TV roommates for 50+ years / FRI 1-29-21 / Indian lentil dish / Creature in Liberty Mutual ads / Apt name for a yoga instructor / Article of attire akin to a tarboosh

Friday, January 29, 2021

Constructor: Robyn Weintraub

Relative difficulty: Easy (maybe too easy? I mean, that's not a terribly valid criticism, but I really wish I'd been timing myself because this felt close to the 3-minute mark)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Tarboosh (1A: Article of attire akin to a tarboosh => FEZ) —

A tarboosh is a man's hat that is typically made of felt. It has a flat top, no brim, and fits firmly on the head. It is commonly worn by Muslim men, either by itself or under a turban. The tarboosh also often has a silk tassel attached to the top. Red is the most common color for this hat.

Derived from the Persian word sarpush, meaning 'headdress,' the tarboosh is also known as a tarbush. It has also been called a fez and a checheya. The fez is a hat originally only produced in Fez, Morocco, and is slightly smaller than a tarboosh. Regardless of the name, all hats of this type have a similar truncated cone shape, that narrows as they extend upward from the head. (

• • •

Few things are as reliably good as a Robyn Weintraub Friday crossword. Even with my rage-response set to ultra-sensitive, I don't know that this puzzle would set off any alarms. Whatever crosswordese there is ... is scattered and unremarkable. I mean, what? ATRA? Maybe ATTY? What's in this puzzle that's gonna make you mad, make you ugh or eye-roll? Whatever it is, there ain't much of it. Maybe I wouldn't put two initialisms right next to each other? (SPCA / AARP). You can see, you have to really reach to find fault today. The one issue—which I mentioned at the very tiptop of the write-up—is that it's soooo easy. I know those of you who struggle to finish a Friday hate hearing stuff like this, but truly, relative to even a normally breezy Friday, this one felt toothless. Resistance-free. What little green ink there is on my puzzle print-out merely indicates an occasional slight slow-down. No actual battles or bafflements. It's nice to have to wrestle with a puzzle at least a little. I know that's what Saturday's for, and I do love crushing a Friday, or any day, but this one almost didn't feel like a worthy opponent. But only at the difficulty level. In every other way, it's worthy as hell. Smooth, clean, lively, broadly accessible. Oh, I am gonna ding it for introducing me to the term "Lubrastrip," which is a particularly off-putting bit of adspeak. A horrid portmanteau? A snortmanteau? Portmant-d'oh!? I managed not to see that clue at all while I was solving, and I was so much happier in the before-Lubrastrip time. Still, even Lubrastrip can't eliminate the warm glow that this lovely puzzle leaves behind.

Hardest part of the puzzle was probably 1A: Article of attire akin to a tarboosh, as I didn't know what a tarboosh was. First instinct was HAT (close!), but "akin to" didn't feel right. Seemed like tarboosh might be a "type of" HAT, but not "akin to" a HAT, so my brain switched to some more specific article of clothing and ... well, it's a crossword we're solving here ... three letters ... so ... OBI? Maybe a "tarboosh" was some kind of non-Japanese sash, I wrongly thought. Checked 1D: Achievements, instantly guessed FEATS, and as soon as the "F" went in, I thought, "oh, it's FEZ." And it was. And once you've got a "Z" in an initial position on a long answer at the top of your grid, well, hold on to your tarboosh because you're about to take off. Whoosh. High speeds, no looking back. 

Here are the little bits of resistance the puzzle offered:
  • 22A: Spacewalk, e.g., in NASA shorthand (EVA) — I was pretty sure that the BERT of BERT AND ERNIE was an "E" BERT (!) and not a "U" BURT, but I thought, "better check the cross." And then the cross was this. I knew it wasn't UVA, so cool, but I totally forgot what EVA was "shorthand" for. It's "Extravehicular activity." So I didn't "forget" what EVA meant so much as "never knew until this second." Cool.
  • 49D: Symbol of opportunity (DOOR) — this was eerily vague to me, and it ran right through a *bunch* of answers I was not entirely sure about. I've seen "Sweeney Todd," but ___ Lovett didn't evoke anything for me, and it seemed such a bizarre way to clue something simple like MRS. that I didn't write the "R" in despite having the "M" and "S." Further, I had PARENT but didn't yet know HOOD, and CRISIS but wasn't yet sure of MODE (though I had at least tentatively written it in). I actually had to reach over and get DONE DEAL at 49A: "100% happening!" in order to get the "D," and then write in -HOOD at PARENTHOOD and then take a second to look back at DOO-, which had to be DOOR, which left me with MRS. Lovett, which seemed entirely plausible. Easily the roughest part of the grid for me (by normal Friday standards, not that rough). 
  • 45D: Spacecraft activity (FLY-BY) — clearly space is my enemy today. I think of planes doing FLY-BYs, not spacecraft. Eventually got the two "Y"s and then saw the answer. Parsing short two-word answers can be difficult, since you only ever expect to see a one-word answer in a space that small. See also SUM UP (26D: Recapitulate), which took a few crosses to get.
That's it. Everything else was read-it / fill-it. We had YOGA MAT very recently, didn't we? (yes: yesterday) So the MATT clue was not as tricky as it might've been (10D: Apt name for a yoga instructor?). I have never seen "The Sound of Music" (it's true!), but I damn sure know LIESL, a favorite of crossword constructors for her highly common letters in uncommon configuration (not much ends -SL). Didn't know DEPP did the voice of the title character in "Sherlock Gnomes" (whatever that is) but I had D--P before I ever saw the clue, so my eyes only got as far as [Actor who voiced...]. That was enough. Loved all the long stuff, esp ZERO CHANCE, EXTRA SPICY, BERT AND ERNIE, SECRET RECIPE ... at this point, I'm just writing out all the long answers, so let's just say all of them. Everything 8+. This is a model puzzle, the cluing difficulty of which could've been turned up a notch. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 6:24 AM  

Byline = happy dance!
Solve = happy dance!
Review = happy dance!
Realizing it's all over = 😒


Guilherme Gama 6:29 AM  

Ah, the great JoΓ£o Gilberto. Excellent choice of music.

Joaquin 6:30 AM  

Being retired + never going out due to COVID = confusion as to what day of the week it is. So getting this puzzle on a Friday had me (literally) looking at my watch after completing it to check the day of the week. By far, the easiest Friday ever (at least for me it was).

JOHN X 6:31 AM  

This was a model puzzle if it was in People Magazine, where it belongs.

