Dandy accessories / FRI 1-14-22 / DoorDash designation / Headwear for many a barbershop quartet singer / Sith superpower

Friday, January 14, 2022

Constructor: Matthew Stock and Sid Sivakumar

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: gunpowder tea (14A: Where to try out some gunpowder? = TEA TASTING) —

Gunpowder tea (Chinesepinyinzhū chálit. 'pearl tea'; pronounced [ʈʂú ʈʂʰǎ]) is a form of tea in which each leaf has been rolled into a small round pellet. Its English name comes from its resemblance to grains of gunpowder. This rolling method of shaping tea is most often applied either to dried green tea (the most commonly encountered variety outside China) or oolong tea.

Gunpowder tea production dates back to the Tang Dynasty 618–907. It was first introduced to Taiwan in the nineteenth century. Gunpowder tea leaves are withered, steamed, rolled, and then dried. Although the individual leaves were formerly rolled by hand, today all but the highest grade gunpowder teas are rolled by machines. Rolling renders the leaves less susceptible to physical damage and breakage and allows them to retain more of their flavor and aroma. In addition, it allows certain types of oolong teas to be aged for decades if they are cared for by being occasionally roasted. (wikipedia)

• • •
. Happy Newish Year! 2022! I hope you are holding up during these cold, dark days. It's early January, which means it's time for my annual week-long pitch for financial contributions to the blog. Every year I ask regular readers to consider what the blog is worth to them on an annual basis and give accordingly. 

2021 was an important year for me, as my blog (this blog, the one you are reading right now) turned 15 years old! [noisemaker sounds!!!!]. That's a lot of years old. For a blog, anyway. 15 is also a pretty important crossword-related anniversary—maybe the only important crossword-related anniversary. The standard US crossword grid is 15x15, and now Rex Parker is also 15! Rex Parker, spanning the grid to give you the constant variety of crossword commentary: the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat (dum dum dum DUM!) The human drama of ... OK now I'm just channeling Jim McKay from the '70s-era introduction to "Wide World of Sports," but I do hope this blog has provided some insight, some entertainment, some commiseration, some solace, some sense of regularity during what are obviously pretty tumultuous and often lonely times. I hope it has enhanced your solving pleasure, giving you something to look forward to even (especially?) when the puzzle lets you down, and someone to celebrate with when the puzzle is wonderful. If it's also given you someone to shout at in disagreement, that's OK too.

A lot of labor goes into producing this blog every day (Every. Day.) and the hours are, let's say, less than ideal (I'm either solving and writing at night, after 10pm, or in the morning, before 6am). Most days, I really do love the writing, but it is work, and once a year (right now!) I acknowledge that fact. As I've said before, I have no interest in "monetizing" the blog beyond a simple, direct contribution request once a year. No ads, no gimmicks. Just here for you, every day, rain or shine, whether you like it or, perhaps, on occasion, not :) It's just me and my laptop and some free blogging software and, you know, a lot of rage, but hopefully there's illumination and levity along the way. I do genuinely love this gig, and whether you're an everyday reader or a Sunday-only reader or a flat-out hatereader, I appreciate you more than you'll ever know.

How much should you give? Whatever you think the blog is worth to you on a yearly basis. Whatever that amount is is fantastic. Some people refuse to pay for what they can get for free. Others just don't have money to spare. All are welcome to read the blog—the site will always be open and free. But if you are able to express your appreciation monetarily, here are two options. First, a Paypal button (which you can also find in the blog sidebar):

Second, a mailing address (checks should be made out to "Rex Parker"):

Rex Parker c/o Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton, NY 13905

I'll throw my Venmo handle in here too, just in case that's your preferred way of moving money around; it's @MichaelDavidSharp (the last four digits of my phone are 4878, in case Venmo asks you, which I guess it does sometimes, when it's not trying to push crypto on you, what the hell?!)

All Paypal contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by email. All snail mail contributions will be gratefully acknowledged with hand-written postcards. I. Love. Snail Mail. I love seeing your gorgeous handwriting and then sending you my awful handwriting. It's all so wonderful. Last year's thank-you postcards featured various portraits of my cat, Alfie, designed by artist Ella Egan, a.k.a. my daughter. They were such a hit that I asked Ella to design this year's thank-you postcard as well, this time featuring both my cats. And this is the result. Behold this year's thank-you card: "Alfie and Olive: Exploring the Grid":
We went back and forth on whether she should add more black squares to make the grid look more plausibly fillable (that's a Lot of white space), but in the end we decided not to crowd the jumping (or hanging?) Olive with more black squares, and instead just to leave the card as is, with the idea that the cats are exploring a grid that is ... under construction. Anyway, this card is personally meaningful to me, and also, I believe, objectively lovely. I can't wait to share it with snail-mailers (and oh, what the hell, if you are a PayPal / Venmo donor and you want one too, just say so in the message). Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just indicate "NO CARD."  Again, as ever, I'm so grateful for your readership and support. Now on to today's puzzle...

• • •

Well, this puzzle made me remember Macklemore, so that's one big strike against it. True, "SAME LOVE" is a song in support of gay marriage, so if you had to pick any way to remind me that Macklemore  exists, this would be the way, but still, pass (for those lucky enough not to know: Macklemore is the white rapper whose album "The Heist" (in)famously won the Best Rap Album Grammy over Kendrick Lamar's debut, "good kid, m.A.A.d. city," in 2014). Liberal piety doesn't make you good at rapping! So many great gay anthems out there, but we get Macklemore. Sigh. OK, sorry, anyway, the non-Macklemore portions of this grid were pretty good, I think. The cluing seemed to be trying very hard to be tricksy or hard, and while that can get annoying, esp. on a Friday, the tricksy impulse here seemed largely under control. NW was tough going at first, with only NSA and KHAN and AVIA and ERG being easily gettable. You'd think that would provide enough traction to get the long Acrosses, but somehow MOTH was the answer that unlocked 2 of those 3 Acrosses, and MOTH was hard as hell to get (5D: One who's light-headed?). It's a good clue, and it slowed me down bad. So did writing in BOWTIE at 1D: Headwear for many a barbershop quartet singer (BOATER). Me: "Since when are ties 'headwear'!!!?" Since never, it turns out (A BOATER is, of course, a hat). Is there a DoorDash designation isn't TOGO? I thought DoorDash was a delivery service, so ... do you have to "designate" that on the app? Seems redundant. But I don't use food delivery apps, which have a nasty habit of exploiting workers, so I dunno. OPRAH was buried in a clue that meant nothing to me, and the clue for GUESTS makes no sense (why would your GUESTS be unfriendly? I get that you're trying to do wordplay with "patronizing," but the context just doesn't work). But once I got out of that corner, the puzzle evened out a bit, while still maintaining a nice bit of bite.

Osaka is a TENNIS PRO so that's what I wrote in, obviously. It was easy enough to fix, but somehow TENNIS ACES feels weirdly bygone. "Ace" as an unreturnable serve, sure. But you'd call Naomi Osaka a pro (or possibly, at this point, a legend). But that's the only real error I made from there on out. Oh, except somehow I got cocky and, after getting -RCRAFT, wrote in AIRCRAFT without ever looking at its clue (30D: World of ___). Then I got briefly mad that AIRCRAFT was crossing AIR-something at 30A: Modern source of juice. I thought that answer was going to be some Apple-specific charging system, since Apple makes the MacBook AIR, but no, wrong allllll around, it's World of WARCRAFT and, in the cross, WIRELESS CHARGER. Much better. Two kealoas* today: first the TUT/TSK dilemma at 55A: When repeated, an expression of disapproval (TUT), and later, the old CHAR/SEAR conundrum at 13A: Burn (CHAR). I think my favorite clue in this one was 52D: Miroir image? (MOI), even though (or especially because) the pun doesn't work very well, except visually. I appreciated the effort. It made me smile. I also enjoyed the moment when I discovered that "gunpowder" was green tea and not actual gunpowder (14A: Where to try out some gunpowder = TEA TASTING). 

