Kind of cake with layers of coffee and chocolate / FRI 5-27-22 / Film technique that accommodates wide- and full-screen display / Lures into a relationship by using a fictional online persona / Occasion for a high flute / The one in Layla lasts 3 minutes 48 seconds / Home of the largest street fair in North America / Improbable orders for oenophiles

Friday, May 27, 2022

Constructor: David Distenfeld

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: OPEN MATTE (66A: Film technique that accommodates wide- and full-screen display) —

Open matte is a filming technique that involves matting out the top and bottom of the film frame in the movie projector (known as a soft matte) for the widescreen theatrical release and then scanning the film without a matte (at Academy ratio) for a full screen home video release.

Open matte can be used with non-anamorphic films presented in 2.20:1 or 2.39:1, but it isn't used as often, mainly because it adds too much additional headroom, depending upon how well the framing was protected or if the director chooses to create a certain visual aesthetic. Instead, those films will employ either pan and scan or reframing using either the well-protected areas or the areas of interest. Films shot anamorphically use the entire 35 mm frame (except for the soundtrack area), so they must use pan and scan as a result. [...] 

With high-definition television now in common usage (with its standardized 16:9 (1.78:1) aspect ratio), the need to reformat 1.85:1 movies for television viewing has virtually evaporated, although television broadcasts still reformat 2.39:1 movies by means of using open matte or pan and scan. For films with wider aspect ratios (2.39:1, for example) the matting bars will appear on the top and bottom of the screen of the broadcast image, thus preserving each director's framing intent. (wikipedia)
• • •

This week has been ridiculously easy. I wonder if there's some kind of long-term plan to lower the difficulty bar across the board, so as to make the puzzle more generally accessible. All I know is that I would like the puzzles to have a little more teeth than they've had of late. The good kind of teeth, though. Not obscurity teeth or awful forced "?"-clue teeth. Clever misdirection teeth. Sneaky ambiguity teeth. It would be nice to meet some pleasant resistance. I dropped today's 1-Across in immediately, with no crosses in place (1A: Lures into a relationship by using a fictional online persona). Extremely literal clue on well-established slang. Whatever feeling of currency that answer might have had (and it's not exactly new anymore) is undermined by the dull, straightforward, obvious clue. The puzzle does a better job with the ALL THE FEELS clue (12D: Mixed emotions, so to speak), though in that case the answer is an expression so personally off-putting that it didn't add to my solving enjoyment at all. ALL THE FEELS is like ADULTING, a cutesy phrase that flattens the diversity and complex reality of human experience into meme-able onlinespeak. You don't have "mixed emotions," you have very specific feelings that you could probably express if you wanted to, but no, ALL THE FEELS, which basically says Nothing but wants to be seen as adorable. Pfft. That expression is, as they also say online, cringe. It's important to say here, because people seem to get confused, that when I don't like a phrase, like ALL THE FEELS, I'm writing as an ordinary solver who has Feelings about words, phrases, etc. I like some, don't like others. This is (mostly) a personal solving diary, not a rule book. If I really think an answer Has No Place In All Of Crosswords, I'll tell you. ALL THE FEELS is extremely valid. And I hate it. So that's where we've landed with that.

I love the expression IN THE WEEDS, though I don't think the clue here adequately conveys the lost-ness implied by the phrase (42A: Dealing with technical difficulties, say). Dealing with technical difficulties is a neutral activity—people who deal with technical things do it all the time, and when they do it, they're not IN THE WEEDS, a phrase which implies being over your head or talking over someone else's (i.e. immersed in details of a technical nature to the point where you've lost your audience). Looks like the phrase has some prominence as restaurant slang for when a server is totally overwhelmed by orders ... now that is interesting to me. Here's a good overview of this multivalent phrase (none of the valences seem properly represented by today's clue). The cluing was suspect in several other places today. Some HOUSE WINES are good, and there's no reason an oenophile might not drink one (7D: Improbable orders for oenophiles). It's hard to believe they chose the clue [Like households with stay-at-home spouses, typically] for ONE-INCOME, especially in a post-pandemic age when sooooooooo many more people are working from home. I don't like the weird assumptions this clue is making ("typically"). 

The only slow-down I experienced today came in the eastern section, where both EDU and SEEPS had bizarro clues that made it (briefly) difficult to get both ADAPTER (28D: Item to pack for a trip abroad) and the more toughly-clued SUNSETS (29D: Down times?). That is one highly metaphorical clue on SEEPS (41A: Infiltrates). Seems to be attributing a lot of nefarious agency to whatever moisture is SEEPing through your basement windows or improperly sealed food container or whatever. I think that's it—"Infiltrates" feels active and "SEEPS" feels passive and I wouldn't put them in the same universe, though I'm sure the clue is defensible. As for state names appearing before EDU (33A: Follower of many state names) ... sigh, OK, in the few cases where the school is a flagship state school, maybe, but I got my Ph.D. from a flagship state school and the domain name was "," not "," and Cal is "," so ... I dunno, man. This clue seems pretty forced. Then there were two things I simply didn't know, right on top of each other, in the SE. I read the OPEN MATTE wikipedia entry several times and still don't quite get it. Modern TVs don't require conversion to "full-screen" (4:3) aspect ratio anymore, so I guess OPEN MATTE was more important in yesteryear. Anyway, this answer felt pretty IN THE WEEDS to me. RADIO DIAL is a familiar enough phrase but what "55" might have to do with it, I had no idea. Been a long (long) time since I stared at an AM dial (!). Apparently 540 Khz is the low end of the AM spectrum, and radio dials often represented this as a 54 or (why!?!) a 55:



I'm guessing that of all the clues that might befuddle people today, this RADIO DIAL clue will be the befuddlingest. I don't think there's much else that requires explanation. [Act crabby?] is SIDLE because crabs SIDLE. RONA Barrett was a gossip columnist in times of yore (52A: First name in gossip). The "flute" in 10A: Occasion for a high flute? (TOAST) is a glass and it's "high" presumably because you have raised it ... for a TOAST. I had "Is that ALL?" before "Is that A NO?" and I won't have been alone there, but I don't think I made any other errors or initial missteps, which is super-odd for a Friday (or any day). I either knew the answer, or I didn't and I waited for crosses to help, but no face-planting, no whoops I fell in a hole. It's a solid puzzle, but it didn't offer much in the way of adventure.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Rabbit Girl 6:34 AM  

Can someone explain the use of "valences" to me? I know of them from chemistry and interior decoration, but that doesn't seem to fit Rex's use, if anyone can clarify would be appreciated!

JJK 6:43 AM  

For me this was mostly pretty easy for a Friday, except for the eastern section, where several things were utterly befuddling. I’ve never heard the phrase ALLTHEFEELS (and it’s awful), had trouble with SUNSETS, and don’t think a FETE is normally a blowout (aren’t FETEs usually rather staid affairs?)

And, I still don’t understand how LET is the answer for re-do. If someone could explain?

OffTheGrid 6:45 AM  

Ditto @Rex on ALLTHEFEELS. So bad. I enjoyed the challenge of this puzzle but didn't really like it that much. The low point for me was the clue Onboardee. The answer became clear soon enough but I googled "onboardee" afterwards. All of the primary hits referenced this NYT puzzle clue. That tells me it's not a thing except maybe in some strange corner of the world. org before EDU, eat before ATE, linED before RULED.

webwinger 6:45 AM  

I found this quite challenging, oddly largely because of some of the very clue/answer combos that @Rex called out as making the puzz too easy. Muchly, too, I think, generational: I was unfamiliar with CATFISHing, IN THE WEEDS, ALL THE FEELS. TWITTER FEED as clued made little sense to me. Never heard of an OUTRO. WHEAT in Catan was a WOE. OTOH, though, the RADIO DIAL clue was a gimme for me once a few crosses were in place. Good tough clues for SUNSETS, TRAILERS, and SET A DATE.

Find myself often in tears watching the news from Texas. This column in today’s NYT pretty much sums it up for me.

Zed 6:52 AM  

relative capacity to unite, react, or interact (as with antigens or a biological substrate)
@Rabbit Girl - Minus the parenthetical, this one from Merriam-Webster might apply.

TTrimble 7:06 AM  

I don't know about easy; around average maybe. (Yesterday: now that was easy.) Part of it was that some clues looked inept or baffling and some answers looked stupid or obscure. Gotta agree with Rex that the cluing for EDU is incoherent, but that's the only thing that seemed to fit there. ALL THE FEELS?? Bah.

FETE to me feels fancier than what "Blowout" warrants.

I guess shoe's on the other foot: contra Rex, I seem to go with -or endings more than -er (cf. IMPOSTOR the other day): ADAPTER looked strange to me. Not wrong, just not what I'm used to.

OPEN MATTE and KARA were unknown to me. The clues for RADIO DIAL and WHEAT I found baffling (and I'm old enough to have once upon a time run up and down the RADIO DIAL searching for music, actual music mind you and not talk, but my own memory is that it went from 540 to 1600).

I had oDdS before IDES. And thus I at first thought the unlikely oenophile order was going to end in "drinks". Things like that slowed me up.

I did like the clues for TOAST and STAGE MOMS. Just the right level of trickiness for a Friday. Which reminds me --

Happy Friday, everyone!

vtspeedy 7:10 AM  

LET - in tennis, if a serve brushes the net on its way over, a LET is called and the server gets a do over.

Whenever I successfully finish a Friday in one go of less than 12 minutes, it was “easy” and I was happy.

kitshef 7:10 AM  

I was really reluctant to put in TDS as that’s such a bad clue. But the story of this puzzle boils down to ALL THE FEELS.

From what I can tell from post-solve Googling, ALL THE FEELS is normally used to indicate good emotions, not mixed emotions. But what I really love is this definition from the Urban Dictionary:
"all the feels" is a term people are trying to coin, to make themselves look cool.

I am something of a DIE HARD FAN. Alan Rickman in particular was excellent.

Anonymous 7:17 AM  

In tennis a let serve gets a do over

Son Volt 7:25 AM  

Some awkward spots as Rex describes but overall a nice puzzle. ALL THE FEELS fell flat as did TWITTER FEED. Liked IN THE WEEDS x SHE BEARS and SUNSETS.

Rex - there’s a big difference between “stay at home” and “working from home”. Medium frequency AM band radio transmits between 531 and 1602 kHz. The old dial with 55 reflected the available stations broadcasting at that time.

SALOME - uncross your heart

Enjoyable Friday solve.

SouthsideJohnny 7:28 AM  

Get IN THE WEEDS is used in business all the time without the connotation of “over one’s head” or “overwhelmed” - it refers to a manager who is not afraid to roll up their sleeves and assist with the details of a project or endeavor.

