Cassady who inspired Kerouac / FRI 4-2-21 / Letter seen in a Christogram / Veiled satire on Joseph Stalin / First Korean to win Best Director Oscar / Mexican sauce made from chili peppers and chocolate

Friday, April 2, 2021

Constructor: Kyra Wilson and Sophia Maymudes

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium 

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: BONG JOON-HO (15A: First Korean to win the Best Director Oscar) —

Bong Joon-ho (Korean봉준호Korean pronunciation: [poːŋ tɕuːnho → poːŋdʑunɦo]; Hanja: 奉俊昊; born September 14, 1969) is a South Korean film director, producer and screenwriter. His films are characterised by the use of social themes, genre-mixing, black humor, and sudden tone shifts.

He first became known to audiences and achieved a cult following with his directorial debut film, the black comedy Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000), before achieving both critical and commercial success with his subsequent films: the crime thriller Memories of Murder (2003), the monster film The Host (2006), the science fiction action film Snowpiercer (2013), and the Academy Award-winning black comedy social thriller Parasite (2019), all of which are among the highest-grossing films in South Korea, with Parasite also being the highest-grossing South Korean film in history. (wikipedia)

• • •

This puzzle made me feel bad but it wasn't the puzzle's fault, and luckily the bad feeling happened very early on so I had the rest of the puzzle to get over it. "Parasite" was the last movie I saw in a movie theater, before [sweeping hand gesture] all this, and it's one of the few movies I've ever seen where I walked out of the theater thinking "well that was one of the best movies I've ever seen." My sense of a movie's greatness usually takes time to accumulate; I need at least a modicum of historical perspective. But "Parasite" took up space in my head immediately and hasn't left. It was only after the success of "Parasite" that I learned the name of BONG JOON-HO, even though I'd already seen one of his movies ("Snowpiercer"). I have since seen "The Host," which is (like the other titles I've mentioned) truly wonderful and thoughtful (and unsettling). And yet ... apparently I have *not* learned his name, because I wrote in BONG and then found my mind go ... not blank, but wobbly. My brain wanted Bong Ho-Kim (ugh), and it just got stuck there and wouldn't move. And then I got mad at myself, which is never good when you're solving. Then of course I couldn't let it go so I sat there going "come on, stupid head ..." but that didn't work so eventually I just went to the crosses and even with BONG -OON HO in place I wasn't sure it wasn't SOON, ugh! I have got to do better at filing non-Anglo-American names properly in my mental rolodex (look it up, kids). Asian names in particular. I'm going to spell filmmakers YASUJIRO OZU (Japan) and WONG KAR-WAI (China) for you (and me) right now, because if we make it to the end of the year without seeing at least part of their names in a grid, I'm honestly going to be a little surprised (and, as a movie-lover, a lot disappointed).

As the self-flagellation died down, I got on with the rest of this grid, which is delightful. A little name-heavy, perhaps, but solid and entertaining throughout. And the names ... they seemed aggressively pop culture-y as I was solving, but looking over the grid, I don't think that's terribly accurate. When I was done, I thought, "Wow, they really wanted you to know they're GEN-Z, didn't they?" But honestly I think that reaction came almost entirely from "IN THE HEIGHTS," a title I know *only* because of my musical theater-obsessed GEN-Z daughter (who is no longer so narrowly obsessed with musical theater, but who is graduating from college with a degree in Theater Production & Design at the end of ... wow, this year? ... this year ... sigh ... OK, then ...) (21D: Tony-winning musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda during his second year of college). I think I just ran into ARNETT NEAL ILANA IN THE HEIGHTS all in a rush and so the name-iness of the puzzle felt quite strong, but that's just one patch. Oh, there's also the (Taylor) Swiftiness of the clue on "I'VE MOVED ON" (17A: "We are not getting back together"), but that clue is also straightforward and literal, so no pop culture knowledge required. And the names in this puzzle really are spread out topically and generationally, so mostly what this puzzle makes me realize is that it doesn't skew young—the regular NYTXW skews old. So that if what you're used to is NYTXW-normal, every "young" answer feels like it's Shouting at you, when in reality it's just hanging out, minding its own business, a face in the crowd that you're not used to seeing (so much). 

I tried ONRUSH (?) before UNREST (25D: Turbulence) and FUSSED before FUTZED (43D: Messed (with)). I do love FUTZED. Would not mind seeing FUTZ and its various verb forms more often. Anyway, this was good good good. A JOB WELL DONE. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:27 AM  

This is a SWEET TREAT, the perfect follow-up to yesterday’s scrumptious but heavy entrée. I loved the stacks in the NW and SE – six answers with zing – and the cross of SWEET TREAT and PEAR, but my favorite takeaway is the feeling of freshness, due to six terrific NYT debuts:


With ANIMAL FARM leading the puzzle off, it was fitting for the puzzle to have the MOLE, EWE, and LARK, not to mention the ANTs (in ANTE and BANTU), ASS (in ASSUME), and that lion AROAR.

Kyra, congratulations on your debut, and to both of you, thank you for this, and très BIEN!