Additional notes:
  • 51A: Sith superpower (EVIL EMPIRE) — tricky. Makes it sound like you're going to get some individual power like telekinesis or speed-reading, but it's "superpower" in the larger, political sense.
  • 9A: St. Louis clock setting, briefly (CST) — if you absolutely have to give me a clock setting abbr., at least tell me what time of year it is. Getting "difficulty" into your puzzle by simply leaving out crucial info like that isn't going to make anyone happy. It's just more precious seconds I have to linger over a clue we all would like to ignore / forget / move past.
  • 21A: Not allowed to go back (IN EXILE) — very hard for me; even with the front and back ends of the answer in place, I instinctively wanted the answer to be one word. Predictable mistake. 
  • 15A: Italian verse form (RIMA)
     — huh. I thought this was just the word for verse, or "rhyme." I didn't know it was attached to a specific form. Dante wrote "The Divine Comedy" in terza rima (interlocking tercets with the rhyme scheme: aba bcb cdc etc.), but Petrarch wrote RIME (plural) and many of those are in sonnet form, so ... not sure what the clue is specifically referring to. Anyway, I like Petrarch and Dante, so I like RIMA. Even with this vague clue.
  • 42A: Dandy accessories (CRAVATS) — so this puzzle does contain neckwear after all. Not BOWTIEs, but CRAVATS. I wasn't aware of their dandy association, but I guess that makes sense. Is Fred from "Scooby-Doo" a "dandy"? News to me. "Cravat" is part of one of my own favorite misheard lyric. I still have to think about what the words are every time I hear "You're So Vain," when she sings, "You had one eye in the mirror as / You watched yourself gavotte." My 6-year-old brain heard it as "You watch yourself go by" (how is a 6-year-old supposed to know what 'gavotte' is!!?). But somehow my later grown-up brain didn't fix it; it just changed it to the equally wrong "You watched your silk cravat." Bizarre.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

*kealoa = short, common fill that you can't just fill in quickly because two or more answers are viable Even With One or More Letters In Place. From the classic [Mauna ___] KEA/LOA conundrum. See also, e.g. [Heaps] ATON/ALOT, ["Git!"] "SHOO"/"SCAT," etc.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Ray M 7:07 AM  

Southwest corner solved easily for me. After that, it was work my way from the bottom to the north and north west corner. Had trouble with “togo;” thought that “goto” was better as a directive to door dash drivers. Gave up at that point and just after hitting the sheets thought of “togo.” Finished NW and N section in 5 minutes using “togo” this morning. There was something about this puzzle, and I’m not sure what it was, that just wasn’t fun. It seemed more like work than a pass-time.

kitshef 7:07 AM  

Double-Natick at C_T/RI_A/_A_E LOVE. Guessed right on the CST/CdT 50/50, but the other one had many options and not surprisingly guessed wrong (went with a ‘v’ there).

Lots of clues I did not like today, but TEA TASTING was first-rate.

Roberto 7:20 AM  

I'm surprised there was no chiding for war craft and trade war.. I thought that was a no no

Phillyrad1999 7:28 AM  

Easier (for me) than most fridays. Liked gun powder - tea tasting the best. Gun powder green tea is my go to for caffeine that’s not coffee and zen when I don’t. Thought mouse over and obsess over in the same grid was odd.

Son Volt 7:30 AM  

This one had just enough pushback - some flat fill but mostly clean and fun. Really liked TEA TASTING with its clue along with CHILI DOG and VERBIAGE.

One drawback was the WIRELESS CHARGER spanner - not a front and center entry for me. Side eye for TENNIS ACES also - given the dual use ACES.

Highlight today though was Rex getting butthurt from Macklemore’s liberal piety - classic stuff.

Enjoyable Friday solve.

Trey 7:32 AM  

Absolutely loved this. Lots of challenge. My first confident answers were ADE and RAD which gave me WARCRAFT and then basically solved from that corner out.

Lots of unknowns - SAME LOVE (I have heard of Macklemore but none of his music), KHAN Academy, gunpowder as a tea.

Likes MOUSE OVER but took me forever to see it.

Lewis 7:36 AM  

Whoa, Matthew and Sid, you set a mountain in front of me today, and I love facing mountains like this. This was tough! You bamboozled me with tricky clues and threw quite a few things at me I just didn’t know. But when things fell in, man did they feel good. And those few splat fills that happened after getting an answer brought me to Crosslandia heaven.

And oh did I love [They can be friendly while patronizing], [Bath water unit], and [One who’s light-headed]. I live for clues like that. I OBSESS OVER clues like that! And three of the eight NYT puzzle debuts were terrific, IMO: The aforementioned OBSESS OVER, WIRELESS CHARGER, and TELL NO ONE.

Matthew and Sid, you are both relatively new to the NYT puzzle, both here less than a year-and-a-half. Yet your puzzles are so memorable, you both feel to me like long-time regulars. I’m so very glad you’re here. Thank you for making puzzles and for today’s energizing trek!

bocamp 7:45 AM  

Thx Matthew & Sid, for your TASTy Fri. CREATIon!


Was way off M&S's wavelength on this one.

Just meandered here and there, and eventually it all came together.

Bit of a scary cross at RIMA/ SAME LOVE; finally clued in on the 'M', as I vaguely recalled it from a past puz (where I'm pretty sure I missed it). Thinking of RhyMe did the trick.

Another xword WAR fought and won. As always, relished the battle! :)
yd 0*

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

OffTheGrid 7:45 AM  

This was tough. I solved letter by letter, not word by word. As is often the case on Fri and Sat I got nothing in the NW and had to work from the south, though that was no piece of cake. I often headed down the wrong path. I used the "check" function now and then, without which I would still be doing this when tomorrow's gets published. I was surprised that my time was under an hour. I may be slow but.....there's no but.

Bubbabythebay 7:45 AM  

Got detoured via Kealoa on the way to Natick and never did arrive. Macklemore was a total unknown, so I had to guess whether it was summer or winter in St Louis, then figure out whether the song was about SaFe love, SaMe love, DaVe love or DaMe love and whether the rhyme scheme was RIVA, RIMA RIVA OR RIFA. SAFE LOVE made the most sense so took the RIFA Road at the detour sign. Hopelessly lost now.

JJK 7:51 AM  

How is it that Rex didn’t have a kitten over not one but two word repetitions? Two wars and two overs. WARCRAFT, TRADEWAR and MOUSEOVER, OBSESSOVER. Isn’t this a huge xword taboo?

Wordler 7:56 AM  

I guess comments about WORDLE are still allowed, so WORDLE **mini spoiler alert**

I decided to start with a word from today's NYTX. I chose LITRE. My second word was GUEST. I got THE word on 3rd try but really shouldn't have. It felt like 90% luck. This is one strange game.

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

Didn’t Dante dedicate a RIMA to dAME LOVE?