Not a NYT Friday puzzle. I solved this in five minutes.

Rex may like easy puzzles but I want challenges. I pay for these things, you know.

Lewis 6:41 AM  

Fourteen answers of eight letters or more – seven of them NYT debuts – and all of them bringing pleasure. Plus, an abundance of wordplay in the cluing – one of Robyn’s trademarks – to get the brain romping and giddy.

Robyn’s puzzles are technically first rate – she puts in the sweat side of construction – but she doesn’t stop there. She infuses her puzzles with entertainment. I can just see her clapping with joy at coming up with a clue that makes her laugh – and not being satisfied until that moment happens. Then she shares it with us.

Thank you, Robyn, for your talent and effort. You are an artist, a credit to crosswords, and are bookmarked to me as one of the very special ones.

Conrad 6:42 AM  

I wanted "BECAUSE MY UNCLE WAS A DOCTOR" for 4A but it didn't fit.

Geezer 6:55 AM  

I PRAY (though I'm a non-believer) that one day there will be a "Baby Bear" puzzle at a just right difficulty level to make everyone happy. Then for one day I can be spared the "too hard" or "too easy" whining.

amyyanni 7:00 AM  

Another πŸ‘ for Rex the DJ (Gilberto is a favorite.) Love all the food entries, especially EXTRASPICY. This rates 76 TROMBONEs.

ZenMonkey 7:14 AM  

I don’t speed solve on Friday, but my time was 18 seconds faster than my fastest Friday, so it was easy in ZenMonkeyland, apparently. I still enjoyed it a lot. I’ll take an easy Weintraub over a lot of NYT constructors’ more challenging ones.

kitshef 7:22 AM  

Absurdly easy. I put in Uncle TOM before Uncle SAM, and that was really the only hiccup.

The fill is excellent. All the longs are impeccable. But the clues … much too straightforward. On Friday and Saturday, with no theme, the clues need to provide some spark.

Z 7:25 AM  

How much did Liberty Mutual pay to put that effing EMU in the middle of the puzzle? I can’t remember ever wishing the clue had been a directional university, but please god for all that is pure and wholesome give me an Eastern Michigan University clue.

Lisa Loeb

I had the same thought as Rex, that’s a long way to go for MRS.

Right there on the cluing conundrum. I really like the wordplay, but this puzzle was too MINTY, a little EXTRA SPICY would have been nice. But I find it hard to be too down on how easy it played for me because it was chock-full of tiny aha moments, that kind of hot dog and the lab is a pet not a place and it’s a forever postage stamp and retire for the night not from a career. Best of all, the APPLE was edible and not an excuse for APP*... Now, can we guillotine that effing EMU. Or at least put it on the roller coaster in Rye where it belongs.

“Lubrastrip” sounds like something you order from the back pages of the local alt-weekly.


*APP - Apple Product Placement

JJK 7:33 AM  

Yes, pretty easy for a Friday, but so enjoyable that it felt like a breath of fresh air. We’ve had so many days of weird or off cluing that this was a joy. And I’ll echo @Z 7:25 - filled with lovely little ‘aha’ moments. What a nice way to start the day, any day.

ChuckD 7:42 AM  

In addition to Rex’s SPCA - AARP stack let’s include the ESP x SERE across. Most of this was fine - all the longs were solid - maybe a little boring (ACCENT RUG, SLEEPER CAR etc) but it all came together.

Hand up for this probably being my fastest Friday - I don’t time but there was little pushback here. The little EMU occupying the center is odd - and I wanted Lyle in lieu of MRS.

Enjoyable solve - just too quick and easy for a Friday. Since it’s 10 or 12 and windy this morning I needed a longer solve to delay my run.

Name that tune 7:48 AM  

Missed a big opportunity for a cross-referenced clue--Johnny DEPP played Sweeney Todd.

SouthsideJohnny 8:08 AM  

Wow, it was nice to have a fighting chance on a Friday - reminds me of what Wednesdays and Thursdays were like for me several years ago when my solving chops didn’t quite have enough uumph to close out the deal on some of the mid-week offerings.

The thing I enjoyed most was the wordplay (and fairness thereof) in the cluing - so much more enjoyable than “either you know it or you don’t“ fact regurgitation. I know many here are yearning for a bit more of a challenge, but this one was perfect for me.

Mikey from El Prado 8:15 AM  

This puzzle made me feel smarter than I am.

The JoΓ£o Gilberto choice made me think of my lovely mom, who passed away late last summer. Thanks Rex. Much of my love of music came from her. May she and JoΓ£o Rest In Peace.

pabloinnh 8:22 AM  

Just skimmed around looking for a place to start, which turned out to be the MINTY MONDE intersection, and from there it was a nice run down an intermediate cruiser on a sunny day, and if that isn't nice, I don't know what is. Just a couple of huh?'s to keep things interesting, imagining SANTA instead of PINTA, for instance, and SONIA and ELENA are equal in length and final vowel, so there was that, plus the usual problems reading tiny numbers which had DANE for the transatlantic traveler. Maybe the DEETs were here earlier.

Agree with the novice/intermediate rating for this one, but still way up there on the fun meter, so many thanks for all that, RW, You're still on my Constructor's All Star Team.

smalltowndoc 8:26 AM  

Easy but enjoyable with good long answers and little drek. I liked it.

Two questions for those who know more about crosswords than I do:
1. I often find in difficult puzzles the best chance for a good toehold is in the South. Is that my imagination, or is it a real thing?
2. When a clue says, "Word with ‘x’ or ‘y’ ", can that word be before or after ‘x’ and ‘y’?


TTrimble 8:26 AM  

Is there an echo in here? Indeed, I too found this the easiest Friday I can remember ever solving, and fittingly set a PR for myself.

Yes, I see how handsomely constructed it is in the light of the morning.

Had "not a CHANCE" before ZERO CHANCE, and it must have been the clue with Lubrastrip (that's not Lubristrip?) that set me straight. BERT AND ERNIE gave some warm fuzzies -- the first thing that popped into my head was for some reason "The Odd Couple" which actually fits lengthwise (and that was a delightful show -- I understand that Tony Randall and Jack Klugman had a deep abiding friendship off set -- more fuzzies). And then there was LIESL: the other day I caught "The Sound of Music" on TV, and talk about the warm fuzzies. This was the first time in a long time where I listened to those wonderful songs without developing a lump in my throat. Intense nostalgia.

