Harold Manhattan project scientist / FRI 4-9-21 / Hit 1991 film starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss / Superpower of Cyclops in the X-Men films / When doubled a 2010s dance

Friday, April 9, 2021

Constructor: Jamey Smith

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Niecy NASH (62A: Actress Niecy on the Hollywood Walk of Fame) —

Carol Denise Betts (nΓ©e Ensley; born February 23, 1970) is an American comedian, actress, and television host, best known for her performances on television.

Nash hosted the Style Network show Clean House from 2003 to 2010, for which she won an Emmy Award in 2010. As an actress, she played the role of Deputy Raineesha Williams in the Comedy Central comedy series Reno 911! (2003–2009) The series was relaunched on Quibi In April 2020. Nash received two nominations for Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and a Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series nominations for her performance as nurse Denise "DiDi" Ortley in the HBO comedy Getting On (2013–2015). She also starred as Lolli Ballantine on the TV Land sitcom The Soul Man (2012–2016), and played Denise Hemphill in the Fox horror-comedy anthology series, Scream Queens (2015–2016). In 2017, she began starring as Desna Simms, a leading character, in the TNT crime comedy-drama Claws.

Nash has also played a number of roles in films and has made many guest appearances on television shows. In 2014, Nash played the role of civil rights activist Richie Jean Jackson in the historical drama film Selma directed by Ava DuVernay. In 2019, she starred as Delores Wise in the Ava DuVernay' miniseries When They See Us, for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. In 2018, Nash received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (wikipedia)

• • •

I'm trying to figure out why this was so unpleasant to solve. I like the longer answers OK—some of them (LAND GRAB, GROUP THERAPY, "WHAT ABOUT BOB?," PHONE TAG) are even quite good—but the grid was so choppy, so fussy, so full of nooks and crannies and therefore Short Fill (scads of 4- and 5-letter stuff), that it felt like I was having to use a machete to hack through thick, annoying undergrowth to get from long answer to long answer. There were answers I liked, but no *sections* that felt well put together or that ever felt good to be in. Also, perhaps because so much of the puzzle was short stuff, there seemed to be some attempt to amp up the cluing difficulty on it (as short stuff is often the easiest stuff to get), and when every other clue seems to be Trying So Hard to be cutesy / tricky, wow it gets exhausting, mostly because attempts to get cute tend to miss a lot of the time. Like, what the hell is going on with the clue on TERA (41A: Precursor to a big flop?)!? TERA- is a prefix meaning "a hell of a lot" (actually, it denotes multiplication by one trillion). So I've got the "Precursor" part (it's a prefix) and the "big" part (one trillion), but "flop" has me baffled. The only thing I can conceive of is a "flop...py disc," a digital storage system that I thought was not just outmoded, but primitive, and certainly not capable of carrying anything one TERAbyte of *anything*. So it can't be that. [...] ugh it looks like there is a term called "teraflop," wow, fun. Fun. "A unit of computing speed equal to one million million (10¹²) floating-point operations per second." Love to discover a word I've never heard of in a "?" clue (ugh) for a cruddy bit of fill (ugh) on what is supposed to be the most fun puzzle day of the week (triple ugh). TERA is regular old less-than-good fill; you use it if you have to, but you don't set out to use it. So again, I ask, why would you call attention to your not-strong short fill with weird-ass "?" clues like this?

46D: "___ Winter Sundays" (Robert Hayden poem) ("THOSE")

EYEBEAM feels very weak, although I don't know what else you'd call that thing coming out of Cyclops' head (19A: Superpower of Cyclops in the "X-Men" films) ("films"!? You know he's a comic book character, right?). Trouble with PATE (1D: Dome) and especially FLAY (2D: Severely criticize), which I had down to FLA- and still could only see FLAK, which I wrote in as FLAC at one point because I thought Cyclops might be wielding an ICE BEAM. Ugh, ALAI is up here (again? didn't we just see ALAI? oh maybe that was AΓ‡AI) and I'm ashamed that it's the first thing I put in the grid (13A: Second word of a game name that rhymes with the first). Hate relying on my crosswordese knowledge for traction. Just a ton of scrambling around in these little corners. Worst was the TERA section in the east, because I also didn't really get the clue on PEEPER, as no one but no one would ever refer to a singular PEEPER (30A: Eye, slangily). I thought "Eye" in that clue was a verb, so PEEP AT. Clue on NASH feels disrespectful, as she has been in a ton of major stuff, on the small and big screen, and the only thing you can think to put in her clue is that she's on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. *Be Specific* about your people! Soupy Sales has a star on the Walk of Fame. Tons of people do. So what? Also, YO, DOG seems so off. If you're going to go with this phrase, I think the DAWG spelling is required. I offer this as my proof.

SAPOR is always yuck. I just have a beef with SAPOR. It's one of those "technically-a-word"s that also never shows up anywhere except crossword puzzles. Not as bad as SAPID, the related, adjectival version of SAPOR, but unpleasant nonetheless. And oof, UREY (58A: Harold ___, Manhattan Project scientist). There's a rough name. Despite having decent longer answers, this one just didn't have any flair or style or grid-craft or a sensibility that I could groove with. Some good long answers in search of a decent grid environment. The end.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Flying Pediatrician 6:37 AM  

Great puzzle! Loved it. I did the POLAR BEAR PLUNGE a few times in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on New Year’s Day ... right after the Hangover Handicap Fun Run. Sometimes they had to use sledgehammers to break the ice so people could get in the water. Good times.

Couldn’t make PRAY TO THE SWEET LORD JESUS THAT THE BABY WOULD STOP CRYING AND GO TO SLEEP fit at 33 Down? If you haven’t seen Samuel L. Jackson read a parent-favorite bedtime story, you can do so HERE. But seriously. Pediatrician PSA: post-partum depression is real and intense. Look-in on the new parents in your life and help if you can.

Anonymous 6:39 AM  

Natick at UREY / ARE

I still don’t understand the clue for ARE as it relates to math.

Teraflop, though, was a gimme as soon as I had the T. To each his own.

Lewis 6:46 AM  

I couldn’t believe it, because this never happens on Fridays (or Saturdays), but six of the long answers filled in with very few crosses – boom boom bam! – basically I built a skeleton that just needed to be fleshed out. Man, that was fun! After each one slapped down, my jaw dropped lower. Truly, this never happens.

My favorite – and this is a rhyme that will go through my head all day – SPECIAL SAUCE with but one cross!

Along the way, I learned a new meaning for FLAY, I enjoyed LAL meeting LOL, but most impressive to me, and this is the second time recently this has happened, was that this puzzle had eight NYT puzzle answer debuts, all of which were outstanding and worthy of mention: FAKE MEANTS, GROUP THERAPY, HYPE UP, ON THE REBOUND, SPECIAL SAUCE, TAKE THE HIGH ROAD, WALTONS, and WHAT ABOUT BOB. Wow!

This is just where I want to be first thing in the morning – all hyped up in the best way, ready to roll. Thank you very much, Jamie!

Richard in NM 6:46 AM  

@pabloinnh from yesterday re the Alamo. Agree totally. A colleague of mine once observed that, "If the Alamo had had a back door, there would never have been a Texas."

Conrad 6:50 AM  

Any Friday that I can solve without help from Larry and Sergey is a good Friday. Woo-hoo!!

I'm very disappointed that I got TERA from crosses before ever reading the clue. I wouldda nailed it. I think.

