Cybertruck maker / FRI 11-5-21 / Jimmy of high-end footwear / Life-form led by Optimus Prime in the Transformers movies / Cabbage alternative / Automotive amenity that offers an annual Santa Tracker / Midcruise milieu / Protest movement launched in 2011 familiarly / Acorn by another name / Cousin of a firth / Paraguay's largest city after Asuncion / Big adventure through the concrete jungle

Friday, November 5, 2021

Constructor: Joseph Greenbaum

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: RAGTOPS (65A: Stingrays, often) —
  1. a car with a convertible roof. (google)
• • •

The grid seems OK, but I couldn't find this one's wavelength at all, largely because of the clues, which managed to be both harder and duller than usual. The three longest answers are just fine, the rest was something of a shrug. Maybe if I were more into VETTEs and Stingrays, this puzzle would've spoken to me more. Or if I could hear the word GUESSTIMATE without wincing a little. Or if every little clue didn't seem like it was trying so hard to be hard (not so fun struggling to get short junk like ICI and IOU and ADOS). Or maybe it's the absolutely absurd and in my mind disqualifying repetition of the word STAR in the grid (STARDOM, SUPERSTAR). Maybe if the repeated "star" was the literal in-the-sky kind, I wouldn't have minded as much (or noticed), but this is a repetition in sense as well as look, and it's glaring. Makes the grid seem not well tended to, not carefully crafted. You have to rationalize doubling up on STAR, and once you start rationalizing your fill, you are done. I have no idea what an URBAN HIKE is (11D: Big adventure through the concrete jungle). I once walked from the Upper East Side to Chelsea after a crossword tournament—was that an URBAN HIKE? I thought I was just walking a long way, but maybe I was hiking and didn't know it. It was a bit of an adventure. Anyway, got URBAN and then pfft (that little pfft section, with IOU OUTS and SOIL (that clue???) (29D: Sovereign land, so to speak), was therefore even more fussy and annoying than it should've been). Does ONSTAR still exist? Do RAGTOPS have ONSTAR? Does anyone say "ragtop" anymore? I barely recollected the term—why did you need another name for "convertible" that wasn't really much shorter? Where is this PLUS "button" for enlarging an image? Is it on my keyboard? Because I have to hit *Command*-+ to enlarge things, I think. My image-editing software has a little magnifying glass icon with a PLUS symbol in it. Is that it? Nevermind, I don't care, it turns out. I just couldn't get into whatever it was that this puzzle cared about, couldn't relate to its [Vibe] (or ... SENSE? ... I guess), and that's just that. Bad day for me.

I don't think of chilling and VEG-ing as the same thing, somehow (38D: Chill). I think VEG is real dated now. Seems super-'80s, but like many decades-old terms, this one continues to live on in crosswords. NEATO! I just caught sight of OAK NUT and laughed out loud (44D: Acorn, by another name). If you say so. Control your wordlists, people, yeesh. Let's see ... mistakes. ODDBALL definitely set me back (16A: Quirky sort = ODD DUCK), as did BRAS (5D: Word with wonder or designer = DRUG). AILS hurt a lot (26D: Troubles = ADOS), as did TONKA (48D: Cybertruck maker = TESLA). Really glad I didn't see TOPO at all (until now), because that is an excitement-diminisher, for sure. But again, big thumbs up for the three longest answers. DON'T OVERTHINK IT is a worthy marquee answer, and MAKE LOVE NOT WAR is right on the money, slogan-wise. Familiar and enduring and a nice idea to boot. I've been buying more cassettes lately (weird boom in this retro format, not sure why), so I got a CASSETTE PLAYER / CD player that sits right here on my desk. It's a nice alternative to streaming, which is convenient but gives me the urge to switch music too often. Trying anything I can to keep the Distraction Monster from dominating my brain. Thus, my few cassettes get a Lot of play. I press play, it plays one side until it stops, then I turn it over (so satisfying, this little physical intervention), and play the other side. And so on and so on. My current work music (Duett, "Leisure") sounds like it should be playing in an '80s mall, or '80s TV crime drama, or an '80s TV crime drama set in a mall, and sonically that is basically where I want to live forever. 

Hope you enjoyed your encore serving of CHURROS (what a weird coincidence, seeing that one two days in a row) (15A: Dessert order at a Mexican restaurant). Gonna go watch the squirrels gather ... [checks notes] ... OAK NUTS ... now. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. "Cabbage" is (er, was) slang for money, in case you were wondering wth was going on with that IOU clue (36A: Cabbage alternative?).

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


bocamp 6:16 AM  

Thx Joseph, for a perfect Fri. puz! :)


Fun Fri. with just the right amt. of resistance, nothing taking too long to suss out.

Good start in the NW, except for ODDball; circled back later to get ODD DUCK.

My VETTE was a RAGTOP (pre 'stingray', tho).

Had CHURROS in a recent puz, so got it quickly via PUT IT and O ROMEO, which broke open the entire NE.

Very much enjoyed this offering! :)
yd 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

RK from Switzerland 6:33 AM  

I really liked this puzzle. It is interesting that Rex thinks cassette player is okay, but ragtop is not.

Conrad 6:36 AM  

Smooth solve for me. I agree with @Rex that the long answers are good and the short fill not so great, but I think the good far outweighs the bad and I liked this one. I fell into the "class" trap at 63A for my only major overwrite: ECON 101 (or ioi) for ECONOMY. Joseph's answer was a much better fit for the clue than mine was.

Anonymous 6:41 AM  

I was probably about 80-90% done when I really, really lost interest. Revealed the rest and not sorry I did. URBAN HIKE? Puhleeeze! UNION REPS don't call a strike. Excuses aren't OUTS. Three STARs in the puzzle. This was just a bit too sloppy. I enjoyed it until I didn't, though.

Z 6:51 AM  

OHSO/IOU/SOIL/OUTS/HIKE area easily took half (I’m not exaggerating) of my solve time. Why? Especially Why? on the cabbage —> IOU clue. I knew it was “cabbage” as in money immediately and still had no clue what sort of “alternative” we might be looking for. If you haven’t been doing crosswords forever and were born after, oh, 1899, I don’t know how you suss out that clue.

Hand up πŸ™‹πŸΌ‍♂️ for TonkA before TESLA.

I own a Chevrolet Bolt. It came with ON STAR. And apparently Rex failed to note that it is a third STAR forming an entire constellation surrounding the western half of the puzzle. ✨

I once saw LOS Lonely Boys and LOS Lobos in concert. One of them was a much better band than the other. Along those same lines, Ian Gillan was the best Jesus Christ SUPERSTAR. Not even close.

Except for that one small section, a fine solve. The ✨ is still making my eye twitch, though.

