Bill for expensive clothing? / FRI 11-3-23 / Show that featured the first lesbian kiss on prime-time TV (1991) / Book that gets reread from the beginning around autumn / Producers of green eggs (but not ham) / Plot lines for many early Marvel films / "Giant ___," soft sculpture of a sandwich at the Whitney Museum

Friday, November 3, 2023

Constructor: Robyn Weintraub

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Bill BLASS (1A: Bill for expensive clothing?) —
William Ralph Blass
 (June 22, 1922 – June 12, 2002) was an American fashion designer. He was the recipient of many fashion awards, including seven Coty Awards and the Fashion Institute of Technology's Lifetime Achievement Award (1999). // Blass was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the son of Ralph Aldrich Blass, a traveling hardware salesman, and his wife, Ethyl (Keyser) Blass. [...]  In 1943, Blass enlisted in the Army. Due to his intelligence and talent, he was assigned to the 603rd Camouflage Battalion. Its mission was to deceive the German Army into believing the Allies were positioned in fake locations, for example by using dummy tanks. He served in this unit at several major operations including the Battle of the Bulge, and the Rhine River crossing

After the war, Blass returned to New York, and was promptly hired as Anne Klein's assistant. However, he was soon fired; allegedly, Anne told him that while he had good manners, he had no talent. He was a protégé of Baron Nicholas de Gunzburg. In 1970, after two decades of success in menswear and womenswear, he bought Maurice Rentner Ltd., which he had joined in 1959, and renamed it Bill Blass Limited.

Over the next 30 years he expanded his line to include swimwearfursluggageperfume, and chocolate. In 1967, he was the first American couture fashion designer to start a menswear line. That part of his business grew to offer everything from ties, socks and belts to suits and evening clothes. It was made by 18 licensees.

Like many designers, his women's-couture collections lost money but served to promote other parts of his business. By the mid-1990s, his ready-to-wear business grossed about $9 million annually and his 97 licensing agreements had retail sales of more than $700 million a year.

His clients, many of whom were also his friends, included Happy RockefellerBrooke AstorNancy KissingerJessye NormanGloria Vanderbilt and Patricia Buckley. (wikipedia)

• • •

Well this was very easy, but while my solve was fast, the lack of resistance meant that I didn't feel the whoosh so much. There needs to be at least a little bit of struggle to make the revelation of a longer answer feel like I'm being catapulted into the grid, but today there was hardly any. Further, the grid layout was very conventional and blocky, in this way that seemed to inhibit the fireworks feeling when the longer answers went off. Don't get me wrong, it's an extremely smooth and entertaining puzzle—it just felt like there were slightly fewer marquee answers than I typically see from a Robyn puzzle, and the structure of the grid made it feel like I was spending more time plodding through 4's and 5's than I was whooshing about the grid. Still, there were at least four longer answers that made the journey feel worth it. The first was SHORT SHORTS, with its buttocks-baring bravado (6D: Cheeky attire?). I also like that if you head east at the end of the first SHORT you head straight into STORIES—it's like an L-shaped bonus answer! There's also a pun on the editor's name (SHORT SHORTZ!), and since SHORT SHORTS intersects TORTE, I'm now wondering about the existence of SHORT TORTES (and who eats them):

I think I was a little disappointed that a few longer answers were wasted today on mundane stuff like "YESSIREE!" and TAPAS BAR and TITLE ROLES—not bad stuff, but not particularly sparkly stuff, and in the case of the first two answers, stuff I see a lot. Also—and this is not the puzzle's fault—I am in no mood to think about war at all right now, or prison, for that matter, and so BATTLE PLAN and STATE PEN did not lift me the way, say, SHORT SHORTS did. ORIGIN STORIES is a strong answer (25A: Plot lines for many early Marvel films), but I find the superhero saturation of our culture dreary (Me watching a Marvel movie ad last night with the sound muted: ".... Are they all just the same movie? This looks like every other Marvel movie. How are people not tired of this yet!?"). But "DON'T TEMPT ME!" went right into "KEEP THE CHANGE!" went right into "I LUCKED OUT!," and that trifecta alone is pretty special, and put the fun levels back where I expect them to be in a Robyn Weintraub puzzle. 

