Fatherly tips to use a portmanteau coinage / FRI 5-6-22 / Historic kingdom of Spain / Principle indicating no second chances / Half-page perhaps / Lacking literary sparkle / Fictional African country of film

Friday, May 6, 2022

Constructor: Aaron Ullman

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: LEÓN (8D: Historic kingdom of Spain) —
The Kingdom of León (UK/lˈɒn/US/-ˈn/Spanish: [leˈon]AsturianReinu de LliónSpanishReino de LeónGalicianReino de LeónPortugueseReino de LeãoLatinRegnum LegionenseMirandeseReino de Lhion) was an independent kingdom situated in the northwest region of the Iberian Peninsula. It was founded in 910 when the Christian princes of Asturias along the northern coast of the peninsula shifted their capital from Oviedoto the city of León. The kings of León fought civil wars, wars against neighbouring kingdoms, and campaigns to repel invasions by both the Moors and the Vikings, all in order to protect their kingdom's changing fortunes. (wikipedia)
• • •

Had several strong negative reactions to this one, but before I get to those, I'll start with the highlights. The marquee answers there in the center of the grid are, by and large, very strong, especially TWITTERWARS, SPRINGFLING, WINORGOHOME, and HEWENTTHERE—I did have an initially negative reaction to that last one, because I think of it as a statement, not a question (31A: "Did I just hear him say that?!"), but in my head I can hear it as a question, so it's back to being in the plus column. It's always good when longer answers truly shine, as opposed to just meekly take up space, especially in a themeless puzzle, when you have so much freedom as to what longer answers you put in your puzzle, and those answers are really the puzzle's primary reason for being. Having four of six such answers be real winners is a nice achievement. As for the other two: WINDOW FRAME holds its own just fine. Solid. Which brings me to ... my first strongly negative reaction: HISTORY NERD. The HISTORY part is fine. It's the NERD part. What are you all doing to the word NERD? Just because you're in to something doesn't mean you're a NERD in any meaningful sense of the word. You're a HISTORY BUFF. That is what you are. I guarantee you that you are not a NERD, or at least that you're being into history does not make you so. What's next, TAROTNERD (I might know a TAROTNERD or two, actually ...). It was annoying enough to have HISTORY and no idea of what word might follow. It was then super-annoying to have that word be NERD. The dilution of that word continues apace, and I hate it. Math and science people are nerds. Historians are dorks, maybe. I mean, if you're being derogatory ... which was always my problem with the neo-meaning of nerd—it's faux self-deprecation. You call yourself a "NERD" because it retains this stereotypically negative air, but what you mean is that you're actually really smart. Down with faux humility everywhere! And leave the word NERD alone. Stop trying to make it a mere synonym for "enthusiast" (I've lost this battle, I know, but I haven't lost my annoyance, and that's what's important)

Still, those central answers are overwhelmingly nice, as I say, It's only once you leave the meaty center of the grid that things get dicey, both at the fill and at the cluing level. Do you want to start in the EOCENE section :( or the ENESCO section :( :( ??? That NW corner feels thrown away. It's where most people are going to start and there's absolutely nothing lovable about EOCENE or APEMEN or SEAMAP, esp. as (cutesily) clued (1A: Blue print?). Really really wanted to make EROTICA or something like that fit there. Alas. But mere blandness isn't so bad. Especially when the center is so good. But in the NW's counterpart—that is, the SE—things aren't merely bland. The NERD part of HISTORY NERD (already off-putting) leads straight into ... DADVICE (54A: Fatherly tips, to use a portmanteau coinage). Whose "portmanteau coinage"? Just "a" coinage? Look, I can accept DAD- as the first part of a lot of modern coinages. DADBOD. DADJOKE. Even DADCORE. But DADVICE!? That ... that portmanteau pun is so bad, it's one that a stereotypical "Dad" might've come up with ... but the whole point is that the coinage is going to come from someone else ... someone making fun of the dad? ... right? It seems like a desperate attempt to debut a word (and it is, in fact, a debut). But it feels try-hard, not fresh. When I search [dadvice] the first three sites that come up are about something called a "kidney health coach" (!?!?!) ...  I see at least one site using it to refer to advice for dads (i.e. new dads). Anyway, I don't really think the term has the cultural oomph it pretends to. And whatever freshness it can lay claim to is totally eradicated by the ENESCO, the king of crosswordese composers.

The worst thing in the grid, though, was an answer I didn't even get a chance to be truly mad at because I didn't know the letters I put into the grid were, in fact, an answer, and since those letters made up the last answer of the solve, I got the "Congratulations, you finished the puzzle" message without understanding how that was possible. What in the world could "adunit" mean? (in my head, I'm pronouncing it "a-DUN-it" (rhymes who "whodunnit") (53A: Half-page, perhaps). But of course I see now that it's AD [space] UNIT, and wow I can't imagine ending on a lower note. I was like "imagine debuting ADUNIT!?" but apparently that honor went to someone else, seven years ago, and ever since then, constructors have been like "no thanks." Until today. AD UNIT? I can't even find the words to express how unlikeable the answer is, in a very specific, ruthlessly technical and oppressively boring kind of way. It's a little wad of technical jargon and banality. Very very bad luck to end the puzzle there. The opposite of "Big Finish" is ADUNIT.

  • 29D: Poet who wrote "A Child's Christmas in Wales" (THOMAS) — That's Dylan Thomas, for the record. And "A Child's Christmas in Wales" is not actually a poem, as the clue semi-suggests. It's prose, originally a radio piece that THOMAS did for the BBC:
A Child's Christmas in Wales is a piece of prose by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas recorded by Thomas in 1952. Emerging from an earlier piece he wrote for BBC Radio, the work is an anecdotal reminiscence of a Christmas from the viewpoint of a young boy, portraying a nostalgic and simpler time. It is one of Thomas's most popular works. (wikipedia)
  • 26A: Initialism that might have a ring to it? (WBA) — The "B" stands for "boxing." Hence "ring." Or should I say "ring? ring? get it? 's a good pun, amirite?"
  • 43A: Whet bar? (GRINDSTONE) — Why do some punny "?" clues work and some don't? I don't know. But this one works. I think it's primarily the simplicity—how much leverage one little letter has. Pronunciation remains largely the same, but meaning goes into another galaxy. Took me a while to get, and felt worth the effort.
  • 46D: Sub text, maybe (EDIT) — I assume "Sub" is a verb here. Short for "substitute."
  • 24D: Surfer girl (WAHINE) — learned this from crosswords. Unfortunately, today, I spelled it like TAHINI.  There once was a lovely WAHINE / Who liked to eat toast with TAHINI ... [something something / something something / something] stained her BIKINI.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Chaiminded 6:14 AM  

Enesco? ENESCU !!

OffTheGrid 6:17 AM  

I'm trying to deal with my "?" hate and doing better, but 1A & 1D didn't help. After that I liked this one a lot with only a couple of nits. As usual, my biggest problem was my own brain. With great confidence I entered "is hE for rEal" for "Did I just hear him say that?!" clue. It took a while to see I had to give that up. B+

Anonymoose 6:24 AM  

I hope I misinterpreted @Rex's comments on NERD use. He decries HISTORYNERD but then says "Math and science people are nerds". I agree that NERD may be overused but if you're gonna ban NERD it has to be universal.

BunnyR 6:25 AM  

Hahahahahaha! Loved your limerick. I'll be checking back from time to time, to see how your regulars finished it for you.

Anonymous 6:41 AM  

Had sexmag instead of seamap…

Anonymous 6:56 AM  

The combination of almost arcane terms - who uses F-stops on a smart phone? - and hip hip-hop clueing - as in what “THA”? - is getting tiresome. And yeah, AD UNIT?

Wordler 7:01 AM  

Looking good after 2 guesses but there were many possibilities.

WordHurdle 215 6/6 #wordhurdle


Unknown 7:22 AM  

It would be nice if they used more standard spellings of people's names. He's George Enescu. It's only Enesco in France.

jammon 7:24 AM  

Now they're not just making shit up (strawy), but they're changing the spelling of PROPER NAMES. The mans' name is ENESCU. You can't just change it to fit your friggin' grid. Shortz must go!

