Saint associated with the Russian alphabet / FRI 4-15-22 / Florida city in the middle of horse country / Fictional narrator whose first name is a fruit / Occasion for Druids to gather at Stonehenge

Friday, April 15, 2022

Constructor: Trenton Charlson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Saint CYRIL (20A: Saint associated with the Russian alphabet) —

Cyril (born Constantine, 826–869) and Methodius (815–885) were two brothers and Byzantine Christian theologians and missionaries. For their work evangelizing the Slavs, they are known as the "Apostles to the Slavs".

They are credited with devising the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet used to transcribe Old Church Slavonic. After their deaths, their pupils continued their missionary work among other Slavs. Both brothers are venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as saints with the title of "equal-to-apostles". In 1880, Pope Leo XIII introduced their feast into the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1980, Pope John Paul II declared them co-patron saints of Europe, together with Benedict of Nursia. [...] 

The Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets are the oldest known Slavic alphabets, and were created by the two brothers and their students, to translate the Gospels and liturgical books into the Slavic languages. The early Glagolitic alphabet was used in Great Moravia between 863 (the arrival of Cyril and Methodius) and 885 (the expulsion of their students) for government and religious documents and books, and at the Great Moravian Academy (Veľkomoravské učilište) founded by Cyril, where followers of Cyril and Methodius were educated, by Methodius himself among others. The alphabet has been traditionally attributed to Cyril. (wikipedia)
• • •

A lot of nonsense up front, and then an easy and dullish exercise the rest of the way. Putting seventy-five or however many "X"s in one corner is not the HOOT you think it is, from a solving perspective. It's not that getting those "X"s was difficult. It wasn't. It just seems like a waste of good space, space that could've been used for legitimately interesting fill instead of a totally arbitrary number of "XO"s and a YOOHOO / YOHOHO pseudo-echo. And then to come crashing out of that corner with XYLOPHONE (promising ...) MALLET (thud) (17A: What can strike up a tune?). When I got MALLET, after working the crosses, I thought "really, we did all that for just ... the one ... MALLET?" And that ended up being the most original thing in the grid. After that, there are a couple good longer answers—TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE is solid, and I like FALL EQUINOX and ARMY-NAVY as well—but there's mostly 3s, 4s, and 5s, not much to write home about. The center is thick with blandness: PETSTORE, ARETOO, TARTARE, ÉCOLES—a lot of common letters but not a lot of zing. The fill is smooth throughout, it's just that IBAR IPSO AOL OCALA etc. has a way of piling up and deadening the Friday thrill. Detracting from the Zoom—even though I did lowercase "z" zoom through the puzzle, for the most part. It was easy but not exciting. It's possible that the NW corner was your idea of fun. It's clearly somebody's idea of fun. It was not mine.  


I might've tolerated the NW corner a little better if, in addition to drowning me in corny "X"s, it had not decided to cram not one not two but three "?" clues into a very, very small space. You see the numbers 1, 3, and 17 in today's grid? They're all within one square of one another, and they are all "?" clues. That's just a gruesome pile-up. A desperate attempt (maybe?) to force the solver to slow down so they will "appreciate" your "X" games. It all just seems like it's trying too hard to impress. It's show-offy without actually being enjoyable. And it's just bad, unbalanced form to cram that many "?" clues into that small a space. There are only two such clues in the entire rest of the grid. The NW corner just makes the whole puzzle feel wildly imbalanced, in multiple ways. 


I started with HOT (wrong) ROY (correct) and SON (correct), which is the only one of the three I was certain of (8D: Chaz, to Cher). Somehow, from the "O"s, I was able to see the XOXOXOXO gimmick. Maybe I got YOHOHO first, I don't remember (6D: Accompaniment for a bottle of rum). I'm sort of surprised that YOHOHO clue didn't (also!) have a "?" on it, but I guess the line is "YOHOHO and a bottle of rum," so it's pretty literal. I'm not actually sure where that line comes from, though it's very, very familiar. I want to say it's from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride at Disneyland, but that can't be right. I think that one is "Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate's life for me." Ah, I see the "bottle of rum" line is originally just a snippet of song in Treasure Island. The chorus then got expanded to a longer poem in the late 19th century, and the poem/song's pop cultural presence just proliferated from there. Anyway, after the "XO" line went in, everything was easy thereafter. I wrote in SOLAR PANELS instead of SOLAR PLEXUS because I just got cocky (had SOLARP, took one look at the first word of the clue, "Network," and proudly wrote in SOLAR PANELS! I mean, what else was it going to be ...?) (23D: Network of nerves in the abdomen). Cockiness paid off later when I no-looked OLIVE OYL off the OYL. Confirmed OLIVE with crosses, never saw the clue. Had a bit of a struggle at the end with SURVIVE (27D: Keep on keeping on) and its various crosses. Definitely didn't see the bird angle at 26A: Rail construction (NEST). And then LIVE was weirdly hard (39A: As it happens). I thought "as it happens" was the segue phrase, akin to "it just so happens..." So the only thing I could think to write in there was LIKE (???). Anyway, I SURVIVEd this puzzle. I wish it had been more [Beautiful and rare].

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

105 comments:

Harryp 5:55 AM  

I thought it was fun, even though it played Easy. Fall Equinox and Textbook Example helped tremendously in solving and I liked Pet Store.

Wordler 5:59 AM  

The NW is pretty wonky but I love it. This was fun and just the right amount of crunch for me for Friday. Clever clues, nice long answers.



Wordler's rule grants me a par on today's whack a consonant.

Wordle 300 6/6

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Conrad 6:04 AM  


My heart sank when I saw Trenton Charlson's byline. He's a superb constructor, but I'm not normally on his wavelength. Today was different, though, starting with 1A. I read the clue, thought "That couldn't be XRAY EYES, could it?" ... and it could! Only major overwrite (besides a typo that at first prevented the happy music) was Rex instead of ROY at 2D.

bocamp 6:28 AM  

Thx Trenton, for a smooth Fri. puz! :)

Easy; close to a best time.

Wednes. level difficulty, but a fun solve, nevertheless.

Got the X idea right off, and never looked back.

Did this one in a spiral, starting in the NW, moving down the West Coast, over to the SE, up the East Coast, and down the middle to Kansas, ending with TARTARE.