If I struggled at all (and I didn't, really) it was in the short stuff, with stuff like LAMA (19A: Reincarnated one, maybe), and TIDE (33D: Pool maker), and SIRI (36A: Who talks on the phone a lot), and REMY, who I had as NEMO there for a bit (26D: Protagonist of Pixar's "Your Friend the Rat") (Me: "They put the fish in a rat movie? Bold."). I had to wait on the last two letters of SWEETIE (5D: Babycakes) because I thought it might somehow be SWEETUM, though now that I think about it, it's SWEETUMS, isn't it? The context for 42D: Leave sitting in a breeze, say also eluded me, so COOL took nearly every cross. "Oh, pie! They're talking about pie!" Turns out if you leave the "window sill" part out of your imagined pie-COOLing scenario, I cannot find the pie. Found the SW corner the toughest, as I couldn't get either AGENDAS (43A: Chairs usually have them) or DODGES (46A: Eludes) quickly from their back ends, and then I misspelled ENGLES (thusly) (41D: Philosopher Friedrich) and briefly forgot GAUL existed (54A: Land vandalized by the Vandals). If you issue a word of warning to the prospective buyer of your primitive living quarters concerning the weird wall paintings you've made in there, that's called a CAVEART. You know, a caveat about your CAVE ART. This is to be distinguished from the CAVIART you'll have to issue about the fish-egg sculpture you made that one time, and the smell it left behind. (Sorry, this is what happens when I wake up to write at 2 in the morning—I'll stop now. See you tomorrow.)

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. I did not fall into the “ELLEN” trap at 14A: Show that featured the first lesbian kiss on prime-time TV (1991) (“L.A.LAW”) because I had LAL- in place before I ever saw the clue, but I sympathize with those of you who weren’t so lucky.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Conrad 5:19 AM  

"Extremely smooth and entertaining" pretty much describes this and most other Robyn Weintraub puzzles. A joy to solve.

26D: @Rex nEMo before REMY led me to wonder if Scrabble might have been invented in Norway
35D: TAco bell before TAPAS BAR for the place not known for entrees
47D: Spit before STAB for Skewer

Anonymous 5:24 AM  

Easy? Hardly. This was a slog from start to finish. My own fault, I suppose, after confidently assuming that "Ellen" featured the first lesbian kiss, and that kept the NW out of my reach for quite a while. Didn't know BLASS or BLT cold like many may have, and I had LAIC but removed it for "Ellen".... oh, and DIMMest rather than DIMMING ruined the NE for me similarly. Ease is in the eye of the beholder.

Anonymous 5:35 AM  

I think part of the non-problem problem with Robyn’s puzzles are that they are SO good, smooth, and polished that they come off as easy. A lot of the difficulties that are experienced with other constructors is that their cluing is poor, and so we struggle, creating the impression of difficulty whereas it’s really just lack of ability. Think Gretzky playing hockey or Biles doing gymnastics versus a lesser athlete. The outcome might (might!) be the same but the ease which which the GOAT does it masks their brilliance

Anonymous 5:41 AM  

I absolutely had NOR in there at first ~RP

Josh 6:24 AM  

We still celebrate Bill Blass' design work here in Fort Wayne.

Gunner 6:51 AM  

Well said.

kitshef 7:13 AM  

I associate GROG with the British Navy, not piracy.

After flying through this I was not surprised to look up and see the constructor’s name, as I usually find RW’s puzzles to be very easy.

This week’s puzzles, from easiest to hardest:

Anonymous 7:15 AM  

I usually find myself on Robyn’s wavelength, and this was no exception. DONT TEMPT ME went in without any crosses except the hypothesis that the first letter was D. My only hiccup was misspelling REMi - NICaragua could have been Scrabble’s birthplace, right?

Mack 7:19 AM  

The correct answer to "You betcha!" is YA SHURE.

That is all.

SouthsideJohnny 7:21 AM  

I always enjoy seeing Robyn’s byline, and this was no exception. I was lucky enough to guess correctly on the BLASS/BLT combo and that got things started nicely. Robyn seems to have a knack for coming up with clues that have just the right amount of ambiguity without getting overly cryptic (there are many in this grid - such as TAPAS BAR, BATTLE PLAN, STATE PEN). And boy o boy, I definitely don’t miss the B-list celebs, soap opera actresses and / or foreign language math exams.