SECRET RECIPE: the other day we had KFC (I mean in the puzzle, not takeout) and I recalled those old commercials with the real Colonel Sanders and his SECRET RECIPE with the 11 herbs and spices. I'll have mine EXTRA SPICY. Although the chicken joint I remember from childhood is The Golden Skillet, obsolescent now, but they made a superior bird. Anyone here remember that?

I was never a PICKY EATER. Seeing that I'm in a nostalgic frame of mind, I'll just register the observation that I was one very lucky kid, in that my mom, self-taught, was a superior and adventurous cook, really becoming chef-fy by the time I reached my own PARENTHOOD, or in fact well before. A natural born artist, she.

That's all for the moment. @jberg, I hope your first week of classes went well; I had mine too. Happy Friday, everyone!

TJS 8:32 AM  

Blah. Friday ??? I don't care who the constructor is.

CS 8:35 AM  

I agree with @SouthsideJohnny. Stop kvetching about it being too easy. It was still a reasonable challenge to many of us while feeling within reach. It almost felt like it had themes, which I really like as well ...
Wrote in "NOT A CHANCE" instead of "ZERO CHANCE" which took a while to undo (may a tarboosh was a "pin?" but that didn't work). TROMBONE set me right.

Really nice puzzle, fun to solve and a good start to a super cold day here in the Northeast.


Anonymous 8:47 AM  

I agree with others that this had interesting clues and solutions, and thus looked like a Friday-level puzzle. But I agree with Rex that everything went in so smoothly that it *played* at an easier level. I didn't know a tarboosh, but figured it had to be a fez, tie, or obi, and landing on fez came quickly.

Re 15D, PATENT. Patents have an interesting history, sometimes associated with the absolutist monarchs our new republic was supposed to oppose. Often associated with King James I, patents are known to others under the uglier rubric of "monopolies," where the king, in return for a hefty fee, would grant someone the exclusive right to produce X in the kingdom, or in part of the kingdom (one still reads the claim on labels of English products wanting to appear to have a pedigree). Patents did something of the same, protecting a product from unfair copying. One can imagine a politician in Washington's time being asked if he (sic) supported "patents," and he would give an "if by liquor" speech.

Good puzzle!
Anon. i.e. Poggius

Nancy 8:50 AM  

What I love about Robyn Weintraub puzzles is that you never get a lot of PUB TRIVIA -- and sometimes you don't get any. Today you got one biggie -- BART AND ERNIE -- and I must say I had no idea they were roommates. I thought they were just PALs. But B&E filled in easily enough in this surprisingly easy RW puzzle.

OTOH, I'm not entirely sure if it was easy or if I'm just completely on Robyn's wavelength. Sometimes I feel that we could finish each other's sentences.

I sailed through this puzzle with one notable exception: PAN AM instead of PINTA for the "early trans-Atlantic voyager". I corrected when I realized that "really, really hot" could not be EXTRA SPACY. But other than that, there was nothing else I needed to DEBUG.

A word about the ACCENT RUG. It should be called the ACCIDENT RUG. As in an accident waiting to happen. Flimsy little floor coverings, with no skid-proof backing, strewn around hither-and-yarn (pun intended) on bare floors. Avoid them whatever you do, people, especially as you slip (pun intended) into your AARP years.

GHarris 8:51 AM  

Whenever I finish a Friday without a single cheat and in the 40 minute range I know that Rex will be labeling it as easy and he never disappoints. I’ve come to really enjoy that moment in solving when an otherwise seemingly impenetrable puzzle just opens wide after you have entered a few certainties and some stray letters here and there. This was one of those times

bocamp 8:52 AM  

Thank you, @Robyn, for a wonderful Friday puzzle – one I enjoyed while solving and after! :)

Very easy; over 3x faster than yesterday.

Loved yesterday's puzzle for its skookum theme and tricky clues, but it was a real slog to get through. Today's was absolutely in my wheelhouse and a pleasure all the way. That's kinda the way life goes – ups and downs, and we try to make the best of both. :)

"Fez" represents the number 80 on my list of 1-100. The number 8 is represented by a "f" or "v" sound, while any vowel/s and a "z" or "s" sound represents the number 0. To recall which atomic element is 80 in the periodic table, I picture the planet Mercury wearing a "fez".

Wycliffe Gordon ~ 'Sweet Louisiana' "Trombone" Solo: 1:26 in.

yd -1 not done yet, tho

Peace Tolerance Kindness Togetherness πŸ•Šb

Barbara S. 8:54 AM  

Wow, PR today. I always get a GLOW (from yesterday) when I get one of those, but I wouldn't have minded a bit more fight from this otherwise pleasing puzzle.

I thought there was a definite, if unstated, Sweeney Todd theme throughout. There's the one explicit answer, MRS. Lovett, but then there's also
DEPP (not clued as Todd, but he did play him)
ATRA (razor blades)
STOVE (I guess "oven" would have better, but still)
DOOR (wasn't there an ominous one, always locked, that essentially led to hell?)
Then there were clues about food and eating, which brought to mind MRS. Lovett's pies:
SECRET RECIPE (yeah, and how)
EXTRA SPICY (flavoring might have helped?)
PICKY EATER (I guess her customers weren't in this category)
And, to SUM UP,
MRS. Lovett and Todd were PERPS, the whole thing had elements of SATIRE and was way OVER THE TOP.

I'm not sure what LIESL was doing, scampering and flitting about in there, but I PRAY she'll FLY BY to safety.

Ann Howell 8:56 AM  

I never speed-solve (I like to linger!), but this was an easier puzzle than most Fridays, and highly enjoyable. The only thing that really slowed me down quite considerably was very confidently putting in BURNT UMBER at 17A and taking ages to concede that it wasn't going to work... Otherwise, not a single dud answer, which is rare these days!

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

Found it relatively easy, but not getting any of the 3 Across answers from the start, I moved to the Down clues. So I confidently put in SONIA for 4D, and checked it with 22A and put in EVA. All good. NOT.

That mistake took a few minutes to uncover and correct, so it was far from my fastest Friday, unlike others.

Smith 9:11 AM  

@Roo yesterday

You're right about that!

Smith 9:13 AM  

Agree with all that this was easy for a Fri. toM before SAM and wisE before ANTE. Ha, Joaquin 6:30, right there with you.

Canarian 9:18 AM  

Rex will reliably rant about the inclusion of any political figure he dislikes but not a peep about the serial abuser clued for Sherlock Gnomes. Yikes.