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

@Chairminded: His Wikipedia entry begins, “George Enescu . . . known in France as George Enesco, was a Romanian composer.” Didn’t realize you were solving the puzzle in French, did you?
On the other hand, I remember when Enescu was a Rumanian composer . . .

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

I guess I’ve been a nerd since elementary school and still enjoy nerding out with other amateurs. Politics? Sure. Math and science? Great! History? Bring it!

WordHurdle 215 3/6 #wordhurdle


kitshef 7:30 AM  

Finished exactly where Rex did, but having no clue on ONO I had to figure out ADUNIT to get there.

zAmuNDA (Coming to America) before WAKANDA (Black Panther) caused some problems. Add it to the kealoa list.

Puzzle felt very solid, but not exciting. SEA MAP, WINE TOUR, ICE SHOWS, APE MEN, WINDOW FRAME, these are OK but a little dull. Bet thing in the grid is probably SPIGOT, which doesn't exactly set my world on fire.

Personal note: Went to an ICE SHOW last week (Stars on Ice in Hershey, Pa.). It's been a long time - you know, global pandemic - and it felt really nice to get out again.

Anonymous 7:33 AM  

I had the same reaction as OFL to ADUNIT, but exacerbated by a related reaction to the adjacent SNOODS, having never heard of them. This is probably because I am a man and also bald, but I figured I'd have to go back and fix that whole SW corner at the end. I was surprised to be correct!

SouthsideJohnny 7:34 AM  

The highlight was definitely the center of the grid as Rex elaborated on. I think that once you strayed out from the center it got much weaker. There is probably some historical trivia tying the EOCINE and Mammals together - however it’s lost on me. Mammals have thrived in a lot of epochs (probably the vast majority even). It’s right next to APE MEN as missing links - what is this, a leftover episode of the Twilight Zone from like 1959 ?

Moving to the SW and we have a trivial question about a country that doesn’t exist (WAKANDA) and what turned out for me to be the highlight of the grid - the fact that SNOODS is actually a word ! I got it from the crosses but was convinced it was a typo somewhere.

We lost the NE as well with the Japanese spelling test (SENSEI) the ancient kingdom (LEON - I thinks that’s the name of a band though, so maybe they are legit, Friday-worthy and actually on somebody’s radar screen). Still, not much fun when crossed with Japanese class.

Still, interesting that the constructor really sparkled throughput the city center, but in my opinion was done in by stuff like DADVICE in the suburbs.

Lobster11 7:38 AM  

Liked both the puzzle and review, but don't understand the rant about HISTORYNERD. Rex should know as well as anyone that language evolves. "Nerd" used to mean something along the lines of "socially awkward savant," but these days it refers more generally to taking a deep dive "into" something (anything). Just the other day I was in a faculty meeting in which one my colleagues described herself as having "nerded out on" a literature search she had recently conducted.

Son Volt 7:48 AM  

Tough to figure a late week - low word count puzzle. It doesn’t take much to glom things up. I’m assuming that’s why Rex loves most of the real estate here but pans it otherwise. I liked it for the most part - no issue on the NERD usage so thought the longs were all solid.

I could do without DADVICE, SNOODS AD UNIT and the MTS/AAH adjacency.

Never a waste of life

Enjoyable Friday solve.

Greg in Sanibel 7:55 AM  

There once was a lovely WAHINE
Who liked to eat toast with TAHINI
A brown booby flew by
Made his mark from the sky
And totally stained her BIKINI

king_yeti 7:59 AM  

There was a Hawaiian wahine
Who made hummus without some tahini
she had a small taste
spat it out: what a waste!
And ruined her brand new bikini

JD 8:03 AM  

Anon@6:41 for the win! You went there.

First past through this was dismal. Snail’s pace from there.
The real story here is that when Ad Unit came into view, I assumed it was Adunit and something to do with bound paper, as in, “the illustration was recto, adunit.” If it’s not, it should be.

Tack Dad to the front of anything to make poor dad look like an idiot. Time to move on.

I’ve only heard Win Big Or Go Home. What’s the point of Win Or Go Home? Win or lose, you’re eventually going home. Neither make any sense, but at least the Big adds some twisted bravado. Yet I guess it’s a thing.

Liked As It Were and I’m fine with History Nerd. Thank you Aaron Ullman. Ffun was had.

Here you go @BunnyR

There once was a lovely wahini*
Who liked to eat toast with tahini
But her dad a big meanie
Said to her, Jeanie
Drop the paste or forget the bikini.

*Spell wrong or go home.

Tony in Vietnam 8:07 AM  

In 40 down, surely the name of the Romanian composer should be George "Enescu", not "Enesco", thus invalidating the answer to 56 across. Is this a mistake?

Peter P 8:17 AM  

There once was a lovely wahine
Who liked to eat toast with tahini
"It seems all this sesame
(has) made quite a mess of me"
She said as she stained her bikini.

That's the best I could do for 7:15 a.m. before running out the door to drop off the kids.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

There once was a lovely wahine
Who like to eat toast with tahini
She slipped on a peel
and lost her appeal
When the sauce stained her bikini

Greg in Sanibel 8:27 AM  

JD “win or go home” refers to single elimination tournaments where in each round you literally win or go home. It’s a legit Thing.

Lewis 8:38 AM  

I love solves like this that start with drops all over the grid, drops that grow to puddles, which spur a flood finish.

Talk about audacity: This is Aaron’s first published puzzle, a NYT Friday, with 10 NYT puzzle answer debuts. Audacious yes, but fully backed up by the quality of the puzzle.

Those answer debuts include the lovely SPRING FLING and HE WENT THERE?, not to mention the I-can’t-believe-these-have-never-been-in-a-NYT-puzzle ONE WAY TRIP and WINE TOUR.

I loved the musical sounding WAKANDA and WAHINE. I loved those phrases with finality in the 13th column: SO BE IT and AS IT WERE. And I loved DREAR meeting GRIND and the almost perfect PuzzPair© of GREATEST and ALY.

Aaron Ullman, your initials are gold, as is your accomplishment today. Your puzzle brought me great pleasure, and I have an eager eye out for what you come up with next. Thank you!

amyyanni 8:39 AM  

Hmm...what do you call someone who really loves a topic, yet doesn't hold themself out as a "BUFF?" Often call myself a Broadway Geek because I follow it, but am no expert. Perhaps we should just use FAN.
Agree the NW and SE corners had a few issues, but all the strong points made this a fun Friday. Nice to see Amy Tan and Dylan Thomas.

Laura 8:46 AM  

Nerd has shifted from the insult of my childhood to a positive "expert" because the needs won! Works for me

Pleasantly challenging Tuesday led to an easy remainder of the week. Hope we aren't long term dumbing down. But at least I learned a bit of geography and started the puzzle with one cute clue...though I too tried for bluer answers.

Joel Palmer 8:57 AM  

I had "dadages" before DADVICE

pabloinnh 8:58 AM  

If SNOODS is new to you you haven't been doing crosswords for decades. For me it was like seeing an old friend, and I even remember it as an illustrated word from the dictionary. Hi SNOODS. Nice to see you.

Had the final T and went from INSERT to ADVERT to ADUNIT, which had to be right, but was still a "really"?

DADVICE? OK, its a new one. Invent away, and we'll all just guess.

Had an LP of Dylan Thomas doing "A Child's Christmas in Wales" that we used to listen every year at, yes, Christmas. I can't even read it now without hearing his voice and intonation, which are really quite wonderful.

This is one of those "hard until it wasn't" excursions that I found to be just right for a Friday. Nice job, AU. Artfully Uplifting, and thanks for all the fun.

Z 8:59 AM  

Ooh - Another ENESCO v ENESCu fight. The U spelling has appeared in a NYTX twice, both under Shortz. The O spelling has appeared 56 times in the NYTX, 23 of those under Shortz and the rest under the other editors, appearing first in 1947. So, it appears, as far as the NYTX is concerned, it is an O.