I had a fighting chance with this one, so definitely easy for a Friday - which is great for me, btw there OFL - I’m sure you will get challenged again soon enough. The area where I really struggled was that tiny southwest corner - did not know OPERA cake, what a Catan is, and SIDLE was a real stretch for me in the crabby clue - fortunately that MURAL dude stopped by within the last month or so (to great fanfare here I might add) so that one was fresh enough that it still registered.

The TDS/bowls linkage is one of those clues that tries very hard but just doesn’t seem to score - similar to the way Rex feels about EDU. I don’t know about others (and to my knowledge I have never tried it) - but to me, FIG pudding sounds absolutely horrendous !

guy in the high chair 7:31 AM  

@vtspeedy. Yes, but only if the ball lands in the service court.

Lewis 7:44 AM  

Some random thoughts:

• The grid flows beautifully. There are no islands to get stuck in. Every word is free to breathe.
• Five double-E’s. Sweet!
• Fresh, fresh answers, with seven answers never before in the NYT puzzle. Five of them were among my seven favorite answers, those five being LONG PAUSE, DIHARD FAN, IN THE WEEDS, STAGE MOMS, and HOUSE WINES.
• I also liked CATFISHES and I HAD NO IDEA (both which have been in the Times puzzle before).
• My brain “Really?”-ed after ALL THE FEELS, and for a fleeting moment was IN PAIN, but the uber-entertaining constructor notes made me so glad David put that answer in. You will find those notes in XwordInfo).
• Lovely clues for SUNSETS, EDU, STAGE MOMS, TRAILERS, and the extra lovely [Where to find 55 and over] for RADIO DIAL.

I earned my way through this because it required me to fully engage my brain, and there were even a couple of marvelous scratch-and-claw spots. All in all, a most enjoyable dip into that rich and complex place that can be found in Crosslandia – and I’ve yet to find it elsewhere. Thank you, DD, for this!

Anonymous 7:54 AM  

In this case multi-valent means it has multiple meanings or that it gets used in many unrelated areas

Conrad 7:55 AM  

When I had almost finished the NE was empty. Troubles in that area:
1A: Couldn't get my brain off the musical instrument trap
16A: My left-handed friends complain that spiral notebooks aren't lefty-friendly; couldn't think of anything else common to that particular notebook that isn't common to all notebooks.
11D: Not familiar with the song; inTRO before OUTRO
12D: Never heard of ALL THE FEELS
14D: "That couldn't be TDS, could it?"

bocamp 7:57 AM  

Thx, David, for this challenging Fri. creation! )

Tough, but doable.

Didn't think I was going to make it thru this one successfully, esp w/ OPERA & WHEAT (neither of which I knew) in the SW. Had the 'E' vs 'o' dilemma with ADAPTER, but LET saved the day.

Fair crosses come to the rescue once again!

Lots of stuff to learn in this one. Unknowns: CATFISHES (vaguely recall this from a movie); ITT; TISANES; OPERA; WHEAT; OPEN MATTE, SCALDED.

Loved the 'high flute' clue!

Another fun adventure! :)
yd: 18.26 (-1) / W: 3* / WH: 3 / Duo: 34/37

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

albatross shell 8:10 AM  

ALL THE FEELS hit me in the feels as in what kind of new vomit is this and is it negative emotions too and which of those phrases came first and is there some spray we can use to get it outta my lawn or shorten its half life? Maybe the Muse will drop by and convince how beautiful it is and how the dropping the ING is a current trend in teen culture speak. The drops are here to stay.

Rex's use of VALENCE and MULTIVALENT seems to mean the different meanings and contexts a particular phrase can attach itself too. But I have no idea why he would complain about one common usage in a clue being used. It is also the most common usage and his "or over the heads of the listeners" completely negates his complaint about it not meaning lost in technical details by the experts speaking to each other in front of a less technically oriented audience. It is precisely the way I hear it most used. The waiter thing I have never heard and the living in suburbs thing I do not remember and isn't suburbia suppose to be famous for not having weeds?

This one was plenty hard for me (despite filling in CATFISHES instantly it got me nowhere fast).

mmorgan 8:19 AM  

Rex says CATFISHES features an “Extremely literal clue on well-established slang” and that the clue “dull, straightforward, obvious.” Well, I’ve never heard the term before but I got the answer easily from crosses. I clearly don’t live in Rex’s universe. On the other hand, RADIO DIAL was a piece of cake!

albatross shell 8:20 AM  

Did not think of SALOME until I remembered Altman's Cookie's Fortune.

B. Collins 8:23 AM  

Slight clarification on "let:" when the served ball brushes the top of the net AND lands in the service box, it is a do-over. If it brushes the top of the net and lands outside the service box, it is a fault (no do-over).

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

Never heard CATFISHING this wry. Is that a thing? Term for this thing, I mean.

Kate 8:38 AM  

I filled in RADIO DIALS and OWS without understanding them. Still don’t get OWS. Good, challenging puzzle.

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

ask anyone who’s had to deal with water infiltration in their newly constructed home, just how nefarious SEEPage can be.

Hedy Smith 8:46 AM  

Fig Pudding?

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

Re: ITT. It used to be a huge manufacturer, back in the day when it was a conglomerate. For decades now, it has been a rather specialized manufacturer.