57stratocaster 9:22 AM  

Great, enjoyable puzzle...prefect as a tough Wednesday, perhaps? If a Friday puzzle is as easy as this, maybe they should give us two.

Lubrastrip (eww) is a portmandon't.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

Pretty easy. Personal Friday record of 10.07. No idea how anyone can solve a puzzle in 3 minutes. I have tried solving completely on paper and then completing the online version, where all I need to do is remember the answers and type them in - - and that takes me about 4 minutes.

Herr Detweiler 9:24 AM  

Viva la lack of resistance. Made me feel smart until I came here. Never been impressed by the “it’s true I haven’t read/seen (insert book/movie) version of the humble brag.

JD 9:27 AM  

A Fez, a Trombone, Bert and Ernie, a Picky Eater, and an Emu. That's delightful stuff from an obviously delightful mind. Easy and fun. Thank you!

Charles Flaster 9:27 AM  

Not quite so easy pour moi.
Favorite cluing was for PANT and EXES.
Slowed down by not changing arid to SERE.
Also my first thought was fred AND Ethel but quickly changed it.
Thanks RW— always love your stuff.

Sir Hillary 9:29 AM  

Pretty much what Rex and most others have said. In a perfect world, this puzzle would have more bite -- maybe a lot more. But the world ain't perfect, so I'll happily take a fresh puzzle that's too easy.

The 9+ letter entries are superb. What a collection!

I really enjoyed the clues for STAMP, EXES, PANT, PUBTRIVIA and IRON.

Robyn Weintraub + Friday = ZEROCHANCE of disappointment.

Nancy 9:34 AM  

@A (from late yesterday) -- How interesting that Shaw's serpent in the Garden of Eden in "Back to Methuselah" isn't Satan and isn't even evil. I wouldn't have guessed that. But it sounds just like Shaw, who has such a wonderful way of re-imagining and often humanizing familiar or mythological figures.

In high school, when I assumed I'd be in English Major (which as it turned out, I wasn't), I had already decided what I wanted my Senior Thesis to be. I would compare Shaw's portrayal of both Caesar and Cleopatra with Shakespeare's. I would show how Shakespeare imbued these characters with larger-than-life and grander-than-grand emotions, decisions, dilemmas, betrayals... whatever. And then I would show how deliciously and drolly Shaw cut them right down to size -- making their motivations and concerns and even conversations not all that different from yours and mine. And I would conclude that, of the two, Shaw was by far the more interesting, original and iconoclastic playwright.

Would any thesis advisor worth his or her salt have let me write such a thesis? I'll never know, because, with an early literature class at Smith, something I'd always suspected about myself became even more abundantly clear: I really didn't like a good many of the "great" books and "great" authors nearly enough to major in English. I ended up majoring in Government.

Oh, and @A -- Congrats on having 81 "views" on your blog profile after having had one for only about 26 minutes. You have a big future ahead of you :)

Whatsername 9:42 AM  

Another FEAT of excellence courtesy of the TRUSTY Ms. Weintraub. Never much to complain about when you see her name in the byline. Easy for a Friday but that means I finished without cheating which makes me a happy solver with the ACCENT on happy.

Opening that initial membership invitation from AARP was quite a shocker as I recall. I mean you’re already in CRISIS MODE about turning 50 and then they hit you with that. They really should wait until people are at least 55.

The tax advantages of PARENTHOOD are a little different for EXES. The custodial parent receives the money tax-free and generally gets to claim the child as a dependent, but the parent paying the support is not allowed to deduct any portion of the payments as an expense. That always seemed terribly OVER THE TOP and unfair to me.

Hungry Mother 9:46 AM  

Very easy here, but I was awed that I’ve known BERTANDERNIE that long. We were early in the baby game when Sesame Street started to prepare kids for school.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

4 across, 49 across and 3 down: not clues, nebulous slang.

mathgent 9:59 AM  

Surprised at the criticism of today's puzzle. Usually this group raves about Robyn Weintraub's work. I didn't find it easier than her others. On the other hand, I found it much more entertaining than usual. I had an absolute ball.

Patrick Berry's puzzles are not hard snd he's the master. Freshness, liveliness, smart and clever cluing. That's what makes his work great. Today's puzzle rang all those bells.

TERRACOTTA. A similar clue recently was for BURNTSIENA and it fits.

A question for those of you who complained that this was too easy. Do you do Mondays and Tuesdays?

puzzlehoarder 10:02 AM  

I've become so inured to the easyness of Robyn Weintraubs' puzzles that this one actually seemed to have a hint of resistance. For one of her puzzles even a hint is a lot.

Bruce R 10:05 AM  

Maybe I don't get it, but I don't like the clue for SECRET RECIPE. Restaurants don't typically provide recipes for their dishes but I'd wager that most home cooks would be willing to share their recipes. And as someone pointed out, isn't the secret recipe schtick part of KFC's spiel?

Carola 10:20 AM  

A pleasure cruise, just was sorry to get back to the dock so fast.

albatross shell 10:34 AM  

Yes an easy Friday. No look- ups. Last square to fall was the ESP/PER CROSS. I had hER. I still do not know why PER works but it seems more likely than hER.
It was that ESP was a far better sarcastic answer than the random sound ESh.

Over half filled in like a Tuesday. After that, it was a hard Wednesday to an average Thursday. Probably about 20-25 Rex's.
A very sparkly puzzle. Agree with Z about the ahas everywhere. A ton of fun.
Also agree with Z about regurgitating the Vietnam discussions here. But after so many buttons being pushed expect some feedback. I left my answer to @GILL I late last night so it would not intrude on today or yesterday. Those interested can check it out. I hope @GILL I will have the grace to read it. She can reply there if she wants, but I suspect both of us would prefer to drop it for now.

Unknown 10:34 AM  

"You can see, you have to really reach to find fault today."
Rex says that like it's a bad thing.

Is he really like this in real life, or is it just a persona that he takes on for his blog? I really hope it's the latter.

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

Was really hoping others had trouble, 'cause I was so proud of myself. Alas.

burtonkd 10:39 AM  

I spent an embarrassing amount of time asking myself what MRS Lovett's first name was.

@Barbara S - Nicely done with the Sweeney theme!

@Nancy, glad you could ID the problem with ACCENTRUGs - probably a theme IDea in there.

kitshef 10:39 AM  

@mathgent 9:59 - yes, I do Mondays and Tuesdays.

