Literally, "disciple" / FRI 9-10-21 / River personified by god Hapi / Jewelry creator Elsa who helped define the Tiffany brand / Hybrid citrus fruit native to China / Dispenser in many a vestibule / Nickname for Chicago's Cloud Gate sculpture / Matar in Indian cuisine

Friday, September 10, 2021

Constructor: Adrian Kabigting

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Jacqueline DU PRÉ (37D: Cellist Jacqueline) —

Jacqueline Mary du Pré OBE (26 January 1945 – 19 October 1987) was a British cellist. At a young age, she achieved enduring mainstream popularity. Despite her short career, she is regarded as one of the greatest cellists of all time.

Her career was cut short by multiple sclerosis, which forced her to stop performing at the age of 28; she died 14 years later at the age of 42. 

She was the subject of the 1998 biographical film Hilary and Jackie, which attracted criticism for perceived inaccuracy and sensationalism.

• • •

Image from Thirdlove
In retrospect, I wish I'd enjoyed solving this more. I guess I could say this about a lot of puzzles, but when I look over the grid now, it seems fine. It has nice parts. It's not as sizzling and bouncy and fresh as the best Fridays, but that NW corner looks pretty good, and the grid seems pretty clean overall. It just wasn't on my wavelength and the cluing often seemed off or awkward and for that reason (and possibly others) it played sluggish, more like a Saturday, and with little of that Friday "wheeeee" factor I always look forward to. It didn't work for me, but I don't think that means it didn't work. I'm not as thrilled by tech stuff as some are, so something like EXECUTABLE leaves me cold. DATA BREACH is a fine answer, but [Hack job] seemed so promising as a clue, like I was going to get some kind of cool slang, but all I got was a depressing real-world problem. Makes me think of the joy of having to change one or more of my roughly 3,000 passwords. I just didn't get a *hit* from many of these clues and answers. Some of my problems were slightly gendered, in that DEMI bra was not at all familiar to me, and jewelry designers? Not anything I pay attention to or care about. As soon as I got DEMI bra, I could imagine what it was, and it's certainly a familiar term in bra marketing, but it was weird to me that when I googled [define demi bra] I couldn't get just, like, a bra wiki with bra types, but instead just got commercial sites trying to sell me bras. Yet another example of how the internet (google in particular) is very broken, committed to selling you things rather than informing you about them. Anyway, DEMI bras are real! I also had no idea what the hell "G2G" was (3D: "G2G" (TTYL)). I assumed it meant "girl to girl"... like something one woman tells another woman, confidentially. But now I see it means "gone to ground"* ... 

I technically finished with an error, in that I spelled the [Cry of relief] WHEW and since I don't know jewelry designers, never went back to see how WERETTI was obviously prong. Are SET DESIGNS just "backgrounds" (62A: Backgrounds in theater). Wait, was that clue supposed to be a play on words?? Maybe that's the problem. Anyway, I assume designers design the whole set. Also, they're just sets. That's the word for what you're seeing up there on the stage. Design is the art of making them. A bunch of clues felt slightly off to me like this. EXECUTABLE had [Performing tasks according to encoded instructions, as a computer file], and the -ing implies something is happening whereas EXECUTABLE implies that it could happen, is able to happen, but isn't necessarily currently happening. See also [Pending acceptance, in a way] for WAITLISTED. Still not able to make that clue/answer swap work out in a sentence. I'm sure it's doable, but it shouldn't be this hard. "She got WAITLISTED," "She got pending acceptance"... nope. "I am WAITLISTED," "I am pending acceptance"... oof, I hope that's not it. When did we start calling the Arabian Peninsula a "boot"?? (18A: The toe of a geographical boot (OMAN)). There's one geographical boot, and only one. After Italy, all other "boots" are gonna look like massive pretenders, so stop, please. It looks like a cartoon boot, maybe, or one of those boots you wear if you break your foot. Anyway, I was looking for some Italian city there, maybe one that sits *right* on the toe. But no.

OK, when you isolate it like this, I see how it's boot-ish, I guess

Loved seeing Jacqueline DU PRÉ and MEYER LEMON in this puzzle, two things I like a whole lot. Had no idea a MEYER LEMON was a hybrid, LOL. I just thought "Meyer" was somebody who realized lemons should be slightly smaller and extra good (17A: Hybrid citrus fruit native to China). Wikipedia says it's a cross between a citron and a mandarin/pomelo hybrid, so ... double hybrid! Clever having DEBRIEF and HANES in the same puzzle, since DEBRIEF = [PEEL off one's HANES?]. SCREW IT! feels like a milestone in crossword profanity (52A: Words when throwing caution to the wind). Not sure of the substantive difference between "SCREW IT!" and "FUCK IT!" (the phrase I use hear more often). I assume the F-word isn't coming to a grid near you any time soon, but if I'm the F-word's agent, I'm making some phone calls.

Pretty sure this is a debut, so congrats to Adrian on that.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

*I know "G2G" is "gotta go" please don't email me about this :)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Conrad 6:09 AM  

Needed Google for EVAN Rachel Wood and for "GTG" = TTYL. I was thinking Ground-to-Ground (as in missiles). Other than that, a pretty average Friday. I was pleased that I knew KAMEHAMEHA and was able to get the correct spelling with help from crosses. DUPRE was a WOE but was crossed fairly. Liked it a little better than @Rex.

smalltowndoc 6:55 AM  

My fastest Friday ever. 2D = AXEL is a given because… it always is. That gave me EXTRA EXTRA, and it was off to the races after that.

GTG = got to go.

Agree with Rex that there’s only one geographical "toe". Missouri has a "heel" I wonder what other body parts have made the geographical lexicon? Isn’t there a tube station in London named after the pancreas? I could be mistaken.

BarbieBarbie 6:59 AM  

The clue for 7D seems off. An EXECUTABLE can be a section of code (noun) or EXECUTABLE can be an adjective describing the code, but in neither case would it be described with a present participle. Something I don’t know about tech slang, maybe?