@anonymoose and @Lobster11 - First, Rex acknowledges how the usage has changed. Second, the whole NERD rant centers around it first being pejorative and now being used as faux-humility. I’d say his claim that NERD was mostly applied to math/science types tracks with my experience. “Dork” was for someone socially and academically inept, while “geek” were socially inept but academically successful type. But all HS put downs. I’m not sure I but his faux-humility take. To me the new usage is more of a “damn right we’re smart,” no humility implied.

Pretty much what Rex said, nice long answers, not overly fond of the corners. Winced at ENESCO not because I think the spelling is “wrong” (as if) but because this fight has been had here before.

bocamp 9:01 AM  

Thx Aaron, just perfect for a Fri. offering! :)


Got zilch in the NW, and thot, uh oh, this might be a toughie!

But the NE was a pushover, and the rest was fairly smooth sailing, albeit the 3 long center acrosses were somewhat foreboding, so headed to the SW & SE, then came back to finish the middle section.

All in all, a fun adventure; liked it very much! :)

@okanaganer (5:09 PM yd)

Yw; enjoy! 📖

Last word yd.

And, God Bless all Ukrainians, wherever they may be! 🙏

@A / @Joe / @Beezer 👍 👍 👍 for your PhrACEles! :)

@Lewis (9:13 PM yd) 😊

Wordler (7:01 AM yd)

More or less same issue here.
yd's: SB: 0 / Sec: 18/21 / Duo: 35/37 (got the practice one in 34/37, so there's that! :)

Phrazle 34: 2/6
🟩🟩 🟨🟨⬜ ⬜⬜🟨🟪 ⬜🟪⬜⬜
🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

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

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

No! Ionesco UNESCO!

Andrew Heinegg 9:15 AM  

I agree with both you and Rex. Usage of the word nerd has evolved to the point where it infers that the person has become so completely immersed into some subject that they seem to be uninterested in any other part of life, if only temporarily, as your colleague.

On the other hand, while I sussed it out, the term history nerd is a poor answer because of the disconnect to the clue 'one who loves to bring up the past' and because of my doubt that anyone has ever heard of, much less used the 'term', because it doesn't exist as a term, at least not yet.

PHC 9:15 AM  

I wouldn’t mind Enescu at all — he’s a fine composer. But it the puzzle is going to insist on French spelling, can’t there be some kind of hint in the clue? “Compositeur”? “ Rhapsodies roumaines”?

Oh well.

crackblind 9:20 AM  

This is where I take an issue with Rex. He will regularly cop to accepting answers he is unfamiliar with but other times rant about terms he doesn't know and doesn't like even though they are a real thing. A HISTORY NERD is a real thing. First off, "nerd" has never been solely a term associated with math and science. Richie & Potsie were not especially inclined to either subjects and they are probably the most responsible for popularizing the word. These days, a nerd is someone who will interject their over-knowledge of a subject, often to make sure others know they know it, maybe even an exoert. A buff is someone very interested and knowledgeable on a subject but not necessarily someone who brings it up every chance the get.

While I agree ADUNIT is ugly, especially without the space, it too is an actual thing. It's a legitimate term describing how advertising space is sold. It may not be well known outside of the industry, but it is the term they use for page sizes in print media (hah!), TV commercial length (hah! again), and I'm guessing online ads. It's a Friday puzzle, there should have answers you're unfamiliar with (I'm definitely looking at you SNOODS).

Carola 9:20 AM  

Love the limericks! More more more, please.

Challenging for me, fun to grapple with. In a nutshell, in order of crosses needed, from none to all:
- Turkish taffy: most of the rest
- hickory nut: SEAMAP, MTS, ADUNIT (some kind of variation on "whodunnit?" - took forever to parse)

Favorites: the S-quartet of SIGNAL, SPIGOT, SIPHON, and SPRING FLING; the WAKANDA WINE TOUR.

@Lewis, thank you for pointing out the happy grid meet-ups.

@Aaron Ullman - Congratulations on your debut, on a Friday no less! I look forward to your next one.

Gary Jugert 9:26 AM  

It's fine. The odd effect of all our handwringing over themes each day is themeless puzzles now feel like a meaningless collection of words. I can imagine @Rex saying, "Why these words instead of other words?"

GRIND STONE (feels wrong)
AD UNIT (horrible)
PET SAT (really horrible)
APE MEN (Evangelical-ly stupid)

WIN OR GO HOME (love that phrase)
DADVICE (I used to give it way too much)
SPIGOT (looks and sounds fun, tho' 'tain't)
WAHINE (love it's Polynesian roots)

SNOODS (even after looking it up I don't think I know what it is)

Lonely NYTXW Editors Tee-Hees (LNETHS):
Let's be honest, SPRING FLING and POP TARTS are the same thing, and neither are headed your way if you edit crosswords for a (partial?) living.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

BS. Rex lamented the dilution of the word. He wasn't at all even-handed as you imply. And Rex is right. The dilution of the word impoverishes the language and with it the very idea of nerdom itself. So too with begs the question, and home in and lots of other words and phrases. Words can be protean and of course the evolve but not all change is good, nor even helpful especially when the midwits are somehow the loudest voice in the room.

jberg 9:41 AM  

Any puzzle with SNOODS in it gets a hug from me. It's just such a beautiful word, even better than strawy.

I originally misread the clue for 22 as 21, which would have made it AMY TAN crossing SIPHON. I fixed that quickly, but I still thought there might be some change-the-vowel trickery going on when I saw that Virginia city crossing ENESCU. But I gritted my teeth and put in the O.

Only two real problems were HISTORY buff before NERD; on rereading the clue, though, I thought maybe the NERD was the one who brought up history in every conversation, whereas the buff just enjoyed learning history. The other one was waiting for crosses to see if it was BIG tEN or BIG BEN.

Is there really such a thing as a SEA MAP, as opposed to a chart?

My DAD VICE is wine.

OffTheGrid 9:45 AM  

I am no fan of the Dad_____ genre but at least DADVICE is a true blend of DAD/ADvice. It's a lot better than just sticking Dad in front of a word and thinking you're clever.

43A Whet bar? NO, NO, NO. Whet bar is a pretty basic clue. You don't need a cutesy "?" just because there is such a thing as a wet bar. We all see the "H". Knock it off!

RooMonster 9:47 AM  

Hey All !
Had dROll for PROSY first, but changed it when the Y showed up. However, never changed the D to a P (ending up with DROSY, which sounds lacking in a literary sense to me) giving me SEA_Ad for 1A. No idea what that could be. Went with SEApAd/pTS. *Buzz* Wrong answer. Also missed TENiBLE/TiN. Two-letter DNF.

Nice puz. Triple tens crossing triple tens. A triple-triple, as it were. And they are all sparkly entries.

The SNOODS should be a band.

Gonna write a book called "ADUNIT:A Whodunit."

Got a Wiggle of W's in West Central area. (Wiggle my now just named name for a group of W's 😁) Where's my Festoon of F's? Har.

Nice FriPuz. @Lewis says a debut. Wow. Good on you Aaron. HE WENT THERE.

yd -1, should'ves 1 (Dang! Missed a way easy four.... Grrrrrrr)
Duo -1 Missed 1-2-3-4-7-last word (Messed up the very last entry by switching letters 1 and 3) *whah whah*

Two F's

The Joker 9:53 AM  

I'm into nudity in a big way. Guess I'm a buff buff.

Other David 9:54 AM  

Gotta agree with Rex here. Things I thought:

History Buff. Oh. They want "nerd." Of course go for a pejorative. People who talk to you about history are boring, especially during election cycles.

Ahh. Oh. Unless they need an "a," in which case they'll spell it "aah"

Toasted treat? I dunno, there are a billion of those. The very last thing I would ever think of is some sickly sweet processed candy bar.

Win or go home is a principle? I don't think so. More like a slogan.

In my experience (which with knife sharpening is deep), a grindstone is a wheel, not a bar.

It's Enescu. They want the spelling used by the French here because they need an "o." Maybe add an "in France" to the clue?

Gist and crux are not really synonymous. In context they mean quite different things, at least they do to pedants such as myself.

What the heck is a "sea map?" A chart?

"Dadvice?" ugh with Rex

And huzzah! Last thing to fall is "a-DUN-it," what's that?