The real issue here is that because of the NYTXW conventions (themes on M-W, trickery on Th, themeless on Fri-Sat, with increasing difficulty as the week progresses), there is not a slot for an easy themeless or a hard themed puzzle.

In this instance, Will could have run this on a Tuesday, violating the "Tuesday theme" convention or run it on Friday, violating the "increasing difficulty" convention. He chose the latter. I would have preferred the former.

jae 10:48 AM  

Yep, too easy.

“PARENTHOOD” was a critically acclaimed series (88% on Rotten Tomatoes) that you can access on Amazon Prime or Peacock. It’s where Peter Krause went after “Six Feet Under” and Lauren Graham went after “Gilmore Girls”.

Plenty of sparkle and Jeff gave it POW. Liked it.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

Like most of the other commenters here, I just want everyone to know how smart I am. I finished this puzzle in eleven minutes.

Masked and Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Dang. This was good. So good, M&A went and deleted his comment from yesterday, that hoped for a themed FriPuz. From now on, I just hope for FriPuzs by this constructioneer. This puppy got the POW award, btw -- well deserved!
PUBTRIVIA. EXTRASPICY. ZEROCHANCE. SECRETRECIPE. PICKYEATER. day-um. [Almost a bar & restaurant theme, tho.]

staff weeject pick: HMM. One of around 20 answers I thought of, for its clue about tricky crossword clues.

Lotsa cute clues. SLEEPERCAR one was most excellent.

Thanx for the fun and almost theme, Ms. Weintraub darlin. Superb job.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


TTrimble 11:31 AM  

@albatross shell
I appreciated what you said last night, and much preferred it to all the hay made yesterday about the color of HAY.

(@John X's comments on the other hand were awesome. A good example of the kind of aside that makes the commentary here occasionally great.)

Richard 11:43 AM  

I don't ordinarily check the constructor's name before diving into the puzzle, so it wasn't until I was halfway through this one that I thought, "HMM, bet this is a Robyn Weintraub." Yup. Smooth. Polished. Cleverly clued. Solid.

One of my main reasons for subscribing to the New Yorker crosswords is the prominence of Robyn and Patrick Berry(among other masters of the art) in their offerings. These are, typically, themeless puzzles, but invariably beautifully crafted. No exception here.

Although it was about as easy a Friday as I can recall, it was, nevertheless, a joy to solve. My only hiccup was at 33A (Early trans-Atlantic voyager) where I had P__N__ __ and confidently dropped in PaNam (Hi, @ Nancy). That was quickly corrected. These things don't have to be hard to be fun.

Unknown 11:46 AM  

@ mathgent 9:59

Many folks like to pat themselves on the back, in public.
This forum provides the perfect opportunity to do so.
And many of the regulars, IMO, routinely parrot what rex says about the puzzle, so if rex thought it too easy, then by gosh, they think so too.
And there's clearly a LOT of humble-bragging that goes on - - - the "difficulty" in the NE corner that meant they "only" finished in ten minutes.
Personally, I love Lewis's comments: he will always find something positive to say about a puz, which is a welcome antidote to rex's incessant fault-finding.
Frankly, if Lewis started his own daily blog, I'd jump ship in a heartbeat.

EFB 11:55 AM  

It's a puzzle. It's not a race. The world does not revolve around you, and your assessment of what should be harder or easier on a given day is very boring.

Let's all make an effort to talk about the puzzle. Your time is about you. Hard/easy is about you. No one cares. If you were tired or hung over, no one cares. It's a blog about a puzzle, right?

I found it easy. I did too. So did I. Oh, me too. Sorta easy for me too. Too easy for today, should have been Wednesday. See how boring?

This egocentrism of Rex must be catchy. Or, you are your own parents.

Whatsername 12:15 PM  

@Charles Flaster (9:27) Like you, my first thought about the roommates was FRED AND ETHEL. But then I realized they’ve got closer to 70 years together. And still going strong.

@Nancy: I thought of you when I saw this article about a Snowy Owl spotted in Central Park a few days ago. We’ve had them in Missouri before during irruption years. Maybe you’ll get lucky and catch a glimpse of one.

Newboy 12:31 PM  

Wanna say I agree with Rex on his appreciation of Robyn’s consistency in making Crossworld a place I enjoy. Can’t agree that I’d say too easy based on the quality of even the three letter entries as clued. ESP, STAMP & FEZ just on that first line. And wanting peta before SPCA and Felix ‘n Oscar before BERT AND ERNIE or treaty before PATENT didn’t put me into CRISIS MODE, but I have to appreciate misdirection that so effortlessly leads one astray. And since I don’t solve grids for speed but savor each puzzle like that juicy Fuji APPLE, I’ll settle for the SLEEPER CAR experience while Rex is boarding the SST. Now I’m off to see what becomes the flashpoint of the day and enjoy the anecdotes and arcana that enlighten & delight most mornings.

JD 12:32 PM  

@EFB, It's as ironic for you to think anyone cares about your opinion of other peoples' easy/hard experience as it is for me to think you give a damn about what I'm saying about your opinion of other peoples' opinions. A MΓΆbius strip of indifference.

TTrimble 12:34 PM  

"Let's all make an effort to talk about the puzzle." Yeah, why don't you? Instead of kvetching for four paragraphs about comments by Rex and others, which is even more boring!

*** SB Alert ***

Favorite unaccepted word for today: Entheogen. That could be part of a clue for LSD in a Friday crossword.

Another wonderful word from the other day (unacceptable for the obvious reason): Egyptology.

pg -4

RooMonster 12:35 PM  

Hey All !
Wanted 8D Food for a grizzly bear to be - anything it wants. 🀣

Fun FriPuz. Had both MINTs and ATTs at first, both changing to a Y. I bet @Anoa Bob wad happy about that. Two other writeovers, Hah-HMM, atTRActIve-EXTRASPICY. Nice Triple U's in the center for @M&A. Nice non-Apple APPLE clue!

F right out of the gate, plus a non-brain draining puz, makes Roo a happy man.

Two F's

A 12:38 PM  

HMM. Tasty puzzle. Wouldn’t it be nice to PATENT that SECRET RECIPE for MINTY APPLE wood smoked TROUT a la MODE? So OVER THE TOP it’ll cure any PICKY EATER. Then take the MRS (love that clue) on a SLEEPERCAR TRIP to anyplace.