Jim Spies 8:01 AM  

It was strange that "STUCK THINKING ITS GLORY DAYS WERE IN 1904" didn't fit in 9A..... (I'm from STL and have lived here almost 50 years, so I can make that joke; seriously STL is a great place to live and way underrated as a place to visit)

Lewis 8:08 AM  

@jjk -- Here's Sid's answer to that question (in the WordPlay comment section): "Partial duplicates (or "dupes") like this are frowned on by some. Will Shortz's position is to permit repeated answer words so long as the *entire* word is not duplicated elsewhere in the puzzle (so WAR/WARCRAFT would not be allowed, but TRADEWAR/WARCRAFT would be). I share the same view. I know some folks find them inelegant ... but as a solver I've never once found partial dupes obtrusive to my experience, so as a constructor I don't care to excise them from grids at the expense of overall fill quality."

Karen 8:17 AM  

Really enjoyed your commentary today, except I now curse you for the ear worm of You're so vain with "cravat" argh! I also loved learning about gunpowder tea. As a tea drinker I will now be on the hunt for it!

The Joker 8:18 AM  

I don't mind repeated words in a grid. I never feel duped.

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

Pretty sure Carly Simon watched him cavort (jump or dance around excitedly, or apply oneself enthusiastically to sexual or disreputable pursuits), not gavotte (a medium-paced French dance, popular in the 18th century).

Joel Palmer 8:21 AM  

Easier today than yesterday. Thank you for providing this great and entertaining addition to the Times Xword. Happy to make a donation and hope everyone will hit the PayPal button! cheers. jp

Drew 8:44 AM  

I agree with Rex that 52D: Miroir image? (MOI) was an excellent clue, but think we understand it differently. When he says "the pun doesn't work very well, except visually," does he mean that the word "miroir" has M, O, I in it? I thought it was that, when you stand infant of a (French-spelled) "mirror," what you see is "moi."

Fellow Earthling 8:44 AM  

Surprised Rex didn’t mention TRADEWAR/WARCRAFT or MOUSEOVER/OBSESSOVER. Felt like lazy editing to have two dupes. I kept thinking I was missing some theme or wordplay when I saw them.

Jim 8:45 AM  

The Heist is a fine album that a lot of people liked and heard, me because of my kids who listen to rap from a lot of artists. Rex's beef is with the Grammys, which, yeah. That Macklemore "exists" is a pretty blunt resentment.

amyyanni 8:46 AM  

Thanks, @Lewis, as I had the same question as @JJK. In fact, since I had MOUSEOVER and OBSESSOVER first, figured we had an unmentioned theme of sorts. This led me to enter READOVER with confidence.
Managed to realign the ship eventually and sailed into the Friday sea. And it's sunlit, not too nippy, so all's well.

CML 8:47 AM  

As someone who grew up around rodeos, the ROPING clue is bad. Team roping is an event, steer roping is an event, tie-down roping is an event, calf roping is an event. ROPING is not. It's like cluing "Awards category after Best Director" with the answer MOVIES. (Yes, this is pretty esoteric.)

Whatsername 8:49 AM  

What a nice change from the abundance of trivia we’ve seen lately. Really appreciated a clean straightforward themeless and the low ratio of PPP. Challenging for me but entirely doable.

Not just two but three duplicates today: WAR/WAR, UP/UP and OVER/OVER. A triple header!! What in the wide, wide world of crosswords is going on?

The clue for REMIT (“Please ____”) for some reason triggered a funny memory. My mom’s small town community group MET once a month for a potluck dinner in the old one-room schoolhouse in the center of town. Often the ancient plumbing acted up and they’d be down to one restroom. Which was how I learned that on the wall of the Men’s, one of the ladies had posted a sign that read: “We try to keep your restroom clean. We aim to please. YOU aim too, please.”

Looks like we’re in for some snowy weather over the weekend. Rather than OBSESS OVER it, I plan to hide out IN EXILE and and RELAX in my OASIS with a stack of books and watch football on TV. But please … TELL NO ONE! They’ll just annoy me with their endless VERBIAGE.

Nancy 8:53 AM  

The NW was impenetrable for me and sent me scampering around the grid looking for any way at all to enter. Is that Central Standard Time? Not sure, so I just wrote in the ST. Is 3A CHAR or SEAR. CHAR leads to CRUX, so let's write that in. Oh, and there's DOW. Eventually I had CHILI DOG and TRADE WAR and then IN EXILE and eventually I got back to the NW with enough letters to solve it.

Guessed at so many things in the NW: MOUSE OVER and TEA TASTING and DESKS and BOATER. What with so much out of my wheelhouse, this was a tough and rewarding challenge for me. I enjoyed the tussle.

My curiosity was provoked by the idea that purple prose and technical jargon had anything in common. What, exactly, I wondered? Aha -- VERBIAGE! Too funny. Here's your assigment for today, people:

Describe a gift you received over the holidays -- first in purple prose and then in technical jargon. It has to be the same gift. I'll come back later and grade your paper :)

TJS 8:54 AM  

Anyone else think that Rex grades on a curve ?

Steve Pantani 8:56 AM  


Mark 8:58 AM  

I had BETAMALE for 1-across until the crosses showed me where I went wrong. Works well with the clue, though.

What the...? 9:01 AM  

Can someone explain “chili dog” to me.

@anon at 8:20 it is gavotte.

mmorgan 9:07 AM  

I’m shocked that Rex didn’t comment on the OVER dupe.

Maire 9:09 AM  

As someone who does indulge in food delivery apps occasionally - DoorDash does allow you to order food for pick-up as well, so you do need to tell it if you want delivery or pick-up.

TJS 9:11 AM  

Hey, give Rex a break ! He was so verklempt over being reminded of the Maclemore/Lamar travesty that he didn't have time to be outraged by war/war or over/over. There is only so much up with which he will not put.

Good puzzle ruined by too cute NW, IMO.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf it was apricot
You had one eye in the mirror, as you watched yourself GAVOTTE
And all the girls dreamed that they'd be your partner
They'd be your partner and
You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

@Steve. OPER (for operator) appears on a telephone dial or keypad.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

How many people could possibly have been gavotting in an apricot scarf ? I think the song probably was about him.

Jennielap 9:28 AM  

I’m sorry, Mouse over? That was a deal breaker for me. Is that a thing? I really struggled with this one. Also had sear instead of char, hence put soul instead of crux. Eventually got it sorted out, but it wasn’t pretty. I too sang “ go by” in my youth. Ah well, cheers all.

Tom T 9:29 AM  

Tough to get a toe hold on this one. Like others, I got my first breaks in the south and finished in the NW, then the NE.

Hand up for noticing the repeated OVERs, but did not see the WARs. Hand up for the kealoa CST (vs. CdT). Not familiar with Macklemore song, so that was a slowdown.

Really wanted sidekick for 1A (One playing second fiddle, perhaps).

Learned about gunpowder tea. Liked the clues for WIRELESS CHARGER and MOI.

Not much to offer in the Hidden Diagonal Word department today. Lots of EE words: SEE, CEE, TEE, GEE (twice). There was a diagonal ROO--hello, @ RooMonster--beginning in the 33D square and moving to the NE.

Got through a tough Friday in less than an hour with happy music playing merrily when the last letter (the M in RIMA/SAMELOVE) fell. Good start to the day!

mathgent 9:30 AM  

Although I agree that the boys stumbled here and there (GUESTS, clue for OVA, clue for MOTH, TENNISACES), I really think they did an excellent job. Sparkly, crunchy, clean.

Happy to read Lewis's comment about dupes in a puzzle. Damon G said pretty much the same thing in his list of puzzle likes and dislikes recently. No problemo.