Xcentric 9:00 AM  

According to the Urban Dictionary: all the feels" is a term people are trying to coin, to make themselves look cool. And "When I use a sentence containing 'all the feels' it shows my sad, desperate attempt to claw for self-importance and identity."
About how I feel about this phrase.

Rachel 9:05 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle, but that's probably because Fridays are normally pretty difficult for me. I didn't mind ALL THE FEELS. It's not an expression I use, but at least it's current. I liked how this puzzle didn't have many awful three-word jargony acronyms or other weird words that no one uses in real life. I also liked TWITTER FEED and CATFISHES, although I agree the cluing for catfishes should have been more difficult than it was. I didn't mind the ONE INCOME clue. A household with a stay at home spouse usually has one income, because the stay at home one is doing uncompensated domestic labor, so I found it to be accurate.

Nancy 9:13 AM  

I would have loved to have been the first person to comment today (I never am) so that I could have been the first one to say how truly awful ALL THE FEELS is. Or are. But just about everyone beat me to it.

ALL THE FEELS sounds like what a horny, boastful, smarmy teenage boy might say: "I took her to a drive-in and I got in ALL THE FEELS tonight!"

(If you've created a quite nice and lively themeless puzzle, don't put in junk like this because it will end up being all that anyone talks about.)

I actually enjoyed solving this a lot. I loved the clue/answers for HOUSE WINES; SET A DATE (I thought he was breaking up with her!); LONG PAUSE; TRAILERS; IN THE WEEDS; and STAGE MOMS. The long and semi-long answers -- and how they were clued -- were quite stunning today.

A few questions, though. "TOW job" is a thing? (I initially had TOp job). "Onboardee" is a word??? Does CATFISHES mean that you lure someone into a relationship by posing as someone who loves cats and has a lot of them? Just asking.

Last word: Never SCALD the milk!!!!!! Your coffee will taste burnt. Who wants that???

A fun and breezy puzzle with one truly unfortunate answer.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

@Kate: A strike, as in to hit a person, might elicit an OW from the victim.

@Hedy Smith: Fig pudding (or figgy pudding) is a typical Christmas dessert in the UK. British puddings are not the same as what North Americans call puddings (the kind you can make with Jello instant mixes). British puddings are boiled or steamed dishes, sometimes even savory rather than sweet.

Figgy pudding is referenced in the traditional carol "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" in the 2nd and 3rd verses.

TJS 9:22 AM  

Northeast was a travesty. And the same editors that gave us "shoots up" yesterday as an improvement accepts all this sloppy cluing today. I just don't get it.

JD 9:25 AM  

DNF, some struggles in the south (ITT, Tow, Wheat, Sidle). I'm sorry I learned Cat Fishing and All The Feels, but there was still a lot to love here. Toast, Ruled, Atlas, Skirt, clever cluing.

Kara is an NYT podcaster that they push hard.

Dealing With Technical Details, Say felt off but Ok. Tow Job? Huh? Somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain I knew Tisane. Liked being reminded of the Layla Outro.

Overall, fun.

pabloinnh 9:40 AM  

It's about time that OFL found a puzzle easy that I found almost undoable, but as one of my favorite literary heroines, Candy, has pointed out, "It's my own fault, darn it.". The NW was a breeze, as I knew CATFISHES from somewhere. But. M. Cousteau was in the MER,RULED was LINED, OUTRO was INTRO, and ALLTHEFEELS was execrable, so the NE was a mess. The SW was not much better as my HEDGE was FUDGE, TISANES was and is a WTF, and my experience with a TWITTERFEEED is reading about one in the news.

Worst of all it took me forever to remember NORMAN, which was my father's name.

Some familiarity with Saturday Stumpers which seemed impossible convinced me to soldier on, and I finally managed to finish without cheating. but what a struggle. I'm exhausted.

Thanks for your DIABLOICAL DIVERSION, DD. Well worth the effort, for which thanks.

beverly c 9:40 AM  

This was not easy for me due to ALLTHEFEELS and CATFISHES.
I liked the “Aha!” from TRAILERS. RADIODIAL came from crosses.


Favorite wrong answer that I thought I was just so clever for getting with 0 crosses:

60A: Where to find 55 and over? - SPEEDTRAP

RooMonster 9:55 AM  

Hey All !
SW corner nearly got me, but I started putting in answers based on word recognition, and managed to finish error free. OPERA cake?? Had mochA first. WHEAT, as clued? Dang, we did have Catan as an answer in a puz just the other day, and although I've heard of said game, hadn't a clue WHEAT was involved. SIDLE I got, and thought the clue was great!

Add into that conundrum area, ITT as clued, and TOW as clued.

FUDGE could've been clued as 'Mild expletive'. ALL THE FEELS is ALL THE Made Up. 😁 Thought this would be an easy puz after getting 1A and 15A right off, but then I had a LONG PAUSE to the end.

Time for my OUTRO.

yd -9, should'ves 4 (ouch!)
Duo 36, missed 1-2-4-10

Four F's

Joseph Michael 10:03 AM  

I really liked this puzzle except for ALL THE FEELS (splat) (ugh) (bad feels).

Starting with CATFISHES and ending with STAGE MOMS, this constructor and I were on the same wavelength. So many good clues and answers to keep the solve interesting and I learned two new words in the process: OUTRO and TISANES. Also learned something I had never really noticed before: that the numbers on a radio dial start at 55.