Rex didn’t, so I’ll give a shout out to the late great Molly Ivins!(August 30, 1944 – January 31, 2007) Our local paper ran her column and I used to revel in her barbs and keen insight. I found the larger context for the quote in her book “Who Let the Dogs In?” and it’s in reference to Rush Limbaugh.

“I object because he consistently targets dead people, little girls, and the homeless - none of whom are in a particularly good position to answer back. Satire is a weapon, and it can be quite cruel. It has historically been the weapon of powerless people aimed at the powerful. When you use satire against powerless people, as Limbaugh does, it is not only cruel -- it's profoundly vulgar.”

She goes on to provide the example of Limbaugh putting a picture of 13 year old Chelsea Clinton on the screen after asking his viewers if they knew there was a White house dog. “When viewers objected he claimed, in typical Limbaugh fashion, that the gag was an accident and that without his permission some technician had put up the picture of Chelsea - which I found as disgusting as his original attempt at humor.”

Here’s one from a 1994 column which is strikingly timely:

“Gingrich recently told a group of lobbyists he was, to put it crudely, shaking down, that his election strategy was to portray Clinton Democrats as the enemy of normal Americans and proponents of Stalinist measures. I’m fond of hyperbole myself. But when politicians start talking about large groups of their fellow Americans as 'enemies,' it's time for a quiet stir of alertness. Polarizing people is a good way to win an election, and also a good way to wreck a country. Stay alert.” PRAY, MONDE.

Thanks, Robyn, for including this wonderful lady in your treat of a puzzle.

Z 12:45 PM  

“Easy” means somewhere between 3:00 (Rex) and 40:00 (@GHarris). There is probably somebody who thought it was “easy” who spent most of the morning working on it. If people observing that today was easier for them than most Friday puzzles upsets you you might not want to read the comments, or Rex for that matter. Try commenting on the puzzle instead of the commentariat.

egsforbreakfast 12:52 PM  

@Nancy 8:50 Don’t take this the wrong way, and know that I always enjoy your comments, but if you really had BaRTANDERNIE, you also had a dnf.

@Barbara S. Nice Sweeney Todd hidden theme!

I loved this puzzle the way I love all Robyn Weintraub puzzles. Sure, I’ve seen tougher, but still, this was immaculate. Suppose you’re a recreational runner, and your normal Friday loop is a beautiful jog through fields of golden forage and rolling hills. Suppose one Friday, for no apparent reason, it seemed fast and effortless. Do you complain bitterly and rue that you used up some of the tread from your expensive Nike’s on such an unworthy run?

Anoa Bob 1:01 PM  

One of the reasons that so many of yous had quicker than average solve times is that the grid has 36 black squares which puts it in the typical early-week themed puzzle range and results in a lot of 3- and 4-letter entries. Most of those shorties are insta-fill level and account for some of the lightening-fast solves.

On the other hand, those 36 black squares put fewer restrictions on the longer answers and those are generally EXTRA SPICY if not OVER THE TOP. Themeless puzzles generally run with 32 or fewer black squares but this can result in strained, cross-wordy type longer fill (A LOT ON ONES PLATE, e.g.), so maybe the new standard in themeless grids will be higher black square counts in order to have higher quality long fill.

I did three six-month Vietnam tours in the Navy between '64-'70. It was an enormously unpopular war and that unpopularity rubbed off on everything associated with it, including returning military personnel. That whole issue is a bit too complex to do it justice on a crossword puzzle forum, but if you are ever down here in TexMex Land, buy me a few brewskis and I will tell you all about it.

Teedmn 1:10 PM  

I solved only at my Friday average today, so it was a Hard For A Weintraub puzzle for me. Both the SW and the NE gave me trouble. I had SLEEP_____ for 14A and I went off on some astral plane travel. SLEEPER CAR, har! I was even about to go off and fetch my lunch with the NE unfinished when __C_ET RECIPE suddenly revealed its SECRET. That was definitely an "aha", not a HMM.

With DE__ at 40A, I did wonder if Bruce DErn had voiced Sherlock Gnomes but I'm glad I held off on that.

Robyn, excellent job as always, thanks!

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

@Kitshef 10:39- seems like there’s (at least) one more option: keep the grid as is but increase degree of difficulty via clueing.

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

@EFB Most people are on this blog to discuss how they liked or disliked the day's puzzle. A lot of times that consists of whether it seemed easy or hard, was crunchy or stale, etc. The world does not revolve around you, and your assessment of what everyone else SHOULD be saying on a given day is very boring. So since no one cares anyway, you could always find something else to do which you deem more worthy of your time.

Frantic Sloth 1:28 PM  

@Z 725am 🀣🀣🀣 I thought it was Doug and not the EMU that you hated so much.

Hand up for "Lubrastrip" giving me the willies.

@Nancy 850am Hear! Hear! On those dastardly floor-level assassins! Many's the time I've nearly been done in by one kind or another.

A note about the "too easy" complaints:
I seem to remember a time when "theme" puzzles were not every day except Friday and Saturday. Why 5 to 2 seems to be the preferred ratio of themed to non-themed is beyond me. I like a good theme. I like a good themeless. I don't like a solid, professionally done, gunk-free puzzle by an uber-talented constructor being bashed because it happens to arbitrarily "belong" on one of the week's traditionally more difficult days. That's just nonsense. Is there some reason why this couldn't appear - heaven forbid! - earlier in the week? Let the "theme" be "Oh, hey - look! A stellar puzzle on its own merits that just happens to not have a theme! Oops!"

This opinion has been shared by others (Hi, kitshef,!) before me. Let me add my voice to theirs and say "Would a themeless on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday kill ya??"

Just my unsolicited 2¢.

@JD 1232pm AMEN! You beat me to it!
Ditto @TTrimble 1234pm
@Z 1245pm πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

However, isn't it nice sometimes to have a savior arrive to show us all the error of our ways and the waste of our collective breath...for him?

Tom R 1:36 PM  

You are right, Rex. Really easy, really clean.

Tori Sandifer 1:51 PM  

Very confused at first because I thought it was Thursday, so there was an extra little bonus nicety for me.

Particularly enjoyed the way IRON was clued

GILL I. 1:52 PM  

Ooooh....I love me some Robyn.....I'm late to the comments because I've been on the phone with my doctor and planning my colonoscopy. Nothing like looking forward to someone looking up ones nethers....
Well, I didn't have to Google on a Friday and that always makes me smile. And what's not to like about BERT AND ERNIE or a SECRET RECIPIE? Do people really keep their yummilicioushness to themselves?
I bought a little FEZ in Tangiers that I still have somewhere and I think I'll wear it today.