Felt like a Saturday but timed like a Friday. I loved a lot about this puzzle! I had both EXTRAEXTRA and AXEL immediately, and then tore them both out later, so that was the NW experience. I love being tricked like that.

Trey 6:59 AM  

Enjoyable, but felt like I was close to a DNF with the NE corner. A bunch of guesses later (in retrospect, correct guesses fortunately), the corner became progressively easier. I liked the clue for WINTERTIME and NBAREFEREE

kitshef 7:14 AM  

2nd Friday in a row that has been harder than most Saturdays.

Thought I would DNF at DE_I crossing _EYERLEMON. I guessed correctly, but neither of those answers means anything to me. Also thought G2G would mean ‘good to go’, so NW corner was especially tough.

Did anyone else feel Anoa Bob’s head explode when they saw TERRAS?

Frantic Sloth 7:15 AM  

I was surprised that this is a NYTXW debut for this constructor. To my civilian eye, it seemed like an old pro was at the helm. It was polished and chewy and there was even wordplay. Loved 27D NBAREFEREE (travel authority?) and SCREWIT (52A words when throwing caution to the wind) and most of the rest of the fill was fresh and chewy.

There was a lot I didn't know, but working the crosses got me where I wanted to be without it ever feeling like a slog.

I was actually curious about what some entries might be and nary a WTF was uttered this day. That says a lot.

So, congratulations on your debut, Mr. Kabigting and keep it up!


puzzlehoarder 7:17 AM  

Welcome to dnf Friday. I've never heard of a MEYER LEMON and why would something from China be called MEYER? I mistook TTML for HTML and was convinced the M was correct inspite of the odd looking MEMER.

Just before printing out the puzzle last night I'd gotten the QB for Thursday. Nothing like raining on my parade. To add to the, pie in the face feeling as soon as I saw the TTYL clue list at xwordinfo the meaning of G2G became painfully clear.

They're cluing text gibberish with more text gibberish. Shoot me now.

oceanjeremy 7:18 AM  

I simply loved this puzzle. Loved loved loved it.

Was it because I found it easy (exactly eleven minutes faster than my Friday average)? I sure hope not. Looking back over the grid I feel like it doesn’t quite sizzle, but it brings me great joy. It tickles me.

My only two quibbles:
- I have been working with computer stuff since I was 9 years old, which was (checks watch) in 1987. I have only ever heard the term EXECUTABLE as a noun. In today’s puzzle, however, it’s clued with a participle — making it an adjective. Inflection should match, dang it!! Big frowny face on that one.
- ESE (Paris-to-Zurich dir.) Missed a great opportunity there. Should’ve been clued as: “Suffix with ‘Crossword,’ as in (frequently three-letter) words found only in crosswords and that exist nowhere else.”

P.S. @Rex: to make 29D swappable-in-a-sentence you need only make it present tense. “She is pending acceptance.” “She is WAITLISTED.”

Lewis 7:23 AM  

@rex-- "... never went back to see how WERETTI was obviously prong." -- Hah!

What a beautiful design of the black squares! Just gazing at it makes me feel peaceful. This is the first time this design has appeared in the NYT, and what a beautiful choice, Adrian.

The answer SCREW IT defined a pivotal point in the solve for me, when after my first pass I was staring at the desert, and I either could have said it in defeat and started looking things up, or said it with resolve and stuck with sweating it out. I went with the latter, and was rewarded after a journey of fits, starts, and triumphant moments, with the glorious feeling of I’M ON.

This is a dazzling debut. Adrian has a talent for the vague clue, two or more levels past direct, where a clue leads the brain to several answers or several directions and you have to wait it out to fill the answer in. The grid becomes a battleground and I become a warrior – and no one gets hurt!

Neither a QUIBBLE or NIT from me; just a hunger for more from you Adrian. This was stellar.

Son Volt 7:25 AM  

Liked it more than Rex - elegant wordplay and mostly sparkly fill. Some of the trivia was a little contrived. I think we’ve see KAMEHAMEHA before - could have done without the cross reference clue. Loved the clue for NBA REFEREE. The SE was a little off - don’t want to hear about WINTERTIME and ALIENATION and TERRAS was clunky but I won’t QUIBBLE.

Enjoyable Friday solve for me.

ss 7:38 AM  

I had SSE instead of ESE for Paris to Zurich direction so screwed up the Hawaiian dude's name. Maybe my vision is off this morning or I'm bitter about my error, but looking at a map now and I'd be hard pressed to say Paris to Zurich is anything but just SE.

amyyanni 7:42 AM  

Super start to Friday. Fresh and fun. Congrats, Adrian. Another DUPRE fan (had a roommate who is a cellist when in grad school). TGIF. Need to hang some artwork today. 'See' you Saturday.

kitshef 7:44 AM  

Wisconsin and Michigan each have thumbs.
Wyoming has the Tetons.
Finger Lakes in NY.

But St. Pancras is named for a Saint - unrelated to pancreas.

Frantic Sloth 7:54 AM  

Found Rex particularly funny today, what with "prong" and being the F-word's agent. Bravo!

I guess I thought the puzzle was chewy. But just a guess, I guess.

Luckily I worked around G2G or that would have been a rather painful eye-roll. And a rant and a half. Maybe even an eye-roll. I guess.
Gonna have to chew on it.

Brainpan 7:55 AM  

1. Waitlisted: She's waitlisted. She's pending acceptance. Easy peasy.

2. There is a second boot, but it's not the Arabian peninsula, and I originally had "NOLA" for New Orleans because Louisianna is definitely a boot.

TTrimble 8:04 AM  

This puzzle played much more like a Saturday for me. In the beginning I couldn't find purchase anywhere, entering answers disconnected from each other here and there, wondering whether I would finish. (PHEW, I did, but with a time somewhere between 50 and 100 percent over recent Friday times. Ouch.) KAMEHAMEMA (the GREAT) needed every cross in the book, and I didn't know PERETTI and DUPRE. Nor THE BEAN.

