Toy from a place that no longer exists / FRI 11-18-22 / La Rana Kermit's name in the Latin American version of Sesame Street / Resort hotel with the slogan This is how we Vegas / Woodworking tool similar to a kitchen zester / Twin daughter on Black-ish / Raccoon humorously

Friday, November 18, 2022

Constructor: Robyn Weintraub

Relative difficulty: Medium (3/4 very easy, 1/4 something about a frog????)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: ROSA Bonheur (53A: "The Horse Fair" artist Bonheur) —

Rosa Bonheur (born Marie-Rosalie Bonheur; 16 March 1822 – 25 May 1899) was a French artist known best as a painter of animals (animalière). She also made sculpture in a realist style. Her paintings include Ploughing in the Nivernais, first exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1848, and now in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, and The Horse Fair (in French: Le marché aux chevaux), which was exhibited at the Salon of 1853 (finished in 1855) and is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. [...]

Bonheur was openly lesbian. She lived with her partner Nathalie Micas for over 40 years until Micas's death, after which she began a relationship with American painter Anna Elizabeth Klumpke. (wikipedia)

• • •

Well this all came down to the frog clue. I don't know if you know how brutal that clue is if you don't just *know* that the Latin American version of Kermit is "La Rana RENÉ." It's not just that I didn't know his name. I don't know lots of names, most names, and I manage to push through them every day. ROSA Bonheur! Didn't know her, but I knew I was looking for a human name (key!) and the crosses were very obliging. But with La Rana RENÉ, I have absolutely no idea I am looking for a human name. I know it says "Kermit's name" right in the clue, but I figured it was "name" in the sense of "thing we call him," something adjectival!!!! Like "The Sad Frog" or "The Slow Frog" or "The Depressing Frog." And as I don't know much Spanish, I was absolutely dead in the water, because as far as I was concerned, that adjective could've been anything ("What's Spanish for 'green'!? Isn't it VERDE?! Why won't it fit?!"). And then it wasn't even an adjective—just a random name! "RENÉ the Frog!" Sigh. So I had -ENE and zero ****ing idea. Worse, I had no idea what 23A: It's equivalent to a cup (TROPHYwas getting at. Just none. ("Equivalent to a cup? ... TWO PTS"!?!? Wait ... [counts on fingers] ... that's not right" etc.). And then that RENÉ / TROPHY section connected to the NE, which I botched for reasons that were 95% my own DOM fault. Here's what I was staring at at the end of my solve:

I know the term TRASH PANDA very well! So I have no idea why the clue [11D: Raccoon, humorously] made me think of literal actual pandas, but it did. And GIANT PANDA fit perfectly, "lucky" for me! So dumb. All the Acrosses up there would've been hard *without* my mistake, but with it, yeesh. I don't know why it took me so long to really look at 10D: Shipment that might include a note saying "Miss you!" I think that in my first pass at it, I only picked up the "Shipment" part and since I already had PACKAGE, I didn't have the necessary information. Sometimes I fail to read to the end of the clue. Mostly this works just fine. With CARE PACKAGE, it was disastrous. Anyway, I got it all worked out via CARE PACKAGE—changed CTRS to CTRL (10A: Part of many commands: Abbr.), figured out what dumb Vegas hotel we were dealing with, figured out what the LAPS clue was trying to get at, what tool looked like a zester, etc. the end. Anyway, this was a great, zoomy, whoosh whoosh puzzle semi-ruined by a very hard and clunky corner there at the end. The frog clue was malevolent. But the trouble with TRASH PANDA was entirely my fault. So I'm half mad at the trash frog and half mad at myself for a good, breezy puzzle semi-spoiled by late unpleasant fumbling and awkwardness.

But before that, it was pure Robyn goodness, ALL OVER THE MAP! (25A: Here, there and everywhere). The moment it really kicked in came early, after the NW went in smoothly and then the first exhilarating drop came with the great clue/answer pair at 8D: Roger's relative? ("COPY THAT!").

From here I had trouble seeing any of the "COPY THAT!" crosses (and of course the stupid frog next door), so I just kept going, down down down, all the way to the bottom of the grid, and then I cleaned up down there:

After that, it was "HERE WE GO AGAIN" across the grid to the SW, and then, of course, the aforementioned brutal last stand in the NE. It really was an ideal Friday solving experience until about the 80% mark.

  • 39A: A glengarry is one in the shape of a boat (HAT) — well now I wanna know what the shape of a Glen Ross is! Hmmm ... well, here's the shape of a Glenn Ross:
Glenn Ross (born 27 May 1971) known by his nickname "The Daddy", is a Northern Ireland former International Strongman and Powerlifter who has represented Northern Ireland and the UK in several World's Strongest Man competitions and various World Grand Prix and European Team competitions. (wikipedia)
  • 56A: St. ___ (destination in a rhyming riddle) (IVES) — wanted to spell it YVES. I think we have some facial scrub in the shower that's St. YVES brand ... nope, that's IVES as well. No idea why I'm spelling it like YVES Montand.
  • 21D: Title for a Benedictine monk (DOM) — wanted FRA at first, which can also be a title for a monk, but is more closely associated (I think) with friars.
  • 45A: Spent some time in the Outback, perhaps (DROVE) — loved this. Double misdirect! Me: "LOL what is the five-letter word for 'Ate a Bloomin' Onion'!? But it wasn't Outback Steakhouse, it was the Subaru Outback. Nice.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Conrad 6:07 AM  

Oddly, I had less trouble with the fearsome frog than OFL. ALL OVER THE MAP went in without crosses as soon as I read the clue. I had RuN for RAN initially at 30A but that didn't affect RENE and 35A SPITE was a gimmee. With COPY THAT and CARE PACKAGE gave me TROPHY, which completed the RENE quadrifecta. Overall, this was what I've come to expect from Ms. Weintraub, a smooth, pleasant experience.

RJ 6:17 AM  

Robyn never fails to amuse and delight. I just finished reading Michael Connelly's latest Harry Bosch/Renee Ballard novel (Desert Star) so "copy that" fell into place right away. A fun start to the weekend.

How many ways can you hear "Thanks a lot" in your head?