Lewis 6:56 AM  

So, OVERTHINKing is usually seen as a fault, where you don’t see the forest for the trees. But sometimes, in crosswords I now see it as an aid. It certainly was in a couple of areas in today’s puzzle for me. Let me explain.

These were areas of white that stayed white after numerous visits. I just couldn’t crack the clues. At some point the temptation came to just look up an answer, but instead, I just kept revisiting the area, trying to come up with new answer possibilities, flooding an area with maybe more brainstorming than it deserved, that is, overthinking.

But, son of a gun, inevitably, at yet another revisit to the area, an answer would come, an obvious why-didn’t-I-think-of-this-before answer, and in an eyeblink, the whole area would fill in. The glee at getting it easily outweighed the period of discomfort and frustration that preceded it.

I never overtly analyzed this aspect of solving before, and maybe it’s overthinking in its bad sense, but it clarified a solving strategy for me – persist!

Thank you, Joseph, for a puzzle with bite, and for me, a lesson. It made for one terrific crossword experience!

Eric NC 6:58 AM  

I rate this puzzle ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Brian A in SLC 7:14 AM  

Besides stardom, onstar, superstar, aren't "open sea" and "lay open" even greater violations of protocol? As a relative newb to xwords, I don't honestly know. Maybe someone can educate me a bit?

(I also loved "Don't overthink it")

kitshef 7:26 AM  

Other than the over-the-top car fixation, and a this was a very entertaining puzzle. And it was literally stellar.

I was expecting ‘solid’ to make an appearance after GAS and FLUID.

ss 7:30 AM  

I was not on this puzzle's wavelength either, and some of it was my own fault. I wrote in MeNORCA (that's what the locals call it--I didn't know it was spelled with an I in English) and bURgErWRAP (which in hindsight was kinda dumb but I'm sure it's on some menus too).

I totally agree with Rex though that some of the cluing was weak, particularly in the OHSO, SOIL, OUTS sector. IOU for "Cabbage Alternative" was one of the worst. If that was supposed to be a misdirection for food/recipe talk, shouldn't it have been cabbage substitute?

Another answer that I put in incorrectly was ECONOne instead of ECONOMY for "Budgeting class?" Is ECONOMY a class anywhere - Home Economics or just Economics or Econ One (maybe) would work, but Economy doesn't to my eyes.

Son Volt 7:31 AM  

Elegant in its simplicity yesterday - overdone and trying far too hard today. I’m with Rex - a few decent entries but strained overall. Liked ODD DUCK and OPEN SEA. Walking thru downtown Manhattan is always an adventure - URBAN HIKE said no one ever - I’ll put OAK NUT in that class also.

SMOG and SOOT are so cheery and are apt descriptors for this SLOG.

Such a cool Gillan link @Z.

Not an overly enjoyable Friday.

JBT 7:41 AM  

I missed the double STAR @rex mentions but was irked by the double OPEN he didn’t. Funny what jumps out at different people

Z 7:48 AM  

@ss - Re: ECONOMY - Think rental cars.

@Brian A in SLC - The “no dupes” thing is more of a suggestion than a rule, and as such is more a matter of elegance. I actually find it more problematic when an answer appears in a clue. That feels more violative to me than the OPEN dupe or the STAR tripe (heh heh).

@Son Volt - At some previous time I stumbled upon This analysis of Child in Time. Reaction videos are an ODD DUCK genre to me, but this person seems to know her stuff (and with nearly 700,000 followers is seems others believe so, too). Now I will have to play Made in Japan with the volume up today.

Stills 7:49 AM  

You can do an URBAN HIKE in Hong Kong or San Francisco or other cities with mountains in their midst, but the whole point of it is to escape the concrete jungle not traverse it

bocamp 7:55 AM  


noun Slang.

• an automobile having a folding canvas top; convertible.
• the top itself:
a ragtop that folds flush with the body. (DICTIONARY.COM)

Got my first CASSETTE PLAYER/recorder in the early '70s.

td 0 (very doable SB today. :)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

oceanjeremy 8:04 AM  

I raced through the grid in about five minutes, getting everything but the southeast and for some reason I couldn’t see VETTE crossing NTH (that middle T was a brain fart for a second). About five minutes longer and I had filled the grid, but had an error somewhere. I spent two more minutes finding it: I had SLOw crossing with RAwTOPS. Never heard of a RAGTOP before.

My fiancΓ©e was solving separately but simultaneously (we solve weekends together on paper, solve weekdays separately on the app). Her final error trumped mine — a typo, a missed thumb, gave her ROf for 4D and a hilarious but technically plausible answer for 16A. (NSFW so I won’t type it here.)

amyyanni 8:17 AM  

Out of 4? 5? 10?

amyyanni 8:25 AM  

Seeing stars! Agree that ECONOMY is off and indicative of the strained nature of this one. Of course, not every Friday can be a Robyn creation. It's still Friday πŸ˜€ and we have a big parade in a few hours. (The Braves)

puzzlehoarder 8:25 AM  

What should have been an easy Friday got dragged into average Saturday territory by a series of missteps.

Once I got about halfway through the puzzle opened up and the second half was all Friday smooth.

Did I OVERTHINK or underTHINK that first half? Hard to say and too boring to analyze. I did enjoy the solve.

CHURROS two days in a row provided some extra amusement.

yd pg-1. Spoiler alert: the word I
didn't get was "come".
Shoot me now.

JD 8:34 AM  

Turkey Wraps, Ragtop Vettes, Cassette Players, Open Sea, Lay Open, and a lot of Stars.

Just realized that I loved loved this puzzle, editing aside. It was like rummaging through an Odd Duck's mental attic. Look, here's another Churro!*

Googled Minorca and learned that the other two Balearic islands are Majorca and Ibiza. Those I've heard of. In Minorca you can book a room at the Sodium Hotel starting at $86 a night. Then go to a farm and see a Minorca chicken. It's in danger of extinction. The rooster is a looker. I. Am. Not. Making. This. Up. Not.

Google it, Don't Overthink It (talk about a great answer).

This was tough. Got some traction in the corners but the middle was blank. Took a break, came back, got Lay Open and Got Past and they got me out of the mire.

Tall for exaggerated was nice. Hung on to Yea for Pro in DC and felt pretty, pretty clever.

The constructor looks to be younger but this skewed Boomer. Fridays seem to do that now.

*This weird, same week repetition thing should be stopped. It gives a been there done feel the answer that's unfair to constructors.

@oceanjeremy, I think Rag Top was mentioned in the movie Beverly Hills Cop (1984). Nick Nolte saying, "I'm a rag top man myself."