Mary Sofia 6:47 AM  

This puzzle zoomed by for me, but had just enough resistance that it was an enjoyable solve. The vibes were just current to be exactly in my wheelhouse.

kitshef 7:16 AM  

The stuff that was absolutely in my wheelhouse (BAKU, ANDORRA, ELLE, TARA) outweighed the stuff that is way, way, way out of my wheelhouse (BONGJOON HO, IN THE HEIGHTS), so overall I found this very easy.

Was ANIMAL FARM “veiled”? I think even as a seven-year old, I got the gist.

pabloinnh 7:24 AM  

You want a blind spot? How about thinking Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty Four and missing ANIMALFARM, which is obvious, and moving on and starting at the bottom? That was my blind spot, and it was a doozy. Lots of names that were new to me, but DEGAS and NEAL and AMY and SARAH to the rescue. ELIOT too. Didn't know the quote, but a poet with the second letter L is familiar enough.

Liked this one a lot, just right on crunch, and my only nit is segmented corners, which I never like, since it feels like solving four puzzles. RESELLS is bittersweet, as we are downsizing profusely and saying goodbye to years and years of accumulation. We're old enough to know that time passing will fix all this, but it still ain't easy.

Nice job by y'all, KW and SM. I'm Smiling Mightily, and you Know Why.

Hungry Mother 7:39 AM  

Close, but one of the names got me as well as my inability to spell ECSTASY. Over abundance of trivia mixed in with some nice clues.

Anonymous 7:46 AM  

Not a bad little solve, if rather easy for a Friday (are Friday’s at the NYT no longer meant to be a benchmark?) I do believe that, had these creators been in some different demographics, Rex would not have let this much PPP go by without complaint. The soft bigotry of low expectations again.

Joaquin 7:48 AM  

Whatever the opposite of a “gimme” is, that’s what BONG JOON HO is to me. I had no idea if the crosses I was writing in were or were not on the right track. Then, after getting BONG JOON HO I *still* didn’t know if it was right (so I consulted the interwebs to confirm).

“He or I, but not you?” - Clue of the year.

Zygotic 7:52 AM  

When the first four across answers are PPP* can anyone be all that surprised that this hits the magic 33% mark? 24 of 72, exactly 33%. I agree with Rex that it is diverse. Look at those first four, literature, geography, film, Greek myth. Since it really is from all over the place I will be interested to see if we get lots of wheelhouse/outhouse type comments.

*PPP is Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns. When it hits 33% of the puzzle some subset of solvers will find the puzzle especially hard while another subset will find it especially easy (in one’s wheelhouse or in one’s outhouse).

This felt a little teetering at first. ARES and KEANU got me started and the NE turned out easier than I feared. moved down the east coast where my only slip up was wanting an I in LEDERHOSEN. Moved over into the SW where GEN Z was briefly tEen (whatever happened to SnapChat? Did it already join MySpace and the Rolodex on the trash heap of tech innovation?). After having an initial O No moment to start I was quickly 75% done. I had all the vowels, so ANIMAL FARM was now obvious (I was looking for a movie on my first pass), MGM Grand was now the obvious Casino opening, and I was able to piece together BONG JOON HO, a name I’ve seen but never written out before. My biggest hold up turned out to be “lists” as a noun instead of a verb in the RESELLS clue. For me Rex’s “easy medium” is exactly right.

GILL I. 8:11 AM  

Bada Bing Bada BONG. Who dat? Well Barcelona didn't fit with its Catalan language so who else? Tax free, ski resorts and nothing to do but go shopping....ANDORRA. Yay. I got it! I also got ANIMAL FARM but I'll be damned if I ever heard of BONG JOON HO.
I left all the pile up of names in the left coast because they were giving me a headache. Wow...I even found a pile-up in the middle and just about everywhere. Get rid of the bad taste in my mouth and move on. I just may enjoy this.
GENZ FUTZED? Sounds like a LEDERHOSEN giving you a DEATH STARE.
By the way...MOLE is made with a ton of things besides chili and chocolate. But that's OK...I knew what you meant.
Love you clue for TAC and the BIEN BESO.
I shall now go DAUBS the HORDS.

Mike G 8:13 AM  

Got everything but the ILANA/IN THE HEIGHTS crosser. I'm not much for TV or musicals so it was tough to get:

1) an actress I've never heard of
2) in a show I've only heard of in crosswords
3) combined with a musical I've never heard of
4) written by a guy(?) I've only heard of in crosswords.

OLANA/ON THE HEIGHTS seemed more reasonable to me, but such is life.

Zygotic 8:14 AM  

@Anon7:46 - Seriously, how could Rex not spend 90% of the puzzle discussing the names and pop culture in the puzzle? It’s as if he didn’t even care that some of the PPP seemed aggressively pop culture-y. I can’t believe he just ignored that even a technically non-PPP clue was actually a Taylor Swift allusion or that PPP dense ARNETT NEAL ILANA IN THE HEIGHTS cluster. Yessiree Bob, he just totally gave them a pass on the PPP.

@kitshef - I guess channeling Aesop makes it “veiled.” I feel like it is time to dig out a copy of Shooting an Elephant and reread it.

@Lewis - GEN Z is a debut answer? I just wish GENs XYZ would zipper up. But I digress... it feels like we’ve seen all the recent generational descriptors, so that surprised me. More importantly, what happens now that we’ve run out of alphabet? Maybe the next generation will be accused of being unmotivated and always sleeping on the job so will be GEN ZZ.