Loren Muse Smith 6:22 AM  

Well, my obvious gimme was ROSA Bonheur – her astonishing use of scale and perspective always reminds me of a lot of the works of the Romantics. Plus, I just like pictures of animals. Just kidding. I had no idea who she was, but after snooping around, I just may have to buy my veterinarian daughter a print or something.

I’m with Rex on the difficulty of RENE’s clue. My first thought was verde or some such, too.

Loved the symmetry of ONE and ENO. And the clue for DROVE. Actually, there were tons of terrific clues.

@RJ - I keep thinking about THANKS A LOT, whispering it, trying to imagine saying it to someone where it does *not* feel sarcastic. I can’t. Feels like the sarcastic take has pretty much hijacked the phrase one hundred percent. At least for me. Your mileage may vary.

Question – is there such thing as an unselfish toddler? [On a side note, I saw the funniest meme with the caption, The fastest land mammal is a toddler who's just been asked "what's in your mouth?"

It never occurred to me that there was a place called Pomerania. Hah. Wherever it was, they did one thing right: they invented some mean-ass little dogs. I’ve shared before about being growled at by a 10-month-old POMERANIAN puppy. A. Pup. Py. Talk about your child prodigy.

“What you always get on your birthday” – OLDER, sure. For me, that’s about it. I get ONE card. ONE. From Mom. One of those sugary sentimental rhymey ones. My kids call, and honestly I don’t want them to spend the 12 dollars on a card, I really don’t. But still. We go from chocolate cake pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey presents pile fests to. . . a card and a coupla phone calls. The childish part of me is always crestfallen a little bit.

“What a raised finger might represent” – your inability to answer the question because you’ve just stuffed your mouth with a massive forkload of meatloaf and won’t be able to speak for like thirty seconds.

Robyn – always a pleasure. I got a kick out of seeing the little vignette in the clues 5D, 6D, and 7D. This had to be deliberate.

Anonymous 6:42 AM  

Sometimes I think the best part of doing the puzzle is reading Loren Muse Smith's comments. Right on, Loren. You make my mornings!

OffTheGrid 6:49 AM  

Talk about breakfast test failure. That photo of Mr. Ross is the worst thing @Rex has ever done. Just when I was about to leave therapy, this happens. It may require surgery to get that image out of my brain.

The puzz: Making mistakes and fixing them was never more fun. I had such a good time with this. NE is where I finished, too. One of my errors was erasing a correct long answer. What a hoot! I plopped in LANE right away but 26? I had to google Katy Freeway immediately to see what that looked like.


Alex 7:10 AM  

I didn’t have any trouble with Kermit either, because I saw TROPHY early and all four letters in RENE came from the crosses. My last letter was the H in HAT and a bit of a guess: I thought that a glengarry might be a HAT; I’ve never heard of SHEA butter. Great Friday puzzle.

SouthsideJohnny 7:11 AM  

Wow. Robyn really got me good this morning. Struggled until I got a toehold in the SE, worked my tail off in that section and kept looking for my mistake because POMERANIAN just doesn’t sound like a word - and I was so totally hooked by the misdirection (toy) that it didn’t occur to me that it could be a gold dang dog breed!

Then I just sat back and enjoyed the marvelous cluing that is a an RW staple - for DROVE, LAKE HOUSE, TROPHY, SKY DIVE et c. All good stuff (and tough as well). If all Fridays could strive to get close to this type of quality, the NYT would in fact be the gold standard instead of just struggling to be a top tier puzzle over the long haul.

Anonymous 7:13 AM  

I liked this one. A fair Friday. The long answers were solid, if a bit easy. Nice misdirected clues, but wisely no question marks. A few answers were alien to me but the crosses filled in nicely.

Wanderlust 7:17 AM  

La Rana René just has a nice sound to it, but I didn’t know it. Like @Conrad, I had no trouble getting TROPHY so getting RENE was just like any other unknown name - crosses were fair, so I got it.

No, my problem was in the NW, where I had all kinds of bad guesses. “Mile” for the Texas freeway. (You seriously need 26 LANEs? This is why I would hate to live in Texas, at least that part if it.) “Bid” for what a raised index finger may represent. “Nutty” for eccentric. I did not know the nickname for the Angels (but it makes sense) and it took me way too long to see “THANKS A LOT.” (I’m with @LMS on that - if I’m reading it in an email or text, I will immediately hear snark no matter the intention. Spoken, I might be able to detect sincerity.) I loved the clue for SKYDIVE - I was definitely thinking of some way to say “quit while you’re ahead.” I’m a little grossed out thinking of LYE being used to make soft pretzels. Why?

It was very hard for me to get started on this one. I was so happy to get MONSTER MASH from the M alone because I finally had an in. Like Rex, I had Fra before DOM and thought I outsmarted Robyn by knowing that Outback had to be the restaurant not the desert. Loved your Bloomin’ Onion reference.

On the other hand, I was onto Robyn right away with the clues for ADAM (“Guy at the front of a long line”) and LAKE HOUSE (“Superior lodging”) but I loved the clues anyway. Lake Superior, BTW, was one of my favorite trips during the pandemic, when my frequent work international travel was shut down so I explored parts unknown in the US. The Apostle Islands in Wisconsin and Pictured Rocks in Michigan are delightful.

Challenging and fun puzzle!

kitshef 7:20 AM  

Lovely fill, but needed some serious difficulty increase on the clues. Other than a few tough PPP entries (ROSA, RENE, DIANE, ARIA) this could have run on a Tuesday.

Outback clue also works in an Australian Outback way, where a drover is another word for a shepherd.

Gunner 7:32 AM  

In most of Hispanic America Kermit the Frog is called la rana René. You're welcome.

Shirley F 7:33 AM  

Wonderful to see ROSA Bonheur pop up. Many many years ago saw one of her paintings, Two Young Deer in a Forest, at the Haggin Museum in Stockton, CA. It was across the room from a huge Bierstadt, Sunset in the Yosemite Valley. Two breathtaking paintings that could be life-changing, for it was impossible to see them without understanding the beauty of the natural world and the need to protect it, and that even an ordinary deer had a unique presence.
Later I learned that Rosa Bonheur hated the restricting clothing women had to wear; she wore trousers, for which she needed a special dispensation from the French police.

mmorgan 7:55 AM  

Wonderful Robyn Friday goodness — as usual, fresh, clean, lively and fun! Sorry for Rex’s struggle, I barely saw RENE, which filled itself in from crosses. (I think I knew RENE somewhere in the back of my brain but I’m not sure I could have retrieved it.). I didn’t get the Subaru reference — I thought it had something to do with being a DROVEr of cattle in the Outback. Thank you thank you Robyn!

