South Indian pancakes / FRI 1-12-18 / Rhyming educational proverb / Pastries similar to long john doughnuts / Not halal in Arab cuisine / Attracted to all genders in modern lingo

Friday, January 12, 2018

Constructor: Erik Agard

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: none

Word of the Day: HARAM (2D: Not halal, in Arab cuisine) —
Haram (/ˈhɛərəmˈhær-/Arabicحَرَام‎ ḥarām [ħaˈraːm]) is an Arabic term meaning "forbidden". Thus it may refer to: either something sacred to which access is forbidden to the people who are not in a state of purity or who are not initiated into the sacred knowledge; or to an evil thus "sinful action that is forbidden to be done". The term also denotes something "set aside", thus being the Arabic equivalent of the Hebrew concept קָדוֹש qadoš, and the concept of sacer (cf. sacred) in Roman law and religion. In Islamic jurisprudence, haram is used to refer to any act that is forbidden by Allah, and is one of five Islamic commandments (الأحكام الخمسة‎ (al-ahkam al-khamsah)) that define the morality of human action. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hello, solvers. It's early January, which means it's time for my once-a-year, week-long pitch for financial contributions to the blog. The idea is very simple: if you read the blog regularly (or even semi-regularly), please consider what it's worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. To be clear—there are no major expenses involved in writing a blog. There's just my time. A lot of it. Every day (well, usually night), solving, writing, hunting down pictures and videos of various degrees of relevance and usefulness, chatting with folks and answering puzzle questions via email and social media, gathering and disseminating crossword-related information of various kinds, etc. It's a second job. My making this pitch means I'm all in for another calendar year of puzzle revelry with all y'all. I'm excited about the year. I've got my own crossword construction project I want to get off the ground, and I'm hoping to take a more active role (along with some crossword friends) in recruiting and mentoring new and aspiring constructors. But the bulk of my work will be the same as ever: I'll be here with a new post every single day. Solve, write, repeat. Despite my occasional (or, OK, maybe frequent) consternation with the State of The Puzzle, the crossword community continues to give me great joy, and I'm proud to run an independent, ad-free blog where people can find someone to commiserate with, someone to yell at, or, you know, someone who'll just give them the damn answers. Some people refuse to pay for what they can get for free. Others just don't have money to spare. All are welcome to read the blog—the site will always be open and free. But if you are able to express your appreciation monetarily, here are two options. First, a Paypal button (which you can also find in the blog sidebar):

Second, a mailing address:

Rex Parker c/o Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton, NY 13905

All Paypal contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by email. All snail mail contributions (I. Love. Snail mail!) will be gratefully acknowledged with hand-written postcards. This year's cards are "Women In Science"—Rachel Ignotofsky's beautiful cartoon portraits of women scientists from antiquity to the present. I've heard of a few of these women (mostly crossword names like ADA Lovelace, Marie CURIE, MAE Jemison) but most of these names are entirely new to me, so I'm excited to learn about them as I write my thank-you notes. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just say NO CARD.  As ever, I'm so grateful for your readership and support.

Now on to the puzzle!

• • •

Saw the quad stack and thought "ugh." Then saw that the grid had a cool mirror symmetry that was not going to force me to indure* two quad stacks, and my mood perked up a bit.  Stack ended up being so easy that the infelicities it entailed (in the crosses) barely registered, and overall, the solve was fairly lively and entertaining, despite some significant bumps. My favorite thing about this puzzle is the grid design. Going with mirror symmetry on themelesses really opens up interesting possibilities. It frees you up. Above all, it just gives a new look. You see rotationally symmetrical themeless grids hundreds of times, they all look so familiar. Even the low word-count puzzles and the quadstack puzzles, which can be visually arresting, are a *type* by now. But this grid just *looks* fresh. It also looks like a mask, in a way. The fill is hit-or-miss. The long Acrosses are all right on the money, which is as it should be—you don't go all showy like this if you have to include A LOT ON ONE'S PLATE or some other 15-letter junk to make your stack work. ACAKE is not great and ANIF is violence, but nothing else up there is offensive (except THIEL, of course, dear lord, is there no respite?).

[19-Across]

I admit to being stumped by some of the non-anglo-american stuff up top, specifically HARAM (which if I knew it, I forgot it) and DOSAS (ditto). I managed ATIEMPO just fine, despite not speaking Spanish. I think that's too long for a foreign phrase that hasn't entered common English parlance (can't think of any such foreignism of equivalent length that I've seen in crossword before), but it's totally inferrable, or was to me, at any rate. EACH ONE TEACH ONE appears to be a concept that came out of slavery, where black people who were denied access to education (specifically literacy) took it upon themselves to teach themselves. Wikipedia's got it as an "African-American proverb." I had no idea.

[60-Across]

The only parts of this puzzle that gave me any troublewere EDISON (I had the "E" and just ... blanked) (23D: Motion picture pioneer), PAN (I was like, "ooh, I know this ... it's ... p ... p ... poly?") (27D: Attracted to people of all genders, in modern lingo), and INDEPENDENCE AVE, because I came at it from the back, and it looked like it was going to end with "CONCEIVE" or something like that (58A: D.C. thoroughfare with the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum). Otherwise, this was an easy puzzle. The grid looks great, and I generally enjoyed the nice mix of answers (high culture, pop culture, multiple cultures).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

130 comments:

El Vagabundo 12:02 AM  

Too easy for a friend

El Vagabundo 12:04 AM  

For a Friday...oops

Melrose 12:17 AM  

It's shutter speed, not lens speed, I'm pretty sure.

Thought this was going to be much harder when I saw that big stack at the top, but this was fast once I got going.

Donald Trump 12:18 AM  

Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?

Robin 12:18 AM  

I skipped around quite a bit and built this in chunks. But yes, easy.

Initially saw all the long ones and thought this could be trouble. But just a few crosses and most of them fell into place. INDEPENDENCEAVE came on having just I, a bunch of blanks, and VE.

HARAM was practically the first answer I filled in but I had the spelling wrong. Thought it was HARiM, but that's apparently an alternative spelling for harem or else a town in Syria.

