Romanian philosopher Cioran / FRI 10-27-23 / Actress George of "Animal Kingdom" / It was called Big Meadows on the California Trail / Cooperative hunter with the coral grouper / Admonishment from Austin Powers / Barossa Valley export / Bibimbap and tamago kake gohan for two / Casual Friday gaffe

Friday, October 27, 2023

Constructor: Adrian Johnson

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: EMIL Cioran (49D: Romanian philosopher Cioran) —
Emil Cioran (8 April 1911 – 20 June 1995) was a Romanian philosopher, aphorist and essayist, who published works in both Romanian and French. His work has been noted for its pervasive philosophical pessimism, style, and aphorisms. His works frequently engaged with issues of suffering, decay, and nihilism. In 1937, Cioran moved to the Latin Quarter of Paris, which became his permanent residence, wherein he lived in seclusion with his partner, Simone Boué, until his death in 1995. (wikipedia)
• • •
"IT'S NOT EASY" was what I was thinking about this puzzle at various points this morning. Real sluggish, but I think the main sluggish thing is me, not the puzzle. For various dumb reasons, I did not sleep well this week. I got my first full night's sleep in days last night, but somehow that has not resulted in solving superpowers, but rather an early-morning brain torpor that caused me to forget, among other things, that not only do I *know* an H- bird in five letters, I see said bird practically every day and have recent pictures of said bird on my phone (HERON!). That kind of brain torpor. But also: this puzzle was just out of my wheelhouse in many ways. One of those ways was Romanian philosophers (!??!!!??!). Like, I know we're not supposed to call answers "obscure" because who's to say what anyone's knowledge base is one man's obscure is another man's how dare you etc. but EMIL Cioran seems pretty dang obscure to me. I can only imagine that the constructor is a fan and at one point had tried to crossreference EMIL with NIHILIST (34D: One who might say "Nothing is real"), since, as the "Word of the Day" entry explains (above), EMIL Cioran "engaged with issues of suffering, decay, and nihilism." Would be a big coincidence to have that guy *and* NIHILIST in the same grid were it not planned. Anyway, EMIL was just one of many things that made me shrug. Like, who is this LEILA actress and also what is "Animal Kingdom"? (30D: Actress George of "Animal Kingdom"). I know "Wild Kingdom," but that was a documentary show about animals from the '70s hosted by Marlin Perkins and sponsored by Mutual of Omaha ("Mutual of Omaha is people / You can't count on when the going's rough"). Hang on, looking up "Animal Kingdom" ... huh, it's an American version of an Australian crime show that ran 2016-2022 (on TNT) and starred Ellen Barkin. Well, I like her, and I like crime, but nope, there are a jillion crime shows and a jillion networks and I can't keep them straight, and since LEILA George's film/TV-ography is tiny, I dunno, man. I wouldn't be surprised if even people who watched that show didn't know that actress's name. I know CrossWorld needs LEILAs, but come on ... and to put that name *right* at that tiny tiny one-square-wide chokepoint, interrupting all possible flow from one section of the grid to the next, argh. On a Friday, you wanna *maximize* flow, not minimize it. Or maybe the whole world is full of "Animal Kingdom" fans. I don't know. I just know the whoosh was Not there for me today. But since much of this feels like a Me Problem, I've set the difficulty level to "Medium." Argue about it if you must.

I thought you got SLIMEd on some actual Nickelodeon show. I didn't know it was part of an *Awards* show as well, so I was basically out of step with this one from 1-Across (people have been getting SLIMEd on Nickelodeon for years, most notably on "You Can't Do That on Television" and then "Double Dare"). Had CORE and GIST before MEAT (4D: Heart). Had SCABS before SCARS (14D: Results of cuts, maybe). This led to both BAJA and BEND before RENO (20A: It was called Big Meadows on the California Trail). And I think the more common / snappier phrase is "IT'S NOT THAT EASY." "IT'S NOT EASY" alone sounds a little flaccid to my ears. Anyway, all these things meant that I came limping rather than whooshing out of the NW. The SW was somewhat easier (EMIL notwithstanding), though parsing "SADLY, YES," again, a bear. I had "SAD TO SAY..." (56A: "Alas, it is so"). Lost continuity flow at Point LEILA and so had to restart cold in the SE with MRS. Davis (a recent TV show I've actually watched! It's loony! Good loony, imho). But as in the NW, I had to struggle to get out of the SE. Clues on SLATE and RIPENS just didn't click (I mean RINSES ... RIPENS was the wrong answer I wanted at first, and now it's haunting my write-up) (55A: Gets ready to dry, say) (you have to ripen the fruit before you dry it, I reasoned!). Couldn't parse "CAN I SEE?" The clue on NIHILIST didn't seem nihilistic at all (lacked the downbeat pessimistic tone I associate with the concept). No idea what the Barossa Valley is, so no idea about its "export") (47A: Barossa Valley export => WINE) and I could barely read the clue on THAT—did not see that apostrophe in there after the first quotation mark around the "s" (43A: Word before and after "'s") so I was trying to think of ___ S or S ___ phrases where "S" was a completely separate letter. That was ... fun. In the end, that SE corner was easier than the NW, but still, no flow to be found in this one until the very end (for me, the NE, where THE LORAX and CELESTE NG teamed up to finally give me a jolt of that Fast Friday Feeling I'd been craving). 

There's nothing wrong with this grid. It's well built. It doesn't have the number of marquee answers I'd like to see on a Friday—in fact, it doesn't have more than a small handful that rise to that level. Only "I DON'T WANNA!" and maybe LIVE WIRE have that marquee energy. I also liked RICE BOWLS, and if the thought of Austin Powers didn't make me cringe, I'd like "OH, BEHAVE!" as well (15A: Admonishment from Austin Powers). But the grid is more solid than sparkly. Oh, I kind of like "BE SEATED" as well; you wouldn't say it sparkled, but something about it feels fresh. So there are high points, for sure. It just wasn't in my wheelhouse, over and over. Even the answer that was an alleged translation from the French made no sense to me. I thought "I know French," but then ... nope, no way I could get from "five winning numbers" to KENO ... "cinq [something] nombres" ... gets you to KENO ... no. According to wikipedia, “The word “keno” has French or Latin roots (Fr. quine, “five winning numbers”, L. quini “five each”).” So there's just ... a single word (quine) meaning "five winning numbers"? I remain lost. So much TRIVIA today (39D: Pub ___). Just not my thing. Wouldn't go to pub TRIVIA if you paid me. Well, maybe if you bought me a drink. Maybe. But I can't think of a worse way to spend my time in a pub than playing TRIVIA. I'll just take my book (or crossword puzzle) to the end of the bar and drink alone. You guys have fun. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Conrad 6:41 AM  

Challenging for me.

4D: griT before MEAT for "Heart"
9D: My "Links things" were urlS before they were TEES
10D: CrAw before CHAT for "Jaw"
21D: HYPEd before HYPER
45D: gRAMS before DRAMS

I never heard of EMIL Cioran (49D), but it might not have helped if I had. I misread the clue as "Roman."

I didn't know LEILA George (30D) either, but had enough crosses that I was able to infer her.

Joe Dipinto 6:42 AM  

The clue for THAT is faulty on the NYTimes site – the punctuation symbol displays as an opening single quote mark ❛ rather than an apostrophe ❜ .

Armin 6:50 AM  

stunned I was 9ish minutes faster than usual. thought it was fun and modern.

Arthur 7:10 AM  

I had "SAD TO SAY" for quite a long time, then finally thought I'd cracked it with "SAD TO SEE"...

I also spent a good five minutes trying to condense 'cinq gagnant nombres' into a four letter answer.

Son Volt 7:10 AM  

Mostly fun - liked the everyday SADLY YES, CAN I SEE and I DON’T WANNA. Some oddball trivia for me - had to back in to NG, EMIL and even RENO. CAT SAT? App displayed 43a as an apostrophe as @Joe D pointed out is correct.


Not the most nuanced Friday but a pleasant solve anyway.

Uncle Tupelo

Andy Freude 7:13 AM  

Do you ever fight your way through a puzzle and then find out, when you finish, that you’ve beaten your average time substantially? This was one of those mornings for me. It felt harder than it actually was, so I guess Rex’s “medium” is about right.

Elision 7:30 AM  

I more than halved my Friday time with this one... bizarrely enough. Everything slid in like a Monday until I got to the SW corner.

SouthsideJohnny 7:30 AM  

The best thing about today’s grid is that it resulted in Rex devoting half of his blog post to lamenting about the arcane, the trivia, and the PPP in an NYT crossword puzzle - I’m shocked, shocked to hear such a thing (your winnings, sir). Pretty much my sentiments every day (except for Mondays). Today I was done in by the “guess a vowel” PUB TRIVIA crossing of TAY_ and EST_.

Regarding MECCA - per Wikipedia: “ . . . making it the third-most populated city in Saudi Arabia after Riyadh and Jeddah.[citation needed] Pilgrims more than TRIPLE this number every year during the Ḥajj pilgrimage” (caps mine). I unfortunately don’t know much more about MECCA - is there some other event held there annually and they only give out a certain number of visas or somehow limit the crowd influx? Who knows, maybe if something triples, it also has to be double at some point as well. Where’s Mitch when we need him (“I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to too.”).

Two clues sailed right over my head as well - “lead runner” for CEO and “house band” for DRS. I’m still at chief exec and I see “lead” but no connection there, and no clue if the DR is for Doctor or something else. OMG, I’m totally lost on the cluing for two three-letter entries. I think I caught Rex’s mental torpor by osmosis. Any help would be welcome on those two.

feinstee 7:36 AM  

Leila George ..never heard of her either, but her dad is Vincent D'Onofrio, her mom is Greta Scacchi, and she was married to Sean Penn a few years ago.

Iris 7:45 AM  

I feel less stupid knowing my errors were also made by Rex (scab, Baja, sad to say) and our areas of ignorance also matched (Emil, Leila, slime). Got through it but decidedly non-whooshy.

Lobster11 7:47 AM  

Too damn much TRIVIA = ITSNOTEASY.

Lewis 7:53 AM  

I love that feeling when I go from “I’m stuck in this area” to being saved by an answer that erupts out of nowhere, then think, “Hey, I might get this yet”, and then I do. That zero-to-hero sequence, which always leaves me satisfied and beaming, happened a couple of times today. It’s one of the reasons I adore Crosslandia.

Adrian is in his low 20’s, by the way, and this is his fifth puzzle. Three of his first four were Jeff Chen POWs (Miss you, Jeff!).

Today’s puzzle, IMO, was marked by beauty in answer – a gallery including SPARE US, OH BEHAVE, LIVE WIRE, NIHILIST, SADLY YES, RICE BOWLS, and BE SEATED – freshness in answer, with five NYT answer debuts, including CELESTE NG, IT’S NOT EASY, and SADLY YES, and wordplay effervescence in the cluing.

To me this puzzle had sweet bite without the bark; it was clearly made by one wanting to entertain. And by the way, this is a 68-worder with a low black square count – look at those blocks of white – yet there’s hardly a whiff of junkness, that is, it is superbly made.

I like seeing STRIP crossing that class that ends with a shower.

Adrian, you imbue the science of crafting puzzles with art of it, and I’m grateful for your splendid creations, like today’s, which I loved. Thank you!

Sam 7:53 AM  

Pretty easy Friday solve with just a *little* resistance

DeeJay 7:54 AM  


JD 8:15 AM  

Stared at House Band for a while thinking it couldn't possibly be referring to the show House that ran about 20 years ago. But just looked it up and it only went off the air 11 years ago, "only."

More staring and wondering. Could it be Rinse? Paled? Spates? Reno?

@Conrad, also misread Romanian clue. Weird.

Ibsen, The Lorax, and Oh Behave. Knew I could dig them out of the back of my brain with some help from crosses and it was true. From the sublime, to the cute, to the just plain silly dumb. This is why I keep doing the NYT.

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

“House” = TV show about doctors, hence a band (group) of doctors.

pabloinnh 8:45 AM  

I like TRIVIA and have participated in Pub TRIVIA contests, but thankfully none of them ever included questions about Romanian philosophers. I suppose there have been questions about actors and actresses I've never heard of (hi TAYE and LEILA) or best-sellers I've failed to notice (good morning Ms. NG) but gaps in my knowledge of PPP are pretty common.

The clue for THAT was a complete mystery, didn't know the Austin Powers quote, and I've sung several versions of AVEMARIA but not the Shubert, so that took a while.
In short, far from a wheelhouse experience for me. Thank goodness for things like THELORAX and NIHILIST or I'd still be struggling with this one.
Thorny Friday indeed, AJ. After Jumping around for way too long, I finally got 'er done, but not my favorite ever. Thanks for a workout, and say hi to EMIL for me.

Yd SB-QB! I am now 1 for October.

Phillyrad1999 8:48 AM  

And this year’s awards for esoteric names and references goes to…. Most annoying clue was Lead Runner. Not a fan of this one.

mmorgan 8:56 AM  

I somehow got all the obscure and unknown names and proper nouns but was left with SCAbS, oh well. I just figured that bENO was just something else I didn’t know.

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

The Goddess of Crosses was merciful today.

RooMonster 9:09 AM  

Hey All !
Well, dang. My BABY streak of Mon-Thu was broken today. Thought it was the unknown-to-me (note: I'm sure y'all know by now, but I'm not a big book-reader person) CELESTENG, but all the crossers seemed correct. I was thinking it was one last name, or maybe CELES TENG, so Googed and found it was correct! Albeit CELESTE NG. I messed around with IBSEN trying an O, and trying various first letters for CEO, which I had in originally.

So reluctantly hit Check Puzzle, and it crossed out my G I had at gRAMS/gRS. Knew gRS didn't seem correct, but the ole brain didn't let me think DRAMS was correct until afterwards. Silly brain. So, let out an Argh! (Or, in the case of the wacky SB has, Aargh) and changed it to a D, getting the Happy Music.

Did like this puz, seemed tough, but was able to move through at a steady pace. SW corner put up the biggest fight, but got through it with nary a SCAR.

Funky Blocker design. Rex's narrow passages almost making it four separate puzs.

My first answer? OH BEHAVE, because I'm still an adolescent! 😁

Third day in a row of no F's. Man, did I upset the F Gods or something? Har. CAN I SEE some F's tomorrow?

No F's

Aaron 9:13 AM  

I'm sorry, but what in the heck is "Animal Kingdom" and who in the heck is Leila George? There weren't ANY better options for a LEILA than this person? Dumbest clue I've seen in a while. Why not just clue stuff like "Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?" It's technically right, but it doesn't make a whole damn lot of sense. Sheesh stop it with the minor celebs on crumby C-tier TV series already.

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

Can someone explain DRS clue: house band?

efrex 9:34 AM  

Add one more to the "SADTOSAY before SADLYYES" pile, which made the entire SW a mess for a while. Was on my way to a record Friday before that, too. Definitely would've been a mess solving on paper.

Pretty satisfied overall with this one. Several chewy spots, all around the aforementioned SW corner. Was trying to think of some slang term for pregnancy/childbirth for 36-down, and knew that "bibimbap" was a Korean dish but nothing else. Still, everything pulled together before I despaired and turned full NIHILIST. Thanks, Mr. Johnson!

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

"House" band refers to the TV show "House" which is about a group (or "band") of doctors.

I almost got Naticked at the crossing of CELESTENG and CEO. I've never heard of the former and I wasn't thinking that NG could be a last name, so I was trying to think of a plausible last name that was _ELESTENG. The clue "Lead Runner" meant precisely nothing to me, so I basically just ran the alphabet (which didn't take to long since I started at A and only needed to get as far as C).

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

Had SCABS for SCARS. Didn't know the Reno reference. And, yeah: EMIL. Whatever.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

First time through I got almost nothing. Thought “there’s no way I’m finishing this.” Then I ended up finishing in half my average time. Love it when that happens!

Nancy 9:51 AM  

Because of the SW, this played as hard for me as some Saturdays. I finished with one cheat -- on EMIL. But that's not what enabled me to finish; it was finally seeing pub TRIVIA. I had had pub T????A for the longest time and had absolutely no idea. I didn't know TRIVIA was a "pub" thing; I thought it was a "the NYTXW is doing this to make @Nancy miserable" thing at worst and a "Jeopardy" thing at best.

Spending as little time in hotel rooms as I spend in pubs, I also couldn't initially come up with MINIBARS. If I'd had that "B" from BABY...But I had an "N" from either TINY or EENY -- I wasn't sure, so I'd only written in the NY.

I also wrote in SAD TO SAY much too quickly and had to change it to SADLY YES.

Forgot to look. Is it CEO/CELEST ENG (or CELESTE NG)? If so, I "finished" with one cheat. If it's something else, then I didn't finish at all.

A word on 1A's SLIME Award. Sounds like the sort of thing kids would invent, doesn't it?

DrBB 10:05 AM  

Re 49D: Romanian philosopher Cioran: the more I think about it, the more I think this is actually my favorite bit in the puzzle. Very sly to use such an in-your-face arcane figure for the clue, taunting you to recognize the different game that's being played.

"Oh ho!" sez my inner Holmes, "Moriarty may be cruel but he's never unfair. I smell an EMIL lurking behind the arras of obscurity."

"You astound me Holmes!"

"See here, Watson, SADLY gives us the necessary L and we are on our way. The game's afoot!"

"But however did you suspect EMIL in the first place?"

"Quite simple, really. The test was not our knowledge of obscure central-European philosophers but of the wiles and folkways of constructors. You can not but have noticed that certain combinations of letters are uncommonly useful in creating short-fill crosses for marquee answers, and among these EMIL is perhaps the most versatile. There seem to be no end of EMILs strewn across the history of fields as diverse as art, music, literature, and--as here--philosophy. Elsewhere in the puzzle the constructor has allowed himself one vanishingly obscure proper noun from the world of popular entertainment; to add a second even more grossly arcane figure from the world of--of all things--nihilist philosophy would arouse cries of resentment. Unless he were insidious enough to secrete some far more quotidian answer! The joy of surprise, do you see? Superb misdirection. The hint of Central European origin could lead the naive solver to despair, imagining some impossibly hacek-festooned forename, whereas the more worthy foe will suspect an answer far more fiendish in its disguised familiarity. Knowing my opponent, the conclusion was simplicity itself."

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

Somehow super easy today, cut my average Friday in half. Had NOT MY BAG before OH BEHAVE but that got sorted rather quickly and got lucky on the rest that all my initial guesses turned out to be correct

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Best Cliff quote ever!

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

I have a PhD in philosophy, and I never heard of the fella. Granted, my focus was in anglophone philosophy, but still.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

I thought maybe ‘Leigh’ George? But Veal Scaloppine got me over that hump. I found this one pretty ‘whoosh whoosh’ actually. Slimed was a gimme for me and Sadly Yes was also for some reason. Maybe I say it a lot!

Nancy 10:25 AM  

Amen, @Southside Johnny -- I can't parse the CEO clue or the DRS clue either. Don't get them at all. Can someone please explain?

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

“Animal Kingdom” was actually an Australian movie and Jacki Weaver got an Oscar nod, thank you very much.

JD 10:32 AM  

@DRBB, Brilliant. "Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius."

egsforbreakfast 10:37 AM  

@Rex has a picture of a HERON on his phone! I wonder who the HERON was calling. And if the HERON was on @Rex's phone, who took the picture? I think it raises a whole flock of questions.

I saw a show last night, one of those "Where are they now?" things. It was about some of the old SF 49ers. Turns out that, these days, Montana sings, Lott cooks and RICEBOWLS.

Did you read the kids book about the bovine that made the Hajj? MOOCOW in MECCA.

Got a rash that you can't stop scratching, no matter what treatment you try? Say a prayer to STITCHES, the patron saint of dermatology.

Tweety: I ordered Earl Grey and you gave me coffee, Sylvester.
Sylvester: Nah, relax Tweets, it's just what you ordered. And you can call me Sy.
Tweety: It's no Earl Grey, Sy. It's no Oolong, Sy. ITSNOTEASY.

Given that this is a Friday puzzle, they're may have been a VEAL, but no reVEAL.

I enjoyed that this puzzle wasn't really in my wheelhouse, although somehow faster than my Friday average. Thanks, Adrian Johnson.

Liveprof 10:39 AM  

Linda R would disagree with 3D.

Beezer 10:53 AM  

Well. I hate to brag but this was one of my fastest Fridays ever until I actually DNFed at the intersection of CELESwEng and CHAw. Haha! Who knows why I had confidently filled in CHAw instead of CHAT but I did. So YEP the obscure EMIL did not get my goat due to crosses, it was an author that I THOUGHT must be Celes Weng. At any rate, other than that gigantic fubar unlike @Rex, I must have been on Adrian Johnson’s wavelength. Anyway, still a true DNF because I stared at the puzzle, tried nEO instead of CEO then went to @Rex to see my mistake.

I’m not up on LEILA George but I’ve always been a fan of Vincent D’Onofrio so I’ll check it out. Also did not know he had been married to Greta Sachi.

Im finally getting my CoVid booster and flu shot today. Putting off for a bit my RSV since I’ve been told it’s a bit of a “corker” and I like having use of my left arm even though I’m right-handed. Anybody out there have side effects with that? This over 65 thing is for the birds when it comes to shots….

Gary Jugert 10:53 AM  

Enjoyable straightforward puzzle. I never know the actors and rarely have heard of the shows. Sometimes they fill in through crosses so I don't need to learn them. Sometimes I check Go-ogle and realize I don't need to learn them.

And sometimes it's Asian cooking like bibimbap and tamago kake gohan and as a Szechuan chicken guy I only order one thing ever. I learn today that somebody has decided it should be spelled Sichuan. Nothing is real except the struggle.

Main dude "running" the company, i.e., lead runner = CEO.

House is a doctor show, so "House" band = DRS.


1 Sewing technique for octopus pants.
2 My mental world when a pretty girl walks in the room.
3 Put on lipstick.
4 The siren song of every crossworder.
5 Make 'em run laps.
6 Devices for cooling mustaches.
7 Philosophy of the fatigued.
8 Those angry with the purpose of others.
9 Activities with binoculars.


My Fascinating Crossword Uniclue Keepsake from Last Year: This gargantuan highly over designed tower sitting in my living room ordered from some posh online retailer which our favorite feline has never used. ROCOCO CAT CONDO.


GILL I. 10:56 AM  

Too much Pub TRIVIA and a plethora of unknown names made me WINE.
The closest I come to TRIVIA is when at exactly 7 pm I download my puzzle and watch Jeopardy. I'm pretty OK at the game and I'm in awe of people who have the ability to pull answers right out of their hats. My hat today lacked its feather.
I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy!
Back to today's trifles.....I'm happy for CELESTENG. Does she know THE LORAX? Neither one fits in my daily repertoire. You were my last unknown of many unknowns. That's on me. further, I don't drink beer.
I started out so well in my upper left but fizzles came in dribs and drabs. I almost didn't want to finish.
I did anyway.
So a NIHILIST finds nothing to approve of in any established order? Hmmm. Moment of reflection. I believe we have a few running our country. I forgot about MONISM...Is that the same as atheism?
There was stuff I liked, though. OH BEHAVE, ITS NOT EASY, I DONT WANNA, BE SEATED and SADLY YES. I could make up a bodacious story with those. It would start when I CAT SAT.
I'm hoping for less trivial and names for my Saturday. Onward Christian Soldiers.......!

Carola 10:57 AM  

Add me to the "Challenging" and "SAD to say" group. The latter, along with Schubert's "the trout" quintet, just about sank me in the SW. Finally seeing LIVE WIRE and then the necessary crossing BOWLS saved the day. Otherwise...there was so much to like - the I DON'T WANNA NIHILIST contrasting with the LIVE WIRE; the triple exhortation OH BEHAVE, SOBER UP, and BE SEATED! A really hard Friday for me, and really satisfying to finish.

Do-overs: HYPEd; the trout, gisT before MEAT, SAD to say. No idea: LEILA, EMIL, SLIME, OH BEHAVE, MRS. Help from previous puzzles: TAYE. Hardest to parse: PECLASS. Biggest surprise: that there's a Goliath HERON: I think of Goliath as being generally massive and herons as spindly, no matter their size.

jae 11:05 AM  

Easy-medium but it seemed tougher. I had many of the same problems moving through the grid that @Rex did...EMIL, LEILA, RENO...I also did not know CELESTE NG even though I watched the Hulu mini series. NE was the toughest section partly because booERS before HATERS and urlS before TEES and, of course, not knowing CELESTE.

Solid with a hint of sparkle, liked it.

Newboy 11:13 AM  

Thanks for the effort Adrian, but just not my cuppa. Maybe like Rex I was just groggy, but the names really resided in steerage far from my wheelhouse. Right side was a whoosh and the Left slogged along, so Rex’s “medium” rating sounds right.

Hack mechanic 11:21 AM  

Pub trivia is big in Blighty & a total hoot. Often in two or more person teams, an entry fee & a jackpot with much drinking & carrying on. Never did see the "G"at the end of Celesten although I should've seen Sedge since it's a grass & was clued as grows in tufts!

puzzlehoarder 11:42 AM  

I had to change SPASMS to SPATES, SHEER to STEEP and GRAMS to DRAMS. Those were the three write overs that I can recall. As usual I did this on my phone last night and that last write over was technically a dnf. I put in TRIVIA to finish and didn't get the congrats. I checked to see if I'd made a typo and instantly thought of DRAMS which is much more specific to an apothecary. I have to wonder if I would have spotted this solving on paper. While I never watched it I knew there was a doctor themed TV show called "House " but what could the word "band" have to do with that? Using the term "band?" has to be a deliberate misdirect for the musical category of House. I'm in Chicago so when I see House I think music. That was probably the most cryptic looking clue closely followed by the one for THAT. Using band in place of group when referencing doctors is nails on a chalkboard Shortz cluing at its worst.

yd -0, dbyd -0 Su-Tu pg -1

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

Garter and Stockinette are patterns not STITCHES. Only knit and purl are stitches

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

I found this to be a fairly pleasant puzzle. I too had SADTOSAY initially and then it got fixed as other full made more sense.

Unlike Rex, OHBEHAVE was my first fill in this puzzle thanks to my being a very immature 12 year old boy when that film came out.

As one other commenter put it, the obscure proper nouns were well placed with other fill making these bearable. Sure, some phrases a bit unused in current parlance (IDONTWANNA), but you eventually figure them out enough to not be miserable solving.

Joseph Michael 11:55 AM  

SADLY, YES, I had to cheat twice to finish this puzzle, but enjoyed most of the solve anyway. Especially liked I DON’T WANNA and the shout out to the ancient Roman philosopher SPAREUS.

If there’s anything you should never touch in a hotel room, it’s the MINI BAR where a teeny bottle of vodka costs more than the room itself.

Still trying to figure out why anyone would want to win a SLIME Award.

@okanaganer from yesterday, thanks for the enlightenment.

BlueStater 11:56 AM  

Apologies for the OT and the repetition, but I didn't see an answer to the first time I raised this issue. Has there been a change in policy on the mini-puzzle? Is anyone else finding these suddenly *much* harder? I DNF'd on today's mini for the second time in, IIRC, less than a week, and the second time *ever*. Today's main event, of course, was utterly impossible. CELESTENG? Really?

jb129 11:58 AM  

I agree with Anonymous @ 9:49 - I didn't think I'd be able to do this but I stuck with it & surprised myself.

Nice Friday Adrian!

CT2Napa 11:58 AM  

@Joe Dipinto

Here is a long dissertation on the Leading apostrophe

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

Chief Executive Officers are constantly being pursued by persons in the company that want to remove him/ her and the CFO and other management persons . The CEO is considered to be the “lead “.
, the most prominent person “running “ from those trying to fire him/her.
Easily explained.

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

The reason many have had a problem SADLYYES is due ti fact the clue is not read correctly. Notice the comma in the clue. This indicates the answer will, when given its meaning , will contain a comma. This eliminates SADTOSAY abd other answers that have no comma. The answers to puzzles in the NYTXWD puzzles will frequently eliminate an intended punctuation or other mark , such as the well-known and over-used COMOESTA which translates to as “I eat this.”

jfpon 12:49 PM  

Oh, I see, Nazi sympathizers like Cioran are OK fill if their nihilism is subtly cross-referenced?

Fun_CFO 1:10 PM  

Assuming the Anon at 12:01 and 12:15 is the same person.

Because both of those explanations are whacked.

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

Lol! You’re right!

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

The problem with Cioran is that he’s usually listed on the books he writes as “E. M. Cioran.” So even though I’m familiar with his work it was difficult to recall his first name.

okanaganer 1:54 PM  

The unknown names CELESTENG LEILA EMIL TAYE were annoying speed bumps but didn't quite manage to ruin the puzzle. Hands up for SAD TO SAY, and after fixing that, TINY before BABY, and of course DRAMS before GRAMS.

The '"House" band' was actually MASSIVE ATTACK. The show's theme music was their haunting song "Teardrop".

So you could say the NIHILIST is cross(ed) with MONISM.

[Spelling Bee: Thu 0; congrats pabloinnh!]

bocamp 1:54 PM  

Thx, Adrian! 😘


A mostly smooth and well-BEHAVEd solve.

Only question was 'D' or 'G' at the DRAMS/gRAMS kealoa; not making much sense out of 'House" band?', went with the correct 'D', only bc DRS looked better than gRS.

Learned 'bibimbap' from SB.

And THAT's THAT, then!

Fun trip! :)

@pabloinnh 👍 for QB yd!

@Anonymous (9:38 AM)

Thx for the 'House band' explanation! :)
Peace 🕊 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness, Freudenfreude & a DAP to all 👊 🙏

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

RSV a piece of cake. Covid vac not so much. Slept 12 hours that night and not refreshed afterward. But, response times they apparently do with this cwd.

johnk 3:10 PM  

I found today quite easy and enjoyable until I was SLIMEd by failing to watch TV dramas, whlch I DONT WANNA do so I can solve crosswords. House? Horrible clue. SPARE US!

Anonymous 3:11 PM  

I don’t think it’s been mentioned but I appreciated BABY (miniature) intersecting with MINIBARS.

Anonymous 3:47 PM  


Voyajer 5:31 PM  

LEILA clue should be: 2019 Netflix India TV Scifi Series based on book. Or ZZ Top song. Or better yet: Misspelling of great Eric Clapton song.

Anyway, difficult Friday although surprisingly didn’t take that long.

CWT 5:48 PM  

Gosh, I’m always amazed when I keep guessing right, as with this puzzle. Just dropped in “scars”, “oh behave” (l thought Austin Powers was hilarious, sorry about that), “Celest Eng” (just finished her latest book), “Ibsen” (I was a professor of Scandinavian Studies in my previous life), “wine” (and a winery owner in my present life),
“Events” from the v. in “behave”,
Similarly “live wire” from the v. in “veal”, and on and on and on. On the other hand, I kept guessing wrong again and again on the phrases; “it’s not easy “ “sadly yes” and “PE class” , which I stared at forever even when I got it right,
All in all, a nice half hour spent at 2:00 a.m. during my nightly bout with insomnia.

Beezer 6:04 PM  

Thanks Anon 3:03!

Thrasymachus 7:37 PM  

Rex, post your time. Just for an added data point!

kitshef 5:48 PM  

A lot of obscure PPP, and normally I'd complain about a puzzle that makes itself more difficult via PPP. But in this case, the rest of the puzzle was blindingly easy and you need to have some bit on a Friday, I guess. CEO clue was tortured way beyond what is reasonable.

Burma Shave 11:59 AM  


THE EVENTS from THAT date,
CANI say I'll BE a MRS.?


spacecraft 12:42 PM  

Another hand up for SADTOSAY. Never wrote it in because I couldn't make it work vertically. PECLASS was hella hard to uncover, but that sealed the SW.

Glad I remembered that NG is a common surname...somewhere.

The grid was hard to get around, with the four corners almost sealed off. That said, I was able to finish in medium time, no real harm.

TALIA Shire wins DOD, and ITSNOTEASY wins most descriptive entry. Par.

Wordle eagle, #30.

Diana, LIW 5:16 PM  

For once, a name I know - CELESTENG, believe it or not.

Not sure how I guessed half the rest until it was all finished. Many triumph points here!

Diana, LIW

Anonymous 5:16 PM  

Is it me or are there more "for short" and "informally" clues all the time (2, 19, 36 and 42 down). To me this feels like semi-cheating on the creator's part if they rely too much on these variations.

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