Nubian museum locale / FRI 4-8-22 / Mononymous singer of Alive 2015 / Tiny seeds of green fruits technically / Toddler's eruption / Popular leafy perennial / Nuclear unit nickname / Musical based on a comic strip / Setting for a few good men informally

Friday, April 8, 2022

Constructor: Caitlin Reid

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Tracee ELLIS Ross (15D: Actress Tracee ___ Ross) —

Tracee Joy Silberstein (born October 29, 1972), known professionally as Tracee Ellis Ross, is an American actress, singer, television host, producer and director. She is known for her lead roles in the television series Girlfriends(2000–2008) and Black-ish (2014–present). She owns Pattern Beauty, a hair-care line for curly hair.

She is the daughter of actress and Motown recording artist Diana Ross and Robert Ellis Silberstein. She began acting in independent films and variety series. She hosted the pop-culture magazine The Dish on Lifetime. From 2000 to 2008 she played the starring role of Joan Clayton in the UPN/CW comedy series Girlfriends, for which she received two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series. She also has appeared in the films Hanging Up (2000), I-See-You.Com (2006), and Daddy's Little Girls (2007), before returning to television playing Dr. Carla Reed on the BET sitcom Reed Between the Lines (2011), for which she received her third NAACP Image Award.

Since 2014, Ross has played the starring role of Dr. Rainbow Johnson in the ABC comedy series Black-ish. Her work on it has earned her three NAACP Image Awards and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy. She has also received nominations for two Critics' Choice Television Awards and five Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. In 2019, she co-created a prequel spin-off of Black-ish titled Mixed-ish. In 2020, she starred in and recorded the soundtrack album for the musical film The High Note. (wikipedia)

• • •

It's a very solid puzzle, but way more slog than thrill-ride for me. The only thing I (predictably?) genuinely got excited by in this puzzle was NUDE SCENE (good answer, well clued — 54A: Raw footage?). It's a very choppy, highly segmented grid, so the flow is not great. Felt like I was seeping through this puzzle more than zoom-zooming through it. And the longer answers never really come together to produce a strong effect. There are pairs in all the quadrants, but (aside from NUDE SCENE) none of the involved words are sensational, and at least one of every pair kind of lands with a thud. Hard (for me) to get excited about MATHLETE or SEMITONE or TWO POINTS or (esp.) A-LISTERS. Some of the shorter connecting stuff is actually really strong, in a low-key sort of way—I'd like to give some love to GET REAL and CHATS UP in particular. But because the fill rarely sizzles, and the clues try so so hard to get cute (more on this below), the overall vibe was a bit plodding. The central answer is solid enough ... but because its clue duplicates a clue type that already got used earlier in the grid and really should only be used once in a puzzle (that is, the "literal clue with an exclamation point" clue type), I wasn't so taken with it. Some clues are meant to be used only once—going back to the well just deadens the effect. And 16A: That's the spirit! already used up the "literal!" clue type, so OPTICAL ILLUSION's clue just made me think "again?" rather than "ah, cool."

The thing where you repeat a clue, or nearly repeat a clue (today: 41A: In and of itself + 44A: In and of itself?) almost always yields terrible, cringey results, and one of them is always hard because the clue just Isn't Right. I don't know why this kind of echoing is thought to be clever or enjoyable. Unless both clues are Dead On, it's actually awful. You've wasted an attempt at an original clue in order to make some kind of "joke." And when both clues are in the same section (as they are today, right on top of each other), ugh, huge pleasure drain. I don't even really get how META works here. PER SE was easy, but META ... I mean, it means self-referential, in a way, but the "?" in the clue is doing a lot lot lot of work. This section was already a drag because of SHO, which I had as HBO because I barely know what "Shameless" is and it just sort of floats free of any particular channel in my mind (33A: "Shameless" airer, for short). And HBO made me think the "leafy perennial" was BASIL (instead of HOSTA). Also, I don't really know what a SEMITONE is, not specifically, so basically everything east of and including SEMITONE in the middle there was just a chore. Which is sad, because SIREN SONG is a very nice answer. Too often (for my taste) the clues got super vague and misdirective. Good clue on SPF, but very Saturdayish (63A: Letters on some foundations). I had PETS for REVS (51D: Makes purr, purrhaps), perhaps because I just fed the cats. Diamonds are pretty awful so I've never purchased them and know nothing about the cuts, ERGO OVAL meant zero to me (60A: ___ brilliant (diamond cut)). These last three answers all cross each other. This is what I mean when I say the puzzle was more slog than whoosh for me. 

Thought A-LISTERS were STARTERS (50A: Biggest stars). Thought SUNSETS (??) were STREETS (27A: Subjects of Monet paintings "in Venice" and "at Lavacourt"). Like diamonds, SeaWorld is awful, so why would I know its "rollercoaster" names? (MANTA). Had SO SMALL for NOMINAL at one point, which I thought was a very creative wrong answer (48A: Hardly worth mentioning). I thought PEAS were legumes which I thought were separate from "fruits" but apparently no, alas (19A: Tiny seeds of green fruits, technically). Hardest answer in the puzzle for me had a very clever clue, but sadly the answer itself was just meh, which made the struggle feel not quite worth it. I'm talking about TWO POINTS, which was just about the last thing I wrote in the grid. 3D: Safety net? refers to the number of POINTS you "net" (gain) on a "safety" ... in American football. You net TWO POINTS. It's a confusing clue because "safety net" suggests trapeze and TWO POINTS + "net" suggests basketball ... but no. It's football. Wish this one had more snap to it. But as I say, the grid itself is solid throughout; no actual weak parts, nothing actively off-putting. Just not as lively as I would've liked, I think. And the clues ... I wish they'd missed ... less. OK, see you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


OffTheGrid 6:23 AM  

The clueing had many wavelengths today, making it a struggle for me. One really bad clue was "Makes purr, maybe". I jumped in with Pets but that's OK. It happens(a Lot). So the reference is auto engine. A quiet smooth engine is said to "purr". You lose the purr when you REV it up. It's then a roar. Sorry but not close enough.

Brian A in SLC 6:48 AM  

Thanks Caitlin, liked this a lot! Had to grind away to avoid a DNF.

