1995 cult classic directed by Kevin Smith / FRI 7-16-21 / Big name in pizza rolls / Last of the Ptolemys / Band featured in Disney World's Rock 'n' Roller Coaster / Ford vehicle, familiarly / Animal in the suborder Vermilingua worm tongue

Friday, July 16, 2021

Constructor: Sophia Maymudes and Kyra Wilson

Relative difficulty: Challenging (much more Saturday than Friday)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: PDAS (9D: Palms, e.g., for short) —
[abbr. of personal digital assistant] : a small handheld device equipped with a microprocessor that is used especially for storing and organizing personal information (such as addresses and schedules) (merriam-webster.com)
• • •

Really hate when I get a Saturday puzzle on a Friday. I shouldn't care as much as I do, I know, but I want breezy on Friday, and this one had me stalled out all over the place. Only section in which I didn't struggle discernibly was the SE, but that was only after I got TRAMP sorted (I had TROMP), and after I changed ONE to ANY (51A: Partner of all), and after I remembered what a PIANOLA was (38D: Roll player) (growing up, I only ever heard these referred to as "player pianos"). Also, I had never heard the term MOM FRIEND (54A: She's the responsible one in the group, colloquially). I had seen MOM used affectionately, primarily by young women, to refer to an older (female) celebrity / artist / etc. that they admired, but MOM FRIEND was new to me. Easy to infer, luckily. Anyway, that was the *easy* corner in this puzzle. 

So many answers were clued in deliberately tricksy, occasionally baffling ways. The clue on PDAS is slightly nuts, and weirdly dated (9D: Palms, e.g., for short). I haven't heard PDA used to refer to anything but public displays of affection for a long, long time. It's a '90s term. Everyone has phones now. The clue references Palms, which I assume are Palm Pilots (!?!?), I brand that, again, I haven't even thought about since the aughts. And "Palms" is already "short," so asking for a short thing to be short, again, bizarre. I wasn't exactly fooled by the clue, but the spirit of the cluing there is ... not great. Really trying to force difficulty awkwardly onto an answer that a. could be clued in a much more current way, and b. isn't exactly great fill to start with, so why are you getting weird with it, thereby calling attention to it?? See also the clue on ZIP TIES, what in the world? The one thing I know about gaffers, and I would say the definitive thing that anyone knows about gaffers, is that if they are known to have a supply of anything, that thing is *tape*. Gaffers are chief electricians on TV / movie sets. So ... I guess the ZIP TIES are being used to, I don't know, bind wires together (?) ... I had _TIES and no idea what could go there. And I just finished reading Sidney Lumet's "Making Movies" last night. Lots of on-the-set technical information in there, nothing about gaffers having ZIP TIES. Again, I'm sure they do, but ... mostly I associate them with the police, or with the terrorists who invaded the capitol on Jan. 6 (I know at least one of those dudes brought a supply of ZIP TIES with him). 

There was some nice fill in here, but not as much as I'm used to from these constructors. Maybe I just didn't get / care about some of it. I don't like thinking about Zoom at all now, having lived my entire professional life on it for well over a year. I might've enjoyed ZOOM BOMB a year ago, when the tech was new to me. Now it makes me weary. I didn't know PLAY TEST, so, having TEST, I wrote in BETA TEST (a seemingly right answer, for sure), and then, when ACELA made BETA obviously wrong, I decided the term was ROAD TEST :( Like maybe they just used the car term by analogy. Sigh. SO SAD (which is what I had at 21A: "Alas ..." before SADLY, SADLY). Isn't the [Winter Olympics pairs event] ice dancing??? Hmm, looks like ICE DANCE is the main term at wikipedia, which says it's "sometimes referred to as ice dancing"; in my experience, it's only referred to as "ice dancing," so that answer was hard to parse for me. 

Also hard: ATROPOS (just forgot it, crosses weren't terribly helpful); PAPER (such a simple word ... but the clue did nothing for me) (38A: Scholarly work); BUILT (first BULKY, then BULGY) (27D: Muscly); OFT (looking for something conveying repetition far better than OFT does) (39A: O'er and o'er); TINNY (had REEDY) (19A: Thin in tone); MOONY (had MOODY) (4D: Distracted, as with romantic feelings); PRIMP (had PREEN) (9A: Groom). Two times I struggled in a section and then noticed a proper noun clue that I knew immediately but somehow hadn't bothered to look at earlier. This happened with Hannah ARENDT (3D: Hannah who wrote "The Human Condition") and with "MALLRATS" (12D: 1995 cult classic directed by Kevin Smith). Do you ever do this? Flail around in a corner only to realize you haven't actually looked at every clue in that corner yet (you idiot!)? I often do this with longer clues especially, because I have such a habit of attacking short stuff first (generally a good plan). Embarrassed that the "breakthrough" answer for me in the NW (where I struggled a lot) was AEROSMITH—I've been on the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster (circa 2011). Remains, to this day, the only roller coaster I've ever been on with a loop (you get shot into the loop right out of the gate while Steven Tyler screeches his blessings at you). This description is exactly as I remember it:
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is a high-speed indoor roller coaster. The coaster launches guests from 0 to 57 mph in less than three seconds and straight into an inversion which pulls 5 g. Guests continue rocketing through a dark Los Angeles to the tunes of Aerosmith and are sent through another loop and a corkscrew before arriving at the concert. (touringplans.com)
Crosswords: the only place where Bret HARTE teams up with AEROSMITH and CLEOPATRA to guide you through your mystical journey (now there is a video game I would play / roller coaster I would go on: The Bret HARTE / AEROSMITH / CLEOPATRA Experience, Brought to You Be TOTINO'S Pizza Rolls (which I remembered as TORTINO, ugh). 

This grid is clean and bright enough, but because of the cluing, it was less of a joy and more of a strugglefest than I would've liked on a Friday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. [Ford vehicle, familiarly] is INDY because Harrison Ford was INDY, i.e. Indiana Jones. (I knew the character was nicknamed INDY; I did not know the actual movie (i.e. "vehicle") was)

P.P.S. NATICK ALERT—my wife's puzzle:

This seems like a potentially devastating crossing, if you a. are not into frozen pizza rolls, and b. can't quite recall the vowel in one of the Fates' names [raises hand]

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Abby Friedman 6:37 AM  

That cross of Set and Arendt is unforgivable just because of the clue on "set". If you don't know Arendt as a name, that could SO easily be an E, and why should "see" not have that many definitions? Who on earth knows offhand how many definitions word has in the OED???

Paul 6:39 AM  

Crossing that fun-but-obscure fact clue for SET with ARDENT seemed a little mean to me.

Lewis 6:40 AM  

Oh so lovely. Solid through and through livened with flecks of scintillation in clue and answer.

I started with a “Wha…?” when I slapped in the NW with hardly a blink, but then Sir Not-so-fast stepped in with his supply of barriers. I worked all over, slipping answers here and there, but every time I returned to the SW I couldn’t add to what I had, and started to think that’s I’d never get that corner.

But things filled in fits and starts elsewhere, sparked by clues like those for PART, SOLDER, and PIANOLA, and lovely answers like PRIMP and MOMFRIEND. And when the answer to the vexing and brilliant clue [LOW DRAW] hit me, I wowed, bowed, then finished the grid, feeling very good about the world, and how often do we feel very good about the world these days?

Mr. Wordnerd, who lives in my brain, loved the mini-theme of 6 double L’s, and the pair of five-letter semordnilaps in DECAL and SAGES. But Mr. Lover-of-beauty, who also lives there, appreciated the clean grid and the images it spurred from many areas, such when ICE DANCE shifted my mind to figure skating and I pictured a gorgeous Death Spiral.

Oh so lovely. Thank you so much for making this, Sophia and Kyra.

amyyanni 6:58 AM  

Got all the corners, SW, SE, NE, NW, then sputtered. Don't know sweat BULLETS, one of the fates stumped me, and pizza rolls isn't something I eat. Agree with Rex on the PAPER clue. Still appreciate the puzzle. Gave me a run for Friday...and my last working Friday. Retirement looms! After 50+ years of working (includes part time during school years), this is a major life step. Wish me luck? TGIF, everyone.

JJK 7:02 AM  

Not much fun, for all the reasons Rex mentioned.

