R&B/jazz artist Booze who sang See See Rider Blues / FRI 4-30-21 / Uses a crystal ball / Farm animal in farm-speak / BuzzFeed fodder

Friday, April 30, 2021

Constructor: Kate Hawkins

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: ESSIE Davis (7D: Davis of "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries") —
Esther Davis (born 19 January 1970) is an Australian actress and singer, best known for her roles as Phryne Fisher in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and its film adaptation, Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears, along with Amelia Vanek in The Babadook. Other major works include a recurring role as Lady Crane in season six of the television series Game of Thrones, Sister Iphigenia in Lambs of God, and the role of Ellen Kelly in Justin Kurzel's True History of the Kelly Gang. (wikipedia)
• • •

I haven't been solving at night so much lately, but I had a bit of a nap today, so I'm awake and solving at what is probably a normal waking hour for many of you, but for me feels like the middle of the night (11pm). One of my cats is very confused. Heard me on the stairs and came out of our bedroom like it was time for breakfast. Then looked at me like "no, I know this isn't right ... why are you up?" So I toted her around the house on my shoulder for a bit while she purred contentedly then let her go back to bed. The puzzle was easy and refreshing. Something brisk and cleansing about it. Just what I needed after ... yesterday (about which, the less the better). It was so easy and smooth that I noticed every little bump in the road, both the difficulty bumps and the "yuck" bumps (really only one or two of these, I think). I count four places where I had to exert any effort at all to get an answer: 
  • VASE (1A: Mason jar, in a pinch)
  • SITE VISIT (8D: Part of an OSHA inspection)
  • LANE CLOSED (61A: Sign before merging)
  • ERRANT (50D: Off the mark)
The least consequential of these problems was ERRANT—I just put in ASTRAY at first, and so had to dig myself out (HERMAN helped) (53A: Appropriate name for that woman's husband?). LANE CLOSED also didn't hold me up that long. It was really the LANE part that I had to work for, with most of CLOSED being solidly in place before I ever looked at any of the Across clues down there. VASE was tough mostly because it was virtually the only clue I looked at where I didn't have at least one of the letters in place already (that is, it was the first clue I looked at). The really crucial difficult bit was SITE VISIT, because as you can see, it was my only avenue up into the NE from the center. I was here:

... and couldn't come up with a word ending -SIT that made sense. My brain kept saying "TRANSIT" but that was nonsense. So instead of just jumping into the NE corner, I followed letters I already had and tumbled down into the SE, then swung back up the east coast and came at the NE that way. I very nearly got stymied again trying to get up into that corner because the back ends of so many of the Downs were useless to me. But once I got EVENT (25A: Dot on a timeline), I had VISIT at the end of that OSHA clue, so I hazarded a guess on the first four letters: was it SITE? 

It was. Here we get to the only parts of the puzzle that made me wince a little. The first was SCRIES, which I got almost immediately, but is a word I have always given helping heapings of side-eye, as I have only ever seen it in crosswords (it's somehow weirder and worse when it's just SCRY). Then, with "oof, it's not SCRIES, is it?" fresh in my head, I checked the "I" cross and got ... LIE-IN. All of the -IN answers (BE-IN, SIT-IN, LOVE-IN) are vaguely suspect to me in their ancientness, but LIE-IN ... I have seen people do some version of a LIE-IN in recent years, but I think it's more commonly known now as a DIE-IN. Anyway, SCRIES LIE-IN was a rocky 1-2, but everything evened out from there. In fact, my favorite parts of the solve came in that NE section. First, though it isn't my favorite answer, ESSIE delighted me because I tweeted just last week about the astonishing cast you could put together just from five-letter actors whose last name was Davis: I had VIOLA, OSSIE, GEENA. Someone reminded me "hey, you forgot BETTE." And then later on, another person chimed in, "Don't forget ESSIE!" Actually, now that I look, that "other person" was none other than 8-time American Crossword Puzzle Tournament champion Dan Feyer.

So because of this little thought experiment, I actually remembered ESSIE's name today. In fact, as I read the clue, my brain went "It's ESSIE! Wait, who's ESSIE!? Why do we know this?" And now you know why we knew. I don't think ESSIE is necessarily great fill, but I liked ESSIE insofar as my remembering the name at all proves that my brain is still admitting new information, however grudgingly. Finally (!), I liked that I ended my solve at END (22A: Redundant word before "result"). Felt good and fitting, and also very unlikely, in that I do not normally END my solves way up at the top of the grid like that. It was as if END was calling me, drawing me in like a beacon: "END here. . . END here . . ." And so I did.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 1:18 AM  

Easy. Solid Fri. with a little bit of sparkle, liked it.


ESSIE was a gimme because the Miss Fisher mysteries are delightful.

okanaganer 1:19 AM  

Ooh Rex posted in the evening again! Love it (west coast night hawk here).

A strange solve for me; the northwest was completely empty until after I filled in the rest of the puzzle. (Side note: to most of y'all Americans, NW = something like Washington/Oregon? But to a Canadian, it's the Yukon. It's even sorta the right shape here! And the rest of the top is, well, the Northwest Territories (NWT)... almost the right shape, and featured in a clue tonight! And second side note: before it was split into two territories, the NWT was enormous! Basically the size of western Europe.)

I actually loved this puzzle just for having DIANA ROSS in it. Such gentle catchy music... go ahead and listen to some on YouTube. Suggested: Love Train, Some Day We'll Be Together. Sigh.

Before SOUL SEARCH I had INTROSPECT. Which is... pretty clunky... but it fit! so it just had to be right.