A most enjoyable trip around the country. :)

@puzzlehoarder (12:15 PM yd)

Good to hear that your knee is doing its job. 👍

Thx for the details of your trek; sounds like a worthy challenge! :)
___
yd pg -1 (still looking) (hi @thfenn (1:13 PM yd)) (one new wordfrom dbyd)

Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Sioux Falls 6:35 AM  

Oddly got stuck on FINN/NAVE cross. Had no idea what a narthex is and I got stuck thinking the narrator/fruit clue was looking for a first name so I thought it was some fruit I had never heard of or an alternate spelling of FIG, Having misspelled PYRENEES as pyrAnees did not help ...ended up with _AVA and was thinking JAVA or LAVA. Had to google narthex and then everything fell into place. Super easy for a Friday other than that cross. Not a huge fan of the XXXXX either.

Unknown 6:39 AM  

I rather liked it. It would have been a better Wednesday puzzle tho. Not very challenging.

Anonymous 6:51 AM  

I had a lot of fun with it. It was quick but with many satisfying aha moments that made it a step up from a Wednesday or Thursday.

Anonymous 7:07 AM  

“Easy and dullish” nails it, Rex. I came in way under my usual Friday time, and it felt much longer. An experience not so beautiful but, let’s hope, rare.

kitshef 7:08 AM  

Immediately put in XRAY spEx at 1A, so in addition to putting ton of X's into the grid, I had to take one out. I think that was my only overwrite in what generally fell pretty easy, for a Wednesday.

Anonymous 7:23 AM  

Didn't mind all the X's. Nothing too annoying. The puzzle was on the easier side, which makes its sins less irritating.

Wordle: Glad I finally go that missing letter on the 5th go-round. When the green started, I was excited to get that rare Wordle In Two, but it was not meant to be...

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Megafrim 7:26 AM  

2 Down: Not Rex?! Rex has been dethroned! Long live Roy, king of the crosswords!

Lewis 7:26 AM  

What a stellar week we’ve had thusfar! There was Monday’s pick-up pick-me-up, Tuesday’s Punjob party, then Wednesday’s roshambodacious visual feast, followed by yesterday’s As The World Kerns, and now today’s X-hilarating entry. Kudos to this week’s constructors and the NYT team for its high-quality editing and for fostering a high-bar cadre of constructors.

While the X’s get a lot of notice with 9, I’m feeling sorry for the L’s which not only have a shout-out at 60D (ELS), but they’re actually the highest-count consonants in this puzzle, with 15.

This, for me, was not a forehead-wrenching fill-in, that is, I wasn’t digging deeper and deeper to pull out answers. Nor was it a ho-hum rote solve. Rather it fell into that glorious category that I’ll call Zingers, where the answers pop out with a zing and “Whee!”, and I smile throughout, as I do in waterpark slide or amusement park ride. Along the way there were cluing zings to add to the fun, such as those for AXL, TARTARE, XRAY EYES, and XYLOPHONE MALLET.

A worthy addition to this fun fantastic week, and a terrific springboard for the day. I X-tol your playfulness, Trenton, and am grateful for your work, including today’s joyride. Thank you!

Unknown 7:32 AM  

Quite a bit of fun here. A HOOT.

Son Volt 7:50 AM  

Yep - that opening corner was quirky but it didn’t dampen the overall solve. Handsome grid with the central Scandinavian looking crosses. Lots of nice long stuff - PHOBIAS, FALL EQUINOX, TAKE TEN all solid. The ARAFAT/OSLO pair was neat. Could have done without the IPSO, SHOO, I BAR etc stack.

Learned narthex - figured it was a Dr. Seuss character.

ALL IN ALL an enjoyable solve

CF 8:01 AM  

I think a puzzle full of crosses on Good Friday is not x-actly "themeless", though some might consider it in poor taste. Not me! I thought it was a fun one.

thfenn 8:02 AM  

Faith renewed. Had the western half complete thinking I was on my way to a record time and then slowed down considerably but lots of fun. I thought Stonehenge attracted Druids at the summer and winter solstice, so even with FAL___ I struggled to get the equinox in place, and peRsIst before SURVIVE made a mess of things in the east. "Small grouse" had me thinking of birds and "Rail construction" did not, so they offered enjoyable ahas.

Reading Rex was interesting today. I get why people would see "network" and jump to panels, or never read the OLIVEOYL clue, but even when some down or across entry is complete from the other, I like to read the clue and confirm the answer. My objective isn't to fill all the white space with letters that make answers. It's to read a clue and discern the right response. Often I just enjoy the play between clue and answer. But when the answers spark other associations, all the better. Today's top entry on that front was FINN. FINN to huckleberry to Doc Holliday's "I'm your huckleberry" to Tombstone, to Wyatt's "You tell 'em I'm coming and hell's coming with me". Love that movie, going to watch it again tonight. Xoxo and happy Friday.

pabloinnh 8:02 AM  

I'm in the 'thought this was fun" crowd. YOHOHO sent me down the middle and then the E and W sides filled in, so three puzzles in one, nothing wrong with that. Hand up for the REX/ROY misstep. I had seen the name REX" somewhere recently, I think.

Didn't know Castor's sister but it made for a fun guess that just had to be right. And I haven't thought of SOLARPLEXUS since my schoolboy days, when a punch there was supposed to disable your opponent instantly. Like attacking the mysterious "pressure points", I never tried it, but it sure sounded cool.

Nice smooth Fridecito, TC. The XOXO part got a little Too Cute, but that didn't spoil the experience. Thanks for all the fun.

Smitty 8:11 AM  

I loved this puzzle. Stared at blank spaces for a long time and then once I had a toe hold it kept on going - Lots of fresh reveals (Tartare) that were aha's instead of huh's.Well done! (no pun)

thfenn 8:13 AM  

Some first guesses are luckier than others:
Wordle 300 3/6

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TJS 8:23 AM  

Okay, so the top left was showoffy,but the rest was solid. A crossword fcomposed of real words ! What a concept ! Maybe not Friday level difficulty but I'll take it given what we have dealt with this week.