A lot because there was much out of my wheelhouse, either clue, answer, or both. (Nubian Museum, Gran Turismo, Lavalava skirts, Shameless, Sea World, Monet paintings, HOSTA and more)

But I feasted on the buffet of clever or devious but totally fair clues: Toddler's eruption, Off the chain, Safety net, Fatal attraction, just some of the highlights for me.

Challenging. Bravo πŸ‘

Birchbark 7:05 AM  

"It is a way I have of driving off the SPLEEN, and regulating the circulation" -- One reason Ishmael goes to sea, and why I like to solve these puzzles.

Experience teaches us that if you are a deer, you never META HOSTA you didn't like.

kitshef 7:11 AM  

Struggled mightily in the S, E, and SE. REVS was probably my biggest hurdle.

Zero is the preferred number of "exclamation point" clues per puzzle.

Conrad 7:35 AM  

Agree with the Medium-Challenging rating. Not a whole lot of overwrites, just a lot of staring at expanses of unfilled squares wondering what’s going on with the clue. One major overwrite was triviAL before NOMINAL. Liked it a lot more than @Rex

Lewis 7:41 AM  

This was a most lovely puzzle. It wasn’t here to impress me with a ton of flashy answers and Scrabbly letters. It wasn’t showing off with “cool” answers that only a few people know. No. This puzzle presented – with very few exceptions, if any, IMO – answers in our vocabulary, but these answers were often slippery to catch, due to elusive cluing.

“I’m not here to wow you,” said this puzzle. “I’m here to give you the challenge of figuring me out and feeling good about having done it.”

There were those twisty clues to unlock, like [Toddler’s eruption] for MOLAR, [Nuclear unit nickname] for SIS, [Letters on some foundations] for SPF, and [Safety net] for TWO POINTS – and more – which made me go “Hah!” when I cracked them and pat myself on the back when I did.

The grid is beautifully junk-free (this puzzle CAME CLEAN), and refreshingly drama-free. Fitting right in that wavelength was the everyday image of POTS near a backward PANS.

Caitlin, your puzzle was a joy to solve, and part of that joy for me was the calm that it imparted. This was quite special and, I’ll say it again, most lovely. Thank you!

MaxxPuzz 7:42 AM  

Maybe I’m weird, but I enjoyed this puzzle.
A SEMITONE is the same thing as a half-step in a musical scale. There are twelve per octave. Standard term.
Have a great weekend!

MaxxPuzz 7:44 AM  

Ditto to Lewis's comment!

bocamp 7:47 AM  

Thx Caitlin; definitely a good, crunchy Fri. offering! :)


Struggled with this one, esp the SE corner.

Got ISH in the NW, but that was all. Got the upper Midwest, but the NE was a prob. Eventually got OPTICAL ILLUSION and worked the crosses.

Finally got all but the SE, which took forever to suss out. So much I didn't know, but finally twigged on META, then got SEMI TONE, which broke it all LOOSE.

My only (educated) guess was the 'V' at REVS / OVAL. Thot maybe OpAL, but REpS just didn't make any sense. I guess REVing ones engine could be construed as a 'purr' (but a pretty loud one). lol

Anyhoo, loved this challenge, and as always, appreciated the fair crosses. :)
yd pg -2

Peace πŸ™ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

SouthsideJohnny 7:54 AM  

Still stumped by “Toddler’s eruption” for MOLAR - it sounds like a kid’s tooth blew up.

I was also puzzled by the clue for Jenny - you can go down all kinds of rabbit holes trying to figure that one out (“Is it a British word for butt, like ARSE?) until I looked it up and learned that it just means a donkey, lol.

I enjoyed the clues for the grid scanner, TWO POINTS and of course who doesn’t enjoy a NUDE SCENE (now and then). MATHLETE appears occasionally; there is probably one of those -nym ending terms for that type of construct, but they always seem to sound goofy to me (similar to McJOB - seems like you can put Mc in front of just about anything to either demean it or supersize it - there’s probably a term for that too).

Mike Herlihy 7:57 AM  

HOSTAs aren't perennials anywhere there is a frost (such as here in NH). I had to convince myself by crosses before settling on it as the answer.

pabloinnh 8:01 AM  

One of those "oh oh" puzzles when your first glance at the clues and that leads pretty much nowhere, but chip away I did, and the final result was satisfying indeed.

Had some stuff here and there, tried a couple of downs, and suddenly OPTICALILLUSION appeared, which is a bit contradictory, but it opened up things wonderfully.

Did the OFL HBO SHO thing. Mt wife refers to HOSTA as "deer nip", as it is extremely attractive to them, especially as they become more and more domesticated. Also did the PETS thing, but when I got the initial R, I changed it to RUBS, which was a bad idea. TRIVIAL and NOMINAL have the same number of letters and an identical ending, if you were wondering.

Heads up for Patrick Berry fans, his New Yorker puzzle today is pretty easy but has some answers that a clever and really funny, what a surprise.

Many thanks for a most excellent Friday, CR. No Certain Route through this one, but the destination justified the journey. Thanks for all the fun.

Son Volt 8:20 AM  

Similar to Rex on this one. Thought the overall cluing was strained - although I really liked Safety net? When the center spanner is flat it’s tough to come back from.

ART DECO, NUDE SCENE and SIREN SONG are all solid. SPLEEN, SEMITONE etc are not. Low trivia content was nice - didn’t know ELLIS.

The great D. Boone singing about “the injustice of our GREED”

Overall - an enjoyable Friday solve.

Joel Palmer 8:21 AM  

Had TRIVIAL for nominal and IPSA for meta so lower right corner was a GRAND mess

Joe Dipinto 8:26 AM  

See, Sharp: C# is a semitone away from C. Semitones can be very exciting, except when used for upward modulations at the ends of songs by e.g. Barry Manilow.

I liked this puzzle but it was somewhat difficult – I had a lot of writeovers, or typeovers actually since I did it online, which I hate. I originally had OUTLAW for 24d but took it out when I decided that GARDENS must be correct for the Monet paintings, so that area held me up for awhile – I couldn't see CHATS UP, which is a great answer, for the longest.

I couldn't agree more with this: The thing where you repeat a clue, or nearly repeat a clue (today: 41A: In and of itself + 44A: In and of itself?) almost always yields terrible, cringey results, and one of them is always hard because the clue just Isn't Right. I don't know why this kind of echoing is thought to be clever or enjoyable. Unless both clues are Dead On, it's actually awful. You've wasted an attempt at an original clue in order to make some kind of "joke."

Also: nice clue on Shaq. An excellent Friday puzzle overall, if only my brain had been working better.

🟩←The only Top Ten hit I'm aware of that has a 1½ minute bass solo.

alicat 8:29 AM  

I’m a day late to the TURKEY DAY party; forgive me but I overindulged in the lavish feast. The STU WAS delicious and the exotic DONKEYdONG DECOCTion flavorful. The KISHKA was bland, tasted like it was stuffed with HAY. Perhaps one of you will send me a better recipe. The dessert of CHOCOLATE CREAM OREOS and the WHISKEY JUG finished me off.

So I curled up on the couch and did the wordle. Next weekend being the intersection of the three Abrahamic faiths - Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, I confidently wordled tORAh. Then, hah, KORAn which was jiggle-booted out! No such word, wordle admonished me. Whoa, where's that dang anti defamation league phone number?
And that was my FORAY into #holyshirtballinghatersville

Z 8:33 AM  

I agree with Rex on the mehness of some of the longer answers, but otherwise I’m with @Lewis and @Brian A in SLC on this puzzle. I count 15 clues that are on the buffet of clever or devious but totally fair clues. From Really, really fancy to A bunch of crock? this puzzle made me smile.

This puzzle is also unusually current in the PPP department, ADAM Levine, Tracee ELLIS Ross, SIA, Shaquille O’NEAL,… all 21st century names, all people you might have seen on your TV this past week (assuming that SIA was at the Grammy Awards). None of them are my cuppa, but all are famous enough to break through my cultural blinders. Kudos for not having a heavy 1960-1995 PPP bias.

A tougher than usual Friday solve, but highly enjoyable in the end. πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½

Joaquin 8:49 AM  

Has there been a better clue than [Safety net?] any time recently? I think not.

Great puzzle, although it truly kicked my Jenny.

TJS 8:59 AM  

Liked it a lot more than Rex once optical illusion came to the rescue. Before that, I was considering bailing out on the whole thing. I think "Annie" was the only entry I was confident of on the first pass.

So sunscreen is considered a foundation ? Okay, I guess.

I cant remember a puzzle where I had so many vague possibilities that actually ended up being answers. Near the end I was just popping in stuff like it was an early week puzzle. Agree with @Lewis on the level of satisfaction upon completion.

Z 9:06 AM  

@TJS - I think it’s the other way around. Some foundations are sunscreens.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

A solid medium, and some parts verged on easy. TWO POINTS was the last answer to fall, and I didn't even fully get it as I was filling it in. Like Rex, I was initially thinking of circus acts. I also thought it might have something to do with the welfare state. But then a vague intuition about basketball got me over the hump, and I only realized a moment later that the clue referred to football. You don't see safeties too often, which is what made it a tough clue, I suppose.

amyyanni 9:18 AM  

Like @Joaquin, my Jenny has endured a firm footplant by this puzzle. Rematch sometime soon, Caitlin? TGIF.

bocamp 9:27 AM  

What Is SPF Makeup?

"We've seen SPF in foundations, tinted moisturizers, loose powders, and more, but what exactly is SPF in makeup? To break it down easily, SPF stands for "Sun Protection Factor," which is used as a clinical measure to test the effectiveness of any sunscreen product against sunburn. The number of SPF is a guide for how long someone can be exposed to UV rays before any sunburn starts to occur and is then compared to the time it will take to burn when exposed to UV radiation when no sunscreen is applied at all."

"So SPF in makeup is simply sunscreen added to makeup formulas to help protect skin against UV rays." (ASHLEY REBECCA on
td pg: 36:26 (not my day for SB or Wordle) lol

293 5/6*

Peace πŸ™ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Jonathan 9:40 AM  

Hostas are dependable perennials here in Massachusetts.

Peter P 9:41 AM  

@Joe Dipinto - <> - Ah, yes, the ol' "truck driver's gear shift/change" as we'd call it; it seemed to be the cliche of 80s pop music to make a song more "energetic" or "exciting" for that final chorus. Sometimes a semitone; sometimes a whole tone (probably more often this). Almost always predictable. Very rarely in the reverse direction, though. "Layla" kind of does it with the guitar intro (and chorus) stepping down from Dm to C#m. "Penny Lane" also steps down (this time, one full step) from the verses in B to the chorus in A. But these aren't outro-key changes to end the song.

@SouthsideJohnny - <> "Erupting/eruption" is just the terminology used for when your teeth come in. Google "tooth/teeth eruption timetable," for instance, to see it in the wild.

Unknown 9:44 AM  

For 17 across, Revealed all, I filled in Made Clear very early and was never able to see the correct answer, Came Clean. Alas.

Gary Jugert 9:45 AM  

Stymied in the SE due to the PERSE-META phalanx. Hello Google (typical for me on Friday). Good puzzle.




GAH (I love this as much as EEK)
GHOST (just say no to the exclamation point)
ARTDECO (like the idea more than the art)
OUTLAW (great aha clue)
NUDESCENE (risquΓ©... woot!) Screech. No exclamation points.
GETREAL (great clue)
SIRENSONG (the Greeks rule)

Add SEMITONE in and the puzzle is full of sensory delights for the eyes and ears.

Whatsername 9:48 AM  

GAH!! (Didn’t we just have that the other day?) Actually my preferred “frustrated outburst“ is oh CRAP. But either way, this puzzle kicked my 39A! Well at least in parts it did. I felt like a real MATHLETE in the top half, then my confident facade turned out to be an ILLUSION as I moved south. The ODOR from the SE especially was more than NOMINAL before I was finally able to DIG myself out of that pit. Didn’t GET the clues for SIREN SONG or SPLEEN and was totally thinking weights and measures on the scale thing.

The clue for TWO POINTS was beyond brilliant. It certainly fooled me, the famous football fan, as I sat there wondering if it was some sort of tennis term. How could I be so dumb? Easy when you know how.

PETS for REVS. ELLEN for ELLIS. I subscribe to SHO and love William H. Macy but Shameless is too shameful for me.

RooMonster 9:49 AM  

Hey All !
BAH, said I, once my one-letter DNF came into view after hitting Check Puzzle. Sure, BREED didn't make too much sense for 9D, but a lot of answers were vaguey. It turns out to be GAH. Dang. Was actually surprised that was my only wrongness.

Tough little puz for me today. But kept plugging away, refusing to Goog anything. ELUDE eluding me for a while. Had EvaDE. Har on CRAVE, as I just got it right now. I was thinking fancy ala REGAL-ish, not ala wanting. Got me, Caitlin!

Also was thinking basketball for the TWO POINTS clue, as a "safety net" could mean an easy shot. But the football angle sounds better.

SPLEEN for Pique? Ok. I just know the organ SPLEEN, which is always funny if you say you hurt it.

I DIG this puz.

yd -14 (yikes), should'ves 8

One F

Nancy 9:51 AM  

"Popular leafy perennial???" Cherry blossoms are popular. Honeysuckle is popular. Magnolias are popular. But HOSTA???!!! What on earth is HOSTA???!!! If something has to be reasonably well-known to be popular, then HOSTA may be one of the most UNpopular of leafy perennials. Now the people who know HOSTA may love HOSTA, but how many of them are there out there? I mean let's GET REAL.

Also in these truly perilous times, should we really be giving a nickname to a nuclear unit? I was dumbfounded by this clue and couldn't even begin to imagine what such a nickname might be. SIS???!!! Is this some sort of sick joke? Oh, wait, "nuclear unit" = Nuclear family!!! Well, why didn't you say so, Caitlin? I suppose this is fair in a devious sort of way, though I've never referred to my own family as a "nuclear unit". Have any of you?

I had the "R" of "makes purr" and wanted RUBS. Many cats like to be rubbed. REVS, you say???!!! There is nothing "purr"-y about car engines, motorcycle engines or any of those noisy machines. The godawful sounds they make as they being revved up are the exact opposite of a purr. Hated this clue.

I really liked the clues for NUDE SCENE and TWO POINTS and the answers OPTICAL ILLUSION; CAME CLEAN and SIREN SONG. I had MATH NERD before MATHLETE and HOOPS before CRAPS for the shooting game. I found this a struggle, especially in the SE -- and not always all that pleasurable.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

kids start to get molars at age 6, is that still a toddler

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:55 AM  

@Mike Herlihy 7:57 AM - HOSTAs are certainly perennial here in NYC, where there is indeed a frost.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:59 AM  

TJS 8:59 AM - No, sunscreen is not considered a foundation, but many foundations include sunscreen.

Hee Haw 9:59 AM  

We RE-TWEETed and RE-WINDed. Is RE-GAL getting a new lady friend?

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

A slog for me, too. But then, it's Friday...btw, beans are legumes, but apparently peas are not.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:08 AM  

@Zed 9:06 AM - Apologies, I dashed off my reply before I saw that you beat me to it.

Camilita 10:18 AM  

@nancy you're such a city girl! Us suburbanites love our hostas!
I've got a line of them up to the front door.

Z 10:19 AM  

@Anon9:54 - Googling before posting will save you from making embarrassing statements. Were you maybe thinking baby teeth didn’t count?

@Nancy - HOSTAs are everywhere. They should be classified as an invasive species they are so pervasive. They’re not native to North America so I refuse to plant them, but I feel very lonely in that stance.

@Gary Jugert - Have you parsed it as PER SE, yet?

Also, allow me to disagree on the PER SE META double. A very literal clue and then adding a question mark to change the clue meaning is good stuff. If something is META it is concerning or providing information about members of its own category {Merriam-Webster}, so I’m not sure the question mark is totally apt, but it does signal “think differently about this clue,” which I like. I think this is fun trickeration.

@bocamp - Thanks for the foundation SPF information.

Wordler 10:23 AM  

@bocamp. I bogied, too, and felt lucky doing so. (Played Whack-a-consonant)

Wordle 293 5/6


Anonymous 10:29 AM  

Agreed--this was pretty much a joyless slog, though not from any lack of skill in the construction, save for the lack of flow. Only a couple mild smiles at figuring out the clues. The rest were And then on to the next. Needed Autocheck in a few places just to move forward. Not what I'm looking for on a Friday.

jae 10:32 AM  

Bottom half easy, NE medium and NW tough. I somehow had trouble recalling the plot of a movie I saw 30 years ago, plus spelling MASERATI, plus drawing a blank on the safety ? clue...tough corner. A fine Friday, liked it. bunch!

....ELF I saw again a few months ago so that was a gimme.

Me too for trivial before NOMINAL

Z 10:32 AM  

@MIBS - If everyone apologized every time that happened. we’d end up with 300 comments some days. Now I’m imagining posters apologizing for their duplicate apologies and we’re at 500 comments. πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

**potential Wordle spoiler if you’re smart**
@Wordler - I eliminated four letters that might have worked in the second spot in my first two guesses, so an easy tap-in for par today.

The Lab is constantly finding who knows what to munch on on our walks. Hence four clean ups this morning. Not a big deal but why does he have to throw up on the rug instead of the hardwood? And now he’s giving me that “where’s breakfast” stare.

Whatsername 10:32 AM  

As far as I know most HOSTAS are considered perennials even in colder planting zones. Here in the southern Midwest, mine are just beginning to peek up through the soil. It helps to wait until after a hard freeze in the fall to cut them back and then cover with a light layer of mulch. They grow easily and do tend to spread but I have never considered them or heard them referred to as invasive.

@Joe Dipinto: Love the picture of your beauteous kitties. 😻

BobL 10:34 AM  

I have 50 or more hosts. Freezing weather hardly phases them. A most versatile and beautiful plant.

jberg 10:37 AM  

" Felt like I was seeping through this puzzle more than zoom-zooming through it." That's it in a nutshell, the reason I enjoyed this puzzle. It's a matter of taste, I guess.

Teachable moment here: what is a perennial? It's a plant that dies back to the ground in the winter, but then comes up again from the roots in the spring. So basil is not -- it's an annual -- because once the leaves die, the plant is dead. Cherry blossoms and honeysuckles are deciduous woody plants -- the leaves die, but the woody stems live through the winter. Also, pea plants are legumes, but the little round things we eat are the seeds. End of lecture.

And on to my adventures with the puzzle. I had NAIVE and GET REAL, then I figured out that a nickname for a nuclear unit might be 'fam.' Aha! Monet must have painted moNkEyS! Wow, did that ever mess me up, helped out by sAlAd bar. triviAL was a little easier to fix, but I needed all the crosses to see CHATS UP, with that y where the t should be blocking my way.

I had no idea about the setting for "A Few Good Men," so I was guessing the Nubian Museum would be in either Sudan or Egypt. At least I was in the right part of Africa.

A fun struggle for me. Now I have to go figure out if I have enough space to plant an Empress Wu HOSTA.

Mike Herlihy 10:57 AM  

You are right @Mike in Bed-Stuy. My morning fog confused perennial with evergreen for some reason. My bad.

Garden guy 11:00 AM  

I suspect that the person who disputed that hostas were perennial was confusing perennial with evergreen. Hostas are hardy up to horticultural zone 3, which includes much of New Hampshire.

As for popularity, almost anyone who was looking for perennial plants for their garden would be familiar with hostas.

I agree with @Zed that hostas are pervasive, and non-native, but in my experience they are certainly not invasive. They pretty much stay where you put them, and then the deer and the voles nibble them into oblivion.

bocamp 11:01 AM  

Learned HOSTA from a Tim Croce puz not too long ago (hi @jae). It was my only error at the time. So Happy I've been able to remember it. Have seen it at least twice since then. :)
Zed (10:19 AM) yw πŸ‘

@Wordler (10:23 AM)

I was pretty much a bogey golfer; lots of weed-whacking. So, today's bogey made me feel right at home. lol
Peace πŸ™ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Nancy 11:06 AM  

Having just discovered that a plethora of Rexites are quite familiar with HOSTAS, I just went to look at some pictures online. They're really quite beautiful! I love the way they look! If I had my own garden I might even plant some.

So how come I've never heard the word HOSTA mentioned by anyone -- not even once?

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Wasn't GranTurismo the name of one of those early minivans?

I had PLYMOUTH and then CHRYSLER before the I in OPTICAL gave me MASERATI.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

has anyone figured out what sets OFL off with respect to mis-direction clues?? 'Safety net?', which I didn't grok anyway, for the obvious reasons, is, to my mind, perfectly nasty for Friday or Saturday. why the kvetching?

Beezer 11:13 AM  

Oh my! For whatever reason my ONLY complaint is that I finished this puzzle in Wednesday time and felt it was over much too soon so I may have had a long-distance Vulcan mind-meld with the constructor!

@Birchbark I laughed out loud at your post about “Never META deer that didn’t like HOSTA! Before we went condo our family home had a small creek in the back with a bridge over the creek to an even woodsier area. When we first moved there I planted a Francis Williams hosta on either side of the bridge. Yep. The deer would let them get up to an almost stunning display then eat them down to the ground.

@Zed, I presume your stance on hosta means that you would never plant an apple tree? I guess Johnny Appleseed WAS a bad dude. πŸ˜‰

@Nancy, there are tons of hosta around NYC. My guess is that you’ve just never really gardened.

Joe Dipinto 11:20 AM  

@Whatsername – those aren't my kitties, they're my brother's. I used to go feed them when he had gigs out of town, but now that he moved to NJ it isn't really feasible anymore. Too bad, I miss them.

@Peter P – One upward modulation is okay, it's when you get a string of them in succession. "Can't Smile Without You" is the worst offender, since it's such a drecky song to begin with. But sometimes it does work effectively (Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady"). As for "Penny Lane," I could write a thesis on how the tonal shifts vis-a-vis melody placement from verse to chorus and back make it a perfectly constructed pop song. The final chorus lifts everything ↑UP, and you can't help but feel good.

Since everyone loves the clue, I think a celebratory dance is in order.

beverly c 11:20 AM  

This was a challenge, especially up top, until a flash of inspiration revealed OPTICALILLUSION. Then it was as if a switch in my brain was flipped and I started seeing the clues with the right perspective. Even so, I didn't understand the clue for SIS until reading @Lewis. Fun!

No idea about football or Seaworld rides or GITMO. A REV is no purr, it's a roar.
Hostas are ubiquitous in Portland- I think there are a gazillion types.

egsforbreakfast 11:33 AM  

Alternate clues:

28D _______ eaten (slangy way to decline a dinner invite)
10D. Way through a fence.
35D. What’s left after Sharpton and Franken ditch Roker.
7D What’s near the Nubian Museum


I was quite sure that “ 42A Boost someone’s signal, in a way” was surely “amplify”. RETWEET turns out to be far more clever.

I pretty much would go with the assessment from @Lewis. You can always count on Caitlin Reid for a good-to-great puzzle, and this was no exception. Thanks, Caitlin.

sixtyni yogini 11:39 AM  

Tested the flexibility of my mind. 🀸🏽‍♀️
Fun AFTER getting toeholds in certain sections.
🎯 Good points, πŸ¦–,
LiKed it.

Nancy 11:43 AM  

@Beezer -- Years ago, a friend who inherited a [somewhat neglected] garden in NJ when she married, morphed into an avid gardener in her late 30s, planting mostly tomatoes and cukes and other veggies. "You think you're in such great shape playing tennis?" she challenged me. "You have no idea how much more physically demanding gardening is than tennis. It puts a strain on your back, your knees -- it's really hard physical work."

"Hard physical work." She said the three magic words -- thereby talking me out of the faintest thought of EVER gardening in the future. And I never have.

Joseph Michael 11:53 AM  

GAH, @Rex. Don’t be a Jenny. This puzzle deserves more kudos than you gave it. OPTICAL ILLUSION is a GRAND grid spanner and there are a number of highlights, such as NUDE SCENE, GET REAL, RETWEET, and SIREN’S SONG. There’s even a new entry for the Oxford Eel Dictionary (O.E.D.)

@Nancy, now that you are aware of HOSTAS. you’ll begin to realize that they are everywhere.(It’s a little scary.)

HOSTA la vista.

REVS up his NEW MASERATI and drives off into the SUNSETS.

pabloinnh 12:01 PM  

@JoeD, @Peter P-We had for a while, in our little church in NH, a ridiculously talented organist who would sometimes raise a hymn a half step after every verse, just for the fun or it. Of course he was reading from the same music all the time. I asked him how he could do this and he said it was something he learned in music school. Oh.

He's down around Boston somewhere now hauling in the big bucks. Good for him.

Beezer 12:06 PM  

@Nancy…HA! Your friend is right! You know, I play tennis AND garden (smaller plot now and only flowers) and I get way more sore from gardening! Since I play tennis year-round I think it’s because I only use those gardening muscles for a short period of time PLUS more stooping and bending.

old timer 12:13 PM  

I finished it (unlike yesterday) and my reaction was, "I'm rather proud of myself." Because it was by no means Easy. It was just what a Friday should be. So, Rex, quitcher bellyaching!

Having raised three toddlers, and being the grandpa of four, I have of course heard and seen many an eruption, and for the life of me could not figure out what it could be given those five letters. MOLAR made me grin from ear to ear when I finally got it.

And I did think META was quite clever. As for LIMA, it took just a little thought to figure out what it could be. When you think about it, every other capital city on the Pacific is not *in and of itself* on the ocean. Connected to the ocean, sometimes, but the only other place besides LIMA you can surf is in Honolulu, and there, the historic heart of the city is not directly on the ocean, though Waikiki is now part of the city.

What? 12:17 PM  

At 85, starting to lose them. 80 some years, not too bad.

Baby 12:32 PM  

I read that Arnold Schwarzenegger has quite a lovely vista of HOSTA.

Z 12:38 PM  

Just did the Berry Friday New Yorker and what I liked the most is he went with three really good themers. I think we all know that Berry is the constructor who could make a six theme puzzle sing, but he doesn’t. He’s got three great themers and he doesn’t try to cram in a fourth or fifth. Three themers or three themers and a revealer used to be the standard. Now it seems like if there aren’t four or five we aren’t going to see it in the NYT and most constructors just don’t have the chops to not make the fill suffer. That’s not to say the Berry puzzle didn’t have a flaw or two (not overly fond of the geography quiz in the SE), but it is a fun puzzle to solve. And the image evoked by the last themer seems like something straight out of a New Yorker comic.

re:HOSTAs - Not sure everyone caught my snark. They should be classified as an invasive species because they aren’t really but I am so over looking at them. Can we not find something native to the area to make our gardens pretty?

@jberg - I don’t think you explained how the PEAS clue works, though. Is PEA a technical term for seeds? Or is it that the legume is somehow a fruit because PEAS are seeds?

Whatsername 12:48 PM  

@Anonymous (11:09) I had that fleeting thought about the Gran Turismo as well but I was thinking it was an older model sedan/coupe. Maybe we’re both thinking of the Ford Gran Torino?

@Nancy(11:43) Your “hard work” story made me laugh out loud. And I’m right there with @Beezer about those special gardening muscles. Earlier this week, I took advantage of a nice sunny day and did some weeding in a couple of flower gardens. Not the next day but the day after that, I could hardly make it to the bathroom to take some Advil for my aching back and knees.

GILL I. 12:53 PM  

My SEMITONE increment made my Lavalava skirt flutter while standing under a hot fan. It wasn't a pretty sight. In fact, the NUDE SCENE taken while lying akimbo on my red MASARATI, was deleted...then put back in...then deleted.
I am not NAIVE but I'm also not a MATHLETE. I was told I had to choose one. I went dancing with hither and yon and both stepped on my feet.
I was in a TAPAS bar when Caitlin handed me todays script. It was difficult to read. I needed several pair of bifocals, but each one made it even more blurry. I desperately wanted to be one of the A LISTERS...I flunked math.
I wasn't compensated for all the efforts I put in....[sigh] . I ended up in a forest full of HOSTA, watching the deer and singing ANNIE get your gun. Or maybe it was "You Can't Roller Skate With a Buffalo Herd."

OISK 12:58 PM  

Gah! Or Gah? And didn't like the clue for "Elf," either. How about "number of players on a German football team"? But all in all, a very good Friday, with plenty of very clever cluing, and very little garbage.*

*Pop references outside my narrow, elitist preferences.

Teedmn 1:05 PM  

@Birchbark, you are so right about the HOSTAs. We put mesh over ours until after they flower; otherwise, overnight, they turn into stubs of chewed leaves. And the mesh keeps the tulips safe too. The deer don't seem to care for the daffodils, happily.

It's hardly worth mentioning but I made a big mess at 48A with first triviAL and then minimAL (except at that point I had __M_NAL in place - "minimal" wasn't going to work. Gah, wasted black ink.)

Definitely, petS before REVS. The purring engine comes after the revving. I ride my bike past a shop that apparently works on race cars. There are times the revving is so loud, I have to cover my ear that's closest to the shop, and I'm left to wonder how much worse my tinnitus will be once I'm past. Not purring in the least!

Caitlin, I enjoyed this, a challenging Friday for me. Thanks!

Victory Garden 1:08 PM  

It was too hard for me, but most Fridays are. I'm not really used to looking at a grid and seeing ONE clue I know right off the bat even on a Friday, but that's OK. Just need to Learn Moar.

Beezer 1:11 PM  

@Zed, You are now in charge of the horticultural project of finding a native shade perennial that make our gardens pretty from mid to late spring until fall! Perhaps moss? Seriously though, I get that you may find hosta overused but for ME, I appreciate a reliable non-invasive lovely plant (even if it comes from another country) if it relieves me from avoidable back breaking work (other than to bend over and place a flat “tin” with a little beer in it to ward away slugs). Ok. It kills the slugs.
Seriously II…I don’t know if forget-me-nots are native here, and for some reason I think they may not work well where you are (are you kind of up a mountain?) but they look quite nice when not blooming but they tend to go into wilt/dormancy. As you can see, hostas are “poopular” for good reason and that is why they TRY to come up with variants that are a little different. Anyway, just kinda playing with you. If you DO figure out a native plant that works well in shade and is striking, PLEASE let me know!

Rachel 1:27 PM  

So so so hard! I didn't even realize two points was a football reference. I know nothing about football. I assumed maybe it was basketball because basketball has nets and it's a safer bet to throw a two-pointer than a three-pointer? Ugh, this puzzle was hard.

I didn't even like the "raw" clue for nude scenes, because I just don't understand how "raw" means naked. Other than hearing that word used to describe unprotected PIV sex, I can't think of how it refers to anything naked or sexual.

Chip Hilton 1:40 PM  

What a terrific Friday puzzle! So many creative clues, Safety net? my favorite. I struggled in the SE with SEMITONES in one direction and the paired “in and of itself” clues in the other. But, overall, just a great romp.

HOSTA. I’ve lived in my home for 38 years and, in that time, have seen one deer. (Poor guy - I don’t know how he navigated some major cross streets to get in here.) So, hostas work well on my property. Decades ago, I bought a couple. Since then, I’ve divided and divided, resulting in the over usage that @Zed refers to. The last few years, I began to remove some and replace with other perennial covers, ajuga being a personal favorite. I do love hosta leaves. The flowers, with a few exceptions, not so much. Looking outside, the old faithfuls are just starting to break through the soil. The next few weeks will be a show.

lodsf 1:59 PM  

Re. hostas: I don’t believe that they grow in California (at least I’ve never seen them in no. California). I think they need water (which we unfortunately lack). But as many have said they are ALL OVER the eastern/ New England states are are indeed “deer nip”.

Beezer 2:20 PM  

@Whatsername…omg…I feel your pain! I don’t know where you live (you needn’t say) but so far I’ve been able to ignore the small amount of weeds I have. Im sure they will explode soon. And btw, I was stymied by the Torino(Ford…Clint Eastwood)/Turismo thing, too, but got enough crosses to figure out Maserati.
@Nancy…there is NO shame in not being a gardener unless you are me. I am the BROWNEST thumb of a nuclear family of green thumbs. I kid, but actually I got the bug from them but not the talent. My father was a blue collar worker at a power plant but he planted at least 70 different varieties of iris in our backyard plus built a “greenhouse” in our basement with 2 x 4s, visqueen, and grow lights. Among other things, he made sure we had delphinium EVERY year, plus tried to devise a totally green coleus (why?). My mother had a hybrid tea rose garden, and my (much…sorry but true) older sister created her own round “English-style” garden. I had a small patch by our back porch where I planted BIG seeds like nasturtium, etc.

Beezer 2:35 PM  

@Chip Hilton…I KNOW I gone over my comments today BUT I have to tell you that ajuga is EXTREMELY invasive. I have personally dealt with this in the past so PLEASE don’t think I’m being mean. Honestly, it depends on how close it is to other plants/flowers that you care about. I wish you the best of luck with ajuga, and I really mean that!

Joe Dipinto 2:36 PM  

@Rachel 1:27 – You've never heard of sleeping "in the raw"?

Masked and Anonymous 2:48 PM  

Feisty FriPuz. Not only did it have the usual unknown ADAM's & ELLIS's, five ?-marker clues, and the SEMITONE of mystery, it also featured a ton of tricky clues, where their meanins could be taken multiple ways.

Some fave double-on-ton-dry clue examples:

1. {Really, really fancy} = CRAVE. Or maybe SUAVE, etc.

2. {Makes purr, maybe} = REVS. Well documented by already by other Comment Gallery regulars.

3. {Boost someone's signal, in a way} = RETWEET. The precious nanoseconds are often in trouble, when U see that "in a way" disclaimer.

4. {Toddler's eruption} = MOLAR. As opposed to something of the SHOUT or "MOMMY!" persuasion.

5. {That's the spirit!} = GHOST. Them !-marker clues often get pretty day-um spooky.

Other clues producin nanosecond eruptions: NEW. GRAND. SIS. ACCENTS. ONEAL. SPF. OVAL. REWIND. PAL. PEAS [on a technicality]. SCORPIO. TAPAS [blank filler with near-infinite possibilities]. And them 5 ?-marker clues, of course. Altho … for some reason, I sniffed out that POTS pup, right outta the chute.

staff weeject pick: GAH. Always a crowd-pleaser. ASS btw had an awful cruel clue, if yer name is Jennifer. Coulda maybe subbed Putin or Trump or somesuch, as the name in that clue.

Thanx for the many optimal illusions, Ms. Reid darlin. Cool, if not slightly sadistic, job.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

inspired by a recent NYTPuz:

Carola 2:52 PM  

Very challenging for me, and very satisfying to finish. My two main problems were the dead zone of the NW (for the movie: usafc?, for the museum location: sudAN? for the lavalava: tongA? pAlau?) and the too vague or twisty clues (SIS was my one solver's no-crosses high). I found my way into the grid at RAN ON x ALISTERS; across the way in the SE corner, previous puzzles gave me SIA and the familiar EEL, and from there I managed to stagger-step to the top. Last in: GITMO x MASERATI. Lots to like along the way: SIREN SONG, CAME CLEAN, CHATS UP, SPLEEN, SCORPIO and the good joke of TWO POINTS. All I want in a Friday puzzle.

okanaganer 2:56 PM  

Yes Gran Tourismo was a Plymouth. No doubt about it. I was shocked when I realized it wasn't, at least here.

I was a MATHLETE in grade 10. Our team actually beat all the senior high kids (grades 11 and 12) which felt great. Picture in the paper and everything!

I remember when ANNIE the movie came out. I knew the manager of the local multiplex; he was furious that head office forced him to put Annie in the big theater (which was mostly empty most nights). Which meant a film called E.T. played in a packed small theater for weeks and weeks.

[Spelling Bee: Wed 3:20 to pg but finished -1; missed this word.
yd (Thu) 14:30 to pg, but eventually got to QB by a lucky guess.]

EdFromHackensack 3:27 PM  

HOSTAs are ubiquitous and perennial here in Northern NJ, where we get plenty of frost. Deer love them

Anonymous 3:46 PM  

Slog, slog, slog. Just relief to be done. Enjoyed some of this, but not most. Definitely too all over the place.

Anonymous 3:52 PM  

Molars usually erupt (break through the gum) when a child is a toddler

Peter WC 4:10 PM  

I gotta vote in favor of the PER SE/META clues. That's what actually brought me here today to see what Rex thought. And SEMITONE was outstanding.

Anonymous 4:12 PM  

Hostas absolutely are perennials even in the north! They reliably come up year after year - and despite some comments above, they are tremendously popular! My husband, no gardner, got this one easily.

(And unfortunately they are also very popular with deer. Same husband calls them “deer salad”.

burtonkd 4:57 PM  

Another city non-gardener here. I had heard of HOSTAS, and seen them - nice to put the two together, kind of like meeting someone you've heard rumors about.

Joe Pinto: Thanks for the Soul Train clip. In addition to the bass solo, the whole tune is so far from usual Top 10 fare. Watching to the end, it seems that Curtis Mayfield was on that same episode!

On a side note, that show is a mesmerizing reminder of my childhood post Saturday morning cartoon television programming. I am amazed at how thin people appear from that era. Granted, these are selected as dancers, but watching Taxi Driver the other day, we noticed the same thing. Also, the Oscar winning doc Summer of Soul.

Maybe not zoom zoom, but I made steady progress through this and thought it was a terrific Friday.

albatross shell 5:16 PM  

Even a NOMINAL gardener would know basil is not a perennial. Not Rex, at least it did not seem to be a joke.

I thought I may be the only one who cultivates a member of the mint family called wild basil (clinopodium vulgare) that tastes a bit like basil if you have a vivid imagination or covid 19.

SIRENSONG was splendid with a fine clue. I did try to cram in DEADWEIGHT just cause it would be an amazing answer as clued. Correct answer? Maybe.

I disagree with Rex on the similar clues needing to be far away from each other. Best ones cross each other. Lookie-loo clues are best crossining or adjacent. Too much trouble if you have to look far away. Symmerically opposite passes muster too. Also, today both clues work well.

One of the things I liked about today's puz how clues echoed each other or answers. I had CRAVE in then found Wanted one. Clues that had support attraction and stress. Then eruption, pique, speak sharply, outburst. A double crock. Makes solving more fun.

Hands up for trivial and gettiing my ass kicked.

At the SC... my Sign of fall was SCrapes despite the s.

Shade native leafy plants, depending on moisture: Bloodroot, wild ginger (the foreign ones have shinier leaves), hepatica, ferns, foamflower, Allegheny spurge. Internet search should find you more for your area.

pabloinnh 5:38 PM  

Can HOSTAs survive a northeastern winter?

Also, do deer eat them?

Asking for a friend.

The Swedish Chef 6:01 PM  

it sounds a bit like there's a confusion betwixt perennial and evergreen. HOSTA is the former, while firs and the like the latter.

a remedial course in horticulture:

"Tomato vines, for example, live several years in their natural tropical/subtropical habitat but are grown as annuals in temperate regions because their above-ground biomass doesn't survive the winter."

I never realized that, did you? from watching endless cooking shows, I knew that the Love Apple went from the New World to the Olde World (ah, Italian tomato sauce!), but never noticed that much of that 'reverse migration' was sourced from between the two Tropic Lines. so, of course, those plants had available an unending growing season. not so much Outside the Lines.

Hartley70 6:23 PM  

I had a lovely row of HOSTAS. They’ve been replaced by ferns. When it comes to deer, you can only beat your head against the wall for so long.

I was quite fond of this puzzle. It wasn’t a stumper as some Fridays can be and I didn’t mind because it’s all about the cluing for me and today’s was outstanding. Toddler’s eruption was my favorite and I so wanted a synonym for tantrum. MOLAR was even better considering the pair of drooling one year olds in my life. I liked that NUDESCENE worked for Reveal all and Raw footage, tricky that. Safety net was a winner.

Beezer 6:23 PM  

Lol @Pabloinnh 5:38

Newboy 6:31 PM  

Oh @Birchbark I feel your pain. Deer in our very urban environs have rendered tulips obsolete for years; during their adjustment to Covid-19 they added bergenia as well as our Japanese maple and Staghorn Sumac to their diet. Even cedar hedges are looking like topiary. And now the yearly morning ritual of flickers announcing their mating availability on the metal caps of vents on the roof. And to top everything, Jack Nicholson was NOT being tried in mIaMi…’s been a long day!

Anoa Bob 7:48 PM  

I thought it was a fine Friday puzzle with something for everyone to like. My favorite entry was OPTICAL ILLUSION. It was everyone's favorite part of the psychology course Sensation and Perception. We used several works of the master of the OPTICAL ILLUSION, M.C. Escher, to illustrate some of the ways to give a two dimensional picture perspective, that is, the look or feel of depth or three dimensions. I have his Three Worlds hanging on a wall at home, all by itself, sort of in and ot itself.

I did some landscaping to give $ome help getting through graduate school. My advice for shaded areas---mulch. Instead of sucking up soil nutrients that the shade giving plants need, it slowly adds them, if you're using a good organic mulch like shredded hardwood tree bark. The shade giving plants, the shrubs and trees, will look healthier and healthier for it and the open space will have more of a zen look to it instead of looking like a crowded display outside a place that sells plants.

My 1962 Austin Healy 3000 purred better than any MASERATI I ever heard. But when it REVved, the purr changed into more of a growl albeit a smooth and deep throated, mellow growl.

&M&A, you are in fine form today. I have a niece named Jennifer. This has never been a topic of conversation but I'm sure she's fine with her name. We come from WASPland where ASS was part of the Tenth Commandment, as I recall, so we are very seldom an ASS about it!

albatross shell 10:58 PM  

So on this site you either hate hostas because you have too many of them or you hate them because the deer eat them. Except those people who don't have any and they hate them because there ubiquitous.

It's a strange world.

I like my hostas and I do get rid of some. The deer hangout in the cornfield next door during the summer. Never touch the hostas. In the winter they wander through the yard but no hostas to be found.

Robert Lockwood Mills 10:15 AM  

Nice puzzle, especially for old guys like myself. A minimum of pop culture and street slang, and some really good answers like SIRENSONG, CAMECLEAN and OPTICALILLUSION, all of which were fairly clued.

Unknown 11:05 AM  

Toddlers don't get molars!

thomas 9:54 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
spacecraft 10:28 AM  

Certainly medium-challenging to solve, but for a Friday, I'd say medium. End-of-week puzzles are SUPPOSED to challenge.

This was one of those where I get stuck--several times--, put the damn thing down for a while, pick it back up and say "Oh. THAT way." So, a series of Mini-ahas, with apologies to Mr. Longfellow, to liven things up. Birdie.

thefogman 2:01 PM  

Challenging. Never mind medium-challenging. Doable, but just a shade below the level of extremely challenging.

Diana, LIW 2:27 PM  

Even though it was hard, I'd have gotten it except for - you guessed it - those darn names.

And according to Dr. Google, toddlers do get molars.

Toddling along...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 2:45 PM  


ANNIE’s NAÏVE with delusion


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