I downgraded to BASIC CABLE a few years ago, and have no regrets. I PVR everything, and end up deleting a lot of stuff cuz I run out of disk space. My cableCo (Shaw) has regular free previews of premium channels, which fail to convince me that I'm missing anything. But I'm getting old, so mostly the new stuff just isn't my bag.

El Barto 1:53 AM  

Didn't love the grid design today -- felt very chopped up. Otherwise, a solid puzzle. Loved ANYGUESSES crossing NOCLUE.

Ann Howell 2:27 AM  

Such a lovely puzzle to end the week! The only thing that held me up was having OSSIE instead of ESSIE, which left me with _ROSSSHOES for 5A. Still have no idea what DBA stands for (unless it's "Does Business As", which seems unlikely).

And my first bike was a Schwinn, so that brought back fond memories of endless summers in the late 70s...

Joe Dipinto 2:28 AM  

Sammy Davis Jr. Duh.
Nancy Davis (Reagan).

chefwen 3:00 AM  

Not easy for me, but I’d give it a medium.

I wanted prosit for 51A too long. SKOAL I associate with hard booze, prosit is more beer related IMO.

So much better than yesterday’s disappointment.

53A HERMAN was corny but it did make me smile.

Robin 3:22 AM  

Finished this in a tie for my record for a Friday NYTXW solve time. My last woe was in in spelling HUSSLE or HUSTLE.

Crossings matter. The little stuff will come back and bite you on the posterior

Joaquin 4:09 AM  

I did not need a crystal ball to fill in 9D (Uses a crystal ball/SCRIES). I did, however, need Google. Scry and SCRIES are new to me.

Eric NC 5:31 AM  

@Ann Howell
Close. It’s Doing Business As

mathgent 6:01 AM  

I hadn't heard "No wukkas" before. It comes from "No wuckin' furries," something Australians would say. How cool.

An excellent puzzle. Not easy. It took some work to get the SW. Hadn't seen PIKACHU before.

Very few threes which made room for twelve longish entries. There wasn't much sparkle to them, though.

Brownbread 6:04 AM  

'no wukkas' is a shortening of ' no wucking furries' the original meaning of which should be obvious to all hopefully.

vtspeedy 6:20 AM  

One of my favorite parts of posting comments is the confessional aspect of sharing my boneheaded mistakes. Flew through the puzzle but bollixed myself on 5 across. Had _R_S_SHOES from the down crosses; decided it must be IRISHSHOES, because, ya know, brogue. And couldn’t get my brain to budge so failed the NE.

Brian A in SLC 6:33 AM  

DBA - doing business as. Most states require companies to register a DBA - this is the process agent that must accept legal process (lawsuits)

B Alvord 6:41 AM  

DBA - Doing Business As
Most states require all businesses to register a DBA. This is the process agent that must accept legal process (i.e. lawsuits and such)

Anonymous 6:49 AM  

Fun puzzle, in part because it was easy for a Friday.

SouthsideJohnny 6:53 AM  

Today was the most progress I ever made unassisted on a Friday - started up in the NW and cruised down the diagonal into the SE without any resistance (it felt like a Wednesday). The bottom half is where it got tougher and the SW did me in (I was never going to overcome PIKACHU crossing SKOAL, anyway). It also seemed weird to see the term “internet ERA”, lol.

Hopefully there will be more Fridays at this difficulty level - at least I had a fighting chance.

amyyanni 7:11 AM  

Big Sammy Davis Jr fan. Love his voice. Great Friday puzzle. Got most of the left side, then had to work to get the rest. Fortunately, knew brouges were a kind of shoe. No wukkas is new to this person who has never been to Australia! Happy Friday everyone.

pabloinnh 7:19 AM  

Always a pleasant surprise to find OFL in a benevolent mood, as I find his writeups so much more enjoyable when that's the case. Maybe it's the cats.

Anyway, I sailed through most of this until NOIDEA and EKG threw sand in the gears in the SW. My younger son has had lots of EEG's but I always confuse the two. Mea culpa, which reminds me that I think MLB umpire Ron Kulpa's nickname should be "Mea", which would be perfect for an umpire.

Easy breezy for a Friday, and fine with me, as the printer is still a work in progress. Maybe today. Thanks for the fun, KH. Hope your xword successes Keep Happening.

Lobster11 7:26 AM  

I'm with @El Barto: My one gripe was the grid shape. I flew through the entire diagonal from NW to SE, but then the NE and SW felt like separate puzzles that I had to solve (respectively) bottom-to-top and right-to-left or largely start from scratch.

BarbieBarbie 7:31 AM  

DNFd on APT, which I entered as APO and then couldn’t see. D’oh.

Son Volt 7:41 AM  

Some oddball trivia here and there but overall a nice puzzle. I was on the same wavelength for the longs so this played pretty smooth and quick. Liked the entire SW corner block and SOUL SEARCH. I like SCRIES. Surprised Rex didn’t riff on NIP IN.

Enjoyable Friday.

Barbara S. 7:45 AM  

Enjoyable puzzle. And a quick solve, compared to yesterday.

Great clues: Ones getting you down? GEESE
Top-flight destination: ATTIC
Appropriate name for that woman’s husband? HERMAN

Hard clue: Element of show business? NEON

Odd clue: Internet ___ ERA

Use of “clue” in answer: “Beats me!” NO CLUE

Only errors: sItIN for LIEIN; prOst for SKOAL.

I guess BICEP is informal because it should really be BICEPS? I’m in the ESSIE Davis fan camp. Enjoyed her in GOT and “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”. Miss Fisher has an extraordinary first name: Phryne (pronounced FRY-nee). It was fitting that ESSIE crossed AUSTRALIAN. I love the word scry/scries and I don’t care if it only ever appears in crossword puzzles. It’s fascinating because it doesn’t just mean to foretell the future, but to do so with something shiny and reflective, like crystal, water, glass, or a mirror. Ooooooh…

Today’s passage is by ANNIE DILLARD, born Apr. 30, 1945.