Love the inconsistency of OFLs analysis from day to day. "ibar,ipso,aol,ocala" "has a way of piling up", but not a word about yesterdays' non-word extravaganza,

amyyanni 8:42 AM  

Easy for a Friday, but that's fine. A little ego boost never hurts. Today is opening day at Fenway and we are ready! So good x3.

astroman 8:45 AM  

"Dead Man's Chest" (also known as "Fifteen Men on the Dead Man's Chest") is a fictional[i] sea song,[ii] originally from Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island (1883). yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

Smith 8:59 AM  

New PR for Friday (11:50). peRsIst before SURVIVE only write over. Maybe better as a Wednesday? I did kinda like all the Xs, tho. Made that NW corner fill in a snap.

hankster65 8:59 AM  

Great fun. A perfect Friday.

thefogman 9:00 AM  

WORDLE had a rude punchline for me today as my 91-game winning streak came to an end…

Wordle 300 X/6*

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Smith 9:02 AM  

Oh, and...

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went back to my old favorite starting word, guess I'll keep doing that!

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

ARAFAT is a TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE of how the Nobel Peace Prize has become a joke.

bocamp 9:07 AM  

Imo, it wasn't the 'X's & 'O's that made the puzzle fun, per se. It was the 'hugs and kisses' they represent that set a lighthearted, fun tone for the solve. 😘 🤗

It was also fun to get a TC puz that was on my wavelength. :)

Got a better idea of NARTHEX today:

"The narthex is an architectural element typical of early Christian and Byzantine basilicas and churches consisting of the entrance or lobby area, located at the west end[1] of the nave, opposite the church's main altar. Traditionally the narthex was a part of the church building, but was not considered part of the church proper." (Wikipedia)

@Son Volt (7:50 AM)

Thx for the link! Catchy tune. :)

@thfenn (8:13 AM) 👍
___
td pg: 19:45 (tough group of letters today) / W: 5* (hi @Wordler (5:59 AM) / @Anonymous (7:23 AM))

This is what makes 'hard' mode hard; otherwise, I'm not sure there's a big dif between 'easy' and 'hard':

Wordle 300 5/6*

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Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Nancy 9:11 AM  

Some great clues in this nonetheless surprisingly easy Friday puzzle. I especially liked XRAY EYES; NEST; HUCKLEBERRY and INSOLE. But with the exception of NEST ("Rail construction") I was on the same wavelength as Trenton and nothing fooled me. I suppose that "Oxford pad,e.g." might have, but most of INSOLE was already written in before I read the clue.

XXX was so obvious for "beyond steamy" that all the acrosses in the NW filled themselves in, lickedy-split.

Today I learned...

*Not exactly what a "narthex" is, mind you, but that it's somehow related to a NAVE. Hope I'll remember that for future puzzles.

*That the SOLAR PLEXUS is a network of nerves. I thought it was a lot more substantial than that -- comprised of, say, muscles. Or at the very least ligaments and tendons. If it's just nerves, then why are so many people's SOLAR PLEXUSes so, well, big?

A pleasant puzzle -- but I found it one of the easier puzzles of the week. For me, it wasn't really a Friday -- but your mileage may vary.

Pete 9:19 AM  

@bocamp - Back in the good old days, the NARETHEX was where the unwashed were admitted so as to be close to the church, not in it. Because, you know, christianity.

I hated this self indulgent puzzle, as I do most of Mr Carlson's puzzles. Trying to set a record for XwordInfo's scrabbliness factor may amuse him, but not me.

Gary Jugert 9:27 AM  

Another good puzzle. I am starting to think people who keep track of their solving times don't need to tell us the puzzle is on the wrong day. We know you think every puzzle is on the wrong day. :-)

Yays (lots):
XRAYEYES
XOXO...
XYLOPHONEMALLET (only takes one!)
CYRIL
OCALA (dunno, I just like it)
LURK and ERATO (in an XXX puzzle)
TEXTBOOKEXAMPLE (I had next best for awhile)
OLIVEOYL
PYRENEES
YOOHOO/YOHOHO
EXOTIC
ELIXIR
FALLEQUINOX

Boos...
ARAFAT (murderer)
IPSO (Latin)
PETSTORE (hate these so much)
NEST (awful clue)

I wonder if XXX in 2022 seems way less taboo than say 1982. Are we more jaded now, or maybe it wasn't as "ehem" as I was told?

RooMonster 9:28 AM  

Hey All !
First pass through puz netted only four answers. Thought, "Oh boy, here we go with another tough FriPuz". But then got an answer, got another one, another one, another one... and before I knew what was happening, finished in 19 and a half minutes. Wow! Fast for me.

The X-fest in NW actually helped me out in other X's around the grid. Figured Trenton was having a grand time throwing X's wherever he could, so made FALLEQUINOX easy to see.

Lots of O's and X's up there. Double O's also. XXX, XOXOXOXO, YOOHOO, YOHOHO, HOOT, SHOO. Neat. Couple more Double O's in ARETOO/TEXTBOOK.

Looking for the pangram after that NW, but missing letters G (which is odd), J, V, W, Z.

So a nice FriPuz.
"Anybody home? I've got a bottle of rum!" = YOOHOO, YOHOHO!

yd -5, should'ves 4

Two F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

Fun puzzle. Took me a while to understand "Rail Construction." Some other clever clues, too.

burtonkd 9:37 AM  

I enjoyed this, and am not too jaded to enjoy an x-treme to the maxxx constructing feat in one corner. Lots of solid 8's, 7's, 6's - they don't have to be contemporary phrase zingers to be good.

@TJS - I made that point yesterday, with Nancy having provided the obligatory big stinking pile of short fill. You could make such a list on just about any puzzle if your goal is to be uncharitable. I saw the byline today, enjoyed the puzzle, then waited for the grousing.

This went by quickly for a Friday, but no trickiness to make it a Thursday, plus the grid construction and difficulty don't suggest a Wednesday. I'll take an ego-boost Friday!

Loved the rail=bird, grouse doesn't.

Am checking my calendar to see if there is some anniversary reason for the 1994 Peace Prize Puzz Pair (hi Lewis, I don't think I used that correctly).

LURK - reading the commentariat without commenting seems less sinister than "watching from the shadows"

After IPSO jure, I'm pleased we didn't also get voir____ for DIRE

AOL and ROUTER nice pair. Also a nice COVE for LURKing pirates to sing YOHOHO. Or going to ECOLE in the PYRENEES.

No comment on using "rare" twice in clues, but it led to EXOTIC first, then had me looking for something even more exotic than exotic; alas, a different sense that finally came into view at TAR_ARE.

Thanks TC, Rex, and commentariat for a good start to the morning.