Robin 12:20 AM  

@Melrose, LENS SPEED is indeed correct usage. It's a reference to a lens's capability rather than to a setting while taking a pic.

puzzlehoarder 12:25 AM  

The grid is interesting looking but the difficulty level was a big dissappointment. 1A was a first guess with no hesitation. Using that as a guide nine of the short downs in the top tier dropped right in. The other three across entries were then sitting ducks. DOSA was the only true unknown debut for me. HARAM is also a debut but I'm familiar enough with it to recognize it. That was a good thing as the 19A people could have been DELs for all I know. That was the only square in the entire puzzle that had even a chance to be a Natick.

Randall Clark 12:27 AM  

I got the top third very quickly, but I figured I would get hung up as I went on. Just never happened, resulting in a sub-18 minute finish, which is an incredibly fast Friday for me. I had EARPhonES before VICTORIASSECRET forced me to correct. Then I realized how goofy it would be for the protective detail to all be trying to look casual in the crowd whilst sporting Bose QuietComforts or some such.

Charles Flaster 12:28 AM  

Love stack puzzles (MAS).
Agree with Rex’s assessment on the difficulty.
Never knew the educational proverb but it does signify the goal of today’s educational community.
Liked clue for SARAH.
OXO is good CROSSWORDease.
Thanks EA

Johnny 12:38 AM  

LENSSPEED is a bit of a stretch of an answer. Shutters have speeds indicating how long they're open when making an exposure. Film and digital sensors have "speeds" that indicate how photosensitive or "fast" they are. You can have fast lenses and slow lenses (which mean they pass more or less light at wide open, respectively). But you would never ask "What speed is that lens?" You could ask if it was a fast lens or a slow lens or what f-stop it opened to, but not what speed it was.

Pete 12:43 AM  

LENSSPEED is not a stat for a photo. One speaks of fast lenses, ones which have a large maximum aperture ( < 4 ), but it is not a stat for a photo. The large aperture enables the photographer to use a faster shutter speed than would a smaller aperture. One would note the f-stop and the shutter speed used in a photo, but in this context there's no such thing as lens speed.

Unless Anais Nin had multiple, prolonged, ultimately failed suicide attempts that quote of hers is nonsense. If one of them succeeded, it kind of calls into question the accuracy of the quote, because who knows how hard that one was? Certainly she had no opportunity to revise her assessment.

Outside The Box 12:51 AM  

Fun puzzle. Easiest Friday puzzle (at least for me) in a long time. Liked the grid.

TomAz 12:58 AM  

I skipped most of the top third, filled in the middle quite easily, and made it through the bottom... then back to the top, which fell gradually. in the end a little faster than average Friday.

LENS SPEED may be a thing but I don't know it -- I know Film Speed and Shutter Speed. but eventually it was gettable. EACH ONE TEACH ONE is a new one on me. I got A TIEMPO and DOSAS fairly quickly (mmmmmmmmmm DOSAS mmmmmmm). HARAM took much longer and was one of the last to fall.

In the end I am filled with memories of my first DOSAS in a restaurant in Delhi -- which of course is in the north but this restaurant specialized in south Indian food. It was brightly lit, with formica tables, harsh, garish. then the DOSAS came and holy #$%& I was in the greatest place in the world. I have been to India many times and each time I can't wait to get the hell out of there and then when I return after a few months I am eager to go back.

Anonymous 1:01 AM  

The North and Middle were quick and fun, then I confidently filled in INnEr sciENCE AVE in the bottom row, and... it was ugly after that. The weird thing is, I lived in DC for years, and I kind of remember Inner Science Avenue.

Don’t Fock wid me 1:20 AM  

I am the Jesus and I will fock you up.

Walter Sobchak 1:23 AM  

I did not leave my buddies laying face down in the mud of Vietnam!!!

Anonymous 1:35 AM  

I originally put AGAINFROMTHETOP for 18A (which shares the FR), which had me thrown

Trombone Tom 1:56 AM  

Erik Agard has given us some impressive stacks here that contain interesting fill. It looks daunting at the outset but can be quickly tamed if one is on a sympathetic wavelength to the constructor. Many of you are claiming near record times.

First time I recall seeing PAN clued this way.

I remember a time when a President would not make such statements publicly and the media would not broadcast them if they were uttered privately.

Joe 4:01 AM  

Lens speed is OK (but not great) and refers to the maximum aperture.
A fast 50mm will have, say, a maximum f-stop of 1.2, a slow telephoto might have a maximum f-stop of 4...

Definitely pro/semi-pro lingo.

Enjoyed the puzzle, easy for a Friday.

Rhiannon 4:24 AM  

Had some fun with this one, though a first look made me go ugh and I always think of patty cake not the more correct pat ACAKE. I don't know about ATIEMPO being too long, I'm pretty sure I've seen GRACIAS and MOMENTO in puzzles before, though of course they're more common in the US. That being said, I've lived in Tijuana and I can tell you that "on time, in Tijuana" is actually three hours late with six people who weren't invited and one of them is already drunk and singing rancheros through their tears. A hell of a town.

Anonymous 5:28 AM  

A little help please. How many genders are there and what are they called? I always thought there were just two.

FrancieFrancie 6:03 AM  

Lens speed has a zillion Google hits. Some of them are on photography websites. It’s a thing.

Looked intimidating but then very easy. Fun has. I liked this puzzle.

Anonymous 6:04 AM  

@anon 5:28. I'm guessing there are three: Masculine, Feminine, and Neuter. Jesuit school product, four years of Latin, and this is how it was presented. I thought the puzzle was quite easy as well. Like a certain haircut, impressive to look at but not much there.

I'm hoping that today's hot button will be Lens Speed and nothing more political. No offense, but some of you are tiring.

Holy Cow! Four chapters of reCaptcha. What do they have against robots? /jk

John Hoffman 6:05 AM  

Anonymous: Much of current theory says that gender exists on a spectrum, and shouldn’t be limited to the categories of male and female. So that theory says that there are infinite genders In the spectrum rather than the traditional binary answer of 2 genders.

Anonymous 6:08 AM  

Relax snowflakes, it's not the end of the world.

Lewis 6:16 AM  

@francie -- "Lens speed" (in quotes) gets just 59,000 hits. When you put the term in quotes, it is those two words in order. Without the quotes, it's the two words in any order. FWIW.