Not with Rex on Dylan Thomas. The clue correctly identifies him as a "Poet." It doesn't suggest A Child's Christmas in Wales is a poem at all, "semi" or otherwise. (Many, if not most, poets also write and publish prose.)

Liveprof 9:55 AM  

It's daunting to write a limerick so soon after the all-time classic that Lewis wrote yesterday, but OFL was right to throw out the challenge: WAHINE just cries out for one.

One limerick: hold the tahini

There once was a lovely wahine
Who surfed in a sexy bikini
When the boys came to woo
Every one she'd eschew
She was picky -- not really a meanie

Years ago, Garrison Keillor was so impressed by how hard his kids' teachers worked that he wrote some limericks to honor them. I liked one so much, I memorized it.

There once was a teacher named Dee Dee
Who came home to her squeeze and said "Sweetie,
I'm so tired I'm wobbly
So pour me some chablis
And don't be emotionally needy."

FearlessKim 9:56 AM  

There once was a lovely wahine
Who loved to eat toast with tahini
It made such a mess
She refuses to dress
And now dines in her tiny bikini

GreggVL 10:01 AM  

There once was a lovely wahine
Who like to eat toast with tahini
But one day her hummus
Fell down past her tummus
And Mediter'stain'd her bikini.

Hartley70 10:02 AM  

ADUNIT was my last entry and it gave me a laugh because I sold ad space for (wait for it)…the New York Times early in my NYC years. I just came across my ID card the other day and boy was I young. Luckily it was an easy sell.
I thought this was a fun Friday. The long answers were humorous and I didn’t mind WINDOWFRAME either. DADVICE was new to me and at first made me think of an old boomer smoking weed behind the garage. It works as intended though, and I can sense an eye roll coming on from my kids as Dad’s voice drones on a little too long. What I liked best about this puzzle is that it felt fresh and young, yet remained easily solved by the rest of us.

Beezer 10:02 AM  

I thought @Rex was about right in his medium difficulty assessment primarily because I managed to finish the puzzle without a cheat…which leads to my assessment of “I liked it.”

I agree with @Zed et al that the use of a term like HISTORYNERD today is mostly self-referential. I don’t necessarily think of faux humility because over the years and due to my husband I have become a bit of a HISTORYNERD but I think I’ll have to live a few decades more to possibly attain BUFF status.

Luckily I was up on my Black Panther knowledge because even so I stared at ADUNIT for more than a few seconds. I also started out with SEX at 1a, at one point put XSEMEN at 3d….well…I was obviously committed to the “blue = sex” angle for way too long. 🙄

A Midwit 10:03 AM  

@Anon 9:29 I may be a midwit, but I'm a really, really big and strong midwit with no sense of humor, a short fuse and a long record of assault. I also feel all humans have innate worth and are of equal import among men and God. Looking forward to meeting you some day so that we can discuss your disparagement of me.

Tom T 10:13 AM  

Since we have turned this into limerick week ...

A phonetic wreck is ADUNIT,
Just begging for someone to TUNEIT,
The famous ENESCO
Would holler out “O NO!”
If anyone offered to CROONIT.

I wanted HISTORY prof, and my biggest (dumb) hold-up was having lTS (as in chain letters) instead of the more obvious (and correct) MTS (as in mountains).

Whatsername 10:13 AM  

Quite an auspicious debut and congratulations to you Mr. Allman! It was on the tough side for me but I really liked it. Hope to see more like this.

DADVICE was a GEM of an entry. Fathers are the GREATEST; however mine didn’t give advice so much as he gave orders. Like put your nose to the GRINDSTONE and get ‘er done. Yes HE WENT THERE. Often.

SNOODS are basically hairnets, a look that’s difficult to pull off with aplomb. Years ago I worked in the office of a Quaker Oats cereal plant. Going onto the production floor meant wearing one of the company-issued hideous hairnets. At first it felt humiliating but after a while I realized everyone else looked equally ridiculous and no one gave it a thought. It was one of the best places in town to work and smooshed-up hair was a small price to pay if you were lucky enough to work there.

Gary Jugert 10:15 AM  

@Greg in Sanibel 7:55 AM This is the tournament leader. "Brown booby." Tee-hee.

Mr. Benson 10:15 AM  

Another hand up for flailing around ADUNIT/SNOODS/ONO, finally entering a set of vowels that could work, and getting the “finished” signal while not quite understanding how any of that was right.

Just give me a Yoko-related clue and I’m done with this otherwise easy-medium puzzle a full minute earlier.

Photomatte 10:20 AM  

Never heard of SNOODS until today. Are they also called hair nets? Maybe. I think of an aardvark's snout, for some reason, when I hear Snood. I did like SENSEI, since that's what they called me when I lived in Tokyo, but wasn't down with HISTORYNERD at all. The misuse of the word Nerd (for anything someone is really into) is as annoying as the prevalence of the word Hater (for anyone who disagrees with you, or who doesn't like what you like).
I'm sure kids today would tell me, "Ok, Boomer," and have no idea they're actually paying me a complement. 😂😂

Chicago Chica 10:24 AM  

Rex, you should go so negative all on account of one word. As an actual 1980’s engineering / compsci NERD (which is where nerd-dom originated, which is NOT the same as “science and math” to those of us in it) I do indeed recall when a nerd was such a socially mal-adjusted tech head as to be considered sub-human and inanimate. Now that we can have history nerds, etc, I actually find that kind of nice, because it means I’m not all that bad. So.

Here I expected you to wax on about the low number of black squares and the highly interconnected grid but no, an entire rant on NERD. Sigh.

I liked this one.

Seth 10:25 AM  

There once was a lovely wahine
Who liked to eat toast with tahini.
A new trick she did crack:
Hang ten with a snack!
But she wiped out and stained her bikini.

Chicago Chica 10:26 AM  

Don’t care for DADVICE but I would enjoy DADADGE but sadly that didn’t fit

Whatsername 10:29 AM  

Interesting discussions today but so far I have not seen anyone state the obvious . . . that all of us here are Word NERDs. I for one don’t see that as anything derogatory but far more as a badge of honor - especially if you use @Zed’s (8:59) definition: ”damn right we’re smart,” no humility implied.

Peter P 10:40 AM  

There once was a lovely wahine
Who liked to eat toast with tahini
She said with a grin
As she wiped off her chin
Thank God that I'm not from Nantucket.

Maybe not the right crowd for that one ....

MarthaCatherine 10:42 AM  

For some reason this silly joke has always stuck with me. From Pat Paulsen on the old Smother's Brothers show:

What is the definition of a WAHINE?

It's something you eat with mu-hustard and ke-hetchup.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:47 AM  

@Anonymous 6:56 AM - Aw, are we white folks getting upset that too much Black culture is making it into the puzzle?

Leslie 10:47 AM  

There's a scene in White Christmas where one of the characters, I think it's Bing (but might be Danny Kaye) says something like "did you put it in your snood?" anyone remember?

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

last I checked, a whetstone and a GRINDSTONE are two distinct formations. a 'whet bar', is just that, a BAR of something, not necessarily STONE (diamonds is one alternative), which may or may not be wetted with water or oil and sits on a table or some such and the human laps the blade across the BAR. a GRINDSTONE, OTOH is a disc, on the order of 1/2 inch thick, which is spun by a motor, dry. they ain't the same thingee.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

Me too

kitshef 10:50 AM  

The noted composer Enescu
Had a preference for dining al fresco
Oh! the line doesn’t rhyme
But I’ll fix it in time
It’s a simple vowel change to the rescue!

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

a question for those who want to claim nerd as a defacto badge of honor.
What word do you propose we use to describe a socially awkward person, often an introvert, who may be deeply interested in non-mainstream pursuits often of a technical nature?