Matt Gaetz 8:25 AM  

Even the NYT Crossword is trolling me now!? Ok, so I was oNECSTASY when I was snacking up with underage call girls. I guess maybe that was wrong, but the crossword puzzle? Damn!

Mike Rees 8:30 AM  

I got stuck for a long time in the NE corner, largely because my mind blanked on one of my favourite actors (KEANU). Couldn't get Chris(topher) out of my head.

Also, I had the F and U of FUTZED in place and I gotta say, for just a minute, I thought it might be ... a very different answer.

Birchbark 8:30 AM  

"To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way whereIN there is no ECSTASY.
The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood --
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good."

-- ELIOT, from "The Four Quartets"

The self-denial sendup, "LOVES Labours Lost": I love this play despite many considering it one of Shakespeare's worst. The sophomoric genius word-play and excessive rhyming couplets won't quit. Some of the dialogs are divinely inspired, especially those of the Spaniard and his learned apprentice and the professor and his friend the cleric. And proof that the Divinity can be over-clever, annoying, immature, and hilarious. But there is a serious undercurrent struggling with vows and broken vows: forsworn. Aside from reading the play, I recommend streaming the Stratford Festival and Royal Shakespeare Company productions (Amazon or Marquee TV).

On the subject of too clever = funny. The scene in the train near the end of "Trading Places," where Jamie Lee Curtis, disguised as a foreign tourist, says "I am Inge from Sweden," and the butler urgently whispers to her, "But those are LEDERHOSEN," as though their cover is blown.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

Easiest ever but solid

RooMonster 8:42 AM  

Hey All !
NW got me but good. Had rest of puz filled, but hopelessly stuck up there. Being unsophisticated, ANIMAL FARM was out of my ken, and even though I drive by the MGM Grand pretty much daily, I couldn't figure out what that was. 🙄 Deciding twixt Ajar, just, ABIT at 1D, NOVA extremely hidden (wanted AREA, as you can see the whole AREA from an observatory), LOVES? (sheesh!), ANDORRA, plus the article A in AJOB... had me running to Google to look up the unknown to me Korean director. Look, I like movies as much as the next guy, but I don't have Directors memorized. Heck, I don't even know who directed the Avengers movie (of which I'm a big fan.) So I give myself a pass at BONG.

Cheating to get a 10 is a nice way to figure out the rest! Wanted FOES from the get-go, but took it out as I couldn't get the crossers. Oh well. Had the ___RRA for the country, thinking CANABERRA (too long, plus, is that even a country?) Wanted kiSs for BESO. Someone please explain that clue/answer to my refusing to see it brain.

I think it's GEN AA, no? (Serious question, btw)

So a nice 3/4 fought puz, getting things I didn't think at first I would, but shot down by NW. But, IVE MOVED ON. 😆

AROAR. See Sam Ezersky? It's a word. How come it's not valid in SB? I try it every time hoping one time, it takes. That'd be a SWEET TREAT. Stop making me put it in, and giving the Bee a DEATH STARE when it doesn't work. U DIG?

Two F's

Son Volt 8:54 AM  

A little name heavy?? I was excited to see the long stacks at first - assuming some crunchy Friday wordplay but it quickly devolved into TV Guide material. It filled in quickly because I knew most of them but this was brutal and should not have run on Friday. I did like A JOB WELL DONE and FUTZED - so obviously the capability is there. Why ruin it with all the other garbage.

Hopefully a proper Saturday tomorrow.

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

@anon 7:46 but Rex DID complain about the names called it "a little name heavy". The looking for something, anything,, to call Rex out for again comment.

mmorgan 9:10 AM  

Terrific puzzle. The NW was a killer for me — I knew the film was Parasite but didn’t know the director’s name, I thought 1A might have been that recent movie about the death of Stalin (I forgot its title) and 17A could have been a lot of phrases. Having veryWELLDONE didn’t help. But getting BESO was the key that made it all fall into place. Very enjoyable puzzle.

bocamp 9:11 AM  

Thank you @Kyra & @Sophia for a very crunchy, challenging puz! Very much enjoyed the battle and ultimate victory.

Two tough solves in a row for moi.

Moved quickly thru the lower part of the puz, then spent an equal amount of time (maybe more) on the NW and G.L.s. The final cell was 21A/D and (i) seemed the most viable choice.

TARA's Theme

yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Amity ~ Kindness ~ HOPE for all 🕊

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

@z those born now are the ALPHA generation, not ZZ.

Giovanni 9:19 AM  

Those of you who haven't heard of BONG JOON HO need to watch his Oscar acceptance speech. I knew the name because after seeing Parasite, I typed it into my TV to search for more movies by him. A good one streaming is called OKJA. It's just so amazing, half in Korean, half in English stars Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhal is hilarious. I think Rex would love it to as it's almost a live action cartoon.
Of course, go see Parasite if you have not. BONG JOON HO was adorable in his Oscar acceptance speeches and also when they interviewed him after. He seems like a super sweet guy on top of being a genius.