Ted 8:02 AM  

Breezy zoomy Robyn Friday.

NE wasn't "very hard and clunky" by any means. Like Rex, hesitated a bit to get CTRL in there, but otherwise spent maybe 20 seconds up in that corner. If he hadn't have thrown GIANTPANDA down in his ever-long quest to rush through a puzzle WITHOUT READING THE CLUES... :D

Joaquin 8:02 AM  

I don't get Rex's rant regarding the frog. A very straightforward clue asking for a name almost no one would know but quickly filled with fairly easy crosses.

Oh well. As they say: "One man's meat, another man's frog legs."

Dr.A 8:03 AM  

I am surprised to hear Rex had a hard time with this one but I guess everyone has a “day”. Trophy came pretty easily once I had the T_OPHY so I didn’t know the frog clue at all but managed to fit it in. I thought Rex would be Kvelling about this one. I loved it!

Carola 8:07 AM  

After a non-start in Row 1 - no idea about the Angels; indecision about "stem" v. FACE; blank stare at "Command" - things opened up when I took a look at the friendly Downs, HTML I enjoyed a sort of stop-start romp through the grid, solving it in ONE unscrolling from top to bottom but also enjoying the moments of hesitation -- COPY...what? and TRASH...something -- and the pleasure of their completions snapping into view. The gifts of CARE PACKAGE and MONSTER MASH helped speed things along. Favorites: FALTER and the clue for DORIAN.

Do-overs: Pen before POT, eVen before OVAL. No idea: HALOS, RENE, TERI. Right, but wrong: I knew the name ROSA Bonheur but had thought she was an Impressionist; thanks to the puzzle for the nudge to learn about her.

Diego 8:10 AM  

How do you spell pleasure: Robyn Weintraub.
Always, always, always enjoy her work! My faves today are the clues for ADAM, OLDER and SKYDIVE. BTW, SHORELEAVE is in PB’s latest puzz in The New Yorker, clued differently and slightly better, maybe, but splitting hairs here.
You have to feel sorry for the constructor who follows RW—and on a Saturday, alas.

Phillyrad1999 8:12 AM  

The first line in Rex’s write up so says it all that I just burst into laughter when I read it. On the plus side La Ran Rene sounds so much more cultured that’s Kermit THEE Frog. Looking forward to my favorite holiday of the year and 3-days in the kitchen with my amazing daughter.

TTrimble 8:12 AM  

This puzzle really grew on me, after a slightly FALTERing start, scanning ALL OVER THE MAP to find purchase somewhere, beginning with MONSTER MASH and MESH. After pulling up short not knowing the names DIANE or ROSA or even IVES, wandered over and found PAIR (clued with peculiar specificity), which crosses Pen, right? Pen, as in holder of [live]stock? And the e there had to be the start of eVen, since zeroes are even numbers? Took a tick to get that ironed out.

I am just not good with names. The only Polo I know is Marco, or the game played on horseback that I've never, ever SEEN on TV (now why is that?), so TERI had to be left up to crosses. Likewise for RENE, although this resulted in A LOT less teeth-gnashing for me than it did for poor Rex. A few mini-whooshes like CARE PACKAGE and ALL OVER THE MAP, and I was back in like Flynn. Somehow tied it all up and wound up with a pretty decent Friday solving time, for me anyway, giving me time to appreciate what Robyn had wrought.

These lovely little clues, like for SKY DIVE and COPY THAT: Mwah. And I guess for POMERANIAN too, although there, perhaps under the influence of I IVES as in Burl*, my mind temporarily drifted over and took SHORE LEAVE on the Island of Misfit Toys, a place that I suppose never existed at all (never mind "no longer"), but nevertheless a place of dark and unremitting sadness for me as a boy. You're killing me, Rankin-Bass. I'd take that Elephant in a heartbeat. But here's a different take.

Anyway, THANKS A LOT, Robyn -- no, no, I really mean it: THANKS very much for another fine creation!

SB: yd went down in flames, I think it was pg -5, yipes. Today's a new day.

*TIL his full name was Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives. Cool.

Lewis 8:17 AM  

When I opened to the puzzle and saw Robyn’s name, sunshine suddenly filled the room. There would be, I knew, inner smiles triggered by her wit and lovely conversational phrases, and there would be wonder at how she so seemingly effortlessly creates a clean, filled-with-interest grid.

Once again, there it all was. That RW buoyancy. That sledding down a hill feel. That CARE PACKAGE from heaven to Crosslandia.

Oh yes, there’s joy here in answer and clue. But don’t neglect the skill behind it. Look at the NYT answer debuts: ALL OVER THE MAP, CARE PACKAGE, COPY THAT, HERE WE GO AGAIN, LAKE HOUSES, TRASH PANDA. Such sweet additions to the oeuvre. Look at how clean the grid is – with 12 long answers.

Driving the buoyancy were the friend-to-friend feel that Robyn’s puzzles impart, and the OMG cluing, such as those for ADAM, TROPHY, OUTBACK, and POMERANIAN. Regarding the latter, its expert guile made me fall for the “toy” misdirect – something I usually don’t do – and applaud.

Such a smart, skilled entertainer. Thank you, Robyn, for another heart-warming beauty.

Son Volt 8:17 AM  

I always get the adult is finally in the room feeling with RWs puzzles - just a totally pleasant experience. Like Rex went with dined before DROVE - but loved the double layer. HERE WE GO AGAIN. Second time in three days we get PAWN SHOP.

I like how she throws things in like MONSTER MASH - a Friday gimme but a great entry. The Kermit entry was new for me - but I thought the crosses were fair. LAKE HOUSES, SHORE LEAVE, CARE PACKAGE - top notch. The drier the better for my SCONES.