Imfromjersey 8:37 AM  

I thought this was a fantastic puzzle - I found it fairly easy from my perspective. Loved the long answers too. @rex Yes, ONSTAR still exists, I drive an electric Chevy Bolt (currently under recall for risk of the battery catching on πŸ”₯πŸ”₯) and it does have ONSTAR built in, but they want something like $14.99 a month fir it which is hardly worth it. But I thought this puzzle was a great Friday. Make love not war is (still) a great sentiment in these times.

thfenn 8:51 AM  

Like @oceanjeremy, the chime blocker today was SLOw/RAwtops. Up until then, I was in a "woohoo I can handle Fridays" mood, and coming in well below my average. Definitely some other tripups, starting with MajORCA. @Lewis, thank you for validadting "persist" as a strategy, but for me it's still a question of just not being quite good enough, so my own tendency to keep trying comes more from a stubborn sense that failure says more about me than the puzzle.

Was pretty repeated OPENs and STARs was OK. @Z, was a little intrigued rental cars covered 63A - I went straight to airline tickets. And thanks for the ultimate disk recommendation yesterday - know just the person in my family to get one for.

Some puzzles are just puzzles, fun to complete but not necessarily full of tricks, AHAs, memories, reflections, interest piques, and associations. This was one of those. LOL, will stop overthinking that...

Nancy 9:03 AM  

What wonderful, colorful, and unusual fill graces this puzzle: DON'T OVERTHINK IT; GUESSTIMATE; ODD DUCK; URBAN HIKE and MAKE LOVE NOT WAR. Everything rolls trippingly off the tongue. Everything invokes some sort of image. And yet -- maybe because the clues are so fair-- none of it felt especially hard. Except...oh, dear, it's cars again! Why is it always cars? Three (3!!!) clues gave me some trouble in the south.

The easier to correct (at 4D) was TESLA where I had written in TYSON. Don't ask. TYSON makes TURKEY, doesn't it. So maybe TURKEY WRAPS made me think of TYSON? Again, don't ask. But it was mighty hard to see POPULAR.

What on earth is "an automotive amenity that offers a Santa Tracker"? What, for that matter, IS a Santa tracker? Never heard of ONSTAR. It must have something to do

And finally, I wanted RApTOrS for the "Stingrays" but that would have given me SLOp for "This is taking fore-e-ever". Just no. I never heard of a RAGTOP and think it's a mighty ugly word for what might actually be a nifty-looking automobile. But what do I know? Cars, again.

Other than all the stupid car clues, I had fun with this puzzle. I actually found it on the easy side for a Friday -- mostly because it was fairly clued and there was no pop culture junk.

mathgent 9:06 AM  

I wouldn't have noticed the dupe of STARDOM with SUPERSTAR if Rex hadn't mentioned it. I don't understand how that can dull our enjoyment.

I didn't like it much. "Ones calling the strikes?" for UNIONREPS is cheap. In an effort to make us think about baseball, they had to come up with an entry having to do with labor unions. All they could come up with was something incorrect. Also, some of the clues are indirect (as they should be) without being clever. E.g. "Result of a rise, perhaps" for STARDOM. Overall, it had some crunch but very little sparkle.

ss 9:13 AM  

Oh, you are right about rental car companies. Thanks.

Z 9:14 AM  

I’m a little surprised that so many aren’t familiar with the concept. Enter the nearest big city and URBAN HIKE into Uncle Google and I bet you get several results. For Detroit I got a “12 Incredible HIKEs” list at the top that included three near downtown. Asheville has a well marked “URBAN Trail” that takes tourists past historic sites.

@oceanjeremy - πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ - Sounds like a fine culmination to a Date Night. πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

@thefenn - Some airlines even split the cheapest fares into ECONOMY and Basic ECONOMY Class now. I’m doing both the flight and the rental thing tonight, but I won’t fly ECONOMY class so it was car rental ECONOMY Class that popped first to mind.

GILL I. 9:17 AM  

Well...I also couldn't get into what this puzzle cared about. I know it was trying to talk to me but I either forgot my ear enhancers or I forgot to take out the plugs.
I'll start with CHURROS. You can put those in anytime you want but don't call them a dessert. I know they are sweet and all, but they are eaten in the wee hours after a night of celebrating New Years Eve and you want to get over your hangover. You dip them in chocolate or a little cafe con leche. I don't want lectures....
I want to know why a NAT is a pro in D.C. and why SOIL is a Sovereign land. I've taken many a HIKE but never through a concrete jungle. What is that? My NOELS don't have any Airs during the holiday and when I take a sip, I don't say AHH...I say cheers....
SOOT, TOPO and SLOG walk into a bar.....Never mind. You really don't want to know what they ordered.

RooMonster 9:32 AM  

Hey All !
Easy FriPuz here, which may account for my liking of it. Liked the "rotated" grid, as in usually the three Long Downs in the middle are three Long Acrosses, and the single Long Across is usually the single Long Downs. In other words, rotate grid 90° and that's the way a grid usually looks.

Liked the Triple D of ODDDUCK. Puz violation, though, on the three (3!) STARs. And the two OPENs. It did lead to mostly clean fill, so I'll let it slide reluctantly. (Well, we do have FDIC crossing ICI.) (And AHH crossing HWYS.) ( Though they are all "things", but also -ese/dreck.)

CASSETTE tapes were awesome when they first came out. Supplanted 8-Tracks. For you youngsters, 8-Tracks were weird, as a song being played would stop mid-song, then it would click to the next Track, and start again. When CASSETTEs came out, the last song on Side A would actually complete, then you ejected it, flipped it over, reinserted it, and continued uninterrupted. The best thing they came out with for cars, was a CASSETTE adapter that you would insert into your cars 8-Track player, and you would be able to play CASSETTEs. Remember those? You were high falutin' with one of those!

Had a 94 RAGTOP VETTE once. Bought it to sell it to make money. Didn't really work out. It happens.

There were some nice clues in puz today. Disagree with Rex that Joseph was trying too hard. UNION REPS clue, e.g. And SUPERSTAR. Although I do agree OAKNUT sounds made up!

One F

Nancy 9:33 AM  

From yesterday: According to @albatross shell, there was a pop culture clue/answer in my LAT puzzle from yesterday. I don't remember it, to tell the truth. But if you want my long, detailed, and I would say rather revealing Explanation/Apologia, go to yesterday's blog comments where I just now put up a highly detailed response.

Mikey from El Prado 9:37 AM  

So I left my VETTE with ONSTAR, one of my two RAGTOPS, in the garage to go on an URBANHIKE. I saw the ODDDUCK or two, Through the SOOT and SMOG I could see a UNIONREP carrying a sign that said MAKELOVENOTWAR. I told myself DONTOVERTHINKIT, just go have a TURKEYWRAP followed up with CHURROS.

Oddly, my time was faster than Wednesday or Thursday.