I too enjoyed learning something new about MEYER LEMON (I was trying to think of yuzu something) and about SIKH. Got a kick out of GO, NAD! (which is better than getting a kick in the GONAD).

I could generally do without emoji in my life (Cat With TEARS of Joy). I much prefer emoticons* where the range and palette is much narrower -- the constraints, on occasion, inspire good ASCII art. But there are hundreds of emoji, and half the time I'm addressed with them, I'm wondering whether they're being used to mock me. For me it's the exact opposite of emoticons whose vital function in life is to avoid internet miscommunication: they increase the potential for misunderstanding. The upside-down face for example has caused me to ask for an explanation -- it doesn't seem to have a consistent intention behind it. Having to ask for an explanation makes me feel stupid, and thus a little resentful toward the damned glyph.

yd 0
td pg -3

*Emoticons are simple. I type ;-) and the receiver understands it's meant to convey irony. I type :-) to signal my will is good and don't take what I said too seriously. Simple, and universal. There are too many emoji to hope for universality.

bocamp 8:11 AM  

Thx Adrian for a very crunchy Fri. puz! :)

Tough unsolve.

I just wasn't on the right wavelength for this one.

Felt fortunate to have had only a one cell dnf at the PERETTI / PHEW cross. Didn't realize PHEW was a thing; thot it was WHEW! True, PERETTI just sounds better to me for a surname, but who knows with names?

Guessed right at the DEMI / MEYER LEMON cross, so there's that …

Mom worked at KAMEHAMEHA School in Honolulu.

Overall, a most enjoyable struggle, and a satisfactory outcome given the difficulty level for me. :)

@TTrimble 👍 for 0 yd

yd 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Donkos 8:23 AM  

Rex is right about executable but, being a coder, I loved seeing it. We use executable to mean a file of code (instructions) that can run.

Conrad 8:24 AM  

@kitshef, you burst my bubble. I don't know anything about the London Tube and I was hoping the station was named Langerhans.

Joe R. 8:31 AM  

Knowing both KAMEHAMEHA and EVAN Rachel Wood, the NE and E went very well for me. But the W went badly, because I had him as KAMEHAMEHA the First, rather than GREAT, and that slowed me down a lot. And I made the same wHEW/PHEW mistake that Rex did; I always feel better about my unfindable errors when a much better solver has the same problem.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

Better clue for 7D: "ND football team?"

Georgia 8:39 AM  

I assumed Good To Go, as in "ready." Prong again.

schwa 8:45 AM  

Never been to Two Boots in the East Village? Where do you get your andouille and shrimp pizzas, then?

Laura 8:55 AM  

Thank you Rex for a humorous follow up to a puzzle that was more if a slig than it looked like it should be. I got to leave laughing.

Joaquin 8:55 AM  

KAMEHAMEHA will always be a gimme in my book. For some reason, when I was in elementary school in Los Angeles in the mid-50s, we had a section on the history of Hawaii and we often sang this song:

King Kamehameha, the conqueror of the islands
Became a famous hero one day.
He fought a native army
And pushed it over the pali
And said: "Auwe kamake e,
Auwe kamake e"

All these years later and I still remember it. Now, where did I leave my glasses?

Ω 9:00 AM  

Rex ruining all the fun. I saw “gone to ground” and chuckled at the joke AND at all the “corrections” it was going to cause and Rex goes and adds the P.S. Without the note at the end the betting line on the “corrections” was over/under 22. But now it’s all the way down to 3. I’m still taking the over.

Hey Adrian, how many times do you have to correct somebody on the spelling or pronunciation of your name? I can relate. I have an -igt- in my name that people constantly want to make sound like “sight.” And on the phone “Z” often sounds like “V” (I read an explanation of this phenomenon once which didn’t stop it from being annoying but at least consoled me that it wasn’t just me). So so so much easier to just go by “Z.”

DEMI Bra, GONAD, DEBRIEF, THE BEAN, AREOLAE, LET US, a PEEL of GLEE, a RISER, somebody with a GREAT OUTIE, O MAN, SCREW IT. I dunno, it feels like somebody has been WAITLISTED a little too long. 🍆🍑

(@TTrimble - Did you figure out those emojis? I love what we’ve done to fruits and vegetables)

A fine Friday followed by Rex at his funniest. 👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽

Gio 9:05 AM  

Did DEBRIEF make anyone else think of Jesse and Walt by the pool in Breaking Bad? Very funny explaining the meaning of debrief.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

Italy boot

Michigan thumb

Texas assholes

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:11 AM  

Cape Cod is an arm; which makes Fall River, MA the armpit. I use it all the time to tell people where I'm from.

Enjoyed the puzzle. On the first pass all I had was AXEL (which could have been lutz at that point) and DUPRE. EEL. I thought I was gping to have to start googling names, which I normally only do on Saturday. But bit by bit it fell.

TTrimble 9:23 AM  

No. Are they mocking me? :-)

It looks like an eggplant and an orange. They're a little too small for me to be certain. But no, I don't get it. Thus making my point. Thumbs up I get.

Hartley70 9:35 AM  

This was a lovely Friday puzzle because it wasn’t easy but it sat right in my wheelhouse. MEYERLEMON was the real surprise. The name certainly gives no hint to it’s origin in China. It was nice to see an OUTIE for a change, even though I know they are relatively rare. I saw a photo of a bikini model somewhere yesterday and was taken aback at her very prominent OUTIE. No OUTIE judgement here though since really has no say in it, but I wonder if the OB was daydreaming or hiccuped at the crucial moment.

Ω 9:36 AM  

@TTrimble -LET US just say that they are an eggplant and a peach, but also fit the context of that whole little paragraph.

pabloinnh 9:36 AM  

I bet others around here who have played against softball or other teams who called themselves the NADS. I bet you knew what their team cheer was before they explained to you how funny it was. Ho ho.

Hawaiian spelling is always interesting. It's a name I sort of know but never know how many syllables it might have. Seems like it could go on and on. Didn't know PERETTI but it sounded far better than WERETTI.