In SPITE of Ourselves

Highly enjoyable Friday solve.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

Amy: feel as if we got an early Thanksgiving gift. Thanks, Robyn. If I knew Trash Panda, I forgot it. Delightful! TGIF.

pabloinnh 8:32 AM  

Wheelhouse Friday fer sure. NW went in smooth as a smelt and the rest followed suit. Did the OFL FRA before DOM and later had PEN for a stock holder, but that couldn't be, and bang I was done.

Just saw HEREWEGOAGAIN everywhere after a certain announcement and we drive an Outback, so easy there.

Also it happens to be my wife's birthday, and what she always gets from me is a rose, today being no exception. We tend to ignore the OLDER part after a certain number of birthdays, which we both have attained.

Big smile as I wrote in TRASHPANDA. Just a great term. Loved the TROPHY clue too.

Always a pleasure to do one of your puzzles, RW. Really Wish everyone could have your talents, but then of course you wouldn't be special. Thanks for all the fun.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

Robyn Weintraub. Nobody better. Period.

I was an animal-loving child, collecting horse and dog and cat figurines and books and so on, and I remember so many beautiful paintings by Rosa Bonheur in those books. Her paintings of individual animals are beautiful and touching. See 118 of them here: She leaves Stubbs in the dust.

This wonderful puzzle had just the right amount of bite for a Friday, and was typically almost entirely junk-free. POMERANIAN, LAKE HOUSE, SKY DIVE, TROPHY...all great clues. TRASHPANDA always cracks me up. Whoever came up with that one, bravo!

I don't understand Rex's fixation on RENE. Yes, it was tough--I didn't know it either--but the crosses filled it in with no trouble at all, so why all the sturm und drang over it? "Put in the paper" was a bit tricky, but come on. Just not that tough.

Thank you, Robyn, as always, for this gem.

Barbara S. 8:38 AM  

During my first pass reading the across clues I thought this was going to be a disaster as I got absolutely nothing until 22A’s MINE and then nothing again until “Old Possum’s Book of Practical CATS” at 31A. Slim pickings. But switching over to the down clues helped and soon I was away to the races. I finished up in the DOM-RENE-TROPHY area, too. I also had trouble with TROPHY and TRASH and had no idea about La Rana RENE. I had an oddly hard time coming up with RAN for [Put in the paper], but I did eventually get it. And unlike Rex, when I saw _ENE I thought the missing letter had to be R. Sometimes being unimaginative helps. Like Rex, I ended up dropping down to the SE corner (at which point there was nowhere to run) and completing it early on.

LYE in pretzels seemed really wrong (hi, @Wanderlust), but get this: ”LYE is a strong alkali that can be dangerous if misused, but it's LYE that enhances the Maillard reaction on the outside of the dough. This reaction gives each pretzel a chewy crust, mahogany color, glossy sheen, and that unmistakable pretzel flavor typical of a German soft pretzel.” (emphasis the author’s). But that just raises another question, so here’s the answer: “The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its distinctive flavor.” OK then. But I’m still not wildly keen on the notion of eating LYE.

This is a folksy, laid-back video about ROSA Bonheur’s The Horse Fair. And while we’re on the subject of art, here’s The Picture of DORIAN Gray as it appeared in the 1945 movie. This painting was commissioned especially for the film and if you look at Albright’s other work, you can see that he was the perfect choice to paint it.

@Nancy (from last night) This one’s for you.

[SB: yd: 0. My last word was one which has given some of us trouble before.]

Smith 9:04 AM  

@RJ 6:17
Love Michael Connelly! Waiting for Desert Star to come to library. Meanwhile read The Law of Innocence which is quite different.

Nancy 9:06 AM  

This was a real "keep the faith" solve for me as I took a SKYDIVE (no, didn't have it yet) out of the fiendish NW and found my toehold all the way down at ARKS.

I couldn't think of SKY DIVE -- only of parachuting and bailing, though at least I knew enough to put myself in an airplane. I thought that a nice nickname for Angels might be HALOS, but it was a total guess and I wouldn't write it in. I never thought of FACE for the watch; only of HAND or STEM. Without FACE, I wasn't about to get FALTER.

My RuN instead of RAN at 30A kept me from seeing COPY THAT (great clue/answer). And my selfish toddler was screaming MORE, not MINE.

One semi-cheat got me through this. When CARE PACKAGE came in, I typed "Vegas hotel beginning with an A" into Google and out came ARIA. I felt semi-virtuous for not typing in the clue's slogan and that's why I'm calling it a "semi"-cheat. Right, Robyn? Wrong, you say???

Exceptionally well-clued, very lively and original, this was one of Robyn's toughest puzzles in a while, I thought. And wonderful, as always.

Todd 9:18 AM  

It went pretty easy for me as far as Fridays go. I had no clue about the frog but the crosses fell in. Trophy care package, and trash panda. Though I don't know that I have seen raccoons referred to such. But made sense.

Joe Dipinto 9:26 AM  

"Gray in a picture" is a much better clue without the question mark, which just calls attention to the supposed trickery. It's not like that's some commonplace grammatical construction. Without the ?, it's sneakier.

And "Stock holder?" should be written as two words since that is how you spell the answer's description, never mind the silly attempted misdirect.

Well, when he took us into court I couldn't believe my eyes
The judge was a fishin' buddy that I recognized
I said "Hey, judge, old buddy, old pal"
"I'll pay ya that hundred I owe ya if you'll get me outta this spot"
So he gave my friends a little fine to pay
He turned around and grinned at me and said
"Ninety days, Jerry, when you hot, you hot"
'n' I said "THANKS A LOT"

thfenn 9:29 AM  

Echo all the praise already heaped on both the puzzle and the constructor, as well as most of the already noted missteps.

My troubles lay in the SE, where the stockholder was a pig PEN and zeroes are EVEN. But got out of that jam eventually. Last letter in was the 'T' of the CATS/TERI cross, but at least there was a limited number of options. Some trouble in the NE with MONEYtraPS and SKYjump, but for the most part just smiled all the way through this. Thanks, Robyn.

RooMonster 9:34 AM  

Hey All !
Quick puz after a slow start. Didn't have Rex's "whoosh whoosh", but solved at a steady pace, and came in just under 18 minutes. Fast for me.