OTTO Bonn!

Anne Hathaway starred in ELLA Enchanted. She's my favorite actress. Very sexy in a low-key way. In Love and Other Drugs, she was delightfully naked much of the time.

pabloinnh 9:31 AM  

This took me a very long time so it was a satisfying solve. Gunpowder TEA? OK. KHAN? Could be. OPRAH wrote that? I guess. And so on. CORE instead of CRUX slowed things way down. And TSK, and OBSESSWITH, and who is Macklemore? Also I have a touch pad and not a mouse, so that took forever.

Fortunately, I was in a barbershop quartet in high school and wore a BOATER, or I'd still be working on this beast. Thank goodness for the NYY for supplying EVILEMPIRE.

Kudos to MS and SS for a scary run down a double black diamond with bare spots. Many Snags and Sorta Stupefying but a hard-earned victory, the best kind. Thanks for the fun.

The Other Lewis 9:37 AM  

I appreciated the puzzle having so many 8-letter words. I like being able to think big.

The NE was where I got stuck. I had SEAR instead of CHAR, SOUL instead of CRUX. Cheated a bit with the "check puzzle" feature to see where I erred.

I loathe Door Dash, having worked for them recently. I made UPTO ten dollars an hour delivering people their french fries in the freezing cold, which is less than minimum wage. They refuse to pay minimum wage to their "Dashers." They do this by abusing a loophole to (mis)classify them as "independent contractors," and often they do this illegally. All these apps, Door Dash, GrubHub, tell you this is normal, but their "Dashers" are really employees, since the company can't exist without them. A contractor would be someone fixing their windows e.g. But legally you have to treat employees more fairly than contractors. They spent 100 million in California to keep people poor with this VERBIAGE.

CarynR 9:45 AM  

"As you watched yourself GAVOTTE"?? - Mind blown!! Like Rex, I sang "watched yourself go by" all these years. After doing a little googling I learned there is actually a word for this type of mistaken lyrics: Mondegreen - a mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near-homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning.

That being said, I still like "watched yourself go by" better and will probably continue to sing it that way!

RooMonster 9:45 AM  

Hey All !
Well, You're So Vain is about the vain guy, isn't it? Whether he's gavotting, cavorting, or spazzing out.

Anyway, saw the triple-doubles (to borrow a Basketball term) of UP, OVER, and WAR. Grated a little bit. What grated more was the double Natick in SAME LOVE. Had the CST one correct, but not the RIMA one. I had SAvE LOVE as it sounded good to me.

1A ended as dATE for quite a while. Wanted blind in front for a bit, but was too long. TExT ASkING was floating around the ole brain for a bit. Har. MOTH was dOdO for a bit.

Regale a story to Peter of Herman's Hermits? TELL NOONE.
If you're female, do you order an OMELETTE? Males order OMELETs?
Lay your book on someone? READ UPON

Ooh, found another repeat, TING, 14A, 56A. Har.

Enough babbling. Have a great Friday!

yd -3, should'ves 2

One F

relicofthe60s 9:54 AM  

Medium-challenging? Really? I sailed through this in one of my fastest times ever. And the big complaint is being reminded of some outrage about a rapper? Who cares? Meanwhile no mention of two repeats, WARCRAFT/TRADEWAR and even worse MOUSEOVER/OBSESSOVER? I’ve seen longer rants about mush less egregious duplications than those two. Maybe Rex should stop obsessing over rappers.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

Yup, I initially wrote in FORCECHOKE for "Sith superpower" :-(

Z 9:56 AM  

UP is not a dupe, it is a trip and all this repetition is great in epic poetry but is most definitely suboptimal and inelegant in a crossword puzzle. TRADE WAR/WARCRAFT is the least inelegant to me because of the WAR Symmetry. That symmetry gives it a little visual interest so bothers me the least. It is actually the crossing UPs and then crashing into UP again in the NW (I solved clockwise starting in the NE) that caused the eyebrows to arch.

I got the “they’re spying on the comments” feeling as I wrote in RESEATED after yesterday’s odd kerfuffle.

I loved the clue for VERBIAGE and immediately wondered (again) why there’s no such thing as “nouniage.”

@Son Volt - Rex wasn’t butt hurt by Macklemore’s liberal piety but rather by his rapping. As @Jim said, his real issue is with the Grammys.
@Jim - That’s a harsh reading of what Rex wrote. I was thinking of it as, “I haven’t thought of this guy in years and now I’m reminded of the greatest travesty in Grammy History” (greater than Jethro Tull beating Metallica? discuss amongst yourselves).

@Drew - I thought Rex was referencing that “miroir” looks like “mirror” but doesn’t sound anything like “mirror.”

Overall I liked this puzzle.

@Wordler - Please try not to use your actual guesses when writing about Wordle the day of the puzzle. It’s hard to avoid the spoilers even with the alert.

Kevin Uy 9:58 AM  

I was annoyed at all the duplicate answer pieces, which I most noticed with UP (12D, 33D, 49A), but now I'm looking at the puzzle and I think it was intentional? There's OTTO crossing AUTOSAVE, WARCRAFT and TRADE WAR in mirrored positions, OBSESS OVER and MOUSE OVER, along with other words that look/sound similar to OVER in OVA, OPER and OPRAH. Maybe?

Z 10:05 AM  

FWIW - Gavotte

Carola 10:13 AM  

Enjoyably tough for me. I got off to a rough start, with my barbershop quartet singer in an indefensible tOp hat and my heart a Core instead of a CRUX. At least the O in tOp got me MOUSE OVER, leading to NSA and MOTH, enough to get me going....on many a circuit of the grid. My top three pleasures: the clue for TEA TASTING, discovering the central word that started with V and ended with E, and the laugh at EVIL EMPIRE: like @Rex, I'd thought the clue was asking for a specific power, like "ability to strangle from a distance."

@Matthew Stock and @Sid Sivakumar - Thank you for a great pairing of challenge and fun.

Chris Orr 10:17 AM  

Also UP (TO) and UP (ON) — boo hiss

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

Bob Marley, Chuck Berry, The Who, and The Beach Boys (to name a few on a very long list) never one Grammys (lifetime achievement awards don’t count).

Joaquin 10:24 AM  

The discussion of 52D [Miroir image?] reminds me of a sign in a small store I patronize. It says "Self Checkout" and is posted above a mirror.

Love learning new stuff from xwords. Today I learned "gavotte", but I still think "go by" is the better lyric.

Brian 10:28 AM  


jae 10:29 AM  

Easy-medium. The NW was a tad bumpy but the rest was pretty easy.

ROPING was a gimme thanks to “Yellowstone”. Spoiler Alert: Barrel racers can be trouble makers. We are finishing up Season 4 this week and I highly recommend it. It’s better than “Succession” IMHO. Beth Dutton would finish off the Roy clan before breakfast.

Solid Friday with a hint of sparkle, liked it.

bocamp 10:30 AM  

Gavotte, Baroque Dance (via ahang1001 on YouTube)

"The gavotte (also gavot, gavote, or gavotta) is a French dance, taking its name from a folk dance of the Gavot, the people of the Pays de Gap region of Dauphiné in the southeast of France, where the dance originated, according to one source. According to another reference, however, the word 'gavotte' is a generic term for a variety of French folk dances, and most likely originated in Lower Brittany in the west, or possibly Provence in the southeast or the French Basque Country in the southwest of France." (Wikipedia)

@Lewis (8:08 AM)

Thx for Sid's answer to the question re: 'dupes'.

