzzle while waiting for a funeral procession.

JD 1:55 PM  

@Birchbark and Anoa, In addition to all the other stuff, I had a microphone/ camera plug in and the telephone. That went in easy for me.

**Netflix Book Alert**

@Frantic, OMG, I honest to heavens was going to recommend Pretend It's a City to you but thought it might be presumptuous (stereotyping a New Yorker). I wish there was a cabinet position for Secretary of Who Sees Crap and Calls It and Biden picked her. I see now why she's had writers block for decades now, she talks it all out. I wish she'd kept writing. She was only second to Carrie Fisher in my 20s ... writer of the line "Nothing's ever really over, it's only over there."

@Frantic and @Gill, It was the crosses that made it easy. Who the hell knows what an interrobang is?

JD 2:00 PM  

Oh wait, I just looked up Interrobang. It's what every sentence that ran through my head in 2020 ended with. Why isn't this on the keyboard?

"The interrobang, also known as the interabang, is an unconventional punctuation mark used in various written languages and intended to combine the functions of the question mark, or interrogative point; and the exclamation mark, or exclamation point, known in the jargon of printers and programmers as a "bang".

Frantic Sloth 2:38 PM  

@Nancy 130pm Truth be told, so much of what I was watching reminded me of you. (In a good way, of course!) I was waiting for someone to mention it, but couldn't hold myself back any longer - EGODEATH was a loose association at best, but who cares? That auction story was just priceless - simultaneously hilarious and tragic.

@albatross shell 154pm No idea how you managed to do the crossword while watching Fran! That's some nifty footwork, there.

@JD 155pm Okay. I believe you and agree that Fran needs to be the Czar of Crap. What a wonderful idea...we can dream. (I actually knew interrobang because...well, you know.)

Frantic Sloth 2:40 PM  


Czar of Crap-calling

Nancy 2:53 PM  

Whew!!!! I thought it was just my blog profile. But it's all of yours, too. And there's safety in numbers, right?

We've lost the number of previous views. I have a great big "?" next to mine and I panicked. I went to the Google Help option, but they didn't help in the slightest. (Do they ever?)

Then I clicked on @Loren's profile and she has a ? too. So does @pabloinnh. At which point I thought, it's probably Rex, not Google. But even if it's Google, if it's happening to everyone, it will be fixed eventually. Right?

Sure hope so.

Joe Bleaux 3:04 PM  

Testing ...

Joe Bleaux 3:04 PM  


Nancy 3:10 PM  

The profile view numbers are ba-a-a-ck!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!!!

pabloinnh 3:32 PM  

@Nancy-Well, I was mysterious for a little while anyway.

Casimir 3:42 PM  

The legal term is "adverse possession," though the two phrases are perhaps not exactly congruent.

What? 3:53 PM  

Another day without reading Rex. 😁
Liked the puzzle. Hard but fair. Almost finished, had MOVIELOT instead of MOVIESET. Chalked it up to the mind boggling pleasure of Rexlessness.

Douglas 3:53 PM  


Simpson 3:55 PM  

Definitely got stuck with OAKS because I couldn’t see OUTRE so I thought good symbols of strength were YAKS. Didn’t help that I played DND last night watch yakspeople in it...

Nancy 4:04 PM  

I for one, derive much happiness from your new-found happiness, @What (3:53) -- however long it may have been in coming:) Welcome to the club.

A 4:29 PM  

Happy Finished It Fast* Friday‽

Not, not, not in my wheelhouse! Had only DAHLS for the longest time (overnight!) Started again in the morning and was 100% certain I’d have to cheat. Then, by fits and starts, i was able to guess or suss my way in. FABLE POLO and ORC in the SW convinced me to keep trying. After it was over I realized it must have been easy but it sure felt not, not, not easy! @GILL I. hit it on the head - Holy little ant hills!

Very few errors along the way:
greeNE before TYRONE (it’s a family name)
DaSHED before DISHED (if you’re in a hurry you spill the tea?)
APP BEFORE DIP (new way to clue an old friend? - huh-uh)

SHIFTS went right in because I drive a manual (98 Saab 900se ‘vert) and I’m looking around for another car. Love the Saab but nobody around here works on them. It’s lso a bit uncomfortable for my 95lb Mal. Not looking for a LAMBO either.

Also NASA was right on the tip of the brain because I just watched Hidden Figures. Highly recommend.

*41:56. Fast on a Friday for me is under an hour! πŸ˜†

jberg 5:13 PM  

SQUATTERS' RIGHTS is just a great answer, as are the other long entried. And SCMALTZ is great to see in a puzzle, too.

I'm here really late, so I'll leave it at that.