Had RuN for RAN, giving me HuT at the end of 8D, (Roger's relative?) thinking it may be something about either football, or the military. Actually had oUT at first, thinking "over and oUT", but that was too long. Reread 30A clue, (Put in the paper) and realized it could be RAN, not RUN. Is there a name for words like that? Two different, but similar words that basically mean the same thing in a certain context? Simultaneous Similarity? Simularians?

Chuckled at Rex's screed over RENE. I had ___PHY for 23A, (It's equivalent to a cup) and saw it was TROPHY. Then RENE was filled by crossers. No fretting or needing to rant two paragraphs about it.😁

Had ARcS first for ARKS, giving me LAcEHOUSES. Har, how are they (Superior dwellings, say) said I. Nice forehead slap once I saw my mistake.

Could've cross-referenced CATS with IVES.

As I was going to St. IVES
I met a man with seven wives.
Each wife had seven sacks
each sack had seven cats
each cat had seven kits.
Kits, cats, sacks, and wives
How many were going to St. IVES? (It was a riddle in Die Hard 3)

One F

Wright-Young 9:53 AM  

Good, solid, fun!

Nancy 9:56 AM  

@Barbara S -- What an interesting article and collection of film clips. I didn't know any of that, though I had known that Jed Harris was a real scumbag from, I think, Moss Hart's "Act One".

So I didn't know that "Stage Door" was part parody and part satire. I probably would have hated the film anyway -- but I really enjoyed the link you provided. And it beautifully shows Hepburn's ability to laugh at herself in later years. By then she'd lost all that youthful earnestness that could make her quite insufferable when she was young.

Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

the stanley cup is a trophy

Argy 10:06 AM  

Sci-fi author’s creation: world? An easy fill-in but you’re better than that Robyn.

andrew 10:12 AM  

Never heard of TRASHPANDA.
Many rewrites, ultimately DNF.

Wonderfully entertaining Friday nonetheless. I’d say once again MElikey, but that made more sense yesterday (though I had MEME for selfish toddler - thought that was Robyn’s clever way of cluing the ubiquitous viral image).

CDilly52 10:13 AM  

@Anon 6:42AM. I’ve often had the identical reaction!

mathgent 10:18 AM  

The only thing I got out of Rex today is the explanation for DROVE. So many empty words.

Nice puzzle. Sorry that I can't share in all the excitement Ms. Weintraub's work always creates here.

CDilly52 10:21 AM  

@Wanderlust 7:17AM. About the soft pretzels. A small amount if lye is used in the almost boiling water that’s used to set the “skin” on the dough’s exterior so that the result is the shiny brown crust without being crunchy. Form the pretzel, let it proof, slip it into nearly boiling water with just a tad of lye, take it out to drain, add the salt, move to a sheet pan and bake.

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

Can someone please explain "current phenomenon" and "rip"?

misterarthur 10:29 AM  

I got stuck in the SE corner (the only bit I had left to do) I had "Pen" for stockholder - thinking of cattle.

Beezer 10:29 AM  

This was just a masterful piece of work by RW! I really can’t add much of anything to the praise of the excellent clueing and answers. Like some who have commented I struggled at first for purchase but it was like a locomotive starting slowly and then zooming along.

Yeah, hand up for not understanding @Rex’s problem with Kermit/RENE. A great substitute name if you ask me La Rana René…kind of like Fred the Frog in English. Well, alliterative.

Like @mmorgan I solved the Outback clue thinking of cattle. Kind of embarrassing since I drive a Subaru (but not an Outback!)

@LMS…maybe the “downfall” of human POMERANIANs was that they had the same kind of attitude as the dog breed! Plus I’m with you on the descriptor of “selfish” with toddler. I personally have never encountered an altruistic toddler.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

Jeff Chen explained why he didn't make this his POW. I don't keep track but it seems that the POW is usually a too cute tricky puzzle rather than a themeless. For this reason I'm betting on Sunday rather than tomorrow for POW (Unless I missed it already).

TTrimble 10:34 AM  

@Anonymous 10:26 AM
"Rip" as in "rip tide".

Another Anon 10:35 AM  

@Anon 10:26. I wondered too and then forget about it. When I read your post it hit me, Current refers to water movement, RIP tide.

The Joker 10:37 AM  

I object to the blatant toddlerism in this blog today!

Whatsername 10:38 AM  

I printed the puzzle last night before I went to bed and among my first thoughts this morning was the delightful prospect of a Robyn Weintraub Friday! And as usual, she exceeded my expectations. I can recall a few criticisms of her puzzles as being “too easy“ but I disagree. Hers are are not simple but simply so well constructed that everything falls into place beautifully. As scientific proof of that I offer the fact that I did not have to look up a single proper name today, even though there were several I did not know from the clue. And appreciate the bare minimum of PPP to begin with too.

Who doesn’t love a TRASH PANDA? Well I don’t when they get into my birdfeeders and my CATS wake me up in the middle of the night wondering what in the WORLD this is trespassing ALL OVER their back porch. Then I GRUMP my way out of bed, grab the broom and go outside in my nightgown yelling THANKS A LOT at the poor creature who was just trying to have a quiet midnight snack.

I made note of my favorite entries but too many to list. Thank you Robyn, a joy as always.

Crimson Devil 10:41 AM  

Much enjoy Ms Weintraub.
Here there, get out, Roger rel, Superior, lender, Outback, but not precedent followers, at least this SCOTUS. DNK toy place.

CDilly52 10:43 AM  

Oh happiest of Fridays when I see the Robyn Weintraub byline! Today was just stellar. Don’t get the RENE rant. Because it’s a RW, “cup” was obviously going to be anything but a drinking or measuring vessel, or unit of measurement. My brain (properly caffeinated) immediately jumped to “award.” With COPY THAT and ALL OVER THE MAP in place, TROPHY settled right in and “awarded” me with RENE.

Because I’m squarely in the “can only hear snark” camp, I typically say a simple but sincere “Thank you,” or “Thanks so much” rather than THANKS A LOT. Loved all the long acrosses.