This is so refreshing after the way October went and I wasn’t having much hope for November after yesterday as well. They should just hire Robyn to do two or three grids a week and the rest of the time just air reruns of old RW adventures.

Anonymous 7:27 AM  

@Anonymous 5:35: Good analysis. Something I've often felt but you expressed it so well.

I read on the NYT puzzle page that Robyn's clue for 58A was "Burger or Frankfurter topping," but Shortz rejected that in favor of "After-swim wear." Who's the genius here?

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

I just want to comment, as a relative newcomer and millennial solver at 7 am, that I can finally recognize the distinct style of a Robyn puzzle, and relish in it.

Anonymous 7:38 AM  


Son Volt 7:39 AM  

More obscuria then we typically see in a RW puzzle but the familiar, long gimmies clear things up pretty quickly. SHORT SHORTS, I LUCKED OUT etc are easy enough and cover a lot of real estate. I’m assuming the informal “house” in 36d gives us PEN? Liked the reference to Fanghorn.

Song for ADAM

ORIGIN STORIES, TITLE ROLES and BATTLE PLAN were weak. Always thought sailors drank GROG. Keep the TORTE.

Overall a pleasant Friday morning solve.

Mary Black

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

I know, right. I put in “Ellen” even though I was pretty sure 1991 was too early for that.

Dr.A 7:54 AM  

I liked it but also felt it was a bit too easy.

Lewis 8:01 AM  

After doing enough Robyns, you know her modus and what to expect, but the astonishing thing is that her puzzles never feel formulaic; each is an astonishing mood-lifter, each feels fresh, one of a kind. It’s like biting into a spectacular apple that tastes so amazing, you forget about previous apples you’ve had, and are just one with this one.

Today’s Robyn, as always, was filled with play. Here are some clue words, for instance, that were played upon: Bill, position, breakdown, first person, general, chairs, point, cheeky, and spot.

Today’s Robyn, as always, had everyday phrases that ring, like KEEP THE CHANGE, ON A MISSION, and DON’T TEMPT ME, and it had, as always, terrific never-before-in-the-Times-puzzle answers, such as these three.

Today’s Robyn, as always, was free of junkness, and this is a secret weapon of hers – how can you not like a puzzle in which there is nothing not to like? Robyn is a master of the craft of constructing, as well as the art. Please appreciate how hard it is to construct such a bump-free 70-worder as this one is.

And here I am, having just solved this, wowing and oohing, as if what I just completed was a one-off, even though it possessed the Recurring Robyn Elements. I just bit into another spectacular apple, fresh and one of a kind – wow-made, highly entertaining, and sweet to solve.

What a talent you are, Robyn. Thank you for yet another especially splendid outing!

Twangster 8:26 AM  

This one had a mini Richard Thompson theme with Don't Tempt Me:

and also Dimming ... of the Day

Shandra Dykman 8:35 AM  

Well, putting RUMI at 26D left me thinking that Scrabble was invented in Nicaragua, and why wouldn’t it? Lol

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

Anyone else have thong bikini before short shorts?

pabloinnh 8:36 AM  

Was just about to finish this one after having had a wonderful time and I thought, is PB making NYT puzzles again? So I checked that out and no, it was good old RW, which would have been my second guess. Went back and looked for junk and really couldn't find any. Remarkable.

Got a good start, didn't know the sculpture, but any three-letter sandwich is a BLT, and that led to BLASS, and so went the rest of today. Not a real whoosh, just one thing leading nicely into another.

One granddaughter has a kitten that they named REMY and the other one is still here after an overnight and I call her SWEETIE all the time. Pays to have grandchildren.

Very nicely done indeed, RW. Put another one of yours in the Real Winner column, and thanks for all the fun.

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

Sorry.. Easy as pie. Near personal best for a Friday

RooMonster 9:01 AM  

Hey All !
Started out tough! Only a few answers sparesly in after first run-through. Thought I'd be at it forever, but then answers started showing up, writing in what I thought would be correct, and mostly they were. Then it ended up going fairly quick, 20 and 1/2 minutes. NEATO when that happens.