Kate 10:14 AM  

Thanks. I was thinking bowling or missiles. I also had tried cheat where the answer became wheat.

Whatsername 10:18 AM  

Exceptionally Good Friday with very little PPP, much appreciated. A number of things new to me: IN THE WEEDS which I love. CATFISHES as clued. Yikes! An OPERA cake which interestingly is topped with FUDGE. (Now you’re talking.) TISANES and OPEN MATTE. Then of course, ALL THE FEELS. And I would suggest anyone who is seriously objecting to that entry go read the constructor notes on Xwordinfo. I’m SENSING you might FEEL better if you do.

Psycho NORMAN brought up some some distinct imagery, as did SALOME (Hi @albatross) evoke visions of the fetching Julianne Moore dancing in Cookie’s Fortune, an excellent film in which CATFISHES - the kind that swim - also happen to be prominently featured.

I didn’t share Rex’s objection to the clue for ONE INCOME. It does specify “STAY at home spouse” as opposed to WORK at home which indicates a whole ‘nother type of ball and chain.


albatross shell 10:25 AM  

TOW job sounds common to my ear. Something a garage wants to know.

TTrimble 10:27 AM  

"TOW job", as when a tow truck comes to tow one's car away when it breaks down by the side of the road.

The term comes from the documentary Catfish. Read the linked WP article to get the full context, but those who know the term might not have known this:

"In the film, Vince, the husband of the "catfish", relays a story of how, when live cod were shipped to Asia from North America, the fish's inactivity in their tanks resulted in only mushy flesh reaching the destination. However, fishermen found that putting catfish in the tanks with the cod kept them active, and thus ensured the quality of the fish.

Vince then states that his wife Angela acts as a catfish, keeping the lives of those around her interesting."

Barbara S. 10:48 AM  

I thought I was going to whip through this and then got mired in two spots. The first was the SW. I liked what turned out to be a new clue for OPERA, but I’d never heard of OPERA cake, although it sounds delicious and it came with an order of FUDGE on top (hi @Whatsername). (No wait -- cake *and* FUDGE, that’s too much.) Didn’t know there was WHEAT in Catan, about which I’m completely in the dark (except that a recent puzzle told me it’s set on an island). PHI was a problem – I haven’t memorized the Greek alphabet (but often wish I had). I didn’t know ITT and had TOp for [___ job] (hi @Nancy), so TWITTERFEED was hard to see at first. Anyway, I finally fixed all that once I got FEED and SIDLE (a loveable word!).

The worse morass was in the middle east. At first I played around with [Follower of many state names], trying both “usa” and “zip” before setting it aside. Then I became so sure that [Down times?] were SieStaS and that [Blowout] was Flat, that I hamstrung myself in a bunch of different ways. These two answers looked right because they crossed neatly at the T. SEEPS also fit perfectly with SieStaS, crossing at the second S. But I couldn’t get anything else to work in the area. It didn’t help that I’d never heard ALL THE FEELS (and I wish the moment had been indefinitely postponed). Anyway, after trying a bunch of answers that ranged from the improbable to the unthinkable, I finally took SieStaS out. Deleting an answer that seemed so completely right put me in mind of that sage bit of advice to young writers: “kill your darlings”. Sometimes you’ve just got to get rid of something dear to your heart, which you’ve struggled to get exactly right, in order to improve the overall quality of your writing. So, too, in puzzle-solving. Never hesitate to remove an answer, no matter how correct it seems, if nothing else will fit around it.

Nice shout-out to Caribana in TORONTO. (Oops, I guess they’ve changed the name to the plodding Toronto Caribbean Carnival.) Liked IN PAIN next to SCALDED. Loved SHE-BEAR and LONG PAUSE. And especially, IN THE WEEDS – that’s me most of the time. Learned something with OPEN MATTE, RADIO DIAL and CATFISHES. A good Friday that I enjoyed solving because of the crunch, getting a ton of satisfaction from sorting out of the tough bits.

andrew 10:52 AM  

Agree that ALLTHEFEELS is an awful term. I would rather have the wannabe term FETCH from Mean Girls enter the vernacular.

Also agree that these are becoming too easy. I am an up-to-Thursday solver. Expect to struggle on Friday and be IN THE WEEDS on Saturday. I’m starting to fill these two days out without even peeking at Chen’s answers.

If I can roll through a Friday with no need to cheat, it’s TOO EASY!

LenFuego 10:54 AM  

Played a lot tougher than easy for me, especially the East, where I had never heard of ALLTHEFEELS, and I could just not let go of FLAT for “Blowout”. The clueing throughout just felt weirdly obtuse and forced, even the easier clues (“Rockets can be found in it, briefly”), plus I had never encountered OPERA cake, TISANES or OPENMATTE ever before, so yeah, those sections took a while to sort out too.

jae 10:58 AM  

Half of this was easy. NW and SE went quickly. linED before RULED made NE tougher as did mEr before SEA. Also, ALL THE FEELS just sounded wrong to me, so double checking and staring were required. I truly appreciate David’s Xwordinfo apology for using it in his otherwise “perfect” puzzle.

In the SW OPERA as clued was a WOE and SET A DATE took a while. Solid Friday with a bit of sparkle, liked it.

