Victoria singer known for her gothic blues style / FRI 11-25-22 / Coffee-brewing portmanteau / Biryani base / Site of 2022's Woman Life Freedom protests / Costumer's measurement / Annual bodybuilding competition won 10 times by Iris Kyle / Title girl of a 1957 Dale Hawkins hit

Friday, November 25, 2022

Constructor: Simon Marotte

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: ADIA Victoria (51D: ___ Victoria, singer known or her "gothic blues" style) —


Adia Victoria (born July 22, 1986) is an American singer and songwriter. In addition to playing and writing music, she also writes poetry. She is currently based in Nashville. [...] Victoria is sometimes associated with Americana music, she has distanced herself from the genre, saying, "I’m not an Americana artist. I have no interest in being appropriated by that genre." However, her position seems to have softened as, in 2022, she performed at a nominations event hosted by the Americana Music Association and was nominated for their Emerging Artist of the Year award at their 21st awards ceremony. [...] Rolling Stone describes her as "PJ Harvey covering Loretta Lynn at a haunted debutante ball." (wikipedia) [it's pronounced 'uh-DEE-uh' I believe]
• • •

I am way too full of Thanksgiving to be of much use to anyone, for anything, but I'll give this a (short) shot. It thought it was decent. Just fine. Very easy. All of the difficulty came from a couple of single-letter errors that I made along the way. The first, and worst, of these was writing in PANCHO, as in "PANCHO & Lefty,"  rather than PONCHO, as in raincoat, at 39A: Garment that's pulled over the head. That "A" absolutely killed me, as I took one look at MSA- at 33D: Annual bodybuilding competition won 10 times by Iris Kyle and wrote in MS. AMERICA. Sounded right, felt right, and ALIT (60A: Came down) "confirmed" the last "A," so I was really locked in. Total amount of time spent extricating myself from this whole probably didn't amount to much, but considering how easy the puzzle was otherwise, it felt like a major hold-up. I also wrote in IPAD instead of IPOD (of course) (32A: Touch, for one), so I had 27D: Performer whose face is rarely seen as a BAD-something or other (instead of the correct BODY DOUBLE). Beyond that, the only issues I had were parsing / spelling problems on the slangier answers. I DON'T felt straightforward, so I was a little hesitant with WANNA, but it worked out (6D: Whiner's "You can't make me!"). Later, I couldn't stop reading the answer at 11D: "Beats me" as "I GOT NO ___," and since the blank was four letters, I wanted only CLUE or IDEA, both of which were clearly wrong (the answer was "I GOT NOTHIN'"). I also had some hesitancy / uncertainty in that same corner with  [___ party] (POOL) and the front end of 10D: Enlist (ROPE IN). I think I wrote SIGN IN at first. But these were all really minor frustrations. Mostly I tore through this, even with the Thanksgiving Torpor upon me.

Really hate seeing SCUM at all, ever (45A: Film about fish tanks?). It's just a repulsive word, no matter the clue. A jarring tone shift in an otherwise light and breezy puzzle. Loved seeing PRAIRIE DOG, as I have loved seeing PRAIRIE DOGs all week here in Colorado. We've been walking in various nature preserves and around various lakes and any time there's a large expanse of flat open ground: prairie dogs. Highly social, highly alert, highly adorable, occasionally hilarious. One of them started screaming loudly as I came walking up the path in its direction, but the other PRAIRIE DOG who was with him just looked up from his digging, took one look at me, and went "nah, that's nothing," and went back to digging. So the first guy stopped screaming, but he did not stop staring. Extreme "I'm watching you, mister" stare. There are very large raptors in the area, so those prairie dogs have a lot to watch out for. Speaking of raptors, we saw any number of hawks, not one but two bald eagles, and, best of all, a great horned owl that looked just like part of a tree until its head moved. Eventually we got too close and it took off in silent, gorgeous, probably murderous flight. Spectacular. Anyway, it's back to Binghamton tomorrow, where there are no PRAIRIE DOGs, though there are bald eagles, and probably owls, if I'm just attentive enough to notice. Last word on the puzzle: nothing really Grabbed me, but it was a solid overall effort, and I really admired the clue on NIGHT SHIFT (30D: Late assignment). Perfect clue, perfect misdirection. I don't think anything requires any special explanation, so I'll sign off now. See you tomorrow, assuming all my plane stuff goes OK. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. OK, a few explanations, just in case: "bones" are slang for "dice," hence 14A: Funny bones? = LOADED DICE. And IAN FLEMING created James Bond, hence the [Bond issuer?] clue. Swim and track MEETs have different segments or "heats," which makes a MEET (today) a [Heated competition?]

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 3:02 AM  

Easy in spite of making the missteps as @Rex...signIN before ROPEIN and americA/PaNCHO/ALIT (which confirmed americA) before OLYMPIA.