@Anon 6:39: "two and two make four" = "two and two ARE four." That one stumped me for a while too.

Dan Miller 6:53 AM  

Think of "six and three are nine"

Richard Stanford 6:55 AM  

Two and two make four. Two and two ARE four. Or that’s how I justified it.

I liked TERAflop as well.

Unknown 6:56 AM  

I actually had phone sex before phone tag, kinda shows you where my mind is at.

Linda 6:58 AM  

What are LOLCATS?

Richard Stanford 7:00 AM  

I enjoyed the long clues, but got stuck in SAPOR-OSAKA-AKA with the AKA cross being a natick for me.

Had SUd and then noR for 9 down in turn, and at one point even had EntrY for ESSAY which didn’t help. That section was probably the toughest for me. YODOG came pretty quickly but I was never confident in it until the whole section finished out.

Ryan 7:12 AM  

YO DOG, it's OK to have blind spots in one's knowledge, and solving a puzzle despite them should be celebrated. TERAflop came easy for me, but I ride the struggle bus on most literature-related clues on Friday/Saturday, and it's just something I accept and try to work around. Instead of ranting on those gaps, maybe try to TAKE THE HIGH ROAD?

bocamp 7:19 AM  

Thank you @Jamey for this fine Fri. puz! :)

Easy solve.

No luck initially in the NW, so moved to the G.L.s with better results, and headed south. Ended up back in the NW for the win.

This offering was pretty much on my wave-length most of the way. Very enjoyable outing! :)

Tchaikovsky - SWAN Lake ~ The Kirov Ballet

yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

JOHN X 7:19 AM  

I thought this was a great Friday puzzle!

The best clue was 41A “Precursor to a big flop?” which was TERA, as in TERAflop. That was the best answer, as we all know.

My only sticking points were that I had PHONESEX in at 23A for far too long, and at 7D I had LAPDANCER (which I really had to cram in there).

mathgent 7:21 AM  

Nothing to get excited about. TAKETHEHIGHROAD is the standout entry. Really.

Bad clue for 55D. "Make, as in math" for ARE. I presume that refers to children learning addition at one time being told "two plus three make five" or "two plus three ARE five." Current arithmetic books and grade school teachers use the correct term, "equals."

PFFT is the title of an old Jack Lemmon-Judy Holiday movie. Their marriage went PFFT, meaning that they got a divorce. But I think that it is also a sound used to dismiss something as worthless.

We saw True Confessions free on Netflix a couple of nights ago. 1981 film based on the novel by John Gregory Dunne. He and his wife, Joan Didion, wrote the screenplay. Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Charles Durning, Burgess Meredith. Raymond Chandler-like noir. Impeccably done.

Shirley F 7:28 AM  

Jeremy Lin made a very funny short video about how to fit in to the NBA, and at the end he dances the naenae with Steph Curry and Steph's daughter Riley.

Another Anon 7:32 AM  

@Anon 6:39. 2 and 2 make 4. 2 and 2 are 4.

albatross shell 7:32 AM  

2 plus 2 make 4
2 plus 2 ARE 4

smalltowndoc 7:33 AM  

I liked this puzzle. I thought the long answers were very good. TERAflop is a perfect good word and the only challenge with that was which prefix: MEGA, GIGA,TERA?

But 38A ruined this puzzle for me. NASSAU is most definitely not a “Caribbean capital". It is, of course, the capital of the The Bahamas, which is entirely in the Atlantic Ocean, not in the Caribbean Sea.

kitshef 7:43 AM  

Another disappointment. Yesterday we got a Wednesday puzzle on Thursday. Today, we get a Tuesday puzzle on Friday.

So many long answers were just complete giveaways, with completely straightforward clues:

The only thing that gave me any hesitation was ANT. Sure, Amazon ANTs are a thing, but that is very niche.

Hungry Mother 7:43 AM  

Naticked at LOLCATS/LAL. I thought LOrCATS soundedd plausible.

pabloinnh 7:59 AM  

I really liked this one. Strolling around the neighborhood looking for a place to start is always fun, and I was going nowhere until PNEUMONIA, and the rest dawned on me eventually and after some head scratching. Great. Wanted some kind of LETTUCE when I had the UCE, so SPECIALSAUCE was one of those things that make you say, well of course, and write it in. Similar experiences all over the map. YODOG.

A while ago we had a discussion about people whose birthdays coincide with famous people and today is such a day, as my granddaughter turns 9 and is getting lots of attention and cards and presents which is appropriate. Coincidentally it is my birthday too, with equally appropriate diminished attention levels. Just saying I understand the concept of having The Other Birthday.

Thanks for a swell birthday present, JS, thought it was Just Super.

Mike G 8:04 AM  

LOLCATS arguably turned the meme craze away from crude images shared on 4Chan into something more mainstream. They are characterized by amusing photos of cats speaking in broken English. They're a little over the hill (OK a lot over the hill) in terms of trendiness, but still have some name cachet.


Frantic Sloth 8:07 AM  

What in blazes is up with that NE corner?? And why does it mock me so??
Had to sleep on it, and that was not comfortable.

New day, new perspective, and....Come on!
Is there some other "HIGH" thing one can take besides a ROAD? Life? Ground? No - too long. Chaparral? Going in the wrong direction, numnuts.

And what in the navy* is the opposite of "svelte"??
You might think that I could at least come up with something for "daft"...nope. Squadoosh.

*channeling The Village People

What kind of greeting ("sup, dude") ends in "x", and OMG!! It's PHONETAG, not PHONEsex, you perv!

Never mind.


Anonymous 8:12 AM  

The word TERAFLOP is fairly well known here on planet earth.
Separately, the Bahamas (and hence their capital: Nassau) are not part of the Caribbean. But it's only a crossword, so who cares, really?

RooMonster 8:14 AM  

Hey All !
Thought we were in for that rare Friday theme puz. The grid looks like a Themed puz, rather than a themeless. But couldn't get the Longs to jive with each other. Figured Rex would tell me either way!

Nice puz. EYEBEAM is, I guess, technically correct, but sounds weird. How did one figure that out if unfamiliar with X-Men? See that as a tough one to non-fans.

Add me to the PHONE sex group. HEH, I imagine that does happen when you've missed each other a lot! Had UNO in that corner, but took it out, as nothing was working because of the bad sex (πŸ˜† get your minds out of the gutter!) Wanted obese for STOUT, but finally was able to see that sex wasn't gonna happen, (😁), so erased it and saw TAG. Aha, says I, then 12D is hiDOG.
Eventually figured it all out. And got the Happy Music! That NE was the last area to fall. (Had Ebert for ESSAY for a bit!)

TO A TURN?? Really wanted Al dente there. Unfamiliar phrase to me. Had cOn for GOP, which led me to LAND cRAB. Har. Also had __ANDBYS down there, and was thinking "How is by AND BYS the last bunch to board?" Did get POLARBEARPLUNGE off just the B and L. *Pat's self on back*

So a tough-at-first-but-started-seeing-stuff-and-ended-up-rather-easy puz. If you know what I mean.

I find it tough to believe the WALLY WORLD clan is the wealthiest family in the world. What about all those Saudi oil families? And how could you get that wealthy selling stupidly cheap items like WalMart has?