"Then one day I was walking along Tinker Creek and thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame. I stood on the grass with the lights in it, grass that was wholly fire, utterly focused and utterly dreamed. It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen, knocked breathless by a powerful glance. The flood of fire abated, but I’m still spending the power. Gradually the lights went out in the cedar, the colors died, the cells un-flamed and disappeared. I was still ringing. I had been my whole life a bell and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck. I have since only very rarely seen the tree with the lights in it. The vision comes and goes, mostly goes, but I live for it, for the moment the mountains open and a new light roars in spate through the crack, and the mountains slam.”
(From Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

Mike G 7:50 AM  

@BarbieBarbie - I feel your pain. I crossed APR with ARTIC as my top flight destination (hey, it's at the top of the globe and you'd have to fly at least part of the way there, right?) but APR (Apartment?) just didn't feel right so I swapped it out for the much better APT before I got in too deep.

Other than that... some lucky crosses got me names that I would never have known from the clue alone (ESSIE, ELSA, TRES, BEA, ALLAH, ERATO).

And finally, I was sad to see the reference to the zombie brand of the once-mighty SCHWINN in the puzzle. Let's pour one out in memory of a true innovator reduced to a marketing ploy for boomer/GenX nostalgia.

bocamp 7:57 AM  

Thank you @Kate for a very crunchy, engaging Fri. puz. Liked it a lot! :)

Med solve.

No foothold in the NW at all. Moved east and immediately got DRESSSHOES, having sold shoes on a number of occasions, starting in high school; this was a gimme.

The SW took as much time as the rest of the puz together, which was easy up to that point.

Is there going to be a BICEP/s discussion? All I know is I've got one on each arm. LOL

Fond memories of racing my SCHWINN on a local dirt oval (thx to the kindness of a neighbor who made his vacant lot available to us).

My SIDEHUSTLE was at a mini-mart while working full time as a Pet Milk salesperson. Was able to save enough moola to buy into the franchise and get my own mini-mart.

I just realized that I used ERRANT yesterday in my first post, where I should have used 'mistaken' or 'in error'. I now know the difference.

DIANA ROSS Greatest Hits

yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Zwhatever 8:00 AM  

You just know that Rex had a sly smile as he finished this write-up.

Hand up for noticing the Two-for-One grid design. Western half definitely easy, eastern puzzle more easy-medium here. ESSIE Davis is a new five-letter Davis because the world needs more five-letter Davises. I do know my Irish DRESS SHOES so I finished correctly, but I checked every cross on ESSIE before checking (When you solve like Gof intended you don’t get any chimes alerting you that you finished correctly- you’re on your own) Near before NIGH and wanting APo (but thinking Ao- an unlikely start so never writing in the O) was part of the challenge. No, that and not knowing ESSIE was all of the challenge. The east wasn’t quite as automatic as the west, but nothing held me up for long.

I noticed the BICEP clue got the “informally” tag. I hope that keeps all the muscle pendants happy today.

The puzzle tells an odd tale. After an APOLOGETIC SOUL SEARCH the Davises decided to blow their NOISEMAKERs ONE AT A TIME. I am imagining some sort of eerie 21 NOISEMAKER salute, now. Probably at the Rye Marina.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

Anyone else remember the most famous LIE-IN I know of? John and Yoko doing interviews from their bed in the late ‘60’s/early ‘70’s.

— Jim C. in Maine

Frantic Sloth 8:32 AM  

Are we gonna have another "list the Davis people" again?
Yes. And Judy. Although not 5 letters.

@vtspeedy 620am I can't believe you admitted that. I certainly won't. 😉

Aside from ridiculous boneheaded moves, this one was smooth and fun.

Really liked the corny clues already listed by @Barbara S. 745am



Bill 8:45 AM  

Pretty easy for a Friday but really enjoyable!

Ann B. 8:47 AM  


RooMonster 8:51 AM  

Hey All !
My solve almost mimicked Rex's. His was NW/SW/SE/NE. I started in SW, then got NW/SE/NE. Agree that the East was tougher than the West. Ended up a nice themeless.

Wanted APi for APT first. That got me Ai_I_ for 44A. Head scratch. Which would've been fantastic if it was AIOLI! Then thought APo. Then erased the last letter, and waited for the other missing letter. A guess on three answers in the SE, CREE, GREET, ERATO, got me the C to see A_TIC, and then the Aha, that kind of address abbr., plus a neat clue for ATTIC. (I was thinking an overseas address for a GI.) Those three also got me the SE in short order after that.

So, what started as a typical one or three words at first pass through, ended up being a quick for me FriPuz.

Avoided my one-letter DNF by the skin of my teeth. (What an odd expression, btw). Had SENt for SEND, and kept seeing ENt. Another head scratch. Before I put in my final letter, finally tweaked the ole brain into seeing SEND, which would have 22A be END, and narrowly squeaked by that DNF. Also had oSSIE until almost the end. With sitIN also mucking things up up there.

Gonna put my ignorance out there for all to see. What does 10D SCANNED mean? Is it for offensive language or too much violence? Or does it mean they scan books with one of those, well, scanner things? Or is it something else my unsophisticated self doesn't have a clue about? (Betting $20 on the over for the third one!)

Writeovers I can recall, Salut-SKOAL, sitIN-LIEIN, NOidea-NOCLUE (DOOK alert!), think that's it. Fun clue on NONOS. Nice puz, Kate! But, how about an F or three?