Agree puz grid looks like a Themed grid, but that's fine. Lots of good clues and words in here.

Had a one-letter silly DNF. Had REMo, giving me NoC as the place where Scrabble was invented. Couldn't even think what NOC would be short for. Dang.

fwING first for TWANG. I like my sound better! I believe that's a for writeovers. Oh, nope, had DONTThinkso for DONTTEMPTME.

Nice FriPuz. Weekend one more day!

No F's (Not COOL) Dang.

Barbara S. 9:06 AM  

Hey! How appropriate is this? It’s National Sandwich Day! And here’s Claes Oldenburg’s offering (1D BLT), served for your delectation and amusement.

Robyn, always a pleasure, but sometimes a little too easy. Made a few goofs along the way, though. “PrincessES” for TITLE ROLES, although I thought at the time that was probably too easy for a Friday. Also kORAn for TORAH, although that one didn’t last long because the two wrong letters intersected two long acrosses that I had no trouble with: ORIGIN STORIES and KEEP THE CHANGE.

I will forever live in confusion about LUCKED in and LUCKED OUT. I always think LUCKED OUT should mean I had no luck, whereas LUCKED in should mean the opposite. But they both seem to mean good LUCK.

Loved the clue on CAVE ART [Early home décor] even though it’s probably not accurate: CAVE paintings are thought to have had a symbolic or ritualistic function. Ran into a friendly kealoa, CARAT/kARAT, and left the first letter blank until I had the cross. Wondered how I was going to shoehorn Nietzsche into 6 squares until ENGELS came along and saved me. Never heard of ALTA or ULTA, but liked their symmetrical positions in the grid.

[SB: Wed and Thurs, -1. Ah farewell, QB streak, I hope to see you again soon. My misses.]

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

Fridays puzzles are always the most fun. I really love the multiple word answers. Rex, thanks for the Nico Case song!!!

Sir Hillary 9:18 AM  

I find that I can only compare Robyn Weintraub's themelesses to her others, as opposed to the broader universe. The only other constructor I can say that about is Patrick Berry. Using the absurdly high standards by which I judge her work, I found this one pretty blah. ONAMISSION, DONTTEMPTME, ORIGINSTORIES and KEEPTHECHANGE are good (although I don't understand the "?" in the KEEPTHECHANGE clue). But there's nothing really zippy, which is what RW usually delivers. Per @Anon 7:27 AM, it appears as if Mr. SHORTSHORTz and his team may have kiboshed any zip there might have been in her original submission.

Unfair? Certainly. But such is the price of greatness.

Newboy 9:19 AM  

I’m joining the Robyn Appreciation League today. As others note, hers is a byline that always brings a smile: no obscure sports trivia or rappers to grate on one’s nerves before breakfast, just subtly sneaky clues and silky smooth fill. Always a delight as was today’s grid. CAVE ART & ADAM both made my jaw drop! DON’T TEMPT ME & YESSIREE roll off the tongue so naturally. Just simply WOW!

andrew 9:38 AM  

Had CApEcod for CAVEART and wanted enIGmaSTORIES (as much as I can want anything related to Marvel films - agree with Rex, when will people tire of this inane fodder?)

Actually my favorite game on the NYTXW app is now CONNECTIONS (not to be mistaken for Ruby Franke/Jodi Hidebrandt’s CONNEXIONS, or How Tough Love Can Be Psychopathic Child Abuse.)

Based on, but so much better, than RED HERRING (that game MUST have originated in Nor.), it’s not always personally solvable (say, if the group of four are Marvel characters!) but can fire my synapses for 1-3 minutes each morning. Not easy making this challenge not too easy (which the original app too often is). Wyna Liu, nice job!

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

Nothing worse than struggling through a puzzle for an hour, finally giving up, and then seeing Rex callously rate it as "easy". Absolutely infuriating. So smug.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

Why do crossword creators think that children are filling out these puzzles? Enough with the disney/pixar nonsense.

Rich Glauber 9:48 AM  

Nice easy Friday puzzle, that's about it. The idolatry and fixation about the constructor is mystifying to me. Every puzzle she contributes seems to elicit this response on this blog. Oh well, whatever...