Boom boom -- this fell much sooner than in TEN ROUNDS. But the solve felt fresh and was fun -- and thank you for that, Erik! The grid looks like a Guy Fawkes mask. Never heard of EACH ONE TEACH ONE, and it was good to learn, and good to know.

Another clue for ABCDE, perhaps: "Series pilot?"

Kodak Jenkins 6:27 AM  

Nice puzzle, got my attention visually right away.

Tuesday easy. Maybe they get graded by their hardest clues? I'd never seen HARAM or DOSAS in a puzzle. (I love Indian cuisine but not an expert so went from IDLIS to ROTIS to DOSAS)

phil phil 6:49 AM  

SPARED NO EXPENSE and blew the budget are two completely different statements. I don’t think they can be interchageable.

kitshef 7:17 AM  

Incredible grid spanners, although I’d never heard of EACHONETEACHONE. Brief research suggests it's completely legitimate, so that’s on me.

Would rate this as way too easy for a Friday, but still a DNF at MEg/THIEg. I have plenty of gaps in my knowledge – cars, classical music, HBO shows … but the Grand Canyon of knowledge gaps is country music. So, MEL or MEg or MEx or MEz or MEa were all in play. MEg somehow sounded right.

kitshef 7:30 AM  

@puzzlehoarder - Hah! I showed you. Naticked on same word, but different square.

On an unrelated note, Lens Speed has its own Wikipedia page, so it's at least a thing, even if not a common thing.

Tom Egel 7:34 AM  

Lens speed refers to the maximum opening of the lens. The wider the opening the “faster” the lens (lets more light in)

Anonymous 7:45 AM  

What’s wrong with Thiel ? Doesn’t Rex like gay people?

KRMunson 7:45 AM  

When is an obscure word like HARAM ok to use? There’s no way I could reason it out without crosses. God forbid the cross is an obscure proper noun!

Two Ponies 7:52 AM  

If the answer is MLI don't even bother with a clue.
Just say Random Roman Numeral and move on.

Anonymous 7:52 AM  

Thiel is an innovator, job creator, independent thinker. Michael Sharp is a comic book teacher, and hater.

Anonymous 7:55 AM  

Bono haram? HARAM is not that obscure...

Anonymous 7:56 AM  

*Boko*

Birchbark 7:58 AM  

Today's puzzle ISAO easy -- a rare Friday under twelve minutes, even after filmSPEED and 49D advil roadblocks.

I've been working my way through selections from Hackluyt's Voyages -- primary sources on voyages of discovery originally published in 1600. It is worth the effort. Last night on the plane, I read about Hugh Willoughby's and Richard Chancelor's "discoverie of the kingdome of Moscovia." Turns out the British didn't know much if anything about Russia until 1553. Reading Hackluyt paired well with intermittent sound-off viewing of "Patti Cake$," a movie that the guy in the row ahead of me was watching -- the gist is that an improbable rapper sticks with it, believes in herself, and makes it happen. Sort of choked up at the end. But the point is that 3D ACAKE fell easily enough.

SOSA, DOSAS. 34D = Dromedary name tag?

Jenna 8:22 AM  

I was thrown for a bit because THE NATIONAL MALL has the same amount of letters as INDEPENDENCE AVE.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

@anon 6:0something, I think it's unfair that Snowflakes have a name and trump supporters don't. Snowflakes are beautiful, all these unique little things. So I'd like to propose an identifying nickname for trump supporters on this blog. Shtwits. I didn't want to lose the opportunity to let you claim a trump identifier but Shtholes is sort of crude, Shtheads lacks melody, and Dmbshts is just common. ShtWits.

I know, I know. Don't engage the trolls. But they're people too.

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

Hillary used "Deplorables". That worked out well.

Georgia 8:40 AM  

Agree!

Adam Frank 8:41 AM  

HARAM should be well known from the news over the last several years about Boko Haram, which seeks to do away with un-kosher (to them) practices. Yes, I intentionally used “kosher” there.

As @Rex said, relatively easy. I wanted THE NATIONAL MALL but got ABCDE (ugh) and realized it had to be a street. I needed a few more crosses to get independence, but got it down. SNL put an end to my thought that Freddy Krueger was a MONSTER.

Loved DIURNAL and CAMELID. Loved all the long crosses. Really enjoyed the puzzle - although it wasn’t as challenging as some recent Fridays, it was more fulfilling.

Enjoy the MLK holiday.

I post here most days with my real name 8:42 AM  

I've given $$ to rex in past years, but recently his blog posts have become lazy, unthinking, unentertaining, and repetitive. I mean, how many times can you say "so-called best puzzle in the world" and think it's clever and fresh? So this year, DPLUS at best. No soup (or $$) for you!

Jay 8:46 AM  

Really fantastic Friday puzzle with 7 grid spanners including an awesome quad. Add to it the non-conventional grid design and you got a winner of a puzzle.
Looked intimidating at first but I solved the entire puzzle in one session in just 65 minutes. That is very fast for me. The middle section fell first followed by the bottom section. Had iNURE at 14D and that held me a bit in the top section.

I have been going lately back to the archives and solving Fridays puzzles. Until recently these puzzles were a struggle but now I get on average 70-80% solved without any help.

Based on my experience this must rate as easy and greatly entertaining.

Enjoyed Rex's write up.

Rob 8:54 AM  

Puzzle played fine but awfully easy for a Friday. I finished in 20% (!) of my average Friday time according to the web app, more like a Monday or Tuesday. A couple of questionable answers already noted, but nothing terrible.

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

I really liked the answers, clues, and overall grid. SPAREDNOEXPENSE made me think of Jurassic Park.

I'll chime in with the anti-LENSSPEED crowd. It's technically fine, in a way, but it's a stretch. It (imo) incorrectly associates "speed" with colloquial terms like "fast lens" and "slow lens," which have nothing to do with time (as opposed to shutter speed). It's totally legit to say "I need a fast lens for this concert," but no one says "What speed is the lens you're using at the concert?" LENSSPEED is probably not in the vernacular for most non-photographers, and most pro photographers/serious hobbyists will probably groan when they suss it out in the grid. I also had filmSPEED -- which is a significantly more common phrase -- and had a hard time letting it go.