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

Midwit anon,
I think you mean battery.

jae 10:55 AM  

Medium. Got off to a slow start in the NW with only MTS for a while, but FLOATS and SENSEI opened up the NE and let me back in to the rest of the puzzle. The crossing center stacks were worth the price of admission, liked it. A fine debut.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:56 AM  

@Andrew Heinegg 9:15 AM - Disagree. Once you've got categorical term that describes a kind of person, all bets are off, and virtually anything goes. For example, "queen" in gay argot. Initially, queen in gay circles meant flamboyant gay man. Over time, it came to mean a gay man who was an aficionado of virtually anything. An opera queen is a gay man who loves opera. Similarly with theater queen (especially musical theater), Judy queen (Garland), Barbra queen (needs no explanation). It may also be used in sexual contexts, to express preferences in race or ethnicity of partner (won't give examples here; it's a family blog) or sexual activities, particularly "kinks," e.g. bondage queen. That same kind of linguistic phenomenon is now prevalent with "nerd."

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

did those involve just coin DADVICE?? sure never heard it before.

had to be "The Bald Soprano" playwright. when he isn't.

for the record: WIN OR GO HOME refers to any game which the loser is ousted. the 7th game of a 4 of 7 round is one such. third or fifth set of a tennis match is another.

Nancy 10:58 AM  

Wow, was this hard -- but in a good way! A "keep the faith" puzzle if ever I've done one. I hadn't a prayer of entering in the NW, which I had to leave completely bare, and I finally got a toehold at THOMAS/TCELL/ANSEL way, way over in the East.

The 3-letter word that turned out to be GEM should have been an entry point in the NW, but I have always thought of a "paragon" more as an ideal or epitome of something than as simply a treasure. A "paragon of virtue" doesn't equal for me a "gem of virtue" so I got no help there. I'm sure GEM would have given me SPIGOT early on and then it might have been a very different solving experience.

I don't get the clue for EDIT (46D). Does "sub text" = "substitute text"? And a good editor really shouldn't do that without the author's permission. You wouldn't want to do that to, say, a Norman Mailer or an Ernest Hemingway. Who knows: they might decide to challenge you to a duel.

Loved all the long stacks -- both the Across ones and the Down ones. A well-made puzzle with almost no proper names...and yet thoroughly challenging. It can be done. Nice job, Aaron.

Michael Page 10:59 AM  

A grindstone isn’t a bar.
A whetstone is a bar.
A grindstone is a wheel.

My family also played A Child’s Christmas to us every year. Warmest memory. Tried to continue the tradition with my Gen-Y boys; not a great success.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:02 AM  

@Gary Jugert 9:26 AM - Yeah...shouldn't GRINDSTONE be clued with something that has to do with keeping your nose to one?

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

@Mike in Bed-Stuy/10:47:

MAWA my good fellow, MAWA forever. In an episode of CI, Eames, irritated, says some like, "Yet another case of life being ruined for White Men". Ah yes.

Joseph Michael 11:04 AM  

There once was a wahine, I’ve heard,
Who appeared in a Friday crossword.
Her reply when she was asked
About her obsession with the past:
“Please don’t call me a history nerd.”

Tom T 11:05 AM  

@ Leslie (10:47), Yes, the scene in White Christmas is on the train when Danny Kaye "can't find" the tickets to the sleeper car he and Bing should have had, if not for the fact he gave them to the Haines sisters. As Bing and Danny have just lip-synced the sisters' song ("Sisters") in drag, Bing's question accuses his buddy of having left the tickets in his SNOOD.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:07 AM  

@Other David 9:54 AM - I could swear we had the poet-writing-a-prose-piece quibble here quite recently, with Rex making the same argument about the clue being inaccurate or misleading or whatever. But I can't remember the poet or the prose piece in question. Anybody remember?

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

I was an associate in an Admiralty law firm when I first got out of law school. In the presence of a senior member of the firm, I asked if there was a map of a certain sea. Almost got fired. It’s chart, not map.

Nice puzzle.

Joe Dipinto 11:15 AM  

{waves to @kitshef}

Tonight there's a concert alfresco
Of music by Georges Enesco
Though you say, "I spell it
with u," I say, "Quell it!
The music's the main thing, so let's go!"

Actually if you look on Amazon, almost all recordings of his music have his name as ENESCO.

Phrazle 35: 2/6
⬜🟨⬜🟨 ⬜🟪⬜⬜ ⬜🟩🟪 🟨🟪🟪

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩

Nancy 11:16 AM  

Phrazle 35: 2/6
⬜⬜⬜🟨 🟨⬜⬜⬜ 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟪⬜

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

No. But I am a little mystified by why you capitalize black but not white.
I know full well why your posts often contain some bit of gay lore.

egsforbreakfast 11:24 AM  

There once was a lovely wahini
Who liked to eat toast with tahini
With her hair in a SNOOD
And her ass looking good
No one noticed her brown stained bikini.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:25 AM  

@Anonymous 11:03 AM - Middle Atlantic Wrestling Association? Jk. Did take me a while to suss it out online though.

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

Definitely ENESCU

Teresa 11:32 AM  

I too had ENESCU first but don't consider ENESCO incorrect. However, I take issue with the cluing, which is sloppy. He didn't write a piece called "Romanian Rhapsodies", quote unquote. He wrote two Romanian rhapsodies, each titled in the singular and differentiated by numbers. As written, the clue is simply incorrect.

Teresa 11:38 AM  

@Whatshername, are you my long-lost fifth sister? I had a dad like yours and there was a Quaker Oats plant in my home town too. It was the best-smelling thing about the place.

Nancy 11:38 AM  

There once was a lovely Wahine,
Who'd had it with lim'ricks obscene-y.
"Can I ban their crude rhymes
And their sleaze and their slimes?
I'm begging you, please, O my genie!"

sixtyni yogini 11:39 AM  

Yes, good were the long answers. Agree, not so much the shorter ones.
Enjoyed it, but after yesterday’s elegance - t’was a let down.

Yours truly 🤗
(too PROSY, NOT enough POESY?)


kitshef 11:40 AM  

There once was a lovely Wahine
Who loved to eat toast with tahini
The gulls this attracted
In a trice had extracted
Her composure, her lunch, and bikini

Turalura 11:42 AM  

Romanian names end in ESCU. Why was it ok for the answer to be spelled Enesco?????

Newboy 11:42 AM  

I’m with @OffTheGrid today on both DADVICE & questionable question mark for Whet bar…..course that is probably cause I’m a language NERD?

The grid had a happy memory vibe that really had a Da Kine echo going; both north shore WAHINE and ONO at Mama’s are treasures of Maui….not a ONE WAY TRIP, but among the GREATEST ways to EKE out time away from the daily GRINDSTONE of long North Idaho winters which tend to be ICE SHOWS. Much more fun than Reno—yes, HE WENT THERE, but had to WIN OR GO HOME…..sigh!

Always nice to see another new constructor whose grids are showing some real GEM sparkle as a debut 👍🏼

Whatsername 11:56 AM  

@Anomymous (10:54) “What word do you propose we use to describe a socially awkward person, often an introvert, who may be deeply interested in non-mainstream pursuits often of a technical nature?”

Self-reliant. Unconventional. An individualist, an eccentric, a non-conformist, a free spirit, a free thinker, an innovator, an explorer, a trail blazer, or just a self-respecting person who doesn’t much care what labels others use to describe him.

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

There once was a lovely wahine
Who loved to eat toast with tahini
It dripped frim her mouth
And headed due south
Until it stained her bikini

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

I had ad size before I got ad unit..
I sold print ads and no one in accounting or a sales meeting ever called a print ad an ad “unit”.. as to outrage over the faux modest nerd usage, Rex is 1000 oclock right, STOP USING NERD AS A BRAGGY ANYTHING. Almost as bad
as “Girl Dad” - yeesh. Encino Casino

Whatsername 12:08 PM  

@Teresa (11:38) Likely quite a few can relate to the DAD part of my comment given how things were in my age group anyway. As for the Quaker plant, mine was in St. Joseph Missouri but sadly, closed long ago. Yours? Yes there were often some wonderful aromas wafting out of that place - except on the days when they were grinding masa harina for tortillas etc. That was some stinky stuff.

JD 12:10 PM  

Thanks @Gary, it's probably better than Losers Leave.

The limericks keep getting better and better. @Nancy, we're waiting.

puzzlehoarder 12:17 PM  

This was harder than your average Friday. One reason was that SEAMAPs are not to be found outside of xword puzzles.

Apparently WAHINE rhymes with bikini so I learned something new today.