Carola 11:04 AM  

Easy for a while: the smooth diagonal slide from CATFISHES to ISLA. Then it got hard. Similar difficulties in the NE as @pabloinnh 9:40; blank stare at the left side. But the chip-chip-chip-away method eventually prevailed. Along the way: I resisted ALL THE FEELS to the bitter end (picture one of those cartoon donkeys bracing its feet); really liked IN THE WEEDS, RADIO DIAL, LOTUS, FUDGE, TISANES, and SIDLE, though I was hoping for "scuttle."

Re: ALL THE FEELS and the constructor's note on xwordinfo - to me it sounded too much like the equally grating "sorry not sorry," but I know I need to lighten up.

Do-overs: mer, eat; thought about "nut" job. Help from previous puzzles: OUTRO. No idea: ITT, OPEN MATTE.

@kitshef 7:10, I second Alan Rickman.

Joe Dipinto 11:13 AM  

This puzzle gets relegated to my shit list for having eight, count 'em, eight question-mark clues, not one of which was remotely clever. The less said about the rest of it the better, particularly *that one answer*.

My worst first Phrazle guess ever, then I bungled Guess 2 by playing an already eliminated letter:

Phrazle 77: 3/6
🟨⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜ ⬜⬜

⬜🟨🟨⬜⬜⬜ 🟩🟩

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

In addition to all the other bad cluing I thought “tow” as the answer to ___ job was horrendous - no one uses “ tow job” as an expression.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

Enough misdirects for me!

Newboy 11:45 AM  

Pretty much what @Pablo said above for the day’s solve except he had an appropriately named father. We got tired with contemporary phrases and gave in to a couple cheats, so hardly an easy Friday in our house.

Nancy 11:48 AM  

Phrazle 77: 3/6
🟨⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜ ⬜⬜

⬜⬜⬜🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩

Looks like our solves were quite similar, Joe. Although I didn't bungle my 2nd guess; I simply failed to see a much better option.

egsforbreakfast 11:50 AM  

Let’s raise our glasses in appreciation of Paul the Apostle, a TOAST TO A ST.

There is a palindrome in this puzzle that not even @Lewis SEES.

7D made me think that there should be a show called The HOUSEWINES of New Jersey.

DIEHARDFAN is German for the HARDFAN.

43D Buffalo ________ (WING) seems almost like a SOC (singular of convenience).. Does anyone ever say “I’ll have a Buffalo Wing”?

For those who haven’t seen it, the constructor provides an 8 paragraph tongue-in-cheek apology for introducing ALLTHEFEELS to the NYTXW in his note on

I thought the puzzle easy for a Friday and didn’t mind ALLTHEFEELS. Thanks, David Distenfeld.

Anoa Bob 12:02 PM  

Here are a few grid entries that were not quite up to the task of filling their respective slots: CATFISH, ALOHA, SEEP, TISANE, SR, STAGE MOM, OW, FIG, HOUSE WINE, EM, SEE, TRAILER, TD and SUNSET. No problem. Just go to a constructor's best friend, the letter count boosting S (or ES) to take care of those problems. No one will even notice. Well, almost no one. I would rate this grid as POC (plural of convenience) assisted, or maybe even POC marked.

I think SEEPS needs a modifier to work for 41A "Infiltrates", something like SEEPS IN, THROUGH or ACROSS.

I never knew that a buffalo had only one WING (43D "Buffalo ___"). For the record, the Anoa, the smallest buffalo and an endangered species native to Indonesia, doesn't have any WINGs, none at all.

Tom in Nashville 12:10 PM  

Struggled with this one but muscled through - wasn't on the same wavelength as the constructor. "All the feels?"

Gary Jugert 12:16 PM  

OMG SHEBEAR? Mustard = COL? Spanish Key = ISLA?

Okay, other than that, looking back it's a pretty good puzzle, but those three. What in the world?

And, IN THE WEEDS has little to do with technical details. At least once a week I delude myself into thinking cable TV is going to have something worth watching on those 350 choices, so I start on 652 which is where the HD channels start, and I read the menu one listing at a time and somewhere around 20 channels later I am IN THE WEEDS wondering who watches those shows and why am I paying for this. No technical skills required, just a healthy amount of flabbergastedness.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

English figgy pudding

Nancy 12:24 PM  

Finally -- a Phreagle!!! But I didn't think I would ever get out of my apartment today.

Phrazle 78: 2/6
⬜⬜⬜⬜🟩 🟨🟩πŸŸͺπŸŸͺ⬜🟩 🟨⬜ 🟩🟩🟩 πŸŸͺ⬜🟨πŸŸͺ

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

Alex Kuczynski 12:27 PM  

Yes, it was easy for a Friday but I’ve noticed ever since that weirdly difficult Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday last week they’ve been way more forgiving. Time for the band to snap back

logman 12:33 PM  

Liked the puzzle fine and agree that it was very easy for a Friday. But I don’t get “Tow” Job or just one Buffalo “Wing”?

Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:34 PM  

@Rabbit Girl 6:34 AM - The word "valence" comes from the same Latin root as the word "value." When applied to vocabulary and usage, I would say "valence" means "shade of meaning" or "nuance." I completely disagree with Rex about the clue in this instance. I think [Dealing with technical details] is exactly what we usually mean by IN THE WEEDS, as in, "The marketing team has lost focus with their strategy for this product, because they are stuck in the weeds when they should be looking at the big picture."