Ken R 8:57 AM  

The crossword NAZI. OUCH

QuasiMojo 8:57 AM  

Well, I couldn't resist trying out the puzzle even though I had thought of going cold turkey for a while. I like stacks, I guess, and not the IHOP kind.

Plus I wanted to weigh in on "lens speed" since I'm an amateur photographer. I've heard the term before and if you go to the website of B&H Photo in NYC and search for lens speed you will get 2500 hits that refer specifically to the speed of lenses, not shutters. I've been shooting now for about five years and I still can't figure out how these darn things work. You have to be a brain surgeon to master all the bells and whistles on these new digital cameras. No wonder most people just use their smartphones.

After all the non-traditional puzzles of late, I found this one by Eric Agard to be a refreshingly "retro" crossWORD and enjoyed it to an extent. Words like NACRE, HARAM, LATH, CAMELID, ECLAIRS worked well but others like ABCDE, DPLUS, ALEVE and MLI didn't.

I first put in Méliès instead of EDISON. Was just showing off.

Anais NIN wrote a lot of D-PLUS DIURNAL stuff so I'm not at all surprised by her downbeat quote.

Which reminds me, I always thought DIURNAL meant "during the day" not "every day" so that one surprised me. Come to think of it, that sounds like some new sexual identity. "Allow me to introduce, OTTER Kahn, he's just come out as diurnal. He only has sex with other critters during the day."

Odd Sock 9:02 AM  

Pansexual? I guess that means attracted to anything that will hold still.

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

Well I liked it. Put in The National Mall before Independence Ave. but was happy to know Dosa (there is a Dosa restaurant in my neighborhood) ans MLI, which I figured out by actually knowing that the Battle of Hastings was 1066. I'm always happy if my total at a store comes to $10.66. Or $17.76.

oldbizmark 9:08 AM  

Super easy for me... but... DNF because of ME[g] instead of MEL. That is a big natick in my opinion Thiel and Mel? Really? Otherwise, enjoyable albeit a bit to quick for my morning commute. I actually had to read a book!

pabloinnh 9:17 AM  

"Rolled round in earth's diurnal course
With rocks and stones and trees."

Wordsworth.

Even reading this for the first time, I wondered, what the hell is "diurnal" doing in there?

Also, "rocks and stones" seems a trifle redundant.

Nancy 9:19 AM  

I shrugged my shoulders, said what-the-heck, put in LEN at 19A (instead of MEL), giving me HARAL (2D) and THIEN (4D) and said to myself: Bet I've Naticked. Nor do I care. I did and I don't.

If like @puzzlehoarder, you see THAT'S A TALL ORDER (1A) right off the bat, this may be an easy puzzle for you. If, like me, you could stare at the clue until the CAMELIDS come home and not think of THAT'S A TALL ORDER even once, this may not be easy at all. I found this a toughie, with all the PPP in all the most inconvenient places. And RILLS before RISES at 46D loused up the bottom for me and cost me lots of time -- except that I don't time myself. Basically, I enjoyed the challenge of this puzzle and learned some stuff: CAMELIDS and EACH ONE TEACH ONE, a phrase I've never heard. But I really, really object to 4D crossing 19A. I suppose I should have known HARAM, but I didn't.

Roo Monster 9:21 AM  

Hey All !
Got a quick break from CES to enthrall you with my take. :-)

Got to love an easy FriPuz! It's a nice break for the ole brain. I think that should be a new weekly thing. Easy Fridays!

Just a few writeovers, Advil-ALEVE, CAMaLID-CAMELID (duh), IpAd-IMAC. But... still a one letter DNF. Argh! Had MAdE/ACAdE, even though ACAdE made no sense.

Being a former bakery worker made ECLAIRS easy. Long johns are basically ECLAIRS with no filling, just the doughnut. Also knew OXO right away! I read about it because I had that as an answer in one of my (many rejected) puzzles. The founder said he chose OXO because it looks the same vertically or horizontally. Cool.

Push-up clue was nice misdirection, wanted something military-ish there. Could have also used a military type clue for REUPPED. That's what it's called when you sign up for four more years.

If my only nit is ABCDE to make a neat, easy FriPuz, then I must give kudos to Erik. Well, MLI, but RRNs don't bother me much. :-)

I OTTER go RELAX
RooMonster
DarrinV

Z 9:23 AM  

Having spent a great deal of my professional career working with Arab-American children in trouble at school (Assistant Principal Truism - 5% of students will take 95% of your time), I heard HARAM lots. It’s one of those words that becomes meaningless through overuse. Stealing is HARAM. So is sassing the teacher. Uh, not quite the same thing.... I just wish that thinking my child would never do that was not a nearly universally held parental belief.

Same reaction as Rex to THIEL. One of the most consistently ugly human beings to ever make a billion dollars. Unfortunately, his name is very useful to constructors, so I suspect we’ll see it more. Hey, if such liberal icons as Condoleezza Rice are accusing you of demagoguery you might just entertain the notion that your position is not correct.

@Two Ponies - I’ve never agreed with you more. Going super cutesy with the Battle of Hastings reference had my eyes rolling. Oo Oo. Maybe every RRN should be clued with a 1066 reference even if the RRN is attached to a random Pope. If we’re going to get inanity it really ought to be maximum inanity.

It has been awhile since ISAO Aoki has appeared, so I briefly went with the more famous (to me) Nori Aoki.

A fine easy Friday.

Mark Tebeau 9:27 AM  

Love it. Going anonymous to criticize the blog. But normally engaging in the community everyday under your name.

That's HARAM in my book. Though the kids have a name for that: trolling. Also it's kinda wimpy to offer a critique like that under a pseudonym.

Solved quickly but like @jay had iNURE. I did not know the term for bit then like others thought Boko HARAM. Like @Jenna I had National Mall quickly, which would have been way more fun and is a better answer. I have walked along Independence Ave many times but always relate more to the Mall.

Two Ponies 9:29 AM  

@ Anon 9:03, I have some quirky nerdy things that amuse me too but you really take the (pat-a)cake. And I mean that fondly. I made fun of the Battle of Hastings clue because I thought it was too obscure but not only did you know it but you were willing to do the math to get the answer! Wow.

I still hate RRNs.