DrBB 9:56 AM  

Kind of a pet peeve*, but this was one of those absurdly easy puzzles where I breeze through the whole thing in record time only to lose minutes stuck on the one difficult (for me anyway) answer in the whole thing at 37A / 26D. Pixar, meh, okay, but REMY not a name to me, and for some reason I just couldn't see NYC as the right kind of answer for "Where Scrabble was invented." That kind of query wants to be somewhere surprising, or at least if the answer is going to be as ridiculously common as NYC couldn't you at least come up with something you wouldn't necessarily associate with that city? Like pretty much any constructor worth their salt would try to come up with when cluing an answer as bog-standard, Monday-level as that one? Hate hate hate running through the puzzle--especially a Friday!--only to get stuck running the vowels for a Natick, the answer to which is a total 100% Meh.

Also, I thought DS9 was the first lesbian kiss on a TV show, though it obviously wouldn't go. LALAW is such common currency in puzzles that it was an easy guess. DS9 gets the credit in a lot of places but I guess not. 1995 vs 1991. First Star Trek universe one, though. Trekkies and crime show audiences don't overlap I guess.

Nancy 10:03 AM  

Once again -- Robyn's perfect combo of roadblocks and what some here like to call "Whoosh". My roadblock area was TITLE whats? for Cindy and Sleeping-- HEROINES and PRINCESSES-TO-BE each being too long.

But BLASS went in immediately. The most drop-dead gorgeous and most becoming dress I ever owned was a very simple Bill BLASS thin wool sleeveless sheathe in pale mint green. It wasn't expensive -- I'm old and nothing was that expensive back then (1960s) -- probably no more than $60 max. I had it shortened WAY above my knees, my legs always being my best feature. I wore it every time I wanted to look fabulous and it wasn't too cold outside.

Then the minidress went missing from fashion for what seemed like 20 years and my Bill BLASS sat in the closet. And sat and sat. I waited and waited and waited and waited for a dress THAT short not to be a complete no no. Finally I reluctantly got rid of it.

Exactly one year later, the mini came back into vogue. Sigh.

Doubt I could afford a Bill BLASS dress now. And anyway, they don't make them like they used to.

Back to the puzzle. Love the clues for CAVE ART (26A), AGENDAS (43A) and KEEP THE CHANGE (40A). SHORT SHORTS baffled me completely for a while -- though you might think that my Bill BLASS dress would have pushed my thoughts in that direction. But, alas, it didn't.

A wonderfully lively and enjoyable puzzle as always, Robyn.

MkB 10:19 AM  

Alternate answers I was disappointed to have to drop:

"Thwip" for the sound of a bow and arrow.

"Booty shorts"

egsforbreakfast 10:22 AM  

Not to steal @GaryJ's thunder, but SHORTSHORTS crossing ATIT, had me pretty turned on.

I can never see or hear the phrase KEEPTHECHANGE without completing it with "ya filthy animal" which was utilized in Home Alone. I seem to recall reading that the gangster movie that this and other lines came from was actually just a few snippets fabricated specifically for Home Alone.

WILT next to SHORT brings to mind the phrase "the long and short of it."

Good to see the DODGES COLT back from the 70's subcompact class, even if some were LEMONs. It was right up there with the Plymouths Cricket in the "captive import" phase of the US car market.

I don't just agree with everyone else about Robyn Weintraub's puzzles, I doubly agree, YESSIREE.

x 10:22 AM  

E Z 4 me

Gary Jugert 10:33 AM  

Amazing sunrise. A cat on my lap. Dog snoring next to me. Cuppa joe. My wife's last day at her company. And a fun Friday puzzle I can actually mostly figure out. I think this is what winning feels like.

Great puzzle with so many interesting and amusing moments. Like almost everybody I'm sure, I put ELLEN in straightaway and ensured the death of the northwest until the end.

Those cave paintings always fascinate me. The earliest were done by Neanderthals. The one with the hand silhouettes in Argentina is insane. I get cranky when my wifi is laggy and ancients were making art while trying to survive.

Every time I hear something was made in New York City, I'm reminded of Pace picante sauce and I figure whatever it is must be inferior. At the university we listen to all kinds of contemporary composers and inevitably they're New York based musicians with public funding and the noise they make is a horror. It should collectively be titled, "A little goes a long way."

Tee-Hee: SHORT-SHORTS ADO ... that's me driving my car around this neighborhood in the springtime. It doesn't make up for the homeless encampments, but it does make watching dogs being walked a pleasant avocation.


1 Frozen fish.
2 How I keep looking so beautiful.
3 Wish her new boyfriend luck (cuz he's gonna need it).
4 Be in an aspen stand.


My Fascinating Crossword Uniclue Keepsake from Last Year: Stripes on a millennial's forehead. BEANIE TANLINES.


JT 10:45 AM  

Easier than Wednesday's puzzle, but fun. I had Ellen before LA Law, and wane before wilt, but otherwise things went smoothly.

Carola 10:47 AM  

A couple of snags at first: gAIt before RAIN led to the unlikely TITLE girlS, which soon got "corrected" by SHORT SkirtS. After that got cleaned up, whee! Fast and fun. To add what others have commented about Robyn's cluing, I find that with other constructors the clues for conversational phrases so often evoke a frustrated "Could be anything!", but here, somehow, her clues pointed me exactly to where I needed to go. A touch I liked: ORIGIN STORIES x TORAH.

Jim mcdougall 10:48 AM  

Not easy for moi but finishing felt good for a TGIF!!!

Bob Mills 10:51 AM  

Easy for a Friday, assuming one is familiar with Will Shortz' misdirect those for STATEPEN and AGENDAS.

I usually do well with Ms. Weintraub's puzzles, because she mixes her categories well. There's never an excess of street jive or characters from TV sitcoms.

Sam 10:51 AM  

Medium+ for me. Enough bite to slow me down and make me think, but not grueling. Enjoyed it a lot!

jberg 11:01 AM  

Tougher for me, though I still loved the puzzle. First I misremembered the designer as Bill BLAS, which didn't fit. I think my mind was crossing the wires with Gil Blas. So I went on, and put in SWAY crossing Wane crossing eaRn (for get in position). That took some time to sort out; I basically worked my way around to the NW, coming up from the bottom, and the AW at 14A gave me LA LAW, so the sandwich was BLT, not pbj, and it all worked out from there.

Spit before STAB, easily fixed.

Now I'm wondering if you could make ham from EMUS. I've enjoyed emu steaks, but maybe they aren't fatty enough for ham.

@Rwx, just remember, "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres," at least according to Julius Caesar. It's the first line you read in second-year Latin, but I imagine you're too young to have taken that.

jberg 11:04 AM  

Also pretty old, though not as old as Caesar's commentaries on the Gallic Wars -- Johnny Mathis singing "Chances ARE"

ccredux 11:11 AM  

@Rich Glauber at 9:48 I agree with you. It almost qualifies as a cult. I found this puzzle rather ordinary.

Tom T 11:13 AM  

A PR Friday for me, according to the app. Loved it, and about halfway in thought, "I wonder if this is a Robyn Weintraub puzzle."

jb129 11:15 AM  

So happy to wake up to a Robyn (usually Friday) puzzle and I wasn't disappointed. Annoyed at myself though cause I had Wane for WILT & so I struggled with Cave Art. But it all happened &, as usual, love Robyn's creations (I know, I'm repeating myself).

Thank you, Robyn!

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

3/4 of this was easy but the NW kept me locked out, had to cheat. Never heard of Alta, LA Law, Bill Blass (assumed it’d be a surname though), didn’t think of BLT, and forgot the word Laïc for a long time. Took as long up there as the rest together.

JB 11:32 AM  

I had Remi and Scrabble coming from Nicaragua. Who knew, I thought!

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

Bravo! Tons of fun except not really a Friday level of difficulty. I was fooled by Ellen for a long while. In terms of difficulty this week from easiest to hardest:
In terms of enjoyment , clearly today was the most fun by a factor and Wednesday the least.

Whatsername 12:04 PM  

Exactly what I expected when I saw the lovely Ms. Weintraub‘s name printed OUT. Much rejoicing on my Thursday evening and looking forward to a smooth enjoyable morning solve. As is typical, there were areas where I thought I’d never get it and names I just knew I would have to look up before I could finish. But as always, I erased a little, thought a little, squinted a little and figured it all out. Thank you Robyn, for another Friday beauty.

I have but one thing to say to those folks who insist on wearing those cheeky style SHORT SHORTS. With the possible exception of your sweetest SWEETIE, no one - really, no one - wants to see that.

Sutsy 12:06 PM  

Naticked with the GAUL/ENGELS cross never heard of either.

johnk 12:14 PM  

After filling all but the NW and one other square, I reread the NW clues and filled the corner easily. I knew BLT, LAIC & BLASS, so no problem with LA LAW - although I would have guessed ELLEN had I got there first.
That left the REM?/N?C. I went through all the first 25 letters of the alphabet to solve it 😆.

SimonSays 12:16 PM  

@Nancy 10:03
Reading your rhapsodic review of Bill BLASS recalled a men’s sports jacket of his that I bought at Lord&Taylor on 5th Avenue decades ago (remember that gem of a store?). It was one of my favorite spring-summer garments ever. Such a well-made silky smooth wool, classically designed piece. I think it’s still in my closet somewhere. I’m sure it would feel very dated now. But I rarely wear a dressy jacket anymore, and it’s always black.
It was cool to see Blass as one-across.
Also, I LOVE Robyn’s puzzles and this one didn’t disappoint—so superior to most of the trivia-laden pop junk dominating the puzzle universe today.

ghostoflectricity 12:31 PM  

Nice puzzle; felt a little more like a Tuesday than a Friday except for being themeless.

People more familiar than I am with Buddhism can answer this question: Isn't the point of enlightenment to break the cycle of life/death/reincarnation and become one with Godhead (however defined) and thus to exit the cycle of existence, which entails suffering? For this reason I thought the clue for LAMA (even with the qualifying 'maybe') a bit problematic. But maybe it's just me.

Niallhost 12:48 PM  

I was sure REne was the name of the rat. Which then meant I was sure gnUS laid green eggs. Which meant I was sure that the divination was some sort of OMg variation. Which meant that I needed a place whose abbreviation was sec. I was too deep in and couldn't get out. DNF for me.

jae 12:50 PM  

Easy. No WOEs and DIMMest before DIMMING and REMe before REMY were it for erasures. Solid and smooth with a smattering of sparkle, liked it.

bocamp 1:15 PM  

Thx, Robyn; another beaut! 😊


Other than getting only LAIC in the NW, a very smooth solve.

Learned BLASS today.

Fun adventure! :)
Peace 🕊 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness ~ Freudenfreude & a DAP to all 👊 🙏

oldactor 1:34 PM  

Years ago I was at a poker game at Conrad Janis's apt. above his father's Art Gallery. He had the giant BLT in the middle of his living room. I was mesmerized and for some weird reason wanted to climb inside of it. Often wondered what happened to it.

The puzzle was straight down my alley. Pure Joy!

okanaganer 1:54 PM  

It went VERY easy in the upper left (getting BLASS instantly was a big help), then a bit slower but still pretty quick. I liked a lot of the tricky cluing, but wish a few of them were harder. Robyn's puzzles are always good.

Rex, what you said exactly about the comic hero movies. Every time I see an ad or excerpt, it makes me hate that genre even more. And me with a collection of thousands of 1970s comics!

[Spelling Bee: Thurs 0, last word this 7er, QB streak now at 9! @Barbara S, good luck getting back on it!]

Tail End Charlie 1:57 PM  

Almost too easy! Must be a wavelength thing….
Interestingly “Lucked out” means the exact opposite in British English. (Must be a term for that?)

CDilly52 2:51 PM  

As well you should celebrate such a classy, classic designer, @Jos. h, 6:24 AM! I have a Blass jacket that I still wear with pleasure!

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

Easy EXCEPT SW corner. I’ve never heard of an apothegm or GAUL or GOLAN so yeah. I was screwed

Nancy 4:02 PM  

I am SO embarrassed, I could just die!

I was writing a response on the Wordplay Blog and I riffed that Geoffrey would be spinning in his grave if I were to mess in any way with his design -- and then it hit me very hard right in the solar plexus:

That drop-dead-gorgeous thin sleeveless wool sheathe I loved so much was not a Bill BLASS at all. It was a Geoffrey Beene.