Solid and sparkly with some delightful word play....funny bones...and a POW from Jeff. Liked it a bunch!

...and I highly recommend the MARISA Tomei episodes of Seinfeld now streaming on Netflix.

Anonymous 3:31 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 5:15 AM  

This was a quick one. Only hang up was in the NE corner mainly because EELY is so bad. Is HAD A BLAST akin to EAT A SANDWICH? Big IAN FLEMING fan so it was nice seeing him pop up. Also liked WINE SNOBS but didn’t like it this close to SNOGS. Otherwise fairly boring and easy.

Gary Jugert 6:02 AM  

I failed to mention this yesterday, but I am thankful to ๐Ÿฆ– and all of you for this little corner of the world. You're smart, comical, joyous and maddening, and when you share a part of your life, you become a delightful part of my days.

As for the puzzle at hand, should we be suspicious of a super easy well written offering on a holiday weekend? What are they up to over there in the Big Apple? Are the usual editors on vacation? When SNOGS is as raunchy as it gets, you can assume a SISSY from the sub POOL is working some SLY magic in a PANCHO by tilting at grown-ups.

I don't cook, but never envisioned quiche as a pie. I guess it is in a good way. Sure glad I knew IAN FLEMING as the southwest had several proper nouns relying on the cross.

Speaking of NESPRESSO, I teach ukulele tuning with the memory aid "George Clooney Eats Apples," but kids these days have no idea who George is despite the coffee commercials, so the moral of the story is you can be named the sexiest man alive twice and still live in obscurity drinking coffee.




1 He of the dominant class ensuring his privileges are preserved at the expense of his reputation.
2 Where it's kinda delicious and kinda gross to swim.
3 Shopaholics comment upon entering credit card numbers for an embroidered dog pillow.
4 Denizens of the gutter.
5 Understatement describing 2012 hurricane.
6 Cabela's shopper. (Joking.)
7 Attempts to contract the plague or just get bit.
8 The fat me in the mirror instead of the skinny me in my head.
9 Roids (but hopefully not).
10 Small town teen hangout.


Conrad 6:07 AM  

Only two overwrites: roster instead of LINEUP at 20A and signup for ROPEIN at 10D. Both easily corrected. For the latter, the I in RUINS at 23 A made my error signIn, which doesn't fit the clue, then the R in RICE at 10A gave me my ROPE.

OffTheGrid 6:48 AM  

Pretty solid Friday overall but with a few clunkers. Bones for DICE is pretty obscure. After solving I Googled "bones slang" and lots of other stuff came up before DICE. IPOD for Touch? I get it but Touch could refer to almost anything. At this point I will ignite the CANI/mAyI debate. "Please?" is asking for permission which is clearly "May I?" Just because people say CANI? does not make it correct. Thanks for listening and have a pleasant day.

okanaganer 6:50 AM  

This was a really good puzzle, the long answers were so great, but it went so fast! Either the clues were easy or this was really bang on my wavelength / wheelhouse. I just blew through this in 8 minutes, and I am not a fast solver. Bam, bam, bam the answers went in.

Road bumps: for "Port authorities", first wanted WINE STEWARDS which didn't fit. For 43 down "1957 Dale Hawkins hit" I was thinking SUSIE? as in "wake up little Susie" but wrong song... CCR's hit version SUSIE Q came 9 years later!

Hope all you Americans enjoyed your Thanksgiving, even though you celebrate it way too late from my Canadian perspective. Our final municipal yard waste pickup is Friday morning and I'm stressed out because the arctic air blast on November 1 created a giant dump of leaves from my trees which was immediately buried in wet snow which quickly froze into a slab of ice which I cannot hope to excavate without power tools. Winter is here!

Anonymous 7:01 AM  

Somehow this all made sense: REBS (some minor league team, short for REBELS, why not?) and IPAD crossing ... BABY DOUBLE. Though I expect most BABY DOUBLEs are dolls and not actual performers.

Anonymous 7:24 AM  

Too easy, in that what will I do with my life, now?

Got hung up on 'enlist' for a while.

Enjoyed loaded dice

Anonymous 7:43 AM  

Too easy for a Friday.

pabloinnh 8:04 AM  

Very familiar feel due to HORSY and BODYDOUBLE, who were just in the neighborhood. A double dose of informality with IDONTWANNA and IGOTNOTHIN. Had IPAD for IPOD and I started filling in MSUNIVERS but had to stop at the S, easy fix, and then I was done, all too soon.

Fun enough answers but too easy breezy for me for a Friday, when I like to scratch my head a little. I enjoyed your effort, SM, but I've Seen More fight put up on a Wednesday. Thanks for the fleeting fun.