Sir Hillary 9:32 AM  

Looking back, this was a pretty easy Friday, but it didn't feel like it as I was solving, because it was three very distinct sectors. I solved the top first, the bottom next, and finally the midsection. Took me a while to get going in each one, but once I did, things fell quickly.

A few poor entries for sure -- hello, ACAKE, OMS, ANIF -- but way less than in most puzzles with 15 stacks. ABCDE is dopey, but at least it's clued with some verve.

Good call by @Rex in saying the grid looks like a mask. I didn't notice it while solving, but now all I can see is a hockey goalie, circa 1965, complete with the straps around the back of the head. Didn't Mike Myers (a different SLASHER) wear one in the "Halloween" movies? Or was it Jason in the "Friday the 13th" series? Are those even the correct villains for those films? A horror movie fan I am not.

My biggest issue with Peter THIEL is that I can never remember the correct order of the I and the E. His offing of Gawker? No issue at all with that.

@oldbizmark -- Interesting point you make. Any chance you were thinking of MEg Tilly?

Thanks Erik -- very nice work.

Sandy 9:36 AM  

Please explain how "...max" leads to tops?

Sir Hillary 9:42 AM  

@Sandy --
"This puzzle will take me 20 minutes...max."
"This puzzle will take me 20 minutes...tops."

semioticus (shelbyl) 9:44 AM  

This was pleasant. It wasn't an easy Friday because it was filled with gimme answers, it was easy because it was smooth. That's a big difference that should be emphasized. 7 15-letter answers, and not a single one of them is made up bullshit, four of them stacked on top of each other. Bravo.

Now, that meant some glue in the puzzle, obviously, but the good answers are so good I'm willing to mostly forgive MLI OMS OXO SCI ANIF ISAO LATH OCHS ACAKE. I hear the complaints about THIEL/MEL being a tough crossing, but Peter Thiel was in the news so much lately that I don't think it's a Natick (unless you don't like the news) The weakest 7+ letter answer in this puzzle is NEEDSTO. It's that ridiculously fresh and strong.

The weak spots? Cluing could have used some more jazz. NACRE atop MLI gave me some trouble. I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out my error, and it was in that spot somewhere but apparently I misread the clue for 18D and thought it was in past tense. That's on me though.

Fast, good looking themelesses are much appreciated. It wasn't as good as last week's Saturday by Peter Wentz, but this one is up there.

GRADE: A-, 4.05 stars.

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

Disagree. I definitely blew the budget for my daughter's wedding by sparing no expense. And that's a fact.

Brent Langford 9:50 AM  

I guessed Constitutionave before I had any crosses

Nancy 9:51 AM  

Leaving aside the endless discussions of LENS SPEED, a subject I never in a million years would have guessed would be of such interest to so many, the blog is great today. @Rhiannon (4:24 a.m.) -- what an hysterical comment about what "on time" really means in Tijuana. @Quasi (8:57) -- Your "coming out as diurnal" is priceless. @Odd Sock (9:02) -- Your droll comment about pan-sexual reminds me of Nora Ephron's fictional protagonist in "Heartburn" who says about the fictional Carl Bernstein character: "My husband could be turned on by a Venetian blind."

@pabloinnh (9:17) -- My best friend in college (who later became a Professor of English) was taking the same English course I was taking and when we were assigned Wordsworth's god-awful "Lucy" poem that you quote above, she walked around singing it to a ditty of the time -- "Bell Bottom Trousers", I think: "No motion has she now, no force/She neither hears nor sees/Rolled round in earth's diurnal course/With rocks and stones and trees." It was the ultimate put-down of both the poem and of Wordsworth. I agreed with her then and still agree half a century later: He really is a completely overrated, and often quite terrible poet. Although my nomination for Worst Line He Ever Wrote would be:
"Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A six-years' darling of a pigmy size!"

the redanman 9:51 AM  

In Surgical Training it goes

SEEONEDOONETEACHONE

good for a 19 x 19 grid, I suppose

the redanman 9:53 AM  

DARNIITIALMOSTFORGOT

ISAOAOKI blew this one wide open for me, it started a massive

FILL-FLOW (Oh, wait, that was yesterday ...

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Peter Thiel, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Ben Carson and other members of protected classes who support Trump are bugaboos for Sharp and other cis-gendered progressive white guys who need to signal their virtue by objecting to the mere mention of Thiel’s and cohort’s names in crossword puzzles.

mathgent 10:09 AM  

I'm sure that constructing a quad stack is difficult but such puzzles tend to be dull, as Jeff Chen pointed out. Fridays average 15 red plus signs in the margins; this one had a generous nine.

Bob Mills 10:26 AM  

It looked hard, but turned to be pretty easy for a Friday puzzle. I guessed right on "CAMELID," but I have no idea what the word means. After checking my dictionary and finding nothing, I still don't know. Can anyone provide a definition?

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

Stacks are intimidating, but this was an enjoyable puzzle for me.
faster than my average time, but still an enjoyable Friday.

GILL I. 10:43 AM  

I woke up way too early but thought it would be just fine because Fridays always take at least an hour or two.
I probably would have finished in under 30 minutes had I not confidently penned in PUNTUAL for the Tijuana times. It was my first entry! Nothing was fitting so I thought maybe Erik is being all sarcastic and so I thought maybe it's MANANAS. Good lord....finally saw the A TIEMPO which is correct but I would still say puntual but it didn't matter because when I finally saw my error that whole upper part sailed. Phew.
Despite being fairly Friday easy, I enjoyed it all. Looked up all my unknowns (HARAM, DOSAS and PAN). I thought I knew my Indian foods. I might try and make some DOSAS because it strays from all the other typical Indian food you get around here that always has cinnamon, coconut milk and curry in it.
Nothing really gave me angst. Didn't know IRVIN but I guessed good at RABAT. Interesting city - it used to be quite exotic. I'm not sure everything we ate was HARAM but I remember the best lamb I ate was spawned in RABAT. VICTORIAS SECRET is such a neat name. I mean it could never sell if it were Bettys secret or maybelles secret. VICTORIA is a lot more romantic sounding. Like the queen.
I had forgotten about A RAISIN IN THE SUN so I went on YouTube and watched it again. Then I remembered how sad it made me feel the first time I watched it on TV. Danny Glover is such a fine actor but I kept getting depressed watching him try and open up his liquor store.
Yup. I always thought it was patty cake. Just like I always thought it was ashes, we all fall down.
@Nancy from yesterday. YES!...You should count your lucky stars...otherwise I'd bombard you with blonde jokes!

jberg 10:49 AM  

Sending two checks to day -- to @Rex, and to the IRS. Sorry, Rex, but the other one is bigger (sigh).

