One-named rapper with the 2019 video "Can't Explain It" / FRI 7-2-21 / Daughter of Styx / People of northeastern Canada / Northernmost land of the Inner Hebrides / Eponym for mathematical pattern identified centuries earlier in India

Friday, July 2, 2021

Constructor: Brooke Husic and Adam Nicolle

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (but with one potentially devastating cross)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: INNU (56A: People of northeastern Canada) —

The Innu / Ilnu ("man", "person") or Innut / Innuat / Ilnuatsh ("people"), formerly called Montagnais from the French colonial period (French for "mountain people", English pronunciation: /ˌmɔːntənˈj/), are the Indigenous inhabitants of territory in the northeastern portion of the present-day province of Quebec and some eastern portions of Labrador. They refer to their traditional homeland as Nitassinan ("Our Land", ᓂᑕᔅᓯᓇᓐ) or Innu-assi ("Innu Land").

Their ancestors were known to have lived on these lands as hunter-gatherers for several thousand years. To support their seasonal hunting migrations, they created portable tents made of animal skins. Their subsistence activities were historically centred on hunting and trapping cariboumoosedeer, and small game.

Their language, Ilnu-Aimun or Innu-Aimun (popularly known since the French colonial era as Montagnais), [...] is spoken throughout Nitassinan, with certain dialect differences. It is part of the Cree language group, and is unrelated to the Inuit languages of other nearby peoples.

The "Innu / Ilnu" consist of two regional tribal groups, which differ in dialect and partly also in their way of life and culture:

  • the IlnuNehilaw or "Western/Southern Montagnais" in the south, speak the "l"-dialect (Ilnu-Aimun or Nenueun/Neːhlweːuːn), and
  • the Innu or "Eastern Montagnais" ("Central/Moisie Montagnais", "Eastern/Lower North Shore Montagnais", and "Labrador/North West River Montagnais") live further north; they speak the "n"-dialect (Innu-Aimun)

Both groups are still called "Montagnais" in the official language of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Development Canada. The Naskapi ("people beyond the horizon", ᓇᔅᑲᐱ), who live further north, also identify as Innu or Iyiyiw.

Today, about 18,000 Innu live in eleven settlements within reserves in Québec and Labrador. To avoid confusion with the Inuit, who belong to the Eskimo peoples, today only the singular form "Innu / Ilnu" is used for the Innu, members of the large Cree-language family. The plural form of "Innut / Innuat / Ilnuatsh" has been abandoned. (wikipedia)

• • •

This one started out in not terribly promising fashion. I always (usually always) try to start by digging into the short stuff in the NW and then using that traction to catapult myself into the rest of the grid via the longer answers. Does that metaphor work? I have no idea. It's very early. I'm just going to say "probably" and move on. In today's puzzle, that short stuff was looking pretty grim. I just hit repeater after repeater after repeater: SOL ESOS SSN ... stuff you see all the time, often innocuous stuff, but when you get a bunch of crosswordese up front like that, well, my experience is that it's often a tone-setter. A harbinger. But thankfully I was disabused of that idea very quickly. Think of the crosswordese as the fuse that set off the fireworks, because right after I took this screenshot:

This happened:

And I breathed a sigh of relief, or maybe the kind of sigh you emit when you're watching spectacular fireworks (really trying to make these metaphors happen today). Aaaaah. ISLE OF SKYE. Beautiful in reality, beautiful in my grid. And then, after this initial burst of color, things really went off:

And voila, there I was, very much in my Friday Happy Place, with snappy long answers just shooting across the sky (the grid is the sky now, keep up!). The grid is structured in such a way that you do get a lot of short fill but that fill is in support of six (6) (!) grid-spanning 15s as well as a couple of 10s and a couple of 9s, so there's payoff! Payoff in the form of SECRET MENU ITEMS (man that clue makes me miss my home state of California ... if only it weren't constantly on fire). And the short fill is mostly well handled. INNU looks like it should be crosswordese, but I've never seen it (to my recollection), and since it's culturally inclusive, and the crosses are all very gettable, I don't mind it at all. And I learned that the INNU are entirely distinct from the (much more familiar-to-crossword-solvers) INUIT (see "Word of the Day," above). So, cool. There was one bit of new short fill, however, that wasn't handled nearly as well. 

So, I know who CHIKA is (32A: One-named rapper with the 2019 video "Can't Explain It"). I love CHIKA. I listened to her "Industry Games" album (so good) over and over during the pandemic, on my (many, many) long walks around the tri-city area here in the Southern Tier of NYS. Now is she crossword-famous? I dunno. The clue suggests "not really," not by traditional crossword standards, but I don't think chart success or major music awards should be the only determination of crossworthiness. So I like seeing her here. A lot. I do not, however, like the cross on her "K," i.e. NIKE. Or, rather, I do not like the clue on NIKE (23D: Daughter of Styx). And I'll tell you why. Who the hell knows NIKE's parentage? OK, you do, genius, but who else? I can tell you that I had NI-E and I wrote in NILE. Why? Well, Styx is a river, NILE is a river ... so NILE. And I knew CHIKA, so I changed it, but most people didn't spend last year listening to CHIKA on repeat as they walked around their city pondering existential questions of life, death, and time, all while contemplating the manifest unworthiness of humans to inhabit this planet, so ... I could be very wrong here, but it seems like solvers could easily make that NILE mistake. Or some other mistake I can't see. CHILA seems like a name a one-named rapper could have, why not? You have to be so so so obvious with your "K" here because CHIKA is not well known, but instead of giving us the shoe brand NIKE (which is how most people in the world know NIKE), or giving us something better known about the goddess NIKE, we get this obscure-ish Styx clue. This is bad editing. If you are dealing with proper nouns that are likely to be unheard of by a huge chunk of your solving base, every single cross on that proper noun should be flashing red, and you should hand all the clues on those crosses appropriately—no room for doubt, if the solver is able to get it down to that last letter! No Room for Natick! This is the philosophy! Otherwise, just make it CHINA / NINE and move along.

[LET 'EM!]

Overall, though, I was not IRATE about anything in this puzzle. No ANGER. I had a very good time. Loved the clue on LEGS (58A: Streaks on the side of a wineglass), and the queering of the normally French-clued FEMME (14D: Queer designation). The fill is genuinely wide-ranging in the cultural territory it covers, and it all comes in at a typical, doable Friday difficulty level. All in all, REALLY SOMETHING. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 6:13 AM  

I've heard of In-N-Out Burger, but WTF are SECRETMENUITEMS? Why would you want to keep your menu items a secret? Or your menu? Or anything that you presumably want people to buy?

Is GNOME FUEL what they use to travel? Or is it fuel made of GNOMEs? Would Travelocity know?

Has anyone ever done a review composed solely of questions? Do people wear NOISECANCELLING headphones when they're around other people who ask a lot of questions? Do the people asking all these questions even notice the people wearing headphones? Or are they notoriously inept at reading the room?

Does this sound too much like me? Should I go now?

I should go.


Lewis 6:21 AM  

The bones of this puzzle are those six grid spanners, and man, they are so strong. Four of them are NYT debuts – ACIVE LIFESTYLE, A LONG TIME COMING, GOOGLE TRANSLATE, and REALLY SOMETHING.

None of them filled in right away for me; they waited for that magic moment, for that Xth cross that finally gave the answer away with a big “Hah!”, with fireworks, I guess I should say this weekend (Hi, @rex!). That’s six magnificent moments on top of six magnificent answers, easily passing the quota for “very enjoyable” and obviating any quibbles that may have tapped me on the shoulder.

That lower half made me do some digging, the kind of digging I love on the weekend. Much of the cluing overall was SLY, and that on top of the bones, got me kinda HAI. A lovely outing, in sum. Much gratitude, you two!

oceanjeremy 6:45 AM  

I DNF’d on the CHIKA / NIKE cross, so Rex’s review brings me comfort today.

I also was pissed off that “canceling” is spelled wrong, or not clues with “British spelling.” The NYTXW is an American publication, and (for better or worse) in America there is only one L in “canceling.”

This added to my general frowny-face feeling regarding all the grid-spanners. REALLY SOMETHING is probably the worst. Yes it’s a real phrase, but it still feels like GREEN PAINT. Same with A LONG TIME COMING. Again, a real phrase … but a boring one.