Melrose 12:40 PM  

Unlike Rex I did not find this to be easy, but it was appropriate for a Friday, and I finally finished it this morning. NW corner the main stumbling block. Some very clever cluing. Don't know the expression ALL THE FEELS; I don't like that.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:40 PM  

Even at only three, I thought there were too many "Like" clues, maybe because two of the three are in succession (15A and 16A, then 6D).

chance2travel 12:52 PM  

@offthegrid @pabloinnh @jae I'll see your linED and raise you that I went bounD (which makes no sense) -> linED -> hoLED (after groking 12D) -> RULED

Also fell for mEr before SEA so ___mT made me rip out TDS.

I still haven't stored the gossip guru from the 80s (RONA) so I was staring at RON- crossing S-La-E because I typoed RADIaDIAL and was also starting at OPEN-ATTE, which my morning brain really wanted to be coffee related (lATTE).

Overall easy-medium with the west falling easy and the east tripping me up

Erwin SchrΓΆdinger 12:53 PM  

Well, I'm glad to see that everyone has an opinion about what "in the weeds" means, and that all the other opinions about what "in the weeds" are wrong. Maybe we can just agree that "in the weeds" means, simultaneously, everything and nothing? It's possible you know, if you're dumb enough to believe the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. So don't believe the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, because it's logically self contradictory.

And no, the cat isn't both alive and dead. A cat can't be both alive and dead.

Masked and Anonymous 1:10 PM  

"Easy" for @RP to say … M&A had many lotsa nanosecond big eaters in this solvequest: CATFISHES. KARA. OUTRO. ALLTHEFEELS. TDS clue. Cousin ITT suddenly makin industrial machinery. TISANES. OPENMATTE. WHEAT clue. NEWHIRE clue. TWITTERFEED. TEN clue [forgot the "down" part!]. etc. "Teeth" enough for a feisty FriPuz, at our house.

staff weeject pick: DEF. Perfecto opportunity for a {Fed up??} = DEF clue. Primo weeject stacks in the NW & SE, btw.

some faves: HOUSEWINES [cuz there were plenty of whines at our house, during the solvequest]. IHADNOIDEA [oftenly apt]. INTHEWEEDS [almost a gimme, by comparisons]. Primo ATLAS clue.

"Meme-able onlinespeak". har. @RP needs to make his own new puz, like he used to, and have that in it. Definite puzzable seedspeak.

Thanx for all the puzfeels, Mr. Distenfeld dude. Good for us to puzsuffer.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Victory Garden 1:35 PM  

I was reading "Is that ANO" as "Is that an O?" (also known as: "is that a zero"?) The life of a paginator!

Denis M 1:35 PM  

If you haven't read David's "apology" for using "all the feels" in today's xwordinfo go and read it. Hilarious

albatross shell 1:37 PM  

3 on the first one today.
2 on the second.
Think I will celebrate with a bourbon. Thunderstorm just arriving.
Phrazle 78: 2/6
πŸŸͺ🟨⬜🟨🟩 ⬜⬜⬜⬜🟨🟨 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 ⬜🟩🟩⬜

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

okanaganer 2:46 PM  

It always takes me a while to remember the difference between CATFISHing and GASLIGHTing.

I've been a DIE HARD FAN ever since the first movie came out.

[Spelling Bee: yd pg -2, missed these 2. I've never heard the shorter word, but I would absolutely swear on a stack of bibles that I had tried the longer word several times.]

Barbara Glover 3:23 PM  

Catfish is horrific. Was v v careful re my daughter when this was new. I've checked into this little convo over the decades but honestly - now over it. And same re @nytcrossword or whatever the heck it's called.

Vance Martin 3:58 PM  

Your Hawaii correspondent again. ALOHAS. It’s wrong and disrespectful to misuse one of the official languages of a US state. Hawaiian words are not pluralized by adding an S. That’s an English convention - there is no S in the Hawaiian alphabet. The plural of LEI is LEI. ALOHA has many wonderful meanings. Do better next time.

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

I've never played Catan. So, though I get OWS, I like that about as much as ALL THE FEELS or the idea of a FETE as a 'blowout'. Several times in this puzzle I had the nagging feeling that the answer couldn't be right. But it was. Kind of dumb cluing at times. Also, Rex, would you please ask people to keep their Quordle or Wordle scores to themselves. Let's keep this blog about crosswords. Thanks.

The Joker 4:06 PM  

I met a hooker once that gave a pretty good TOW job.

Anonymous 4:56 PM  

Oh No! @albatross, not you, too.

sixtyni yogini 4:58 PM  

Clues made me mad. Answers not much better.
(But hmmm ….in another ALLTHE FEELS 🧐😀🧐mood might have thought it okay.)
But today.
No just No.

albatross shell 5:35 PM  


Bad Mouse 5:57 PM  

@OFL took all the fun out of this blog.

CDilly52 6:08 PM  

@Mike in Bed-Stuy: excellent explanation. Spot on.

CDilly52 6:19 PM  

OK, my age (and strong opinions about proper speech) be in displays here, but I loathe all the current penchant among the “youngs” for truncating words. ALL THE FEELS means nothing to me. Who is feeling and exactly what is being felt. Its just ridiculous. There, I feel so much better. Even stoned out of my mind back in “the day,” I managed to speak in complete sentences. OK, I had lots of training from my wordy and grammar obsessed family so maybe it is entirely my fat that I nearly quit the solve at . . . FEELS. Sorry if I offended anybody.