Two F's (right out of the gate!)(But alas, no MAS)

Adam12 8:20 AM  

NE was awful, just awful. UNO/UNA conundrum especially with the afore mentioned DAWG rule is just plan bad and unnecessary, in particular with Una Mas being the predominant taqueria with or without the capital “m”, The clue for ASANA is a stretch unto itself making the whole corner a hot mess. Ruined the whole puzzle which was otherwise OK for me.

bocamp 8:23 AM  

@pabloinnh 7:59 AM πŸŽ‚ πŸŽ‰

WHAT ABOUT BOB is a fun/ny movie.

PFFT is SB worthy.

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

albatross shell 8:28 AM  

Wow. I needed google Wednesday and Thursday, and Monday and Tuesday took longer than usual. Then Along Comes Friday and I finish with no cheats and Rex even gives it a fairly high rating. In terms of difficulty, that is.

This time I with @Lewis in my opinion of the puzzle and how it solved. Long answers came early and were needed to get the shorts.

I haven't POLAR BEAR PLUNGEd unless you count participating in cold weather sweat lodges which I did for about 30 years. They ended with a plunge or a dunk or a cold water hosing off. Between rounds I rememver looking at my bare feet and seeing they had sunk an inch into the ice. But the lodge is a horse of a different character.

No idea of the NASH woman. Like Rex filled in EYEBEAM just cause there was nothing else to describe it unless power ray had the right number of letters.
PEEPERs always makes me think of both Wally Cox (if my memory us correct for once) and Jeepers Creepers.

enjoyed LANDGRAB, PHONETAG, TOATURN, SPECIALSAUCE croosing FAKEMEATS, ONTHEREBOUND (though I hated being there), NUTSO (had NUTty briefly) in combination with PSYCHES made amusing because I had PSYCHoS at first and thought wow, that's a bit high on the disrespect scale.

CW-dese report: Got OSAKA off the K (new record for me) and needed 3 crosses for UREY (tied my record).

Frantic Sloth 8:30 AM  

Or what Rex said. Overclueing the short stuff is definitely a bugaboo of mine. It's one thing when it's clever, but manufactured toughness is so gouache. PFFT!

And all you TERAflop-knowers are just freaks.

I kid the smart people. And JOHN X. πŸ˜‰

@Linda 658am You'll probably hear from others here, but I can't resist finding a potential victim for one of my all-time favorite rabbit holes. You're welcome.

@Z from last evening. Well, I got the impression that whatever it was had you smack-dab in the midst. Huh. πŸ€”Here's hoping @burtonkd will enlighten us...

Son Volt 8:32 AM  

Second consecutive Friday where trivia is more prominent than wordplay. This one a little less so - I enjoyed this more than last week. I like TAKE THE HIGH ROAD and ON THE REBOUND. Murray and Dreyfus are on my can’t stand list - so backed into that long down. Learned NASH and LOLCATS. Hand up for liking the TERA clue. Have done a POLAR PLUNGE nearly every Jan. 1 for the past 25 years - it does get colder as you age.

I know UREY basically discovered Deuterium and worked on uranium enrichment during the war but to me his later work in cosmochemistry is his real contribution.

Still not the kind of Friday I like - but more enjoyable than last week.

albatross shell 8:34 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 8:35 AM  

I often had lunch with Soupy Sales as a child. And just yesterday I saw Natalie Teeger do the Soupy Sales shuffle (incorrectly labeled as a cowboy/miner dance) on Monk. Soupy definitely belongs on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Yo dat!

Frantic Sloth 8:38 AM  

Happy Other Birthday, @pabloinnh! No presents for you, but I'll use any excuse to drink a toast! 😘πŸ₯‚πŸŽ‚

Just thrrrrilled to reinforce the notion that many others here are similarly perverted. Aaaaaah. Now I can relax and bask in the afterglow of PHONETAG.

Barbara S. 8:43 AM  

I found this solid but not particularly sparkly. I liked the two grid-spanners, TAKE THE HIGH ROAD and POLAR BEAR PLUNGE. The former reminded me of Michelle Obama’s “When they go low, we go high.” I was almost brought down by the NE corner (hi @Frantic Sloth, @RooMonster, @Adam12). My Spanish is pathetic to nil, and I was trying to make noR or nUR mean “north” at 9D, couldn’t see ASANA for the longest time, was fixed on NUTty for Daft at 15A, and clueless about YO DOG. I worked on the puzzle just before bed and got tucked in with puzzle frustration in mind. Then, interestingly, just as I was falling asleep and in a kind of in-between state of consciousness, that corner worked itself out: SUR, NUTSO, ASANA. YO DOG!

Two and two are four in song.

Happy Birthday, @pabloinnh!

Today’s passage is by PAULE MARSHALL, born Apr. 9, 1929.

I grew up among poets. Now they didn’t look like poets – whatever that breed is supposed to look like. Nothing about them suggested that poetry was their calling. They were just a group of ordinary housewives and mothers, my mother included, who dressed in a way (shapeless house dresses, dowdy felt hats and long, dark, solemn coats) that made it impossible for me to imagine they had ever been young.
The basement kitchen of the brownstone house where my family lived was the usual gathering place. Once inside the warm safety of its walls the women threw off the drab coats and hats, seated themselves at the large center table, drank their cups of tea or cocoa, and talked. While my sister and I sat at a smaller table over in a corner doing our homework, they talked – endlessly, passionately, poetically, and with impressive range. No subject was beyond them.
But more than therapy, that freewheeling, wide-ranging, exuberant talk functioned as an outlet for the tremendous creative energy they possessed. They were women in whom the need for self-expression was strong, and since language was the only vehicle readily available to them they made of it an art form that – in keeping with the African tradition in which art and life are one – was an integral part of their lives.
[From ”The Poets in the Kitchen”. New York Times Book Review (January 9, 1983)]

Jerry 8:45 AM  

I'm surprised that Rex didn't take issue with TERI Hatcher being clued by her boobs.

Ξ© 8:49 AM  

Amazon AΓ‘T?

LOL at Rex’s TERArant. Hand up for thinking that clue was great. But then I was just watching an original Star Trek episode and noticed that the crew was pressing buttons to interact with their “high tech.” What we imagine computers can do has come a long way from the 1960’s. I do the most cursory of keeping up with science news and that means being aware of developments in computing. FYI - Computers can do petaflops now.

To Rex’s choppy point, 12 single black squares dot the middle of the grid. It’s these squares that result in lots of short fill. Some of the short fill is fine, but I definitely relate to Rex’s “hacking through the underbrush” take.

As for Niecy NASH, jokes on me. I was expecting her to be some silent film star I had never heard of. It appears Rex and I have different definitions of “major.” I read that bio and had heard of exactly one thing NASH had been in, and have never watched anything she’s been in. So, for me, it didn’t matter what the clue was, it was going to be a WOE. The crossings were fair so no complaint here, but that NASH/SETH crossing is a natick land mine. Ogden? Steve? Graham? John? Rambler? The NASH clue possibilities are all potential WOEs for some solvers. And the same with SETH. Rogen? Myers? MacFarlane? Pecksniff? Cain’s little brother? I guess the H isn’t too hard to figure out, but I still don’t like two proper names crossing no matter who you pick to clue them. The lesser known Curry brother crossing a star I’ve never heard of isn’t wonderful, but neither are any of the other choices.

@Lewis - Your getting SPECIAL SAUCE off one letter is completely at odds with my image of you.

LOLCATS - Really has to be seen to be understood.

Rug Crazy 8:49 AM  


Joaquin 8:51 AM  

TERAFLOP was a gimme; so was the incorrect PHONEsex. Odd, since it is a teraflop more likely that I'll be involved in PHONETAG than phonesex.