Barbara S. 9:19 AM  

Ah, this puzzle was like a hot knife through cold butter. Whatever that means. But what I want it to mean is that the solving experience was smooth but with enough resistance that you had to exert steady pressure. Hmm. OK, I think we can agree that that metaphor failed, but you get the drift. I got my first toehold in the NE with USMAP and KEANU (although I’m always wary lest a constructor throw in “Steve” Reeves to foil us). On the west coast, AMY Klobuchar and TARA Lipinski gave me an entrée to that area, so once again PPP was a huge help in getting started. I didn’t find the PPP oppressive. I wasn’t familiar with all of it but crosses were of sufficient help to unlock the unknowns. I found the clue for SARAH amusing – “O.T. figure who has a child while in her early 90s”. It’s that word “early” – to me it implies there’s a difference in putative child-bearing capability in the early vs. the late 90s. As a some-time BUS rider (before COVID), I appreciated that clue: “Long way around town?” And like @Joaquin (7:48), I loved the clue for ELEMENT. Only one write-over: Very WELL DONE to A JOB WELL DONE.

I agree with Rex about FUTZED. Great word – I use it all the time. One of my very first forays into public speaking was a class talk I gave in probably grade 5 about little mountainous ANDORRA. I remember the occasion although none of the content, but was able to pop 'er in off the RRA.

@albatross shell
I'm going to get back to you shortly.

The quotation today is from EMILE ZOLA, born Apr. 2, 1840.

“They all looked at each other cautiously. As they were all rather short of breath by this time, it was the camembert they could smell. This cheese, with its gamy odour, had overpowered the milder smells of the marolles and the limbourg; its power was remarkable. Every now and then, however, a slight whiff, a flute-like note, came from the parmesan, while the bries came into play with their soft, musty smell, the gentle sound, so to speak, of a damp tambourine. The livarot launched into an overwhelming reprise, and the géromé kept up the symphony with a sustained high note.”
(From The Belly of Paris)

OffTheGrid 9:24 AM  

Speaking of LEDERHOSEN

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:32 AM  

I left a blank space at the cross of M_M and BON_JOONHO. I did see the movie, it was really unpleasant. And casinos? I only know the names of the ones I'm fighting to keep out of here. But I knew something in every section, so I pretty much solved it.

burtonkd 9:32 AM  

At 1A, I was trying to come up with the recent movie I saw about Stalin that was hardly veiled, but was wonderful satire. Of course, blocking out the "Stalin" in the answer because it was in the clue left me frustrated I couldn't come up with "Death of Stalin". One interesting premise in the movie is that he died in his room but all the guards were too terrified to check on him unless he summoned them, thus leaving him there for several days.

Whenever I can't summon up something I know that I know, I also try not to see myself turning into the Anthony Hopkins character from "The Father".

Last year, Bong Joon-Ho was the star of the Oscars. I agree with Rex about Parasite and his other films. We're watching movies with Oscar 2021 nominations and much of the Best Picture and Actor categories are pretty dark and heavy. Still devastated by The Father this morning; mom going through dementia. I wonder about awarding it best picture since most of the effectiveness is from the play script, not its "movie-ness".

The jarring juxtaposition of Will Arnett as BoJack over the Biblical Sarah is worth the price of admission.

I need to stop FUTZing around here and get on with my work of the day. Love that word!

Was wondering if MOLE sauce was named after its texture, like the Italian leather Moleskine notebooks. Turns out MOLE means sauce, so mole sauce is redundant.

I like DEET and HORDE near each other - getting ready for xword but not real world friendly gnats. Speaking of HORDES, get ready for the deafening "brood x" locusts to emerge from their 17 year slumber all AROAR.

I'm so thankful that the clue for Eros to Ares was not "think of a 4 letter Greek god, change one vowel and rearrange the vowels to get the name of his father"

Sir Hillary 9:35 AM  

Yep, this was a blast all the way through. PPP was almost all wheelhouse here, so that may explain my admiration. But the grid is quite clean as well -- no 3/4-letter crap needed to accommodate the long sparklers. Love the clues for ELEMENT and MGM.

Until just now, I kept reading the SARAH clue as "...bwas a child..." and thinking, "That defies even biblical logic." Now I see that SARAH defied only non-biblical logic.

Good Friday puzzle indeed.

Teedmn 9:36 AM  

I guess I spent more time cracking the NW than I thought, because I was surprised when I saw how long this took me - I thought I was going A BIT faster than 17 minutes but no.

I figured 1A would become clear at some point but it was only after I threw down RHO and saw the RM at the end that I saw ANIMAL FARM. I read it back in middle school and didn't realize it was aimed at Stalinism, just at authoritarianism. Maybe I should reread Orwell again (I reread "1984" in 1984 and not since then.)

I thought the clue for BUS, "Long way around town?" was the most mind-bending for me today.

Congrats, Kyra Wilson, on the debut, and thanks to you and Sophia!

CarynR 9:41 AM  

Let's give props to Lin-Manuel Miranda for writing a Tony-winning musical in his second year of college! The guy's a genius. Can't wait to see the big screen adaptation opening June 11th!

Peter P 9:47 AM  

Way easy for a Friday. This week, some of the earlier days kicked my butt. This week's Friday was second fastest, after Monday, which I think is the first time that's ever happened.

I had to run through tEen, GENx, GENy, and finally GENZ to get the Tik Tok question. Should have figured that out, as my kids are regularly on it (with some restrictions), although we're probably bad parents, as they're Generation Alpha (after Gen Z), and probably should have much more limited screen time. (Though I have extended thoughts about this, seeing how far ahead vocabulary and spelling wise they are compared with where I was at at their age.) They're mostly into the Minecraft and Roblox content.