Anonymous 8:05 AM  

Like @Gary Jugert, I’m grateful for this little community I check in on every morning.
Gary, I like your ukulele mnemonic. I learned that tuning ages ago as “my dog has fleas.” Only now does it occur to me that that phrase has nothing to do with letter names or anything else. Yet I still remember it. Whatever gets the information to stick, I suppose.
Fun puzzle. I started at 6 across and worked clockwise, finishing in the NW, kind of a rarity for me. After all that exertion, I think it’s time for another piece of sweet potato pie.

Space Is Deep 8:05 AM  

Too easy. No work today. I wanted more of a challenge. Something to spend some time on.

Anonymous 8:15 AM  

*Lots* of potential for missteps on this one. I had many things that fit the space and clue but were ultimately wrong. ROSTER for "List of players" and SIGNUP for "Enlist", for example. They weren't too hard to figure out as wrong but they did make it a touch more challenging.

Lewis 8:36 AM  

I learned something today about my Friday and Saturday solving. I come into these puzzles gullible. That is, I take the clues at face value, unless it’s a super obvious play on words. Thus, my starts are often slow. Today, for instance. But then I saw NIGHT SHIFT for [Late assignment], where I realized "assignment" wasn't school related, and somehow my brain shifted. Suddenly, clues that had just stumped me fell left and right. So, I’ll try to shift my brain before square one from now on.

But anyway, this puzzle was glorious fun. There were five question-mark clues, all winners, and I starred another three. Terrific wordplay and misdirect. Then there were the crossing mountain ranges (ATLAS and ALPS), a dense collection of five double letters in the last two columns, the lovely pair of SNOBS and SNOGS, plus POND near SCUM, and the bouncy ETSY / SANDY / HORSY / LAZY / EELY / SISSY / BODY.

The whole time, after my brain-shift, I was inner-squealing “Whee!” from the thrill of cracking the riddles bam bam bam, while being tickled by the humor. Crosslandia Coney Island, care of Simon Marotte. Thank you, sir, for this most entertaining outing!

Lewis 8:38 AM  

@pabloinnh -- You must have recently run into BODYDOUBLE in a different puzzle venue, as it was last in the NYT in 5/21.

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

Amy: adopted our 2nd greyhound from Colorado. Retired racers are almost always grateful to become beloved House dogs, and Frank was no exception. Imagine his delight when soon after moving in with us, we went on a roadtrip to Texas so I could run a marathon. He appropriated the back seat and the 2nd bed in the motel room. And then we visited a Prairie Dog Town with him. Love and amazement lit up his big brown eyes.
As for the puzzle, well it zipped along for this Old. Several clues were easy for Boomers. Not complaining: stayed up late enjoying the holiday.

Son Volt 8:55 AM  

Not with the best of late week puzzles - but fun and well filled. Wasn’t a lot of pushback. Like @pablo the two informals jumped out - no issue with them but not a norm. Are PIZZA ROLLS still a thing - I can remember my kids eating them 25 years ago? REDS as sluggers is questionable.

The HORSY - SCUM combo is rough. The Lake ISLE of Innesfree. Not sure I’m down with the WINE SNOBS connection or not - all the Portuguese masons I know who love their port would argue that one.

Ronny and the Daytonas

Enjoyable Friday solve.

pabloinnh 9:00 AM  

@Lewis-That's entirely possible, but I thought I remembered a discussion here around a Sunday? answer involving a DOUBLE. I do two or three puzzles a day and am often confused so there's that.

Patrick Berry has a delightful NYorker today featuring new words from 2022, if you have access.

Anonymous 9:02 AM  

This was too medium for a Friday, Har!

Nancy 9:16 AM  

"Funny bones" is a great clue for LOADED DICE. (I got it just off the LOA).

The clues for NIGHT SHIFT, BODY DOUBLE, IAN FLEMING and PRAIRIE DOG are nice too, but I didn't get to enjoy the last two of them since, by the time I got there, I already had IANF and PRAI.

The problem is that so many of the other clues were not Friday level or even close to it. I'm especially looking at you ISLE, TRY, RICE, EELY, and ALIT.

So a pleasant enough puzzle that didn't put up much resistance. I do think it could have been made more challenging and that that would have been a good thing.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

Echoing your thankfulness! I never thought id spend so much of 2022 on a blogspot. Really enjoy reading others’ thoughts here. Makes puzzling less lonely.

RooMonster 9:18 AM  

Hey All !
Nice puz overall. Light dreck, pretty much just ACLU and TRI. Neat clue on SCUM (even if Rex doesn't like that word.) Fun seeing SUSIEQ in the puz

Just now noticed the symmetrical TRI and TRY. Only 6 "terrible threes" for @mathgent. WANNA hear @Anoa Bob go off on SISSY being a POC enabler. Har.