No F's

mmorgan 8:57 AM  

The NE did me in. Never heard of SCRIES or DBA or ESSIE or wukkas and I assumed 18A ended in ALIeN (as in some kind of Star Wars lingo) so I couldn’t even get it all together from crosses. Still, a very nice puzzle despite me getting beaten up in that corner.

KnittyContessa 8:59 AM  

This was a fun easy solve. I laughed out loud at HERMAN. My only hesitation was 2Down. I kept thinking it was apologies and I forgot how to spell it. lol. It was an early morning solve for me.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

@RooMonster the Gutenberg Project digitizes books by scanning them to be uploaded

Flying Pediatrician 9:07 AM  

If you haven’t seen the show, Last Tango in Halifax on Netflix, you should check it out! It’s a refreshing, funny, and sweet BBC series that deserves a few more seasons. My wife and I enjoyed learning all the different terms the British have for things, one of which is LIE-IN (their term for sleeping-in). You’ll just have to watch the show to learn what a “mucky weekend” is. Haha ...

jberg 9:08 AM  

I did think of SITE VISIT, but isn't that the entire inspection, rather than part of it as in the clue? I guess there's some paperwork involved, but it still seems strange; but once I figured out DRESS SHOES there was no more resisting.

Bt according to Wikipedia, "Brogues were traditionally considered to be outdoor or country footwear not otherwise appropriate for casual or business occasions, but brogues are now considered appropriate in most contexts." If country shoes would have fit, I'd have put it in.

OTOH, I got END RESULT right away, but I'm not convinced it's redundant. Remember back last fall when a couple of COVID19 vaccines were given Emergency Use Authorization on the basis of preliminary results? The way things are going, the whole country will be vaccinated by the time we have END RESULTs and the FDA actually approves them.

Those are just my philosophical musings, though, I thought it was a fine, fresh puzzle. And it reminded me of HERMAN and the Hermits, from long before PIKACHU.

Sir Hillary 9:10 AM  

Breezy for a Friday. Lots of fun too.

Halfway through my solve, my grid looked almost exactly like Rex's -- I had eased on down the road (well, the western half -- thanks, DIANA) as if there were no LANECLOSED.

The east took a bit longer, and I still don't know what SCRIES means, but it was still pretty smooth.

I am not familiar with ESSIE Davis, but ISEENOW that she's crossing her AUSTRALIAN nationality, so that's cool.

Chicago Chica 9:16 AM  

Got familiar with Scry and Scries reading the delightful “History of Witches” by Louisa Morgan. Loved the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries, more like that please!

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

Muscle pedants!??? That is hilarious. Yep, the folks employing the correct word are pedants; it's the the salt of the earth folks who say bicep, or bicept are really who you want to emulate. smh

Mill City Architect 9:25 AM  

From Wikipedia. The English form bicep [sic], attested from 1939, is a back formation derived from misinterpreting the s of biceps as the English plural marker -s.[22][23]

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:42 AM  

I knew DBA immediately, because a former mayor of Fall River is on trial for fraud and extortion, and at yesterday's court session it came out that he expensed a number of visits to the Foxy Lady strip club, which showed up on his credit card under its DBA, something normal where you might have business meetings.

pmdm 9:45 AM  

What I though was an enjoyable typical Friday puzzle. No serious complaints.

I normally don't read the later comments until the following day, so I went back to yesterday's comments before composing this post. I normally don't comment on particular posts, but two of the posts by TTrimble and Z were quite interesting to read. Thank you for the comments.

oceanjeremy 9:45 AM  

Ahh, what a refresher after yesterday’s blech of a puzzle.

Side note about that: I’m somewhat rankled by @TTrimble’s suggestion that those who disliked yesterday’s puzzle are not “natural puzzle solvers.” I eat cryptic crosswords like junk food. I love meta puzzles. Thursdays are usually my favorite puzzles of the week because I love rebuses, tricks, puzzles where half the answers are backward, etc, etc. I am not a speed solver, and I will happily clock my slowest time yet for a puzzle that is tricky, brain-tickly and rewarding. No, I hated yesterday’s puzzle because it was bad. ;)

So today’s was refreshing, but I thought it was WAY too easy for a Friday. I’d have finished in record time except for two factors: 1) I started my solve while three quarters of my way into a deep sleep last night and 2) I set a personal record for number of typos, which was likely a result of factor #1 there.

I raced through everything but the NE, where I was stymied by entering “sit IN” instead of LIE IN (21A). I flailed around there for probably five minutes before my body forcibly dragged me into sleep.

When I woke up I immediately corrected 21A, also noticed that I had entered BASICaABLE instead of BASIC CABLE and wrapped up the rest of the puzzle in a matter of seconds. But no finish!

I then hunted for that aforementioned record number of typos (sNY GUESSES instead of ANY GUESSES was possibly the stupidest) and still finished only a minute slower than my Friday record.

Re: SCRIES: Obviously OFL does not play enough Dungeons & Dragons, if he only encounters this word in crosswords.

Shout out to PIKACHU, as today is this particular Pokémon’s first appearance in the NYTimes Crossword (though POKEMON itself has appeared six times so far).

And shout out to Kate Hawkins for making a very enjoyable puzzle!

JD 9:48 AM  

Really not much to say here. A nice, easy Friday that made me feel smarter than I am. Schwinn was the bike advertised on the Captain Kangaroo show so ... a little nostalgia.

At XWord Info, the constructor said she's always been a fan of street signs. My personal favorite, really a highway sign, is Thru Lane Merge Left. Poetry. Least favorite is Please Exercise Caution, which is Lost On Me. A simple BE CAREFUL! would slow people down.

Solving on my phone, Mason Jar clue made be glance up to see if the constructor was a woman. Yep. Might have been something Aunt Bea did. More nostalgia.