Like the difference between the decorum of "throw caution to the wind" and the directness of SCREWIT. That was a smile.

"Platform for a performer" was nowhere near as obvious as it should have been, as one year I had to build a set of RISERS for a choral group I was in. C'mon man.

Nice crunchy Friday, AK, and congrats on a fine debut. Actually Knowing some of the trivia made it even more fun.

TTrimble 9:46 AM  

Oh, okay. One-track mind I see. :-)

I think somebody had better call 911 and get that eggplant aspirated.

(I think I've seen eggplant emoji before, but the meaning has varied. I think.)

Nancy 9:54 AM  

"SCREW IT", I thought, as I threw caution to the wind and wrote in an "L" for the ME?ERLEMON/TT?L cross. After all, melon is another fruit, even though it's not citrus-y. Didn't matter: I could have run the alphabet all day and not come up with a "Y" for MEYER FRUIT.

And I now see that KAMAHAMsHA/sSE is wrong too. Sigh.

Still, despite a double DNF, I loved this puzzle. Very few names (though, as always, in the worst possible places.) Some lovely fill, such as DATA BREACH; WAIT LISTED; DEBRIEF; PARANORMAL; QUIBBLE and AIR QUALITY. Loved the clue for NBA REFEREE. Although you don't have to be in the NBA to get a travel warning: Jo, the no-nonsense counselor during basketball games at Camp Pinecliffe, was forever blowing her whistle.

And if I were a Broadway director and you said "I'M ON" after your cue, I'd have your understudy in there so fast it would make your head spin. Just saying.

Plenty of thinking required today. Which always makes me happy.

Whatsername 9:56 AM  

Allow me to just turn on the applause SIGN for this one and leave it UP for a while. Nice job Adrian and congratulations on your debut. Your puzzle filled me with GLEE.

Rex’s DEBRIEF was especially entertaining today, but I could’ve done without the visual of the DEMI bra. I mean really if you want to avoid ALIENATION then LET US also provide a photo and description of a pair of HANES boxers. Equal pay, equal rights, equal exposure and all that.

Of all things, I of the multiple cat household had trouble with the emoji clue. I’m here to tell you that if a cat is crying, they’re not TEARS of joy. It’s because they’re laughing so hard at the utter stupidity of the humans, dogs and other inferior creatures with whom they deign to share their kingdoms.

EXTRA helpings of THE BEAN can seriously affect AIR QUALITY. PHEW! Who’s SORRIER now?

RooMonster 9:56 AM  

Hey All !
Patting myself on the back for grokking entire puz! And got it 100% correct! YAY ME!

Couple of iffy spots, had wHeW in first, as others, but said "PERETTI sound more like a game than wERETTI", and managed to change it to the P. PHEW! And, like others, got down to last square, DE_I/_EYERLEMON, and ran the alphabet in my head twice before deciding the M made the most sense. Never heard of either one. Plunked in the M, and... Happy Music! Let out a PEEL of GLEE! (I know it's peal.)(Oh, and wERETTI sounds like a Werewolf name!)

So a Challenging FriPuz here, that amazingly I stuck with without resorting to some variant of cheating. For once, didn't say SCREW IT and start Googling.

Wanted some kind of clever taxi axiom for 1A. Like SCARY CAB RIDE. Wanted AIR pressure forever, but too long. For a bit, I thought we had a super-rare Fri Rebus, something with double letters, because wanted TEEoff and that AIRpressure, so had the ff and ss as Rebi. "Hah, can't fool me, Adrian", I said. But alas, he Did fool me! Finally saw TEE UP after rereading clue.


Two F's

PaulyD 10:00 AM  

I lost several seconds trying to figure out what type of rebus would allow Reggio Calabria to fit into four space. Finally, I just said SCREW IT.

THAT was a fun puzzle.

Forza Azzurri - Campioni d'Europa!

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

The eggplant and peach emoji are ok? That is definitive proof that some people, Z for one, are not subject to the standards of decency others are. Wow.

burtonkd 10:13 AM  

@Trimble, inre emoticons: Yes, so many to learn, and with unclear meanings. But I think about character driven written languages and wonder if we are witnessing the creation of a new one?

1st time through grid, I had only ALIENATION, KAMAHAMEHA, AXEL, SORRIER, and a questionable AREOLA(e/s). This was a lot of fun to have the vague clueing all come into shape as a crescendo to the happy music.

I thought 24A might be a Star Wars clue for SItH. Thankfully not:)

Nancy 10:15 AM  

Oh, and I forgot to mention -- this puzzle has a big trap deviously designed to fall into. I checked HELPS for "gives a hand" (30A) with PRICE for "____tag" at 31D -- and when they dovetailed perfectly, I wrote both of them in. But the crossing was DEALS/LASER. I hate when that happens, until, of course, after correcting, I absolutely love it!

jazzmanchgo 10:29 AM  

Funny to see NBAREFEREE clued as "Travel authority," since -- by old-school basketball standards, anyway -- players travel on virtually every play these days (palming the ball above belt-high, taking more than one and a half steps running to the basket, etc.etc.etc.) and it almost never gets called. A lot of this, I think, goes back to The Man Himself, Michael Jordan, whose style was so thrilling (and so literally a game-changer) that his habitual violation of traditional traveling rules became the "new normal" for players following in his wake.

jberg 10:31 AM  

I had tilt before SKEW. Man, did that throw me off. I knew KAMEHAMEHA, but without the K I was lost -- so I settled for filling in firsT at 25D. From there it was a long slow recovery. Fortunately, I knew a lot of other answers -- my daughter's ex introduced us all to MEYER LEMONs, I've been in the Jacqueline DuPre concert hall on many visits to Oxford; and I couldn't think of any Italian 4-letter town starting with O.

I'm pretty sure @smalltowndoc is joking about the railway station. I hoped for a moment that young Pancras was martyred by having the eponymous organ ripped out, but no, he was beheaded at the age of 14. The place doesn't look like a train stationat all. I was once standing in front of it when a group of tourists from the Middle Ease (maybe OMAN?) asked me what that building was. I told them, but they didn't believe me. It's now the terminus of the Eurostar.