GOOGLE TRANSLATE is a tiny bit more interesting, but still doesn’t “sparkle” to me (as Rex would put it).

NOISE CANCELING would’ve been okay, if it hadn’t been misspelt (see what I did there?). But it’s spelled wrong and that just rankles me to no end. It’s impossible for me to explain how upset this makes me.

The only grid-spanner I loved was SECRET MENU ITEMS.

@Frantic Sloth: The “secret menu” is a list of great combinations you can make by subbing certain things or asking for different additions from items on the “canonical” menu. Case in point: when Taco Bell did away with the Seven Layer Burrito, menu hackers found a way to recreate it by ordering a different burrito and making alteration requests. Some of these “menu hacks” become so popular that they get popular names but, for whatever reason, never get officially added to the menu. From what I understand about In-N-Out Burger (I have never lived out west), the “secret menu” is something well beloved and cherished. So it’s likely the establishments know that to add the items to the standard menu would dispel some of the magic for their most die-hard fans.

oceanjeremy 6:48 AM  

Oh, and @Lewis: you reminded me that ACTIVE LIFESTYLE is actually my least favorite grid-spanner. I said audibly “Oh come ON” when I got it. Again, very GREEN PAINTy to me.

I guess I’m alone in these sentiments. Wouldn’t be the first time!

I must add, however — today the short fill really redeemed all that (except for the aforementioned CHIKA / NIKE cross). Really good stuff, in a part of the puzzle that’s usually the worst — no small feat of construction!

LHS 888 6:52 AM  

Hand up for DNF on the CHInA/NInE Natick. Otherwise, a very enjoyable puzzle.

OffTheGrid 6:55 AM  

World peace is possible. @Rex and @Lewis seem to love this one equally (not that they ever actually feud). I loved it, too. And only 2 "?".

amyyanni 6:57 AM  

So good, so good, so good. (As is my baseball team, on a 7 day streak.) TGIF. Not too many working Fridays left, so going to enjoy today. NPR reading the Declaration this morning. Happy 4th.

Carola 7:07 AM  

Plenty tough for me. Things proceeded apace until I got to @Frantic Sloth's GNOME FUEL and then stalled out at what the fitness instructor might lead: I thought it would be something like a spin class. Time for Plan B, i.e., take a look at the bottom right corner - where IGOR was a welcome sight, gaining me entry into NOISE-CANCELLING and then a start-and-stop crawl back up through the grid. Last in: CHIKA x NIKE. I thought the long Downs were terrific.

No idea: CHIKA, RYAN, INNU, LEGS in a wine glass. Astonished to learn: Styx is female. Wondering how a river of the underworld gave birth to the goddess of victory, I learned that Styx is an oceanid, a daughter of the Titan Oceanus, associated with the river.

Re: GOOGLE TRANSLATE - our daughter has been traveling in Turkey over the last month and just sent us a Trip Advisor restaurant review: "Translated by Google) Sufi is a one-man orchestra. If they give a cast, they will serve as imam in the mosque. Food is the best. No sound will be eaten. Everything will be eaten. There is no limit to the astonishment. Only bird milk is missing. We had an evening that will be forgotten in our last day."

jberg 7:20 AM  

I didn't expect to be here, but I am. Nothing else to do while I force myself to drink huge quantities of clear liquids. And I lved the puzzle. Many of the long answers went right in, which is always a thrill. But unlike Rex, I needed a cross to know that the ISLA OF SKYE was not Iona, instead.

Fortunately, I didn't know the INNU were not related to the Inuit, or I might never have got the answer.

I did hesitate about that K crossing; but clearly the daughter of Styx was going to be a figure from Greek mythology, which made NIKE the obvious choice. At least, that's how I reasoned.

Son Volt 7:24 AM  

Fantastic puzzle today. Goofy looking grid - but loaded with wonderful longs - REALLY SOMETHING, DIVING INTO and STEEL DRUM so solid. I knew NIKE from previous puzzles so I was able to back into that potential tough cross. Didn’t like ELLY or ARTY.

Dated a GOTH girl in ‘80 who was beautiful and thought the world revolved around Joy Division - it was fun but weird.

Love SKYE - but Rùm is less crowded and more manageable.

Really enjoyable solve on this rainy Friday.

Frantic Sloth 7:28 AM  

Oddly, I was semi-saved by NIKE at that obnoxious cross - only because I guessed based on some ancient memory of Greek mythology and Athena Nike. Talk about bizarre "knowledge".

@oceanjeremy 645am Thank you! Now see? That makes perfect sense to me. Always wanted to try an In-N-Out Burger, but that's probably only because of certain movies.

Harry 7:31 AM  

I loved this solve. Not excessively tough, but very little that fell right in place (although the 15s gave themselves up with limited filled letters ... were that not the case, this would have been a solid Saturday solve for me.)

I pretty much had to trudge my way through the entire way, having to wait for my brain to spark on a clue before each advance. Very satisfying.

I understand Rex's, et al, concerns about CHIKA/NIKE. But NI_E falls into place pretty readily. At that point, "Daughter of Styx" pretty much yells "goddess" and I didn't hesitate to file the "K". From my perspective, "much ado about nothing".

@oceanjeremy, I'm sensitive to you "canceling" critique. But while you accurately cite correct usage, actual usage is all over the map. Go to a retailer like Best Buy and you'll see that the headphone descriptor is a total mishmash, with both spelling used interchangeably (it may be reflective of country of origin). Bottom line, I have no problem giving this a pass.

Oldehiteguygetoffamylawn 7:40 AM  

What Rex said about the puzzle.

Secret menu items aren't for frantic sloths, they're for loyal customers who return.

kitshef 7:47 AM  

I did hold my breath a little on CHIKA/NIKE, but while CHI_A could have been almost any letter (would anyone be surprised by a rapper named Chiza or Chica or Chixa or Chima?), NIKE seemed like the only reasonable mythology-related possibility for NI_E.

But O lord why would you put that cross in a puzzle? CHINA/NINE works. Or CHICA/NICE.

That definition of LEGS is completely unknown to me - and to Merriam-Webster. Had LEES, which didn't quite make sense to me but was the only wine-related thing I could think of that fit LE_S.

Conrad 7:49 AM  

I needed Sergey and Larry in order to get CHIKA. Never heard of her or the song. To those who consider that a DNF, I DNF'd. To those who consider it "valid use of research material," I extended my (modest) streak another day.

Lobster11 7:50 AM  

I'm surprised that the CHIKA/NIKE cross was so problematic for many solvers. I had no idea on CHIKA, nor about NIKE's family tree, but given NI_E and a clue involving Greek gods, the K seemed obvious.

Joaquin 7:54 AM  

@Frantic Sloth (6:13) - In-N-Out is a great place for really cheap and reasonably tasty burgers and fries. Part of the charm of their stores is the "secret" menu that is a secret to no one, specifically their "animal style" burgers (basically extra toppings and sauce).

bocamp 7:55 AM  

Thx Brooke & Adam for your fine Friday creation. NILed it! :)

Easy-med solve.

Breezed thru this one until the extreme SW corner. Took a few minutes to come up with NIL for love. Otherwise, I'd've been doomed, not knowing the people or the streaks.

Bottom line: fun puz! :)

@kitshef (2:15 PM yd)

Thx for the Crucinova link. Enjoyed the April 7 one. Will probably subscribe for a year.

yd pg -1

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all 🕊

ebtobiassen 8:05 AM  

Never heard of Chika. but daughter of Styx tells me that the answer has to be a Greek goddess. So, with NI_E, what else could it be than Nike? So, not a Natick.

JJK 8:05 AM  

I liked a lot of this, but SECRETMENUITEMS was absolutely uninferable for me because I’ve never heard of In N Out Burger, spelled CIS as cys, and wanted rtTEN rather than USTEN (which I admit I should have gotten). So that was several Naticks and a DNF.

Alexander 8:07 AM  

I don’t know about In-N-Out specifically, but “secret menu items” are usually special ways of asking for menu items to be prepared or combined with other offered items as to create another kind of food not advertised.

htpsmnoptp 8:09 AM  

I'm pretty sure in the Queer community we say (or write, rather) "fem", and not (i.e., never) "femme". So the clue is not correct. Prove me wrong. Otherwise, loved the puzzle.

mmorgan 8:09 AM  

I didn’t know that NIKE was the daughter of Styx, and I never heard of CHIKA, but that absolutely positively had to be a K so that cross didn’t Natick me (can Natick be a verb?). Also never heard of In-N-Out-Burger (which is a pain to type on an iPad), but I’m curious now why they have secret menu items. They don’t want their customers to buy them?