Sweet puzzle.

burtonkd 9:51 AM  

@okanager - that was my experience also, namely exactly the opposite of Rex's writeup. Nothing in the NW and the SE was Monday easy.

wukkas was a WOE, was wondering if it was the Muppet Fozzie Bear (which fits) who said waka waka waka after corny jokes. Thanks blog for filling me in.

I like horror films every once in a while, and didn't realize that was ESSIE in the Babadook. Most terrifying part was at the beginning before the supernatural stuff started. Single overworked mom with difficult child at the end of her rope was portrayed viscerally.

So many brands for bicycles, hmm? What would the grey lady choose? Go with most popular brand 50's-70's? check!

Saw Diana Ross at Chautauqua a few years back. Still got it! Oozes fabulousness!

"Faux old-timey country diner iced herbal tea mug" didn't fit, so VASE wins.

Satifying Friday, thanks Kate!

TJS 9:52 AM  

Nice for a Wednesday.

Whatsername 10:10 AM  

Loved GEESE, HERMAN and DRESS SHOES. SCRIES was a never heard of, and PIKACHU a total GUESS. Not too easy, not hard, something AKIN to just right. Nice Friday, Kate!

I love to use odd containers when I need a VASE. One of my favorite things in the world is peonies in a pickle jar.

Another visit from the GEESE this week. Today they’re wearing DRESS SHOES and sipping on SODAS while they meander around the ESTATE, APOLOGETIC about the occasional dropping. Oops! I SEE I left a little something there. TRÈS pardon!

JD 10:13 AM  

@Roo, They're old books that are in the public domain and have (you guessed it) been scanned and posted for all to read for free.

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

Bed in

JD 10:18 AM  

Just a reminder, puzzle are constructed by people who put time and effort into doing something that very few commenters on this site can do. It really seems to be over the top to still be whining about a puzzle the day after you either just didn't care for it or couldn't finish it.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  


Another Anon 10:22 AM  

@Anon 9:20. If you're going to rip on @Z (8:00) you should have pointed out that he wrote "pendant" in error. Not that I care.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

Thank you for the simple and clear definition.

A 10:27 AM  

Rex’s grid at half-solve was the exact opposite of mine. After filling in most of the east side with ease (just Aborigine_ before AUSTRALIAN), my fast LANE CLOSED. I wanted the Mason jar to contain my drink and when that wouldn’t work, I actually thought maybe you could use it as an emergency chamber pot. Oh, VASE. Very shabby chic.

Similarly, LO_TON was LOST ON me for the longest. Couldn’t figure out who was “bringing me down.” Oh, down the noun. Went two wrong directions for “crushes” before thinking of drinking.

Nice pair at 13D/1D. Fun clues for SEND, NEON and BIBS. Good to see SCHWINN - Mr. A’s still hangs in the garage.

Lots of __IC words: BASIC CABLE, APOLOGETIC, ATTIC. Ok so just three. Unless you count BIC EP.

Happy to learn about BEA Booze and See See Rider Blues. Especially since it’s International Jazz Day.

Thanks, Ms. Hawkins - nice way to GREET the day!

GILL I. 10:28 AM  

Well...I got DRESS SHOES but I had one of those "get up and do an ERATO Brogue" moment. I guess I would never call them dressy. Have you looked at those wingtip things? I suppose putting little holes in them makes them dressy.
After yesterday's VITAL TOUT, this was APT and fun. YOUUUUU SEND me.
I didn't know SCRIES. I got it but I didn't know it and I read crystal balls everyday. I liked dressing up as a gypsy on. Halloween and looking into a little orb and telling people to SOUL SEARCH their inner PIKACHU. It works.
A smile with my SCHWINN moment. I bought my first in NYC; took it with me to Glenside and then packed that little puppy in the car and drove it to San Francisco. It went with me everywhere. It was my captain NEMO, the GEESE in my duvet, the HERMAN to my sheman.....then....someone stole it. My yellow SCHWINN!
Fun puzzle, Kate....and I didn't have to google even though I wouldn't know a wukkas from an AUSTRALIAN didgeridoo.
My SKOAL runneth over.

EdFromHackensack 10:30 AM  

I allow myself one Google on Fridays. Kinda wasted it on BEA... I would have gotten it I’m sure. Nice puzzle - I love the No "wucking furries”. I’m going to use that this weekend.

Zwhatever 11:10 AM  

As has been hinted at a couple of times already, BICEP/BICEPs is an old kerfuffle.

@9:20 - If only I had called them “pedants.” Just another swing and miss for you. I know, the image of pedantic people swinging pedantically against the evolution of language is a little abstruse and looks like a typo, but I like to have my fun, especially when a typo makes me chuckle.

@10:22 - Good catch. But I left the error intentionally this time. I probably should have gone with “pedantic muscle pendants” or “pendantic muscle pedants” but oh well. Either way - the whole BICEP discussion is still old news around here.

@JD - Yeah, we did let that puzzle have it and going on about it today is a little bit of beating a dead horse. That doesn’t bother me the way it seems to bother you. I don’t construct puzzles for the same reason I don’t home brew, and it’s not because I can’t. Likewise, if the constructor does the equivalent of using 23 varieties of hops and it turns out to be crap beer they shouldn’t be surprised to hear about it. It’s just feedback to use or ignore as they see fit. That’s two puzzles for that guy. One pretty good, one not so much IMO, and a clear fondness for dogs.

Carola 11:14 AM  

This was a treat, with smiles for SOUL SEARCH, SIDE HUSTLE, ONE AT A TIME, ANY GUESSES, LANE CLOSED...and SCRIES: I enjoy reading fantasy fiction, where there is often some scrying going on; fun to see it appear in the grid. New to me: DBA - I even did an alphabet run on that D, with Essie and Ossie variants ("cross shoes?"), as like @jberg, I'd thought of brogues as more in the heavy duty category. Me, too, for immediately thinking APo before APT.