As for today: I opened up the paper (after the weekly struggle to find out which Arts section it was in) and saw that it was a) a quad stack, and b) by a friend of Rex's. Hmm, I wondered, how will he handle this? But by the time I finished, I knew -- the long acrosses were beautiful, all real phrases completely in the language. Nicely done, Mr. Agard!

I got VICTORIAS SECRET with almost no crosses, but with a general awareness of common crossword clue puns. And I knew the Air and Space Museum was on INDEPENDENCE AVENUE (hey, folks, the clue soays "thororoughfare," which rules out the mall). And, fortunately, I guessed right on the MEL/dEL crossing HARAM/HARAd thing (good point several made about Boko Haram, but I was thinking food).

Now to get really picky: a RRN is a Roman numberal that could be several different things, like one of the Ottos or Piuses. This one is specified as 1051 by the clue, so it's a non-random Roman numeral, NRRN. One of many things that made this one easy for a Friday. Fun to solve, though.

pabloinnh 10:49 AM  

@Nancy 9:51

Here's another favorite Wordsworth take:

"And then my heart with rapture fills
And dances with the imbeciles."

Joseph Michael 10:53 AM  

Regarding the plurality of genders, an Australian sex survey came up with 31 different ones and Facebook now says there are over 70.

And I thought I was just a guy.

Teedmn 10:54 AM  

How I miss MAS stack puzzles. Yes, this Erik Agard puzzle did a pretty good job of satisfying my stack craving but it just wasn't the same. Usually the down clues are made diabolical in order to offset the relative ease of parsing the common phrases in the acrosses, but here the downs were mostly an [EAR]PIECE ACAKE.

Thanks, @Nancy, for the image of the CAMELIDS coming home!

@QuasiMojo, I bought a fancy SLR about 5 years ago. I didn't take the classes offered free with the purchase of the camera (I still have that option - someday maybe I'll take the time). Instead, I bought "Digital Cameras for Dummies" and that is the extent of my learning progress. The book is buried somewhere on a shelf, and I rarely have my camera along as it is too expensive to risk on outdoor camping trips and too bulky to carry around in my bicycle pannier; most of my photos are taken with my iPad. So to hear that your journey has taken so long with much more effort than I have put into the hobby makes me wonder why I SPARED NO EXPENSE in buying extra lenses, (speed? what speed?), filters and various accessories for my camera. :-(

Buggy Bunny 11:03 AM  

tyros may refer to LENSSPEED, but no pro or experienced amateur will. it's not a STAT for photography. the STAT is the F-STOP of the lens, maximum aperture. when an editor/client wants to know the STATs used for your pix, you say, ASA-100 (digital emulates film speeds), 1/125 second, and f-stop 2.0. no mention of LENSSPEED.

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

Getting up each morning and having to find ways to be offended is not easy work. Send me money.

Amelia 11:17 AM  

Too bleeping easy for a Friday. Nice structure, great stacks, but there wasn't any crunch whatsoever. Got three stacks on top from RHETT, DOSAS, ENURE and RENT. A Raisin in the Sun is a Monday answer, maybe Tuesday, and the clue was hit over the head obvious. Dumbing down is the really problem with the NY Times puzzles these days. I knew that the answer had to do with bras, so how hard was it to come up with Victoria's Secret? And once you have ALEVE, you know it's an avenue. And the rest is...easy.

Rex should have complained about that on a Friday, for goodness sake.. And I'm not happy when he likes puzzles his friends construct. But that's his prerogative (horrible word) and how many of us have gone to awful plays or written raves of terrible books on Amazon and all because they're friends.

I could go elsewhere for my daily dose of this. Still, one wishes he were less so.

JOHN X 11:32 AM  

The comments today brought out an interesting divide:

The anti-LENSSPEED faction used specific facts and examples, often detailed and explained, to support their position that it was an innacurate clue/answer;

The pro-LENSSPEED cabal cited random Google search results and an obscure Wikipedia page to posit that the term exists and is "a thing" and therefore acceptable and correct.

Mistaker 11:37 AM  

If it is my lot to be the only person who initially put DIariAL for 37A -- so be it, I got a good chuckle out of what appears to be an actual word.

puzzlehoarder 11:39 AM  

@kitshef, I didn't dnf on MEL because HARAM and THIEL are both familiar to me. I only brought up the possibility of that area being a potential Natick because Jeff Chen mentioned it in his review. Those country music stars are both completely unknown to me but the crosses made the answer a foregone conclusion.

@Nancy getting 1A right off the bat was a really lucky break but those downs would have been easy regardless. If I'd had to use them to infer 1A the top tier would have gone down like an easy Tuesday as opposed to an easy Monday. The rest of this one pushed my time up into what would be average for a Wednesday. Big stacks are what constructors do to impress each other and the editor. They rarely generate difficulty.

TubaDon 11:42 AM  

Edison was a gimme, and I plunked down Camelid from some obscure corner of my mind and the bottom half fell easily. LensSpeed provided an entry into the top, and yes it is in common use among photogs even though technically it should be f/stop or focal ratio. When I first looked at the grid I expected that Guy Fawkes would be featured in the answers. No such luck.

old timer 11:54 AM  

Easier than I expected at first. INDEPENDENCEAVE was a gimme, though. And I have heard EACHONETEACHONE in the context of medical education. I thought the clue was wrong for DIURNAL. Does tnat not mean "in the daytime" rather than "daily"?

SJ Austin 12:03 PM  

Didn't know CAMELID and could get no help from 26D and 27D because I had atCLASS for 36A, but other than that, easy for a Friday. Those big stacks were great. Probably the most fun I've had solving in at least a month.

Masked and Anonymous 12:04 PM  

Llamas with fake CAMEL IDs. There oughta be a law …

Like @RP, luved the East-West grid symmetry. As a bonus, we get some novel designer weeject wells [with MEL and TSE in em], plus classy weeject nooks on the west and east sides. Primo.