I couldn't remember BOONG JONG-HO, either, despite watching "Parasite" a month ago. That's okay, as I barely can remember actors names most of the time. No major sticking points, just a smooth, easy solve all around. Only complaint is that this should have been a Wednesday, at most.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

Are you saying you've only heard of Lin-Manuel Miranda in crosswords? Have you ever heard of "Hamilton"? He wrote it.

TheMadDruid 10:03 AM  

When I had F U in the southwest corner I checked and rechecked the name(s) of the composers. If I’d seen it was BEQ I might have gone with my first thought.

Nancy 10:09 AM  

Oh, yes, that Korean director on the tip of everyone's tongue: BONGJOONHO. But I didn't cheat on him/her. Instead I wondered if the Will might be ARNETT when I had A-N-TT and I did put "Will A" into the search box and ARNETT did pop right up, so there's that. Therefore, to those of you who solved this clean, I'm a mere RUNNER UP.

And boy did I struggle with RUNNER UP -- the only non-name answer in that proper-name-riddled section. I needed it so badly and it wasn't coming.

This was like two different puzzles. The lower half came in so fast that I couldn't write quickly enough, while the top half gave me no end of trouble. If only I'd remembered that ANIMAL FARM was a satire of Stalin.

ELIOT said that?? Such a clear, amusing, uncomplicatedly straightforward statement and in only one language!! Thanks for that, Tom!

Other than the BONG guy (or is it the HO guy?); ILANA and ARNETT, this puzzle was a SWEET TREAT. Congrats, Kyra and Sophia, on A JOB WELL DONE.

Unknown 10:17 AM  

Not funny if it is really Matt Gaetz!!!

Newboy 10:21 AM  

Pretty easy start if you’ve taught ANIMAL FARM repeatedly. But 11 & 15D brought me back to full ethnocentric reality! Like the Oscars and Rex, I find vast areas of unexplored territory on my non-indoeuropean map. There’s an entire universe of great stuff out there to learn about and enjoy (Ai Weiwei comes to mind) that wasn’t on the syllabus when Art 101 was a requirement. I’m sure that GENZ and the Google have changed to a broader perspective, but I fear that inclusion has not overtaken the too human need to build walls. But I ramble....loved the puzzle.

Second day in a row to have clues linked 11d &45d as well as 33&34d. Only adding LOAM to my compost caused a twist in my gardeners LEDERHOSEN. Thanks Kyra & Sophia for A JOB WELL DONE.

JD 10:23 AM  

So nice and so smooth. Saw Parasite, couldn't remember director's name, got it on crosses. Daubs was hard, Format emerged slowly. Loved Runner Up, Lederhosen, Death Stare.

jae 10:25 AM  

Easy-medium. Solid with some sparkle, especially the NW. Did not know BONG JOON HO, but I have not been keeping up with the Oscars lately. I also did not know ANDORRA had 2 Rs which retarded progress in that section.

Fun Friday, liked it. A fine collaborative debut for Kyra Wilson.

Does anyone know why you can’t access the LATimes xword from the Cruciverb site anymore?

Carola 10:27 AM  

The luck of "happened to know" plus revealing crosses made this a fast Friday for me, with the many fresh answers making it a very enjoyable one, too.

@burtonkd, re: letter rearranging - lol, and I so agree!

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

Felt more like a Tuesday or Wednesday to me -in fact, this week's Tuesday puzzle took me longer to solve than today's puzzle.

And I'm certainly no Gen-Zer. I was born at the tail end of the baby boom. Some boomers don't claim us, because while our older cohorts might have been protesting and marching, we were busy watching the first season of Sesame Street!

Some demographer's split baby boomers into two, with the latter half being called Generation Jones.

Whatsername 10:45 AM  

This was a SWEET, really WELL DONE Friday. Straightforward, no junk, an A+ from me. Great JOB ladies! And congrats to Kyra on a superb debut!

I survived the day-after effects of my second vaccine. It wasn’t much fun but at least it didn’t last long. Now time to face the idea of actually reentering society again. Wishing everyone a blessed Easter weekend.

pmdm 10:47 AM  

Is my suspicion correct that newer constructor rely mre on PPP than more experienced constructors? For those that knew the PPP in this puzzle, the puzzle would be quite easy. For those who don't. perhaps impossible. For me, a fairly easy research project.

If one complains that the percentage of male constructors is too high, one should praise the editor when a puzzle's byline includes two women. At least in my world.

Time to move on to other projects. But not in the garden. It's cold in NYC today.

Nancy 10:50 AM  

Damn, I love this blog! People keep coming up with their unique takes on things you never would have thought of yourself. Today it's Barbara S (9:19), chuckling over the clue that make a distinction between having a child in your "early 90s" as opposed to your late 90s. Yes, that's funny, and I never even noticed it.

I also loved the Zola cheese-smelling quote, Barbara -- mostly because I love, love, love those cheeses -- at least the ones I've heard of. Personally, I'd rather eat 'em than smell 'em, but I'm not French. The camembert "overpowered" the limbourg? I guess limbourg is not the same as limburger. But "flute-like note"? "A damp tambourine"? "Overwhelming reprise"? Doesn't this read a bit like a send-up of the pretentious wine connoisseur?