An “oh good grief” feeling seemed to increase as the puzzle moves from N to S with THANKS A LOT (for nothing!) could be a thought after an unhelpful attempt from a bystander, which might leave you ALL OVER THE MAP trying to get a task completed. Upon a metaphorical face plant caused by the unhelpful “assistance” generating the
initial snarky comment, you roll your eyes, prepare for another attempt and think HERE WE GO AGAIN.

No eye rolling today. Just sincere thanks for a delightful Friday solve. Kepp ‘em coming, Robyn!

Airymom 10:45 AM  

Thanks Robyn---"nobody does it better."

Copy that.

bocamp 10:48 AM  

Thx, Robyn; another winner! :)


Good start in the NW & MW, then down the West Coast, over to the SE, finishing up the East Coast (which was the most challenging part of the puz).

TRASH PANDA needed all the crosses, hence the holdup in that sector.

Fun solve; liked it a lot! :)

@Barbara S. 😊 for recent SB prowess!
Peace 🕊 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🙏

jae 10:52 AM  

Easy. It would have been easier if i hadn’t had Pen before POT for Stockholder (no frog problems for me). As a SoCal resident I put in HALOS followed by HTML and just kept going. This was easier than Wednesday’s. Solid and smooth with plenty of sparkle, liked it. It was a typical fun and breezy Robyn puzzle.

Wanderlust 10:56 AM  

Thanks! Now I can happily eat them again.

Gary Jugert 11:06 AM  

Quite delightful. Another 3 am solve since what're gonna do when the cat decides to take a bath on your pillow and your mind is full of chaos and doom.

This puzzle was challenging, but looking back on it you'd swear it was written by a poet. Obscure, delightful, and a minimum of unknown actresses (and one was KERMIT!). I suppose some people know them. And too many great phrases and clues to list.

Even for a themeless Friday, this starts the weekend off right.


1 Designer Furstenberg accepts lint rollers as part of her fashion lines.
2 Angry old man trying unsuccessfully to grow roses and tomatoes in the umbra of neighboring marijuana farm.
3 Order of operations when the cord fails.
4 "But these Christmas decorations are very valuable."
5 Legal precedents covering whips, chains, leather masks, personal electrocution devices, and similar accoutrement.
6 Toss two teddies; or masked roommates.


Newboy 11:06 AM  

HERE WE GO AGAIN. Hand up for fra & frog! Everything else was gettable via fair crossing. That’s what I expected with Robyn as constructor. Friday + Weintraub = Fun. Our solve was ALL OVER THE MAP today’s with CATS & dogs & TRASH PANDAS to misdirect minds into seeking additional stock in the Pen rather than the POT. After a FALTERing moment or three, the penny dropped and we are joining those saying “THANKS ALOT” for your usual sparkle and clueing wit Robyn.

GILL I. 11:10 AM  

And que surprise...added to our fantastic menu is a reference to Los Muppets.
When on my travels to Mexico, I would sometimes take my small son with me so that he could take in the foods, the sights, the arts and the sounds of this country. As I would get ready for our city adventure, he'd put on the tv and watch "Los Muppets." Kermit, or so I thought, was named Gustavo. And if memory serves my purpose, Miss Piggy was called "La cerdita Comilon." THANKS A LOT for TROPHY giving me the R I needed for the verde RENE.
All of the kudos have been mentioned and....they are all well deserved. I won't say I breezed through, but I sure had fun with very few struggles. I now see that I oopsied at 11D. My raccoon, humorously was a TwASH PANDA ...I thought we might be talking toddler here and my wrong answer made me giggle. I can be a 5 year old like the best of them. Is there a hotel named AwIA in Vegas?...@Roo am I seeing things again?
Then Robyn gives us ROSA Bonheur. When I was young, my Dad gave me drawing pens and a pad and told me to draw whatever I wanted. I did. They were all horse drawings. We had several horses on our small finquita in Cuba and they were all beautiful. Bonheur became my go to idol. I thought I might try oils and paint my horse, "Gitano", in a rearing position. I made a sublime mess of it although maybe Dali might've liked my feeble attempts....Maybe DORIAN as well?
Gracias mucho for a really pleasant Friday.

egsforbreakfast 11:15 AM  

Customer: I think there’s poison in these pretzels.
Italian Baker: That’s a LYE!

When I saw 57A (Toy from a place that no longer exists) I was sure that the answer had to revolve around FAO Schwartz. I’m not so sure anymore.

Although I’m no longer keeping official stats, I was pleased to note a new HAE (Hidden Ass Equivalent) at 47A GRUMP.

If 58A MESH (Work harmoniously) had appeared yesterday, it would have been clued “quiet, please.”

I love to dig through mounds of clothes before buying at places like Goodwill, aka PAW’N’SHOP.

This was a Robyn Weintraub Friday. Did I love it? COPYTHAT!

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

Missed the Subaru connection with Outback and instead thought of drovers in the Outback driving sheep or cattle. Whether or not it’s a clever two-way clue, it drove me to DROVE.

johnk 11:19 AM  

I easily solved the lower 2/3, but after puzzling over the top row with few clues. The HARPS? Then BAND, CASE, STEM, HAND, FACE, DIAL? Then hmmmm. So working the crosses, HTML and AHOY came quickly, then RAMP. So, uh, soft pretzel compound is LYP? Maybe. What do I know. Finally, THANKS A LOT gave me the NW, and CARE PACKAGE the NE. Nice Friday.

Geezer 11:20 AM  

"THANKSALOT" depends on context. The speaker and the receiver of the phrase know what is meant at that moment. Sincerity or sarcasm.

Newboy 11:34 AM  

Thanks @Barbara for that great link (8:30ish). That artist & the site itself are well worth return visits.

TJS 11:35 AM  

Way too easy for a Friday. I knew Rex would be be in praise mode, and was actually surprised he wasn't more over the top, but the number of rave reviews from the gang here really surprised me. Of course the @LMS contribution makes the visit here always worth it.

Josh Hawley has an unintentionaly hysterical article in the WAPO this morning.

@Joe, now I have to go back and check out the lyrics to When Yer Hot Yer Hot. Forgot about that one. Thanks a lot.