Grid is sorta like a 3-layer A-CAKE. M&A polished off the topmost tier, then burped and handed off to PrincessPuzEatinSpouse, who blazed thru the rest of it like a possessed OTTER SLASHER.

Thanx for the fun, easy-as-ABCDE ride, Mr. Agard.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

Warren Howie Hughes 12:06 PM  

ISAO Chap, A law was made a distant time ago in CAMELID! So Rex, you feel this Friday offering by Erik Agard, was a piece ACAKE and wasn't dIRVIN to RHETT any higher in your exalted opinion? Remember, "just a TSP of sugar makes the medicine go down, in the most delightful way"

GHarris 12:11 PM  

Learned again the virtue of erasing answers believed to be clearly correct. Once I rid myself of yes no as the answer to 42D, changed the i to an e in enure and replaced a why with an if in 6D I was home free. Good deal of fun and much satisfaction. How does the latest utterance of our Stable Genius Get transposed into the epithet free statement issued by the White House? How do our anonymous trolls live with themselves?

kitshef 12:14 PM  

@Sir Hillary - Friday the 13th, Jason Voorhees, goalie mask. Halloween, Michael Myers, modified Captain Kirk mask.

@Bob Mills - Camelids are anything in the family Camelidae - basically camels,llamas, and vicunas.

Local 600 D.O.P. 12:20 PM  

"Lens Speed" is not a term used by any professional photographer ever. Those defending it seem to be amateurs who don't really know what the words they are using actually mean.

Mike 12:28 PM  

I’m not a huge country music person, but MEL Tillis is well known (a CM hall of famer). He also passed in November so has been in the news fairly recently. I don’t think it’s an unfair clue. Happened to see him in my only trip to the Grand Ole Opry while in Nashville for a convention.

One of the easier Fridays in a long time. My big break was INDEPENDENCE AVE.

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

I’d like to thank Erik Agard for his very kind shout-out to me in his puzzle notes (at Wordplay and the NYT Crossword Info site). I really appreciated them!

Oh... and I also really enjoyed his quadstack crossword! Nice work, with striking and unusual grid!


-MAS

(AKA: Martin Ashwood-Smith)

sanfranman59 12:35 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:48 4:08 1.16 83.3% Challenging
Tue 4:53 5:35 0.88 23.2% Easy-Medium
Wed 5:57 5:54 1.01 59.4% Medium
Thu 9:47 10:28 0.93 38.0% Easy-Medium
Fri 7:53 11:37 0.68 12.4% Easy

Closer to a Wednesday solve time than a Friday. After about 20 years of daily NYT solving, I seem to finally be getting better at late-week, low word count, quad stack puzzles. I prefer not to get political out here, but I find it interesting that A RAISIN IN THE SUN and EACH ONE TEACH ONE are featured the day after yesterday's incendiary remarks by 45. My head nearly exploded when I read the news last night.

GHarris 12:45 PM  

Leslie Jones didn’t pass the breakfast test.

Hartley70 12:49 PM  

@MAS, since you're here, might I say how much your work has been missed lately. I was delighted to see these stacks today and thoroughly enjoyed the solve, but I'm still a slavish fan of your puzzles.

Peter Thiel 1:00 PM  

@GHarris I agree. In fact, I think any mention of black people at all should be banned from the puzzle.

Black Sun 1:06 PM  

A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.
A crime-ridden socio-economically depressed country
would still be a $h*thole.
The truth is still the truth no matter which words you use.

Chip Hilton 1:07 PM  

@Mike. I agree on the MEL Tillis clue, although I thought of going with his daughter Pam for a bit. Nice to see Phil OCHS again.hes been showing up since Maleska days, I’m thinking.

@GHarris. Why? Is she not Norwegian enough for you?

Fun stacks, a bit too easy, crosses saved me more than once (CAMELID, DOSAS, NACRE, . . . )

Carola 1:20 PM  

Agree with @Rex about the pretty grid and the ease and fun of the solve.

Recovering Alcoholic 1:34 PM  

In high school we used to say, “each one reach for one.” It seemed funny at the time.

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

I guess in the spirit of the last weeks of trying to figure out where to put Arabs, we had Haram leading in to "pan" which is, I guess a nod to man love thursday.

Aketi 2:06 PM  

Don’t know when I first heard EACH ONE TEACH ONE but that and INDEPENDENCE AVE were exceedingly rare Friday instafills for me.

Liked the CAMEL IDS.

I once was offered 20 camels by a taxi driver in Cairo if I’d marry him and, in the altiplano of Peru, I was once offered 50 llamas. I know those two men valued their livestock, but even if they had been serious about their offers I can’t imagine any mammal I would want less than a CAMELID. I have managed to successfully dodge anytime they’ve tried to launch their spit towards me. Turns out that llamas have several different varieties of spit, the air spit, the shotgun spit and the green stunner. After reading about tha5 im never setting foot in a petting zoo again. A llama in a petting zoo once did manage to snatch my husband’s newspaper out of his hand and eat the paper. I am so glad my son is long long past the age when he wanted me to take him on camel rides with him at the zoo. That was just one notch below the dreaded sky tram ride. OTTERs, though, are another story. I could watch them DIURNALLY.

jae 2:12 PM  

Easy for me too. Interesting symmetry, pretty good Fri., liked it.

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

For a Dosa eater, DOSA is a gimme. Here is a link to Dosa Hut Dosa Hut in Flushing, NY - Happy Eating

Warren Howie Hughes 2:21 PM  

Jae said, "Elesymmetry, My Dear Watson" ;-)

Nancy 2:53 PM  

@Aketi (2:06) -- You can always be counted on to come up with some of the most colorful anecdotes of anyone on this blog, but you really outdid yourself today! Just hilarious! Both the stuff about the offers from various foreign suitors and the up-close-and-personal glimpses of the spitting llamas. Don't miss this post, everyone.

Anonymous 3:32 PM  

@Black Sun, Congratulations, you made the Shitwit list!

QuasiMojo 3:43 PM  

@teedmn, there are some great videos on youtube and also elsewhere online for using various SLRs. I found them easier to understand than the handbooks.