I'm glad if my comment sparked fond memories of Bill BLASS from other Rexites. But I'm just a pretender who doesn't belong in the discussion at all. Sigh.

Anonymous 4:38 PM  

As I enter my 87th year (OMG, I’ve been doing NYT crosswords for close to 70 years - yikes), I look forward to a collection from just two Xword gods, Robyn and Patrick Berry.
At my age I don’t retain memories for long so doing and redoing their puzzles would often seem like something new each time.

burtonkd 4:48 PM  

So funny that they went with Your Friend the Rat, a short, as opposed to Ratatouille, a well-regarded full length movie. Same character that I had misspelled so as to have scrabble invented in Nicaragua.

Everything else fun easy, check calendar to make sure it is not Wednesday.

Georgia 5:14 PM  

I haven't heard "short shorts" in 50+ years. Made me sing the song we boomers know well, "Who wears short shorts??!"

dgd 7:03 PM  

Big house is an old nickname for a state penitentiary. Don’t know if it is used much anymore.
I also thought title roles clue was inappropriate for a Friday.
Battle plan’s ? clue was okay but agree it was also maybe too easy for a Friday, but more like her style.
Prototypical pirate drink, from a bottle of rum.
Grog is close enough for crosswords.

Anonymous 7:14 PM  

I had ULT from crosses and remembered Ulta’s previous appearance (s?) in the Times before I even saw the clue. Absolutely no knowledge of the brand otherwise! ALTA has been in the Times a lot. Four letter ski slope Vale or ALta.

dgd 7:22 PM  

A lot of people here felt it was easy. At least for a Friday Many of posters have been doing this puzzle for decades and that makes this type of puzzle easy. It is in no way intended to be smug when we say it was easy for us.
What people especially like about her puzzles is that Robin doesn’t rely on obscure names

Anonymous 8:51 PM  

I don’t understand what BLASS means?

andrew 11:14 PM  

For those not familiar with the jingle, Short Shorts as performed by Joe from Family Guy (formerly Putty from Seinfeld).


Upstate George 11:44 PM  

Who is Tail End Charlie, and perhaps more important, where is he from? "Out of luck' means the same in both British and American English, and "lucked out" doesn't even exist in the English language I grew up speaking for the first 40+ years of my life. I am constantly amazed by the degree of certainty with which people write utter nonsense on this blog.

Anonymous 1:13 AM  

Whether you were a British naval vessel or a pirate ship depended upon royal favor in times past.

Anonymous 2:50 AM  

@Upstate George - Tail End Charlie is 100% correct in what he said. Be amazed at how language changes while you weren't paying attention before you call something nonsense.

Anonymous 2:58 AM  

Me too!!!!! I was like…oh that’s cool.

Anonymous 11:53 PM  

Blass, Alta, Golan.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

Robyn Weintraub. Always a delight.

spacecraft 10:59 AM  

When OFNP sees Weintraub's byline, methinks he sets an awfully high BAR. I started in the east with SGT and SIRI. Soon I had enough to KEEPTHECHANGE, my first "whoosh," followed SHORTly by ILUCKEDOUT. DONTTEMPTME was right behind. Those big guys helped a lot and I was at last able to crawl back into the NW and get the very last word: oh, THAT Bill! Look at the way that clue is worded, such a great turn of phrase. Pure Robin. (Also: oh, THAT "big house!")

Momentary glitch with CaLf instead of COLT. Quickly fixed. Eagle.

Wordle par.

Burma Shave 12:22 PM  


"DON'TTEMPTME with A query,


rondo 6:32 PM  

I found this puz easy-ish, but entertaining enough for Friday. Some nice clues and plenty of long answers. Only write-over was Wane before WILT; I would have gone with Chamberlain there.
Wordle par for #500. 202 pars, 147 birdies, 30 eagles, 1 ace. Exactly 76% complete in 4 tries or less. Don't know how that stacks up but I'm happy with it.

Diana, LIW 6:51 PM  

With the exception of those ***s of the Forest of Fangorn, I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle and its solve.

Robyn has a mind that you can comfortably sink in to and come up with her KEEPTHECHANGE-type longer answers, YESSIREE. So, it's Friday, and ILUCKEDOUT. Even Lambo enjoyed solving it with me. Purr.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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