I expected 40D to end with the letter U but RESTON said otherwise.

I'm familiar with the phrase "Go big or go home." WINORGOHOME not so much.

No real problems getting a clean grid just a few rather forced speed bumps.

yd -0

Masked and Anonymous 12:22 PM  

Put M&A down for bein an ENESCUNERD. Altho I didn't know the name, the U endin sounds better, to m&e.

Evidently lots to please and displease the puzfolk, today. M&A was pleased to see:

* Four Jaws of Themelessness.
* One U finally pop up, in the puzgrid lower reaches (WINETOUR/ADUNIT).
* Yokoless ONO. staff weeject pick. Also this ONO was a no-know, at our house.
* ANSEL clue.
* Luvly Ow de Speration moments, particularly: DADVICE. [ADUNIT gets a pass here, as it saved that lone U.] DAD-VICE tips: Drink rotgut booze, gamble away everything you have, do random sex every night, swear like a possessed GRAWLIXNERD.

Messed up the (slow-ish) solvequest a bit, havin settled on HEWENTWHERE/WHA. Lost valuable bonus points. Kinda a WHINEANDGOHOME moment.

Thanx for the challenge, Mr. Ullman dude. Nice debut. Congratz.

Masked & Anonymo1U

more jaws (and last in this 4-part series):

bocamp 12:32 PM  

Took some precious nanoseconds to parse AD UNIT. Recalling WAKANDA was a help.

New: DADVICE; like it!

@kitshef (10:50 AM) to the rescue! :)

@Joe / @Nancy 👍 👍 for your Phreagles! :)

Gonna have a go at it now. 🤞


Here's a couple of fun Sec/Duo exercises using 5 set words: this one uses all letters save 'x' / this one uses all but 'q', 'x', 'z'. In either case, zero wiggle room to successfully complete the puz. I find Sedecordle tougher than Duotrigordle. Fun for practice modes! :)
td pg: 10:41 (0 in just over 30) / Wordle: 4*

WordHurdle 215 2/6 #wordhurdle

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

A 12:34 PM  

AAH! Oho! It’s limerick Friday and @Peter P is in the lead with @JD a close 2nd. Wait, @Joe D is coming up fast on ENESCO! Good thing they don’t have to WIN OR GO HOME.

The hate for AD UNIT seemed a bit excessive, though I ADmit my first guess was AD size.

Liked the bookends SPIGOT and SIGNAL, and the WINO/WIND/WINE mashup. A triple WIN, AS IT WERE.

If you cross 14D with 34A, you get TWITTER GO HOME.

@PHC - good suggestions on ENESCO.

@crackblind, great explanation of buff vs. NERD - NERD fits the clue to a T.

Wasn’t Buff the NERD-slayer on the History Channel?

Why don’t they make unfrosted POPTARTs anymore?

@Nancy, me too re GEM, except I already had SPIGOT and still had a hard time.

Music that might have Le ring to it?

johnk 12:38 PM  

Nasty cross on HEWENT_HERE. Could be THERE or WHERE. The answer, unfortunately, depends on one's knowledge of -- or interest in -- rap contraction coinages.

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

Something something WAHINE
Something something Tahini
Something something
Something something
Something something Bikini

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

Me too.

johnk 12:52 PM  

Il've both bought and sold print advertisements. So I loved ADUNIT once I got the D in WAKANDA and the N in ONO via the process of elimination.

JC66 12:54 PM  

@Peter P 10:40

😂 You beat me to it.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:58 PM  

It's a vexed issue to be sure, but I'll quote this from a CJR article by Mike Laws dated June 16, 2020:

AT THE COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW, we capitalize Black, and not white, when referring to groups in racial, ethnic, or cultural terms. For many people, Black reflects a shared sense of identity and community. White carries a different set of meanings; capitalizing the word in this context risks following the lead of white supremacists.

Upstate George 1:00 PM  

"You say Enesco, I say Enescu". I grew up in England, toward the end of the era in which the English spelled every foreign word the way it sounded to them, rather than paying attention to local orthography. Romanian names all ended in "o" at that time, probably the reason why so many of Georges' catalog is also spelled that way. This all changed when the English finally recognized that maybe it was time to follow local usage, rather than their own rules. This is when "Peking" became "Beijing", for example - and oddly enough, it was about then that "Rumania" became "Romania"! Go figure! As for snoods, I strongly recommend people search for the Gary Larsen cartoon captioned: "The boys in the bunkhouse all admired Seth's snood." One of a kind.

Nancy 1:12 PM  

Thanks for the shoutout, @JD (12:10). Your wait is over and your wish has been granted:) Actually, my limerick was posted at 11:38, before you wrote your comment, but it hadn't gone up yet.

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

I don't think a single word on your list gets to the sine qua non of nerdness. Some I'd argue are quite far away indeed.

Anonymous 1:15 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nancy 1:23 PM  

And the 2nd Phrazle is now available, everyone!

Phrazle 36: 2/6
⬜⬜⬜ ⬜⬜ 🟩🟩🟩 ⬜⬜🟩

🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩

Thane of Thirteenth 1:26 PM  

You win!

bocamp 1:32 PM  

@puzzlehoarder 👍 for your QB yd! :)

@A (12:34 PM)

Thx for the Le Ring link! :)

Very apt, as the symphonic miniature, by the Romanian Lazăr, was apparently inspired by a boxing match in France circa 1930, tho not WBA sanctioned (as it was changed from NBA to WBA in '62).
Phrazle 35: 2/6
🟪🟪⬜🟪 ⬜🟨⬜⬜ 🟩🟩🟩 🟪🟪🟪
🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩

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

Teedmn 1:35 PM  

My co-worker didn't know SNOOD. I told him he'd have known it if he'd read "Little Women", my source for the word.

AD UNIT, the N was last entry in the grid, whew.

Congratulations, Aaron Ullman, on your debut.

And keep the limericks coming folks! Nice work.

A Midwit 1:37 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 1:43 PM  


A 1:58 PM  

Two so far today:

Phrazle 35: 2/6
⬜🟩🟨🟪 🟩⬜🟪⬜ 🟪⬜⬜ 🟨⬜⬜

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩

Phrazle 36: 1/6
🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩

okanaganer 2:00 PM  

An enjoyably difficult puzzle; I also wrestled with the SW corner. Couldn't remember the fictional African country; couldn't fill AD ---- with anything other than SIZE; had a WINE TRIP; couldn't remember SNOOD (I was trying SCROD for ages because it worked crossing WINE TRIP!).

Finally got tired enough, I thought: I'll just ask Across Lite to tell me which squares are wrong. (Yeah it's admitting defeat; whatever.) But I chose the wrong menu item: "Reveal incorrect letters" instead of "Check all letters". Noooo! Puzzle kinda ruined.

I do wish Will et al would quit cluing words as names, eg TAN. Why??

Best limerick: kitshef 10:50am. But a lot of other good ones!

[Spelling Bee: yd 4:50 to pg then eventually QB; the same last word as bocamp; for some reason it took me forever to see it!]

Mike in Bed-Stuy 2:05 PM  

Shoyn genug. Hob ich kein cheshek. That's Yiddish for "Enough already. I have no desire." That is, to continue this discussion about capitalizing "black" or "white" as racial/ethnic terms. I wrote it in Yiddish because I wanted to share a bit of Jewish lore, lest you think "gay lore" is the only kind of lore I have to offer. 🤪

okanaganer 2:06 PM  

[SB: whoa Nelly... td pg in 1:15! There's gotta be some mistake??.... I only have half the words!]

Wanderlust 2:09 PM  

I’ll bet the reason ENESCO shows up more than ENESCu in puzzles is simply that the crosses are much more likely to need an O than a U.

Joe Dipinto 2:11 PM  

Thanks for the heads up @Nancy. That was easy.

Phrazle 36: 2/6
⬜🟩🟨 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 ⬜⬜⬜

🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

We are all using “prose” here as a different kind of writing than poetry. No judgment. So how did PROSY become a negative?