Happy birthday Pablo!

OffTheGrid 8:53 AM  

The other PEEPERs-


I was treated to these sounds on a hike the other day.

Rube 8:58 AM  

Liked this ok. Yesyerday was better and I want to go back to that. I don't care what references people dig up QUAY rhymes with key just as "often" rhymes with soften.

To quote Poppie, "On this there can be no debate."

ulysses 8:59 AM  

Choppy for me. 90% of the puzzle was very easy. The other 10% not so much. Guessed with TERA, didn’t know UREY so thankful for the cross. ARE is a terrible answer. Didn’t mind SAPOR as much as Rex and had some trouble in the NE but overall a pleasant solve for me.

TTrimble 8:59 AM  

Most of the puzzle felt easy, until I got stuck in the SW. I had WHAT ABOUT but didn't know the closer BOB, not being sufficiently familiar with the oeuvre of Richard Dreyfuss (not a terrific actor IMHO). I thought "Shiva?" before ALLAH. I don't think I even knew of the AHL; the NHL I know. Don't know the poem.

ARE is a groaner. I'm a mathematician, and yet I had to read the comments before I understood it. Child-speak. UREY I've heard of, but within that society of luminary scientists gathered at the Manhattan Project, including Bohr, Oppenheimer, von Neumann, Teller, Ulam, Feynman, Bethe, he's not exactly a standout to me. Could be my ignorance speaking there. (Looking him up: yep, ignorance. He was after all a Nobelist for his 1934 discovery of deuterium, which is kind of a big deal in the development of nuclear weapons.)

Natick at the intersection of TO A TURN and NASH (I think the intersecting N was the last entry filled). Never heard that cooking expression. Niecy NASH: the name means nothing to me. Is that pronounced Niece-y?

LOL CATS was an internet meme that flourished somewhere around, oh I don't know, 2010? Like its cute counterpart "Doge", LOL CAT spoke in broken English, saying things like "I Can Has Cheezburger?" Guess you had to be there. As is the case with all memes. I prefer Skeptical Cat.

I concur with Lewis that the long entries were pretty good, e.g., POLAR BEAR PLUNGE.

algiardello 9:04 AM  

Ditto. Held me up for quite a while.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

Hmm. Let me get this straight. Clueing someone by describing them as having a star on the Hollywood Walks of Fame is... disrespectful? Ok then.

Ξ© 9:09 AM  

@Frantic - Me? In the middle of some raging argument on the blog? Seems unlikely doesn’t it?
Anyway, I did some googling to no avail but did find this video of Dan Feyer solving Rex’s debut NYTX in 2:17 and calling it “difficult for a Tuesday” (8/17/2010 if anyone wants to go to the archive and give it a whirl before watching Feyer).

chuck w 9:16 AM  

Always liked the poem, "Those Winter Sundays." Never heard of a teraflop. Can't imagine taking a polar bear plunge!

Ξ© 9:18 AM  

BTW - Math types might like this week’s Fireball Crossword. The title is “Alphanumeric.” Unfortunately Gordon doesn’t sell single puzzles so you either have to subscribe for the full year (worth it in my opinion) or bother someone who does subscribe for a copy.

Frantic Sloth 9:22 AM  

@TTrimble 859am Hadn't heard of Skeptical Cat, so thanks for that! Seems redundant, though.

@Z 909am I know, right? Knock me over with a feather. @Lewis & SPECIALSAUCE and you & blog controversy. Go know.

Jota 9:33 AM  

The problem with the TERA clue is that it's just wrong. "Precursor to big flopS" would have been a good clue, but there's no such thing as a "teraflop". The S at the end if "teraflops" isn't to make it plural. It's part of the abbreviation: a trillion FLOating point operations Per Second.

JMo 9:35 AM  

Naticked on Nash/Curry, having never heard of Nash and thinking maybe Steph Curry could be spelled Stef. He would be the NBA star, while brother Seth more of a journeyman with a 10 pts. Per game average, not exactly star numbers.

Paul & Kathy 9:39 AM  

One of those rare puzzles where I had an easier time with the long answers than the short ones. This one pulled itself together very well for me (of course, I knew what a teraflop is....) Well below average time.

Nancy 9:43 AM  

I wanted to pick the longest answer I didn't know to cheat on -- so that I would only have one cheat and no more. I picked WHAT ABOUT BOB and it worked; I was able to finish. Or so I thought.

Came here to see that my PHONE TAb; UNa; YO Dab combo was wrong. For the former, I'm thinking of two people, half a world away from each other, who really miss each other would have a big PHONE TAB. Is that so wrong?

Will S -- You know I love you and almost always defend you, but will you please stop putting junky expressions like YO DOG into your grids. It would be so appreciated. And btw, NUTSO is too NUTSY a clue to be clued by the perfectly ordinary "daft". If it's got to be in the puzzle at all, it should be clued with a much slangier clue like, say, "loony tunes".

PFFT is a "scoff"? Who knew? I thought it meant "disappear" as in "gone pfft".

I once, just once, was in a MacDonald's and had their SPECIAL SAUCE. What exactly was in it, I have no idea, but I would describe it as absolute glop -- worthy only of FAKE MEATS. Come to think of it, their thin, gray, gristly, overcooked hamburger tasted a lot like FAKE MEAT. Never again.

Loved the dook-y-looking ON THE REBOUND and POLAR BEAR PLUNGE. (What idiots!)

Lots of stuff I didn't know in this puzzle. I was helped, though, by knowing that Harrison died of PNEUMONIA. And of course I knew OSAKA.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

TERA and UREY provided no resistance for me. I worked as a contractor on the installation and integration of a 30T (teraflop) supercomputer in Los Alamos some 20 years ago. It was designed by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) which was taken over by Compaq, and then taken over by HP, all within a few years.

Nowadays, supercomputers are in the petaflops range. There's a list of the top 500 supercomputers in the world, compiled twice a year. Those in the field take these rankings quite seriously. The current leader is a computer in Japan, with a benchmark of 442.01 petaflops, or 442,010 teraflops.

Wellmet 9:51 AM  

A very surprising and happy leap from uh-oh to a successful finish.I can't remember having a solved a puzzle that started out so dauntingly and ended so well.

Carola 10:00 AM  

Medium here, averaging out the easy long answers with quite a few what-the-heck?s elsewhere. A nice touch that the HIGH ROAD up top is complemented by the PLUNGE below.
First in: ESSAY x Elevates-->dead end. Last in: just like the clue says, STANDBYS. No idea: WHAT ABOUT BOB.

@Rex thank you for posting the Hayden poem.

Photomatte 10:05 AM  

Very easy Friday except for some Naticks that got filled in from the crosses (Urey, Sapor). As for the math answer, where x plus x 'are' y, that's just really bad. 2 plus 2 are 4? No. 2 and 2 are 4? No. It's either 2 plus 2 equals 4 or it's 2 plus 2 "is" 4. Yes, one can parse it out where 'are' works but it's not a thing. It's not. Don't defend it. Don't rationalize it. It's a bad answer and/or a bad clue. So many legitimate ways to clue for the word "are."

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

finally... can someone please explain, exactly how



differ as clue? semantics and syntax would be nice. yes I got PFFT, but why or why is [scoff] necessary when scoff would do just fine? what meaning do the [] convey? or, are supposed to?

johnk 10:19 AM  

Agree. The NE corner was NUTSO (which I've never seen nor used). PFFT!!