@Birchbark 8:30 -- Strong, evocative ELIOT quote...and I'm so happy it's not from "The Wasteland". Also, kudos to you for remembering the last scene/line from "Trading Places." I envy you your memory. I loved that movie and don't remember the scene at all. OTOH, when you don't have a memory, everything old is new again. Which has been a big plus for me during the pandemic.

sixtyni yogini 10:55 AM  

Off-topic, tho Rex brought it up 😜:
Did not have the same evaluation of Parasite as the C-Rex... and the MPic academy.
Will reread some of the reviews. (These days I may be looking for something different in books and movies than what used to grab me.)

Good puzz. Had some teeth, as it were. 🧠🦷🦷🦷🧠

Anoa Bob 11:08 AM  

Being woefully out of the know concerning pop culture, I had to guess my way through this one. I thought that ILANA NEAL ARNETT SARAH pile up with a Tony-winning musical dropping through them was a BAD IDEA. Rex puts a different spin on that section and says that "the name-iness of the puzzle felt quite strong". Har. More like "overpowering" if you ask me.

Wasn't ecstatic over IN ECSTASY.

I was glad to see the "We only use 10% of our brains" nonsense clued as DEBUNKED. After years of professionally trained observation of human behavior, I'd say it's closer to 5%. And that's on our good days.

egsforbreakfast 11:12 AM  

I seem to remember Darth Vader (or to use his TITLE, Lord Vader) utilizing his DEATHSTARE from his Death Star. The notion, however, that he wore LEDERHOSEN beneath is robe has been DEBUNKED.

I very much liked this puzzle, despite the fact that it made me feel old. Thank you Kyra Wilson (and congrats on your debut) and Sophia Maymudes.

jazzmanchgo 11:20 AM  

Nit alert: BIG BROTHER (the character) was a veiled satire on Stalin (the person). "ANIMAL FARM" was a veiled satire on StalinISM (the ideology/ system). Not quite the same thing.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

Almost noon on Good Friday (on the East coast).
I'm guessing from the Eliot, today is important to you too. From noon to three the most sacred hours of the year. Hard to fathom. Impossible not to feel awe. And gratitude.

R Duke 11:54 AM  

Got hung up a bit in the NE after I confidently entered STEVE for “actor Reeves”.

mathgent 11:57 AM  

Nice puzzle. Not enough sparkle for me, though. Only seven red plus signs in the margins.

Two bad clues, one outrageous. "A+ work" for AJOBWELLDONE. It could be an A+ but it is most likely a B. A+ work is off the charts. The other, " 'Gotcha!, once' " for IDIG. Exclaiming "Gotcha!" doesn't mean "I understand," it means "I tricked you!"

I didn't like Parasite. When I asked my friends why they liked it so much, they pointed to how it showed the economic disparity in the Third World and other political or sociological conditions. I was judging it on its artistic qualities. The plot is ridiculously implausible. For example, the family hiding under a table. Or the character sending Morse Code messages from where he is sequestered and their being understood.

JD 12:05 PM  

@Nancy, My exact reaction to the quote was, "Eliot said that?!"

@Birchbar, The Four Quartets, thank you for that. This, from The Dry Salvages, crossed my insomniac brain many times over the past few years.

"The tolling bell
Measures time not our time, rung by the unhurried
Ground swell, a time
Older than the time of chronometers, older
Than time counted by anxious worried women
Lying awake, calculating the future,
Trying to unweave, unwind, unravel
And piece together the past and the future"

Nothin' like the upbeat to get the day going!

Doc John 1:15 PM  

Rex liked a Friday? ALERT THE MEDIA!

Doctor Work 1:43 PM  

Loam is not a component of compost; compost can be a component of loam. I put "LEAF" there after getting the L and A, since one adds leaves to a compost bin. No one adds loam to a compost bin!

Bonnie Buratti 1:43 PM  

Okay except for ort. Haven't seen that piece of crosswordese in ages.

Anonymous 1:59 PM  


I guess your a kiddie. In fact GOTCHA once did mean, I DIG. Really.

Oldactor 2:21 PM  

This puzzle seemed made for me. My house is an "Animal House"; two cats, a chihuahua, a bulldog and a bird.
I had chicken mole for dinner last night and I've seen "In the Heights" twice...Broadway and a local theatre.

One cat is named Amy, I own lederhosen and I can't count the times I've been a runner-up or an also ran.

It was a sweet treat down memory lane.

Oldactort 2:31 PM  

I took ballet in acting school but I've moved on and I've also debunked the idea that you can't go home again because I live in the house my family bought when I was 8 yrs. old. I'll be 89 on the 21st. I'm in the last Acte of my life and I "Dig It" and I'm "Elated"!

Unknown 3:30 PM  

Loam is not an ingredient in compost.

bocamp 3:48 PM  

@Oldactor (2:21 PM) / (2:31 PM) 👍👍

pg -5

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Amity ~ Kindness ~ Hope ~ "With malice toward none; with charity for all" (A.L.) 🕊

RooMonster 3:56 PM  

Eventually you're going to have to tell us who you are.
I'd tell you who I am, but nobody cares.