Joseph Michael 11:41 AM  

HERE WE GO AGAIN. Another Robyn Weintraub masterpiece.

pmdm 11:47 AM  

I really liked the puzzle, even though I did have to google a some of the PPP.

Speaking of puzzles, one of the Jeopardy! contestants said yesterday that he has had a crossword puzzle published (I think in the LA Times) and has had one accepted for the NYT. Doesn't make up for the bidding blunder that lost him the game yesterday. Hope it will not age in the queue very long.

My parents had a funny story about a racoon when they used to go to my brother's place in the Poconos. If I had the time, I would relate it here. But I'm off to a prep high school luncheon. Maybe some other time.

Hope this does not display twice. I hit the wrong button. If it does, sorry.

Tom P 11:50 AM  

When I saw the constructor's name, I knew we were in for a treat, and Robyn did not disappoint. Toughest area for me was the NE because I never heard the phrase "trash panda" and had no idea which Vegas hotel belonged to that slogan. Loved the clues on ADAM, DROVE and POMERANIAN. A fun Friday for sure!

beverly c 12:03 PM  

I had to start in the SE, after a trip around the grid. Then things started flowing. I only saw the Australian DROVEr reading of 45D. First attempt for 27D was ROYALSUITE, as I missed the lake reference until getting here.

I wanted something with bandana for the raccoon clue, but TRASH was inferable once TROPHY came to light. And hesitated to enter DESKS for 21A as a monitor could have been a lizard…

RENE didn’t give me any trouble compared to the CATS/TERI cross. I had to insert several different letters in there to get the happy music.


I too was excited to see Robyn’s name on the puzzle and was not disappointed. THANKS so much!

jberg 12:07 PM  

Am I the only one who had dial/dithER instead of FACE/FALTER? With the two errors confirming each other, I stuck to them for far too long.

And then there was 25-A. Omnipresent? Nope, too short. Must be ubiquitous? Also too short, in fact same as the above. Then I had AL_O from crosses, and the light dawned: ALL OVER THE pla.... Oops. At least that let me change pentHOUSES (superior dwellings in the sense of the ones on top) to LAKEHOUSES. I had considered the lake, but I wanted ice shanties, or maybe houses on stilts in the water, but PENT seemed so apt.

All that, plus fra and RuN, really slowed me down. I didn't really appreciate the puzzle until after I finished. But that's good!

FMA 12:09 PM  

Terrific puzzle - what a blast to solve. Love "Spent some time in the Outback..."
Thanks a lot!, Robyn

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

It’s a common book discussion topic to speak of the “world building” in science fiction.

Masked and Anonymous 12:20 PM  

Any puz that has MONSTERMASH in it has the M&A automatic seal of approval. No need for additional "Exremely hardcore work commitments". And yet, of course, this puz also had such mega-hits as: TRASHPANDA. THANKSALOT. ALLOVERTHEMAP. HEREWEGOAGAIN. SKYDIVE. TROPHY. etc.

Least fave, nanosecond-guzzlin thing: RENE. Plus a ROSA here and a DIANE there. Nuthin too extremely hardcore, tho.

staff weeject pick: ETS. Plural abbreve meat. Neat ET clue, btw.

Another Weintraub themeless masterpiece. Hate to be greedy, but sure wish she did lotsa ThursPuzs, too. Oooh, oooh -- or maybe a themed FriPuz?!!

Thanx a lot, Ms. Robyn darlin. Another primo job.

Masked & Anonymo1U


Anonymous 12:25 PM  

The wordplay is just so good — you think, wait, how is that — and then you read the clue again…. (“Hmm okay, a lake house is usually pretty nice, but would you really call it *superior*…. Ohhhhhhh!!!!”

Then you have the multiple longer answers that don’t come to you until you’ve filled out a sufficient number of crosses. The joy that comes from seeing a scattering of odd letters across a long span and having the solution pop into the old noggin after squinting just right…. Ohhhhhhh, this is what crosswording is all about, baby!

Huge bonus points for post-solve reading and learning — the life and times of Rosa Bonheur, and the fact that a good chunk of the world knows the green one as La Rana Rene. 😘

Beezer 12:37 PM  

@pmdm, yes, it is Sam Buttrey. He had a Monday puzzle published in the WSJ in March of this year.
Sam wuz robbed!

Michiganman 12:51 PM  

Enjoyed the solve and then saw who the constructor is. "Oh", said I, "She's the one known for pretty good Fridays". Makes sense.

I have posted a long version of a raccoon story before. Here's the short one.
Went camping.
Secured food in car.
Left car windows open.
Raccoons ate.
I didn't.

Made in Japan 12:56 PM  

A good Friday puzzle. I don't understand Rex's fixation with RENE. It was easily inferable from all the crosses, and we can't expect Friday clues to be easy. I could just as easily complain about HALOS in the prime starting position, since I don't care about pro sports, an industry of millionaires and billionaires that somehow needs taxpayer money to build their stadiums and arenas. Sorry for the rant.

Anonymous 1:04 PM  

He's my guilty pleasure. I love the attitude change over the years

Whatsername 1:11 PM  

@TJS (11:35) I’m a resident of the state that elected the author of the Washington Post article and am very interested in reading it but can’t get past the firewall without a subscription. In an unsuccessful attempt to do so, I went to his Facebook page and his website where I learned, among other things, that he uses terms like “dem losers.” One might conclude he’s forgotten that he’s obligated to represent all Missouri citizens and not just the ones who agree with his political party. But that didn’t surprise me in the least. What did surprise me was a fundraiser advertising $20 mugs bearing the image of his infamous fist salute in camaraderie with the January 6 insurrectionists - many of whom are now serving time in prison. Remember that day? When he led the charge to stop the certification of a fair and free democratic election? We’re so proud.

king_yeti 1:22 PM  

I have a foreign relative who wanted me to get her some St. Ives face scrub. She pronounced it like “Steve’s”.

Bob Mills 1:31 PM  

Easy for a Friday, except for the NE. Never heard of TRASHPANDA, which made it hard. The clue for ADAM is brilliant, but if I hadn't figured it out I'd be calling it "nasty."