JD 10:25 AM  

It was all fun and games until that NW corner and then Sapor, Osaka, AHL.

But Take the High Road, On The Rebound, and Polar Bear Plunge? Joyful. That Eye Beam must be some super power Peeper in a blackout.

Only ever saw Niecy Nash on Clean House and Reno 911! and then quit watching TV. Reno 911!, television's golden age of my kind of stupidity.

GHarris 10:27 AM  

I had solar year plunge. Well, it would have to be pretty damn hot to get me into icy waters. Also had boy before bob and slam, then slay before the never used flay. Thanks Rex for setting out the Hayden poem. Always felt that it beautifully captured a deep emotion in so very few well chosen words.

Newboy 10:28 AM  

Well, at least Rex gave us the wonderful poem to tamp down today’s bile. It’s Friday for heaven’s sake, so expect some SAPOR in the grid that’s DONE TO A TURN....or maybe a bit over crisp? Today’s grid is no stranger than @Flying Pediatrician’s participation in CDA’s POLAR BEAR PLUNGE. Never splashed there though it’s only a block from our front door, but always wander midst the crowd of freezing craziness. Was sad when the hangover handicap was renamed a more socially sensitive “resolution run” and haven’t done that event since. Anyhoo, the puzzle may have lacked SPECIAL SAUCE, but YO DOG & LOL CATS were FAKE MEAT enough to amuse. That NUTSO northeast with its low/high cultural focus was the last to fill, so I’m game Jamey Smith UNO MAS? Bring it!

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

Sorry, how does Ms NASH deserve a star on Hollywood Blvd???? PS Soupy Sales was a beloved icon. No one knows NASH.

TTrimble 10:37 AM  

@Anonymous 10:10 AM
The brackets indicate a sound effect.

Whatsername 10:39 AM  

A pleasant Friday with some particularly nice long entries. TAKE THE HIGH ROAD made me think of the Obamas who had to do that far more often than they should have.

My first reaction to NASSAU was that it was clued incorrectly. To look at most any map, it does appear the archipelago is situated in the Atlantic Ocean but from what I can gather via google, the Bahamas are widely considered a Caribbean island.

@Joaquin (6:37) Thank you for the reminder to be aware of postpartum depression in new mothers. If you suspect it, gently offer your support in whatever way you can. I have a young niece coping with it but thankfully, she has wisely sought help.

GILL I. 10:54 AM  

@pablito...as they say in my barrio: APY VERDE TU JOO. Hey just remember...Prince Phillip lasted for 99 years!
Do I say PFFT? only when STOUT takes over the OBESE crowd. Isn't there something called PHONE EAR? You sex people are way ahead of me. How do you spell the P NEUMONIA? Why is the P silent? Anyone?
CURE and CARE are NGOS? Why do I want to sing B I N G O was his nameo. I also wanted SIN mas.
OK...got that off my (um) chest....the rest was fun.
So I finished. Then do my usual "what makes my mind wander" dance. @Nancy....my very first burger - upon returning to the States - was a Big Mac. It was a McDonalds on Broadway. I was salivating. I took it back to my walk-up apartment, made myself comfy, took out some mayo for the fries, (my SPECIAL SAUCE).... then dug in. It tasted delicious to me. Two hours later I got sick as a YO DOG. Never had one since.
I look at POLAR BEAR PLUNGE and think "what idiot would do that?" Someone told me you get used to it after the first plunge; I'm one of those dip the toe in first. You give me ice cubes and all I want to do is drink a margarita.
STAND BYS was probably my favorite entry. I spent about 30 years doing that. My family and I have travelled free for years and that's what we were.. Back in the good old days it was worth it because we always got up-graded to first. I haven't flown in years because I'd rather eat dirt than fly.
So now the ponytail I've been wearing for years is now called a TIE BACK?
My PATE runneth over....and I'll have it on toast, thank you very much.

JC66 10:57 AM  


Many happy returns.

Have a great day and an even better year.

Jim 11:01 AM  

At the risk of being pedantic (a risk I'll always take), I'll point out that Cyclops' power is eye *beams*, plural, since, his name notwithstanding, he has two eyes. It only looks like one beam when he's wearing a visor to contain them. And every time I saw the character refer to them, he used the plural.

Unknown 11:01 AM  

The brain can be a terrible thing.insread of jai alai I wanted I Spy. But fake meats set me on the right path

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

so it turns out Ms Nash was married twice, has three adult children and then, at age 50, decided she was a lesbian and married singer Jessica Betts. You can’t make this up!

A 11:21 AM  

Happy Birthdays to composer Florence Price and to @pabloinnh and your granddaughter!

The sports clues are back. [sigh]

Mostly felt like Rex about this one - some interesting phrases that I did like but still mysteriously unfun. ISH AHL NGOS LAL NAE - PFFT!

Crazy coincidence: the article about the punny boat names I linked yesterday had one called WHAT ABOUT BOB. Not remembering the movie, I had no idea why a boat would be called WHAT ABOUT BOB, so I looked it up. Saw the clue today and thought “I just read that!!” Weird.

Liked FAKE MEATS crossing the MacDonalds SPECIAL SAUCE. Learned a new kind of flop. Have heard TO A TURN maybe once, ever. Enough to bet on NASH. Could not remember Amazon ANT, and thought Amazon ArT might be a thing. HEH

Congrats, Mr. Smith - a few nits but overall good stuff!

Richard Stanford 11:22 AM  

While true, the question was still likely a gimmie for anyone who’d know the nuance.

jb129 11:27 AM  

Except for not knowing "Lolcats" I found it more Medium than Challenging. I liked it.

egsforbreakfast 11:27 AM  

@Pabloinnh. Happy BirthdayπŸŽ‰

Who new that “all beef patty” takes up the same space as SPECIALSAUCE? Remember the Big Mac jingle?

Two all beef patties
Special sauce
Lettuce pickles onions
On a sesame seed bun

I agree a bit with Rex on short answer clues sometimes being too clever by half, but overall enjoyed the puzzle a lot. Thanks, Jamey Smith.

Newboy 11:28 AM  

@K thanks for sharing the Michael Sharp link & video. Humbling to watch a speed solver, of course, but a nice way to supplement today’s solve. And now back to enjoy more commentariat insight.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

Also got hung up in the NE corner, which was truly NUTSO!

Uke Xensen 11:32 AM  

Very easy, since the long clues pretty much filled themselves in.

kitshef 11:33 AM  

One and one are two,
Two and Two are four.
I only wish to goodness
There wasn’t any more

Adding and subtracting,
Really, what’s the use?
When Churchill was at school
They say he was a goose.

Yet he became Prime Minister
And help’d us win the war.
Because he didn’t waste his time
Two and two are four.


jb129 11:34 AM  

OMG Anonymous @ 8:35 am - SOUPY SALES!

Doc John 11:34 AM  

I liked the puzzle and the long answers.
I also liked the clue on TERAflop. As has been pointed out many times before, just because you haven't heard of it, it doesn't make it less of a thing.
Fortunately, I went to UCSD, where Harold UREY has a whole building named after him.

sixtyni yogini 11:34 AM  

Haha, yes. Agree w Rex crit.
But still interesting to me.
Thought that Tera might me the name of the precursor to the Edsel. πŸ˜‚πŸ€—πŸ˜‚

Unknown 11:35 AM  

Teraflop was the quickest one for me, but only because I’m in IT. A “flop” is “floating point operations per second” and represents how many operations involving decimal numbers a processor is capable of executing. Modern game consoles are capable of 10+ TFlops.