Had clog for DRIP holding me up a bit. Also roster for LINEUP. That SCUM clue had me thinking, "I don't remember a movie called SCUM." Great misdirect on that one.

Ended up a pretty quick solve for me, even though it started out a bit slower. I HAD A BLAST.

(Side nit, having nothing really to do with the puz: ETSY is now no longer a site for artisans, it's just another e-Bay basically. I was looking for something the other day, and it's all stuff you can buy anywhere else. Bummer...)

One F

kitshef 9:20 AM  

Great clue for LOADED DICE. Hand up for Rex's MS america (and before that, Muscleman).


Symmetry: TRI and TRY.

Barbara S. 9:22 AM  

The misdirection at 1A didn’t help “My Adventures in the NW” at all. [Book of legends] made me think sagAS? eddAS? I even went all sacrilegious and thought “bible”? “torAh”? None of those options had the ring of correctness and for some reason I didn’t look at the down clues (1D, 2D and 3D might have helped a lot), so I moved on and never got back to the NW until the very end.

Here’s another, more obscure kealoa: SLY or coY to answer [Artful]. Also IPOD, one third of our favorite kealoaulu was back. (Thanks, @Wanderlust from yesterday, for reminding me of the terminology.) Today’s IPOD, though, wasn’t really a keoloaulu: [Touch, for one] made the answer obvious.

HORSY again! Twice in one week. And speaking of animals, I love, love, love the [Parrot]/APE clue/answer combo. It comes up fairly often and it gives me a little thrill every time. Thinking about it really took me down a rabbit-hole (hah! pun at first accidental but now revised as intended). I started trying to think of other animal synonyms. Such as badger and hound. Or dodo and ass. Or rat and canary. Related is stool pigeon, but it doesn’t really work because of the necessity of “stool.” There’s also buffalo and cow (in the sense of intimidate) and buffalo and fox (in the sense of baffle). Mammoth and elephantine almost work except for the need for that pesky suffix. And how about monkey and horse if you stick an “around” after them. I’m sure there are more. Any contributions to this discussion would be welcome.

I love the expression I GOT NOTHIN’. Such an air of resigned helplessness – and haven’t we all been there. Also enjoyed thinking about the gorgeous ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, COVENT GARDEN. I was there once with Princess Margaret (such a fun-lover!) to see the Royal Ballet perform Don Quixote…Did I have you going there? Even for a moment? Yeah well, Princess Margaret and I were both there, she in the Royal Box and me at the back of the top balcony. The ballet was late starting because of the complexity of her arrival, and then the audience was kept in our seats at the end until she and her entourage departed. And even after that, the traffic remained snarled in a half-mile radius for ages. Ah, the intricacies of royal life. Margaret was the royal patroness of the Royal Ballet, and I was told by the chatty woman to my left that all this happened quite often.

I feel it my duty to leave you with art, so here’s Monet’s waterlily POND at Giverny in a painting at the Met, and here’s the man himself (on the right) standing on the Japanese bridge. Oh, and here’s my favorite MS OLYMPIA.

[SB: yd 0 – two days in a row, yay!
@okanaganer from yesterday: I take your point about the unwordishness of the E-word we were discussing, but my easy-word amnesia extends way beyond that. Here’s a sample of my diminutive SB nemeses.]

Birchbark 9:25 AM  

We have a piece of Indiginous Aboriginal art, "EMU Dreaming," by Erina Cox. Colorful dotted patterns on leather seem to travel out of the bird. A companion piece is called "Honey Ant Dreaming."

I see a little smoke still rising up out of the fire-pit, even though the bonfire was over twelve hours ago. Really gentle. We HAD A BLAST, and the Vikings won a good game. PIZZA ROLLS sound pretty good right now.

TJS 9:25 AM  

Had an @ Lewis reaction to this one, which is rare, but good. Just a bit too easy for a Friday but fine for the post/Thanksgiving torpor.

Would like to also offer my belated thanks for this community of puzzlers, even if I do come off as a grumpy old man too often. Can't do anything about the old, but I'll try to lighten up on the grump. Enjoy the weekend.

Wanderlust 9:27 AM  

Interesting that everyone found it so easy. It was relatively easy for me until the NE, where I might well have been thinking, “I got nothin’,”without seeing that was an actual answer. That answer was part of the problem because I had NOTHI, and it made no sense. I had WINE SNOBS (one of many great clues) and RUINS but I took them out because I wasn’t getting anywhere. (I doubted RUINS because of the inclusion of “the Mayans’” in the clue. Obviously you don’t need to include it - did some other culture have its own Chichรฉn Itzรก? So I thought it was going to be something about what that place was for the Mayans, like a temple, a capital, an observatory…) I finally saw CROSS BREED and the rest came easily.

I also had a short hiccup from sticking with acriD for “sour” (instead of GO BAD) for way too long.