I love the ISLE OF SKYE and this is a nifty puzzle!

Cassieopia 8:11 AM  

What Rex said. Was particularly fond of GOOGLETRANSLATE.

Cassieopia 8:12 AM  

What Rex said. Was particularly fond of GOOGLETRANSLATE.

TTrimble 8:21 AM  

Interesting -- I thought Rex was overstating the potential NIKE-CHIKA Natick, seeing that NIlE is not a mythological figure and NIKE is. But I see this was a problematic cross for some others, so I'll take it back. I admit I don't know who CHIKA is.

REALLY SOMETHING is a weak expression IMHO. A slight side-eye also for NOISE CANCELLING for the reason given by @oceanjeremy, although it doesn't ANGER me or make me IRATE as it does him. Many thanks to him for explaining SECRET MENU ITEMS. (The closest I could think of is a restaurant I used to frequent all the time where I could still order a special ITEM they took off their MENU long ago, just for being loyal and well-liked customer.)

I wonder whether we'll be hearing about FEMME today. There was some commentary a while back over a clue that tied FEMME to Butch.

Despite some nits, I found the puzzle enjoyably crunchy, offering a just-right level of resistance.

Happy Friday, everyone! And Happy Fourth of July weekend!

yd pg -2.

Barney 8:26 AM  

Count me among the NIlE/CHIlA group for the reason Rex mentioned. I basically flipped a coin on L or K. That always makes for a fun experience.

Birchbark 8:32 AM  


I also like the inclusivity of @Rex's "manifest unworthiness of humans to inhabit the planet."

puzzlehoarder 8:47 AM  

Terrific Friday puzzle. I don't know where @ Lewis is getting his information from but xwordinfo indicates that all six interlocking grid spanners are debuts! That combined with the quality of the fill make this a tour de force of construction. The solving experience was high quality too because with the exception of 3D none of those grid spanners went in automatically once I got part of them from the fill. This was especially true for SECRET and NOISE. Having CHIKA and INNU as debut fill in those same two sections upped the difficulty a little too.
The K of NIKE was my last entry so no problem with getting a clean grid. I didn't even know that NIKE was female but it was the only mythology entry that would fit so not a problem
While LEGS is not a debut per SE it is a debut clue. I have no idea what it's referring to but the crosses were all clear so even that section was fair.
All in all this was top notch quality and a very satisfying solving experience.

Patricia Hughes 8:55 AM  

Good puzzle - never heard of Chika but Nike was in the muddle that's left of my mythology knowledge (after a while it all runs together). Noise cancelling took all of the crosses because of the double LL hell. Got a laugh out of the misspelt comment - right on target! Thank you.

Barbara S. 9:00 AM  

I liked this puzzle very much – the perfect Friday challenge: keep on plugging and eventually it will all fall into place. Like many, I ended up at the CHIKA/NIKE cross and thought this’ll separate the lucky from the unlucky. But I also know NIKE as a figure from mythology, so in she went. Whew!

Thrice I filled in correct answers, only to take them out again, thinking they messed up crosses and therefore couldn’t work.

1) 5A FUEL. I removed it thinking that “Dr. for kids” had to be “pedia” for pediatrician, or something like it, even though I’d never seen the abbreviation. I thought abbreviation was indicated in the clue because of “Dr.” Actual answer SUESS was terrific!

2) 44A OHNO. I took it out because I thought “Range for a viola” was going to be “A to another-note,” maybe “A to G.” ALTO is so much better.

3) 40D CIS. I ditched this, because I thought “Plus” was going to be “Add-something.” ASSET makes a lot of sense.

For a brief but horrifying second I thought “échappé sauté” was from fancy French cuisine. I left it blank and moved on, reaching the related clue, which turned out to be TOE! What!! Cooking with TOEs!! I looked back and OK, dancing with TOEs. Another Whew!

Absolutely new definition of LEG for me today. When doing crossword puzzles, or mopping up afterwards, or reading Rex and this commentary, I often have the reaction "You mean there's an actual, specific term for that!" So many more things in the world are named than I ever knew.

Barbara S. 9:07 AM  

Today I give you HERMANN HESSE, born July 2, 1877.

“I cannot understand what pleasures and joys they are that drive people to the overcrowded railways and hotels, into the packed cafés with the suffocating and oppressive music, to the Bars and variety entertainments, to World Exhibitions, to the Corsos. I cannot understand nor share these joys, though they are within my reach, for which thousands of others strive. On the other hand, what happens to me in my rare hours of joy, what for me is bliss and life and ecstasy and exaltation, the world in general seeks at most in imagination; in life it finds it absurd. And in fact, if the world is right, if this music of the cafés, these mass enjoyments and these Americanised men who are pleased with so little are right, then I am wrong, I am crazy. I am in truth the Steppenwolf that I often call myself; that beast astray who finds neither home nor joy nor nourishment in a world that is strange and incomprehensible to him.”
(From Steppenwolf)

Lewis 9:08 AM  

@puzzlehoarder -- I stand corrected. I meant to say that four of the six spanners were favorite answers of mine, but it sure didn't come out that way!

Rube 9:10 AM  

So here is the question. Are these puzzles for NYers or everyone? As a NYer, how would I know anything about in out burgers? so I had to use logic and crosses to solve. Suboptimal but OK. But is a non NYer supposed to know what Flushing Bay is near?

Nancy 9:11 AM  

Boy, those grid-spanning entries are REALLY SOMETHING, aren't they? Very colorful. And I just love the way ACTIVE LIFESTYLE (26A) is clued. And -- with only one rapper in the grid and just about no other names at all -- this is remarkably junk-free.

There's also some SLY cluing. Where CAMEO goes (40A), I was torn between TUMS which doesn't fit and NEW PITCHER, which doesn't fit either.

For the record, I'm not satisfied with NOISE CANCELLING headphones because they don't. Not really. Especially not if the noise is percussive. What I want is for the NOISE itself to be CANCELLED. At least 20 year ago I read an article that said that engineers are quite capable of building power machines that don't make any noise at all. Something about reversing the sine waves, I think. But they don't because the people who use them then won't think they're "powerful" enough.

Those UFOs that everyone's talking about right now travel at warp speed, come from lightyears away and yet don't make a sound. Is the civilization they come from more advanced than we are? A civilization that values silence is truly superior in my book.

Back to the puzzle. I didn't know the streaks on a glass were called LEGS and I've heard of the Inuit but not of the INNU.

Puzzles this grown up and sophisticated can sometimes seem A LONG TIME COMING. An excellent Friday.

Greg in Sanibel 9:18 AM  

LEGS = the glycerin-induced (TRUE!) vertical lines running back down the inside of your goblet after you take a sip of a well made wine.

Photomatte 9:22 AM  

Hah! I love it when people use the oxymoron "usually always" and Rex used it here emphatically (well, parenthetically anyway). It's either usually, sometimes, rarely, never or always....but never usually always.
So anyway, who ever heard of the name ELLY (21 Across)? I've heard of EMMY (which also fits in four squares) and of the name ELLIE, which doesn't fit in four squares but does fit the clue. Elly? That's just a made up word.
My other Natick is the clue/answer for 41 Down (lead-in to male or female), and the answer is ... CIS?

Other than that, pretty good for a Friday. Oh! Forgot to say, one of my good friends' friend, whose nickname was Animal back in the 80s, was the impetus behind the name Animal Style. True story!

JD 9:26 AM  

Really Something. There's so much beauty here that I could just re-type clues and answers til I'd pretty much recreated the whole puzzle. The DNF is my own fault. Chika/Nike AND Goth/Ethos. All that fun and done in by a K and H. In my own pinwheelhouse.

Maybe if I'd stop sneering at that Active Lifestyle Adult Community sign, Friday night bocce might've saved my memory. Goth! But my puzzle clichéd brain cocked its head to the side and said Emo? Type Emo like you always do and you'll get the treat. I choked. What a maroon.