Lewis 9:42 AM  

Because many crossword lovers are lovers of language, I wish to recommend a writer I’ve recently been exposed to, an Irish writer, Niall Williams. I just finished his most recent two novels, “History of the Rain” and “This is Happiness”, and I’ve been utterly charmed.

He is a Find. I found myself reading him not for the plot but for his way of setting down words and thoughts. It’s poetic, musical, a refreshing way of thinking, like incredibly delicious food food you’ve never tasted before. His writing sparkles; it is so rich with humor, personality, play, wisdom, and sharp observations, that I could read these books again and enjoy them as much as I did the first time.

Highly recommended. Worth seeking out, IMO. Niall Williams.

Trey 9:42 AM  

To have an OUT is to have an excuse not to do something

Unknown 9:49 AM  

I got stomped on that one also. It's not referring to an educational class but rather to the class of a rental car. So for Budget rental car you can rent an economy class car

Tom T 9:52 AM  

I'm giving two Hidden Diagonal Word (HDW) clues today, because the answers are both 4 letters in length and share the first letter, one descending to the west and the other to the east. Here are the clues:

1. Shakespeare, to the professor
2. Shakespeare, to the student, perhaps

This went quickly for me, for a Friday (around 30 minutes). DON'T OVERTHINK IT fell into place with no crosses, which really helped. Had ODDball for ODD DUCK, like many others. Really liked GUESSTIMATE.


1. POET (descending to SE from the P in block 23)

2. PAIN (descending from the same P to the SW)

If one is willing to accept a thoroughly egregious bit of PPP, there is a 6 letter diagonal in today's grid. The clue would be:

Purple black amulet on Rogue Lineage-Trello

The answer: LANNIS (I found this with Mr. Google, having never heard of any part of it!) Hoping for a more legit 6 letter diagonal in the future.

Trey 9:54 AM  

Fine puzzle for me. Liked most of the long answers. Cluing was tough but added to the challenge and thus the enjoyment. O me the biggest difference between the early and late-week puzzles (other than more uncommon PPP) is how transparent the clues are. This could have been a Tuesday or Wednesday puzzle without the misdirections

I took ECONOMY in terms of class as referring to airline fares - ECONOMY class is more budget-friendly

Yd -1 (my personal best!). Only missed an easy 4-letter word.

57stratocaster 9:56 AM  

When I got one of the first cassette recorder/players (Norelco/Phillips) in the 60's, there were, unbeknownst to me, two cassette formats (like the way there would be VHS and Beta for video.) I bought some some blank tapes to record hits off the radio, and couldn't figure out why they wouldn't fit in the player...the Phillips format won out soon after, and became the industry standard. I also got a Sony reel-to-reel in '63, and shortly after, in early '64, I recorded the Beatles off the Ed Sullivan Show. I was only 8.

Z 9:56 AM  

@Gill I - The NATionals are a baseball team. American SOIL or French SOIL or Brazilian SOIL where SOIL indicates you are in a “sovereign country.”

jberg 9:58 AM  

For you URBAN HIKE doubters: here's an example.

Add me to the list of DNFs with RAwTOPS. Didn't make sense, but I figured it was some kind of anatomical thing. I did like all the early '70s long downs, though.

Aelurus 10:02 AM  

Started this last night when I couldn’t fall asleep. Poked around and had fun slowly filling in bits of everything but the NW, even though had no idea why IOU was a cabbage alternative (thanks, @Z 6:51 am for that explanation) and thinking TURKEYWRAPS were for wild ones inexcusably OUT in a snowstorm, yes, scarves and mittens and all.

Went back up but was still stuck with a group of 6 empty squares. Had STA_ _ _M, MIN_ _ _A, and ODDNICK but got nowhere. Wanted ROD for 4D but didn’t think there’d be a third “star” in the puzzle (@kitshef 7:26 am – how cool, literally stellar and the missing “solid”; hi, @amyyanni 8:25 seeing stars! too).

Somehow knew BALOO, RAGTOPS, and CHOO. Also had “Tonka” before TESLA, and guessed 35D was EINS, having finally retained it as the German word for “one.”

Woke this morning and on starting somewhat fresh immediately saw ODDDUCK!, then, oh of course, DRUG!, and the NW fell into place.

Enjoyed this a lot and am thinking I must be getting better at Fridays. But will try not to OVERTHINK it.

@Nancy 9:03 am – wonderful post!

@Lewis 9:42 am – thanks for the Niall Williams recommendation; added to my list.

Peter P 10:06 AM  

I didn't notice the STAR dupe, but the OPEN one irked me. I had OPENSEA in the bottom of the grid and rejected filling in an O for ----PEN for the longest time because I thought there was no way there could be two OPENs in the grid. That just looks sloppy to me. And now to realize there was also the ONSTAR/SUPERSTAR pair.

For what it's worth, in the New York Times Wordplay column, a commentator named Richard mentions that Will Shortz had written in regards to a crossword from November 14, 2014: "“I don't allow any entire answer to be part of another answer (or appear in a clue, for that matter). But, generally speaking, I have no problem with part of an answer being part of another one. Most solvers don't seem to mind either. I'm more concerned with getting the best quality of fill, even if that means a semi-duplication like this.” In that puzzle "letter" reappeared in the answers "capital letter" and "raised lettering."

Whatsername 10:17 AM  

If there’s a movie franchise I know less about that STAR WARS, it’s Transformers. And speaking of stars, why do we have two of them? Must be double coupon day.

This puzzle felt oldish with the VETTE, RAGTOP, CASSETTE tape, Jesus Christ SUPERSTAR, OCCUPY, Bill & Hill. PLUS I added to it by trying to make my cyber truck a TONKA toy. I’ve been on a few cruises and loved the OPEN SEA days. Nothing to do but eat and VEG OUT.

DONT be fooled by the suggestion that those TURKEY WRAPS are OH SO much healthier. If you check the nutritional value, they are higher in calories, fat and carbs than a plain old hunk of bread. At least they are at Subway.

pabloinnh 10:19 AM  

Hand up for the befuddlement of the OHSO/SOIL/IOU train wreck, which took forever. My "cabbage alternative", three letters starting with I, wanted to be ICE, as cabbage=money and ICE=diamonds which are valuable like money, or something like that. And SOIL has one of those clues that makes you say, oh, really? That's it, is it?

With all respect to @Z, entering URBANHIKE into Google presupposes a knowledge of what an URBANHIKE might be, and it's certainly something that would never occur to rural me, who has taken many rural hikes, but not the other kind. "Long walks in a city", maybe.

MINORCA should be MENORCA, because that's the way I learned it. He dicho. Also, I'm with @GILL I on when and how CHURROS should be enjoyed.