@Albatroos from late last night:
You wrote a compelling piece. Just to be perfectly clear, I was as anti-war as you were. You wrote: "And don't give me that spitting on soldiers crap." I can't undo what I saw. Maybe where you lived it wasn't prevalent, or maybe you never saw it and therefore called it crap. See no evil, speak no evil...maybe?
I was fairly new to this country and missed a lot of the Vietnam issues, but I've seen my fair share of shit ass uprisings, coups and assassins. I can smell an instigator a mile away. Jane FONDA and her speaking on Radio Hanoi and denying the reported conditions of POW's and MIA's did some mighty damage. She had clout, she used it, and her actions caused immeasurable hurt to returning veterans.
The war was atrocious; there were peaceful anti-war marches and there were "some" people who spat. The ones most damaged were those that fought for a stupid war because they had no other choice. I still try and feed many of these vets - most homeless - who will tell you horror stories of how they were treated when they returned back home.
Just like your experience was personal, so was mine. And for God's sake, don't put me in the same sentence as Trump
With apologies to @Z (and probably others) who tells us what we should do with our comments......Just remember FONDA's name came up in the puzzle..

Nigel Pottle 1:53 PM  

Easiest Fridsy ever. I finished it way ahead of my Tuesday time! What a mixed up week of puzzles. I do wonder about Rex who doesn’t know a tarboosh - FEZ was a gimme lol. And he doesn’t know EVA. And when I realized Lovett couldn’t be Lyle, I immediately put in MRS even though I have never seen Sweeney Todd. Which I should since it starred Angela Lansbury after all. I will never be as fast as OFL but I’m always amazed at what he doesn’t know immediately. But then again, I’m 70, I’m a voracious reader, and a librarian (retd), but not a member of AARP or CARP (which is the Canadian version - hmm maybe that would be a tricky clue.

bocamp 1:55 PM  

@TTrimble 12:34 PM

SB stuff

Wouldn't have thot of entheogen, but did attempt your other one from yd, just for the fun of it, of course. LOL

td -4 also

Spoiler from yd

Had no chance of getting the final missing one from yd., altho circadian rhythm shouldn't have been unknown to me. πŸ€”

Peace Tolerance Kindness Togetherness πŸ•Š

Unknown 2:05 PM  

A really nice Wednesday.

sanfranman59 2:07 PM  

Medium NYT Friday ... 9% below my Friday 6-month median solve time

This puzzle wasn't near as easy as I find most of Robyn Weintraub's, but it was every bit as much of a pleasure. I almost always enjoy her puzzles. It's great to have one where the pleasure lasts at least a little longer than it usually does.

I think the only thing that made me wince was being forced to recall EMU {34A: Creature in Liberty Mutual ads}. Gawd, I hate those ads, and I hate even more that they’re doing their job well because I remember that I hate them. F&@# you, Madison Avenue! I’m telling myself that Robyn clued it without the commercial reference and Will changed it.

CDilly52 2:10 PM  

Ms. W is one of my favorites and she did not disappoint today. I am always glad I do not solve for speed because I would miss the sheer enjoyment of the constructor’s art. Today is a perfect example.

I was very concerned down in the SW when all those Os started showing up! I had DONE DEAL MOODS and DOOR. Encore I had any of the front ends of PARENTHOOD and CRISIS MODE. The ...MODE made me worry since it was crossing MOODS. Overthinking is certainly one of my tendencies, but then professionally, my clients kind of like that. Maybe not such a good quality here.

Such fun today. All the way through. Really enjoyed homage to our space program. I’m of the era that the Mercury program launches and recoveries were all shown to us at school. Our teachers would roll in the big tv on the stand and we watch I absolute amazement as the gantry was pulled away and the final countdown was made and we sent brave souls into space.

I will never forget when we lost Gus Grissom as we watched in class. Poor Mrs. Bauman didn’t quite know what to do. I remembered that day so vividly and shared my experience with my daughter the day her entire elementary school watched as Challenger exploded. Those who dare to explore deserve our eternal gratitude fir their sacrifices.

So many thought triggers today, and so much fun. Thanks Ms. W for another gem.

TTrimble 2:11 PM  

It might have been me you're thinking of -- it's Doug from Liberty Mutual that I find intensely annoying, out of many things annoying about Liberty Mutual commercials. The commercials that pop up in my YouTube feed have him all the time finally able to do some beach reading "ha ha ha ha ha". I have to avert my eyes.

Beats me why we need to have themed puzzles 5 days a week. I'm happy just to have a puzzle that meets the 5 criteria set out by @Nancy a few days ago.

(I expect our savior is a FLY BY -- I don't recall seeing those initials before. But yeah, whoever you are: thanks for stopping by!

There was an interesting text decades ago, Games People Play, which I think was one of the seminal texts for transactional analysis which had a kind of faddish run. Anyway, that text could use updating and a whooole many more examples. Why, some pretty good fodder may be found every day in this very space.)

Rug Crazy 2:24 PM  

I enjoyed it. Don't care what day it is. Had HUH for HMM, which through me off for 10 seconds.

Bob of Concord 3:02 PM  


Nancy 3:06 PM  

@egs. You're right. I did. Aw, shucks.

Anonymous 3:09 PM  


DaddyO 3:17 PM  

Couldn’t agree more. Simply, a breezy pleasure.

Petee 3:40 PM  


Anonymous 3:57 PM  

I wonder what the correlation coefficient is betwixt NYTXW solvers and Trivial Pursuit players? They're really the same thing.

jberg 4:46 PM  

I was thinking the same way as @Nancy -- it's not that this puzzle isinherently easy so much as that if you've been at this long enough your mind goes right to the hidden meaning of the intended misdirections. I did miss a few; I can't keep my insurance companies straight (nor do I want to), so I went with Elk until I DEBUGged it much later. And I saw ESP right away, but didn't like SERE as well as arid, so I held off. Then I saw that the brownish coler could be buRnt siennA, and spent 5 minutes trying to remember the first names of all the Justices.

No problem with DOOR, though. @Rex, you just had to remember Emma Lazarus:

Give me your tired, our poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these the homeless, tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden DOOR.

Very fitting thought this week.