Rex’s objection to SCUM’s inclusion seemed overly PRIM to me. That was probably my favorite clue (“film about a fish tank”), and scum is a real thing and not even all that gross compared to some things that show up in a puzzle. When I was in college sharing a house with three guys, two of whom were total
slobs, Todd and I got tired of being the only ones who cleaned the bathroom, so I started posting a daily “bathroom scum alert.” Didn’t work.

My runner-up favorite clue was “heated competition” for MEET. In both those cases (but not that of WINE SNOBS or IAN FLEMING) great cluing saved a blah (or in SCUM’s case, gross) answer. Love that.

Rex, I loved your PRAIRIE DOG riff - I have spent long periods just sitting and watching those little hammy performers when I’ve been out West, and I can totally picture that scene.

Anyone else having a GIRTH problem this morning? Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Smith 9:31 AM  

@Lewis @Pablo

I had the same thought, but I think we are remembering something like stuntwoman from a more recent puzzle, which generated a lot of comment about stuntdouble...

The double HORSY lately feels very nursery school.

Liked LOADEDDICE a lot (the answer, not the actual item). And Bond issuer, with the UC B hidden at the beginning of the clue. Which brings up a question: why do clues start with capital letters anyway? They aren't (usually) sentences.

Happy Friday!

Gary Jugert 9:51 AM  

@Barbara S. 9:22 AM
Your posts are wonderful.

egsforbreakfast 10:10 AM  

The clue @Joe D is thinking of was “Lucy Lawless had one on “Xena Warrior Princess “”. Answer was STUNTWOMAN. Appeared on 11/12/22.

WINESNOBS and SISSY make an appropriate crossing from my experience.

CANI (Italian for dogs) is a good cross for PRARIEDOG.

If Condoleezza RICE runs for president, could she count on her Biryani base?

I agree with the general sentiment that it was easy for a Friday (not the constructors fault), but a good solid puzzle that I enjoyed. Thanks, Simon Marotte.

mathgent 10:10 AM  

RooMonster (9:18). Actually, there were eight Terrible Threes, but that's still very good.

I never got to the turkey yesterday. My son had a mountain of Dungeness crab. Whenever I looked over at the bird, I started peeling a crab leg.

Nancy 10:32 AM  

"I was there once with Princess Margaret (such a fun-lover!) to see the Royal Ballet perform Don Quixote…Did I have you going there?"

Yes, @Barbara s. -- You definitely had me going there.

Java Man 10:33 AM  

The clue for NESPRESSO, Coffee-brewing portmanteau, should have indicated that NESPRESSO is a trademarked name.

Chris 10:34 AM  

Concur with the group--very easy, very fun. Mostly came to say that "Bond issuer" is one of the all-time great clues.
And now for a little culture, go listen to "Roll Them Bones" from Porgy and Bess (although I am sorry to report that I just learned there is a recent, similar named "song" from some outfit called Five Finger Death Punch. Not recommended.)

pabloinnh 10:35 AM  

@Smith-You're exactly right, and I was sitting here about to write almost the same thing. At least a DOUBLE showed up in the discussion department.

@egs=You may be thinking of me, but I'd be flattered if you thought I was @Joe D.

Joe Dipinto 10:37 AM  

@egs – I'm not thinking of anything, it's too early in the day.

Whatsername 10:51 AM  

Apparently the food coma has lifted from my brain because I had a lovely time flying through this one. I see in the constructor notes that Simon credits Robyn W. for her mentoring and IMO it shows that she had a hand in it. The only place I got snagged was the NE corner. SIGN UP before ROPE IN, LADIES SHOE before CROSSBREED, OILY before EELY and STARBUCKS before NEPRESSO which I had never heard of.

PONCHO nestled between SNOGS and HAD A BLAST created visions of a British couple having a good old time staying warm on a chilly day.

@Gary J (6:02) …thankful for this little corner of the world. You're smart, comical, joyous and maddening, and when you share a part of your life, you become a delightful part of my days. A number of people have expressed that same sentiment but you did it especially well, and I agree 100%.

Joseph Michael 10:54 AM  

Fun Friday puzzle with a lot of clever clues. Took me an extra moment to parse MSOLYMPIA, but finally remembered knowing someone who had MSO LYMPIA. I’m happy to report that he’s fine now.

Crimson Devil 10:56 AM  

Very nice Fri puz.

Nancy 10:57 AM  

Unlike many others here, "Port authorities?" for WINE SNOBS didn't quite work for me. WINE EXPERTS or WINE STORES or even WINE MAVENS would have worked better. Because WINE SNOBS often don't know what they're talking about; they only think they do. When I read phrases like "fragrant cigar box"; "tremendously fleshy"; or "lingering leather and tobacco notes"*, I wonder what on earth they're trying to convey and why anyone would want to drink such swill in the first place?