In the plant world, a plant is "native" if it is indigenous to the region in which it is growing, so I'm having trouble with the notion of a native hybrid. That's not just an oxymoron, it's just wrong.

OTOH, I'm forever indebted to this puzzle (and its constructor) for helping me see that a NIT is not just a little louse, but also a little grouse.

@TTrimble, be careful with those emojis. I really like to eat eggplants, and I think I may have stuck that emoji into a couple of text messages before I had realized that it was used for something else. (I could tell you, but I don't want to spoil @Z's fun, after he's already called out Rex.)

JD 10:36 AM  

Funny thing, that great big NW corner was easier than the little NE corner. Especially loved Extra Extra, Meyer Lemon, and Illogic. Misdirect on the Boot clue stymied with my only 4-letter Italian city being Pisa. But Whew, I mean Phew, Kamehameha finally fell when "Duh this has to be a K" came to mind and then oh yeah I know this.

The 10-letter word got me to the 4-letter words, Skew, Have and Oman, although I wanted Died for Went for a while. Great cluing all around there.

Gonad and Rube took a while longer because I only think of a Clod Hopper as a muddy ankle boot and I've never seen Gonad in a puzzle anywhere before (wait let me check Jeff Chen). Yep, Gonad makes its debut in the NYT (not far from Arse the other day, things change and get strange). Six other debut words along with it. Fresh, new stuff.

And soooooo much create cluing … for Deals, Percent, Screw It (Caution To The Wind reminds me of Liza Minelli Scene in Arrested Development).

Debrief should’ve been the clue for Demi Bra. NBA Referee was tough, cause ya know, there's no authority on that anymore.

But overall, cluing NYT, cluing. It's what you're not good at anymore and this is how to do it.

Thanks Adrian Kabigting. It was a joy. Looking forward to more.

jae 10:37 AM  

NW and SE easy. SW medium. Center and NE very tough so, toughish overall. It took me a while to see HAVE and SKEW isn’t the first thing that “lean” evokes. Plus, @Rex et. al., wrong boot for OMAN. Couple that with tEA before PEA, DUPRE as a WOE, and NBAREF as a nanosecond suck and I’m in the toughish range.

A fine Fri. challenge, liked it a bunch! A fine debut!

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Agree with Rex that the SETDESIGNS clue is slightly off. The set itself is the background. The design is the concept.

Joseph Michael 11:13 AM  

A QUALITY puzzle with a little something for everyone, from Hawaiian history buffs and NBA fans to computer programmers and jewelry lovers. Congrats, Adrian, on your debut.

A-a-a-and SCENE.

Ω 11:13 AM  

@Anon10:04 - Getcher mind out of the gutter. It’s just plants man! 🤣😂🤣

@jberg - Fortunately the place I’m most likely to use emojis is here and I never text about food, so I learned about the “secret” meaning of the emojis before ever using either. I also learned the meaning of LOL before ever inappropriately using it to mean “lots of love.” PHEW! These kids and there manipulative use of symbols! WWSD?*

This morning’s question is whether or not I really need an all Spanish version of This Year’s Model. If you even thought there was a remote possibility that the answer would be “no” you just haven’t been paying attention.

*What Would Shakespeare Do - exactly what the “kids” are doing, of course

Ω 11:24 AM  

Backgrounds—> SET DESIGN - I’m thinking metonymy is to blame. “I work in theatre. I do SET DESIGN.” “I work in theater. I do backgrounds.”
Yes, I’m stretching here, but that’s how I justified it to myself. Which I think is better than Rex’s Wait, was that clue supposed to be a play on words?? Maybe that's the problem. If you got a better justification I am convincible.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  


Years ago I was attached to the folk revolution in NE, one node of which was Worcester. One of said folkies nearly always 'ad libbed' the following whenever he had a gig there: "If God was going to give the world an enema, he'd stick the tube in Worcester." From what I gather, it's gone the gentrification way since.

As to EXECUTABLE, in DOS (and may be early versions of Windoze) files with extension .exe were called 'executable files', so it is used as an adjective. In these days of linux (and all *nix), file extension doesn't matter, just a set attribute on the file, so there are, in all likelihood, more script files (just readable text) which that OS knows are EXECUTABLE. But encoding has nothing to do with it. For the DOS/Windoze world, the distinction isn't 'encoded' but 'compiled'; well other than the occasional batch file.

LET US also provide a photo and description of a pair of HANES boxers.

That's, at most, half a loaf. The DEMI BRA snuggles up and accentuates the assets. Boxers do nothing of the kind. Speedos, on the hand (snicker) certainly do. Not to mention XS women's thongs. Trust me on the latter.,

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

62A: Backgrounds in theater

note the 's'. in my brief time in theater as a youth, the background components in a stage set were called either flats or scrims. let's go see, shall we...

"Scrim can also be used in theatre in combination with a cyclorama or backdrop."

"A flat (short for scenery flat) or coulisse is a flat piece of theatrical scenery which is painted and positioned on stage so as to give the appearance of buildings or other background. "

-- both the wiki [my emphasis]

Malsdemare 11:36 AM  

I've been doing the archived puzzles and there is a lot of PPP that I don't know—yeah I'm old and can usually get ancient famous people, but politicians from the 50s? Not a chance. So I cheat. And that bad habit is hard to break when I turn to the puzz de jour. So I'm pretty smug about finishing today.

However, I will admit that, though I know how to pronounce KAMEHAMEHA, spelling it is a another thing entirely. So I looked it up. I know some would consider that a cheat but I'm a copy editor; I look stuff up all the time. Is this word hyphenated? Does this hyperlink work? How does this author handle gendered pronouns (she/he? Alternate he and she? He or she? They*?). So I don't consider checking the spelling a mortal sin, not even venial, just the sign of a wise person who doesn't merely trust but verifies. Just my opinion, of course.