@Carola (10:13 AM)

Hands up for 'top hat'. Sang in a barbershop quartet, but never wore a hat, so what do I know! lol
td 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Joe Dipinto 10:45 AM  

Wordle 209 3/6


Woohoo! Best attempt yet.

To me the big ? in "You're So Vain" has always been, is Carly saying "your scarf, it was apricot", or is she saying "your scarfette was apricot".
Like, maybe a scarfette was an item of mini-neckwear that was trendy at the time— perfectly stylish for gavotting or for a quickie with the wife of a close friend, wife of a close friend.

Kendrick Lamar has two Best Rap Album awards, a total of 13 Grammies, and a Pulitzer, so stop complaining, Piously Liberal White Boy Asshole.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

Naomi Osaka a lgend? LOL, good one Rex.
Wait, your'e serious?! Let me laugh even harder.

JD 10:57 AM  

Sid Sivakumar and I usually aren't on the same wavelength. A pilot told me that learning to land a helicopter in the fog is tough because it's so disorienting. That's what his puzzles feel like to me.

I had nothing until 30D World of Warcraft, then Ade and then the rest of that SW corner. Then snaked my way to the top.

Some really brilliant cluing. Gunpowder for Tea Tasting (fortunately I've tried it, not my cup of tea), Modern Source of Juice for Charger. Lightheaded for Moth.

But I was in the fog a lot too. A Litre of bathwater? Aren't? Oh wait thank you autocorrect!!! There's no Arent! The real spelling for Omelette. Oper. for Abbr. Near Zero. The Sith Superpower thing (not what the Sith called it, so … foggy).

Verbiage was difficult for me because my job with engineers was to edit the verbosity out of their documents. So I was thinking of the clipped end product, not the vebiosity* they started with.

But it all worked out in the end, so yay Sid and Matthew. You're a great team and that was a lot of fun.

*Worked for a lawyer who had impressive verbal skills. One day he asked me to look over something he'd written to trim the vebiosity. I was impressed until I figured out it wasn't a real word, but I still use it.

@Jennielap, almost every link you see in a wiki is a mouseover.

Katzzz 10:57 AM  

And “met up” too.

Nancy 11:03 AM  

Wordle 209 3/6


Aha!!!! That share button works!!!! Thank you, (from yesterday) @JC66.

bocamp 11:05 AM  

Forgot to mention that I learned 'gavotte' from the SB.

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

GILL I. 11:06 AM  

Good gravy on my IHOP pancakes. Oops. You need to pour them over your OMELETTE. I've been to IHOP exactly one time. Guess what I ate?....You guessed right. It was a Cuban sandwich and it was delicious....
So I then wandered back to attic to try and see what else I could screw up. We'll start with me putting in Bowler for the quartet singer hat. I always thought a BOATER is what the gondoliers wore.
Where else did you screw up? you ask....Same areas as @Rex. So that makes me feel dumb/smart.
I'm so glad I know my Dr. Seuss since my friend, LORAX popped in to wave at me. Then I had to do the ole get up and move around and fix some Texas TEA act. Actually, I know what gunpowder is because my husband calls his green TEA that. So kudos to me for knowing exactly two answers.....mumble, mumble.
Did anyone else have MRS Jones for 26A?. Of course not. But I did. After figuring out CST and getting CHILI DOG the DOW light popped into my pea pickin' brain. Yay me....Keep going...you can do this if you have patience and besides, you know you're liking this challenge.
I always say "Nighty night, don't let the bedbugs bite." Nobody cares but I did figure out NIGHT.
I also cheated on VERBIAGE because I wouldn't know a purple prose from a Calla Lilly. My dandies wear bow ties [sigh] and my disapproval tongue twister is TSK. Why not clue TUT as an Egyptian ruler.
And so it went. It was tres difficult and I had to look up things like that OTTO guy; AUTO SAVE and MOUSE OVER. The rest I pretty much got...letter by letter . So I Finished this Fiendish Friday . Teacher gave me an F for my eFFort but it wasn't my first and I actually enjoyed being tortured.

OffTheGrid 11:14 AM  

I thought gavotte was something used to strangle someone.

Before I knew about the Birkshires I thought James Taylor's lyric was...

Now, the first of December was covered with snow
So was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston

Though the ***BIRCHES*** seemed dreamlike on account of that frostin'

I plunked in "runnerup" for 2nd fiddle clue, thinking that was a pretty good guess. And it was until it was wrong. (It would've been yet another UP)

puzzlehoarder 11:14 AM  

This was 6-7 minutes over my average Friday time so low end challenging.Most of the extra time came from a slow start in the NW. The NE was harder and I wound up back filling it last.

Once the NW was filled THELORAX dropped in and things picked up. The SW was early week easy. Even with a TOP HAT/CRAVAT write over I managed to fill that corner without having to read the clues for RAD, RELAX,TUT and VAST.

I didn't notice the WAR duplication but OBSESS sat by itself until the crosses made OVER the only possibility. This slowed down the solve and even caused me to look back at the NW to see if something was wrong with MOUSEOVER.

yd pg -2 one of those words was the root form of the pangram... sheesh!

Nancy 11:16 AM  

@JD (10:57) -- Your experience and expertise is badly needed by MOI. Can you please drop by -- you're not that far away, NJ, right? -- and eliminate all the incomprehensible VERBIAGE from my computer manual, my smart TV manual, my VCR manual and my cable manual? Put it into actual English and I'll reward you with some potable far more enticing than gunpowder tea, I promise.

Also, @JD -- "Bathwater" = the water from Bath, an English town, which explains LITRE as spelled.

kitshef 11:23 AM  

@JD 10:57. "Bath" in the clue is the town in England, thus alerting you that "litre" will be spelt the British way.

Unknown 11:28 AM  

What a Friday! Super tough, but there was always a toehold.
MOUSEOVER was new to me.
GUEST was a clever play on "patronizing" in the negative sense. Seemed pretty straight forward.
MOI was tres amusant.
Just a wonderful Friday. It's rex's unnecessary rants about some rapper (or whatever the cause du jour is) that make me wonder why folks give him $$. You're just encouraging him.

Perry 11:35 AM  

Today's puzzle was VASTLY easier than yesterday's. That's it. That's the comment.

Tom in Nashville 11:37 AM  

This was hard for me. Took a long time to solve the entire thing (36 mins is over my average for a Friday). Not on the same frequency as the constructor.
I was convinced that “One Time” was the answer to “Not allowed to go back” clue - as in a ‘1-time offer.’ This screwed up the entire NE. I ended up with “Safe Mode” as the name of the song instead of “Same Love.” Didn’t know the song anyway. Just a mess up there.

Also didn’t know what Gunpowder tea was so had some sort of nonsense in there. Ended up with a completed puzzle that had 5 mistakes in it - all in the north.

Son Volt 11:39 AM  

@Z 9:56a - his use of the “white” descriptor reminds me of a guy I know who calls Darius Rucker that black country singer. Both dismissive of the artists purely on race. I agree with him on the rapping skills - he should have left it there.

JD 11:40 AM  

@Nancy, Ahaaaa!!!! Bath Water. Huge smile, thank you! Please mentally edit out those !s. I noticed Litre but thought Sid might be a Brit.

Good thing I've retired. Couldn't edit a smart TV manual to save my life. Don't even have a working TV anymore.

Newboy 11:43 AM  

UPON my life I wondered what this duo was UP TO with TRADE WAR WAR CRAFT duplication. So much VERBIAGE without RIMA reason I suspected Rex would call for both to be placed IN EXILE, but nary a peep? Is he playing nice with the GUESTS during pledge drive week? Too late here as my paupers pittance posted previously. Getting a toe hold was tough today with BowlER atop my vocalists for far too long and OASIS safely hidden in the desert of white surrounding it. Even NSA was hard to spy in unsafe though I love dipping back into the archives for “puns and anagrams” grids. It seems especially fitting that today’s constructors’ initials are all S & M—thanks guy for whipping this one out!

egsforbreakfast 11:44 AM  

I don’t think anyone else has mentioned the BOATER/BOwlER kealoa. It snared me for a nanosecond.

Who is SAM E LOVE anyway?

Loved the puzzle. Gotta run.

Anonymoose 11:45 AM  

One who's light-headed?/MOTH is a very good clue. But it would have been better and more honest without the hyphen.

Beezer 11:45 AM  

Well @Z I WAS going to challenge you on what I THOUGHT was a provocative statement with respect to Jethro Tull/Metallica since I LOVE Jethro Tull/Ian Anderson. BUT thank gof I googled because I CANNOT believe JT won over Metallica for best ROck/Metal! So…I agree that was a travesty but JT could have been worthy of a Grammy any number of times in different categories.

This puzzle was not in my wheelhouse and I was a bit distracted this morning (excuse) as I solved. I did NOT notice the WAR dupe but I DID notice the OVER dupe which made me reluctant to put in the second OVER. I had to cheat to finish (I don’t even remember what I cheated on). All I know is that I’m glad Rex called this medium challenging!

Skating away on the thin ice of a new day….

Z 11:46 AM  

@JD - Did "Bath" as in Chaucer's The Wife of Bath's Tale occur to you, yet? Hence the British spelling.

Re: Macklemore since Rex's comment seems to have touched a nerve or three: Here's a good essay on how Macklemore means well but seems to step in it all the time. Rex's comment is echoed in the opening line and this article is six years old. Rex is hardly being controversial or saying anything that hasn't been observed before, it's just been awhile.

BTW - If you're "Macklemore who?" here's the song that was almost unavoidable a decade ago. I think it's pretty funny, although "Probably shoulda washed this, smells like R. Kelly's sheets" doesn't land quite the same way anymore.

Whatsername 11:50 AM  

A suggestion: Let’s use the same rules for Wordle that we use for Spelling Bee. Avoid all mention of specifics in today’s puzzle. As @Z said, if you’re skimming along in the comments, a “spoiler alert” doesn’t necessarily keep you from seeing the spoiler.

JD 12:06 PM  

@Z, Go ahead, rub it in. All of I know of Chaucer is A Knights Tale because it was made into a movie with Keith Ledger. Never read it. But my favorite line from the movie applies to me here, "You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting."

Masked and Anonymous 12:12 PM  

Tough clues. Bring it, Shortzmeister.

Example: The {Miroir image?} = MOI one. Gets the staff weeject pick (of a meagre 10 choices, btw).

Enjoyed the challengin solvequest, but wow did them nanoseconds ever end up auto-unsaved.
Plus, had TENNISPROS for way too long.

Cute lil jawlettes of themelessness, in the NW & SE corners.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Matthew & Sid dudes. Lotsa fresh debut answers. And cool MOTH clue.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

p.s. Off on a mission now to figure out what the day-um heck a wordle is. Sounds like good runtpuz theme mcguffin potential.


jb129 12:14 PM  

Great puzzle - mainly because I finished it.

JustMarci 12:19 PM  

I was stuck for a bit wondering why friendly GhoSTS would be patronizing.

JustMarci 12:20 PM  

I was stuck for a bit wondering why friendly GhoSTS would be patronizing.

mathgent 12:24 PM  

My favorite comments this morning.

Lewis (8:08)
Drew (8:44)

Grouch 12:38 PM  

It's perplexing that rap and metal are considered for awards at all. What's next..... bagpipes?

BEE-ER 12:43 PM  

@puzzlehoarder. I'm -2pg for yd also. I got the word I think you mean. I need a 5 and a 6.

bocamp 12:44 PM  

Wordle 209 6/6


Been averaging 4/6; almost didn't make it today.
Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Unknown 12:52 PM  

I wasn't a huge fan of today's. It struck me as a bit clunky. For 12-across, I had "mouse ___", and while "mouse over" seemed the most intuitive, I thought it couldn't possibly be "over" because "obsess over" was already an answer. I think it's lazy to use "over" in more than one answer where it isn't part of a theme. I also don't understand how "evil empire" is a superpower? To me having an empire isn't an innate characteristic, so seems more like an advantage or something than a superpower. Too many clues were almost there but not quite, which made solving a little frustrating.

Separately, I think "togo" is a DoorDash designation because you can select to go or delivery? At least, other food order apps provide that option, not sure about Door Dash.

Z 12:53 PM  

@JD - If it’s any consolation, A Knight’s Tale is the source of one of my most embarrassing moments. The Prof had asked for our response to the poem and I gave mine, not knowing that I had totally missed the mark nor that this was the Prof’s favorite poem. A good 20 minute skewering of young Z’s misreading ensued. “Found wanting” indeed.
Also, they hid the proper nounness of Bath by having it be the first word of the clue. Tricksy. My first thought was “rings? because I was thinking they were playing on “unit.” But then I looked and saw the L in place and grokked what was happening.

JC66 1:00 PM  


Go here for Wordle.

JC66 1:03 PM  

Talk about lucky guesses.

Wordle 209 2/6*


Anonymous 1:08 PM  

I'd say that KHAN/KAHN are, well, kealoa, too.

and where the hell does the H go in GANDI?

back when we rode, barrel racing was for girls and all ROPING events were for boys, so one would not usually follow the other.

OSAKA is legendary, already, for being cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. also because she
"At the 2018 US Open and the 2019 Australian Open, Osaka won her first two Grand Slam singles titles in back-to-back Grand Slam tournaments, and is the first player to achieve this feat since Jennifer Capriati in 2001. She also became the first woman to win successive Grand Slam singles titles since Serena Williams in 2015. "
the wiki

not only that, but from 2018 - 2021 she alternately won US/Aussie opens. so, yeah legendary.

Schuly 1:12 PM  

Oper appears on the zero button of actual telephones. It stands for operator, who will dutifully help you with complex calls, such as those that are out of your area code. That's called "long distance."

Teedmn 1:19 PM  

I wandered long, lost and lonely, looking for an OASIS in this grid. I finally found it at EARLS crossing LITRE(great clue once I saw which Bath it was talking about). Alas, once I filled in the SE, I was stuck again.

Just the smallest entries helped me chip away at this; DOW, ADE, OTTO (I got a chuckle from that answer crossing AUTO), AISLE, NSA, ERG, C_T (I agree with Rex on finding the lack of season reference annoying.) In fact, the S of CST was my last entry, right after I had the aha of what RI_A was. dAME LOVE didn't make sense so...(maybe they love EARLS?)

Two totally over my head answers today - although I took college French, I somehow failed to run into the word for mirror - Miroir merely looked like a typo and it was only after Rex was talking about that answer that the penny dropped. The other was CHILI DOG. After DOG fell into place, I thought the hybrid fair was a mixed breed expo. CHILI har!.

Thanks, Matthew and Sid, this was a pleasurably challenging Friday.

rjkennedy98 1:19 PM  

MOUSE OVER and OBSESS OVER in the same grid? That seems like a violation to me. Honestly, it could also have been READ OVER which is more appropriate than READ UP ON (which is normally used not for studying but for getting UP TO speed on the latest news).