OAKNUT is ridiculous. That's all there is to it.

Thank goodness for the long answers, which were top notch, and provided all the enjoyment in this one for me. You had a tough act to follow, JG, and today's effort is Just Good enough.

Crimson Devil 10:19 AM  

Apt doable Fri.

jae 10:34 AM  

Easyish with the SW a tad tougher than the rest. MAKELOVE...opened this up for me. The two long crosses are worth the price of admission, liked it. I’d give it more than three STARs.

@Nancy & Will - I just finished your Thur. LAT puzzle and really enjoyed it. Definitely a cut above the typical LAT Thur.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:35 AM  

I once took a guided tour of Boston's Emerald Necklace run by docents from a Park Service. Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, 7 or 8 miles long, from Boston Commons through the Back Bay Fens, down the Riverway to the Arnold Arboretum and Franklin Park. Many monuments along the way. That was and URBAN HIKE that I would recommend to everybody.

Gio 10:36 AM  

The thing with the double use of same word is it makes me doubt my answer.

JD 10:37 AM  

@ZΓΏ, You forgot American's oxymoronic Premium Economy. A headrest and extra legroom. On my flight back last week in Basic Economy Economy 1.a, (where I fit into the space just fine) the guy beside me stretched out his leg into the seat in front of me. It was a trick getting him out of there. You can only grab a purse out from under the seat and shove it violently back in there so many times.

@PeterP, Re. the spurious made up "semi-duplication," I'm not a hater but that's even worse than the duplication itself. A Star's a Star, a Star.

@57stratocaster, Wow. Do you still have that Beatles reel-to-reel?

Masked and Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Different kind of puzgrid layout for a themeless. Like.

Also liked that it really was a-flirtin with a snuck-in FriPuz theme:
* Three STARs. Havin two entries with STAR in it would be bad, but the third one kinda cancels that badness out.
* Two OPENs.
* DUCK and TURKEY. But it chickened out on havin the full turducken.

staff weeject pick: ICI. Have no idea what's goin on, in that there.

Overall, I found the puz to be fairly easy. I think it's mostly cuz I got several of the longest answers off very few crosses. Splatzed SUPERSTAR right in there off the openin S, f'rinstance.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Greenbaum dude. Good job.

Masked & Anonymo10Us


Carola 10:40 AM  

Medium for me, and fun to figure out. First in: SMOG x MINORCA; last in: SLOG x RAGTOPS. In between: the three easy center Downs made short work of ODDDUCK, CHURROS, VETTE, GOTPAST, etc., but I had to pick away at the farther reaches: what kind of WRAP? URBAN....???, What does "This isn't a trick question" even mean? A satisfying Friday.

Do-overs: AilS ("Troubles" read as a verb); URBAN mazE, which lasted one of @M&A's nanoseconds before being erased.

Nancy 10:42 AM  

Yes, that's right! Cabbage substitute, not cabbage alternative. @ss (7:30) nailed it. This clue/answer annoyed me mightily when I came to it, though I forgot to mention it in my comment. I resisted writing in IOU as long as I could.

I was thinking: if you owe me cabbage (and, yes, I immediately knew we were talking about money), don't you dare come around with an IOU clenched in your adorable little hand. I will not accept it as a cash "alternative". Not because I'm a meanie, but because it isn't a cash alternative. Just saying.

Thanks, @aelurus, for your nice comment!

Peter P 10:59 AM  

Quoting myself to correct:

"And now to realize there was also the ONSTAR/SUPERSTAR pair."

And now to realize there was also the ONSTAR/SUPERSTAR/STARDOM threesome.

To have five answers of the fill contain STAR or OPEN seems a bit much for me, unless it was part of some kind of theme.

Other than that, the fill didn't feel too bad to me. "Cassette player" felt a bit lifeless to me. I had TRUKEYclubs before TURKEYWRAPS. I enjoyed the DDD (Hi, Guy Fieri!) run in ODD DUCK. No major pushback, but it still took me about average time to finish it. Not sure where I got snared up.

Trey 11:03 AM  

A National is a Professional DC baseball player

Peter P 11:05 AM  

BTW, outside of crosswords, does anyone use "cabbage" for money? I only know it from puzzles. Is it like 30s slang or something? Etymonline is not helping me with citations meaning "money," and I don't have access to the OED to place the era. I can't say I've ever encountered it in the wild, whether in conversations or media. I've run into stuff like sawbucks, fins, clams, smackeroos, bones, in various places, but not "cabbage."

Master Melvin 11:09 AM  

My top 3 URBAN HIKES in the country:

1. Across the Brooklyn Bridge

2. Audubon Park in New Orleans

3. Fishermans Wharf to Embarcadero, San Francisco

Number 4 is actually in Canada: Stanley Park in Vancouver.

Is walking in a park cheating?

Z 11:16 AM  

@pabloinnh- I fear I conveyed my reaction poorly. I’m surprised that people are unfamiliar with URBAN HIKEs. But that’s probably because I know people working in the broad category of URBAN livability, so greenspaces, bicycle safety, and walkability issues are very familiar to me. For those just learning the concept, I am guessing that the big city near you probably also has people working on livability issues and you will find that URBAN HIKEs are happening there. Another popular thing are slow rolls.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

there were/are no Vette ragtops. closed top and T-top. that's it.

jb129 11:38 AM  

This was easier for me than yesterdays puzzle which, even after seeing the answers, I still didn't finish.

On to Saturday ........

Beezer 11:43 AM  

This would have been one of my fastest times except I gave up at the SOILS/IOU junction (hi, @Z, although you didn’t give up). Sometimes the old gray cells just do not make the connection until post-solve. It was a fair crossing though so I figure I just ran out of gas in the end.

The cavalcade of STARS didn’t bother me. I got briefly hung with plugging in GPS___ before ONSTAR but quickly realized the G would not fit with the-GRAPHIC clue down. I love DONTOVERTHINKIT which is something I sometimes do solving crosswords!

@Nancy, I was found time to work your/Will’s puzzle early evening and thought it was quite nice! I give kudos to LAT for allowing me past its firewall but I’m sure I would have enjoyed the puzzle more on a better online platform since MY pop up keyboard on my iPad obscured the view of the puzzle as a whole. Ah well, beggars can’t be…picking nits!

Ciclista21 11:45 AM  

Some things that irk me today:

1. Why is my package from Macy’s taking so long to get here? Six days ago, my package was shipped from a town 75 miles west of me. Five days ago, it was in a town about 100 miles south of me. Three days ago, it was in a town more than 100 miles northeast of me. Today it’s finally in my town and allegedly out for delivery. They sure made this harder than it needed to be. What a SLOG!

2. This puzzle. They sure made this harder than it needed to be. What a SLOG!

Joseph Michael 11:52 AM  

Rex, maybe you should cut out “DON’T OVERTHINK IT” and tape it to your desk somewhere next to your CASSETTE PLAYER. The reminder might help you get more enjoyment from the puzzles you critique.

Thought this was a tough but satisfying solve. Really liked MAKE LOVE NOT WAR and GUESSTIMATE.

Didn’t even notice the double OPEN or the triple STAR. I guess I was too busy trying to decide between RAW TIPS and RAG TOPS.

The ECONOMY clue was also a stumper for a while. Thinking about “class” fares on airplanes is what led me to the answer.

An ODD DUCK and an OAK NUT walk into a bar and order some CHURROS. “Sorry,” says the bartender. “All we have left are a couple of TURKEY WRAPS. It’s a global supply chain thing.”

egsforbreakfast 12:00 PM  

Do we have a succinct phrase that means the opposite of DONTOVERTHINKIT? I kinda like the idea of saying “Don’t underthink it” to someone who refuses to understand one of my typically flawless arguments. I suppose that the other way you could look at it is that the opposite is “Overthink it.” It’s not so clear when this phrase would be helpful, which may explain why it’s never used. Perhaps I’m OVERTHINKing this whole thing.

Isn’t YALELAW like Wharton Business? If you asked someone where they met, it just wouldn’t sound right. If the clue had been “School where Bill and Hillary first met” the answer would sound more natural to my ear.

Alternate clue for 42A Difference between we and well. NOELS

I liked this easy Friday. I noticed the STARS, but GOTPAST that without being annoyed. Nice job, Joseph Greenbaum.

Aelurus 12:16 PM  

@egsforbreakfast 12:00 - How 'bout "think it over"?

GILL I. 12:21 PM  

@Zy....9:56.....OK, thank you. Here's the thing: Like Master Rex, Fridays tend to be my favorite day. I gear up. I wear my rubber gloves and put my goggles on and prepare for a flight or some fright. Make my weekend clean as a whistle and make me laugh and squeal with delight. When you give me way too many spider webs, I groan and moan. Today, I did both. Don't be too clever and cutesy with clues like that cabbage one IOU. Like my friend, @pablito, don't have me guessing whether it's MeNORCA or MINORCA....It's MENORCA, friends, ask any Spaniard.... but then, a TEDAL isn't any pool I know of....or is it?

@Lewis....."In her attic room, with the rain rushing down the windows, Ruthie writes Ireland......" I'm so glad you mentioned Niall Williams and History of the Rain.....I bough the book for my step-mom for Christmas....But because I am me, I had to read it first. It's a GEM, folks.......

chance2travel 12:22 PM  

This puzzle was a delight for me personally. The long answers fell nicely into place with a few of them leaving just enough doubt on the back end, specifically UNION--- and CASSETTE---

The cabbage clue gave me pause, but on second pass I remembered the slang use for money.

Nearly tripped on Ails, but took it out early.

Never even noticed the STAR repeats.

Overall time came out on the Easy side. Very pleasant solve. (Your mileage may vary)

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

I think some urban dwellers are very insecure, feeling inferior to those in or near rural and natural areas. So, instead of going for a walk in the city (which is a fine thing to do) they need to co-opt "HIKE" to make themselves feel better.

sixtyni yogini 12:46 PM  

Well, variety is spicy 🌢 and nicey that so many loved this puzz. Many gold ⭐️ s for you.

🎯Agree with πŸ¦– about trying too hard clues and everything else.🎯

No raves from here, just a SLOG and a slug 🐌 (snail).

PHV 12:49 PM  

I expected some complaints about "or so" and "and so".

TJS 12:53 PM  

OK, I'm in on giving Niall Williams a try. But I can't figure out what @Lewis needs with a book called "This Is Happiness".

@Z, Asheville has historic sites? Is the well one of them ?

"Oak Nuts", just when you think you've seen it all...

old timer 12:58 PM  

Tough but doable, My favorite URBAN HIKE is straight down Lexington Avenue from Midtown, ending up McSorleya, In SF it is from Noe Valley over Chenery and up through Glen Park.

CHURROS in Spain are a morning food, best with hot chocolate.

Wanderlust 1:01 PM  

Wow, you are really baiting the haters when you put SLOG in your puzzle. Surprised Rex didn’t swing at that softball.

My first problem was in the NW, where I had MeNORCA (as it’s called in Spain) and ODDball. That led me to wonder and designer bRas. And trying to figure out how either peDAL or meDAL related to pools. Also had the same problem as everyone else on the IOU section, though I love URBANHIKEs. In Rex’s example, if he was walking from the Upper East Side to Chelsea because he couldn’t afford the subway fare, it was not a hike. If he was doing it to explore NYC by foot, it was.

SUPERSTAR is my favorite Carpenters song by far. Such longing never to be fulfilled. “Don’t you remember you told me you loved me, baby/Said you’d be coming this way again, maybe.” I can picture the Lothario telling her he’d be back to see her again, and slipping in that “maybe” under his breath. DON’T OVERTHINK IT, Karen!

mathgent 1:03 PM  

My favorite post this morning.

Master Melvin (11:09)

Joe Dipinto 1:10 PM  

Urban Hiking is a walk in the city that includes a sense of adventure. It embraces the urban environment by adventuring through parks, climbing stairwells, crossing intersections, and meandering through the city's obstacles of life.

"Ooh, honey, I feel like crossing some intersections today! You up for it?"

"That sounds cool! I know what—we could go up that stairway in the park too!"

"I love your sense of adventure. And we could forage for some oak nuts for tonight's dinner!"

"I knew there was a reason I married you!"

McD 1:16 PM  

"With my ragtop down so my hair can blow..." -- Vanilla ICI ICI Baby

Blue Stater 1:17 PM  

Hmmm. Once again I differ with OFL, but in the opposite direction. This was the easiest Friday for me in years, as though Wednesday, say, and Friday had changed places this week. Well, in the words of Ray Charles, one never do know, do one?

Jill 1:18 PM  

There are three stars in the puzzle.

Teedmn 1:27 PM  

"Troubles" is not a definition for ADOS that can be found in my inner dictionary. I know, it's in Merriam Webster (I just looked it up online) but my brain refused to go there to the detriment of my solve time today. That meant the obvious DON'T OVERTHINK IT got overthought.

And I couldn't wrap my head around TURKEY WRAPS. With turkey in the grid, I could only think "clubS" and no crosses worked with that, duh.

SLOw in at 56D definitely slowed me down and had me berating myself for even thinking that __wT___ for 65A might be rawTuna. Stingrays (the OPEN SEA sort) ≠ raw tuna, so there, stop thinking that.

Luckily, I didn't leave "zoom" in for very long at 23A.

@Roo, I got my first cassette tape around 1970 but didn't start seeing 8-tracks until I was old enough to get rides with my peers; everyone had an 8-track player in their vehicle and everyone used a matchbook to leverage it up so the dang thing would play. So I was surprised you thought 8-tracks came before cassettes. Google says 1964 for cassettes and 1965 for 9-tracks as the years they came onto the American market. Huh.

Joseph Greenbaum, you earned your money today - I loved battling a tough Friday puzzle, thanks.

And @Nancy, I loved the IOU rant!

emily 1:52 PM  

As a ‘married in’ Mexican, churros are morning, afternoon-post siesta snack, not so much dessert.

Anonymous 2:05 PM  

Hi, Smith here, something weird has happened and I can't find my blogger self... & GOOG is constantly asking me to update my pw... ???

Anyway, re RAGTOP �� Todd Snider ��
is what I think of these days! check it out


Lovely puzz yesterday, you had me at 1a, what a great clue!

@Lewis but I forget when

�� for Niall Williams, especially "This is Happiness"

Trey 2:07 PM  

@Master Melvin 11:09 - Love Stanley Park - excellent bike ride around the outer perimeter

Smith 2:08 PM  

Also those ?? were πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹

Smith 2:10 PM  

Oh, for Pete's sake, the ones by Todd Snider were musical 🎡 🎢

Nigel Pottle 2:31 PM  

ECONOMY is a perfectly good lanswer because it’s not about a class in university it’s about a class of seats in an airline. Someone on a budget would want economy class. Seems so many are missing the point.

okanaganer 2:43 PM  

When I lived in Vancouver my thing to do on the weekend was an URBAN HIKE. The best was from the West End where I lived, through Stanley Park, across the Lion's Gate Bridge to West Vancouver, stop for coffee, then bus back home.

I just finished an episode of The Mallorca Files (not the greatest series, actually), so at first I had MAJORCA for the island.

[Spelling Bee: yd -1 again (arghh), I missed this word. @puzzlehoarder, I feel your pain.]

A 2:50 PM  

Been enjoying the puzzles this week (including @Nancy’s frisky offering!) but no time to post. Music biz is making up for lost time.

My very first entry today was MAKE LOVE NOT WAR (tentatively confirmed with VETTE). Then SUPERSTAR. No way I wasn’t going to like this. RAGTOPS sealed the deal. I’m on my third RAGTOP*, and yes, that’s what I call it when I don’t say convertible, but I may switch to what the Brits call it: a VERT. DON’T O VERT HINK IT, it just sounds fun. Oh, and the stuff I use to waterproof the top is RAGgTOPp Fabric Protector.

Mr. A is a food show fan, so I noticed a plug for one of his favs, Diner’s Drive-ins and Dives (Triple D), hiddden in ODDDUCK. Fieri is a quirky sort, but he drives a nice RAGTOP.

Saw the triple STAR and the duple OPEN - figured the “no-dupe rule” is officially dead. AND SO here we are.

Sorry, @Rex, I liked the IOU clue. I also love the idea of an URBAN HIKE. I was just thinking my walks need spicing up, sans the drive to get out of town. Think I’ll take the pup to the nearby college campus tomorrow. Hills, steps, landscaping, art - and new folks to fawn over her (and for her to shed on).

@Rex is onto something re the CASSETTE TAPE - it was satisfying to hear/feel that multilayered click. But his “work music” choice - yikes.

A previously unknown to me Attilio Ariosti (1666-1729) is my birthday celebrant for today. A monk-turned composer, he held important posts in his native Italy and in Berlin, Paris and London. I’m happy to have encountered him. Apparently the viola d’amore was his favorite instrument. Rex can keep his Duett, I'll have the Ariosti, please.

*The term RAG TOP has been around for a while. Saw where some linguists were even discussing its origins. From

From Newspaperarchive, 26 May 1926 _San Mateo(CA) Times_ pg 7(Auto section), col. 2

<< "...more than one-half of all open cars sold during 1925 at prices of more than $1000 each, were Studebaker duplex phaetons and roadsters, the cars that have made the old fashioned 'rag top' automobile entirely obsolete." >>

Charles Young 2:54 PM  

Three stars and ten U’s (not including Yale).
Gotta be a record.

Newboy 2:56 PM  

Sunshine & an ODD DUCK puzzle make this a Friday to enjoy. Finding a good deal in Rex and @Lewis that resonates here—different responses, but both with points of merit. Hard to believe that MAKE LOVE NOT WAR is fresh meat for the NYT, but looking at the current state of affairs, be they social, political, or just personal that’s not such a bad idea? Still looking forward to yesterday’s recommendations after a day’s work tracking down a used small truck to replace previous non-VETTE wheels. I’m sure they will be more fun than the shopping.

LenFuego 3:00 PM  

Like many others, I really, really enjoyed this one, other than that IOU / SOIL area in the midEast.

I’m not giving a pass to NOELS there either.- I still do not understand how “Airs during the holidays” maps to NOELS.

Is it the idea that “Noels” somehow encapsulates the concept of “holiday spirit”, which is supposedly in the “airs” (plural, not singular) during “the holidays”? If so, that is really, really weak and wrong in so many ways I will not bother to enumerate. Or is it the idea that “NOELS” are “holidays” songs that, again, are in the “airs” (still plural, not singular!) during the “holidays”? Again, a whole lotta wrong there.

And that is not even getting into how overly hard this clue is trying to be inclusive by using “holidays” instead of Christmas for the concept of Noel - I mean, could “Dreidle, Dreidle, Dreidle” really be considered part of the NOELS in the context of this clue?

Anonymous 3:02 PM  

because of this (and other reasons mentioned), it is a 'so-so' puzzle

Z 3:08 PM  

All I ask is for 42 seconds.

JC66 3:08 PM  


An Air is a Song (Definition #5).

Joe Dipinto 3:18 PM  

@Wanderlust – Although I like the Carpenters arrangement, I always thought they were an odd fit for that song, considering the subject matter – the original title was "Groupie", which is what the person singing the song is. In the original by Delaney & Bonnie, she sings "I can hardly wait to sleep with you again" rather than Karen's tamer " with you again". But the whole lyrical conceit never made sense to me – wouldn't a groupie probably just go find another guitarist in another rock band instead of pining away for this dude?

Maybe one of these guys is in town and available.

egsforbreakfast 3:35 PM  

@Aelurus 12:16. You’re right. I guess I underthought that.

LenFuego 3:38 PM  


Thanks. That is a usage I have certainly never heard for the word air, but yeah, there it is in Merriam-Webster. I still cannot help but feel like it is not an exact match — Merriam-Webster emphasizes it being the melody of a song rather than the song itself, while Noel is defined as “a Christmas carol”, and carol is defined as “a religious folk song or popular hymn, particularly one associated with Christmas”.