Hartley70 9:38 AM  

This was a fun Friday romp and that wacky NW was my favorite part. Once I had the measure of that corner, my momentum kept me cruising along until my finale at TARTARE. You bet this was an easy Friday, but it was also a TEXTBOOKEXAMPLE of entertainment value trumping difficulty. I can happily wait for the usual slogging grind known as Saturday,

Rug Crazy 9:41 AM  

My favorite puzzle this year!

Carola 9:44 AM  

Well, I got the challenge that many of you didn't - I thought it was a TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE of a Friday puzzle, needing a good bit of time to work out, with tricky clues and a wealth of fun-to-write-in answers - from the short (HOOT, NEST) to the medium (X-RAY EYES, PYRENEES) to the long (FALL EQUINOX, SOLAR PLEXUS). I got a kick of how X marked the spot...all over the place. Really enjoyed it.

SouthsideJohnny 9:51 AM  

I’m cool with indulging the constructor with an eXtravaganza of X’s today, as the rest of the grid holds up pretty well. I’m with the crew of us who got tripped up by the FINN/NAVE situation.

I also struggled in the center-west, where IPSO was no use, SHOO could have gone in other directions, and even though I dropped in IBAR, I did so without much confidence. That kind of left me out on an island trying to piece together SOLAR PLEXUS.

It seemed like a lot of the rest of it was Thursday or Sunday-difficult, which is consistent with Rex’s easy-medium assessment. Definitely a worthy addition to what has turned into a stellar week in NYT XWordWorld. Hoping they don’t go all arcana on us tomorrow.

Phantom 9:52 AM  


Xcellent

KITTYBOX instead of PETSTORE (thinking X)

Tom T 9:55 AM  

Kept waiting for the resistance that never came--which led to a record Friday time for me, equal to my average time on Tuesdays. Smooth, fun solve.

The celebrated author of the Raven, in addition to his vertical appearance in the SE at 58D, also showed up diagonally in the NW, beginning with the P in XYLOPHONE.

John Fischer 10:01 AM  

I’m really surprised that no one has mentioned the crosses and creepy Good Friday references in early clues! They immediately turned me off, though the solve got a bit better…and then I saw those crosses again…

pmdm 10:08 AM  

I usually dislike Trenton's puzzles quite a bit. But I liked this one quite a bit. Perhaps getting more than usual (for a Friday) entries on my first pass helped. (Finally it paid off that the Sisters of Cyril and Methodius taught my grammar school classes.) Complaints are beside the point.

By the way, did Z (or Zed) say he had to leave for a while. I might have missed that, and his absence is felt (to me, a lot) concerning these comments.

Tom P 10:09 AM  

Sorry, Rex, but I'm going to cast another vote for "fun and satisfying." The NW corner took me a while to suss out, but when I finally did I got my shot of dopamine and the rest of the puzzle fell into line. So thanks, Trenton, for a great start to Good Friday.

oceanjeremy 10:09 AM  

Found this one easy for a Friday, but I LOVED it. The X pseudo-theme very much pleased me.

Much prefer this kind of thing to a trivia-filled slogfest with no wordplay — which I keep running into on Fridays and Saturdays as I work my way backward through the NYTXW archives (I’m currently in early 2016).

Would love to see more Fridays/Saturdays like this!

jberg 10:14 AM  

Put me in the Great Fun camp. I worked my way down the across clues, drawing blanks, until I got to 20A. Aha, a 5-letter Russian saint! How about BasIL? But just as I was pondering whether to write that in, I remembered that it was the CYRILlic alphabet of which we spake. I'd never heard of Saint Cyril, but that gave me the Grandes ECOLES (sans accent) ARMY-NAVY, and then OCALA and YO-HO-HO. Could 15A really be XOXOXOXO? Well, there was EXOTIC, so I took the plunge. Yes! The rest just fell into place, except that I needed a lot of crosses to quit looking for someone named Peach or Apple. (I had the N already, so didn't fall for that 'rail' misdirect.)

I've always heard it called the autumnal (as opposed to FALL) EQUINOX, and I'm not sure why that's significant at Stonehenge, but I'll take it on faith. Well, no, I looked it up instead. Apparently the sun does interesting things there at all 4 season changes -- though, weirdly, none of the sites I found searching for "Stonehenge equinox" mentioned the solstice, and none of those I found with "Stonehenge solstice" mentioned the equinox. Guess there's a competition going on.

Almost DNF, though -- for some reason I remembered the word PATSY as PAnSY, and had to reflect on what TARmARE could be. Fortunately, the reflection paid off.

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

Wow! SOMEBODY didn’t get any nooky last night. Poor Rex.

Ciclista21 10:32 AM  

The TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE in this puzzle must have been a Dick and Jane primer. Imagine the dog was named X in stead of Spot, and you have the whole puzzle.

Look, Jane, look.
See X run.
Oh, oh, oh.
X and O.
Run, X, run.
Oh, oh, oh.

And add to that another stroke of brilliance, putting YOOHOO near to YOHOHO — Oh, oh, oh, that’s about all the excitement I can stand in one day.

Repetition is a poor substitute for creativity. Friday puzzles should be better than this. Edit, Will, edit!

Whatsername 10:34 AM  


Did much better than I expected to do when I saw Trenton‘s name in the byline. Sometimes he and I don’t work from the same TEXTBOOK. But I must admit that today I enjoyed his work, a real delight. A great job on the cluing, my favorites being ABEL, AXL, RAIL and 17A which I’m guessing is a debut.

Unlike Rex, I thought the NW corner was brilliant but granted, I don’t look at grids with the XRAY EYES of a constructor either. I loved YOO-HOO and YO HO HO crossing the XOs. As I SAID, I found this to be a “beautiful and rare” Friday HOOT. Thank you Trenton.