JOHN X 11:39 AM  

It’s a little known fact that many of the older celebrities are actually buried under their stars on Hollywood Blvd. Due to space constraints, however, their coffins are inserted vertically.

Masked and Anonymous 11:41 AM  

Seemed relatively easy for a FriPuz, at our house. Agree with others who thought this puzgrid sorta had the first-impression-look of a themed puppy. No big stacks of longish answers, like in most themelessers.

Hey, @muse darlin -- they sure missed out on a precious opportunity, when cluin up GOP for today.

@AnoaBob might be interested in a certain characteristic of some of the longball answers: FAKEMEATS. ENHANCES. LOLCATS. STANDBYS. WALTONS. PSYCHES. Just guessin.

M&A fave sparklers: PNEUMONIA. PHONETAG. EYEBEAM & PEEPER combo. Plus all 4 of the longest Across pretend-themer answers. honrable mention to WHATABOUTBOB -- one of my PuzEatinSpouse's fave flicks … featurin "Baby Steps" … not quite schlocky enough, for M&A's personal tastes.

staff weeject picks, culled from a healthy litter of 18 choices: AHL & LAL. Tempted to say LAL is my fave, since it crosses LOL, dogs.

Thanx for the short-lived puztheme vibe rush, Mr. Smith dude. Made the FriPuz feel different, which I always enjoy. Real sorry @RP only enjoyed it to his typical X-Word Walk of Tera-Flop level.

Masked & Anonym007Us


sixtyni yogini 11:41 AM  

Ok I’ll add a nit: Wikipedia says WH Harrison got pneumonia after being sworn in but died from the contaminated water at the White House.

TTrimble 12:04 PM  

Aw NUTS, you were so close!

"Two all beef patties, SPECIAL SAUCE, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun."

If I'm not mistaken, "special sauce" is ketchup and mayo mixed together. (And if I am mistaken, then it's not.)

BarbieBarbie 12:06 PM  

UREY went in for me with no crosses because how many other 1940s-era nuclear physicists were named Harold?

jae 12:09 PM  

Mediumish. I did this one from the bottom up as I had nothing on top after my first pass except TERI, ISH, and SRA. Fortunately the bottom was more yielding than the top.

Solid with a bit of sparkle, liked it a bunch!

Happy birthday Pablo.

jberg 12:17 PM  

unlike Rex, I generally like figuring out a tricksy clue. Guess it's a matter of taste. As for the Bahamas, I guess they are not in the Caribbean Sea, but neither is Barbados, which is generally considered to be Caribbean -- along with Guyana, which isn't even an island. So the clue is all right with me.

Here's Danny Kaye singing about an inchworm while a children's course confirms the arithmetical use of ARE.

mathgent 12:22 PM  

Here's a difference between the crowd over with Deb Amlen and us over here. We trashed the clue for ARE. Their only mention of it was an explanation.

Cassieopia 12:24 PM  

Loved it despite SW corner natick on AKA. The long fills were especially gratifying. Was disappointed with YODOG though, having always seen it as “yo dawg”. Maybe that’s just a Philly thing.

Bill 12:30 PM  

“I have never heard of a teraflop, therefore this puzzle is garbage”

-Rex Parker

What? 12:32 PM  

Usual great Friday. Started out fill-less, ended up with only one (okay two) misses. 2D - SLAM. Makes sense, right? So 19A is EMEBEAM. I bought that since I’ve never seen an X-Men film, nor will I ever. So emebeam sounds right.
Speaking of sounding right, 1A gave me PSFT. Kind of strange but sounds kind of ok, especially if you use a silent P. “SFT- what a terrible fill.”

So Rex is angry at Shortz because he didn’t publish one or more of his crosswords? And Shortz is angry at Rex because Rex is angry....Awhile ago I swore off Rex but I keep coming back. I can’t help looking at a train wreck.

And now Shortz is accused of being petty? No wonder he rejects all my submissions. At least I know it’s not my puzzles. This blog is so informative!

Anonymous 12:44 PM  


It is well known that women go gay as they age at a much greater rate than men.
"Women, more often than men, report having these awakenings later in life"
here: https://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/12/11/coming.out.late.life/index.html

Lewis 12:45 PM  

@Z -- Hah! But a way former self was very familiar with that special sauce.

JC66 12:51 PM  

My grandfather was a member of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club and took the plunge every New Years Day until he passed away 1/2/1948.


As my father used to say, it's silent like the P in toilet.


I had the same problem until I stopped concentrating on X-Men and started thinking about Cyclops.

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

Lettuce CHEESE pickles onions

Joe Dipinto 1:01 PM  

@pablo – So sorry about your status of Other Birthday Guy. Miles Davis wrote a song for you.

Teedmn 1:06 PM  

I made a hail mary pass today at the crossing of UREY and ARE. Perhaps if I had remembered the Inchworm lyrics in time, I wouldn't have been so fraught with indecision. @Barbara S linked to it (I didn't know where the song came from):

Two and two are four
Four and four are eight
Eight and eight are sixteen
Sixteen and sixteen are thirty-two
Inchworm, inchworm
Measuring the marigolds
You and your arithmetic
You'll probably go far

How many people in the NBA have the surname Curry? SETH was new to me, and I had to be rescued in the SE by NGOS and PNEUMONIA. I had Rex's "PEEr at" for 30A, so I was trying to think if Pres. Harrison had died from rhEUmatic something but I remembered the "standing in the rain giving a long speech" anecdote and got my PEEPER and NAE, straightened out.

I wanted "hmph" at 1A but the crosses said NAE.

Give me LA_ in a grid and I will splatz in LAx but LOxCATS? LOL, got it.

Jamey Smith, this was fun and breezy, thanks.

Anoa Bob 1:14 PM  

@M&A, yep, I did notice that several of the longer answers needed some letter-count inflation to fill their designated slots. In two cases, ENHANCE/LOLCAT and PSYCHE/STANDBY, each pair shared a final grid-fill boosting S, prime examples of the uber-useful two for one POC. How easy and convenient is that!

Sometimes I think the NYT crossword puzzle has a fixation (HEH!) on Freud. There are many ways to clue PSYCHE(S) other than "Freudian concerns". It comes more or less unchanged from ancient Greek where it literally meant "breath", from the verb form psychein meaning "to breathe or blow, as in the wind". It was thought there was an animating force in the air around us and that constantly breathing this force in and out of our bodies was what kept us alive. When a soldier died on the field of battle, for instance, it was said that his PSYCHE left him for the last time.

PSYCHE came to mean "soul or spirit" and eventually "mind" and psychology literally meant study of the mind. By the mid to late 20th century "mind" was deemed too unscientific and psychology became the study of the ABCs, Affect (emotions, moods, etc.), Cognition (thoughts, memory, language, etc.) and Behavior.

So TERI and TERA decide to do some GROUP THERAPY to overcome their inordinate fondness of FAKE MEATS...

Nigel Pottle 1:27 PM  

I always think OFL may see himself as the fastest, and smartest, solver in the world, but when he doesn’t know a word, like TERAFLOP, it’s not his fault - I mean how could the constructor or WS dare put in a word that he doesn’t know , even if many people recognize it, even if they don’t know its exact meaning.. Yep, it’s the fault of the constructor and WS. And I’m always surprised about his apparent lack of knowledge of trivia that’s stored in my brain for just these moments. And from reading the comments I’m not the only one who thinks it’s not only a great word but what took so long to get it into the NYTXW. Thanks to Jamey Smith for a fine puzzle.

Anonymous 1:43 PM  

If you want to see the expression "done to a turn" in a natural setting, see the "Mama Loves Mamba" episode of the Honeymooners, 1956. It's on youtube, one of my favorite episodes, and well worth watching.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

burtonkd 1:46 PM  

I got SPECIALSAUCE from that commercial where they had people sing the ingredients of a Big Mac (late 70's?). Didn't take long since it was the second sung ingredient. If only I could remember the names of the people in front of me that well...

@Frantic & Z - Saying less draws people in sometimes. I was referring to the last time I remember Will coming by. Rex had gone on a long rant about a puzzle that had been published something like 7 years after submission, with all kinds of accusations about nefarious motivations. Will stated that he hadn't been by in a while, then this is what he had to read, plus explained that the puzzle was very similar to another that had just run & offered the puzzle back to the creator so he could shop it elsewhere if he wished - and what could be dishonorable about that?

Impossible Foods has made the successor to the soyburger, which also fits.

Har, HaH, HEH

Maybe he has lurked since, but I don't remember any comments. I just threw Z in since I recall discussing that at some point.

Different PEEPER, but just matched an overwhelming unidentified (to me) sound with the term Spring Peepers this year. Great to still learn new stuff!

burtonkd 1:58 PM  

@egsforbreakfast - you forgot the cheese

Agreed that ARE sounds childish, perhaps bc I heard it in the Inchworm song on Sesame Street that teaches the powers of 2.

@Nancy, you crack me up! Now that you know the DAB you want to fill it in everywhere:)

@JD - totally agreed about Reno911! She is fantastic in everything I've seen her in. "Getting On" is a pretty brilliant and savagely funny show dealing with nursing home care.

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

Anoa Bob,
NOPE! Not even close. in fact you have it backward.
Pneuma is the ancient Greek word for breath. Psyche is Latin for animating spirit, or soul. Of course it comes from the Greek ( psykhe) which meant soul, mind, or spirit. But that is not breath. And before you wrote that it could be confused as such I'd frankly never run across anyone, ever, making the error.
But the point is you've got the cart before the horse. That is, the idea of the soul or spirit being breath came after its centuries-long use as soul. See Pindar odes. or The Gospel of St Luke. But whatever you do, understand that the poetic ide of pscyhe means soul. Not breath.

Tom T 2:18 PM  

Speaking of WHATABOUTBOB, I, like others, had the long answers quickly, and the rest came in "baby steps."

"Two and two ARE four, four and four ARE eight, eight and eight ARE sixteen, sixteen and sixteen ARE thirty-two ... Inchworm, inchworm, measuring the marigolds, you and your arithmetic, you'll probably go far. Inchworm, inchworm, measuring the marigolds, seems to me you'd stop and see how beautiful they ARE." (But I did hate that clue!)

Robert Grady 2:44 PM  

Yes I agree. A flop is a FLoating point OPeration. They are units used to measure computing power.

Canon Chasuble 3:10 PM  

The Inchworm song was written by Frank Loesser for the film “Hans Christian Andersen.” And R.I.P. Philip Mountbatten..

Anoa Bob 3:15 PM  

anonymous @2:14, could you forward your comment to the folks at Random House and tell them that they are confused and their College Dictionary has the derivation of PSYCHE all wrong. Here's what they say: [< L < Gk: lit., breath, < psych(ein) (to) breathe, blow, hence live]. My other hard copy Random House, in this case Webster's College Dictionary, with a more recent publication date, says: [1650-60: L psyche < Gk psyche lit., breath, der. of psychein to breathe, blow]. And you might want to use your name so you can get credit for straightening them out.

Whatsername 3:32 PM  

@Flying Pediatrician (6:37) I posted a comment at 10:39 intended to thank you for the reminder to be watchful for signs of postpartum depression. In one of my many senior moments, I inadvertently addressed it to @Joaquin who was kind enough to point out my error. My apologies, and thank you again.

Singmaster 3:37 PM  

Too late for anyone to read my comment.
But did anyone else have PHONE SEX before PHONE TAG - what happens when two people miss each other a lot?

John Windle 3:43 PM  

I think it’s FAKEMEATS (no N)

Frantic Sloth 3:55 PM  

@JC66 1251pm Ha! Just the kind of idiotic humor that is my lifeblood! You obviously inherited your sense of humor from your dad, you lucky dog. 😊

@burtonkd 146pm Thanks for that thorough and mind-numbingly boring explanation. Where are the fireworks and fisticuffs? Where are the "birds" (being flipped) and the @Z (being flip)?? Where??? 🀣😘
Although, I do understand your desire to throw Z...well, anywhere.

@Singmaster 337pm Nope. Just you. πŸ˜‰

Anonymous 3:55 PM  

1640s, "animating spirit, the human spirit or mind," from Latin psyche, from Greek psykhΔ“ "the soul, mind, spirit; life, one's life, the invisible animating principle or entity which occupies and directs the physical body;
understanding, the mind (as the seat of thought), faculty of reason," also "ghost, spirit of a dead person;" probably akin to psykhein "to blow, breathe," also "to cool, to make dry."

Psyche is not the same as psykhein. They are akin. The word in attic Greek for breath id pneuma. I take it you haven't read any Pindar let alone Homer. Too bad. You'd know more.

Also, You might want to use your name. imp guessing Anoa Bob aint on your driver's license.

lukiegrifpa 4:03 PM  

I was 100% sure it was phone sex.

Flying Pediatrician 4:11 PM  

Haha! No problem. @Joaquin usually has the first comment of the day! The good news: your “senior moment” had the happy accidental benefit of additional postpartum depression awareness references today!

Ξ© 4:15 PM  

@burtonkd - I vaguely remember that and also recall thinking Shortz' explanation came across as thin skinned (but I was predisposed to that conclusion). "Stuff happens. I never should have let the puzzle sit seven years," would have been so much better.

@What? - Well, actually... Rex stopped submitting puzzles to NYTX. Rex never shared here (or on Twitter that I saw) the exact reason. As for my other observation, that is purely hearsay. Still, I have had the same concern expressed directly to me by more than one constructor and I have seen repeated intimations and flat out declarations various other places. I don't construct, so I cannot speak from personal experience. However, a person in a position of authority having a hard time accepting criticism would hardly be earth shattering news.

@newboy - πŸ‘πŸ½

sasses 4:22 PM  

Waltons keep it in the family. Pay employees substandard wages wlout benefits. Employees depend on welfare.

pabloinnh 4:26 PM  

Hey thanks to all for the birthday wishes. Reading everyone's comments is frequently the highlight of my day, and you can draw your own conclusions about that. Sometimes I dredge up something in a crossword that surprises and delights me, and I learn something almost every day, and there's nothing wrong with that. If you don't like crosswords, what are you going to like?

@JoeD-thanks for the Miles Davis. Didn't know the piece (see above) as jazz is not close to my forte. Fortunately I am almost never blue, and this is more an accident of birth than a conscious decision. Or maybe I just don't know what's going on.

Saludos to all of you, even that old grump Lewis.

Nancy 4:47 PM  

Happy belated (by about six hours) birthday, @Pablo. Sorry I neglected to post earlier, but it was just "The Other Birthday" after all:)

Funny, @burtonkd! I totally blame @TTrimble and his unexpected DAB challenge to me yesterday for my ignominious Ya Dab error today.