Pondie 2:29 PM  

There once was a lovely wahine
Who loved to eat toast with tahini
What ever the meal
She'd eat it with zeal
Alongside a dry martini

Anonymous 2:30 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rachel 2:55 PM  

My gripes with this puzzle:

-a spring fling is a dance; a summer fling is a romance
-I also thought it should be history buff, not nerd
-dadvice isn't a thing. I thought it was dadism, which also isn't a thing, but it's what I thought of first and I think it could be more of a thing than dadvice

CDilly52 2:57 PM  

@Anonymous 6:24 AM - I couldn't agree more about NERD not being automatically applicable, and have chided folks in the past for its confusing usage. I rarely use the term NERD as a personal descriptor unless I have heard its antecedent self-refer as such. My difficulty arises from the fact that we seem to lack any sort of parameters for measuring “nerdism” as opposed to being an expert, an aficionado or a buff, as @Rex suggests. I frankly admire the STEM experts since those areas present by me with much larger challenges. Thanks for your observation.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 3:01 PM  

@Anonymous 2:30 PM - I did not say I was tired—That would be "Hob ich kein koyekh." I said I had no desire.

Barbara S. 3:19 PM  

There once was a lovely WAHINE
Who liked to eat toast with tahini
In a Maui fjord
She was eating on board
Splash! Pollockian stains met bikini.

Whatsername 3:21 PM  

@Anonymous (1:14) That’s because I made no effort to limit my suggestions toward the parameters of the quintessential “nerdy” definition. Why would I? You asked what I would propose to call a person who is socially awkward, often an introvert, who may be deeply interested in non-mainstream pursuits. I happen to think such a person could potentially be all the things I listed and more. Come to think of it, I left out inquisitive, analytical, insightful, perceptive and often far more observant than the average person in a typical social setting.

Those are a few of the reasons I’d consider being called a nerd a badge of honor. There is no need for further clarification because the two are not opposites. There is far more substance to the individuals you described than the negative stereotype of being socially awkward. Many introverts are perceived as such because they prefer not to mingle in social settings. Those who find fault with their behavior and thereby label them “nerds” are more likely than not people who believe themselves to be somehow superior because of their command of conventional social graces. What they don’t realize is that’s not necessarily a quality to be admired by those who care nothing about such things.

It all reminds me of the old Robert Burns poem Ode To A Louse:

O would some Power with vision teach us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notions:
What airs in dress and carriage would leave us,
And even devotion!

CDilly52 3:25 PM  

First if all, I disagree that NERD has become so much a part of the language that it has a generally understood meaning. Often, I find its usage pejorative. My husband, for example was a “systems NERD.” I know because he said so many times. Other folks fully immersed and expert in one or more areas of study or disciplines I would never consider to be NERDs absent a self-reference. To me, they are students of, aficionados or experts. And that proverbial dead horse needs no additional flagellation.

The puzzle nearly best me today. I simply could not get the NW completed until after the remainder was done and checked. SEA MAP just sounds so awkward and made up that I simply refused to believe it was the answer until there simply was no other choice but to put in the final M.

I first wanted SODA GUN for 1D, and contend that it is far and away a better answer. But it obviously requires completely reworking that corner. Then we had the incredibly easy and old skewed SW with EKE, TAT and TAROTS all tucked neatly in our SNOODS. As irritating as some of those oldies can get, I am thankful for them today because they gave my brain a breather.

The long center answers were fine, even interesting but I don’t find them as sparkling as does @Rex.bin fact, I don’t really care for HE WENT THERE? My lack of enthusiasm stems directly from my very didactic upbringing as it relates to language and the use thereof. I can hear my attorney-grandfather in response to my usage of something like HE WENT THERE, in his curt slightly raised voice saying”Stop! Come back here and identify exactly who HE is and where did he go and in response to what?” Antecedents were an early concept in my linguistic ken. And I have been told that I am much too picky about others linguistic shortcomings, both spoken and written. I accept that and often apologize - sort of.

In general, I found this a worthy Friday but nothing really exciting. I actually found some of the clues just trying too hard either to be clever, funny or simply used to misdirect.

CDilly52 3:27 PM  

DigitalDan 3:29 PM  

A Nerkle, a Nerd, and a Seersucker too!

So someone deeply invested in history is in no way a NERD and permitted to be a buff, but someone deeply invested in math and technology (even if also music and social skills) must be satisfied with NERD? Humph, says this relatively well-balanced NERD.

Anonymous 3:55 PM  

Very Prosy, Rex Luthor

Michael 4:20 PM  

Can some, all, or none of the posters to this blog (including me) be referred to as "crossword nerds" or perhaps just "word nerds"?

Anonymous 5:01 PM  

I don't know. Can you buy a SNOOD at Saks?

Stephen Minehart 5:12 PM  

I thought this puzzle was a GEM. Fresh and interesting answers. Right or wrong, History nerds and dadvice are terms that are commonly known outside of crossword culture, and are therefore fair game by my reckoning.

Wundrin' 5:16 PM  

Does dissecting the meaning(s) of NERD make one a NERD Nerd?

Gary Jugert 5:33 PM  

@Wundrin' And so many here today... a nerd nerd herd.

Anonymous 5:47 PM  

Clue Child’s Christmas in Wales doesn’t call it a poem

Adam Simpson 5:47 PM  

More like DADUNIT

Anonymous 5:50 PM  

Mystified that lots of folks seem to believe expertise is akin to nerdiness.
For its entire life—until 5 minutes ago—- nerd meant, at its core, socially awkward with interests out of the mainstream.
There’s a damn documentary showing just how popular crossword puzzles are. From presidents, and pro ball players to movie stars and movers and shakers. Madness. Madness, that something as so low brow as a crossword puzzle could rise to the level of nerdiness.
Nerds are folks who, with a straight face, distinguish proscriptive and descriptive language on a crossword blog. Or share their sexual peccadilloes. Or breathlessly explain the difference between Star Teak and Star Trek the Next Generation.

Anonymous 5:58 PM  

The best!

Anoa Bob 6:18 PM  

I've enjoyed reading all the entertaining limericks. My favorite---so far---is Kitshef's @ 11:40. I see lots of seagulls everyday and can believe they would do what your limerick says. I think @Gill.I had a seagull moment when one of them snatched her meal right out of the plate at some outdoor eatery.

This one had some good points as many of yous have rightly pointed out but I also think there were a few nits in the ointment. 38 black squares is very high for a themeless and there were two additional virtual black squares, the two for one POCs at the ends of 25D AMEND/36A PANE and 43D GIST/66A TAROT. This high number is probably the reason some have made "center good, periphery not so good" remarks.

Speaking of POCs, I always notice and take points off when one of the long entries isn't up to the task of filling its slot and needs a gratuitous S added at the end to do the job, as happened to TWITTER WAR.

This long time self described word NERD appreciated the attempt at word play with 43A GRINDSTONE being clued "Whet bar", but it didn't work for me. I've seen GRINDSTONES and most of them are quite coarse and even the finest would not be a tool of choice to "whet" anything. I'm also a sharp edge NERD and "hone" is the word we use. I think by "whet" what is meant is "hone". So this was twice wide of the mark for me.

Being familiar with the nearby MexTex border state Nuevo LEON helped with 8D "Historic kingdom of Spain". The capital Monterrey has several major breweries so the Mexican beer we buy locally is always fresh and tasty.

DSM - 5 6:18 PM  

@Anon (1:14) - Autistic or at least on “the spectrum”.

Anoa Bob 6:24 PM  

I've enjoyed reading the entertaining limericks. My favorite---so far---is Kitshef's @ 11:40. I see lots of seagulls everyday and can believe they would do what your limerick says. I think @Gill.I had a seagull moment when one of them snatched her meal right out of the plate at some outdoor eatery.

This one had some good points as many of yous have rightly pointed out but I also think there were a few nits in the ointment. 38 black squares is very high for a themeless and there were two additional virtual black squares, the two for one POCs at the ends of 25D AMEND/36A PANE and 43D GIST/66A TAROT. This high number is probably the reason some have made "center good, periphery not so good" remarks.

Speaking of POCs, I always notice and it's points off in my book when one of the long entries isn't up to the task of filling its slot and needs a gratuitous S added at the end to do the job.