RooMonster Curious Guy

Cc’d 4:54 PM  

I think it’s sad how the tv show Jeopardy and now crosswords have been taken over by pop culture.

Anonymous 5:03 PM  

Old Actor,

For a good while i thought i knew who you are. That sitcom was the giveaway. and of course now that you've told us your birthday, it's been confirmed. Not sure why this please me so. Anyway, keep the stories coming. And have a good Easter.

oldactor 5:13 PM  

@RooMonster: It's no secret. IMDB and IBDB list me as Ray Stewart with some of my credits if you're interested. And I care very much who you are and what's life like in LV.

oldactor 5:15 PM  

I just figured out how to get my Blue Logo back from Google!

Anonymous 5:25 PM  

Thanks for the clues. I think I've got it! Wow!

Georgia 5:25 PM  

I agree ... compost might create loam, it is not something one starts with in building up compost.

A 6:41 PM  

Happy International Fact Check Day!

Sooo busy fact-checking, and chasing leads down rabbit holes, for the past few days! Today I started out by studying compost methods to find if LOAM was really an “ingredient.” I didn’t find a specific mention of loam being added, but apparently you can jump start your compost by adding dirt. Since loam is a kind of dirt, I give it a pass.

Then, because today is also National Ferret Day, I checked to be sure there weren’t any in ANIMAL FARM. Which led to reading about Orwell, to Stalin, to the Bolsheviks, to Trotsky, to the International Workingmen’s Association, to Anarchism, and finally to Noam Chomsky. I learned A BIT.

I enjoyed the puzzle today and I can confirm it was not too challenging for boomers. I finished without any help even though I didn’t know any of the names outright except AMY and ARES. Knew but had to have crosses to get LOVES, ELIOT, KEANU and ANIMAL FARM. Wait, I knew DEGAS, too, after one cross. I have some note cards of his BALLET drawings. I thought the 90s biblical mom might be SARAH but it might’ve just been on my mind because I’d been thinking about my mother SARAH (whose BIRTH name is also in the puzzle - too cool!).

Sorry, that’s early 90s - love your take on that, @Barabara S! Also enjoyed the cheese quote. I have smelled a damp tambourine and it is not AT ALL appetizing.

So, a grid full of new treats for me, including ANDORRA, which sounds like the mother from Bewitched but is actually a beautiful principality in the southern Pyrenees.

Sneaky clues for MOLE and ELEMENT. Filled in all the letters for the director and thought his name was BONGJO ONHO.

Hand up for liking FUTZED, and trying ‘very’ before 'A JOB' WELL DONE. My toe was initially preceded by ‘tip’ instead of (tic) TAC. Redo before UNDO slowed the BUS ride around town even more.

ELIOT also said “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” Yesterday’s theme was genuine poetry for me.

Since yesterday was Maundy Thursday, and also Trombone Appreciation Day, I had this lovely chorale by the MSU Trombone Choir ready to post but ran out of time:
O Sacred Head

@oldactor 5:15pm, congrats!

Thanks to Ms. Wilson and Ms. Maymudes for today’s LARK, to Mr. Ezersky for making it possible to finish your YUMmy offering yesterday even if I had no clue what most of it was about, and to Mr. Charlson for the Wednesday marvel! I LOVED all of them!

griff 6:50 PM  

@R Duke I'm glad I'm not the only one. I didn't actually write it in there, but being a big fan of all manner of cheesy movies, STEVE was the first name that came to mind...

Nancy 8:23 PM  

I have been so incredibly conscientious about protecting @old actor's identity, and now he's revealed it for all on the blog to see. Whew! That takes the pressure off, finally. And what a treat you're in for, everyone. Because he has some of the best first-hand anecdotes about theater people that you're likely to ever find outside of the famous David Niven and Frank Langella autobiographies. And he tells his stories so engagingly and with such endearing modesty that you'll be completely charmed. As I have been every single time that he's shared them with me, off-blog.

To have had such a life -- it makes me fervently wish I'd been an actor. Now, mind you, I would have been the worst actor one can possibly imagine and I'm sure I wouldn't have any anecdotes to tell because all the celebrities would have run in the opposite direction at the very first sight of me. Alas, I must experience this glamorous life vicariously. I do wish you'd written a book, @old actor -- you're a very graceful writer and it would have been a humdinger.

JC66 8:36 PM  


You don't have to tell us. We already know you'd be the worst at anything you'd pursue. 😂

JC66 8:43 PM  

Except writing, tennis and crossword construction.

CreamyT 8:43 PM  

I was so happy to get this one. My wife and I solved it in 35 min (which for us is quite good for our Friday avg). Never felt stuck for too long. We normally have a tougher time with the PPP, but it was a nice mix of names we knew right away, were a little fuzzy on, and didn't know but could put together with crosses. I enjoyed the cluing, with a fantastic aha-to-ugh ratio.

Also, this is our first completed puzzle without checking this week. Literally every other day, even Monday, had us stuck with ONE square being wrong. Yes - every day.

So with that, I am pleased to cruise into the weekend with confidence instead of growing self doubt.

Nancy 9:21 PM  

Thank you, @JC66, I think.

CDilly52 9:38 PM  

Agree totally. Nothing “veiled” about by it!