Perhaps I am being obtuse — it wouldn’t be the first time — but bah, humbug, I still hare the clue.

Nancy 3:57 PM  

@Joe Dipinto -- I CHORTLED mightily over your far-fetched URBAN HIKE *conversation*, but then thought maybe it wasn't as far-fetched as I first thought. (Read Joe's (1:10) post before continuing, everyone.) Because crossing intersections is an adventure in NYC -- a big, dangerous, you-could-die-with-the-very-next-step-you-take adventure. And while you live in Brooklyn and I live in Manhattan, I'm sure it's exactly the same there.

It's the bikes and the electric bikes and the skateboards and the electric skateboards and the scooters and the motorized scooters and the kiddie scooters filled with Kamakaze kiddies who don't know how to steer. All going against the direction of the traffic and/or through the red light/and or between cars (where you can't see them coming) that have stopped for a red light. Now add to that the rotting asphalt from too many ice puddles and the deep potholes from too many trucks and, now, in the last maybe 5 years, the steep ramps with bumps. The steep ramps with bumps are a fairly new curb/crosswalk horror that suddenly sprouted up everywhere like weeds and were obviously put there to torment me in my dotage.

So your *couple* discussing the "adventure" of URBAN intersections is actually right on target. As long as one is not hiking along the edge of a cliff and as long as one is not in an area with grizzly bears or poisonous snakes, you are a lot safer on a rural hiking trail than trying to get across the street at, say, Columbus Circle.

Wellmet 4:09 PM  

First time through still the puzzle was a sea of white. Eventually solved it. That is my kind of puzzle. Very gratifying.

pabloinnh 4:18 PM  

@Nancy-Yikes! I am scuttling my plans to experience any URBANHIKE immediately.

This is probably a good thing, since I'd have to go to Boston, which is two and a half hours away.

bookmark 4:48 PM  

@Lewis: I've read both of the Niall Williams books, and I, too, highly recommend them.

Crimson Devil 4:52 PM  

I immediately threw in LIBRARY where YALELAW ended up.

Joe Dipinto 5:03 PM  

@Nancy – well, certain intersections are dicey, but I do a lot of walking in Manhattan and Brooklyn both, and I don't find crossing the street to be an "adventure" as a rule. My main irritation is when the corners get flooded from a heavy rain and you have to figure out how to negotiate the ocean-sized puddles to get across.

JeffE 5:56 PM  

Great Puzzle. Rex doesn't seem to like crossword puzzles.

pmdm 6:07 PM  

It was tough getting through this puzzle, but now at 6 PM I finally finished. My wife thinks I spend too much time on puzzles. Maybe she's correct. Even so, no panning from me about today's puzzle.

To those who are discussing the definition of "air." Have you ever heard Bach's "Air on a G string"? Not what he called it, but who cares?

Andrea 6:32 PM  

Churros are not dessert. They are “merienda” or even snacks.

kitshef 6:35 PM  

And here I thought Tom T's diagonal word today would be our old friend NENE.

Unknown 8:06 PM  

Same as Rex, just wasn't on the same wavelength with the puzzle at all.

Joe Dipinto 8:22 PM  

A twangy take on a famous "Air".

TTrimble 8:49 PM  

Not as enticing as yesterday's, but it had some good points, like the 14- and 15-letter lovelies ripping right through. I too wound up solving the IOU corner last (was not familiar with that use of "cabbage"). SOIL and URBAN HIKE didn't bother me at all. I think URBAN HIKing is how you might describe my sojourns around the city when we were living in London, and I still think it's the best way to explore a city -- on foot -- if it's safe enough.

I really would have liked "eggcorn" in place of OAK NUT (but obviously it won't fit). An eggcorn is when you mishear a word like "acorn" (pretend you're just learning the English language), but you invent a meaning for it that seems plausible within the context, like the acorn is an egg-corn: a hard thing that might one day germinate like an egg. Another is mishearing Alzheimer's disease as "old-timer's disease".

That diagonal game of @Tom T looks like an amusing diversion. Might you say Shakespeare was a SLY POET?

Enjoy the weekend!

dbyd 0
yd 0
td 0

stephanie 9:44 PM  

sea of white, followed by chipping away. got SUPERSTAR early on and thought it looked sparkly right smack dab down the middle. alas, the rest was rather...dry but still satisfying in a way because i always feel good when i can complete the EOW puzzles. and since i finished this one on my own, i thought for sure i would come here and read about how easy it was. was surprised but soothed to find it rated medium-challenging, and also in good company with the one area that nearly made me give up - IOU/SOIL/OHSO/OUTS.

i knew they were going for something to do with money when it came to cabbage, PLUS i couldn't think of any three letter varieties of leafy greens, nor any three letter synonyms for toupees. but still couldn't crack the code for so long. thought LETS for excuses, thinking it may be the verb, meaning "allows" in a way. but OH_L wasn't gonna do it.

thought lunch options was "TURKEY oR ham" but the A was in the wrong place. but surely OR was involved! surely! but no. i mean, "TURKEY WRAPS" isn't really "options" now is it.
waiter: what'll you have today?
customer: i don't know, what are my options?
waiter: turkey wraps.
customer: ...
customer: ...i guess i'll have the turkey wrap then.
reminds me of a bit on pee-wee's playhouse where pee-wee was the waiter and captain carl (played by the late great phil hartman) was the customer. he'd try to order things like "the juicy steak" and whatnot, but all that pee-wee really had was one thing: peanut butter and jelly.

ANGORA before ALPACA, even though to this day i still have an alpaca scarf made by my highschool environmental science teacher who owned alpacas. the only wool that was actually soft and didn't bother me to wear. really nice stuff.

my mom had a big button (like a pin, i mean) in her car for ages with a wireframe approximation of a globe on it. in capital letters it read, PEACE IS EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS.

been watching (and loving, as usual) american crime story, and this season is "impeachment", covering the lewinsky scandal from her perspective. (and the real monica is a producer on the show.) anyway, that was convenient for the YALE LAW clue, although i did type in COLLEGE first.

would rather have sopapillas or fried ice cream over CHURROS, but c'est la crossword.

thanks to @JC for the NOELS explanation, others for the NAT explanation, and @Lewis for his great thoughts on OVERTHINKING IT.

stephanie 9:46 PM  

oh yeah, and i laughed typing in OAK NUT, still remembering much ADO over NUTLETS from some months back.

Anonymous 10:12 PM  

Usually i complain about names. Today it was obscure geographic references. After finishing, I found many of the clues not really leading to the answers, a stretch maybe. Not a fan for today.

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