And speaking of @TTrimble -- While Russian Dressing is better when it's made with mayo and chili sauce, not mayo and ketchup, you can get a passable Russian Dressing by mixing mayo and ketchup. I like Russian Dressing. But that inedible glop of a SPECIAL SAUCE at MacDonald's tasted nothing like Russian Dressing. It was revolting. There must have been some additional secret ingredient that dare not speak its name. I scraped all of it -- every thick inedible dollop of it -- off my burger and my bun. Things were already looking up. Then I scraped my burger off my bun and ate the burgerless bun.

Eniale 4:58 PM  

@anonymous 10:10 - As I've always understood it the [] signifies that they want the word used fo signify a gesture or sound. [gasp] = omg or some such; [snigger] = HEH; etc

kitshef 5:18 PM  

@Teedmn 1:06 - not sure if wanted an answer, but right now just the two. Seth and Steph are brothers, and their father, Dell, also played in the NBA.

The all-time reccord was in the 2009-10 season, when there were three: Steph (then a rookie), Eddy and JamesOn.

John Hoffman 5:19 PM  

Question for this group regarding UNO MAS: In Spanish language, do you need to have punctuation on both sides of a question? ¿Uno mΓ‘s?

JC66 5:43 PM  

@John Hoffman

BTW, if you're the bartender, it's a question. If you're the customer, it's a request. πŸ˜‚

Vic 5:46 PM  

One of the better solve times on a Fridays that I have had in quite some time. Not a personal record or anything but good. Loved the long answers. Teraflop was also a fun and clever answer to a jokey clue, IMHO.

Citizen Dain 7:01 PM  

TERA as a partial, precursor to "flop" is kind of bad fill. But I think TERAFLOP on its own is a really cool fresh and contemporary answer!! It's a very Real Thing and something that didn't exist in Maleska days. Fun new fill and a fun word to say!

Anonymous 7:05 PM  

JC66, was your grandfather's death on the day after his swim a tragedy or a coincidence?

Gene 8:03 PM  

Consistency is good, so Rex dissing TERAflops because it's not in his particular wheelhouse is fine.

Anonymous 8:17 PM  

I had ROSEAU for the Caribbean capital for a long time (Dominica). Interestingly, I noticed the web version of the crossword corrected this clue to say "World capital ESE of Miami"

JC66 8:23 PM  

@anon 7:05

Thanks for your interest.

He was known for his physical prowess and had been doing the PLUNGE for many years. He was in his 80s when he died, which was OLD back then.I was only 8 when he passed away but my sense was it was neither a tragedy nor a coincidence; but rather something I couldn't really describe then and still can't describe today.

RooMonster 8:24 PM  

@Singmaster 3:37
Posh! Not late at all! But I take by your comment, you didn't read the 120 previous posts. Why not? Not like you're doing anything else! πŸ˜†πŸ€ͺ
Anyway, that absurdity aside, yes, to answer your query, some of us (raises hand) had PHONE sex first. Well, not HAD PHONEsex first, and then solved ... You know what I mean! 😁

Hippo Birdies! I always forget to wish those that either come right out and say it's their Birthday, or just hint at it, so I didn't want to miss yours!

And to all the others I've missed this year, a collective
Happy Birthday!πŸŽ‰πŸ°

RooMonster Back To My Phone Guy

egsforbreakfast 8:32 PM  

@TTrimble and @BurtonKd. I actually submitted my Big Mac comment this morning and then went into the kitchen to make my breakfast. Before my granola even hit the bowl, I realized I had made at least two errors in the jingle (plus I used “new” when I meant “knew”). I decided to not correct it and see who noticed and commented on it. It isn’t too surprising that you both saw it, and I sincerely mean this as a compliment on your posts in general. Thanks.

pabloinnh 8:50 PM  

@Roo (aka QB Guy)-No worries. One of the best days ever, as we had our three year old granddaughter all day, and she made me laugh all day, and she and I finished with "a little picnic" on the rug before Mom and Dad took her home a little while ago. Good times.

@John Hoffman-Yes This can be helpful as you don't have to wait until the end of a sentence to know it's a question.

burtonkd 9:06 PM  

@frantic: ouch! I did warn you the mystery was better than the story. I’ll get john x to deliver the recount it next time.

Rick Walker 9:19 PM  

Fantastic review. I agree with everything Rex said. And I appreciate his telling me I did a lot to solve this one 100%. I like some of the hard clues but some were inane to use crosswordese.

Tom T 9:31 PM  

Canon Chasuble--also RIP Danny Kaye, who played Hans Christian Anderson with such charm.

TTrimble 10:44 PM  

(Or @granolaforbreakfast)
Just about every comment I submit here has at least one thing wrong with it... fortunately, few people are keeping score. :-)

Teedmn 12:25 AM  

Thank you, @kitshef, that is useful information.

And happy (belated by now) birthday, @pabloinnh!

Bob Mills 8:59 AM  

When a crossword puzzle includes "YODOG" and :"LOLCATS" as answers, it's just a bad puzzle. How about using English words from the dictionary, Will?

long.gone.lonesome 1:54 PM  

Me too - suppose I was supposed to.

thefogman 10:13 AM  

Did I DIG it? NAE! Too much WEAK fill. No amount of SPECIALSAUCE can save this nothingburger.

spacecraft 12:13 PM  

I have one gigantic bone to pick with this puzzle, and it's a single word in a single clue. That word is "hit." When I read the clue for 14-down, I thought: well, it can't be WHATABOUTBOB; that was anything BUT a hit. That movie was the "Ishtar" of both their careers! It was awful! That single, WAY out-of-place word almost caused a DNF for me! As I kept finding letters, and got to WHATA, I thought, it can't be. Nobody would ever call that a hit. I resisted that fill all the way to the last.

But for that one strange word, I'd have said this was easy for a Friday. Lovely TERI Hatcher (I'll take her word for it) is DOD. I don't know Niecy NASH, but surely Kelly of "Quick Pitch" would EARN an honorable mention.

I thought some Arab family was the world's richest; all that oil...but OK. WALTONS it is. After all, they own a whole mountain! I like that TAKETHEHIGHROAD does just that, while that PLUNGE is at the bottom. And SPECIALSAUCE crossing FAKEMEATS. All good stuff. Birdie. Minus "hit," might've been an eagle.

Diana, LIW 12:48 PM  

Just the way I like a Friday. It goes from "oh I know that" to "oh I NEVER heard of that person/movie/game." Then, it brings up "oh I know I know that but I just can't think of it now" to "oh yeah - I remember that." It languishes in the valley of "I'll never get all this, I might as well look something up" to "oh - wait a minute - I remember that now." And finally ends with zillions of triumph points with a totally completed, no cheats/lookups, finished puzzle. I love, love, love that.

And @Spacey - it's baby steps all the way. That "awful" movie gets pretty good reviews on the movie websites, and was mildly amusing when I saw it. Annoying, but in a good way - it was meant to be. Maybe not a "hit," but not a bomb. Baby steps...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 12:50 PM  




leftcoaster 5:31 PM  

Surprised that this seemed more troublesome for Rex than for me. But no doubt he got it right.

Trouble spots, especially in the NE corner: ASANA, YODOG, and NUTSO. Elsewhere, FAKEMEATS, LOLCATS, and Kamala Harris's sorority, AKA.

Entry of the day: Big Mac’s SPECIAL SAUCE. Just tritely advertised as “special"? PFFT!

Liked Robert Hayden’s poem.

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