JD 9:48 - My brother, who does a lot of driving for work, entertains me by sending photos of road signs that strike him funny. The last was posted on a barrier going across half the road and said "LANE ENDS 0 FT."

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

another anon,
I saw pendant. But I believe that was a typo nothing more. I have way more than my share of them and they're rarely pointed out. A courtesy for which I'm most grateful. More important by far is the idea that I was ripping on Z. I wasn't and I don't though I am frequently accused of doing so.
I am ripping on his position that biceps and bicep are each acceptable. Not him. Acceding to error corrupts. A fine example is the begging the question kerfuffle. Petitio principii is a very important concept in logic. It's something all people should understand so they can discern a good argument from specious one. That term is now so corrupted by the ill-informed it's, in effect, not useable in general conversation today. But of course the problem of taking the conclusion for granted in the premise is a problem that bedevils us daily. That's why begging the question or petito principii exists. It's a way to bring into specific relief a problem before one's eyes. That solution has now been made unavailable by people unaware of what begging the question means. You may think that's not a problem. I believe it is. If that doesn't grab you how about exponential? That word has a meaning. And it isn't what every dullard reading the news says it is. It isn't simply a lot. Or a great deal. Or rapidly expanding. The word has been so abused we've lost the ability to explain a phenomenon that is actually quite important in fields from demography to oncology. This isn't a pity. This is a problem. Error has no rights. And giving the imprimatur of legitimacy to idiotic mangling of the language is pernicious.

Steve M 11:20 AM  

Scries was troubling

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

@Z11:10. What?

Newboy 11:38 AM  

Thanks �� Kate. Friday fun indeed to put the grin on OFL’s often grim visage! ESSIE/Miss Fisher has been a frequent household visitor after Jessica Fletcher took early retirement. That she appears in GOT may tip the scales toward a reconsideration of that binge option. SCRIES was the major teachable moment for this ole dog today....I(gotta)TRY to SCRY with my next SKOAL. Well, and maybe refining my mental image of brogues—hard to see them as DRESS items when “ Brogues were traditionally considered to be outdoor or country footwear not otherwise appropriate for casual or business occasions” according to WIKI. A second check, of course, validated the modern usage as noted in Kate’s clue. Language does indeed change despite the efforts of prescriptionists to stem the inexorable. I know that’s true cause @LMS said so!

Nancy 11:41 AM  

Never heard of DBA.

Never heard of SCRIES.

Didn't know ESSIE. Mystery novel-wise, I only know Hercule, Jane, Lord Peter, Sam, Philip and Rex.

So, with SHOES already in place, DRESS SHOES was a big guess. I had ?R?S? and really wanted IRISH SHOES, which is what "Brogues" makes me think of.

I had to do this without breakfast or coffee, since I was headed for a fasting blood test. (God, I hate those -- you do not want to be around me before I've had breakfast and coffee.) So I had to think more than I really wanted to and thinking is SO hard without breakfast and coffee. And it was not a slam-dunk that I'd finish -- but I did. With breakfast and coffee, I'm pretty sure I would have found this a very enjoyable puzzle.

egsforbreakfast 11:43 AM  

I don’t pay a lot of attention to my solving times, but I think this was my fastest since Monday. Kate Hawkins must be my separated-at-birth twin judging by how much this puzzle was in my wheelhouse. NOCLUE caused me make ANYGUESSES. Thanks for a great Friday, Kate.

chance2travel 12:06 PM  

I'm amused by the fact that Rex's first screenshot is the negative image of my starting solve. After reading 1A and 5A with no idea, I went for 5D and knew DBA immediately, which sent me tearing through the NE and all the way down to 68A TRES. I was worried I would struggle in the West, but 1D VITAL jumped out at me and then I tore down with only brief pauses for LANE CLOSED and regretfully not knowing the DIANA ROSS reference or that the Crushes being referred to were neither love interests nor victories, but rather SODAS (yummy Orange Crush)

Masked and Anonymous 12:09 PM  

yep. Same comment threads as lotsa other folks here:

1. Friendly FriPuz, except for the NE, due to: DBA, ESSIE, SCRIES, IRISHSHOES, and all them darn wukkas. check.

2. Whatabout SAMMY Davis? check.

3. Didn't know debut word PIKACHU. check.

4. Primo {Ones getting you down?} = GEESE clue. check.

5. DBA is Doin Business As. Check, please. [staff weeject pick, I might add.]

But, ohhh -- those poor lost NE corner solvequest nanoseconds … the horror … the horror. Beam m&e up, Scryty [Captain Kurtz quote].

Thanx for the themeless & haikuless fun, Ms. Kate darlin. Nice fillins -- was especially partial to ANYGUESSES (with only one of its S's financin a plural Down pup).

DBA Masked & Anonymo4Us


JD 12:11 PM  

@Z, Crap is just an opinion, one we didn't share, and it most definitely isn't feedback. That would be constructive criticism, not in evidence here today.

jb129 12:12 PM  

Gotta love that Alfie, Rex xo

crayonbeam 12:26 PM  

I completed this puzzle in half of my average time, and all I can hear is Rex saying that it's easy to like puzzles you do well on.

Well, that's true. But I'll take it.

Whatsername 12:59 PM  

About road signs. The Missouri DOT sometimes puts up messages on those flashing signs used for road construction. One of the best I ever saw said “Want to get closer to God? Keep texting while you’re driving.” And one Iowa gets credit for: “Keep your head out of your apps.”

old timer 1:15 PM  

I thought it was an average Friday. Lots of names I did not know, but got on crosses. For some reason I put in DIANA Rigg before ROSS, my only silly writeover. And wanted "Ste" before putting in DES down at the bottom.