This long time self described word NERD appreciated the attempt at word play with 43A GRINDSTONE being clued "Whet bar", but it didn't work for me. I've seen GRINDSTONES and most of them are quite coarse and even the finest would not be a tool of choice to "whet" anything. I'm also a sharp edge NERD and "hone" is the word we use. I think by "whet" what was meant was "hone". So this was twice wide of the mark for me.

Being familiar with the nearby MexTex border state Nuevo LEON helped with 8D "Historic kingdom of Spain". The capital Monterrey has several major breweries so the Mexican beer we buy locally is always fresh and tasty.

Anonymous 7:04 PM  

I dunno, every iPhone has an f-stop adjustment option in portrait mode.

Whatsername 7:18 PM  

@Nancy: Okay it’s official. Now I’m hooked. And it’s all your fault. ;-]

Phrazle 36: 2/6
🟪⬜⬜ 🟩🟪 🟩🟩🟩 ⬜⬜🟪

🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩


RooMonster 7:31 PM  

I once knew a cute little Wahine
Who wasn't a big bad meanie
But her father always gave DADVICE
And said it would have to suffice
So she called him a weinie.

Anonymous 7:33 PM  


I don't have such a machine, but it seems highly unlikely that an iPhone camera (or any smartphone camera) has a diaphragm, which is where the F-stop is implemented. if there is an F-stop setting (and I've no idea), it has to be in software.

Nancy 7:41 PM  

It's interesting to me that two of my favorite people on the blog -- @CDilly and @Whatsername -- are in such completely opposite camps when it comes to the use of the term NERD. And I have strong feelings myself on the subject, being squarely ensconced in one of the two camps myself. Can most people here guess which one it is?

I think it may be a generational thing. When I was growing up, the word NERD was an insulting pejorative. No one in their right mind would have wanted to be called a nerd -- whatever their academic and scholastic interests and level of expertise might have been.

(As an interesting anecdote, someone on the blog whom I've gotten pretty close to said to me early in our friendship, over the phone something like:"I guess we're both nerds." If she'd punched me in the stomach, she could not have distressed or surprised me more. I blurted out the very first thing that sprang into my mind. "I am NOT a nerd! For heaven's sake, I'm a tennis player!!! She's only 6 years younger than I am, so I was shocked she'd said it about herself. In fact, I had never once heard ANYONE say it about themself.

I think it was some dumb movie called "The Revenge of the Nerds" that made people who'd been called nerds all their lives try to reclaim the word for themselves and turn a negative into a positive. Whatever floats their boat is fine with me. Call yourself a nerd as much a you like. Call this blog "a place for crossword nerds" rather than "crossword buffs" and the insult will sail right over my head. But never doubt that I do consider the word an insult. And please understand that if you ever call ME a nerd, I might hit you over the head with my tennis racket:)

Anonymous 7:53 PM  

I might hit you over the head with my tennis racket:)

wood-ply or metal? :)

Whatsername 9:12 PM  

@Nancy: Not to beat a perfectly innocent horse but just to clarify which camp I am in . . . I agree with you that the word is primarily considered offensive, an insult. I just wish it wasn’t. Of the people I know who fit the dictionary definition of the word (and
as I tried to say in my 3:21 post), they are so much more than that and deserve so much better.

But you can call me a nerd anytime you want to, just as long as you keep calling me one of your favorite people.

Beezer 10:06 PM  

@Nancy, I willl NEVER call you a nerd but I have to tell you that like @CDilly and @Whatsername I MAY self-reference myself as a puzzle nerd. Ok. Sorry guys, that sentence was grammatically incorrect. Let me try again…like them, I don’t think of it as an insult if it is used in a self-referential manner.

albatross shell 10:14 PM  

I'm quite sure you are mistaken about GRINDSTONE. It is the very definition of what a grindstone is. I often saw axes and hatchets being sharpened with a grindstone at my grandmother's cabin.
The kind with a foot pump and a oil dripper on a bracket above the wheel. Now I wouldn't sharpen my straight razor with one. But for hoes, spades, axes they do fine.

I believe Nancy is correct about nerd's changing definition (as many others also have pointed out) and the movie reflected or even foreshadowed the change, even though she cannot personally accept the new definition. Even those Computer geeks also had much to do with it and how geeks and nerds have come to rule the world. Strange she thinks playing tennis puts her above the nerd class, while being such a tennis nerd herself.

So to me HISTORY NERD is a perfect answer to the clue. For a HISTORY buff is not nearly as likely to talk about the past all the time. A NERD always wants to.

It took me awhile to accept 1000 hours as10AM because it doesn't look like ten hundred to me.

But hot damn two Fridays in a row. Yay I. The SW corner was a cakewalk then SE and N just pass the half done mark. And then a pile of misery that eventually all got shoveled away. Coming from the south I got the NERD part first and HISTORY was EASY to see. But then FLING came first and I thought Summer was better was than SPRING.

I thought the puzzle finished was a bit PROSY but the solve was a pile of fun.

Nancy 10:47 PM  

@albatross. Not a nerd. A fanatic. Big difference.

mmorgan 11:01 PM  

I actually really liked DADVICE and AD UNIT. They were tough and frustrating and satisfying when I got them, and they took awhile. So yay!

Pete 11:19 PM  

Speaking of history buffs & LEÓN, I just found out today that I am a direct descendant of John of Gaunt, King of Castile and LEÓN, Duke of Aquitaine and Lancaster and a whole bunch of other, minor, titles. So, a little respect please.

Anonymous 11:55 PM  

Yup. Better answer

Anonymous 2:16 AM  

I had dadage for dadvice which I thought was superior, but who am I?

bocamp 8:51 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 9:37 AM  

Married 33 years to my lovely Hawaiian wife so I happen to know this via osmosis: it's pronounced "wah-hee-nay", rather than "wah-hee-nee". So some of the limericks need "sub text".

Anonymous 11:17 AM  


Anonymous 7:19 AM  

I had SExMAg for 1A for a while, it’s a purposeful misdirect i think, but a squirrelly one (no offense to squirrels).

Descriptivist 7:45 AM  

What a tedious prescriptivist you are. Language evolves. Cope.

Sian 12:20 PM  

I LOVED this puzzle! Each clue solved felt more satisfying than the last. A fun mother's day morning for me

Sian 12:22 PM  

Meant to say - any puzzle which has a Dylan Thomas clue gets my vote!

spacecraft 9:48 AM  

From a single Jaw of Themelessness to four of 'em. Cool. The big center: cool. But there are fill problems. Always annoying: letter add-ons such as FSTOP and TCELL. A brand new dook: ADUNIT. Ugh. And the granddaddy of them all, the dreaded EKE. On balance just a par.

Same with Wordle. see you tomorrow.

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

Of course, all good limericks are risque. This one provided ample opportunities.

Burma Shave 1:07 PM  


HEWENTTHERE just to WOO her,
SOBEIT, he’d GOHOME without his TEN.


Diana, LIW 1:47 PM  

"Fairly" easy for a Friday, IMO. Just enough work required to make it rewarding when finished.

@Foggy - saw your "test" from yesterday. It DID take quite a while for posts to post.

As they say, you can always eke out an eek.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

BS2 2:19 PM  

the Nantucket one made me laugh


at TENA.M. she’s TOTING a martini,
I’m her ONE GREATEST fan,
when she SHOWS me her TAN,
what THA F,STOP! AAH, THERE’s no bikini!


thefogman 2:25 PM  

PROSY is today’s strawy. Lots of iffy fill here. PETSAT? ADUNIT? DREAR? ENESCO? The long answers were pretty good for the most part. But there was some odd cluing like 28A (TIS) Scale notes. Yes I get it but why not go with the old reliable Xmas carol contraction? Has SExpic in mind for 1A because of the cutesy cluing. Not the GREATEST crossword, but not the worst. Par, as some would say.

What did the Beatles say when they found out John was getting married?


thefogman 2:27 PM  

D,LIW -: Re: “test” I posted today’s comment on yesterday’s page. No wonder it didn’t come up.

rondo 9:24 PM  

I liked DADVICE.
Wordle par. 14 under after 36.

James 8:59 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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