Hartley70 10:37 AM  

In my experience, the NAVE is where you worship. The narthex is where the coffee is located post-service and where you can hang your coat in inclement weather. It serves as a gathering spot for conversation and a lobby.

bocamp 10:42 AM  

@Gary Jugert (9:27 AM)

Fwiw: my take on timing & right/wrong day:

The NYT is the only xword I time; have been doing so from the '90s. It provides a measuring stick vis a vis progress. For all the other xwords I do, I turn off the timer and just relax (often putting them down and coming back to them throughout the day). I find the NYT to be usually fun, enjoyable, often challenging, but not necessarily relaxing, due to the time pressure. I tried going untimed for a short period, but it just didn't work. Finally, I don't usually comment on my time unless it's unusually quick or slow. Today's was half my avg time for a Fri. Just one solver's perspective. :)

As for right/wrong day, it doesn't really matter that much to me, e.g., today's could easily have run on a Wednes. and I probably wouldn't have thot anything of it. Besides, one person's right day may be another's wrong day. I appreciate what I get on any given day, even if I occasionally suggest, 'it could have run on another day'. Again, just one solver's perspective, fwiw. :)

@Pete (9:19 AM)

Good point! Further down, the Wikipedia article has this:

"The purpose of the narthex was to allow those not eligible for admittance into the general congregation (particularly catechumens and penitents) to hear and partake of the service. The narthex would often include a baptismal font so that infants or adults could be baptized there before entering the nave, and to remind other believers of their baptisms as they gathered to worship. The narthex is thus traditionally a place of penitence, and in Eastern Christianity some penitential services, such as the Little Hours during Holy Week are celebrated there, rather than in the main body of the church. In the Russian Orthodox Church funerals are traditionally held in the narthex."
___
Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Newboy 10:50 AM  

Seeing Trenton as constructor led to getting PETSTORE as the first entry, and then smugly assuming that the P had to lead into Phish for 37A. Even with YOO-HOO and YOHOHO in place, 15A remained in limbo….or maybe someplace in the PYRENEES? I’m finding myself once again in @Lewis’s corner though I can understand why the jaded amongst the commentariat join Rex in picking a NIT or three. ALL IN ALL, I’m hoping to retain Newboy’s young at heart ability to find delight in grids as I SURVIVE into my 80th year.

Rob 11:00 AM  

I agree with HarryP, I thought the puzzle was very enjoyable with several aha moments that made me smile, even if it was quick easy for a friday.

GILL I. 11:08 AM  

I liked it...I didn't. I liked it...I didn't. I liked it...I didn't. I liked it...I didn't. And to all: xoxoxoxoxo.
Phew.
My breath is waiting to be bated when OSLO announces Trump will receive the next Nobel for his brilliant speeches and for forgiving Biden for stealing his election.
Ok..so when I finished, I did a smile; my ivories were tickled because I did this without any help. I had some knotty fits and starts. No one kicked me in my SOLAR PLEXUS; didn't need to gulp an ELEXIR and after a few of the TAKE TEN episodes, I finished.
Just yesterday I sang that bottle of rum song. I think I might try it today.
My favorite answer: PYRENEES. Why? you ask...Memories of skiing at Baqueria Beret in the Catalonias with my then boyfriend and my sister. We spent most of our time in Vall D'Aran in the bars drinking. If you're an intermediate skier, go visit the slopes at Pista Llarga.
Fun to remember and to dream of re-visting the times of peace and laughter.....

kitshef 11:11 AM  

@Roo Monster 9:28 - You may have missed a few V's; I count four of them.

beverly c 11:17 AM  

Started out entering and removing nannycam at 1A, working around to the east and finally getting a solid start at the bottom of the grid.
TEXTBOOKEXAMPLE, TAKETEN, FINN, so many answers that had me happily nodding along. Then my final words in the puzzle:
3. XYLOPHONEMALLET
2. XOXOXOXO
1. XRAYEYES
TaDa! Great ending and lots of fun. Thanks!

TJS 11:19 AM  

@burtonkd, "if your goal is to be uncharitable". What's charity got to do with it ? We have our resident patron saint of all constructors and he does an excellent job of it. For the most part, the rest of us just give our opinion of our solving experience and whether or not we agree with Rex' take on the puzzle.

I am not interested in reading a critic motivated by charity, whether in film, book, or crossword mode. I come here to get the diversity of opinions, and usually information I didn't know, and maybe a few laughs along the way.

If you have access to the archive, you will find that very few puzzles resorted to all the abbreviations and non-words that are so much more commonly resorted to in recent times. Todays puzzle was thankfully made up of actual words for the most part. Yesterdays' was over-whelmed with garbage fill. As always, IMO.

egsforbreakfast 11:30 AM  

Let’s look at this from the always fascinating Tic-Tac-Toe perspective (not to be confused with the more physical ROSHAMBO). While at first glance you might say that “X” wins with three in a row that are Beyond steamy, please note that “O” gets 3 in a row diagonally twice. And in one of those cases it is actually 4 in a row. So by the power vested in me by ROY, I declare “O” to be the ROUTER of “X” in today’s puzzle.

I agree with the easy but fun crowd. Loved this puzzle. Thanks, Trenton Charlson.

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

no idea why Xs on Os are apt for Good Friday (and traditional Tax Day), but I finished, which is not a given for Friday. rarely on the wavelength of what Shortz offers up.

Wundrin' 11:35 AM  

Moderator. Is the bar really so low that a comment such as Anon 10:29 is acceptable?

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

Hmmm... some are equating the X with the crucifix. Not. The analog is the T or (more concretely) t. Especially in any sans serif font.

Joe Dipinto 11:38 AM  

Liked it. Perhaps a little too easy, ultimately. Too bad STEAL isn't STEAK, intersecting TARTARE. Maybe because Good Friday = no meat. I am thinking about preparing a SEAFOOD RESORTTO later.

These are not xylophones.

Btw: Is anyone playing Phrazle? I played yesterday and today. Yesterday I did it in 3. Today's result:

Phrazle 12: 2/6
⬜🟪⬜🟩🟨🟨⬜🟪 ⬜🟨🟪⬜⬜🟨⬜🟩🟩🟩

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

egsforbreakfast 11:39 AM  

An odd bit of mini-spoilerage going on today. I saw a bunch of Wordle results that made it clear that the 4th letter had to be a consonant. So once I got lucky and got the first 3 letters, which also made it pretty certain what the 5th would be, I picked for my 4th the least likely picks (or so they seemed to me). The result was probably better than I would have achieved without the mini spoilers.

Wordle 300 3/6*

🟩🟩🟩⬜⬜
🟩🟩🟩⬜🟩
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

Beezer 11:53 AM  

Count me in the “love the puzzle” crowd today. Pretty much felt the same way @Hatley70 and @Whatsername felt when working it. I will say that I thought @Rex would come down harder on the puzzle than he did…wonders never cease!

@the fenn….listen carefully tonight…I’m pretty sure he says “I’ll be your Huckleberry.” So having always wondered about this I found that “huckleberry” meant to be just the right person for a given job, or a willing executor of some commission…or Earp’s champion.

@jberg…your PANSY before PATSY made me think of one my first memories when I got upset and cried at something my older sister said to me…I was probably 4 years old, I walk into our bedroom, she looks up and says, “Well, hello pansy.” She could NOT console me until it became clear that SHE was calling me a flower when I thought she was calling me a “chimpanzee.”

@Gary Jugert…what @Bocamp said. There are many repetitive observations and complaints on this blog so you might as well just read over them. As for the PETSTORE hate…the majority these days only sell fish (maybe rodents) and concentrate on pet supplies. The ones around me DO have areas where they will feature a few dogs or cats from local shelters.

Joseph Michael 11:54 AM  

An Xceptional start to the day. Finally an impressive stunt puzzle that is also an enjoyable solve. It gives new meaning to the term “NYT Xword.”

Thought at first that this was going to be a challenging Friday with no answers coming to mind as I wandered through the grid. Then the kisses and hugs revealed themselves and from there the journey became surprisingly easy, all the way down to the PYRENEES.

X-RAY EYES reminds me of tantalizing ads in the backs of comic books years ago for X-ray glasses that promised to let you see everyone in their underwear. As a young boy reading these ads, it was an Xciting idea, but I never had the courage or the two dollars to order a pair.

Special of the Day: Tuna TARTARE on a bed of RESORTTO tossed with OLIVE OYL.


@Beezer 12:02 PM  

@pmdm, I thought the same thing about @Mathgent since I’m now finally reading a book he had recommended. I’m fairly new to commenting but I think blogging on a daily basis would require intermittent breaks. Problem is that we tend to worry about the person when there are absences!

puzzlehoarder 12:23 PM  

How could anyone dnf on a Friday puzzle that is so early week? It wasn't easy but I managed it. My bad spelling as usual set things in motion. I mangled 64A as PYRENNES because I never can remember which letter to double in words which have doubled letters. PON looked not only wrong but EXOTIC as well. I had no recognition of the 58D quote but was convinced it had to be something obscure. There was a recent novel that got made into a movie and I couldn't remember the title but assuming the author's name was POI seemed right. PYRENIES looked all wrong but I left it in anyway. When I went to xwordinfo and saw the obvious answer of POE that novel/movie title finally came to me. It was "The Life of Pi" that's why POI looked "right" to me . Sad, so sad.

yd -0

jae 12:26 PM  

Easy. NW posed a minor challenge because of the ROY/Rex kea/loa. The rest was cake. Include me in the “this was a fun solve” group, liked it.

old timer 12:38 PM  

I did not find this puzzle satisfying, nor enjoyable, nor well edited. And when I can finish a hard Friday, I usually am self-satisfied. Not today. Partly because the clues are so often off base. EXOTIC means neither rare nor beautiful. It basically means "foreign" or unusual. You can find plenty of EXOTIC plants that are neither beautiful nor rare. Likewise EXOTIC locales, such as the Val d'Aran that are no more lovely, and no more rare than many places in the PYRENEES (great Etape, always, on the Tour de France though).

My first entry was YOHOHO, as I read Treasure Island as a child in one of those lovely illustrated books they had in the Fifties. IPSO, OCALA, REV PATSY and ARETOO came next. XXX came at the very end, as I too had expected "hot".

I wonder how many people immediately wrote in ECOLES? France is a funny place, in that the Universities are far less important than the Grands ECOLES, where all the future leaders in politics, literature, and engineering go after completing their lycee training. These days, many lycee graduates do a couple of years of preparatory schooling before taking the tests required for admission to an Ecole.

My favorite answer: Finn (Huck) who narrates his own story, as a sequel to Tom Sawyer. My favorite long answer: FALL EQUINOX. Those Druids loved to "run naked through the wuids" as it says in Pete Seeger's song, and it is their traditions that persist to this day in our celebration of Halloween.

Tom in Nashville 12:39 PM  

Liked this more than Rex. Agree that the “x” thing is a little gimmicky for a Friday solve, but there were some fun answers (there were a lot of “Ys” associated with this puzzle as well). Enjoyed getting the long ones and also liked “Phobias” and “ArmyNavy”
First pass through the grid was a struggle, so it was fun to parse this one together ahead of my Friday average - took me about 24 minutes today.

Masked and Anonymous 12:53 PM  

Cool puzgrid design. Looks like X's under the influence of the gravitational forces of REAR & ABEL. har. Different and like.

Seemed fairly easy, except when it weren't which weren't much.

staff weeject pick has to go to XXX. Kinda blazes the 9-X trail for the SSN theme mcguffin. (XXX-XX-XXXX.)
Nice weeject staxxx, in the NW & SE, btw.

some fave sparxlers: FALLEQUINOX. SOLARPLEXUS. ELIXIR. LURK. YOHOHO + YOOHOO. (25 O's also, today … almost beat out the E's.)

Thanxxx for the fun, Mr. Charlson dude. Nice semi-themed-FriPuz.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


illustrated, sooo … recommend usin that there Down Home option:
**gruntz**


xoxoxo

Zed 1:05 PM  

@pmdm - Been busy not reading the comments all week. That happens when you spend the whole week in OCALA with ERATO.

@11:37 - Chi, as in Xmas, has historically been one way to symbolize the word “Christ.”

Still, I find it hard to believe that this is a Good Friday theme. I mean, XXX? And with that clue? Nothing says “Holy Day” quite like a porn reference. But then I see the grid and I wonder…

@TJS and others - I think Rex expressed it exactly right yesterday. If you stick the landing on the theme and revealer then the dreck fades into the background. Now, if that revealer didn’t land for you then the dreck is really noticeable. Some of that is just de gustibus and all that, and we see similar phenomena like that around PPP. As for yesterday I was noticing the dreck and intensely disliking the themers until the revealer, which I thought was pretty good and made the puzzle at least passable.

Teedmn 1:05 PM  

My co-worker was astonished that I got XRAY EYES as my first answer. "How?", he asked. I just read the clue and knew the answer somehow, weird. Of course I confirmed it first with XXX and SON and Even ("Fair"). Like @kitshef, I had to take an X out of the NW - for me, it was Rex at 2D. I thought 17A would be XXL clothing size something or other until I read the clue.

This puzzle was Weintraub Friday easy - even when the clues got me the first time, I saw through them on the second try, well, mostly. I had to get the second T for TARTARE before "rare" registered, and I really needed to fill in NEST before the rail bird came to mind.

The magic ELIXIR SAFELY delivered me from my misspelled Sieze at 49A.

This was a TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE of a Trenton Charlson puzzle. I knew right away who must have splatzed all those X's into the grid and was proven right when I looked, post-solve. Thanks, Trenton, for a fun, breezy Friday!

BurnThis 1:18 PM  

Xoxoxo should be clued Hugs (X) and Kisses (O) not the other way!

JC66 1:32 PM  

An easy Friday, and I Liked it.

Today always reminds me of my late brother, who every year was fond of saying “Business was lousy all week, but it’s Good Friday.”

re: WORDLE

Not as smart as I used to be

Wordle 300 6/6

⬛⬛🟩⬛🟩
🟩🟩🟩⬛🟩
🟩🟩🟩⬛🟩
🟩🟩🟩⬛🟩
🟩🟩🟩⬛🟩
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

Anoa Bob 1:34 PM  

Why is 2D ROY clued as a boy's name? Lots of full grown men are named ROY, right? How about ROY Orbison? If you have a couple of minutes, take a listen to his Only the Lonely. The dude had some range!

One correlation that's hard to avoid in xword constructioneering (©M&A) is between the number of black squares and the amount of short fill, with the latter usually being suboptimal, to put it charitably. Yesterday we got 38 black squares with a litany of short stuff, as cataloged by @Nancy. But it also had four themers and a reveal, all of them between 12 and 15 letters long, so there was some justification for the shorties. Today we get 36 black squares but in a themeless, so the justification for the short stuff just ain't there. Those 25 three letter entries, many of them necessitated by the two long Down columns of black squares, seemed a high price to pay for all the Xs and Os.

A few years ago I had a motorcycle wreck. I was wearing full protective gear but I still sustained some broken ribs. If you've never had broken or bruised ribs, give thanks. If you have, you know how incredibly painful it is. I got some pain killers, opioids of some kind I think, and they did reduce the pain but caused a total mental fog that made me think "This is what it's like to have schizophrenia". A friend had some of what he called his ELIXIR, a concoction of cannabis and Everclear alcohol, and he suggested I try some. It didn't kill the pain but it did round off the sharp edges and made it more bearable. Plus instead of my thoughts turning into word salad gibberish I just got a mild high. Opioids no, ELIXIR yes. Now that's the kind of alchemy that's truly golden!

Anonymous 1:45 PM  

It's a strange feeling. I was excited that I couldn't solve the NE, but then it was just XOXO... such a disappointment.

Speaking of which, last night I dreamed I dated a woman for a week, whispered in her ear my love, and promptly forgot her name.

bocamp 2:16 PM  

@Joe Dipinto (11:38 AM)

Impressive results! 👍 I just noticed it while playing WordHurdle today. Phrases are not my forte, but I'll give it a shot.

@egsforbreakfast (11:39 AM)

Well done, nevertheless! 👍

@puzzlehoarder (12:23 PM) 👍 for 0 yd

I missed this one, even tho it's on my List. :(
___
td pg -2

Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Aelurus 2:47 PM  

Unlike Rex, this is my vote for best puzzle of the week, starting with the amazing NW. I started late last night when barely still awake but got only YOHOHO, helloO, and SON and just kept staring until I figured sleep was best. This morning YOOHOO leapt in, then ROY. Still a puzzlement. But then...XRAYEYES! And AXL, followed by EXPO! And the final touch, XOXOXOXO, XYLOPHONEMALLET, and a wannabe mini revealer, distilled to XXX. Pure silly fun to me.

Rest of the puzzle no slouch, with FALLEQUINOX, SOLARPLEXUS, TEXTBOOKEXAMPLE, and the brilliant misdirect at 25D which took me a while to disconnect from what seemed like a continuation of 7A’s “beautiful and rare.” This clue, “rarer than rare,” meant food, not item.

My one NIT is I hope people don’t RESORT TO picking up a PET at a STORE when there are so many wonderful, deserving animals at rescue shelters.

Thank you, Trenton, for a grand start to an equally grand cool, sunny morning that belies what is forecasted to be an afternoon temp hovering around 90.

@Lewis 7:26 am – Wonderful description of this week’s puzzles so far!

@burtonkd 9:37 am – good point re voir DIRE; I’m glad too that was not the clue.

Donna 2:50 PM  

May the faithful recall -- separation of church and puzzling. There's no reason to be offended by a CROSSowrd that features x. It's pastime, not fasting.

okanaganer 3:22 PM  

Hands up for REX before ROY!

Fast solve; liked FALL EQUINOX and SOLAR PLEXUS. (Although Druids make me think more of solstice; there's just something more pagan about it?) Really liked TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE. I might have been happier with XYLOPHONE PLAYER.

IBAR again... I was an architect for years but never heard the term. T-BAR yes... think office ceilings, not ski hills.

Off now to open up the cabin for the summer. I just wish the weather were a bit warmer... -4 C (25 F) this morning. See you all Tuesday!

[Spelling Bee: yd 21:50 to pg, but stalled at -1 (missed the same word as bocamp!)
td 10:20 to pg, then about 15 min to QB.]

Georgia 3:59 PM  

Got Finn but didn't understand til Huckleberry hit me and I got a really fun aha moment! My goal in puzzledom.

Anonymous 4:08 PM  

@okanaganer:
IBAR again... I was an architect for years but never heard the term.

Hmm... most flat bridge, viaducts, overpasses, etc. roadways are supported on IBARS. Although, I've always wondered whether civil engineering projects like bridges and dams and such are driven by architects or by engineers. Luxury high-rises, sure. Well except the Trumpsters, which are driven by the Mafia.

XQQQME 5:01 PM  

I’m just here to flex & voice my astonishment that Prof. Rex
didn’t know Treasure Island was responsible for popularizing YoHoHo.

Wordle 300 2/6

🟩🟨⬛⬛🟩
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

Hahaha. Went with the word I’m most familiar with out of the dozen+ alternatives. 😆

Sgt. Mac 5:12 PM  

I liked the puzzle today. As some say about the University of Chicago, Rex is where fun goes to die.

okanaganer 5:20 PM  

@Anon 4:08pm... No, I never did a bridge or anything like that, just buildings. We usually just said "steel beams". Our structural engineers called them w-beams, for "wide flange beams".

I'd kind of assumed the term "i-bar" was archaic (at least in western Canada, maybe not elsewhere?), a term used by the public but not professionals*. Anyone out there, please correct me if I'm wrong?

* Like "i-beam" (see this page), and "plate glass window" (modern glass is "float glass", plate glass is old style.)

thfenn 5:34 PM  

@Beezer 11:53. Thanks! Will listen carefully. Perhaps we've both read this: https://texashillcountry.com/truth-meaning-doc-holliday-huckleberry/, as it seems to cover the various options. I've certainly always taken it as the "hey, if you want trouble, I'm your guy" version. The "huckle bearer" version's interesting, meaning "happy to put you in a casket and carry it". As is the "I'll be Earp's champion" version, though he doesn't address Earp saying it. So will see - it's certainly quoted as "I'm your huckleberry" but come to think of it, maybe it IS "I'll be your huckleberry".

@BurnThis 1:18. I'll admit to some confusion on this myself, but I think it's generally accepted that the X is a kiss and the O is a hug. Like here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/a-whole-lot-of-history-behind-x-and-o-kiss-and-hug/2014/02/13/0c3e218a-9341-11e3-b46a-5a3d0d2130da_story.html

thfenn 5:43 PM  

@bocamp 6:28, Still looking? You're a better SBer than I am. I'll tough it out to Genius, get frustrated and revert to the forum for the two letter start clues, get a bit further, and then give up to check the answers and see what I missed. Sometimes it's "I can't believe I didn't see that", other times it's "not a word I think I should've seen". Every now and then it's "ah, a word I should have in my vocabulary".

bocamp 5:57 PM  

@XQQQME (5:01 PM) Bravo 👍

@joe

A reasonable start, I guess, but will definitely need lots of work strategy-wise. :)

Phrazle 12: 4/6
⬜🟨🟨⬜⬜🟩🟨⬜ 🟨🟪🟩⬜⬜🟨⬜🟩⬜🟨
🟪🟪⬜⬜🟨🟨🟨⬜ 🟩⬜🟨⬜🟨⬜🟨🟨⬜⬜
🟩🟩🟩🟩⬜⬜⬜🟨 🟩🟩🟩⬜🟨🟨🟩🟩🟩🟩
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩
https://solitaired.com/phrazle
___
td 0 (final word)

Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

BT 6:04 PM  

No theme?

- Two Gigantic Crosses in the grid
- Multiple X's (crosses) in the answers
- Upper Left? XXX with "ROY" (king) next to it. That's the king on crosses in my book
- A little to the right of that? "Son"

"ABEL" and "SURVIVE" are also possibly parts of the theme.

Happy Good Friday everyone. Thanks to the constructor.

Beezer 6:17 PM  

@thefenn…the ONLY reason I mentioned that is because both my husband and I loved that movie and would intermittently say “I’ll be your huckleberry” to the other (with the Val twist). Please know I wasn’t trying to “correct” you, but since you are a fan of Tombstone like us, I just pointed it out. Yes. My recollection from this morning (lol) was that it was a Texas website but was accessed through “What does I’m your huckleberry mean” sub-Google (?) reference.

okanaganer 7:21 PM  

@bocamp 5:57.. nice going! I must have gotten that word before I reached pg because it's not in the log of my guesses. (After I reach pg I load a javascript that tells me how many words & pans remain unfound, and also keeps a log of my successful and unsuccessful guesses.) Here are the 4 words in my post-pg log, in order.

Unknown 7:42 PM  

I had stopped reading rex's blog for the past five weeks.
I came back today, read his first sentence, and stopped right there.

I thought today rocked.

bocamp 8:18 PM  

@thfenn (5:43 PM)

Each has their own plan. I try to get pg in under 30, then peck away at the missing words on and off (along with various other puzzles and activities) during the day. Sometimes, I get lucky, sometimes, not. :)

In case you're interested, here is my updated SB List, which I study when not actively solving.
___
Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

bocamp 8:50 PM  

@okanaganer (7:21 PM)

Thx! :)

Yeah, none of those words are gimmes, for sure. My last one was fairly easy, but I just couldn't see it for the 'forest'. lol
___
Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 11:41 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ghkozen 12:47 AM  

I don’t think Trenton has ever made a puzzle I didn’t regret putting the time into solving. Time to stop making us suffer through his garbage week in and week out. Can we replace him with a constructor with even an ounce of talent, please?

thomas 9:50 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
spacecraft 10:19 AM  

I was as jarred by the NW as OFF was, but that's (as usual) where I ended up, so for most of the solve I sailed along through a pretty smooth and easy grid. Unlike him, however, I read the clue for 62 across and immediately threw in OLIVEOYL. C'mon, brother Castor? Who else?

I liked most of this; the NW spoiled a pleasant experience. Whenever a constructor decides to show off, bad things happen. Knocks a birdie down to a par.

The birdie is alive and well, though:

BBYYY
BGYGG
GGGGG

Taking the starter word from the previous day's grid is working out well.

Burma Shave 10:46 AM  

IPSO INSOLE

ISAIDNO, don't STEAL my SHOO,
I am POE, and YOO ARETOO.

--- REV. ROY FINN

thefogman 11:14 AM  

I thought we were going to be treated to an X-fest but after the plethora of Xes in the NW corner there was only a measly two others burried in the last grid spanner. That was a bit disappointing. Don’t do that corner unless you go whole hog everywhere else. The most challenging part was everything branching off of the cryptically-clued TARTARE. I was ABEL to solve after getting ECOLES. Nothing EXOTIC here and certainly not the greatest puzzle ever but ALLINALL it did the job.

PS - Got stumped on the Jumble for the first time in ages.
Could not decypher APOUTI.

Diana, LIW 1:26 PM  

@Foggy - took me a while to find utopia too! And I was x-cited for more puzzle kisses.

That was harder than the puzzle. For me.

Who eats steak tartare? yuck.


Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

thefogman 1:39 PM  

To D,LIW: As for me, I’m still searching for UTOPIA. I’ve been searching for a l-o-n-g time.
You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one…

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

Well, it seems this was a fun Friday puzzle and enjoyed except by OFL and a toady or two. Solving the northwest was a terrific "Aha!" moment.

Anonymous 4:20 PM  

So now, Rex hates mallets.
What word will be next?
Come back tomorrow for another episode of "As The Verbiage Turns"!

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

Wrong!!!

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