DBA was perfectly clued as a corporate alias. I do wonder how much time and money General Motors, or any big car company, has to spend to comply with the fictitious business name laws in 50 states and who knows how many countries.In most places, the DBA notice must be published in at least one newspaper in the county and state where the filer does business, and that requirement has kept any number of local newspapers alive.

I own a pair of brogues, and they have been used solely as dress shoes. All the shoes I actually use on a daily basis are Doc Martens'. I probably wore my brogues when I went to the US Supreme Court and sat in the area near the bench, for oral arguments. Oh, I was not arguing -- few attorneys ever get to, other than a select group of Supreme Court specialists. But like thousands of attorneys, I had joined the Supreme Court Bar just to hang their certificate on my office wall, and it was a total thrill to be allowed in the special section for Bar members, when I took my daughter there. (She had to sit with the hoi polloi, further back). It was a thrill to be 20 feet away from Scalia and his dear friend, the Notorious RBG.

Teedmn 1:16 PM  

Oh-em-gee, I am an idiot. Totally easy Friday puzzle (one-third of yesterday's solve time) but two ERRANT squares, sheesh.

I don't know ESSIE from anything so I had oSSIE. I stared at DRoSS SHOES for a while, knowing it would probably doom me to a DNF. But DRESS never occurred to me so I was never inspired to rethink oSSIE although I did reconsider DBA (I knew it was right, my company has a DBA) but what would grOSS SHOES mean anyway? I kept DBA.

And having an APo in my 35D address meant AoTIC had something to do with the aorta(?)and nothing to do with top-flight, but there you go.

I failed to SCAN the clue for 10D and entered "printed" as books by Gutenberg were, though that seemed really silly. When SCANNED became obvious, I reread the clue. I SEE NOW.

I thought "Took a turn" might be BENT, 31D, but avoided putting it in. With CLOSE in place for 61D, I was ready to go with a corporate answer, "deal CLOSEr", perhaps, but rES as the start of a French surname wasn't working.

Lots to like in this puzzle and I didn't even get the significance of the clue for HERMAN until I read Rex. Nice job, Katie Hawkins!

CDilly52 1:24 PM  

Feeling incredibly slow today. Started out robustly and got much of the top half done although I disagree that brogues are DRESS SHOES, as I always categorized them as more of a sturdy working or school day shoe-always oxfords. So I got stuck for a bit with only SHOES in immediately.

Also took me forever to get ELAN from zip; also tossed in “prost” rather then SKOAL so that hung up the SW. And I know nothing - and I mean nothing - about Pokémon, so I just had to trust that PIKACHU is actually a “thing.” Learned something new. A couple things, actually. I Learned that BuzzFeed is about LISTS, tool.

Some really good clues today and some really (in my opinion) not so good- the variety that tries a bit too hard to be a misdirect and even after getting the answer still feels like it is trying too hard. Gone unused at 46A is a good example. Something about the tense just felt a little too “tricksy”. (as Gollum would say).

On the other end of the great clue/answer spectrum though were SIDE HUSTLE and HERMAN. Over all, fun Friday fare. Not too crunchy for anFriday so I have no real complaints. Have a great weekend everyone!

TOCraig 2:05 PM  

Would anyone on this site be willing to help me create a wedding crossword puzzle?

Joe G 2:21 PM  

Having the R, I was positive it was Irish for far too long. Sigh.

JD 3:31 PM  

@Carola, A department of transportation with a sense of humor!

Eniale 5:21 PM  

I must be getting better at this; I think it's the second Friday in a row I completed without recourse to the web!

RoccoChaz 5:39 PM  

I’m just going to say it. Rex, I think you should take more naps. Loved the write up. All the usual insights, but it was breezy and upbeat and fun.

Eniale 5:40 PM  

Oops, too quick to crow! I now realize I should have checked better, because solving on paper doesn't alert you to your typos! Ah me, DNF after all.

Zwhatever 5:42 PM  

@Anon 11:22 - It wasn’t that funny to begin with and explaining it doesn’t make it funnier, but anyway: Typo happens (or maybe autocorrupt). I chuckle because pendants swing freely (as opposed to, say, a choker) and muscles swing (well contract to make limbs swing but whatever, let’s not be overly pedantic about it) and the whole BICEP is wrong crowd swings wildly against the notion that language evolves… so a “muscle pendant” is a funny (to me) play on “muscle pedant.” That’s it. But then two anons comment and I realize that if I didn’t want it to look just like a typo I probably should have doubled down with something inane like “pedantic muscle pendant” or something. That’s it. Probably TMI, but you asked.

@JD - “Crap is just an opinion.” I hope I didn’t leave the impression that I thought my reaction was anything else. I mean, people like quote puzzles enough for there to be collections of them. Hence, “de gustibus and all that.*”

@Eniale (&Southside Johnny, too) - W00T! W00T! I’m still nowhere near the elite solvers, but I’m way better than I used to be at these things.

*For the new around here, short for De gustibus non est disputandum, Latin equivalent for “to each their own.”

G 5:43 PM  

@eniale I'm about 15 months into this. For the first 5 months, I googled after being stuck for a bit. But then I decided to refuse to let myself look anything up, until a long time goes by....I got a lot better like this!. I give myself 2 hours 30 minutes before giving in to google. I can get all the Friday and Saturday now. You can work it out! Don't give up after 30 minutes! Often they take me 90 minutes or more, but it's a great feeling of satisfaction to complete them. I'll be totally stuck. Then If you get one word, it usually opens the whole thing up.