LenFuego 1:49 PM  

It just dawned on me scrolling through the comments that LAKE HOUSES are Superior dwellings not because it is better to live on a lake than not (although it is, because I have done both), but because they would be on Lake “Superior”. So that clue was way better than I originally thought.

Anonymous 3:18 PM  

I wanted AIR for RAN for some reason. TROPHY and TRASHPANDA went in smoothly enough for me. I wanted La Rana RATA but that's the frog rat? No... Got RENE from the crosses. Favorite clue was for POMERANIAN, I only know toy is a kind of dog from watching the WKC yeeeears ago haha. Pomerania was a German state, no? Felt hard but finished in 17 minutes. I liked this one.

Anoa Bob 4:07 PM  

I'm the antithesis of a speed solver but I went through this gem of a puzzle in Tuesdayish time (hi kitshef @7:20). Not being a GRUMP; no complaint at all. I need a cluing-in-my-wheelhouse puzzle like this now and then to reassure me that senile dementia hasn't made me DOTTY---yet. Everything just seemed to click. I got 23A "It's equivalent to a cup" TROPHY right away, partly because my first NYTXW had FIFA WORLD CUP as one of the themers (clued as "Quadrennial soccer championship").

Being a former Navy swabbie helped with 1D AHOY ("Call of port") and 54A SHORE LEAVE ("Time spent on land, maybe"). The latter was called "Liberty" or "Going on liberty" back then and was announced over the intercom as "Liberty call, liberty call". Those were a sailor's favorite two words. Yes! Freedom! At least for a few hours. Then back to "Continue ship's work".

Anonymous 4:10 PM  

That was a cool, fun Friday! (Never thought I'd associate those words with a Friday puzzle).

Blue Stater 4:41 PM  

Ghastly. Full of mistakes, an all too common occurrence on Friday. POMERANIA still exists (Vorpommern, in Germany; I believe there's a region of Poland with a similar name); CARE packages originated after WWII, when CARE was established (I forget what the letters stood for, but think "E" stood for "Europe") for ordinary Americans to send help to European families ravaged by the war (my family adopted one in Marigny, France; 30 years later we visited them with much merriment all round). At any rate, nothing to do with the "clue." For the umpteenth time, WS: run these through the NYT copydesk and you'll avoid howlers (or a collection of howlers) like this mess.

TTrimble 5:06 PM  

Did anyone decipher the reference in @LMS's avatar? Hint: first name René.

So it seems La Rana RENE translates to René the Frog. Incidentally, a quick perusal suggests that 'rana' doesn't carry an ethnic slur meaning in Mexico that 'frog' does in the United States for a French person.

I had no idea that Kermit the Frog was born in 1955! That's when Jim Henson introduced the Muppets; they were originally conceived as playing for an adult audience (meaning for adult levels of sophistication, not risqué). Now the Muppets are owned by Disney (natch).

George C. Marshall 5:48 PM  

The name stood for 'Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe. ' As CARE's activities broadened, this was changed to the 'Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere.

Anonymous 5:49 PM  

Wash my face in lye water I got a date with the Captains daughter. The Band

Beezer 6:03 PM  

@TTrimble…pretty sure “rana” also is frog in Latin (although I’ve said in past I think my Latin teacher had early dementia by the time I had her)…LMS please don’t be pissed off! She WAS the last bastion of Latin in my semi-backwoods high school! Anyway, TTrimble I think “rana” in this context was not meant to be a slur.

TTrimble 6:25 PM  

"Anyway, TTrimble I think “rana” in this context was not meant to be a slur."

Yes, that is what I was saying as well.

Anoa Bob 6:35 PM  

I forgot to compliment @michicanman's 12:51 amusing summary of his camping episode and run-in with some TRASH PANDAs. It had a nice minimalist feel to it while still telling the story, kind of like a haiku poem. I trust the raccoons ate well.

Beezer 6:39 PM  

@TTrimble…I agree! Although I confess I don’t know who you quoted. I mean…Kermit IS a frog. Lol…I’m sure many princesses think they are cute as a button until they have to kiss them! 🤣

Ok. I’ll say it. Who thinks @liveprof might be Sam Buttrey? After all, @liveprof is funny as hell.

Anonymous 7:54 PM  

Trivia item: Angela Merkel is a Pomeranian. And she would probably be extremely irritated to learn that the place she comes from no longer exists.


dgf 8:27 PM  

Pomerania is described as an "historical" region" I think the clue works. All districts which presently have that in their name do not cover the whole historical province of Pomerania in Prussia and include areas that were never part of Pomerania. Since WWII only a small part of the old Pomerania is even in Germany. Most is in modern Poland.

albatross shell 11:01 PM  

RENE died in 1650 so ROSA never painted a horse before Descartes.


MONSTERMASH needed no crosses and got me the lower 2/3 with slow but steady progress. The North mashed me pretty good with erratic progress until I gave up and cheated my way through. I usually do better on Robyn Fridays. The puzz deserves the praise, not me, not me. Alas.

Anonymous 9:10 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 9:11 AM  

Copy that!

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

I think we all look for LMS. And then I scan for Joaquin, always spot on. Then I see if there’s a dust up about anything, and I’m out. Thanks all for entertaining me week in and week out.

Unique Aesthetics 1:08 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
spacecraft 11:09 AM  

Smooth and easy here. I did not know the frog deal, but I used to play SPITE and malice with relatives, so that was a gimme. Always enjoy RW. Birdie.

Wordle par.

Diana, LIW 1:35 PM  

Tee hee. A two-letter dnf. "decks" crossing "tropky" and "trackpanda." Hey - what do I know about racoons?

The rest came together just fine. So for me on a Friday, this is success.

Diana, LIW

Burma Shave 2:44 PM  


when she RAN to MEET OLDER men,
in SPITE of ALL THAT she got,


Burma Shave 2:45 PM  


cries ADAM to a PAIR of girls,


rondo 2:55 PM  

Some writing over in today's excellent puz. My stockholder was a Pen before a POT, DOM was a fra, HTtp before HTML, and SHae before SHEA. Not as clued, but DIANE LANE is in the puz, yeah baby.
Wordle birdie!

thefogman 6:02 PM  

Robyn Weintraub. That is all you need to say. One of the finest constructors. Once again, she did not disappoint.

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