I got EXECUT… and then nothing. Thought about ABLE, which didn't make sense, along with "ions," which made even less sense. So that B was floating around in my brain. And then I got the F in RIDOF, some random synapse fired and gave me the D in DUPRE, the B ghosted into place, and voila! The sorta appropriate EXECUTABLE appeared.

The success there seemed to give my brain a kick in the pan; stuff I'd failed to see (DATABREACH, NBAREFEREE, SCREWIT, which I love) and suddenly I finished a Friday without a cheat, something I don't always accomplish. So good puzzle! Thanks to the constructor.

Carola 11:49 AM  

Medium for me, with a leisurely and enjoyable counterclockwise solve. For me, the delightful first-in EXTRA! EXTRA! set an exuberant tone that carried through to my concluding SHOCKER. Along the way, I especially enjoyed seeing THE BEAN, BARGED, QUIBBLE, and KAMEHAMEHA. Nice cross of PERETTI and DESIGNS, especially since one of her most famous is THE BEAN pendant.

Barbara S. 12:09 PM  

This puzzle was tough and, man, did I love it! Solved it clean – it took an age and left me smiling from ear to ear. I did what I so often do these days: filled in the lower half first and then backtracked to complete the rest. It’s like I get to the bottom and the buck stops here so unconsciously a new and more effective level of cogitation kicks in. I got WIIG, IM ON and TENS, which gave me the last three letters of each of three lower long acrosses and SCREW IT! (Chuckle and fake gasp there.) So once the SE was filled in, the solution just blossomed up and out from there. I was amazed I knew THE BEAN – must have read an article about it. I don’t think Italian uses “W”, which helped me with PERETTI. At one point I had only the central(ish) RAN of PARANORMAL and I wondered if it was going to be stRANge-something, but held off until the area clarified. For a while I had no acrosses and only two downs in the NW: AXEL and EXECUTABLE, giving me two Xs and nothing else for the news alert. That was a happy Aha! The NE gave me grief for a while: I didn’t know the Hawaiian and the lowly HAVE was particularly devilish. And then, right at the end, I almost lost it all on the MEYER LEMON and TTYL cross. I’d never heard of the lemon and I’m not much of a texter, so G2G was lost on me. But I went with Y and PHEW!

Surprise! There’s a quotation today, which was sent to me long ago by @ML, one of the syndicated solvers. It’s by ALISON BECHDEL, born September 10, 1960.

"The Beech Creek had frozen completely over for the first time since I was small. On a warm day in February, I heard loud noises coming from that direction. Huge chunks of ice had formed a formidable dam, and water was rushing over it. As I watched, the dam broke with a sound like thunder, and a wild flood churned past. My happening to witness this spectacle seemed miraculous. ‘I was glad to the brink of fear,’ as Emerson describes the exultation that sometimes came over him in the outdoors. For a swooning moment I could see that I was not the center of the universe. And that I was part of it.”
(From The Secret to Superhuman Strength)

oldactor 12:22 PM  

Used to have a Meyer lemon tree in the back yard that produced bushels of fruit every year until a freeze killed it. Got Peretti off the P. I sometimes amaze myself.

Nancy you're right. If an actor says "I'm on" after the cue then "you're LATE". More common is the phrase "You're on" when an actor misses a cue.

Warning Theater story: The lovely actress Salome Jens told me that during her Broadway debut in a play with the Lunts, she was late for the last scene leaving the great Alfred Lunt on stage alone for an uncomfortable length of time. When she finally entered, she played the scene which ended with a passionate kiss. And curtain. But when he kissed her he bit her lower lip until it bled. At the final curtain after the curtain calls, she fell to the floor sobbing. At that moment, Alfred's wife and co-star Lynn Fontaine approached the crying young actress and kicked her in the ribs.

Missing a cue is a Capital Offense.

Gio 12:24 PM  

When I was in grad school, in a translation course, I had never heard the word GONAD. The Italian word I was to translate was gonadici, an adjective form of gonads, I think. I pointed out to the class, the word I was stuck on, and they all laughed hysterically! It was all different languages

Gio 12:25 PM  

My last comment sent before I was finished, but you get the idea!

old timer 12:28 PM  

Even for a Friday that played tough. And a technical DNF for me just like for OFL, as I had wHEW instead of PHEW. A moment's more thought would have fixed that. Italian names never in my experience begin with "We".

As is so often the case, I ended in the NE, because EXTRA EXTRA did not leap to mind, and neither did MEYER LEMON, though it our main lemon source. The regular lemon tree is across the yard, while the Meyer (less tart but tasty) is almost within reach of our back deck and can be accessed shoeless. Plus: incredibly prolific. It's rare I have ever bought a lemon at the store.

I certainly knew Zurich is ESE of Paris. One of those places you are bound to spend the night if you go to Europe often. In my case, our trip from California started in Madrid and ended in Zurich, making British Air the logical choice as they had convenient transfers at Heathrow to get us to Spain and from Switzerland. We did stay in Paris before taking the train ESE. As I had time to spare after the rest of the family flew off, I ended up spending a memorable night in Zurich. There, as here, young men can be rowdy and loud, and I followed them for a half hour before they reached a bar I thought I would like to linger at. I did rather get the impression that young men in Zurich are a lot less staid and straitlaced than they are in Geneva or Lausanne. How they grow up to become bankers (or gnomes) is beyond me.

Has anyone ever seen GONAD in the NYT puzzle before?

Babs 12:33 PM  

I won't contradict Frantic Sloth (ahem) @7:15. The puzzle was easy to fill but was (as ever) put out a bit after a few cheats. Who of us is clued up on Hawaiian royalty? As to citrus, my Meyer lemon tree has been a blessing - used for making great pies, lemon curd, and preserved lemons for tagines. I may not make it back to Maroc but can replicate the cuisine.