Joe Welling 5:21 PM  

@CDilly52, if you saw my desk, you'd be fine with WIRES!

Z 7:06 PM  

Keyboard, mouse, and printer all connect to my computer via bluetooth, so it wasn’t until 5:30 pm that the WIRES clue made sense to me. Even back in the day the messy WIRES were under the desk not on the desk. Sure, some people have all those WIRES cluttering their desks so the clue is fine, but you don’t even need Marie Kondo’s help to neaten this up.

@Barbara S - I don’t know enough to actually say, but give me an hour and I’ll work up a morality interpretation. Going afield a bit, Donatello did the most homoΓ«rotic David ever, but hey, it’s David having slain Goliath so we can pretend there’s nothing homoΓ«rotic about it.

@Joe Bleaux - Did you pass?

Mrs. Z has gone to a couple of times of Abby the Spoon Lady concerts and has spoken with her. When I mentioned the “cultural appropriation” comment she laughed the most I’ve seen in some time.

@Jets fans - I was texting with a colleague from my Fordson days. He remembers this “rah rah” coach as “a quiet guy who always smiled when you spoke to him. He also pointed out that his brother is a 9/11 survivor.

Whatsername 8:09 PM  

@Frantic (12:31) "read time from an analog clock" Yes indeedy. Another one I thought of was I can find my way to where I’m going without a GPS telling me where to turn.

albatross shell 8:46 PM  

Make that @Michigan Man or was another tease.

me 11:46 PM  

The worst. It’s like they had a dictionary of only loosely defined words and terms. Example; a s’more is not “made with a stick” and I argue it isn’t a snack either. Look at a list of snack foods. Look at the snack isle in a store. Do you see s’mores? No. Is it because of a lack of sticks? (See how previous question makes no sense- that’s how you know sticks aren’t required). If you do buy ingredients for s’mores, for your s’mores snack as it were, make sure you buy a stick. Because they are apparently necessary.
Over and out.

kitshef 11:17 PM  

A bit easy, but lots of fun.

@me - I don't know how you are making your s'mores, but everyone else is using sticks to roast their marshmallows.

Michael Fleming 9:31 AM  

If we presume we are referring to the long dangly things going from the computer to the monitor and such, nobody calls them WIRES. They are cables (which may be comprised of a bundle of wires I suppose, but I’ve never once thought to use that word in describing the cables). Of course, now that most of my desk accessories are WIREless, maybe I’m acknowledging something to the contrary.

thefogman 11:31 AM  

YEP. This one STOLETHESHOW this week. Can we have SMORE please? No SNAGS - a bit FAST for Friday. Like when my LAMBO SHIFTS into overdrive.

spacecraft 11:42 AM  

Agreed that WIRES was a surprise answer for desk clutter. Fact, I got that one on crosses. Also that the NW and SE corners are rather severely cut off. This felt more like three puzzles: that magnificent swath going SW-NE and those two "minis."

Came in with MOSHE, and so was working more easterly, and when I hit upon SPOONS I had the partial ...PISTO_. Naturally, I finished it off with N for "One getting fired up." That would be a PISTOn, no? This caused a bit of SE consternation, as I've never heard of a "LOOKBOOK." Later, after getting STARTERPISTOL and writing over my only wrong letter, I wrinkled my nose at the "fired UP" (emphasis mine) in the clue: pistols get fired, not fired up. But then thinking more about it, they always point those things skyward, don't they? So I guess the clue gets a pass. Back in the SE, I knew it was *something*BOOK, and so inferred the rhyming LOOK part.

The clue set was righteously Fridayed up for us, which provided a modicum of resistance, but I thought it still came down on the easy side, for the day. It is remarkable that Ms. Boyd could inspire that much great music, but give me DOD Julie BOWEN any day. The pouty Lolita look just isn't for me. Birdie.

Diana, LIW 1:03 PM  

This is one of those "guess what I'm thinking" puzzles, with no "?" clues in the clues. So after POLO and POEMS, I had crickets. little gray cat sat in my lap to help me. He is as soft as a little lamb, with the heart of a Rambo army-of-one, so his name, LAMBO, just dropped in. And off to the races - I was able to finish it all. Which really surprised me.

But honestly, sometimes a "?" would be reasonable to show that a clue indicates a pun or...what ever.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 1:25 PM  


so when everyone ONCAMERA FORGOT HOWTO sew,
they went to THE MOVIESET to LOOK for that guy,
and, by RIGHTS, THE result is he STOLETHESHOW.


leftcoaster 7:16 PM  

Humbling, coming close to marking my EGO DEATH. But, with Arnold, I’ll be back.

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