DavidP 7:21 AM  

This was my second fastest Friday ever, so it couldn’t be that hard. Some crunch, but so what? Since when are Fridays supposed to be a breeze?

kitshef 7:24 AM  

Harder than an average Saturday for me.

MOM FRIEND and PLAY TEST were new, but perfectly reasonable. Less reasonable is TOTINOS, which is new to me and unguessable at every letter point. Well, the final ‘S’ is inferable, I suppose. But other that that, give me any six letters and I have no idea what the missing one is.

Looking back, though … nothing seems that difficult. Not sure why this seemed so hard. I had some wrong guesses, betaTEST, sochi before YALTA, reedY before TINNY, but it doesn’t seem to add up to enough. Some days, you’re just not that smart.

Hungry Mother 7:30 AM  

First puzzle I’ve done in 19 days and nailed by two Naticks. I shoulda stayed away.

Sioux Falls 7:33 AM  

This played more like a hard Wednesday for me. Don’t know where I pulled Arendt from (probably a crossword) but there it was. Really enjoyed this one.

Son Volt 7:40 AM  

Not down with the clueing on this one - just not the way I think. Liked the NW corner especially CLEOPATRA - but went downhill after that. MOM FRIEND and ANTEATER crossing Feinstein are definitely PLAIN JANE. Agree with Rex that I’ve seen enough of ZOOM at this point. PIANOLA and PLAY TEST are trying too hard. YULE LOG is cool.

It’s a good puzzle - just not an overly enjoyable solve for me. Good luck @amyyanni!

bocamp 7:44 AM  

Thx, Sophia & Kyra for this fun Fri. puz! :)

Med solve.

Didn't start out well in the NW; got UMA in the Dakotas, then HARTE and finally YULELOG / YALTA broke it wide open.

Pretty much on my wavelength once I got going.

Only guess was at the ATROPOS / TOTINOS cross, neither of which I was familiar with. 'O' seemed the most likely vowel, so I lucked out there.

Liked the misdirect on INDY. :)

yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Anonymous 7:44 AM  

I don’t understand 31A: “Bites, in a sense” with answer REACTS.

Barney 7:48 AM  

Really, really tired of "unfair" crosses. Never heard of TOTINOS or ATROPOS.

Constructors, please stop crossing relatively obscure proper names at vowels. Maybe it's just me but U was the only letter I could eliminate before guessing.

My gut wanted TOTINi'S, but I went with O, so hooray! I suppose.

Having right/wrong come down to a guess saps all of the joy from the puzzle.

Knew ARENDT, but agree that it's also a terrible cross with SET.

Mike G 8:05 AM  

ARENDT/SET 'nuff said.

Barbara S. 8:08 AM  

Thank goodness for CLEOPATRA, who got me going. And not her “asp” (such a short little word), but the queen herself in all her 9-letter majesty. I then immediately fell into the “reedY/TINNY” trap, but such is life. Early commenters seemed to have had trouble with the ARENDT/SET cross. I was OK there, but opted for TOTINeS/ATROPeS, all the while berating myself for being unsure of the name of the Fate. (She’s the one who cuts the thread of your life at the end of it, thus bringing about your death, so you should probably give her as much respect as you can muster.) The last area to fall was the NE. I had betaTEST, too, like probably 94.3% of solvers, and couldn’t think of MALLRATS for a long time. Once I got MALLRATS, I took out “beta” and then started filling in the acrosses with relative ease. The PLAY part of PLAYTEST filled itself in.

Some faves:
“Splitting of hairs?” PART
“O’er and o’er” OFT
“Roll player” PIANOLA
“Spirited message board?” OUIJA
YULE LOG made me think it’s Christmas in July.

Cardinal pts.? = TDS. Not the St. Louis Cardinals, obviously. Some football Cardinals I don’t know about?

Keith D 8:12 AM  

Totally agree. Such a lazy and uninteresting clue for SET, crossing a personal name. The rest of the puzzle was great.

Barbara S. 8:13 AM  

Today there’s a poem by LINDA HOGAN, born July 16, 1947.


Let me take it through my heart again,
that unchanging moment,
you wading through the river,
me wading toward you, laughing,
the illumination of that moment,
the shine of our skin
and clouds coming toward us.
They are the sky beings who live above
with tears ready to fall
like the origins of rain; no one knows
what they have seen in their previous fluid form.

For now, I merely go through that one day again,
remembering, traveling toward the river
past the place where snakes shed their skin
against stone
and move on
new, shining like a constant,
ceaseless stream of water
as it crawls across earth, changes and passes
blood memory, saltwater memory,
toward our laughter and joy
that moves once again through this heart.

Mikey from El Prado 8:13 AM  

OK, so I lucked out on the SET/ARENDT cross. Good guess I ‘spouse. But, the rest of this puzzle must have been in my wheelhouse because I ripped through it. Very rarely do I rip through Fridays or Saturdays. I came to Rex expecting “easy,” so was really surprised to see the “challenging.” I get that it wasn’t in his wheelhouse, but I don’t think it merits the Saturday on a Friday critique. Just my two cents.

pabloinnh 8:14 AM  

A rare Friday when I find the puzzle easier than OFL, infrequent but delightful when it happens.

Lots of solid toeholds/near gimmes for me--in the NW, SET + ARENDT, middle, BULLETS, NE, ICEDANCE, SE, PLAINJANE, SW ZIPTIES + ZOOMBOMB. You get that many filled in and the rest is pretty speedy.

We have purchased ZIPTIES in bulk and used them for tons of things, so imagining gaffers bundling wires with them took little imagination. Sorry Rex's exposure to them has been so negative, as they're a very handy item.

Do have to admit that the INDY/Ford connection escaped me entirely until I read the writeup, so maybe not as smart as I felt.

Very nice Friday, SM and KW. Sure Made me Keep Wondering what kind of fun was coming next, for which thanks.

Benjamin Kell 8:30 AM  

Your experience solving this puzzle mirrored mine in every way, including thought process in wrong directions and having been in the coaster. Uncanny.

Unknown 8:41 AM  

In the context of polar ice caps melting, 100+ degree temps in the PNW, covid variants spreading . . . and rex is bitching that a Friday played tougher than a Saturday?? Sheesh. Get some perspective . . . .

I thought this was absolutely delightful, albeit tough. So what? Fridays should be tough. PLAINJANE, MOMFRIEND and ZOOMBOMB were all stellar.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

I liked this one. Fair clueing, I thought. I wanted MOTHERHEN for 54A.

Erik 8:45 AM  

I loved this one! Really clever and playful. It helped that some key points like ARENDT and ZOOMBOMB played as gimmes. A fast and fun Friday.

oceanjeremy 8:47 AM  

Finished the whole puzzle until the SET / ARENDT cross, then had to run the alphabet on that “T.”

I genuinely liked everything else in this puzzle, raced through everything but the northwest (I did not know HARTE, ARENDT or AEROSMITH) so the three proper nouns up there just ruined the puzzle for me.

Got an actual delightful chuckle from “OFT,” but alas I barely remember the joy after the awful taste in my mouth from that stupid “T.”

This means I did not like the puzzle, and for a very stupid and easily-avoidable unfair cross. Bad editing/cluing on that one.

Joaquin 8:48 AM  

I thought this puzzle was superb! And this, despite falling hook, line, and spare tire for the "Ford vehicle" misdirect.

As a car MAVEN, I felt quite humbled not being able to come up with a Ford model. And then it hit me - not the car, but the answer.

Kevin C. 8:49 AM  

What would be the more current way to clue PDAS? Public Display of Affection doesn't really pluralize into PDAS.

Zygotic 9:01 AM  

Huh. SET is rather famous for having the longest entry in the O.E.D. Hard to argue that the clue is not trivial trivia, but it seems like the kind of trivial trivia Crossword enthusiasts might know. TOTINOS not so much.

With ONE ALL in the puzzle would it really be too much to ask to clue ANY differently? The dupe made me go from ONE one to nil niL before crosses forced ONE ALL on me. BTW - Deciding championships on PKs is ridiculous.

I’m somewhere in between Rex’s “More Saturday than Friday” and others’ Wednesday breezy. It seems on the hard end for a Friday, but not really Saturday tough here. Usually when we see this kind of solving experience disparity the puzzle has high PPP. My really quick count is 24 of 70, for 34%, so not the worst we’ve seen but above the 33% line where we see this sort of disparity (although usually just in the comments, not usually so clearly trapping Rex, too).