Just used Google Translate. Bocce means Bowls. I love it. Lo adoro. I know the translations can be too literal but it will still get you there. Something not annoying from Google.

Found out about the Secret Menu and Animal Style when I worked with a bunch of 20 – 30-something field geologists. They built a track to race remote control cars on behind the office after work. Beer and In-n-Out burgers. This was a long time ago when I knew Goth.

Recently, someone said to me, "Just get Noise Cancelling earbuds." I have some flights coming up so this reminded me that maybe I should.

Unknown 9:30 AM  

I, too, went with NILE, for the same reasons as rex did, and NIKE just never jumped out at me, even though I wore a pair of my NIKE Vomeros two nights ago . . . .

I had HOGS for a long while before PIGS, and Isle of MANN before SKYE, so the NW corner did not fall quickly or easily for me. In fact, this puzzle reminded me of the puzzles of yore, which felt challenging. Try doing July 1, 2011 (ten years ago) -- a quantum leap tougher in difficulty! Today's puzzle, while not quite to that level, brought back fond memories.

And to those of you posters who declare that the Nike/rapper cross was "obvious," well that's just bragging (and obviously not necessarily true).. But yes, you are smarter than I am.

TTrimble 9:31 AM  

SB-ers: today's puzzle seems quite doable. Disappointed that "gnomon" isn't in there.

TTrimble 9:33 AM  

One of my first girlfriends went by the name ELLY.

Spatenau 9:36 AM  

@franticsloth, While it seems like if the point is to sell something, it doesn't make sense to keep it a secret, I guess the idea is that having "secret" items can maybe actually increase sales because by making customers who find about them feel special, like real insiders, they encourage brand loyalty. It must work because I read recently that Five Guys also has secret menu items. Weird.

Viana 9:39 AM  

My neighbor wears noise cancelling headphones when he plays his video games (for hours at a time). So he has no idea what he sounds like when he's screaming into his microphone (for hours at a time). So the nice courtyard of my apartment building sounds like an idiotic man-child screaming at his friends to "go around the tree" or "use the other gun" or whatever. Neighbors tell him to stop, he apologizes and mellows out for a minute. Then he can't control himself and it starts all over again.

Frantic Sloth 9:41 AM  

@Joaquin 754am 😁Thanks for the info - I'm no longer jonesing for an In-N-Out "reasonably tasty" burger. I'm sure they're no better or worse than the usual fast food versions, but loyal customers may disagree.
Okay - will disagree.

@Barbara S 900am LOL! Cooking with TOES. What? Never heard of TOE jam? (Sorry to those having breakfast.)

I always thought LEGS were an indication of a "full-bodied" wine, but that might be because I know nothing about wine.
Apropos of nothing, I always loved the name of our local wine shop in Park Slope: Big Nose, Full Body. And there was one giant honker (drawing) on their awning. 😁
Boo. Just looked it up and they moved across the street. No more big-nosed awning. ☹️

pabloinnh 9:44 AM  

Really liked this one. A worthy adversary, and a very satisfying completion.

Yeah, had to be NIKE. NILE? Really?

Took me way too long to see CHOKE, avid sports fan that I am. And LEGS? Really?

Also took me way too long to see GOOGLETRANSLATE, which was just becoming a thing when I retired. As a language teacher, this was a nightmare. Work was being submitted that was obviously not a student's own, and accusations and defenses and denials were just no fun. The only way around all this was to have things done in-class only, not ideal. Don't even get me started on trying to teach a language via Zoom. It's been a year that makes me happy I don't have to deal with all this, and grateful for all those who still do.

Great job, BH and AN. Big Hopes for Another Nice one like this Fridazo!

Nancy 9:46 AM  

What a wonderful blog so far today!

First of all, there's @Carola's 7:07 absolutely hilarious send-up of GOOGLE TRANSLATE using a real-life example of such a "translation" that's so laugh-out-loud bollixed-up that you'll want to strike GOOGLE TRANSLATE from your life forever.

Next there's @oceanjeremy's eye-opening explanation of why In-N-Out has SECRET MENU ITEMS. Like @Frantic, I wondered why any restaurant would keep it's menu secret, but @oceanjeremy's explanation is really, really interesting. The idea of patrons creating a "menu hack" is fascinating, and I think I can reproduce the Menu Hack Origin Story:


Anon 9:46 AM  

Elly May Clampett would like a word with you.

Anon 9:46 AM  

Elly May Clampett would like a word with you.

Nancy 9:55 AM  

What did I do wrong??? Let's try again:


mathgent 9:56 AM  

Nancy had the perfect word for the puzzle. Sophisticated.

Sparkle a-plenty. Sixteen red plus signs in the margins. Both constructors are pros and it shows.

It's a good puzzle that teaches me something I'm happy to know. GOOGLETRANSLATE. SECRETMENUITEMS. LEGS (in a wineglass). "echappe saute." "pannist."

Easy to forgive the junky INNU.

albatross shell 10:06 AM  

Eh, they can mean that? LEGS.

Yes I am with Lewis and Rex on this one. May the party continue.

Anonymoose 10:10 AM  

@Photo. Certainly ELLie is the more common spelling but ELLY is legit. Those interested may Google for examples. Three singers are ELLY; Brown, Stone, & Jackson. They are not "made up".

Tom R 10:16 AM  

Well, Rex might be thrilled by 13A, but I object to the way it was clued. The Inner Hebrides are all islands. The actual name is Skye. I was stressing out trying to think of a 10 letter island name, thinking it might be a bit of land North of Skye.... If the clue was northernmost island of the Inner Hebrides would you allow Isle of as part of the answer? No. But Northernmost land is still redundant.

RooMonster 10:19 AM  

Hey All !
Nice FriPuz. Had a two-letter DNF today. (For some reason if I have multiple wrongness, it doesn't sting as much as a one-letter DNF. Maybe because a one-letterer is *so* close, whereas a multiple error elicits a "oh well, nice try" thing in the ole brain. Who knows? Not me, apparently 🤪). Had the Natick seems everyone ran across, CHInA/NInE (maybe having Jeri RYAN's character Seven of Nine on the mind?), and bLUTO/bENNE. But thinking about it now, bLUTO does speak, and is Popeye even Disney? (Well, everything is either Disney, Google, or Amazon, right?)

Thought I had my ESAS, ESOS, ESTO, ESTA all figured out, but every time that clue comes around, I put in the wrong thing! Not a wine drinker, but also never heard of LEGS like that. Hopefully they mean the inside of the glass, because if it's on the outside, that's just a sloppy drinker.

Silly puz news: I made a puz once (never sent anywhere, because too much nonsensical entries) that had various Yeses in it, including HAI (in the Revealer clue). It had many stacked 15's, three groups of threes (each group had the top line and third line as one continuing answer), including 4 going Down, 2 on each side of the grid, of which two were theme related. Plus the first three Downs, and last three Downs (three-letterers) were part of the theme. Did get some real answers in, but it was just an exercise to see what would happen.

Anyway, did like this puz. Tough, but doable. Good job, Brooke and Adam. I MEAN it. 😁

Two F's

bocamp 10:21 AM  

NIL my AirPods Max NOISE CANCELLING headphones.

The science of wineglass tears (or wine LEGs)

"The surface tension of water and the evaporation of ethanol produce an interesting effect in a wineglass known as 'tears' or 'LEGs'. The process is caused by the Marangoni effect, which explains how toy soap boats work among other interesting things." (Applied Science on YouTube)

@TTrimble (9:31 AM)

Hah, I'd've never got that one. Just getting started with today's. Nomen and nobby also not allowed.

p -28

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Wundrin' 10:22 AM  

This is a beautiful puzzle. I did notice 2 similar clue/answers, using boil and boiling to refer to being mad. This didn't bother me. Is it a technical foul?

jrstocker 10:24 AM  

This played Saturday hard for me, but it was really, really good so I can't get too mad over it...