Anonymous 5:45 PM  

kids still play D&D???? haven't read of a suicide in ages.

bocamp 6:04 PM  

Thx @Rex / @Barbara S. / @Chicago Chica / @Newboy / @jae for the Miss Fisher Mysteries mentions. :)

Watching it now on Acorn TV (Canada).

@Flying Pediatrician (9:07 AM)

Last Tango in Halifax looks like a winner, but alas, not to be found on Netflix (Canada), nor on any of the British content streamers I have access to. I may rent the first episode on Apple TV. Thx for the rec. :)

@Eniale (5:21 PM)

No harm, no foul; keep on truckin'. You'll continue to improve, same as all of us! And, kudos for your integrity. :)

td pg -3

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Tim Scott 2024 6:59 PM  

Peace Empathy Kindness

jae 7:22 PM  

For those of you who are fans of Miss Fisher you might want to take a look at the Frankie Drake Mysteries streaming on PBS. It’s a Canadian version of Miss Fisher set in Toronto in the 1920’s.

albatross shell 7:33 PM  

Certainly not easy for me. Last night, I had squat, most of it well diddled. DIANAROSS and PIKACHU SKOAL NIPIN SODAS formed a basis for growth. I slept on it and in the morning it fell together quickly till I got to the North. Then slow. After I looked up BROGUES everything but the LIEIN area was done in. I was in many sit-ins. Only one lie-in. I try not to. But it fell too. ATTIC GEESE and many amusements along the way. The slow start was painful. The rest was fun. SCRY DBA unknown. Lots of stuff I did not know I figured out. Did not remember ESSIE even though I saw all the Miss Fisher Mysteries. Recommended. I've been watching the Jonathon Creek (locked room) mysteries, a bunch of magician stuff. Also 3 different Father Brown series. Damn britbox anyhow.

SIDEHUSTLE my favorite answer.

albatross shell 7:35 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 8:02 PM  

Oh my.

Anonymous 8:18 PM  

If you care about language
The translation is : To each his own.
I guess a case can be made that grammar is optional, but I await the defense of using a plural their in the phrase
De gustibus est non disbutandum .

oceanjeremy 8:33 PM  

@Nancy: I had to file for a DBA myself last year, so it’s fresh in my mind! Then I just moved from Queens to Brooklyn. Which means I have to pay the $121 fee again, less than six months later, to file in Kings County. Minor price to pay, imo, for our new beautiful Ocean Pkwy residence. :)

@JD: I hope you weren’t talking about me “whining” about yesterday’s puzzle! I was just replying to a comment on yesterday’s blog by TTrimble, which I thought was an acceptable thing to do in the culture of the commentariat here? I felt that I adequately portrayed playfulness by punctuating my paragraph with a “;)” wink emoticon. I meant it all In Good Fun.

Anon 5:45PM: D&D is more popular now than it’s ever been, kids and adults and even senior citizens play it. Not sure what your suicide reference is about, but I’ve decided that I don’t appreciate it.

Anonymous 8:59 PM  

@Z 5:42. To recap, you’re laughing at your own joke which you acknowledge isn’t funny.
Thanks for sharing.

jonkotaco 2:02 AM  

I liked it! Agreeing that SCRIES felt nerdy in a pleasant way for this ex-DND player.

Anyone else put TURN SIGNAL before LANE CLOSED?

jonkotaco 2:05 AM  

And whoa - anon at 545, please give a thought to that comment. Way off base in many respects. Not sure where that association comes from but it's not a healthy or accurate place.

Harry 10:40 PM  

Neither "easy" nor "breezy" for me. I was stopped cold several times and had to return later in the day (3 times in total) before the light really began to shine through. Just not in synch with the author on this one ... clever cluing that kept me at bay. Completion at last, but surprisingly little satisfaction in it.

kitshef 9:44 AM  

Very easy very dull puzzle. BICEP can go to hell, along with I TRY.

Liked Miss Fisher’s ESSIE crossing AUSTRALIAN.

thefogman 11:02 AM  

I did not know HOSS meant horse. I only know of HOSS from Bonanza. Plenty of misdirects, weirdly clued and vaguely clued (31D, 46A) stuff. Also, abbreviations not indicated (62D, 59D). But overall, pretty good.

Diana, LIW 11:12 AM  

OK - I haven't started today's puz yet, but please put me in the group that wasn't very happy yesterday. So long TOO LONNG!!!

Lady Di

Burma Shave 1:54 PM  


MAN, she can’t BE_A mime, the TERM is NOISEMAKER.


rondo 2:19 PM  

A different @DIANA in the puz, yeah baby DIANAROSS.
@spacey – you were prophetic with the HAL line.
Not very tough. Nothing to be APOLOGETIC about.

Diana, LIW 3:41 PM  

Much much better than yesterday. And yes - I did sneak in there. Oddly, I wasn't certain who starred in the Broadway Wiz for a few moments.

Diana, Lady-in-the-Puzzle

leftcoaster 3:48 PM  

Some good GUESSES and friendly crosses helped a lot in solving this one.

Liked all the long downs and acrosses. NE triple-stack was last to go, slowly showing its word/letter patterns. There, felt forced to accept the crossing SCRIES, and wanted sIt-in before LIE-IN.

Patience paid off, and it’s always good to finish on a Friday.

spacecraft 7:10 PM  

I just wanna know one thing: did Kate read my post and get her HAL clue that way? Inquiring minds want to know.

Of course, [Lady] DIANAROSS is DOD, with a h.m. to not-Ossie-but-ESSIE Davis. This was a good, crunchy Friday, with Friday-type clues. Calisthenics for the brain. In fact, another honorable mention for Kate Hawkins, constructrix extraordinaire. SCRY/SCRIES is a great word. Did I SCRY the HAL thing?? Eagle.

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