I think WINE SNOBS should have been clued with the word "authorities" in quotation marks.

*Odd as it may seem, I found every one of these most peculiar wine descriptions in an online review.

bocamp 11:13 AM  

Thx, Simon, for the smooth Fri. offering! :)


Very much on my wavelength.

Temporary brain-freeze: Awl for ADZ. lol


Loved 'Funny bones'.

Unknowns (hopefully learned): ADIA; 'Iris Kyle'.

๐Ÿ™s for IRAN.

HAD A BLAST; fun puz! :)

Thx @jae (3:02 AM)

Got MARISA queued on Netflix for later today (Seinfeld: S7, Ep 14). :)

@Barbara S. (9:22 AM) ๐Ÿ˜Š
Peace ๐Ÿ•Š ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ™

Tom T 11:18 AM  

@RooMonster: There's ROOs galore if one squints a bit today. A Hidden Diagonal ROO in the SW and a funny "push-me-pull-you" Boggle-style double ROO in the NE.

The stats list my Friday average time at 59 minutes plus, but there might ought to be a reset button, 'cause I've been under 25 minutes for 4 or 5 Fridays in a row.

MS OLYMPus was about my only write-over today, quickly cleared up by good ol' IANFLEMING.

Carola 11:20 AM  

Easy? Hunh. I came here ready to praise the just-right amount of Friday resistance, both in the not-so-obvious answers, like CROSSBREED and I GOT NOTHIN' and in the clever clues (LOADED DICE). But reviewing the grid, I see that after getting the top half filled, where the answers were coming in a slow DRIP DRIP DRIP, the flow of fun sped up toward the bottom. So many good, long answers!

Do-over: NO clue before NOTHIN'. Help from previous puzzles: IROCS. No idea: ADIA.

Teedmn 11:29 AM  

Hall and Oates got me out of the mess NO idea had me in, at 11D. (I took a hard look at iRI as an arm muscle and might have shrugged it off, but “SHE'S Gone” was the clincher.)

My only other write-over was, after ascertaining that 8D was ACLU, I wrote in UCLU,. A personal freedom org. in SoCal?

I didn’t like the way IANFL was looking down in the SE but when I read the clue, all was clear.

I had fun imagining clown suits being measured for GIRTH. I didn’t pay enough attention to 26D's clue and, as OPERA filled in, tried to think what sort of man- or woman-servant the “royals” had to take care of their OPERA needs.

Thanks, Simon Marotte, for this easy Friday.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

Enlist works if someone else enlists (ropes) you in. You cannot “rope” yourself.

JC66 12:04 PM  


I think that's why there's a "?" in the WINE SNOBS (Port authorities?) clue.

jberg 12:04 PM  

I've eaten a lot of biryani in my life. When my son lived in Namibia for a couple years he used to buy cans of vegetable biryani and eat them straight out of the can. But until I looked up the word just now I had always assumed that biryani was a dish you served over RICE, rather than a dish with rice combined with meat or vegetables. So I interpreted "Biryani base" as meaning the base of the sauce and, taking a wild stab, wrote in "ghee." It fit EELY, but pretty much ruled out OGR, and generally held me up quite a long time. When I finally sorted it out (or rather, the crosses sorted it for me) I figured that I GOT NO idea, rather than NO THIN. (Although the latter would be accurate after the terrific meal my daughter and her husband served up yesterday.)

I wanted roster, too, but RILE seemed pretty solid at that point, so I just waited for it. I was not so lucky with acriD, which I don't think means sour, but wrote it anyway.

But it all worked out in the end, and a good time was had by all.

@Lewis, @Pablo -- when you get to be my age, 5/21 IS "recent."

We're driving to Provincetown in a little while for our annual post-Thanksgiving weekend there; back Monday afternoon, so you may not see me until Tuesday. Have a nice weekend, everyone!

p.s. @Barbara S., yes, you had me going!

Masked and Anonymous 12:05 PM  

Primo themeless FriPuz. Prefer havin a theme, but PIZZAROLLS, IGOTNOTHIN, IDONTWANNA, & SUSIEQ made up for that. Also the already muchly marveled at LOADEDDICE clue, of course.

staff weeject picks (only 8 candidates): TRI & TRY again.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Marotte dude. Congratz on gettin a POW award, off yer very first themeless rodeo.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Anonymous 12:20 PM  

In response to a prior comment: I think “bones” for dice was very common at some point, although those days are long gone. But that was used a lot in hard-boiled detective stories. I think it’s completely fair game here.

Lewis, it’s interesting that you approach Friday and Saturday clues as being straightforward at first. That might be true for Friday, but if I don’t know a Saturday answer right away, I immediately assume it’s wordplay. Saturday is chock full of that stuff.