GILL I. 10:26 AM  

Oh...WOW. A puzzle with some tenacity and southern grits. Where did I go wrong, you ask? EVERYWHERE. I went hither and yon and even ate some of @Barbara S' toes. I also did the French fandango tango dance with a little béarnaise slathered with butter and a side of hollandaise but....alas was BALLET a trois.
So everyone had a problem with CHIKA? I called her CHIVA. Who calls themselves a goat? I listened to @Rex's little video and she sounds nothing like a goat. Good gravy, where else did I choke?
OH.....My headphones at 52A was NOISE FAN CEILING. Doesn't that make sense? You wanna put something in your ear? Sure....that damn ceiling fan is too loud so I'll just put some buds in my auricles.
@Frantic....The only reason any sane person comes to California is for one reason only: Have a burger at In-N-Out. When I had my second COVID shot I only had only one little reaction. I WAS FAMISHED. I've never been able to finish a hamburger - ever - but I went to In-N-Out and ordered their triple, triple, triple, quadruple, cheese, cheese, everything your mother can put on it hamburger and ate every last bite.

Anyway....back to the puzzle. I really loved this. I had to take lots of breaks, do my yoga exercises, drink another glass of wine, go to bed, wake up and stare, do the laundry, paint the house, walk the dogs....but I finally finished with a ton of mistakes. Sometimes, you just don't care. When I got most of the long ones without help, I LET EM rip.
@Carola. Speaking of....Coffee out my nose. I love those translations. My favorite one was a menu I read in Spain. The translation was Rape Sailor Style. Rape (pronounced rah pe in Spanish) is a fish. Sailor style is "a la marinara." Take your pick. Did I order it? I leave you wondering.
My GNOME de blog runneth over.

david kulko 10:30 AM  

The clue for 40-across is very good. I looked at CAMEO for a while.

Tale Told By An Idiot 10:35 AM  

Speaking of words, as we always do, decades ago then-husband and I checked into an
Inn on the ISLE OF SKYE and asked the Innkeeper whether there was a nearby restaurant that
served salmon. He gave us directions to a restaurant and said “the salmon will be poached.”
Fine with us; we were both very fond of poached salmon. Turns out he was not referring to a
method of cooking but to a SECRET MENU ITEM, illegally obtained.
Reader, we ate it and it was delicious.

OffTheGrid 10:50 AM  


Anonymous 10:51 AM  

Oof. Rex, man is the pinnacle of creation. Far from being unworthy to inhabit the planet, we are the reason it was created.
That’s not my opinion, that’s a tenet of the worlds three major religions. And they’re right.

I remember how much I was looking forward to my first In-N-Out Burger. Coworkers had been raving about it for years.
It was…. Ok. Not much different than the big fast food chains and decidedly inferior to Five Guys.

Zygotic 10:54 AM  

I don’t even want to know my time, but a call from one of the kids in the middle makes it pretty much unknowable. Finished successfully in the end, so it’s all good.

@NIKE was obvious people - I think NIKE Awareness is skewed in this crowd because of her god-like stature in the world of ese. I had heard of her but in no way is she on any Top 25 Goddess list outside of Crossworld. Going the goddess route at all is a little exclusionary in the “we’re special we solve the NYTX Friday puzzles” sort of way, but we do so a goddess clue in and of itself is understandable. But how do you know that the Nile isn’t named for a goddess? Or that there isn’t some Naiad somewhere named NIvE or NIbE (I briefly wondered if NIobE had an alternate spelling) or NIxE. I’m definitely with Rex on this, crossing a musician’s stage name with an obscure mythology clue is a five minute major (Go Habs!)
@Carola - Thanks for looking that up. I assumed Styx was a dude. Probably because I saw Styx in concert at the aptly named Wings Stadium.

@oceanjeremy - Right!? If only those Brits would learn English. My thought process was “Oh, NOISE CANCE… One or two L’s… oh, I need two to make it fit.”

@htosmnoptp - I don’t know what you mean by “the queer community” but FEMME is used enough to make into the dictionary.

@birchbark - I imagine the entire Pacific NorthWest and British Columbia were having the same Rexian musings last week.

@Photomatte - I love “usually always” because it annoys certain people who will scream at the top of their lungs that it makes no sense while fully understanding the writer’s meaning. Also, I don’t think Rex used it emphatically, but rather as a qualifier.

@albatross shell late yesterday and @Conrad - Personally, I’m in the “Finishing is the same for all solvers but each DNF definition is unique” camp.

@Barbara S - I always remember reading a review of Hesse by Vonnegut while I was a senior in HS. That alone tells you a whole lot about me. Thanks for the quote, which reminds me that Hesse was a pre-Punk GOTH.

Zygotic 11:01 AM  

@david kulko- I’m a little surprised nobody has asked about that one yet. Definition 6 of “relief” along with the oldest but no longer most common usage of CAMEO caused me to use many precious nanoseconds on that one, too.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

Nike is “…in no way a top 25 goddess list outside of Crossworld.”
That is risible. Nike of Samothrace is arguably the most famous statue in the most famous museum in the world.
And of course the Nike missiles the US military developed were among the most important, and celebrated, in the history of armaments.
Then there’s that shoe company.
But yeah, Nike is really no where to be found on the culture.

Whatsername 11:16 AM  

This puzzle was tops. A-ONE! It really had some LEGS. I couldn’t help DIVING INTO it with gusto. And quite proud of myself for getting FIBONACCI without any crosses.

@Frantic (6:13) Thank you thank you thank you for starting my day out with laughter. I needed that.

egsforbreakfast 11:26 AM  

Cheech: I think that guy is super high on REEFERS.
Chong: no, man. He’s REALLY SO METHING

This puzzle was a ton of fun. Lots of writeovers, lots of new stuff. Thanks Brooke Husic and Adam Nicolle

jb129 11:35 AM  

This puzzle was a real struggle for me. Can't say that I enjoyed this Friday

Mr. Cheese 11:36 AM  

Somebody please explain 40D (cis) two me.
Anonymous @10:10 - Ellie Stone is one of my all time favs. Fell for her on the Jacques Brel album:

oldactor 11:37 AM  

I spent my time in the Army as a radar operator at a Nike missile site outside Washington DC. Never knew who her mother was.

Ada Nicolle 11:37 AM  

Thank y'all for the nice comments! Brooke is amazing, so I'm so glad this puzzle happened!!

JC66 11:41 AM  

@Adam Nicolle

Thanks for dropping by.

BTW, your BROOKE link doesn't work.

Zygotic 11:52 AM  

@Anon - Well, I’m glad you laughed. That Phil Knight chose the goddess of victory for his tennis shoe company doesn’t make her a well known goddess. As Rex pointed out, ask Joe Six-Pack “what is NIKE?” and the answer is going to be “a shoe company.” Give a hint and ask “who is NIKE?” and Joe Six-Pack will still say “a shoe company” unless his better looking friend stops him and says, “Who??? Are you asking about the goddess of victory?” (Note that the better looking friend knows how to capitalize, not being just some random talking head).
Odd choice of words, too. I don’t think any reasonable person “celebrates” armaments. At best a reasonable person might view them as a necessary evil, at worst as proof of the manifest unworthiness of humans to inhabit this planet. I wonder what Hermann has to say on the topic.

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Nice belle and motte z,.
Nike is widely known and used outside Crossworld

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

I still say REALLY rare THING is much, much closer to the meaning of the clue.

And, of course, SECRET MENU ITEMS are not things cobbled together from some 'base' ITEM and condiments. Go to any Big City Chinese restaurant with someone, perhaps yourself, who speaks the language, and you can get really, really SECRET MENU ITEMS. These are dishes having nothing in common with what's one the printed menu. The same for any high class Western restaurant.

JD 12:03 PM  

@Photomatte, When my son was small he said that I always never him do what he wants. And I'd like to know about that Animal Style friend. Geez.

@pabloinnh and Google Translate haters, My defense of Google Translate rests on the fact that with it, @Gil taught me to mumble little bitch in Spanish under my breath when I need to. At least I hope that's what I'm saying.

@Tale Told, Great story.

@ Tom R, I appreciate your comment. But it's made me wonder if knowing something well can sometimes be a hindrance in crosswords when what's needed is partial ignorance or an outright suspension of disbelief. I excel at partial ignorance.

Hi @Adam! Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

William Manchester, one of the worlds’s greatest ever biographers, celebrated armaments in his fantastic work The Arms of Krupp.

bocamp 12:11 PM  

@TTrimble (9:31 AM)

Thx for the encouragement! 😊

@Adam Nicolle (11:37 AM)

Thx for stopping by. 😊

NIKE, Inc.

"NIKE, originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS), was founded by University of Oregon track athlete Phil Knight and his coach, Bill Bowerman, on January 25, 1964.[15] The company initially operated in Eugene, Oregon as a distributor for Japanese shoe maker Onitsuka Tiger, making most sales at track meets out of Knight's automobile.[15]

According to Otis Davis, a University of Oregon student athlete coached by Bowerman and Olympic gold medalist at the 1960 Summer Olympics, his coach made the first pair of NIKE shoes for him, contradicting a claim that they were made for Phil Knight. According to Davis, 'I told Tom Brokaw that I was the first. I don't care what all the billionaires say. Bill Bowerman made the first pair of shoes for me. People don't believe me. In fact, I didn't like the way they felt on my feet. There was no support and they were too tight. But I saw Bowerman made them from the waffle iron, and they were mine'.[16]" (Wikepedia)

Watched Otis Davis compete many times while attending U of O track meets in Eugene with my uncle in the '50s.

0 (Updated list w/defs)

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all 🕊

The Joker 12:16 PM  

I recently conducted a survey in my city and not only was NIKE in the top 25, she was #14.

What? 12:23 PM  

In-N-Out burgers is unknown outside of NYC. The Times likes to think of itself as a national paper (it gets delivered here in Michigan early every morning - printed here too) so hello Shortz, get out once in a while.
The name is unfortunate to those partial to gross humor - in, and then out? Ok, use your imagination.

Jyqm 12:30 PM  

For the life of me, I don’t understand the griping about the supposed Natick here. I had never heard of CHIKA before, nor was I aware of NIKE’s parentage. “Nile” never crossed my mind, though, since the clue was clearly referencing Greek mythology, not Egyptian. And if you couldn’t suss that out, well... too bad? It’s Friday, not Tuesday. It’s supposed to be tough!

Zygotic 12:39 PM  

Re: GOOGLE TRANSLATE, It actually does a much better job than I thought possible, but the longer the translation and the more idiomatic the original the more off the result. When going from English to a different language the easy test is to take the translated text and convert it back to English. Back when I needed a translator on a regular basis my liaison cautioned against using “bilingual” staff members untrained in translation, because it was all too easy for them to miss nuance and, especially for people who grew up with an American patois, not understand idioms from different countries. For example, I sort of doubt that Joe chwech pecyn means anything to someone in Wales so a translator might convert it to “person cyffredin” (Note: For French and German Google just spit back “Joe Sixpack”).

@Anon12:08 - Not familiar with that book, so I am basing my response only on the Wikipedia article, but it seems like it is not a celebration of armaments.

old timer 12:41 PM  

Best comments ever! I had no trouble with this baby, been (briefly) to the ISLE OF SKYE. Wemt mainly in honor of Boswell and Johnson. Both wrote about their trip, and for Boswell it was a dry run for the biography he planned to write when Johnson finally died. But also, a chance for both to describe some fascinating and beloved characters who were their hosts and companions. I highly recommend Boswell's book about the journey to those Western Isles.

Also no trouble with the SECRET MENU at In n Out, though at first I wrote in "hidden' MENU. Animal Style has its fans, but IMHO the printed MENU has the most satisfying burger in the country, the Double-Double.

No trouble with A LONG TIME COMING, either, since it was a much-played song back in the late Sixties, written and sung by Sam Cooke, under the title, "A Change is Gonna Come".

I think my only problem was getting FUEL as an answer for "stoke".

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

In-N-Out burgers is unknown outside of NYC.

Whaaaaaaaa?? It's a West Coast operation. See the wiki.

jae 12:51 PM  

Easy-medium. Delightful 15s and very smooth. Liked it a bunch!

CHIKA and INNU were WOEs but the crosses were kinda fair.

old timer 12:53 PM  

I meant to add, FEMME was used in the Sixties (and probably before) as the word for a woman in a Lesbian relationship who dresses and acts feminine, in contrast to a partner who looks more like a man. Not an insult. But it has always been a mistake to assume all gay relationships have that male-female dichotomy. Lots of Lesbians are happy to be, simply, two women together. So, these days, two gay men are very often simply two men, who share a bed *and* the cooking and housework.

Wasn't always thus. I was totally confused when a male member of the law office I moved into kept referring to his "wife", though he was not only gay, but was the best known gay lawyer in San Francisco. But theirs was very much a relationship modeled on the Ozzie and Harriet lifestyle -- if they had adopted children, he would have been the Dad and his wife the Mom.

Piano Phil 1:03 PM  

I failed on NIKE/CHIKA, and the RYAN/-SKYE crossing. Those proper names fall smack in the middle of “who cares” territory for me. CANCELLING is an unforgivable misspelling. Is Shortz on vacation or something?

Paolo 1:21 PM  

I can proudly say I hade no problem with CHIKA/NIKE, mostly due to my love of everything Greek mythology, less due to my knowledge of one named rappers.

But what got me was the INNU/RHESUS cross, due to my non familiarity with INNU or INNE (both seemed rational options) and my non excusable insistence that RHESES monkeys where a thing. Clear evidence that I should spend more time learning from books instead of documentaries.

Not withstanding a one letter DNF... great puzzle.

Paolo 1:31 PM  

@Piano Phil

CANCELLING is also correct, but not as common this side of the Atlantic. There are many words with different American/British spellings involving double L's such as modeling/modelling, traveling/travelling, and yes, canceling/cancelling.

Given that this is the New York Times crossword and not The Guardian crossword, I see your point, but perhaps unfair would be a better word than unforgiveable. In line with typical clues for METRE or LITRE, perhaps cluing as "British headphones" would have worked, although that may go over too many people's heads (pun very much intended).

Eniale 1:32 PM  

Yesterday's puzzle construction -- did nobody else think of Frank Gehry's Crazy Houses in Prague? There's drunken propping for you!

gdaddywinz 1:36 PM  

Can anyone explain how cis is a lead-in to male or female

TTrimble 1:49 PM  


Frantic Sloth 1:50 PM  

@Adam Nicolle 1137am Hi, there! It might not have been clear, but I really liked your puzzle! Thanks for stopping by the zoo!

@Whatsername 1116am 😊 Always happy to "help". ❤️

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

Manchester loathed the Germans, but was, rightly, astounded by their ability in manufacturing, chemistry, physics, and all the other elements necessary to create some of the most awesome armaments the world had ever seen.

GILL I. 2:16 PM  

@JD 12:03....I would be glad to give you a tutorial any time of the day...Here's the problem: @pablito speaks Spanish and he's such a charming man, I don't want to see him blush.
@Z 12:39....I did lots of translating in Spain and you are so right about missing the nuances. Sometimes you almost have to look at someone's face to get the gist of what they're trying to say. Literal translations don't work...for instance:
"What the hell are you talking about?" Literal: "Que inferno estas hablando de." Instead of what you really mean: "De que cabronazos estas hablando."
You're welcome.
Oh....and I spell it the two LL Lama.

Newboy 2:30 PM  

K2 was a mountain I couldn’t scale today.

Liked the puzzle, Rex’s spot on review and @Nancy’s wonderful Five Easy Pieces link.

Ada Nicolle 2:35 PM  

The Brooke link is My bad!

Bitter 2:40 PM  

Anyone want to tell me how "Gate" is a box office revenue? Or how a cameo comes as a "relief" (if the main characters are awful?)????

pabloinnh 2:58 PM  

@GII I-Te saludo por respetar mi inocencia. (Truth is I haven't blushed in quite a while.)

Sure are lots of things that are unequal when you go literal e. g. Jesus! Which in Spanish just ain't swearing.

GOOGLETRANSLATE can be a handy tool, but typing in something and hitting "translate" is no way to learn a language.

Anonymous 3:40 PM  

Streaks on the side of a wine glass are called tears. Chika/Nike cross is just fine.

Joaquin 3:48 PM  

@Nancy - Thanks for posting the "Side of toast" scene. That, along with the "I'll have what she's having" scene from "When Harry Met Sally" are the two of the best scenes (not just restaurant scenes) ever!

Anonymous 3:58 PM  

I Naticked at CHIKA/NIKE. Wrote in CHINA/NINE, figured it looked as good as any other guess. In retrospect I guess I should have gotten NIKE, but I agree with Rex that this is Natick bait for a lot of us.

kitshef 4:08 PM  

@Bitter 2:40 Different meanings of the words than you are likely thinking of.
Gate (n): the total paid attendance or admission receipts at a public event
Cameo (n): A gem or shell carved in relief

Georgia 4:10 PM  


Anonymous 4:13 PM  

I don't see all this certainty that it had to be NIKE. Plausible Greek-sounding alternative answers to NIKE, if you don't know the correct one:


All of these would be pronounced as 2 syllables, with a long i and a long e (i.e., continental European long vowels, pre-vowel shift). None would be incompatible with an invented name of CHI_A.

If you had no clue about CHIKA or NIKE, these would all be entirely plausible. The only reason to think NIKE is most likely is that if it were any other word, that word would also now be being used for a commercial product.

JuliefH 4:16 PM  

Never seen Elly spelled with a Y.

Georgia 4:17 PM  

Gate is slang for the money collected on any kind of event ... here's Wikipedia:
Gate receipts, or simply "gate", is the sum of money taken at a sporting venue for the sale of tickets. Traditionally, gate receipts were largely or entirely taken in cash.

As to "relief," here's Wikipedia again:
Cameo is a method of carving an object such as an engraved gem, item of jewelery or vessel. It nearly always features a raised relief image; contrast with intaglio, which has a negative image.

Anonymous 4:23 PM  

The world has gone me.
The diner scene in Five Easy Pieces depicts a spoiled brat a child of privilege (pretending to be poor and tough) throwing a tantrum and abusing a genuinely poor person scuffling along at a minimum wage job. To cite it as the best restaurant scene is akin to calling the horse head scene in The Godfather the best equine scene in a movie.

Anonymous 4:31 PM  

That's been dealt with. Have you read the comments?

Grouch 4:34 PM  

I have a nit with commenters who clog the blog with questions that they could get answered in seconds by Googling. A smaller nit with those who enable them.

Anonymous 4:38 PM  

Ask anybody in Haifa whether they celebrate the Iron Dome ( the missiles being the most important part) then tell me that armaments aren’t celebrated.
Or chat with anyone who was in Abrams M1 in Kuwait/southern Iraq in 1991. Plenty of people have very good reason to celebrate armaments.
And of course the Nike missiles were critical in the US’s defense at the height of the Cold War. They were celebrated by tens of millions of Americans who didn’t want to be nuked by a maniac who replaced a madman at the head of The Soviet.

Anoa Bob 4:46 PM  

I think this is the first time when 8D OKRA in a grid didn't set off a litany of "yuck" "disgusting" "gawdawful" etc. groans from the commentariat. Not only are they a "staple food in West Africa", as clued, but "The plant is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world and is a notable part of the cuisine of the Southern United States and India" (wiki). When I was a kid in mid-20th century Tennessee, we had OKRA from our garden several times a week, fresh when in season and home-canned in the fall and winter. My favorite was breaded OKRA fried in lard. (As Emeril Lagasse says "Pork fat rules!)

Thanks to a recent mini-tutorial on this and that from @pabloinnh, I confidently dropped in ES_S at 2D, waiting for crosses to fill in the A or O. I get the -O for masculine and -A for feminine versions bit I'm still not clear how ESTE fits into that scheme.

I thought this was a well-constructed puzzle that kept my solve buzz at a high (!) level. I still can't help but notice, though, when a marquee long answer is not quite up to the task of filling its slot, as was the case with 41A SECRET MENU ITEM and needs a letter-count boost from the oh so convenient S.

I too was thinking food for 9D "In which you might see an échappé sauté" and was surprised when 12D TOE identified it as ballet related. Would you be considered ARTY (11D) if you used échappé sauté in casual conversation?

Three Down A LONG TIME COMING reminded me of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come". Man, was that guy good! Or how about Crosby, Stills & Nash "Long Time Gone"? Not too shabby either.

The Cleaver 5:04 PM  

They were celebrated by tens of millions of Americans who didn’t want to be nuked by a maniac who replaced a madman at the head of The Soviet.

You mean like The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) in the USofA????

If the USofA hadn't loaded up Turkey with nucular Jupiters first, there wouldn't have been a Cuba Missile Crisis.

The Nike wasn't much of a success.
"Several Nike Ajax missiles exploded accidentally at a battery in Leonardo, New Jersey on 22 May 1958, killing 6 soldiers and 4 civilians. A memorial can be found at Fort Hancock in the Sandy Hook Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area."
the wiki

If you read up the wiki page you discover that Nike was such a failure as a SAM that they had to put a nucular bomb on it to hit anything. American exceptionalism on display.

Zygotic 5:27 PM  

@Grouch - PEAKS and GNOME are examples of answers that are not easily googable. For example, how does this definition relate at all to the clue? So asking for clarification here on a clue you don’t get seems perfectly reasonable to me, even when Uncle Google would provide an answer. Besides, see FAQ 5A, where Rex suggests, I recommend reading the "Comments" section before commenting yourself or emailing me with some question about the puzzle — there's a good chance someone else has covered the issue you're concerned with. (I’m pretty sure that was written when Rex still read all the comments) I do think it would be nice if people used the “find” function to see if their question has already been answered (I know I addressed the CAMEO question at 11:01), and it would be nice if people would check to see if a question has already been answered, but it’s hardly a big deal (I write despite my sarcasm yesterday). And I think we all answer questions now with a little bit of dread that 10 answers are waiting to be approved by the moderators. Besides, there will be a day where you will not grok how clue —> answer. It’s okay to ask.

pabloinnh 5:37 PM  

@Anoa Bob-At the risk of being pedantic, "este" fits in by being "this". Plural is "estos", "these". No "estes" (except for the park in CO) or "eses". Hope this helps, I still owe you for getting my morphs straightened out.

If I could sing like Sam Cooke, I'd never wish for anything else. CS&N are top notch too.

Anonymous 6:00 PM  

3 Nike missiles, mishandled, exploded and the project was a failure?
Good to know, especially from a guy who had to wiki Nike missile to know what the hell it even was.
Let me guess. You have zero military experience. That’s is, you are not a veteran of any branch of the US military.
Perchance, did you go to school at RPI? Or work for Raytheon? I’m guessing no. But by all means, keeping cleaving to the orange shit gibbon stuff. It never gets old. And everyone here loves it so much, they’ve adopted it.

JD 6:15 PM  

@Grouch, It's called conversation.

ebtobiassen 6:26 PM  

Z thinks it's showing off to know Styx and Nike. Maybe Z is right. But it's a sign of how times have changed. I recall as a kid that New York State pushed a slogan for safe driving once: "Don't cross the Styx in '56." That wasn't meant to titillate the intellectuals.

RooMonster 6:38 PM  

I meant to thank @Barbara S and others for all the Yuks YesterComments, but of course forgot, and now forget why I was gonna thank y'all. Dang. Now too lazy to go back and see. Ah, pitfalls of getting older and laziness.

But, thanks!

RooMonster Lazy Brain Guy

The Cleaver 6:47 PM  


(Assuming you confused me with one of the mice.)

Well, since Nike existed before I was born, what source would you prefer? My memory doesn't go back to before my birthday. What part of the wiki article is false? In what way was Nike a success? It was a failure because it couldn't hit the broadside of a barn door with a conventional warhead, so had to be tipped with a nuke. To knock out a missile or bomber. This is killing a gnat with a shotgun. Great work. Jingoism is the home of knuckleheads.

Judy 6:58 PM  

I get Natick, but what is green paint, and why is it a bad thing?

TTrimble 7:57 PM  

Explanation of green paint.

Zygotic 8:02 PM  

@ebtobiassen - Different Styx. From where I sit the River Styx is fair game, the Oceanid not so much. With Marvel being Thor happy I feel like there are probably more under 30 types interested in Norse mythology than Greek mythology these days. Greek mythology just doesn’t have the cultural currency it did even when I was a teen.

@Cleaver - Your first name isn’t “Beaver” is it?

@Judy - Rex wrote in 2020, green paint = phrase that, sure, one might say, but that doesn't really hold up as a stand-alone crossword answer. It’s a very subjective thing, but any phrase (especially adjective/noun phrases) that are not distinctive are “green paint.” The phrase did not originate with Rex, although I don’t know where it comes from. I do vaguely remember Rex first mentioning reading the term somewhere around 2013 or so.

ebtobiassen 8:10 PM  

Z distinguishes between Styxes. But all you need to know is that Styx is Greek mythology. Then it has to be Nike. "Nile" or "Nine" is unlikely to be a Greek goddess, no? So, no Natick because Styx is, as Z says, fair game.

A 8:10 PM  

Sam Cooke - A change is gonna come

CSNY Long Time Gone - live at Woodstock

A-ONE puzzle, Brooke and Adam. Finally someone else spells CANCELLING with two els - I say lLET ‘EM! MostLY breezed ALONG -only section that was A LONG TIME COMING was the central east. My overly literal brain had REALLY rarE THING for “out of the ordinary”, which obscured SET, GOTH and CAMEO. Still finished in 3/4 my Friday MEAN. (Well, actually it may be more like 2/3, since one Friday I solved on paper and filled in online. Don’t recall why. Took about 3-4 minutes so my average is skewed.)

Wanted healthy LIFESTYLE, but the fitness coach didn’t have the longevity. Also an OHNO moment when I thought I’d have to dredge up what SET of strings are on a viola. (C-G-D-A) EKEd by with ALTO.

SAIL crossing DIVING INTO - makes me want to.

NIKE. God(dess), y’all. “Just learn it.” Here (and if the words are too big, click on the links for the pictures):

Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena, and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Nike is one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek coins.

Since 1928, the Olympics Medal has sported Nike on the obverse side bearing her wreath of victory and the shield upon which the victor’s name is inscribed.

Nike’s Roman counterpart is Victoria. Seems reasonable that the Nike swoosh is a stylized vee, no?

Bonus puzzle fact: the Roman god PLUTO (Greek - Hades) is god of the underworld, which is bordered by the river Styx, ruled by NIKE’s mother, Styx.

The Cleaver 9:37 PM  


No first name that I'm aware of, just The Cleaver. Some commenter took offence to the alias for the Trumpster that I sometimes quote and addressed me as such, so I've decided to adopt that as my 'Name' whenever a comment is forced to call him out. It is a burden, but I'm up to it.

Of course, there's the conundrum: is this a nickname for an impish juvenile from the 50s, or an axe murderer? Only The Shadow knows.

Joe Dipinto 9:47 PM  

@Judy – several members of the Rex commentariat tried to solve the Mystery of the Green Paint a few years ago. Our sleuthing led to a location in Brooklyn called The Clover Club but the trail went cold after that.

We may reopen the case soon though. Perhaps we should cherchez la femme.

Welmet 10:08 PM  

It was a long painful slog but very worth it. Very challenging. Nike/China was the last piece of the puzzle

RooMonster 10:36 PM  

I think the "Green Paint Mystery" might end up at Z's Placebo and Tentacle Pub. I hear it's a stones throw from Brooklyn to the Rye Marina.


Joe Klonowski 11:09 PM  

Eh, it's a kooky branding thing. You tell your friends that you know about the secret menu and then they think you're cool and they think the brand is cool. Or at least that's what the owners of the brand think.

TTrimble 11:19 PM  

@The Cleaver
"Cleave" is just one of those fascinating words that has two diametrically opposed meanings (divide, alternatively, adhere closely to). "Hew" means almost the same thing and also has close to the same two opposed meanings.

I always thought "but I cleave" sounded very awkward, but the net result is that you've carved (ahem!) an unmistakable identity for yourself. Besides that, as someone who tunes into The Daily Kos, I'm usually always reminded me of Aldous J Pennyfarthing's writings which can be quite funny, and so I never minded this orange sh!tgibbon business. There's some well-known relevant history here. Bill Maher had offered to pay $5 million to a charity of Trump's choice if he could prove that he was not the offspring of an orangutan (obviously mocking this hideous Trumpian ploy of demanding the long form birth certificate of Obama). "Orangutan" as a word easily reminds one both of "orange" and "gibbon"! And indeed the guy frequently presents having an orange hue (cf. Captain Orange aka John Boehner)!

I often agree with the spirit of your comments, The Cleaver.

In sum, I'm glad that you've moved from Anonymous to the pseudonymous The Cleaver.

A 11:22 PM  

Very late post for insomniacs and west coasters.

@Frantic at 6:13, “Eh?”

@oceanjeremy, I’ve always been upset that it’s NOT speled cancelled! Look at it, it’s so much beter than canceled. Thanks for the inside info on the burger. I have a SECRET MENU ITEM at The Red Pearl in Birmingham - I can pronounce it but I can’t spell it. My friend from Singapore says it’s literally “hollow stem vegetable.” They sauté it with garlic, season with a little sesame oil. Perfect complement to the Homestyle tofu. Anon at 11:59 knows what I’m talking about, and that’s a REALLY rarE THING.

@Anoa Bob, wow, same tunes, same artists, different versions. Fried okra is the best. :-)) LONG TIME COMING also reminded me of LONG TIME Blues, by Mason Williams.

@Barbara S, if I ever write a book, “So many more things in the world are named than I ever knew.” will be my inspiration.

@Carola, thank you for bird milk and uneaten sound! I will have to research these for my book.*

@pabloinnh, “accusations and defenses and denials” are getting kind of fun in the news recently.

@RooMonster, your puzzle of positive thinking sounds like fun!

@old timer, thanks, both for the Boswell rec and the accurate observations re FEMME.

@GILL I, @Tale Told By An Idiot, “rape sailor style, or the salmon will be poached” is going in my book somehow.*

*If you guys keep this up I won’t have to come with any original material.

Steve M 11:51 PM  

Nope on Chika

Bob Mills 9:18 AM  

Would someone please explain how "CIS" is a lead-in to male or female? That was my only stumbling block.

thefogman 10:32 AM  

My last entry was the K in NIKE/CHIKA. Rex is right. Where was the editor?

Michael Fleming 11:15 AM  

‘Twas a tad sad to watch the Lizzo/Caroline Smith video, as that was taped in what later was the middle of the street troubles in here in Minneapolis last year. Many of those buildings do not exist now. The song and its message are great of course. But now the video evokes many other feelings and memories. Sigh.

I also stumbled on NInE / NIlE / whatever…

“Cis” is a diminutive of “cisgender” which is an antonym of transgender.

Burma Shave 11:26 AM  


for keeping our SECT SECRET A while;


spacecraft 11:36 AM  

First of all: Okay, it's been a whole week now. WAKE the **** UP! The syndilink is still sending us back to LAST Friday! GET WITH IT; it's ALONGTIMECOMING!!!

To the puzzle. Well, I guess the SECRETMENU isn't really secret if we're all supposed to know about it! Sometimes I just don't understand how the modern mind works. Yeah, I read @Ocean Jeremy's explanation--and it still makes no sense whatever to me. Are we ever going to start SAYING WHAT WE MEAN again?

Navigated this one pretty well, finishing in the middle east. No kidding, I had REALLY____THING, and took a while to fill that in! CAMEO was tough to see from the misdirecting, but fair enough, clue. LETEM feels desperate. EKE always is, but what's to do? There are several bright spots, starting with DOD Jeri RYAN. What a FEMME! New things learned: that OKRA is an African staple as well, who INNU are, and what a pannist plays. Oh, and that French thing in the BALLET. All was gettable, and gotten here. I'd say medium, maybe tilted slightly toward easy. Always nice to see good ol' FIBONACCI. Birdie.

rondo 12:21 PM  

I did not CHOKE on CHIKA, nor anywhere else for that matter. INNU is new to me, now I know INNU. I felt like the Shortzmeister had his fingers on a number of clues.

How did FEMME fatale Jeri RYAN ever get INTO that Seven of Nine suit? That’s REALLYSOMETHING. PENNE for your thoughts.

Maybe not AONE, but pretty good puz.

Anonymous 2:19 PM  

in re 6:00 Anonymous: Well said, sir. Well said.

Diana, LIW 2:42 PM  

@Spacey - as I've mentioned before, when there is a guest "Rex" in "real time," they don't know how to push the "syndie button." So when Rex is on vacay, we have to hunt for our day.

@Rondo - you're a real "card" - thanks!

Only looked up one rapper and one mythological daughter. Am amazed that I got all the rest, and correctly.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

thefogman 8:11 PM  

@ Rondo and D,LIW, I find the best and fastest way to get to the Syndie page when Rex is on the schneid is to just Google - Rex Parker and the constructor’s name and the year and month. Determining the precise date can be tricky but the month is usually the previous month to the present one.

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