Zygotic 9:44 PM  

TFW your silly and (you thought) obvious humor garners earnest “corrections.” I mean, I get maybe not getting the XYZ allusion (although the Urban Dictionary even has a definition so I guess it’s not that dated), but how does anyone think I was serious about GEN ZZ?

@Roo - Allegedly “Generation Alpha” is the current preferred term because they are the first generation “all born in the 21st century.” It is all just a bunch of arbitrary BS, though. Pick any large cultural trend and you can center a “generation” around it.

I’m thinking that once you put a bunch of ingredients in the compost bin and let the microbes and worms do their thing eventually you don’t have the original ingredients anymore, but rather various forms of dirt including possibly LOAM. To my mind what you are all saying is that alcohol is not an ingredient of beer because you add yeast, not alcohol, to beer.

egsforbreakfast 9:48 PM  

@RooMonster.- I’ve always assumed that your are Elaine Wynn. Please confirm. Thanks.

CDilly52 10:26 PM  

Maybe it is still my anesthesia brain but this one just left me flat. Nothing spectacular, a couple hard names, but I felt none of the excitement I usually feel on challenging Friday. But then again, I am pretty much struggling at everything just three status posts TKA and by no means back in my normal head space. Few things I enjoy less than general anesthesia. So I am going to go with the majority and say this was a pretty easy and fun Friday.

RooMonster 10:46 PM  

How'd you know?


albatross shell 11:17 PM  

Best bad clue suggestion of the year... but seeing folks with exploding heads here might have been worth it (especially if it was April 1).

Reisisted Animal Farm because of some bad crosses and never saw it as specifically Stalin. LEDERHOSEN DEATHSTARE were indeed SWEETTREATs. DEGAS BALLET were a sweet hook-up.

Did the bottom half last night and most of the top half this afternoon. Needed to reveal 3 letters to finish. Tough struggle for me. Only the bottom third was anything but difficult.

Generation anything is pretty much a joke or shorthand. Generation 2001 to 2020 mskes sense, but whst sbout generation 2003-2022?

Bob Mills 11:31 AM  

Easy except for the SE, but eventually I got it all. That Korean director's name didn't look right, but the crosses made it so. I had "APE" for the first cloned mammal, but "SWEET TREAT" made "EWE" obvious.

Joe 3:04 PM  

The Bristol Channel is part of the Celtic Sea. I futzed up this puzzle. Good riddance!!

thefogman 10:13 AM  

Fine Friday fare.

spacecraft 11:43 AM  

Then there was Square 21. Did not know either entry, but had _LANA going across and of course wrote in A. I recognize the name ALANA. Ah, but then we fill in the down on crosses and get ANTHEHEIGHTS. Can't be right. So, a non-A vowel. E doesn't make any more sense than A. I? We'll table that one. O? ONTHEHEIGHTS sounds good, plausible...but OLANA? Ehh.... maybe. U? No. ILANA: at least as likely as OLANA. INTHEHEIGHTS? Or ON? Said them a few times aloud, and decided IN sounds better. As this was the last square I filled, I had to Google Ms. Glazer immediately. Not only was I right, I gave her the DOD sash!

I do not go to movies any more because the sound systems overwhelm me. Mark my words: invest in hearing-aid stock. In two generations everyone will be deaf! And Netflix is one of those scary tech things I just don't want to get involved in. Gave up watching awards shows years ago. So obviously I have never heard of 15-across. Working the NW thus became a real challenge, but when I finally parsed AJOBWELLDONE, it was cracked.

Outside of those trouble spots it went pretty well. I think "Style" would be WAY down the list of words I'd use to mean FORMAT, but that was about the meanest clue to deal with. So, say, easy-challenging, which averages out to medium. Honorable mention DODs to AMY Klobuchar, and to Jamie Lee Curtis:

"Yah, for sure, from Sweden!"
"But she's wearing LEDERHOSEN..."

Birdie, just for that SWEETTREAT of a memory.

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

Yeah, heavy on the pissers, but workable. Satisfying to solve. Overall, good.

Diana, LIW 3:09 PM  

BONG JOON HO says it all.

OTOH, I used to take the BUS, and it truly was the long way to get anywhere. Interesting people you meet, though.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the BUS

leftcoaster 3:59 PM  

A good and gettable Friday puzzle on the easy side of medium, or so I thought.

FUTZED with it, making a couple of errors that BIT me: In the North, had A tO B... instead of A JOB..., and in the South, for some reason was sure that the "first mammal to be cloned" was a goat named “Ike", not an unnamed EWE !

Memory can work (or not) in weird ways.

Anonymous 4:52 PM  

Mnemonic for remembering that director's name: I like to take my BONG out on the deck every JOON, and HO boy do I get loaded.

sdcheezhd 5:03 PM  

I am not GenZ and had ALANA and SARAI so voila ANTIEHEIGHTS who gave her U to Uncle Heights.

Burma Shave 5:08 PM  




spacecraft 6:35 PM  

@lefty: The sheep was named: Dolly. I remember this; it gave me an eerie feeling. I don't think I really want cloning to become commonplace.

Diana, LIW 6:46 PM  

Hey @Lefty - the EWE (or sheep) was named Dolly. Ring a bell now?

Lady Di

leftcoaster 7:31 PM  

@Lady Di -- Dolly and Ike, an ITEM for sure.

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