@Z, @TTrimble, others, thanks for asking, the class went fine. Zoom turns out to be pretty transparent, I just opened the session an hour before classtime and figured everything out quickly. I just have to school myself in limiting my hand gestures, as they look weird on screen.

Adam 4:49 PM  

TREATY before PATENT and SPY before PRY gave me trouble. And I wanted SANA for the Yoga instructor, but that's not a real name so I didn't put it in. I didn't have as easy a time as @Rex did, but eventually it all came together. Like @Rex, I enjoyed the long clues and the rest of the puzzle. A nice diversion for Friday afternoon.

Z 4:53 PM  

@Frantic 1:28 - If they ever clue Doug by Liberty Mutual I’ll be screaming for the guillotine.

@Gill I - With apologies to @Z (and probably others) who tells us what we should do with our comments......Just remember FONDA's name came up in the puzzle.. I don’t know why you’re apologizing to me. I have no problem discussing anything nor any problem with anyone else wanting to discuss anything. That comment was meant to be a gentle reminder that relitigating Vietnam is unlikely to sway a single opinion while managing to raise just about everyone’s blood pressure. As with all free advice, you get what you pay for and are at liberty to ignore it. If I think someone has wandered too far off the ranch I’ll just skip what they wrote and think none the worse (or better) of them... well, unless someone starts with the personal insults.

@Bob of Concord - Did you pass?

@Anon3:57 - God No. Crossword puzzles will have trivia, sometimes even trivial trivia. But the good ones have wordplay. Today’s puzzle is a fine example, where what makes this a joy to solve is the playing with word meanings.

Simpson 5:11 PM  

I had SUREDEAL and STAR as a symbol of opportunity and, well, my goose was cooked at that point.

Pierre-Yves Houle 5:14 PM  

I wanted to write something mean to Rex. But I won't. I did like this puzzle a lot, accessible but still challenging g or me.

sixtyni yogini 5:54 PM  

Clues were very good for (my) brain 🧠 🀸🏽‍♀️🧠 flexibility.

Roth 6:34 PM  

Now I know how the average Joe felt when the xword was full of opera heroines. The endless pop singers, TV stars, movie directors, and sports personnel have me confounded repeatedly. (Why would any sensible person care about the names of the van Trapps?) It's not just this puzzle, but a growing trend to ignore politics, other-than-pop music, science, horticulture, or anything but pop culture and children'sent ertainment. It is dispiriting.

egsforbreakfast 8:56 PM  

@ Anonymous 1:14. I tried to offer a perspective on why having a slightly easy, but very high-quality, Friday puzzle isn’t too big a deal to me. I’m pretty surprised to think that you think that this means that I should permanently leave the site. I’ll try to be more considerate of the anonymous scum position in the future.

JD 9:14 PM  

@Gill, You owe an apology to no one. And I'm not talking about just this issue. You're my hero. When I saw the latest clue for Che, I thought, "Gill impacted this." I thought about your strength, passion, and commitment to truth on and off all day. You be you.

Nancy 10:16 PM  

@egs (8:56)-- Your last sentence may be the funniest and most perfectly phrased putdown of a troll ever.

albatross shell 10:21 PM  

@Nancy 306pm
That is another advantage of pen and paper solving: When you finish you have finished correctly, if you don't look too closely.

@ANON 357pm
I'M lousy at trivial pursuit and do not enjoy it. I'm not great at crosswords but do enjoy it.

Compelling but not to you I guess.
Jane Fonda and whatever spitting there was is more a focus of anger than a cause of the damage I would think. And you put the blame on Jane and you put the spitting into the discussion about Jane and veterans.

Wars cause this damage. How the soldiers were used in that particular war, and agent orange, and lack of counselling for stress all played in. And failure to win from the pro-war crowd reaction all played a part. Measure some of that hurt.

Z is right, goddamnit.
But "Everybody Knows" (Leonard Cohen)

Joe Dipinto 10:59 PM  

@egsforbreakfast – I thought @Anon 1:14 's comment was strange too, then I realized that it's directed at someone actually named @EFB who posted at 11:55. No one wants you to leave.

egsforbreakfast 11:33 PM  

@Joe DiPinto 10:59. My bad. I guess I’m getting thin-skinned. Thanks for your always appreciated comments.

A 12:39 AM  

@egs Ditto what @Joe Dipinto said. Strange coincidence (?) with the EFB moniker. You did strike quite a blow on his/her behalf, however - bravo!

A 1:00 AM  

@Gill I. and @albatross shell I just heard on tv a JFK quote "We are not heah to curse the dahkness, but to light a candle...." (God bless Boston.) Anyway, I thank you both for sharing your candlelight. And now, Zzzzzzz.......

thefogman 10:35 AM  

Nothing to DEBUG here. I don’t know what SECRETRECIPE Robyn Weintraub uses to cook up her wonderful puzzles, but they always turn out to be delicious. And I’m a PICKYEATER.

thefogman 11:02 AM  

PS - I noticed lots of people complaining this puzzle was too easy for a Friday. I found it was easier than usual for the most part until I hit the SW corner. Then it suddenly became medium-challenging for a Friday. A misfiled puzzle doesn’t bother me too much either way (so long as it’s good). But even if this one should have been a Wednesday or whatever, that’s on the editor not the constructor.

Burma Shave 12:26 PM  


AND too TRUSTY to LYE if they could,
with ZEROCHANCE MRS. Piggy won’t care:


rondo 2:54 PM  

I had rebS as union deserters so that took a while to fix. Another little inkfest in the SE wasted some time. Other than that the rest did seem easy.

For good or ill, Lisa LOEB paved the way for singers like Taylor Swift and others. Don’t think she gets the recognition.

Robyn does a good job.

leftcoaster 6:00 PM  

Clever, neat, clean, and smooth -- as one would expect from Robyn Weintraub. But, here, all was not easy.

In the NW, went for Fan instead of FEZ and not a CHANCE instead of ZEROCHANCE. In the SE, got tangled up in the MODE / MOODS cross, where the HOOD in PARENTHOOD didn’t help matters. Floundered at D[?]L for the "Indian lentil dish" and [?]TTY for “briefs, briefly”. That was a “DOH!"

Overall, was glad to get what I got.

leftcoaster 7:53 PM  

Clue: "What you might say after reading a tricky crossword clue”.

First answer might be: WTF!?
Second could be: HMM...
Third should be: Is HMM really a word?

Conclusion: M-W now says, yes, it’s a word.

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