During an amazing repast in Ouarzazate, we had the best tagine I'd ever eaten. The preserved lemons in this tagine were mellow gold. I asked to speak to the chef (with our host as interpreter), to thank him and asked about the ingredients. He used beldi lemons he'd preserved with the usual salt/sugar blend. "But we'd had tagines from Tangiers to Agadir, and none as good as this!" He was kind enough to share his secret: beldi, cardamom, star anise, cloves, and a cinnamon stick allowed to mellow for six months. Divine!

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

Who needs Marsha Blackburn to hate? Sounds like the Lunts are all-time villains.

jeanneke 12:55 PM  

I'm puzzled by the "A-a-a scene" clue/answer. What is it referring to?

Masked and Anonymous 12:58 PM  

Hard as snail's teeth, at our house. Precious nanoseconds drained out of many puzgrid crossins.

But, hey -- SCREW IT. GO NAD, or GO HOME. Could just be M&A was a Matar-Brain today, cuz nuthin was in his wheelhouse.

staff weeject pick: Only 8 choices, btw. G2G was actually my fave, with NEY demi-wait-listed. Durin the solvequest, wanted TEY, for some paranormal reason.


Thanx for the EXTRAEXTRA-feisty challenge, Mr. Kabigting dude. And congratz on yer debut. I insist that U hafta work the next two runtpuzs, in atonement, tho. (#1 penance installment is below.) Thanx.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Anonymous 1:27 PM  

Saturday tough with lots of esoterica I did not know. Took too long to finish. More of a chore than a pleasure.

Teedmn 1:27 PM  

G2G, huh. I've seen B2B, which in corporate-speak means business-to-business. I couldn't come up with what the G might mean as a business reference (gone to ground, har.) But I did recognize TTYL so it all ended well.

I had the P and N in place at 34A and was very happy to see PARANORMAL show up and yet sad that I needed one more cross (the R of SORRIER) before I was able to fit it in.

Recipes often call for MEYER LEMONs - I've never seen one in our grocery store. I live in an exotic ingredients "desert", so I just sub regular lemons and figure I can't tell the difference.

Things I've seen before that really helped this solve: THE BEAN, and VERB as clued.

Congratulations, Adrian, on your debut. Very nice Friday, thanks!

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

will someone please explain clue "a-a-a and" clue

Chip Hilton 1:48 PM  

Really enjoyed this. I wasted some time with tAxidRiver for 1Across, but eventually gave it up. DEMI/MEYER... wasn’t a problem, but sure enough, I went with the noted Elsa wERETTI, just as Rex did. So, I say I did not finish. Notice the lack of the word ‘technically’.

Like many others, loved NBAREFEREREE, although they’re known to pass on calling traveling a few dozen times a game. Eh, SCREWIT. Why slow the game down?

Hartley70 2:03 PM  

@oldactor 12:22PM, Whoa! What a story and I ate it up. Keep them coming, please.

Hartley70 2:08 PM  

@oldtimer 12:28, I was astounded by GONAD and SCREWIT, but secretly delighted.

Seth 2:11 PM  

Two Naticks:
- KAMEHAMEHA/ESE could easily be KAMEHAMsHA/sSE, because who knows geographical direections this specific?? And KAMEHAMsHA sounds/looks more likely to my ear/eye than KAMEHAMEHA.
- PHEW/PERETTI could easily be wHEW/wERETTI. In my experience, wHEW is the much more used word than PHEW.

Unknown 2:15 PM  

The rare puz I didn't care for. Likely because the names were so esoteric, and took up a lot of space. KAMEHAMEHA, PERETTI, DUPRE . . . . . All mysteries to me.
NBAREFEREE was great, although nobody gets called for traveling anymore, well hardly ever. I thought a HACK JOB was a taxi driver, and thought I was so clever that it took a while to let that go . . . . I don't mind a slog, but those longish names, plus THEBEAN, made this one pretty inscrutable.

Mr. Benson 2:37 PM  

I think I agree with Rex that something was off in the cluing today. A lot of clues just didn’t seem to fit the answers, especially in the bottom half of the grid. I was looking for something more specific than ALIENATION, a broad term given a narrow clue, and SET DESIGNS — agreed that DESIGNS are not “backgrounds.” With DE in place I wanted something-DEGREES; maybe that’s an intentional misdirection, but still, the clue has to fit the answer.

I thought I was sailing to a personal record time, but really got bogged down in that bottom section. At least I knew to keep the first letter blank for the PHEW/wHEW decision.

zedsez 3:00 PM  

Yeah for me G2G is early 2000s AIM slang for 'got to go', which fits the answer TTYL much better than 'gone to ground'

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

"She is waitlisted" "She is pending acceptance"

It works

Tom T 3:57 PM  

I think the "A-a-a and _____" clue is missing one hyphen. It should read "A-a-a-and," as the director draws out the short "a" sound (not unlike "Heeeeeeeeeer's Johnny!") before signaling that the scene should begin.

CDilly52 3:59 PM  

Friday perfection for me! Especially after yesterday’s frustration with the to-or-from metric head scratcher. I really didn’t have much to say about yesterday because it was so (unusually) easy for me that I didn’t even catch onto the theme until (pound FOOLISH) only because there were some spots there where I needed to suss out the across to get the solve. Overall though, I found yesterday the opposite of today.

Today was everything I want in a Friday. Balance, deception, cleverness and some downright headaches. Thanks to EXTRA EXTRA, and MEYER LEMON (an absolute favorite of mine) I got off to a great start. My first problem though came at EXECUT???????? . . . whatever was next.

Thank you to those who, with far more detailed general and coding gave more credence to my gut feeling that perhaps the clue and answer EXECUTABLE weren’t entirely in sync. I don’t k is much about computer programming but was married to a successful software designer for 45 years. He worked out if a small office in our home. And he was my helpmeet in every sense of the word, particularly with tech speck in crosswords. Sure thing, he was my personal tech-Google, so that’s probably (ok, ok, ok it’s for real) cheating. Or at least saving time. Sigh. . . Anyway in 45 years of seeing his code detritus and bearing conversations with clients and colleagues, EXECUTABLE just sounded a bit off so I let it go and hoped for the best And moved on. Thankfully the remaining crosses helped me out.

I proceeded in a counter clockwise manner and just could not get the PARANORMAL and DEBRIEF filled in. And those were not tricky clues? No idea where my wavelength went. Must operate like the internet at my house on again off again!

My favorite moment of the solve just had to be my LOL at “Travel authority?” Since I had just been doing rather a culinary (pardon the pun) deep dive into uni and it’s harvesting and preparation GONAD was automatic although surprising. No idea how many times it has appeared in NYTXW, but I do not recall it, so must not be too often. RUBE is a very sore spot word with me and I was quite angry and a bit DPLB in the courtroom (thankfully before judge without jury) once when another attorney referred to my millionaire-rancher client as a RUBE.

Didn’t need the outburst then, and to this day I am embarrassed and disappointed in myself for the inappropriate behavior. I mopped the floor with the other side and that should have been enough. Oh, and to the uninitiated, DPLB is an old epithet from decades ago when men openly and vociferously resented women attorneys - particularly in the courtroom. Many women, in utter frustration would not be able to constantly take the proverbial high road and ignore the nonsense. If she rose to the bait it was usually loudly, angrily possibly profanely and often accompanied by some table whacking. Ergo: Desk Pounding Law B. . . For real, and there are unfortunately some of us left who remember colleagues using it. Why must we continue to be a name-calling culture applying cruel labels to “differences?” I’m forever a Beatles girl. 🎶 . . . “Imagine all the people, living life in peace . . . “ 🎶

So, I fell for the toe of the wrong boot - nice one, Mr. Kabigting! Took me forever to get the connecting piece, OMAN, PERCENT, SOKH, DEALS and PARANORMAL. I had a few scatter extra letters but some of those clues were just brutally confusing or brutally clever.

All in all a very bright debut. I look forward to many more from Mr. K!!

Anonymous 4:39 PM  

NO! She is not pending acceptance. That's a nonsense phrase. Her acceptance is pending.

TTrimble 5:41 PM  

I was appalled by the story of Salome Jens told by @oldactor. I guess I can comprehend Alfred Lunt teaching her a painful lesson, but Lynn Fontanne kicking her in the ribs? That seems just incredible. Thuggish and cruel.

I've been spending some time trying to locate a joint Broadway appearance by Lunt and Jens. So far, bupkes.

td 0

Anoa Bob 5:59 PM  

It's sad to see a perfectly good phrase like "on a waiting list" get shortened to the uglier WAIT LISTED but I guess it's to be expectedly in the age of the electronic communication device. Also, the emoticon and emoji.

kitshef @7:14AM, got two guffaws today, one when I typed in TERRAS and a second, bigger one when I read your comment. I think this has been a week of debut puzzles and the S has been sprinkled generously in many grids, including today's two-for-one POCs, including one where it's most likely to be seen, the lower, rightmost corner.

old actor @12:22 PM, hey neighbor, all I got to say is you folks are a tough crowd!

oldactor 8:08 PM  

@TTrimble I too tried to find that info. Perhaps it was a London production. IBDB does list Jens and me in “Mary Stewart” at Lincoln Center. I’m Ray Stewart, btw. We both rode the cross town bus to the East side after every performance for weeks. That’s where she told me that story. I hope that proves that at least I knew her. I can’t believe she made it up.

oldactor 8:21 PM  

TTrimble: Did I get that play right “Mary Stuart”? It was a long time ago and I’m really old

Anonymous 9:32 PM  

GD names!!! My nemesis! Random cellist,what happened to yoyo ma? Jewelry designer?? How about the middle name of the third cousin of 1960s senator?

I agree with most of Rex's comments. After finishing I can look back and say, 'OK, I can see that' but some of the clues didnt lead me there. Most people only know of Italy as the geographic boot. Order from the menu is 'HAVE'? You can HAVE something even if you order off the menu.

And along with Rex's rant of crossword profanity, he missed SHOCKER - google it.

Anonymous 9:42 PM  

And adding to someone's earlier post:

Italy = boot
Michigan = Thumb (or mitten)
Texas = A$$h...
Florida = America's Wang (thanks Homer Simpson) (I've never looked at the map the same since he said that!)

Joe Dipinto 9:48 PM  

Alfred Lunt and Salome Jens were both from Milwaukee. Maybe lip torture as a punishment for lateness is a Wisconsin thing.

chefwen 9:57 PM  

@Seth 2:11 - No S in the Hawaiian alphabet.

Anonymous 10:00 PM  

ATM is an abbreviation. It should have been clued more precisely.

Gio 10:25 PM  

@anon 9:42 New Jersey = armpit

albatross shell 10:46 PM  

I was up late solving with uncle google. Just too much I was ignorant about in this one. I've only read Rex and a dozen comments. Then studied the puzzle.

More like a Saturday for me. But several things going on that seem to be near the line of intentional and accidental or just amusing.

SAW AS is something the dog god or madam adam might say.


SCENE crosses SET DESIGN and SCENE DESIGN seems to be the more common terminology.

EXTRA EXTRA may fit in well with TERRAS and ALIEN and NATION. EXTRATERRestials indeed. TT crossing both EXTRA and this ALIEN(N)ATION. Nice double I next to the double T.

EXTRA EXTRA is also reflected in the partial MEHA MEHA.

The DEBRIEFING meeting is at a hidden TABLE.

THE SW 4by4 corner with slews of double EEs still finds room for a double B.

Clue with a boot and a toe, puzzle with a HEEL.

O MAN and I MON with the latter crossing I ME and I ON.

I like ILLOGIC and its double L too. Do not use ILL LOGIC. Put a mask on it or take a razor to it.

I can't quite decide if Rex has a decent QUIBBLE about sET DESIGN.

Now to see what I missed.

Oh and why did I keep wanting to put STAGE somewhere and it never worked. Constructor humor?

Anonymous 5:22 PM  

One of my fastest and most enjoyable Fridays, though I also had WHEW/WERETTI. Many chuckles at the clever clues. I look forward to more Kabigting puzzles.

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