What’s with an entirely easy week, anyway? I am by no means a speed solver, but my times thus far were fast. Where’s the crunch?

albatross shell 7:27 PM  

Me? You mean phrazle?
Don't worry, it won't last long. Nothin' kills a club like me joining it. Just think how a certain anon would feel if... . Besides who doesn't like @Joe Di and @Nancy @bo camp. They made me phrazle-curious.

MBI 7:50 PM  

I like the Layla reference as I just rewatched Goodfellas and god does it have the most heartbreaking use of that Layla outro as has ever existed, RIP Ray Liotta

Joe Dipinto 8:08 PM  

Remember when we used to love to hate this song?

Phrazle 78: 2/6

⬜πŸŸͺ⬜🟩🟨 ⬜⬜⬜⬜πŸŸͺ⬜ πŸŸͺ⬜ 🟩🟩🟩 🟨⬜⬜⬜

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

Zed 8:33 PM  

Not understanding all the ALL THE FEELS hate. ALL THE FEELS = verklempt. It is expressively descriptive and lively. It’s not an expression I would use, but it is a fine addition to the language in my opinion.

CATFISHING has been around for 12 years with this meaning. I suspect something more familiar to people who might be into online dating, so not most of the commentariat. However, probably something that comes up quite a bit if you’re speaking with college students every day.

Anonymous 8:52 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 8:57 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 9:36 PM  

We still do!

LateSolver 9:47 PM  

Easy my A$$!!! Started the NW getting all three long clues and thought it was going to be easy, but then

Dont get:
ALLTHEFEELS - who TF says this?
RADIODIAL (rex explained this, but still sucked - hwo uses AM radio in the last 40 years??)
INTHEWEEDS - who TF says this?

Didn't know:
SALOME - again, wilde is passe
ADAM driver, only mini
TISANES - google the term after the fact and it was listed as 'less common'
OPERA cake - maybe an NYC term

I enjoy challenging. I hate OBSCURE. I knew RONA barret, but still felt it obsolete for today.

Charlie 11:02 PM  

Sloppy cluing.

Anonymous 12:46 AM  

I did not find this easy at all. The radio dial (pretty easy because of the crosses makes no sense, not even after the explanation. I grew up on AM radio and 55 was never a thing. Allthefeels is total nonsense I think that it was randomly grabbed from an alphabet soup can. Outro? Out you go. And, sea as the answer rather than merely preposterous. Why use Cousteau but not the French? Thoroughly unpleasant

Robert Lockwood Mills 8:06 AM  

Wow. We need someone to police these clues. Mixed emotions equals "ALLTHE FEELS"??? That's just ridiculous. And what in the world is an "OUTRO"? It isn't in my dictionary.

Finishing a Friday puzzle should feel like an accomplishment. Finishing this one simply means the solver is able to guess what the constructor's imagination produced. Very disappointing.

Burma Shave 10:39 AM  


He SETADATE with that SKIRT,
ALLTHE time with NO FUDGE."


rondo 11:09 AM  

ONEearner before ONEINCOME made for a nice inkfest. Same for SieStaS before SUNSETS. Don't you have to like Bruce Willis to be a DIEHARDFAN?
Wordle par.

thefogman 11:26 AM  

Easy my eye! This was a proper Friday. I got stuck INTHEWEEDS a few times. IHADNOIDEA TORONTO was home of the largest street fair in North America. Must be Caribana - (and the Google agrees). ALLTHEFEELS was new to me. I thought 60A was about a site for mature singles to hook up like “Date My Age” - which fits. I had a LONGPAUSE followed by a DUH! after I realized the answer was RADIODIAL. OPENMATTE was also out of my wheelhouse, but I also got that one via the crosses. Not a TEN, but a solid ATE. Overall, this one was challenging but fair and who can ask for anything more?

spacecraft 12:02 PM  

O English: What have they done to you?! Really? ALLTHEFEELS? Cry, cry for the broken language! I'm glad I'm old. In twenty years I'll be dead and you'll be speaking Newspeak. Doubleplusungood.

No, I wouldn't call it easy. Ridiculous expressions and clues designed to leave you INTHEWEEDS. I did it, but there was little joy in the experience. Not my wheelhouse, for sure. I echo the criticism about HOUSEWINES. I would think an oenophile would be inclined to try them, always searching. You never know where you'll find a gem.

While I had a bogey-level trip through this one, fairness compels me to adjust for the out-of-time factor. Par.

Wordle birdie for a change. BBYBY, BGGYB, GGGGG.

thefogman 12:14 PM  

To Burma:


Waiting for RONA the ITALIAN flirt
As she SIDLES by in her OPERA SKIRT.


EightAndEight 1:08 PM  

In the first photo of the old AM radio dial, how many people under 60 could tell you what the two small triangles on the dial are for (think the Soviet Cold War, as opposed to the present-day situation):

From Wikipedia: "As part of the system it was obligatory for all radios sold after 1953 to have the CONELRAD frequencies 640/1240 kHz marked with small triangles on the dial. The triangles were referred to as CD marks, for Civil Defense. The marks on the radio dial were to make finding the frequencies easy."

Diana, LIW 7:00 PM  

This all fell into place so nicely for a Friday. Happy weekend, all!

Lady Di

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

Now that I see OUTRO and knowing Layla has a really long ending I get it, but never heard that term before. Opposite of INTRO.

Steve Brinduse 2:44 PM  

Now that I see OUTRO and knowing Layla had a really long ending I get it, but had never heard that term before. Opposite of INTRO.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP