African river with a notorious name / FRI 6-3-22 / One of three brothers in a Puzo best seller / Designer Kamali who made Farrah Fawcett's iconic red swimsuit / Company with the motto When you rise we shine / Supplied with dough as a bakery / Non-taxing part of air travel

Friday, June 3, 2022

Constructor: Robyn Weintraub

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: LEE Krasner (37D: Abstract artist Krasner) —

Lenore "Lee" Krasner
 (born Lena Krassner; October 27, 1908 – June 19, 1984) was an American abstract expressionist painter, with a strong speciality in collage. She was married to Jackson Pollock. Although there was much cross-pollination between their two styles, the relationship somewhat overshadowed her contribution for some time. Krasner's training, influenced by George Bridgman and Hans Hofmann, was the more formalized, especially in the depiction of human anatomy, and this enriched Pollock's more intuitive and unstructured output.

Krasner is now seen as a key transitional figure within abstraction, who connected early-20th-century art with the new ideas of postwar America, and her work fetches high prices at auction. She is also one of the few female artists to have had a retrospective show at the Museum of Modern Art. (wikipedia)

• • •

When I talk about that ideal "Zoom-Zoom" feeling that I look for in a Friday puzzle—well, this is it. This is pretty much Peak It. Feels like months since I've zipped around a grid with such a feeling of acrobatic joy, with long answers just unfurling Down and Across, plummeting, soaring. Very rollercoastery feel to this one, with the car somewhat slowly crawling out of its starting position in the NW and then ... whoosh, big drop through the CIRCULAR FILE and you're off!

And then, to borrow another metaphor, it's just fireworks—long, vivid answers just exploding in first one direction and then another. The puzzle could've stood to be a little harder, but if you make it Too hard, then the solver doesn't get the propulsive feeling that makes the puzzle so exhilarating. Only halfway through the puzzle and I already feel like I've been rocketing through space (with STARFLEET, past ICE PLANETs and god knows what else):

I had to work a bit to get started, which is normal. Wanted REBUS in that 1-Across slot (1A: Puzzle genre = LOGIC). Wanted LOBO but wasn't Sure sure, so had to fiddle around. Neither OLE nor OPAL immediately leapt out at me (though I did consider OLE), but then I hit GENE, and rode that backwards through my earlier failures, GENE to OLE to LOBO and OPAL, and then LOGIC was visible and off we go. Had a tad more trouble trying to get CANOLA and EBOLA from their back ends (-LA and -A, respectively) as I was trying to make my way down the west side. CELS would've helped a lot, by giving me the first letters of both words, but CELS was well and truly hidden—I went looking in space when the answer was in animation (25D: Images of Pluto, perhaps), so I used LEVAR to get LEVARage in there, and after I changed my initial misspelling of his name (from LAVAR to LEVAR), then ABET slid in there and things started moving. There were no other sticking points thereafter. Meanwhile, the fireworks just never stopped, even when I was making the final turn, counterclockwise up into the NE, colorful bursts of fill were still, uh, filling the grid:

If I have any criticism of this grid (and it's pretty weak, as criticisms go), it's that it's Too much for me. That is, it's a super duper Gen-X'y puzzle. If you had parents who were into Jimi Hendrix and/or The Monkees (mine weren't, but I certainly knew who those acts were since childhood), and then spent at least part of your childhood watching "The Carol Burnett Show" on CBS or Farrah Fawcett on "Charlie's Angels" (or had that iconic Farrah poster over your bed, as my stepbrother did) (15D: Designer Kamali who made Farrah Fawcett's iconic red swimsuit = NORMA) ... if you waited in huge lines to see "The Empire Strikes Back" on opening day (guilty), spent your adolescence watching George WENDT on "Cheers," discovered Judi DENCH movies in your '20s and then maybe watched "Gilmore Girls" or at least grew up to eventually discover and watch the show with your own child (23A: Graham of "Gilmore Girls" = LAUREN) ... if any or all of those things were true for you or those adjacent to you, then you probably had a reasonably easy time with this one. Of course, you might be 18 or 81 and still have found it easy. I am just slightly cautious in my raving in case I'm missing some kind of generational exclusivity that might make others feel different.

  • 17A: Supplied with dough, as a bakery (BANKROLLED) — I can't tell what this clue thinks it's doing. [Supplied with dough] is plenty. The "bakery" thing not only doesn't add clear context, it distracts by attempting a clunky misdirection. I see that they are trying to do something with "dough" here, but when you add "as a bakery," it's like you're taking what should be a natural ambiguity / misdirection and forcing the issue. "Think of the wrong kind of dough!" the clue seems to be begging. Seems a cheap move. Also, I can't tell if there's some kind of pun on "roll" going on here or not. Puns are bad enough when you *know* they're happening.
  • 21A: It's down in France (DUVET) — yeah, it's down elsewhere, too. We have DUVETs here now. And they're called DUVETs. So, again, weird additional clue words try to force the misdirection.
  • 53A: Buildings with many wings (BIRDHOUSES) — OK, but this actually reads gruesomely, since I have to imagine disembodied wings, which I've seen plenty of at the base of the Security Mutual building downtown, where falcons absolutely feast on pigeons and leave the less edible pigeon parts for us to find on the sidewalk. So I just imagined BIRDHOUSES full of bird murder, is what I'm saying. Still, it's not a bad clue, and the misdirection is natural, not forced.
  • 40A: Dressed, so to speak (DECENT) — this expression is old-fashioned in a way that I find adorable, despite the implication that there is anything indecent about being unclothed. It's got a colloquial quality I like, even if it's not something I would say.
  • 48D: Private dining room (MESS) — more natural misdirection (not your typical adjectival "private"—the "private" here is in the Army)
  • 6D: Looks like a jerk (OGLES) — about as good a clue as you're going to get on this leering bit of crosswordese. You could also have figured out a way to cross-reference CREEP here; I wouldn't have minded.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. the "Puzo best seller" is "The Godfather" (35A) and OTIS is a co. that makes elevators, in case that wasn't clear (6A: Company with the motto "When you rise, we shine").

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 6:00 AM  

Loved the puzzle. BANTER working perfectly at 28A cost me big time though.

bocamp 6:40 AM  

Thx, Robyn; another Fri. jewel! :)


Smooth sailing all the way!

Just a bit of resistance in the SE, but not for long.

Have never encountered a RW puz that wasn't a winner. :)
yd 0 / W: 4* / WH: 4 / Duo: 34

Peace ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Anonymous 7:05 AM  

I think the word for down (feathers) in French is "duvet." So, yeah, duvets are in the US and elsewhere, but in France one would SAY "duvet" to mean down.

Anonymous 7:06 AM  

A Robin W puzzle is alway pure joy.

JD 7:07 AM  

Obviously, there are other constructors who have equally great but different approaches. But as for her singular approach to the language, with cluing that gives me a bushel of aha grins, where my thinking cap is a propeller hat:

"Nobody does it better
Makes me feel sad for the rest
Nobody does it half as good as you
Baby, you're the best"

Anonymous 7:10 AM  

Lavar Burton, who played Geordi LaForge, over Starfleet, is priceless.

Anonymous 7:12 AM  

Oof that was brutal for me. Could not get a foothold anywhere. Clues just didn’t connect with their answers and I ended up checking through the grid. Even the few words I was able to place had me doubtful. Tough but a great construction nonetheless.

kitshef 7:20 AM  

For no obvious reason*, TROT started me thinking about the relationship between the verb ‘trot’ and the phrases ‘trot out’ and ‘the trots’.

As expected, ‘trot out’ comes pretty directly from the horse’s running gait. If you bring out a horse and show off its movement (put it through its paces), you are ‘trotting it out’. Later, the meaning expanded to bringing out anything, not just a horse, to show.

‘The trots’ also comes from the horse’s gait, a running gait, and is basically another way to say ‘the runs’. So now I know.

* Probably the extra time on my hands when the puzzle showed zero resistance. And then I still had extra time so tried Kilordle for the first time (a bit like like Wordle, but with 1005 guesses to get 1000 words -- it's a lot easier than it sounds).

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

Can't tell if Rex is missing that "duvet" means "down" in French. The clue [It's down in France] is a straight clue hiding as misdirection. The best kind!

Austin's mom 7:32 AM  

Timely, Rex, to struggle with spelling of LEVAR, host of the National Spelling Bee last night

SouthsideJohnny 7:36 AM  

I have done enough of Ms. Weintraub’s puzzles so that I wasn’t at all surprised at the sharp cluing and overall excellent material throughout the grid. I enjoyed the longer entries today - DUTY FREE SHOP, SOLAR PANELS, FIELD TRIP, CIRCULAR FILE . . .

As usual, no clue on the PPP - don’t know WENDT from Adam, parsed together DENCH from the crosses, don’t watch the Gilmore Girls, don’t know (and definitely don’t care) who made clothes for Farrah Faucett, . . . At least I remembered LEVAR even though I spelled his name wrong.

Congrats to the constructor for actually coming up with a reasonably enjoyable Star Trek clue for STARFLEET. All-in-all about as close to a text-book Friday as one could hope for (I believe WS said something to that effect about one of the early week puzzles and it would be applicable here as well).

floatingboy 7:36 AM  

I think the "-ROLLED" in "BANKROLLED" is supposed to reference baked rolls.

Bruce Borchardt 7:37 AM  

Re: decent. In "The Goodbye Girl" Richard Dreyfuss is forced to share an apartment with Marsha Mason. At one point, she calls from outside his bedroom, "are you decent?" When he says yes, she enters and is shocked. He replies, "I'm nude, but I'm decent."

Laura 7:39 AM  

Beyond great puzzle. You said it Rex!!

Even bankrolled is great as is...the misdirection also points us at rolls. A great aha.

Knowing Hendrix and the Monkeys made the clue Friday tough... Growing up with the Monkeys makes you think of them as very minor, far below Hendrix.

Anonymous 7:49 AM  


JG 7:53 AM  

Fun puzzle. Saw the creep ogling the teens. Evil.

mmorgan 7:54 AM  

Lovely Weintraub Friday!

Dr.A 7:55 AM  

I feel like most of those references were not exclusive to any generation, but I’m 52 so maybe they were aimed right at me.

Lewis 7:59 AM  

Oh, yes, Robyn always puts in delicious long answers, like today’s FANCY THAT, CRUNCH TIME, CIRCULAR FILE, DUTY FREE SHOP, and I’M OVER HERE. And oh yes, her wit always shines in the clues, such as in those today for MESS, BANKROLLED, GENE and more.

But less obvious is that her puzzles are so light on junky answers. This is always true! Tons of long luscious answers but hardly a spot of ugliness. She is a master technician. Also less obvious is that she always throws in answers that have never appeared in the NYT in all its decades, fresh and delectable answers, like today’s BANKROLLED, BIRDHOUSES, DUTY FREE SHOP, I’M OVER HERE, and TENURE TRACK.

She does all this consistently. She is amazing. She is a treasure.

And there were extras today. TORT under TROT, PERP crossing EVIL, and two memorable moments for me. One, when I saw [Looks like a jerk] for OGLES, I thought that that marvelous clue had to have been used before, so I looked it up, and yes, it was, but only once, in January – by Robyn! – so yes, it’s her creation. Two, I saw the backward RAVEL and, on a whim, looked it up, and found that one of its definitions is “unravel” – hah!

Robyn, you should have seen my face light up when I saw your name today on the puzzle, that you had come bob-bob-bobbin’ along. And you, once again as always, came through brilliantly. Thank you for this, and for keeping at this!

Son Volt 7:59 AM  

Fine puzzle - but when I finish a Friday this quickly something is up. Other than TENURE TRACK - all the longs are splashy and fun. Hand up for digging LEVAR over STARFLEET. Not sure whether DUTY FREE or SOLAR PANELS is the more perpetuated myth on the unknowing. Another FREDO sighting so soon?

Is NORMA the second or third word of Candle in the Wind?

Enjoyable Friday solve.

Lara 8:04 AM  

Beautiful puzzle. The reference to Krasner was great. Had no idea all the Disney princesses were teenagers.

Whatsername 8:15 AM  

I have this scenario pictured in my mind:

Will Shortz (not really the CREEP some make him out to be) picks up the PHONE and calls Ms. Weintraub. “Robyn, I’m in a real SPOT! I accidentally threw the Friday puzzle in the CIRCULAR FILE before I could finish the PREP on it. Now FREDO is on my case, threatening to send me on a FIELD TRIP to an ICE PLANET as his OPENING ACT. I’ll even BARTER my entire collection of Paper Mate erasable pens if you can manage to TROT out one of your masterpieces in time for publication.”

Well “FANCY THAT,” replies the lovely constructress extraordinaire. “I really should say NO NO just to make you suffer for the EVIL of going more than a WEEK without any females in the STAR FLEET - which by the way, totally defies LOGIC - but I’M OVER that so why not. As you well know, I’ve SCALED this mountain before. How about a nice themeless with a couple of short stacks and 6 or 8 strategically placed long downs? A grid that will flow like CANOLA oil with fill so sparkling it’ll look like it ROLLED off the press with glitter INK. Will that do?”

“OLE!” cried Will. “I’m saved from a full-on TILT. I know it’ll be beyond DECENT and maybe even chosen as Jeff’s Puzzle of the Week. Why I wouldn’t be surprised if Rex Parker himself gives it a rave review. Anything less from you would be RARER than a SOLAR PANEL on a BIRD HOUSE. It goes without saying Robyn, your puzzles are always first RATE!”

That about SUMS it up.

bagelboy 8:19 AM  

Young Boomer here. Wendt and CBS i knew. A little young for Hendrix, but watched the Monkeess TV show as a child. Old for the Gilmore Girls but Dench is timeless. CRAWL before CREEP and BANTER before BARTER, but ended up fast (for me) on a Friday.

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

Amy: just here to add to the celebration. My only regret is not looking at the puzzle when it came out last night. We're big on anticipation in my family. This was great fun!

Gary Jugert 8:20 AM  

Great puzzle.

I don't understand 49A Clip=RATE?

TD in OP 8:22 AM  

How is CLIP = RATE? Fun puzzzle

albatross shell 8:26 AM  

What a joy this one was. A Friday to make me feel smart filled with interesting clues and answers from top to bottom. Very little of the esoteric. A couple names I did not know.

I thought of OPENINGACT but immediately but so little confidence it would be correct I didn't even count letters or put it in.

Sometimes with thought getting it letter by letter, sometimes with Monday ease. CBS EURO got me BIRDHOUSES.

It was Wednesday night - trash night, so Trash can brought to mind garbage can and I always think of CIRCULAR FILE as waste basket so I needed FILE in to see that one.

DUVET. I was amused to learn it meant down as in feathers.

Hoi poloi always reminds me of this lyric from the Spoonful:
I was floatin' in the ocean
greased with suntan lotion
when i got wiped out by a beach boy
he was surfin' when he hit me but jumped off his board to get me
and he dragged me by the armpit like a child's toy
as we staggered into land with all the waiters eatn' sandwitches
we tried to mooch a towel from the hoi poloi
he emptied out his eardrums; I emptied out mine
and everybody knows that the very last line is
the doctor said give him jug band music
it seems to make him feel just fine.

(Although I would swear it's "dragged me to the shore just like a child's toy", but hey, this was on the internet).
And this always makes me smile, even when the Celts were coming back to crush the Warriors in the 4th.

Kate 8:29 AM  

It got us reading about Hendrix and the Monkees. He didn’t stay for the whole tour, just seven shows. Not a great pairing.

Rex Parker 8:30 AM  

To move at a fantastic CLIP is to move quickly or at a fast RATE.


Nancy 8:30 AM  

Let the puzzle world rejoice -- it's a Robyn Weintraub Friday!

So much fun -- and with such inspired cluing. My favorite is for MESS since MESS is exactly what you don't expect to find in a private dining room. Sounds luxurious, but here it's just the opposite. Wonderful double meaning of the word "private".

But it's all so good. And it provokes much curiosity along the way. What, exactly, do "hucksters have"? Who would say "When you rise, we shine"? Aha! Not avIS. OTIS!!! Now that makes sense. "Take a plane to" is not about flying. "Buildings with many wings" are not museums. "Why some kids won't go to class" is not promoting truancy. Also, what an inspired way to clue DECENT (40A).

This puzzle looks at everything slightly askance and sees everything just a little bit differently. Which, for me, is what great puzzles and what great puzzle constructors do.

TJS 8:30 AM  

21 and change is not the test I usually look forward to on Friday, but this was a smooth ride, At first glance it seemed like a PPP-fest but nothing ended up slowing me down, so I guess it was all gettable. Ms. Weintraub always seems to come through.

The Cheers clip is a classic. Have a great weekend, y'all. NBA, NHL,and sunshine...don't hold my beer.

Gary Jugert 8:34 AM  

Glitter ink. AROAR!

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

Clip can mean pace or RATE of speed. “He jogged past at a pretty good clip.”

Rube 8:41 AM  

If you can zoom through a puzzle on Friday then no matter how much you might like it it is a failure because on Friday I want a challenge. This was a Tuesday . Banter/barter cost me 30 seconds at the end.

Gary Jugert 8:48 AM  

I am imagining @Nancy putting her blue Bic down, finishing her cup of tea, standing up from the kitchen table, walking over to yesterday's balled up puzzle still sitting on the floor in a pile of plaster, picking it up, taking it to the trash can, and whispering, "That's how you do it, [redacted]."

Zed 8:48 AM  

I was solving this at a fast CLIP (๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿฝ @Gary Jugert & @TD in OP) until FuNnY THAT and BAnTER stalled me out. Finally saw that it had to be BARES/FANCY THAT/ARC and was done.

Rex was locked in on the fact that that you can buy a DUVET at Target. He seems to have missed the whole DUVET=Down=murdered bird feathers thing or else I assume it would have appeared in his BIRD HOUSES point.

Hand up for smiling at LEVAR Burton above STARFLEET. Also really really liked the whole dough —> money —> ROLL in BANK ROLLED pun. That’s good stuff. I’M OVER HERE with everyone else loving Weintraub puzzles.

Nancy 8:54 AM  

@Gary Jugert (8:48) That's it!!!! That's it exactly!!!!!! How perceptive of you!

(Except for the tea. In the morning I'm a coffee drinker. Tea deosn't quite succeed in opening my eyelids.)

Zed 8:54 AM  

@Kate - I believe you win the Understatement of the Day Award. Can we think of worse hypothetical pairings? Led Zeppelin and Abba comes to mind. How about Flogging Molly opening for BTS?

Airymom 8:55 AM  

What could be better than a Robyn Weintraub crossword?......if chocolate didn't have calories!

Brian A in SLC 9:07 AM  

Gee whiz. I'm a little apprehensive. In his first two paragraphs, Rex perfectly expressed all my thoughts about the day's puzzle.

Never before has that been even close to the case. Somehow it feels almost apocalyptic. Of course Rex was born in '52, I was born in '54, so I'm also wondering if some slight degree of "generational exclusivity" is at play.

DrBB 9:08 AM  

The Hendrix clue was one of those "I hope they don't screw this up and I'm just going to fill it correctly without even looking at crosses because it should be this" moments, and having it pan out was a great kick off for my trip through the puzzle.

Anecdote: a close friend was 12 or so when his aunt & uncle decided to take him to his first rock concert: the Monkees at Forest Hills, July '67. Had never heard of the opening act and wasn't going to see them, he was going to see the Monkees! Instead, his life was wrenched out of track and changed for ever. It was actually the last date with the Jimi Hendrix Experience opening, so extraordinarily lucky for him. He went on to be a fantastic percussionist.

'Nother little factoid: Nesmith and the Monkees were super fans of Hendrix and were actually thrilled to have him touring with them, even though everyone knew it was a kind of ludicrous fit for the teeny-bopper audience and probably wouldn't last. They themselves were extremely savvy about their own band and the marketing around it, as demonstrated in their one full-length movie, "Head." Which is well worth a watch if you haven't seen it.

For hia part Hendrix did a similar favor on his first headliner tour, with having the fantastic avant garde proto-prog band Soft Machine open for him. They're pretty obscure now but were incredibly creative and influential in some circles, and got a huge boost from Jimi who was a fan of their music.

Carola 9:08 AM  

I'm agog and agape at the multitude of treasures Robyn Weintraub was able to interlace in this grid. What a treat to solve! All of the long phrases are terrific, but DECENT as clued got an extra smile from me. I got off to a slow start across the top, needing to rely on "iMam? NO, NO, EMIR - OLE!" which opened the way for LOBO, OPAL and the rest. Point of hesitation: CLIP = RA?E: it has to be RATE, for NOVA it actually NOVA SCOcIA x RAcE? Thanks to @Rex for explaining.

@floatingboy 7:36 - Thank you for pointing out the (not so) hidden ROLL.

**Breakfast Test Violation Alert** @kitshef 7:20. Interesting about "the trots" - the parallel to "the runs" had never occurred to me - I'd always thought it referred to the speed necessary to get to the toilet.

pabloinnh 9:26 AM  

One of those days where my solving experience pretty much paralleled OFL's--start in the NW, down the west coast, across the bottom, and then straight up the east coast and end in the middle, which just has to be proof of how smart I am this morning, or further evidence of coincidence, which is far more likely.

Who? for today (as clued)-NORMA, LEE, and LAUREN. Also forgot that the EBOLA is a river. But everything was fairly crossed and easy enough.

Only slowdown was SLOT for SPOT.

When my wife asks "Are you DECENT?" I usually reply "DECENT? I'm practically saintly.".

Hand up for loving this one. I do wish I could have been just a little crunchier just so it would have lasted longer. Beautifully done, RW, a Real Work of art, and thanks for all the fun.

Newboy 9:35 AM  

So good that even Rex liked it. Loved the puzzle for its lovingly misdirected clues for so many entries like TORT and EURO. I thought “bakery” added to 17A was just icing on the pastry product and made that “dough” rise a bit in difficulty. And coming on the heels of the 6A motto…..well, the sweet aroma of deception. Also crossing that EVIL CREEP (20A) who OGLES (6D) (the buns perhaps?) just isn’t DECENT! All that I expected when I saw Robin’s byline and more! FANCY THAT!

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

I haven't enjoyed the puzzle in a long time, but today was wonderful. No tricks, just good solid clues/answers.

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

In what sense are duty free shops and solar panels myths? They both exist in the real world.

relicofthe60s 9:47 AM  

My fastest Friday ever.

RooMonster 9:54 AM  

Hey All !
Some tough spots for me, but overall an easy-ish solve. Came in at 30 minutes. Normal for me. Did have a DNF, however, having FuNnYTHAT/BAnTER/Ann/BuRES. Knew BuRES wasn't correct, but failed to look enough to see Ann sitting there totally unrelated to the clue. Dang. After relooking at puz, found my errors, and fixed to get the Happy Music. I didn't hit Check Puzzle, so yes and no to a DNF. A Schrodinger finish. Har.

Clean fill, a Robyn standard. BANK ROLLED was an odd clue. Wondering if that was an editorial add.

Rex's odd take on BIRDHOUSES clue. My take is just little wooden HOUSES hanging from trees with loud chirping bird babies. Cute, not horrible.

Have a good Friday everyone. Take a look at the Planet Alignment coming up. Something like 5 or 6 planets are going to align. Hopefully a clock doesn't start ticking in an unknown closet.*.

yd -3, should'ves 2
Duo 37, missed 1-2-7-10-26 (oof on 26)

Three F's

* Lara Croft movie reference. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

That was my sticking point—I went to BANTER (a back and forth conversation) and just got stuck for the longest time. That plus having FUNNYTHAT instead of FANCYTHAT even though I knew it was BARES. Argh. More caffeine. Until that little quicksand area, I enjoyed it as easy and fun….

jberg 10:07 AM  

Great puzzle, hard enough for me. First, the BA[n/R]TER trap. Second, the SE corner, with a random network name and that George guy. That gave me _IR_... for the building with wings, so naturally I was trying to make it something about aIRports -- air hangars? Naw. But I had the C at 50D, and SPOT gave me CBS, which did the trick.

Then BANKROLLED. My first reaction when I got it is that the constructor was cheating with that bakery reference. But the misdirect was more than that -- likely many of us had ROLL from the crosses at some point, further pointing us toward bread-making, and that extra bit of misdirection was brilliant enough to make me admire it.

Another nice bit of misdirection: small business partner. I've never seen a business called "Smith and MOM," but of course she's the parner in a mom & pop shop.

And I loved the CANOLA/EBOLA stack.

Heidiho 10:13 AM  

The horse was moving along at a nice clip

Joseph Michael 10:21 AM  

If only every puzzle could be this good.

Favorite answer: I’M OVER HERE


Favorite clue: “Dressed, so to speak”

Favorite misdirection: “Images of Pluto, perhaps”

What I didn’t like: It was over too soon.

Chris 10:26 AM  

Not only does OTIS make elevators, Elisha OTIS invented the safety brake that makes modern elevators (and therefore skyscrapers) safely possible.
Also produced the first commercial escalator and held a trademark on that word.

Hartley70 10:40 AM  

This is my kind of puzzle! I didn’t check the constructor but I knew it was a woman right away. Is there are man anywhere who watched the Gilmore Girls willingly? My daughter and I never missed an episode. Is there a man anywhere who wasn’t in the fashion business who knew NORMA? My husband was and did but he has to be an exception. Then I realize we’ve got some Sci-Fi going on with STARFLEET, HOTH and yes, I include LEVAR in that. I’m a fan.
Add to that, it’s just a lovely grid. CIRCULARFILE, the cluing for DUTYFREESHOP and BIRDHOUSES and more were stellar. Thank you for the Friday Fun Day, Robyn!

Masked and Anonymous 10:42 AM  

yep. As @Lewis points out, this constructioneer is a rare treasure.
Had lotsa fun with this themeless puppy. Bank rollin the bakery with dough … har.

Like for @RP, CIRCULARFILE dropped right in there, off very little. The nanoseconds were most appreciative. Later, a few names of mystery slowed m&e down a smidge, but overall this was an incredibly smoooth solvequest.

staff weeject pick: Only 9 candidates, today. Let's go with STD. It's a pretty standard abbreviation.

fave fillins: Just about all of em.

Thanx for the fun, Ms. Weintraub darlin. Welcome to the STARFLEET.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


jae 11:07 AM  

Very very easy. No WOEs and no erasures....this was a medium Tuesday for me. Could be a wheelhouse thing, but Amy at Crossword Fiend also called it “decidedly Tuesdayish”. Smooth with lots of sparkle, liked it a bunch!

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Doesn’t get any better than this Robyn!

Kate 11:16 AM  

Great choices. I would say Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, but they have performed so well together.

Tom P 11:37 AM  

Robyn has done it again! This was a delightful Friday romp. I made a few mistakes (CRAWL instead of CREEP, ADDS instead of SUMS, DEGREE TRACK instead of TENURE TRACK) that slowed me down a bit, but still finished well ahead of my average Friday time. And with more smiles that usual, too.

Rube 11:45 AM  

But here is the contradiction. You say you liked it but you also admit it was Tuesday level. Today is Friday. I don't want Tuesday on Friday. I want and wait for Fridays. I don't do tuesdays. This puzzle fails for that reason. Not the constructor's fault. It's the editor.

Unknown 11:48 AM  

Enjoyed having CANOLA intersect NOVA SCOTIA, although the latter doesn't grow as much canola as, say, Alberta or Saskatchewan.
Canola used to be called "rapeseed" but that isn't really great on a label, so when Canada figured out a way to process the oil in a manner that allowed for profit while keeping costs down, it became "Canada's Oil" and thus Canola.

Anonymous 11:57 AM  


Otis still has, last time I looked, its testing tower here in CT. But, last time I looked, no elevator uses the sort of mechanical brake that Otis designed.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

@11:48 am Interesting bit of trivia about CANOLA - is the clue erroneous - it refers to plant with oily seeds? Is it a CANOLA or rapeseed plant, or maybe a blend of many different oils?

egsforbreakfast 12:02 PM  

My mother, who we called neither MOM NORMA, was nOPAL OMEN. “OTIS the OGLES they FANCYTHAT make me MISO full of IRE,” she would say. “But listen ol’ buddy, OPAL, this WEEK I draw a LINEN the sand and TROT out a TORT”.

I feel about Robyn Weintraub puzzles the same way my four year old granddaughter does about blueberries. If you ask her if she likes them, she pauses a moment for effect and then shrieks “No, I love them!”

Anonymous 12:05 PM  


Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:10 PM  

@Laura 7:39 AM - Agreed about Hendrix and Monkeys. In fact, at first I wrote in thelead ACT, but quickly saw via crosses that it was OPENING ACT. My takeaway is, what a difference a couple of years makes—that is, between the Monkeys craze in 1967, and Woodstock in 1969.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:26 PM  

@ Zed 8:54 AM et al - I quite understand where you are all coming from, as far as rock god versus rock clowns goes...but let's not confuse the goofiness of "The Monkees" as a TV show with the fact that the actual Monkees were, for the most part, stellar musicians and/or performers. Nesmith and Tork where the real deal as far as musicianship goes. And Dolenz and Jones were fabulous pop/rock vocalists. Their hits songs were pure bubble gum pleasure. They managed to score an up tempo antiwar hit with "Last Train to Clarksville," and Mike Nesmith wrote "Different Drum," which, in the chart-topping version by Linda Rondstadt (and the Stone Poneys) remains my single favorite hit single of all time. And yes, I know their earlier recordings were played mostly by session musicians. But that changed by 1967. Granted, The Monkees and Hendrix was not such a smart lineup, but that doesn't mean the Monkees were not a major cultural force and phenomenon of the era.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:30 PM  

@Hartley70 10:40 AM - Just a gentle reminder...Yes! There were men who did all of those things willingly. And a lot of them were (and are) gay (says the 61 year-old gay xword aficionado).

Robyn's Husband 1:10 PM  

I'll have you all know that Robyn isn't the exemplar of universal perfect you are all making her out to be. The truth is she burps occasionally. I know TMI, but adulation is dangerous

JD 1:16 PM  

@Zed, Captain & Tennille opening for Marilyn Mason with Muskrat Love?

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

Everyone loves Robyn W puzzles because they are both clever and gettable. She makes us feel smart.

Lyn 1:35 PM  

Once you learn that Hendrix opened for the Monkees, you will never forget it.

sixtyni yogini 1:41 PM  

banter for BARTER
funnythat for FANCYTHAT
Liked it. Fat, well that too - but fast, easy, with interesting clues, answers, and sticky parts -ie BARTER, FANCYTHAT,

okanaganer 2:32 PM  

Started slow, then got traction, realized "wow, this is pretty good!" Finished in 12 minutes so went to xwordinfo to see if it was a POW... oh, Robyn Weintraub! That explains it.

Remember the NEW BEGINNINGS puzzle a few days ago? 3 of the 4 Atlantic provinces start with "New": Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland.

Loved the Cheers clip; that was the greatest show. Back in the 80s I used to watch it with my Mom, who if she was still alive would be exactly 100 years old today!

[Spelling Bee: yd pg in 3:15, 0 later. My last word was a good one again.]

Anonymous 2:33 PM  

Had LEMAR so had to cheat. Misdemeanor.

As I’ve said before, Robyn for Editor. Just think of the changes she would make in all the puzzles.

Zed 2:43 PM  

@MiBS - Hmmm... I don't think I said anything about the musical chops of The Monkees. One of my playlists is titled "Pop." It has 1,478 songs in the list, granted many of them not typically classified as "pop," but still...

@JD - Heh Heh.

Nancy 3:18 PM  

Here's a challenge that was posed on the Wordplay blog 7 hours ago. I answered some of it just now. But since the scrolling system is so user-unfriendly over there, probably no one will even see it ever again. I'll put the reproduce her challenge in this post and put my answers in the next one:

"Wordplayers’ Schrรถdinger game to accompany the BANTER/BARTER clue…
Single clues for these?
And what could a revealer be for the R/N swap? I just know someone is clever enough!

SPINE/SPIRE (“one who stands upright”?)

Nancy 3:21 PM  

@Cat Lady Margaret -- Some possible answers to your challenge:

1. Deal with a snow-covered windshield
2. "Don't____think about it!"
3. Kind of shift
4. Take control
5. You might find an abandoned golf ball on it


Pdxrains 3:34 PM  

There's no such thing as a CANOLA plant. Canola is the oil of the modified Rapeseed plant and stands for CAnada Oil Low Acid

Eniale 3:50 PM  

Lovely Friday puzzle!

Yesterday -3 shoulda, coulda, woulda gone back to get those last three, knew 'em all of course.

Anonymous 4:23 PM  

@Pdxrains - Your 'modified Rapeseed plant' was trademarked Canola in the 1970s making that plant the Canola plant. Various modifications are referred to as Canola.

Anoa Bob 6:26 PM  

Like most of yous, I thought this was a first rate puzzle with lots to like and admire. Like a few of yous have mentioned, however, I thought the clueing was more early week level and as a result my solve was over too fast. I offer as exhibit A, 52A EVIL clued as "It's not good". I'm not sure what an easier, more Monday level clue would be.

My too-easily-clued opinion may be partly due to recently doing some Fridays from the archive, in this case from 2003. Some of those nearly brought me to tears but there was a real sense of accomplishment when I finally prevailed. Didn't get that sense when this one was quickly over.

There were a few minor blemishes here and there that would prevent me from canonizing this one as an all time great. 32 black squares resulted in quite a few 3 and 4 letter entries. There were also some Ss that could just as well be black squares, for example at the ends of OGLE/SUM, BARE/SPIEL and SOLAR PANEL/PEA. None of those pairs were up to filling their slots and needed an easy, convenient letter count boost to get it done, known as a two for one plural of convenience (POC). The lower rightmost square also got some attention from the POC Committee because of that suspicious looking S there. It also could be turned into a black square leaving one PEON and one month MES in Spanish.

Long ago in the previous century, when I informed my parents that I had landed a TENURE TRACK teaching position, they asked why it was limited to just ten years!

jae 6:32 PM  

@Rube - How about “Liked it a bunch except for being too easy for a Friday” ?

@Roo - Here are my personal rules for giving myself an online DNF, as always YMMV.

I switched from paper solving to iPad solving a few years ago to save both printer ink and trees. When I finished paper solve I would always go back over the grid to make sure I hadn’t misread a clue or misspelled anything and to check that all my answers made sense. On the iPad when I don’t get the “solved correctly” indicator this triggers the same process. If a find a typo or a misread clue or a nonsensical answer and I correct it and get the “you solved it” screen I count it as a successful finish. If I nothing seems wrong to me I click on “check puzzle” and count it as a DNF.

LateSolver 8:09 PM  

Easy for a Friday. I know not to even try for a time on Fridays, just enjoy the ride, but this wasn't as sticky as many Fridays can be. Perhaps because I, too, am in Rex's demographic that made these answers come easier. Like everyone else I thought the answers were varied and good, and the cluing was clever in places. Part of me feels disappointed that it wasn't a bit more challenging, but the larger part was happy to finish a Friday with no help or stumbles (and in less than 20 minutes!)

KJH 10:37 PM  

I was so proud of getting the answer to the wings clue on just a few crosses: hatcheries!

RAD2626 11:54 PM  

RW really has replaced Patrick Berry as the most beloved late week NYT constructor with puzzles that fall into place with wonderful cluing and colorful fill. Puzzle was a joy.

I never think of all the Disney princesses as being teens. That seems so young. Cinderella? Snow White? Sleeping Beauty? Sort of jarring.

Peter P 12:39 AM  

*raises hand for screwing up BAnTER and FuNnYTHAT". I knew something was wrong in that part of the puzzle, but I couldn't unknot it without resorting to "Check Puzzle." Everything else went completely smoothly, and I was right on Robin's wavelength, catching the misdirections right away. But that center section did me in from getting a record Friday time and landing at average, with the help on the incorrect squares.

That's all on me, though. This was a perfectly clued puzzle and I can't find a fault with it. Oh, and "decent" is still a word I use to signify "clothed," and I'm a hair younger than Rex, I believe. I shoot weddings, so I use the word almost weekly when I'm in the bridal suite and the bride is getting ready. I ask "is everybody decent?" before entering a room where there may be half-dressed women present. That's standard, in-the-language phrasing to me. Or maybe I'm just an old fogey at heart.

albatross shell 1:32 AM  

Take control
Take cortnol
Steer Steen
Rule nule
Grab gnab

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

Somebody invoked Robert Byrd who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan as some sort of worthwhile guy. SMH

Robert Lockwood Mills 2:11 PM  

I finished it, but I'm still in a state of disbelief that the average American spends four hours a day on the phone.

Anonymous 4:55 PM  

Given current events, did no one else’s mind jump immediately to a bad, scary place at the 30D clue “reason some kids won’t go to class”?

Anonymous 6:56 PM  

I’m a bit behind but finally got to this one. I’m 75 and found it easy and zipped through it like I rarely do on Fridays. So I guess you’re only as old as you are in crossword puzzles.

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