Frantic Sloth 9:08 AM  

Don't ever make me do that again.

This was excruciating for me. Yeah yeah everything makes perfect sense n o w, but during the solve? That cluing was Saturday Stumper territory, IMHO.

And I won't even mention wavelength. This kept going in a direction so far off from my thought process, one of us was on a wavewidth.

Didn't help that I started last night while already falling asleep, then woke to a scattershot grid of "what was I thinking??"
And then finally finished up in the SW corner which was the easiest part of the puzzle for me. ๐Ÿ™„

Shooting myself in the foot aside, there were some things I liked, some I learned, and some "let's not talk about it".

TINNY reminded me of an acting class I once took where the person read Rick's line from Casablanca as "...TINY piano" and off I went to "Frantic's imagery land" for a good 10 minutes, trying desperately not to laugh. So, that was fun.

Learned MOMFRIEND and ZOOMBOMB - both of which were quite logical.

The cross at ARENDT/SET can go do something to itself.

I'll stop whining now. Hope everyone else had a more pleasant experience.

๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง 

GILL I. 9:10 AM  

Oh where did I go wrong you ask? Let's just say that UMA and I stared at each other for some time. She asked me (politely) if I wanted to move on and find someone else to stare at. Since I'm a nice person, I moved over to CLEOPATRA. I know all my Ptolemys from my days of eating with asps. SADLY, TINNY and I parted ways and I wanted to do a NAE NAE dance and go drink something powerful. I went to bed.
So I get up early and make my special latte. I stare at UMA again and she isn't happy. I moved on down to the basement to see if I can find something that isn't musty. Oooh...looky there. PLAIN JANE. I know her... she's a MOM FRIEND of mine. I knew ANTEATER as well because I'm into worm tongues. I should show a picture of what I can do with my tongue. Just so you know, it's pretty cool. I can twirl it into a knot.
So I go back upstairs and stare some more. I look at 33A Gaffer's supply and all I could think of was DEPENDS. Isn't a gaffer and old, feeble man? First cheat....What the hell are ZIP TIES? I know it sounds anti-American, but I hate pizza. TOTINOS could be a PIANOLA from The Bronx zoo for all I knew. A visit to the cheat site again.
I'm like @Rex in loving me Fridays. This did feel Saturdayish in parts. Nothing wrong with the puzzle....just my frame of mind was stuck in the gutter and I wanted to do a fandango tango.
I want to go ride the Rock n Roller Coaster. I love those things.

OffTheGrid 9:14 AM  

@Anonymous 7:44 Re: Bites/REACTS. When a blog troll posts something provocative and someone REACTS, they take the bait or "Bite" as a fish might on a lure.

I think it's pretty whiny to complain about a "Natick" on Friday. Expect PITFALLS on Friday and Saturday and step up.

Michael Page 9:16 AM  

Totally agree with Z: Using PKs to decide a match is like deciding the NBA championship by having two players play a game of horse after one overtime. It’s a test of skill, just the wrong one.
And anonymous . . . Okay, I’ll BITE.
Had the same uncanny reaction as Benjamin, made almost the same set of wrong turns as Rex (and it’s harder to make wrong turns when you drive only half as fast on your best day).
Barbara: Take your pick, Arizona or Stanford.

Richard Stanford 9:19 AM  

I also started in the SE and worked out from there until I got to YALTA which could have been bad crossed with HARTE. I ultimately got lucky there but the T really was a total guess.

Never did understand INDY even after I was done - wondered if it was somehow referring to the Indy 500 and ford had become a supplier that I missed. It makes more sense now.

Loved the clue on AURAL and ANTEATER had just enough extra info to make it inferable which I appreciate. PIANOLA was good too. I guessed the suffix early, and PIAN fell into place as another reasonable inference.

I really wanted betaTEST as well but I was really confident in ACELA. Getting RECAP dropped the others into place.

Fun puzzle for sure.

ghkozen 9:21 AM  

Maybe it’s a generational thing, but this was an absolute breeze for me. The perfect Friday. Fun and in-the-language, if a bit on the easy side. More of this please! Cheers!

William 9:21 AM  

Bites = reacts, as in, “I’ll bite…”


In the context of polar ice caps melting, 100+ degree temps in the PNW, covid variants spreading . . . and you’re out here just having fun, ignoring these troubling issues, calling this a delight?? Sheesh. Get some perspective . . . .

Peter P 9:21 AM  

Interesting to see the spread of difficulties for people. Like BrianP, I found this very easy for a Friday, and very close to my fastest Friday time. It finished at an average Wednesday time for me.

SET was a gimme for me. I remember it back from elementary school days as being in the Guinness Book of World Records as the word with the most definitions. Like Z said, it is trivia, but I would think it's trivia that is reasonable for logophiles like cruciverbalists to know.

I thought the PDA clue was cute. The term certainly was used into the 2000s, but more-or-less died out for by 2010 or so. The original iPhone came out in the summer of 2007, so it was around there that the death knell of the PDA began to toll. My impression is that the personal digital assistant usage of the initialism is still intermittently found in crosswords, so the objection to not having thought about it since the aughts rings a bit odd to me.

kitshef 9:31 AM  

Oh, and though I filled in CLEOPATRA easily enough, I think of Caesarion as the last of the Ptolemys.

JD 9:35 AM  

That was tough. Doubted I could finish for a long while because of those East/West corners. Pulled Nae (Nae) out of attic because it wasn't that far back, but hung on to Beta Test way way to long. Ice Dance slowed it down because I've only heard it as Dancing. Tinny, Espy, Uma, Harte, took some real thinking and I won, I won but it felt like a loss because it took a lot of guessing.

Totinos commercials back in the early aughts showed the kids clamoring for the pizza rolls and the proud mom feeding that crap to her kids and their friends, beaming as if it was the '50s and she'd just waxed the floor.

Military husband and former scout was a big fan of Zip Ties, always be prepared. A Gaffer's use for them is obvious.

Plain Jane coming from women is surprising in a mean girl/sexist sort of way. Do they still say that? Great clue for Aural. Didn't know Mom Friend (good one).

My fan girl crush on Sophia Maymudes and Kyra Wilson continues.

@Gill, Timely phone call from my son who's in your back yard at UCSF Med School. He said they're going to reinstate the mask requirement because of the D variant in spite of the fact that the campus vaccine rate is close to 100%.

Frantic Sloth 9:37 AM  

Could not agree more with Rex (except for TRAMP, ZOOMBOMB, and PRIMP. Oh and TOsTINOS.) on his take, which is oddly comforting. Emphasis on oddly.
Also admit to INDY help. Obviously fell for the Ford as car trap. ๐Ÿ™„

@Abby Friedman 637am, @Paul 639am ๐Ÿ‘ Thank you!

@amyyanni 658am Happy Retirement! You're gonna love it! Best of luck to you. ๐Ÿ˜Š

I'm with @Barbara S 808am and @oceanjeremy 847am on OFT (and its clue) being rather delightful.

@Z 901am Thanks for the PPP count. I feel a little better now. Wait. No, I don't. ๐Ÿ˜

Hand up for betaTEST. Seriously. That answer was a little obnoxious.

Forgot to mention that this was my candidate for WTFuzzle of the Year so far.

Frantic Sloth 9:43 AM  

@GILL 910am ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ What's UMA's problem?? Maybe it's that "worm tongue" fetish of yours? I see that as an asset.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

As in, "Ok, I'll bite."

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

As in "Ok, I'll bite."

Tara VanD 10:03 AM  

There is no "s" in Cardinal (Stanford).

bocamp 10:06 AM  

Recalled Angela Ahrendts from Apple, which made the 'dt' plausible. Also, seem to recall SET as being a word with tons of defs, so felt 90% sure on that cross.

@amyyanni (6:58 AM) ๐Ÿคž ๐Ÿ˜Š

pg -1

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

A rare Friday failure for me. I just couldn't let go of reedY/MOOdY, despite the fact that the clue for "moody" seemed a bit off. I actually knew who Hannah ARENDT was, but I allowed myself to be convinced that her name was spelled "ARneDT" to accommodate "reedY". And that, of course, led me to think there must be some other, more obscure, Ptolemy with a name like "Menopatra" or something. It also didn't help that I completely missed what the clue "Ford vehicle, familiarly" was hinting at and would never have guessed SET from the clue at 26A without all three letters in place.

I finally had to resort to checking all letters to discover what a mess I had made in the corner, and once I pulled out reedY and thought of TINNY instead, I finished very quickly.

Ah well...

Laura 10:18 AM  

I am a mom. I have many MOM FRIENDS. It does not mean the most responsible of the bunch. It means your friends who are also moms. (The people you text late at night with your child-rearing conundrums.)

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

After recording my fastest Friday time by quite a bit, I came here expecting Rex to rate this puzzle's difficulty as "easy." Whenever I struggle (which is often), Rex rates the puzzle easy, so I just assumed that if I didn't struggle, he must think it's *really* easy. I started by throwing down FRAME UPS for 1A, which I quickly confirmed with ARENDT, and pretty much cruised from there, pausing only a few times to scratch my head (originally had DOMINOS for TOTINOS, which is a pizza brand I'm not familiar with; spelled SELES with an I, preventing me from seeing PAPER). I particularly enjoyed OMEGA ("Last of the Greeks") and MAVEN—always nice to see some Yiddish in the puzzle.

RooMonster 10:19 AM  

Hey All !
I took the clue (Bites in a sense) as REACTS to mean something a dog might do.

And the Arizona Cardinals are indeed a football team.

My hardest part was the NW. Had to resort to Check Puzzle to ferret out my wrongness. Had reedY for TINNY, with no hope of getting away from it. Couldn't see CLEOPATRA, as I've heard of Ptolemys, but don't know who/what they are. Crap. If I knew that, I would've cleaned house. Took forever to grok INDY clue. I kept thinking, "what Ford vehicle has a Y ending nickname?" Finally got a big Oooooh realizing INDY was Harrison Ford's "vehicle", ala movie role.

MOM FRIEND. If you say so. New one here.

Agree this was pushing SatPuz territory. But, didn't cheat per se, just Check feature. ๐Ÿ˜‹

Always liked Monica SELES. And also like @Gills tongue description! ๐Ÿ˜

Four F's

thfenn 10:19 AM  

I still long for the day that I'll refer to a Friday puzzle as breezy, but was very happy to get through this one with only a little PPP related cheating. Loke was it Domino's or Totinos. Tripped up in most of the places others did, which is, well, gratifying I guess. Went with moDt before realizing I'd only exhausted FoMoCo vehicles and not actors named Ford vehicles. This gaffer (on his way to @Gill I's version) loves zipties, handy for lots of stuff. I don't get why BUILT is fine for muscly, but FIT requires "muscly, say", but nevermind. I get all MOONY over a Friday I can actually handle.

pmdm 10:20 AM  

Don't know if any comments responded to the 31A clue query. Biting at something is one of a number or option a person may choose. Especially for a late week puzzle, if a clue can be accurate some of the tume (but not most of the time), it is permissible.

I look up PPP after trying to solve a puzzle without doing so. After looking up the PPP, the puzzle was for me easier than a typical Friday puzzle. Depends on your rules for solving.

Seems to me that newer and younger puzzle constructors like to cram in a lot of contemporary slang, topical PPP and so forth. I think that repeats a previously stated thought. Sadly, this seems to me to date a puzzle in that it will not stand the test of time. That these two constructors like harder puzzles is fine with me. (Who can complain about Patrick Berry?) But there choices concerning PPP turns me off. A lot. To each his/her own.

Carola 10:26 AM  

Luck of the name-draw kept this one in the "medium" range and the fun-to-rassle-with zone for me. I loved the cast of characters, the MALL RATS, SAGES, MAVEN, HANDYMAN, PLAIN JANE and MOM FRIEND along with the A-listers CLEOPATRA, ARENDT, DIANNE, and ATROPOS. Help from previous puzzles: PDA as clued, NAE, ARNE. Do-over: So sad. New to me: MOM FRIEND, PLAY TEST.

Sophia Maymudes and Kyra Wilson - Thanks you for the fun. I thought this was a stellar Friday.

JD 10:26 AM  

@Z and @ Michael Page Vacationed with the offspring last week and was forced to watch the Euro. Don't know how else you'd break a tie in soccer. OT might cause suicide rates to soar, possibly right in the stadiums. One more minute of watching Italy kick the ball around and I would've been tempted.

Zygotic 10:26 AM  

Rex has added a natick alert for TOTINOS/ATROPOS.

The Arizona Cardinals play football. If I remember correctly they’ve also been the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cardinals.

@10:08 - I’ve been known to just start over, assuming nothing is right, and go at a section as if I have no letters yet, specifically starting with the crosses I didn’t have.

Heading to the fields. first game is 12:30 local. In Denver. In July.

Joe Dipinto 10:31 AM  

That Ford vehicle clue is bs. A "vehicle" for a movie star is a film, not a role:
In the motion picture industry, a star vehicle (or simply vehicle) is a film written or produced for a specific star, regardless of whether the motive is to further their career or simply to profit from their current popularity. It is designed to optimally display that star's particular talents or personal appeal.[1] The term is also applied to stage plays and television programs. In some cases, a performer may produce their own star vehicle as self-promotion or a vanity project. – Wikipedia

The *character* that Harrison Ford plays is known familiarly as INDY, not any of the four movies (three of which are called "Indiana Jones and the ...").

Another mess of a clue by editors who consider it their duty to foist lame-ass tricks on the solver at every turn.

burtonkd 10:32 AM  

I really liked the ZIPTIES clue. In the theater, we always use rolls of Gaffer's tape, but since that didn't fit, a little thought was necessary. Lots of fun in school for hopefully harmless pranks like tying a backpack shut, a desk to a chair, a locker closed, etc.

This was one of those puzzles I thought would have a couple of unfinished sections, but it all eventually came together. Hands up for SEe/ARENDe, but with no happy pencil, T was the first letter I thought of and recognized both the name and SET made more sense. Thanks Z for the OED factoid.

I got INDY and BITES, but only fully understood post-solve. Bring in PLAINJANE MOMFRIEND to be the designated driver. Watch for her to eventually snap at all her less responsible friends.

OMEGA was in the mini yesterday, so that was at the ready. False friend REEDY from a recent puzzle led me astray.

Trying not to use my AC 24/7, so sweating BUckETS here in NYC.

Isn't loud chewing universally despised? It seems like more than just a personal peeve.

I thought baseball Cardinals first also (Hi, Barbara), but T of threat reminded me of the Arizona football team (formerly of St. Louis).

I'd never heard MOONY, but it makes sense in an over-the-moon kind of way. Hard to let go of reedY, MOOdY.

Sir Hillary 10:45 AM  

I'll admit to having only skimmed the comments, but I seem to be in opposition to most folks here and certainly to Rex. Put another way: I found this fresh, fun and quite easy.

Some of that is down to wheelhouse stuff -- I'm familiar with both Hannah ARENDT and TOTINOS, so I didn't even notice the crosses that are rightly called out as Natick-like.

But more than that, I loved things like MOMFRIEND sitting atop PLAINJANE, with both crossed by HANDYMAN. AEROSMITH atop CLEOPATRA as well -- I sat next to the band at O'Hare in the early '80s, when they were waiting to board a commercial flight like everyone else, and a couple of them could definitely have passed as CLEOPATRA. MALLRATS -- LOL. PLAYTEST -- never heard of it, but it rings fresh and true. ZOOMBOMB -- more like this, please!

And just yesterday, my wife yet again expressed her annoyance at my loud chewing, so PETPEEVE hit home.

I wish the cluing had been crunchier (Exhibit A: the too-much-info clue for DIANNE) but nothing else rankled. EVEN my screw-ups (nilniL, PAINist) elicited smiles.

Sophia and Kyra, keep up the good work!

TTrimble 10:51 AM  

Until now, my only association with Ptolemy was the Hellenistic astronomer Claudius Ptolemy, who studied planetary motions using a geocentric model. Hence "Ptolemaic" is often contrasted with "Copernican". Just goes to show I don't know my Egyptian history; TIL that CLEOPATRA VII was the last ruler in the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Anyway, this puzzle played strangely for me: it looked pretty stiff at first, but I wound up having one of my better Friday times. Like Rex I got my first solid start in the SE: DIANNE and OUIJA were gimmes, and PLAIN JANE was easy, and with TRAMP that corner fell readily.

TOTINOS inevitably brings to mind a recurring SNL skit involving a housewife (Vanessa Bayer) feeding her "hungry guys" during football games.

The grid felt boxed-in, not open-air. A vaguely ominous 'abandon hope all ye who enter here' on approaching the NE. Like Rex, Beta TEST before PLAY TEST (?), and like Rex, I didn't know that PDA stood for personal digital assistant. I vaguely wondered instead whether "palming" was some sort of manual analogue of "playing footsy" that somehow escaped my attention, as a public display of affection. Waaay off!

The SW was my last, but also the easiest. Like Rex, cartoon question marks over ZIP TIES, but otherwise it seemed sort of simple. In hindsight, the puzzle overall doesn't seem all that challenging, although in some spots I needed crossing assistance, for example for YALTA and ATROPOS.

From yesterday:
Thanks to @Frantic Sloth for the belated (not your fault!) b-day cheer, and same to @A, except (sorry) I couldn't figure out the right Ferdinand. A belated Happy B-day to fellow Cancer @Eniale!

td: 0. SB-ers, give this one a try.

barryevans 10:54 AM  

Beloved knew Arendt, breeze after that. Thought OFL would know Atropos with his background (I'm an engineer, and I knew it...) Zoom bomb new to me, but makes sense (I hate zoom)

TTrimble 10:54 AM  

And thanks to Rex for explaining INDY. That's very tricky.

Whatsername 10:56 AM  

I didn’t REACT well to “worm tongue.” Eww! Breakfast TEST anyone? Never heard of MOM FRIEND but I think everybody ought to have ONE. Fantastic clue for INDY. I’ve been watching reruns of those movies all week but still didn’t get it because I was thinking in terms of vehicles with wheels.

Pretty tough but doable although more than a few SWEAT BULLETS were involved. The constructor notes mentioned the seed for this puzzle was 33D ZOOM BOMB, a most excellent and timely crossword entry. Hats off to these two young MAVENs who really know how to put together a grid. And I might add, their beauteous photos make me depressingly aware that I’m in serious need of a PRIMP.

rjkennedy98 10:56 AM  

Rex looking for a breeze on Friday sure makes me feel like a dunce. Friday is normally where I veer into the "I need to step away" category of puzzles.

Anyways, the most annoying thing in this puzzle was PLAY TEST over BETA TEST. That legitimately made me mad. Its universally called a BETA TEST. Like Rex I was also not sure what a MOM FRIEND is. I get the idea but Ive never heard the term. Plenty of great other themers all around. I especially liked PLAIN JANE and ZIP TIES (Brutal clue on that one). PIANOLA is also a new term for me. We always called them Player Pianos.

jb129 10:58 AM  

I thought this was a perfect Friday - except, of course, for a few glitches which I was able to get over.

Joseph Michael 11:02 AM  

Would someone mind listing the 400 definitions for SET? I can only think of about five of them.

bocamp 11:11 AM  

Why some people naturally become the 'MOM FRIEND.'

"Every friend group has at least one "MOM FRIEND." No, we're not talking about a literal mother, but the figurative name we give our friends who take on the motherly, nurturing role in relationships. But why do they do it, and how can these folks thrive? We asked Marci Moberg, M.S., an intuitive healer, reiki master, and expert on empaths." (by Sarah Regan on mbgrelationships)


Peace ~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

mathgent 11:12 AM  

Excellent puzzle! Good crunch, good sparkle, only ten Terrible Threes, leaving room for a goodly number of longs.

From the posts, I learned that SET has the most definitions among all the words in OED. It should have been clued that way. Of course, it is the fundamental entity in mathematics.

Rex was so dull that I hoped that the comments would make up. @JD (9:35) came through with the comment about the beaming mom. @Joe DiPinto (10:31). The same thing occurred to me but I got INDY from the crosses and thought that INDY might have been a special edition car from Ford. I agree that no one refers to the movie as INDY, but that puts me close to violating Joaquin's Dictum.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

Well done. It’s true, the Cardinals have played in Chicago, St.Louis and Arizona. That’s 100% correct. Unassailable.
But it’s also incomplete. Critically so in my opinion. The Cards began in Chicago in the 19th Century but had moved to Racine when the NFL was formed. It’s notable because the Cardinals and the Bears are the only two charter franchises remaining. ( Yes, the Packers were playing then too, but they weren’t part of the inaugural season of the league. ) it’s also worth noting that in 1944 they combined with the Steelers to form a single team. Half their home games were played in Pittsburgh. ( The Steelers had combined with the Eagles in 1943. The infamous Steagles). Anyway, the Cards have played home games in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Arizona, Illinois and Minnesota ( two game, I think, in 1959). Stick with frisbee. Your NFL knowledge is….lacking.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

How is plain Jane sexist?

Mr. Benson 11:32 AM  

Dunno, I thought this one was easier than average, though my time (mid-7s) was still probably slower than Rex’s. I did struggle in the SE, not knowing PIANOLA or MOMFRIEND (?).

Jibbly 11:36 AM  

Can someone explain the Arendt/set confusion to me. I can imagine not knowing Arendt, but if you have "se_" there are roughly three candidates for the third letter and it does not seem difficult to guess the correct answer from the clue (multiply definitions of sew, see, and set in your head for a moment).

I'm more generally confused about reacting to naticks with that sparkling american rage. You are allowed to leave it blank, guess, or--look it up and learn something? Of course, if there are a lot of naticks in a puzzle--there's no puzzle at all, but becoming upset at one or two seems to me to set an impractical bar.

@pmdm's idea that slang et c will date a puzzle such that it cannot stand the test of time is funny to me. If you think a twenty year old NYT puzzle has stood the test of time, it means you know old stuff. There will be people in the future just like you.

Frantic Sloth 11:42 AM  

@JD 935am Had a similar reaction to PLAINJANE. I think a hackle went up for a nano or so, but you know, there's all that climate change and Covid stuff goin on...๐Ÿ˜‰

I agree with @pmdm 1020am that PPP itself doesn't always stand the test of time. All one needs to do is visit the archives for a taste of that. Having started at 1996 (currently at 2009) a while back, I can't tell you how many times I've had the "Oh - I knew that back in the day!" reaction. It's frustrating.

@Z 1026am Good luck today and remember to hydrate. (As if you wouldn't) ๐Ÿ˜

@J-Dip 1031am I knew there was something off with that clue! Thanks for opening my eyes.

@TTrimble 1051am Somehow I've managed to miss every single one of those TOTINOS skits. Thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

Nancy 11:43 AM  

Very late getting here today. 1) I overslept (and boy did I need it!) 2) The puzzle went slowly and I Naticked at the TOTINiS/ATROPiS cross as I'm sure many of you did, too. And a quick scan of Rex shows me his wife did too. Like Rex, I didn't like ICE DANCE instead of ICE DANCING either.

Oh, yes, NAE NAE. Show it to me a thousand times and I'll still forget it by tomorrow.

I didn't know the "cult classic". The only "Palms" I could think of were either on my hands or swaying over a lovely beach in the Caribbean. FIRS fit, but they weren't "for short". PDAS may have been my last answer in. Certainly the NE was the hardest section for me. At one point all I had was ACELA.

I didn't know that thing that plays by itself was a PIANOLA. I always thought of it as a "Player Piano". MOMFRIEND is also new to me.

Much of this puzzle was out of my wheelhouse. But I enjoyed the tussle -- not including that one terrible, Natick-y cross.

Plain Jane 11:44 AM  

@anonymous Who is my male counterpart?

jberg 11:48 AM  

Once UMA pointed out that it was FRAMEUPS, not the horrendous FRAMingS I'd put in, I breezed right through the NE as far as PULLS and REACTS. (I'm old enough to remember when Hannah ARENDT was a literary supernova; her book "Eichmann in Jerusalem" developed the concept of 'the banality of evil,' which is worth thinking about today; and while I don't know much Egyptian history, I'd somehow heard that CLEO was a Ptolemy, so I got that from the C. AEROSMITH took a little longer, because it could have been anything, even a Disney house band.) I couldn't see REACTS, but read the clue for HOLIEST and started muttering to myself about how the puzzle was dumbing itself down too much. Hah! I could only get intermitten words in the rest of the puzzle, hampered by PIANist, beta TEST, and fOtoBOMB. I started go wonder if gaffers were rich old guys who walked around with fIfTIES. But it was my son's Christmas gift of a Palm Pilot that moved me into the world of PDAs and then smart phones, so that helped. ACELA would have helped more, but I couldn't (and still can't) count eight states. Oh wait--it hares off to the West to take in a stop in Philadelphia, doesn't it? OK, then. Anyway, I decided to go with it, and that gave me RECur..., er, RECon---lhmm--RECAP! and it all came together.

Well, it all worked out, and with the kind of tough struggle I like on a Friday. I've never heard of TOTINOS, but finally got TRAMP, and I was there.

puzzlehoarder 11:49 AM  

About ten minutes over my average Friday time. This was totally due to the NW corner which is of course where I started and wouldn't let go of like a dog with a bone. First pass I had UMA and CLEOPATRA. CLEO I could support RELINE and STROLLS. FOR got thrown in there too. Normally with that much material written in a section will just fall into place. This one held out like a last stand section on a tough Saturday. It wasn't until I got FRAMEUPS off the R and the U that the dam broke and everything became clear. Prior to that I was really floundering.

The rest of the puzzle was typical Friday and felt like a Wednesday after that struggle in the NW.

No idea why ATROPOS is so familiar. Maybe because it looks so much ATHOS and PORTHOS, also if I remember correctly it was the code name for a character in one of the Flashman books where he's in the pre- civil war south.

Some random thoughts. "South Park" has a very scatological take on a talking YULELOG. Was the capitol ZIP TIES guy just an innocent gaffer looking for work?

In the SW I had two write overs. They were PIANIST/PIANOLA and MOMFIGURE/MOMFRIEND. Neither amounted to a speed bump because like most of the puzzle that section was just run of the mill Friday.

I've never seen the actual OED but any word nerd worth their salt knows that it's always the simplest words that have the longest definitions. I'd love to have the real OED but just what's in my Webster's I won't learn if I live to be 100.

#amyyanni, welcome to the club.

Joe Schmo 11:51 AM  

@Plain Jane

Wanna meet for coffee?

JOHN X 11:57 AM  

I thought this was a really great Friday puzzle!

Nibbly 11:58 AM  

@thfenn The ", say" on the clue implies that the clue is an example of the answer but not necessarily a defining one. When applied to a body, "built" only means muscly so no ", say" is needed. But "fit" can mean several things and one does not need to be muscly to be fit.

Leslie 12:01 PM  

Too easy finished under my average Wednesday time. Definitely chick friendly not that there’s anything wrong with that. Never like being reminded of Sen. Feinstein but otherwise no complaints. Thanks ladies.

bocamp 12:01 PM  

Would not Cardinal pts. refer to Stanford? Seems to me that Cardinals pts. would be the clue for Arizona, Louisville, etc. Also, why no (')? Need a grammarian here. ๐Ÿค“

@TTrimble ๐Ÿ‘ for SB

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Plain Jane 12:08 PM  

@Joe Schmo Thanks, but you're not really my type.

relicofthe60s 12:09 PM  

This felt hard at the beginning, but I came within 14 seconds of my best time ever for a Friday even though I struggled with some of the same things Rex did. And I agree that TOTINOS crossing ATROPOS was a Natick. I was unfamiliar with both.

johnk 12:12 PM  

I TRAMPed through it, getting caught by PLAY/BETA briefly and finally guessing the O in ATROPOS/TOTINOS. Then I came here to verify the O (I eschew the app, prefering to print the puzz and solve with pen. To me, the app just enables cheating.)

camilof 12:14 PM  

Playtesting is a “thing” for games, both board and video kinds. It’s different from beta testing in that beta testing allows a portion of the public to participate while playtesting is strictly internal.

Everyone, please go get yourselves some Totinos, the crack of the freezer aisle!

jae 12:20 PM  

Medium-tough mostly because I also @oceanjeremy had to run the alphabet on SET. Hand up for reedY. Guessed right on TOTINOS.

Quite a bit of sparkle, liked it.

JD 12:24 PM  

@Plain Jane and Schmo, Will love blossom in the time of a pandemic? At Rexword.com? Awww ๐Ÿคž

(Thanks for the eschmo-ji @Bo)

PokerPlayers4Texas 12:49 PM  

Naitcked -

Vehicle = movie
Indy = character

NOT the same imo

JOHN X 12:51 PM  

As many of you know, in my regular day job I'm a test pilot and Good Lord I almost bought the farm over Bakersfield this morning. I managed to make it down to Beale, but they had to remove five pounds of feces from my Mark VII-B Mod 5 flight suit, so I'm probably in trouble for that one.

As for PLAIN JANE and MOM FRIEND, I always like to tell the young boys: those are the girls you want. The prima donnas will just crush your soul but the PLAIN JANES will nurture you and be your friend and that is more valuable than rubies. Go to a hardware store to find them. Women in hardware stores most often don't have a useful man their lives. She is in the aisles trying to find stuff to fix her own home and you should be a gentleman and assist her, and who knows maybe boy meets girl and girl meets boy.

Sgreennyc 12:54 PM  

Rex didn’t do well on the puzzle so blames the clueing. Typical a-hole reaction on his part.
I found the puzzle quite easy for a Friday and completed in half my average time.

Legume 12:56 PM  

@Plain Jane:

Well, I never. I'd guess that Harrison Ford is your type; any girl's type truth be told. His birthday, and mine, was a couple of days ago. Coffee? That could be a euphemism, of course.

Nigel Pottle 1:02 PM  

Poor Rex. Has a hard solve, so blames it on the puzzle. I am not in his league but I did this one over 4 minutes faster (18:44) than my average. As usual I stared at the first clues across and thought - I don’t know, this is going to be a bust, and the next thing you know things are falling into place. Hannah ARENDT was an early find. That and UMA and STROLLS got me moving and next thing you know I’m on a PIANOLA (roll)
A very nice puzzle. And I never blame the puzzle for a challenging solve.

albatross shell 1:30 PM  

Why ruin a perfectly acceptable NFL football history with useless senseless inane stupid snark? Your insistence on advertising an ignorant lack of character overwhelms any interest in your remarks. Why even continue?

@Joe DiPinto 1031am
Yes you are correct about vehicle: Hollywood and dictionary usage does dictate the movie being the vehicle. I would think that is why "familiarly" was added to the clue. The Indy movies perhaps. I never realized vehicle was so precise. And if a song is a vehicle for a singer I have no problem with thinking a role (especially over a series of films) as a vehicle for an actor. A singer sings a song as an actor plays a roll. But on that point, I do not expect agreement from you. But to me it makes at least as much sense to say "Mork was a vehicle for Robin Williams" as it does to say "Mork and Mindy was a vehicle for Robin Williams". To insist only one of those is correct seems more tedious than accurate.

@Joe Schmo
Nice try but you are defined by your averageness in social status and perhaps by being a bit obnoxious or foolish. PLAINJANE is defined by her lack of beauty or at best her lack of making herself look beautiful.

@Whatsername, Gill I.
What different reactions to worm tongue. My BITE on it: Sounds like a character in GoT or LotR or Dune. @Gill had me all atingle, thinking of a warm worm tongue that could tie knots around... better stop there. Breakfast tests just bring me down. Oh well.

@Jibbly 1136am
The naming of the naticks has pushed the complaints about them overthetop. Point them out. OK. Work to cut them out. OK. But sometimes you just gotta know some stuff or learn some stuff, words geography history PPP science math trivia.
I only knew SET because it was previously clued that way with the mention that it was a record. Even so I paused putting in because I thought or was that "put"?

I think you might not be in the cult. Kevin Smith movies are crude rude drugfests and hilarious. Some are surprisingly touching sweet and philosophical if you get by the crude and rude.

Teedmn 1:45 PM  

TOTINO'S originated in Minneapolis. As a kid, Totino's frozen pizza was probably the only choice in the freezer section of the store, unlike today's always-changing selection. I was so excited when I ate at the original restaurant and found the tomato sauce exactly matched my memory of childhood pizza. Fun to find that in a crossword grid.

My first entry into the puzzle was ARENDT, (the only famous author Hannah I know of) but I still had to work hard to fill in the rest of the NW. Thank you, UMA, STROLLS and HARTE.

This was fun; thanks, Sophia and Kyra.

albatross shell 1:50 PM  

My reaction was maybe you just don't want competition from the young lads for the prima donnas.
MyK's reaction: Wise man. Good advice about the hardware store too. She tells girls to go to the laundromat to meet boys for much the same reasons.

Masked and Anonymous 2:04 PM  

NW corner passage was the hard part, at our house:
* Had SEE instead of SET.
* Didn't know ARENDT.
* Didn't "think like them", on that INDY clue. [Many thanx to @RP, for the INDY explainer.] Cool clue, but it skunked m&e.

Knew TOTINOS, somehow.

staff weeject pick: NEA (NAE). M&A learned a new dance, there. Pardon m&e now, while I do my ICEDANCE … bUrrr. bUrrr. ay, bUrrito! ...

Really admired the CLEOPATRA + AEROSMITH combo fillins. Actually, this puz had lots sparkly stuff.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Sophia & Kyra. Great job.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Ben 2:38 PM  

Clotho spins, Lachesis measures, Atropos cuts. That bit of high school Classics knowledge made this puz go a lot faster for me than it otherwise would have

Whatsername 2:43 PM  

@amyyanni: So TGIF really means something special to you today. Enjoy!

@John X: Regarding boy meets girl at the hardware store, that’s good advice which works both ways. If I wanted to troll for men, I’d go looking at a Lowes or Home Depot etc. Why? Because I’ve found that if I stand around looking helpless some man will eventually do exactly as you suggested, walk up and ask if he can help me. And what woman wouldn’t want a man who knows how to fix things? On the other hand, a friend of mine says the best place to find women is at a greenhouse because they outnumber the men 10 to 1 and they’re already shopping for things they don’t need.

Blue Stater 2:53 PM  

This mess was just one big Natick. Stinkerissimo. I assume y'all saw the WS hero-worship piece in the Guardian. Nearly made me cancel my subscription.

Robin 2:54 PM  

Hard to believe Rex called this challenging. I finished 7 seconds out of making it into my top 5 fastest recorded Friday solves.

Peter P 3:16 PM  

I have to amend my previous comment about SET being in the Guinness Book of World records as the English word with the most definitions. My research shows that bit of trivia is a bit out of date (or will be in a few years, depending on how you frame it). Well, while that is true in regards to the latest edition of the OED, the 2037 edition of OED will have "run" as the chamption with over 645 meanings for the verb-form alone.


Cc’d 3:26 PM  

And add INDY to that corner…Fortunately Rex explained that one.

Cc’d 3:31 PM  

Can’t decide whether to respond congrats or go away troll!

TTrimble 3:35 PM  

@Frantic Sloth
If you missed the TOTINO'S spoof with Larry David, then you may have also missed the skit FBI Simulator which is silly beyond description. So silly in fact that Larry David -- he who was known on the Seinfeld set for not laughing but just saying, "yeah, that's funny, keep it in the script" -- couldn't stop from cracking up in rehearsal.

Chip Hilton 3:37 PM  

Z: My alternative to PKs: After 90 minutes, both teams play 7 (goal tender and six field players) a side in sudden death OT. Unlimited substitution (every time the balls goes out of play, previously removed players can re-enter) in order to deal with exhaustion. With all that open space, scoring opportunities should abound.

Marion 3:44 PM  

Good luck!I hope you enjoy retirement as much as I have.

thfenn 3:50 PM  

@Nibbly, thanks much. I was kind of getting there. If you're built, you're muscly. If you're fit, you might be muscly. OK. But where I'm puzzled is the reverse. If you're muscly, you're built. If you're muscly, you're fit. At least I'd assume you are. In other words, I was thinking if the clue was "fit, say" and the answer was MUSCLY, fine. So thanks, appreciate seeing how it works.

A 4:07 PM  

Too hard, too soft? No, it was just right for a Friday - and I solved in fits and starts (and stares). SW first, with OMEGA and SAGES. Thrown off course by reedy; tried one before ANY. The NE was last, slowed down by Rex’s so sad and beta/road test. Managed to work through it with no cheats. Well, I did visit amtrak.com to verify the ACELA train when it crashed into beta’s T-stop. Saw some really appealing trips like the Maple Leaf and the Coast Starlight. Someday.

31A “Bites.” I had the -EA—S and came up with “teases.”

Ford vehicle - wanted pony but already had ARENDT. Must’ve had pintos on the brain.

Hannah ARENDT was one of the most influential political philosophers of the 20th century (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Her 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism has experienced renewed interest in the last few years. Here’s a bite: “In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true…” “…one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness…” Sound familiar?

I remember disapproving of ZIP TIES when they first came out. More plastic designed to be used once and then thrown away. Typical short-cut mentality, “all I care about is how easy I can make my job and who gives a sMALL RATS **s if it makes it harder for the next person to deal with or if all the ZIP TIES end up in the oceans.”

The virstuoso violinist Eugรจne Ysaรฟe (coming soon to a crossword near you) was born July 16, 1858. Here’s a 1912 recording of him playing Henri Vieuxtemps’ Rondino.

Drew 4:29 PM  

I enjoyed it and beat my average Friday time by over 8 minutes doing it.

Meghan R 4:37 PM  

@JohnX You approach me in a hardware store offering help and I'll kick your sexist ass back to the nineteenth century, where you belong.

GILL I. 4:44 PM  

Albatross 1:30. When you are a bored little girl and spend hours in front of the mirror, you look at your tongue...or maybe not. I figured out how to twist it into a little sandwich box. Use your imagination. It's. really cool frijoles.
@Whatsername and friend @John X. NO, No, NO. You want to meet someone interesting that doesn't need a screwdriver or some ferns? Spend 12 hours on a plane seated next to someone drinking a pre-board Manhattan and reading a novel about Winston Churchill. I did....It's still working.
Friend @JD. Yep...California counties are now requiring (or mandating) masks again. the Delta variant is a pisser.
Stay safe and stop the road rage.

Anonymous 4:46 PM  

At least a PK resolution to a tie offers some drama to an otherwise pretty ho hum sport. Or use @Chip's idea for the entire match to increase the number of goals. Isn't that what everybody wants to see anyway?

JOHN X 4:49 PM  

@Whatsername 2:43PM

I served in the Engineering Department of a U.S. atomic submarine.

I'm facile at plumbing, electrical, and I can split atoms if that's something you need done.

Anonymous 5:03 PM  

Totino's Pizza Rolls was a gimme for this Minnesotan familiar with Totino-Grace high school, which takes its name from the Totino family whose referenced pizza roll fortune funded a major building expansion in the 80s.

Anoa Bob 5:56 PM  

I know what ZIP TIES are, I got a bunch off them in several sizes. I only use them for long-term applications since, as A @4:07 PM points out, they are one time use only items. To undo one you need to cut it and then it's no longer usable.

So I was surprised to see the "Gaffer" clue. Since they are constantly moving and re-bundling cables and wires, using ZIP TIES would be costly and wasteful. I think that's why they use gaffer's tape---it can be used, undone and re-use, right? I would think that a velcro, hook-and-loop type tape or strapping would also work.

ZIP TIES technical notes: It easy to overtighten them. If they are used where movement occurs, they can chafe what they are holding. If the excess tail is trimmed with cutting pliers it will leave a hazardous sharp edge and point.

Anonymous 6:12 PM  

Chip Hilton, 7 players on the pitch sounds like a great game. As you say, wide open spaces and ample scoring opportunities. But if that’s true, why not simply play that way all the time? That is, why is your reduction of players and changing substitution rules any more a solution to the problem of arriving at an authentic test of soccer skill? Your suggestion is as far from a soccer match as is the PK solution. And, of course, the PK idea has the advantage of being an actually authentic element in soccer. 7 on 7 is simply a contra I an email, utterly alien to anything in the rules.

Anonymous 6:15 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 6:31 PM  

Frantic Sloth,
Just giving you an FYI in case Z can’t. His team was humiliated. Twice. He played two games. In the first, he lost 15-5. The second game was an utter demolition: 15-1. I knew you’d want to know.

Unknown 6:48 PM  

I agree, total natick territory. SEA would also be believable.

Unknown 6:51 PM  

Regarding Rex's point about struggling in a corner only to later discover a gimme clue, I had that exact experience (and that exact reaction) in the SE today with DIANNE Feinstein.

JOHN X 6:54 PM  

@ Mehan R 4:37 PM

I'll pay you to kick me back to anywhere.

Whatsername 7:55 PM  

@JOHN X (4:49) Thanks for that offer. The only thing better than a HANDYMAN is a facile man.

Unknown 8:05 PM  

st louis team moved to

Nancy 8:07 PM  

Can someone tell me what this "PK" thing everyone is talking about is? I completely missed the lead-in to the discussion -- assuming there was a lead-in.

Unknown 8:10 PM  

day of retire๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜ด
the first day after๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ˜ด
repeat, enjoy, you earned it

put this in monday
sorry to repost,
but you deserve a repeat

Barbara S. 8:48 PM  

@A (4:07 PM)
Loved the Ysaye, despite the creakiness of the recording. That was a terrific performance -- at times he made the violin sound like a bird!

0 (Go for it!)

Anonymous 9:02 PM  

@Meghan R:
@JohnX You approach me in a hardware store offering help and I'll kick your sexist ass back to the nineteenth century, where you belong.

@JohnX You approach me in a hardware store offering help and I'll kick your sexist ass back to the nineteenth century, where you wish you still lived, women and slaves knew their place.

Anonymous 9:18 PM  

Anona Bob,
You’ve never been on a shoot. Cable ties or zip ties are standard for bundling cab,es. Wasteful? Hmm. In what way
Do you think the same cables are laid out the same way shoot after shoot?
Tell you what. I’ll refrain from commenting on the efficacy of psychological techniques๐Ÿ™„if you step off from production ops.

Anonymous 10:15 PM  

Just an FYI. Z played three games today.Hie lost all three. The scores were 15-5, 15-1, and 15-5. Oof.
As you probably noticed it takes 15 to win. So, if Z’ s. team had only scored 4 more points they would have had enough to to win, well, save for tha fact that they had already surrendered 45.

Anonymous 10:42 PM  

I work across, then down, then fill. After getting nearly nothing in the north and fretting, the south filled up quickly for me. The NE was the biggest problem for me because, if pre-testing software isn't BETAtesting, never heard of play testing. I guess that's what kids do with the demo systems at Gamestop, just never heard that term (with two gamer kids). PALM was so outdated and short-lived that PDAs never came to mind. Anyone under 20 doesn't even know what they were or that they existed, and why should they. Finally, Acela is another of the New England references so heavy in the NYT that many outside of that region wont know. In the NW Arendt (I'm not a lit person) and Indy (tough cluing) cross was the bane.

Frantic Sloth 12:03 AM  

@Anonymous 631pm, 1015pm That's too bad. I guess they forgot to eat the babies. ๐Ÿ˜•

Unknown 12:11 AM  

Can someone explain why "oneall" is the answer to the clue "low draw"? It seems to be telated to sports, but I don't understand the clue or the snswer. Thanks!

Zygotic 1:20 AM  

@Frantic Sloth - We’re the 16th seed out of 16. We think we’re seeded a little low, our goal is to finish 13th, although we could still finish 9th. Today was Pool Play, so we got to play the 7, 1, and 10 seed. Tomorrow we start with the 12 seed, a game we had penciled in to win, but they started today by upsetting the three seed (a team that frequently has been seeded #1 in the past) so we are fearing another blowout. Have no fear, I stayed well hydrated, had lots of fun, got a spirit prize, AND @montyboy stopped by with his grandson for a game. All in all a good day.

@Anonyhole - Not so much. We play to win, but respecting opponents is a core tenet of the sport. You might have noticed the game we lost 1-15 was against a team that gave up 8 scores all day. Part of that respect is playing your best, even against the 16 seed.

@12:11 - “draw” as in a tie game, so ONE ALL (1-1) would be a “low draw.”

@Chip Hilton - I’d do like the NHL does, keep playing. Maybe like they do now, then 30 minute sudden death periods. Part of the issue with PKs is teams playing for PKs. You should have to score a goal to win the game. I think knowing that you can only win by scoring would change strategy and make the game more entertaining.

Sian 1:42 AM  

Woohoo! For the first time ever I breezed through a puzzle Rex rates Challenging!! I am so happy!! Thanks Rex, you made my evening

albatross shell 2:09 AM  

Rinse repeat.

albatross shell 2:11 AM  

Rinse repeat

Bob Mills 10:10 AM  

Easy for Friday, except for the NE. I had to cheat and look up "MALLRATS" under Kevin Smith. Is "PLAYTEST" a real phrase, or was it made up for the sake of the puzzle?

Reputacion Online 10:37 PM  

Online reputation is the reflection of the prestige or esteem of a person or brand on the Internet. ... This is especially important on the Internet, where it is very easy and cheap to pour information and opinions through mechanisms such as forums, blogs or social networks.

E Lowe 8:43 AM  

I am gaffer and I also founnd the clue "gaffer's supply" to be a stretch. We do use zip ties a lot, but it really isn't specific to gaffing. Tape, light meter, contrast glass would all be better answers for this clue.

Unknown 4:42 PM  

Thank you very much, Z, for explaining oneall!

Michael Fleming 9:33 AM  

A double Minnesota today had me first looking for that as a theme. TOTINOS (as well as the erstwhile Jenos) pizza rolls were all developed in the state (and remain here as General Mills products). And MALL[]RATS was filmed in a Minneapolis suburb that is not Edina. SADLY, no more North Star answers appeared.

spacecraft 11:34 AM  

Yes, it WAS a Z! I guessed right on my #33 natick! Triumph--and boy did those points pile up! This was ALL you can eat for a Friday, including TOTINOS pizza rolls.

Started in the SE, as I OFT have. The only two gimmes I recall crossed each other there: DIANNE (DOD: UMA has had it enough) and OHIO. Was able, slowly, to seep out into he grid from there, not helped by ATROPOS; crosses needed FOR her. In the SW, I had everything filled in except one, so I had _IPTIES and _OOMBOMB to work with. Almost put R...but settled on Z. Whew! Finished in the NW when I decided that SET probably had more definitions than anything else. Also, being of German descent, the name ARENDT is perfectly believable to me; FACTIS I used to know someone named ARNDT (close enough). Birdie.

thefogman 11:48 AM  

I thought it was a pretty solid effort by these two young co-constructors. Rex doesn’t hold back on his criticism in spite of Maymudes and Wilson being relatively new female constructors. This is Wilson’s third for the NYT (her first one was in April) and there’s another one coming in about two weeks. So she’s churning them out at INDY speeed. Speaking of which I was INDY was a reference to this beast of an engine by Ford: https://www.motortrend.com/how-to/ccrp-1304-horsepower-ford-indy-v8/ . But the clue went over my head even though I got the right answer. I had betaTEST before PLAYTEST (never heard of that before). I also never heard of TOTINOS which made getting ATROPOS a bit of a guessing game, but the O sounded more Italian and won out. Yest there were other flaws but I thought it was pretty solid overall, And you can’t blame the constructors if Will Shortz decided to slot the puzzle on a Friday instead of a Saturday like Rex would have prefered.

Burma Shave 1:00 PM  


ONEALL the boys OFT attend, BLESS her HARTE, the MOONY TRAMP.


BS2 1:09 PM  

p.s. she's got a gun

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

Meghan r., let me guess... you're single, with zero prospects.

leftcoaster 4:31 PM  

Started with “put" instead of SET, and realized the O.E.D.’s 400+ definitions weren't going to be of much help today.

spacecraft 6:46 PM  

@Nancy: No one seems to have answered your question about PKs (Penalty Kicks, a way to break a tied soccer game). The idea spread to hockey, where they became penalty shots. There's no actual "penalty" involved, but they call them that because the setup is the same: a lone offensive player gets to shoot the ball (or puck) with only the goalie to defend. It's a less-than-ideal way to determine a winner, but proponents argue it's more practical than other solutions.

Diana, LIW 7:08 PM  

Never would have thought of AEROSMITH (and Disney) and didn't know ARENDT, so the NW was a Naticky area.

But finished the rest after getting help with those 2. And I, too, wanted BETA-TEST vs PLAY. But beta wouldn't work.

Did pretty well with this Friday puzzle.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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