Anonymous 12:23 PM  

Finally learned after countless attempts how to comment on this blog. Been following it for years. Imagine how many witty/pithy things I had to say, all lost in cyberspace!

old timer 12:24 PM  

I was robbed! This puzzle was way, way to easy for a Friday, normally my favorite solve of the week.

And it is obvious that Will and crew took the week off for the holiday. One example: HORSY. Everyone knows a little kid's toy horse is a HORSie. HORSY describes an area where many rich (or maybe not so rich) folks live. Northern Virginia is HORSY. So is much of Kentucky. And I grew up in a block in Brentwood that very HORSY indeed -- our two neighbors to the North had horses, and it was pretty common to see horses being carefully ridden down our street, making traffic ultra-slow. Reason: Across Sunset Boulevard there was once a polo ground. In the mid-Fifties, it was turned into a Junior High School, the very one OJ Simpson's kids went to (and I went, too for 7th and 8th grades).

Another fail: I DONT WANNA. You hear it often enough, but it does not at all mean, "You can't make me." That would be "I DON'T gotta", or hafta. I did like many of the clues, especially for NIGHTSHIFT and CROSSBREED, though for the latter, I think of dogs, not animals like MULEs that have parents of two different species, one of which is an ass.

Never been to an OPERA at Covent Garden, but if I did want to go, I would try to stay at a hotel within walking distance -- or at least one near the Piccadilly Line, as it stops at Covent Garden station, not far away. I have, however, been to the Opera in Paris, which is a very grand experience, far fancier IMO than the London locale. In London, my advice is to see a play almost every night, Or go hear a concert. Or go to a pub that has music.

Rug Crazy 12:29 PM  

Nothin' good to say 'bout it.

Joe Dipinto 12:37 PM  

I changed my avatar again because I felt we could all use a picture of Cher on a horsy today. Cross-breed, half-breed— what's the dif?!

You can be an authority on a subject without being a snob about it (and vice versa). Yet another dud clue that's enamored of its supposed cleverness. But that was really the only eyeroller. Generally I liked the puzzle. Agree with those who felt the difficulty could have been upped a little.

Not such nice weather outside. Better call the plumber. Drip...drop...

puzzlehoarder 12:47 PM  

An easy Friday but with just enough misdirection to make it interesting. I'm not familiar with NESPRESSO or ADIA and I expected 27A to be Pizza puffs.

Fridays and Tuesdays are our babysitting days with our 19 month old grandson so that is all for now.

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

IROC? Was I the only person who didn’t know this? Had me completely baffled.

Peter P 12:55 PM  

@Nancy - Leather & tobacco are not usual descriptors for certain types of wines. "Leatheriness" usually describes a certain dry, astringent tannin flavor. "Tobacco" -- well, some Bordeaux or Cabs and other wines have what I would call a whiff of tobacco or tobacco smoke to them from the toasted oak the wine was aged in. Most of the vocabulary you see around wine commentary can seem completely pretentious and made-up and bewildering, but it typically does refer to specific flavor compounds, esters, etc. Rather than say a particular chardonnay is diacetyl-forward, you might typically read "buttery" or "creamy" (or something more fanciful, but hitting those key flavor words.) I'm not big into wines, but the vocabulary is useful for me in identifying what wines I may like or not based on scanning several descriptions of it by different reviewers. Those words really do describe something tangible and useful to me.

The puzzle was much, much too easy for a Friday. Only real tie-up was having kARL for CARL Jung, so it took me a bit to see the SkiM wasn't right when I didn't get the finishing chime.

egsforbreakfast 1:37 PM  

Apologies to @Joe DiPinto and @Pabloinnh and everyone else. Sorry about my confusion. My wife quit drinking after a stroke a month ago, so, as a show of support, I joined her. My mind apparently doesn’t function well in this state (or in any other, perhaps).

Anoa Bob 1:54 PM  

Yep @Roo, I think the grid fill got some significant help from the plural of convenience (POC), starting right out of the gate when ALP and PIZZA ROLL were each a letter short of filling their slots. And 31D SISSY is a classic POC enabler, here helping WINE SNOB, SHE and PIE in like manner. Also a couple of two for one POCs, where a Down and an Across both get a letter count boost by sharing a final S, including one where it is most likely to appear, in the lower, rightmost corner.

A long, long time ago I volunteered for a hitch in the Navy so I put SIGN UP at 10D "Enlist". ROPE IN seems to imply commandeering someone against their will.

Having once used "Port authority" as the clue for SOMMELIER, I tried that (plus an S) at 28 Across. Too many letters . WINE SNOBS? Really? Does being an authority on anything equate to being a SNOB?