OVER all, just not a fan of a puzzle that makes me hesitate to put in words that are already in the grid.

old timer 1:21 PM  

If I just look something up, I don't feel guilty about the cheat, though it is a technical DNF. If I resort to one of those xword sites, it is cheating for sure, and did so twice today, for EVIL EMPIRE and ELLA. In my defense, EVIL EMPIRE is a nickname isn't it? Do they call themselves that, rather than, say, the Union of Interstellar Socialist Republics?

I ended up with PILE and OPER, and the latter has a first-rate clue. And with ARENT, which strikes me as Lame, with a capital L. I did get WARCRAFT early on, and the whole corner, though I was briefly Kealoa'ed by TSK, before TUT. My other writeover was pros before ACES. I don't think of ACES as being a tennis term for players, only for unreturnable serves. ACES is of course LEGIT for baseball pitchers.

Never been to, or even heard of, a TEA TASTING. Wine TASTING is our local hobby. But probably the original Peet's in Berkeley had TEA TASTINGS. I still think they are, outside of Chinatowns, the place to buy good teas. Plenty of places with artisanal coffee, but if I have to buy tea, Peet's is still the best place I know of.

Barbara S. 1:24 PM  

I enjoyed the puzzle but had a couple of trouble spots. Did not know SAME LOVE or Macklemore, and was surprisingly slow to get RIMA, which really is in my wheelhouse. At one point I had CHILIDip (huh?), thanks to irA instead of OVA and no clue on WIRELESS CHARGER. Once that was sorted, I was still messed up over MOTH, AVIA and KHAN. I didn’t know the Academy, went blank on AVIA (although I’ve owned some of their shoes), and thought MOTH was MOTe. That seems peculiar in hindsight, but I was picturing a dust mote wafting in a sunbeam. (Huh?)

I’m not bothered about the OVER, WAR and UP duplications. Presumably I’d get shirty if I felt there were too many in a puzzle, but apparently three falls within my tolerance limit. I’ve always known Carly’s “gavotte” I think because the album had an insert with lyrics. Hah! – I totally missed the significance of “Bath” water and spelled LITRE the way I always do (north of the border).

Thanks to all of your recommendations, I’m enjoying Wordle (although hoping that I haven‘t yet hit my stride.)

[SB: dby and yd 0, after a long string of -2s and -3s.]

RE: 27A - What purple prose and technical jargon have in common: VERBIAGE.
OK, @Nancy (8:53), here you go -- [Why can I never resist these flaky challenges? Sigh.]

For Christmas I received a serial assembly of identical connected elements, called links, with an overall character similar to that of a rope, in that it is flexible and curved in compression but linear, rigid, and load-bearing in tension. This object is made of a precious yellow metallic element, highly malleable and ductile, and not subject to oxidation or corrosion. This element’s symbol is Au; its atomic weight is 96.967; and its atomic number is 79. The object is of a size and character to be worn around the wrist, and is secured by means of a lobster claw clasp which fastens to a ring.

For Christmas I received the most magnificent present I have ever been blessed with in my entire life, presented to me in a royal blue velvet box by the love of my life, the best man that ever was, who I adore most in the whole wide wonderful world! It’s a gorgeous gold bracelet, with delicate, shimmery, perfect links, so shiny that it catches the light and dazzles the eye with its splendor. It feels like the touch of an angel’s wing around my arm and transforms me into Princess Aurora, who has just awakened to love and beauty everlasting. I gaze at this resplendent wristlet and I’m immediately transported to a magic realm filled with sunlight, joy, and peace for all humankind!

(NOTE: The first paragraph is heavily indebted to various internet sources.)

retired guy 1:28 PM  

19A clue is: They can be friendly while patronizing. Nothing wrong with it, Rex. The "guests" are e.g. hotel guests who patronize a hotel, but can be friendly while they do so. House guests, on the other hand, aren't being friendly if they are being patronizing.

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Osaka legenadary? For achieving something that hadnt been done in 2 yaers ( See willams) or 17 years ( see Capriotti) Tat's the benchamark for a legend? Yikes.
She has 4 Grand Slam titles. 31 women have more. And if she doubles her win total, then doubles that she'd still only be 7th on the list.
Legend my butt.
Narcissit, yeah. Brat, yeah. Legend, not so much.

JC66 1:29 PM  

Dupes in the puzzle don't bother me that much, if I even notice.

However, duplicate (actually multiple) comments about dupes in the puzzle...

Anoa Bob 1:30 PM  

On of the features of Crossword Compiler, a constructing program that's been around since 1993 (when it was called software), is a check for similar words in the grid fill. The UP, OVER and WAR duplications would have shown UP in RED and would have stood out like a sore thumb to ALERT the constructor(s) to the misstep.

Maybe duplications in the grid are no longer problematic. Good to know because finding those after you think the fill is complete can often necessitate reworking an entire section and that can be a big disappointment after spending many hours on the fill and thinking the heavy lifting is OVER.

This puzzle does seem to send a message that duplications are no longer verboten and there's no longer any need OBSESS OVER that. Or else the dupes flew under the radar of both constructors and editors (and OFL). Nah, I'm going for the "duplications are no longer a problem" hypothesis.

okanaganer 1:37 PM  

@Jennilap 9:28 am: Mouse over is definitely a thing in web page design/programming. Not really a common term in civilian life, though.

This was quite challenging for me, a lot of write overs. CORDLESS CHARGER, RESTAGED instead of RESEATED, CREATION for CREATING. Also never heard of gunpowder Tea, so that answer totally baffled me when it was filled in.

[Spelling Bee: yd 0 (QB for 7 days straight!) My last 2 words rhymed. That last (latter) word has the lowest score I've ever seen on the Ngram Viewer.]

Joseph Michael 1:59 PM  

UP UP UP to the time I read his comments, I had thought our host would be at WAR WAR with this puzzle OVER OVER its reliance on dupes. But the even bigger surprise was his criticism of Macklemore for “liberal piety.” Irony, thy name is Rex Parker.

Excellent Friday puzzle that first made me feel stupid (when I couldn’t get any answers) and then made me feel smart (when I somehow actually completed the grid). Loved all the wordplay. creative misdirection. and minimal use of proper nouns.

ADD OIL is a RED ALERT you don’t want to see on your dashboard, especially when driving through an EVIL EMPIRE, but it does make for an amusing dook, as in “What the hell is an addoil?”

Also amusing is the insistence of certain nouns. such as MOUSE, on becoming verbs. On that note, I think I’ll head to IHOP to OMELETTE for a while.

A. Tech-Nerd 2:18 PM  

@Jennilap - You know when you're on a web page and sometimes text pops up when your cursor hovers over a word, or the cursor changes from the default to a hand? That's triggered by a mouseover event, when your mouse hovers over something on a web page. It happens to you all the time.

Nancy 2:35 PM  

@Barbara S (1:24) -- If I'd had to guess who would step up to the plate, I would have guessed you. You never disappoint. Great job!

Ben 2:48 PM  

I remember back in my salad days, Macklemore sang at my college's spring fling, and did Same Love. Before he started the song, though, he did this whole schpiel to the effect of "I know some of you may not agree with me, but I think love is love," as if that was some very brave stand for him to be taking on one of the most liberal college campuses in the country. I found it to be pretty smarmy.

A 2:54 PM  

How do I LOVE thee….here’s a count:
dAtE LOVE (eww)
(Great) dAnE LOVE

No earthly idea what the song was, but after pondering some entertaining ideas, I went with SAME because of the lyric in the clue, and RIMA seemed reasonable.

Fell for one of Rex’s kealoas, but having had to correct Tsk, I held back on seAR.

Aha! DOW Jones! I was wondering who/what low Jones was. Doesn’t a CHILI log sound like “Hybrid fair fare?” Actually I started with CHeeselOG but ran out of room. At least it got me CHAR.

Tried BOwlER before BOATER, as the Cars 2 meant nada. TEwTASTING didn’t pass the breakfast TEA test, though.

Speaking of breakfast, does IHOP really use that spelling?

Hand up for raising a brow at the 2 WARs, 2 OVERs and 3 UPs. I don’t mind the occasional exception to the “rule” but this many cheapens an otherwise fine puzzle.

Am I Expecting Too Much?

Got a little carried away sampling YouTube offerings by today’s birthday composer (actually that happens a lot). Allen Toussaint, b. January 14, 1938, was a composer, pianist, singer, producer and a tremendously influential figure in New Orleans. I only own one album of his so I was happy to find so many great examples of his musical imagination. A lot of his work was made popular by other artists such as Herb Alpert, Glen Campbell, the Rolling Stones, Boz Scaggs, Bonnie Raitt, the Pointer Sisters, and Three Dog Night. The NYT published this article when he died in 2015.

Frantic Sloth 2:56 PM  

I agree with @Lewis for the most part, including the dupe defense by Sid.
To a point.
It's one thing to have the occasional dupe or maybe even 2, but this grid is practically riddled with them. UP, and OVER, and WAR x 2 (or even 3 in the case of UP) may save "fill quality", but isn't that all part of the fill? Is this supposed to be a meta thing?

I like these constructors - a lot - and it seems to me that avoiding dupes at all, let alone multiple occurrences, is easily within their abilities.

@Nancy 853am All I got was a fucking lump of carbonized matter for Christmas. You mean like that?

@GILL 1106am I wanted Mrs Jones, too, but that's because I do a mean Billy Paul imitation of "Me and Mrs. Jones". It's always a hit at crappy parties.

Always knew it was "gavotte"
cuz I'm a genius and you are not.
Furthermore, of course it's BOATER
Is all y'all stoopit?
Signed, the gloater

This one gave me a tussle. Liked it heaps.


Anonymous 3:01 PM  

Not just smarmy but silly. What does it even mean? Surely a mother's love for her child is not the same as the sodomy he's advocating. And even if you believe that sodomizing your buddy is just fine and dandy tha act is not ordered to the same end as sexual congress between a man and a woman. They are diffent in kind. Youdo't have judge the moral worthiess of either act to recognize they are not the same.

JDogNYC 3:09 PM  

I think CST/CDT counts as a third kealoa for today. And like another commenter, I had a compound Natick between that S/D square and the Macklemore thing and the Italian verse. Ended up finishing the puzzle there by entering every letter of the alphabet in the RI_A blank until the app told me I was done. Tedious.
But I did enjoy the rest of the puzzle - challenging, but in a good way with a few enjoyable aha moments. I figured we were in for a treat when I saw it was from Matthew and Sid.

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

Toussaint was a gem. Do yourself a favor and listen to him do Southern Nights. He wrote and does it, imo, better than Glenn Campbell who of course scored the #1 hit with it.

Jeano 3:22 PM  

This may have been mentioned in other comments (there are too many for me to read them all!), but the "to go" option on sites like DoorDash means that you drive to the restaurant to pick up your food, as opposed to having it delivered to your residence. And re: patronizing guests, I interpreted that in a business sense (as in, guests patronize your business and may or may not be friendly while doing so).

I had a hell of a time in the NW corner (I was also set on but confused by "bowties"), but was very pleased when I finished the puzzle, in part because I only recently got good enough at these puzzles to consistently solve Fridays!

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

I don't know how to politely break this to you but people of every orientation have been doing that, the hole entire time.

Carola 3:55 PM  

@Nancy 8:53 - Purple, then technical.

A cerulean pouch, replete with sparkling crystals and glinting facets, adamantine, yet both melting and yielding to the tap of a tooth, imbued with the memory of the sea.

200 g. 99.7% pure NaCl produced from sea water of 3.5% salinity in 250-acre condenser ponds subject to evaporation by wind and sun, thus concentrating the brine and creating a precipitate.

Item: the bag in the middle of the top row.

Doctor Work 4:02 PM  

Since when are chili dogs fair fare? Chili is a common topping for hot dogs that you can find at a lot of restaurants and hot dog stands. Corndogs or deep-fried oreos or funnel cake are fair fare.

kitshef 4:03 PM  

@Z 11:46. Good thing you qualified that with “almost”, as I have never heard that in my life. I guess I should further clarify that I am at least ten years old.

Shirley F 4:04 PM  

To add to Schuly explaining OPER today at 1:12, in case anyone hasn't seen it, this is a hilarious video of two teens of today trying to use a rotary phone.

Anonymous 5:56 PM  

@Son Volt 11:39- Rex reminds me of Alvy Singer from Annie Hall- “I'm a bigot, I know, but for the left.” At least Alvy had some self awareness.

JD 5:58 PM  

@Z, Thank you. It is some (italicized) consolation.

Anonymous 7:10 PM  

Working from east to west everything was going easy until the middle and started to get tight. Worked slowly from SE to NE until I got stuck on the CS/DT kealoa, RIMA/SAMELOVE cross, not having CRUX come to me, and not understanding how CHILIDOG is fair fare.

Seeing the Wordle posts yesterday made me look it up. Got 4/6 today, but I don't know that I like Wordle chat in this forum, there should be plenty of more relevant forums fro that without cluttering the CW posts.

Anoa Bob 7:12 PM  

This is another comment on duplications. Some of yous may want to skip OVER.

I agree with the ambiguously Frantic (or should that be the ambiguously Slothful) one @2:56, avoiding duplications in a grid is "easily within their [the constructors] abilities". I recall reading in one of the publisher's specifications, albeit 10+ years ago, that they are to be avoided. The widely used Crossword Compiler (CC) has two categories on its Statistics page to detect that very thing, "Repeated words" and "Similar words". If there are any they will be highlight in red and show you where they are.

Today's duplications are not free standing words but are in phrases so they would not have appeared in "Repeated words" but would have in "Similar words". There the two phrases would appear side by side, like TRADEWAR/WARCRAFT or MOUSEOVER/OBSESSOVER, with WAR or OVER in red in each phrase.

But Crossword Compiler has been around for a while and standards change and I'm sure for many if not most solvers a dupe or two is no big deal. But the no duplication mantra has left its mark on me so that I'm mindful of dupes during the fill and I give a sigh of relief when CC shows that my grid is clean in that respect.

Unknown 10:49 PM  

For 50 years, until today, I thought the lyric was 'watched yourself go by' because that is what makes sense. Now, thanks to Rex, I see that it has to rhyme with 'walking onto a yacht' and about the only word that rhymes with yacht is gavotte. That explains why 'all the girls dreamed that they'd be your partner' dancing the gavotte since that was the hip thing in the 70s!

Kathy D. 5:10 AM  

Like some of the puzzle, not all of it. I thought "dandy" was an anti-gay male word. Couldn't it have said rich man's or actor's accessory?

Wanted to say your daughter's artwork is lovely. I hope she keeps it up and it moved me to donate for your blog.

Get the young folks involved.

And I love your criticism of racist and sexist clues or answers. Keep it up, please.

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