@Nancy, thanks for pointing out Aketi's post. Very funny, indeed. I've only been propositioned once by a cab driver -- and he was smoking camels, not raising them. Let's just say, I preferred to walk a mile... :)

GHarris 3:48 PM  

It's bad enough when gutless trolls post anonymously but when they impersonate others (eg. GHarris 12:45 PM) they are borderline criminals.

GILL I. 4:04 PM  

@Aketi...I don't know which visual I'm enjoying more:
You being attacked by a shark while your husband is waving at you or being spit upon by a camelid. Did perchance the man from Cairo look like Mustafa Galal Elizali?
@GHarris. Yeah...That's pretty awful. @evil Doug has had that happen, as have others. Get yourself an avatar then it won't be as difficult to impersonate you. Good luck!

Anonymous 4:24 PM  

LOL! No one believes that you gave in the past.

Aketi 4:58 PM  

@Gill I, haha, if he had I might actually have accepted those CAMELIDs. Oops, am I in trouble now for admitting that?

Anonymous 5:12 PM  

LOL! No one believes that you gave in the past.

Hungry Mother 5:45 PM  

I filled the puzzle before 6 am, but had “Wes” in the Natick area. I drove to Key West, ate lunch with running friends at Latitudes on Sunset Key, checked into my room on Duval Street and looked at the puzzle again. MEL popped into my mind and solved the puzzle.

T.E. Lawrence 5:54 PM  

Went to the Dromedary Bar in Brooklyn last week but they didn’t let me in ‘cause I didn’t have camelid

Joe Dipinto 6:10 PM  

A veritable breeze-through. Since I plunked in A RAISIN IN THE SUN right off the bat, the top stack was easy, and the rest followed. Maybe not the most exciting Friday puzzle of all time, but I was in no mood for an excruciating slog today so it played nicely.

Though TEN ROUNDS seems a bit GREEN PAINT-ish. I mean, how else could that be clued except as this particular item of film trivia? I see there was a country hit called "Ten Rounds With Jose Cuervo", but then it would be a partial. So that one entry seemed a little sketchy...

Joe Dipinto 6:30 PM  

@phil phil 6:49 - Agree the two expressions are not precisely interchangeable, but they both connote spending an inordinate amount of $$, so the clue didn't really bother me. "Blowing the budget" implies starting out with a limit in mind and then overspending, whereas you can "spare no expense" without having had any budget constraints to begin with.

Anonymous 7:03 PM  

i think the reason this puzzle is on a friday in light of its ease is that its the anniversary of lorraine hansberry's death

Puzzled Peter 7:05 PM  

Alternate clue for ANIF:
Opening scene in Sound of Music
('Tis the Castle of Anif, outside Salzburg. I was on bivouac in the woods next to the castle in '54.)

perry weiss 7:12 PM  

Michael,

I contributed to your blog last January; and while I suspect most of your Friday and Saturday solvers share your political views, I do not. I realize my unsent $5 won't put an end to RP(DNC)P, but enough already. Keep up the great work and MAGA.

Perry

Anonymous 7:25 PM  

Deep sympathies, @GHarris. Impersonating other people on a blog is ID theft, pure and simple. Same thing was done here to a nice guy in NH a couple days ago. Destroying a person's name is at least as bad as destroying his home. If the perpetrator could be caught (possible, Rex?), he belongs in jail. It doesn't "border on criminality", it is criminal.

All bloggers should have their names in blue and have an avatar that can't be duplicated to protect themselves. These people are so vile and so sick.

semioticus (shelbyl) 7:33 PM  

We might be on the exact opposite ends of the political spectrum with someone -which is hard because I'm a centrist but frankly I don't know what's in the center any more- and I couldn't care less.

However, let's get one thing straight. Making everything political started with Fox News, who simply went berserk when our 44th President was elected. That he wore a tan suit was presented as a big political crisis for frak's sake.

So I guess what I'm saying is this: you (not anyone personally, the general you) reap what you sow. Today didn't happen in one day. So instead of blaming each other -and trolling anonymously- we really need to question what went wrong and work together to resolve it before some problems become unresolvable due to extreme polarization. And game theory suggests that it will get worse every passing day unless the rules of the game change.

Joe Dipinto 9:06 PM  

Boko Haram's recording of "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" is a 1967 classic.

(Okay, that was bad, I'll stop now.)

Randall Clark 10:05 PM  

I am in the smallest and most hated political minority on the planet - I'm a conservative atheist. Who cares, and how is it relevant to enjoying crosswords? I hate how everything has to be political these days. I don't like it if, for instance, including mass murdering communist Che Guevara raises no eyebrows but referencing Peter Thiel is beyond the pale. But I love this blog and I come check it out after I do every Friday and Saturday NYT puzzle, and sometimes other days of the week. So while I wish we could leave out the politics, I was happy to donate to the cause, and I don't understand why a regular reader here would take pleasure in not donating. If you enjoy the blog, give if you can, and if you don't enjoy it: STOP READING!

Mattel 10:06 PM  

@semioticus, hear hear and thanks.
We need a healthy homeostasis. As long as one of our branches of government isn’t functioning well, the other systems can’t work well either. Those who wish the executive branch to continue in its current mold and those who would like to see a 180-deg reversal should all want to, and work to, see that it resumes functioning smoothly. A healthy body needs all its parts. Ours is sick. We need to do better.

Jeff Schuh 10:08 PM  

Got stuck on the tense of “blew the budget” and had no idea who Esison would become. Bah!

AW 10:32 AM  

For one-percenters, SPAR[ing] NO EXPENSE is not blowing the budget. If money is no object, you don't have a budget. The two terms are not synonymous. Conversely, you can have a budget that spares no expense. 26A is bad cluing. Otherwise, a fairly enjoyable and easy-ish solve.

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

Aleve is Naproxin Sodium whereas Motrin is Ibuprofin, which are definitely not interchangeable. One could argue that it’s irresponsible for the NYT to equate the two, least someone treat the two brands as the same drug.

fgillis 5:39 AM  

Is it just me and my one track mind, or is there something sexually suggestive with the grid layout?

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

I'm a professional photographer and I barely got LensSpeed as the answer. Yes, it's a thing, but only abstractly. One commonly refers to how "fast" a lens is which, I guess, leads tangentially to "lens speed" but nobody ever says it and it's not a 'stat' at all.

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