I've had a number of fish tanks over the years and never saw any 45A SCUM. Alga on the aquarium glass sides yes, SCUM floating on top of the water, no. If there is SCUM on the water, something is seriously wrong, maybe way over-feeding. I'd go with Marlon Brando's "Get up, you SCUM sucking pig" from "One-Eyed Jacks" for that one.

CDilly52 2:46 PM  

Good thoughts for your wife as she hopefully recovers from a stroke, @egs❤️‍๐Ÿฉน. Solidarity in a relationship means so much. Good for you as well.

I’m still so full from yesterday but I got up and ate pie anyway. I am the chief cook, but for the first time since my mom passed in 1994, I had help from my daughter, my niece and my granddaughter. Both my niece and granddaughter love to cook and bake. My heart just went pitter-pat for three days ๐Ÿ’“ .

So glad today was easy!! But it was also not dreary-easy so good news there. That’s really all I have because I’m told the family poker tournament is starting. That means we have only one slice of pie remaining. And our pumpkin pie is sooooooo good!!

Peace and love to one and all on this weekend to be grateful for family - however you define the word. Each of you beings me happiness each day. Thanks.

pabloinnh 5:20 PM  

@egs-No harm in the slightest, no foul, so really no apologies needed. I wish your wife and you the best in what must be difficult times I'm always happy to see your comments, which in general are in sync with my personal quest to find the fun in stuff.

Best to you and yours.

Barbara S. 6:10 PM  

@Gary Jugert (9:51)
A lovely thing to say – thank you. And a HAT TIP right back at you for the brilliance of the uniclues.

@Nancy (10:32) and @jberg (12:04)
YES! So glad you allowed yourselves to fall for My Evening with Margaret. You two and @Gary J. might be my ideal audience!

Whatsername 6:29 PM  

@Anonymous (12:23) Welcome! Now that you’ve gotten the hang of it, give yourself a name so we know who’s making all those witty comments.

@Anonymous (12:50) FYI, the letters IROC stand for International Race Of Champions, a now defunct auto racing series.

Whatsername 6:35 PM  

@Barbara S: I totally bought the Princess Margaret story too. You know, what with you Canadians being among the royal subjects and all. ๐Ÿ˜„

Son Volt 6:42 PM  

@Joe D - fantastic tune. I was lucky enough to meet Gene Pitt at the Tower store on Broadway in the mid 80s - they had been doing some current stuff at the time that escapes me now but one of the great voices of all time.

dgd 8:00 PM  

I enjoy your comments about about the tricks constructors use to fill out puzzles. That made me notice a related concept of singular of convenience, where the answer is singular when the word is almost always plural. Of course my brain is too flogged from yesterday to think of any.
One point about your list of "POCs" today, I think while alp is a common word the plural capitalized constitutes a different meaning and a valid answer on its own. The clue is also fairly original!

Joe Dipinto 8:32 PM  

@Son Volt – Wikipedia says the Jive Five worked a lot arranging/performing jingles and bumpers for the Nickelodeon network during the 1980s-90s. Eugene Pitt really did have an amazing voice.

I notice on the label that the songwriters of "Rain" were Feldman-Gottehrer-Goldstein. That trio later wrote and recorded "I Want Candy" as the Strangeloves. They also wrote "My Boyfriend's Back" for the Angels.

@egs – the way I see it, any mention in the comments is good publicity, even if you're being confused with another poster (waves to @pablo). Speedy recovery to your wife.

bocamp 9:10 PM  

@egsforbreakfast (1:37 PM)

Prayers for your wife's full recovery! ๐Ÿ™
Peace ๐Ÿ•Š ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ™

JC66 9:47 PM  


Thoughts and prayers.

BTW, I love your posts.

Anonymous 12:52 AM  

Monday appropriate puzzle. The colloquialisms were not silver worthy. Just silly

asdasdasd 10:50 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Richard 2:49 PM  

The answer for 8 down is incorrect. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) was started to help conscientious objectors during World War I. Of course, that answer doesn’t work in the puzzle.

thefogman 10:34 AM  

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I HADABLAST solving this one, but it was a pretty decent puzzle. A good themeless with very little junk fill. And ISLE take that any day.

Burma Shave 12:19 PM  


I TRY and TRI for what SHE'S worth,
and IGOTNOTHIN' but BAD trouble,


Diana, LIW 2:08 PM  

Friday. Names. You know the drill - easy except where it wasn't.

Lady Di

rondo 6:57 PM  

A nice Fri-puz that took a while for me to get going.
Wordle par.

spacecraft 8:55 PM  

EASY???? You're out of your mind! Me? DNF. A six-letter word for list of players is, OF COURSE, roster. It can't be anything else UNLESS you're talking baseball, but there was no such mention in the clue. Even for a Friday, this is GROSSLY unfair. ROSTER was inked in with 100% confidence, leading to the plumber's clog, so hence a dead end. I cry: foul ball!

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