Portmanteau for lovers / FRI 2-2-18 / Long-running pop culture show / Robert who played filmdom's Mr. Chips / Laura of Star Wars last jedi / Pharmacy brand / Upscale kennels

Friday, February 2, 2018

Constructor: Randolph Ross

Relative difficulty: Easy



THEME:  — none

Word of the Day: UNCAS (7D: Last of the Mohicans) 
The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757 (1826) is a historical novel by James Fenimore Cooper. // It is the second book of the Leatherstocking Tales pentalogy and the best known to contemporary audiences. The Pathfinder, published 14 years later in 1840, is its sequel. The Last of the Mohicans is set in 1757, during the French and Indian War (the Seven Years' War), when France and Great Britain battled for control of North America. During this war, both the French and the British used Native American allies, but the French were particularly dependent, as they were outnumbered in the Northeast frontier areas by the more numerous British colonists. // The novel is primarily set in the upper New York wilderness, detailing the transport of the two daughters of Colonel Munro, Alice and Cora, to a safe destination at Fort William Henry. Among the caravan guarding the women are the frontiersman Natty Bumppo, Major Duncan Heyward, and the Indians Chingachgook and Uncas, the former of whom is the novel's title character. [...]
  • Chingachgook (usually pronounced chin-GATCH-gook): last chief of the Mohican tribe, escort to the Munro sisters. Father to Uncas, and after his death, the eponymous "Last of the Mohicans". His name was a Unami Delaware word meaning "Big Snake."[6]
  • Uncas – the son of Chingachgook and called by him "Last of the Mohicans", as there were no pure-blooded Mohican women for him to marry.[7] He is also known as "Le Cerf Agile", the Bounding Elk. (wikipedia) (emph mine)
• • •

Er, no thanks. This is quite [Stale] and full of old / weak fill that could / should've been cleaned right up. There are some interesting answers here and there ("E! NEWS" and DOG SPAS, for two), but mainly it's a lot of AMALIE / TATAS / BIS / IED / ADOSE / UNCAS / etc. for very little payoff. Speaking of UNCAS (7D: Last of the Mohicans), I haven't read that novel in almost 30 years, but wikipedia is telling me that UNCAS dies before his dad and that even within the novel, Chingachgook (not UNCAS) is specifically referred to as the Last of the Mohicans. I think maybe Chingachgook calls UNCAS that before UNCAS dies, but ... I do not think the clue is technically accurate. You could lawyer it, but it's not good. And yet it appears to the best standard clue for UNCAS, so I have no idea what the hell is going on. Good luck getting CHINGACHGOOK into a grid. The JIVES clue was also off-seeming to me. I guess it's a verb here, and OK, you can "jive" someone in the sense of "taunt" them, but "gibe" is the far more common / better term for [Taunts] (both as verb and noun). From m-w.com, re: gibe / jibe / jive:
Here is your shorter holiday checklist for these three words:
  • Gibe is almost always used to refer to taunts, or to the act of taunting. 
  • Jibe may be also used to mean “to taunt,” but it is the only one of the three that should be used to mean “is in accord with” (as in “That doesn’t jibe with what I thought”). 
  • Jive is the one of the three that should be used to indicate a manner of speech, or perhaps by swing dancers.
Though this one was mostly painful, it wasn't too far out of my wheelhouse. DONAT is olde-tymey, but I watch a lot of TCM, so no problem. I just learned ESTATE CAR the other day, from a crossword puzzle, so that was interesting, if not particularly pleasant. I had AGAVES before GUAVAS (11D: Sources of jam, jelly and juice) and SUM UP before RUN TO (16A: Total). SW corner was easily the toughest corner for me, as I couldn't remember what the word was that came before EYES with the marbles (39A: Some marbles => CAT'S EYES), and I thought ROGET's first name would be something French, and so it took a while to get any of the longer Downs there. SEXCAPADE might be an acceptable answer, but that clue, ew and yuck. "Lovers"? I mean ... what "lovers" are going to use that "portmanteau"? Precisely none of them. The very word "lovers" (meaning people who have sex) is so weirdly '70s. Virginia is for lovers. Portmanteaus are for lexicographers. I don't know who SEXCAPADEs are for. I feel like it's a thing one person does, over a series of days, with a series of people, in a Cinemax movie circa 1981.


Lastly, you can *shove* [Biased investigation] / WITCH HUNT right now. Shove. It.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Happy birthday to my father, who is 77, and currently in India (?!)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

132 comments:

Michael Petrie 12:05 AM  

I agree... the puzzle was smooth sailing until the SW corner. Finally finished, but that corner was a roadblock that I almost gave up on.

jae 12:14 AM  

Way too easy for a Fri. I had more problems with Wed.'s than with this one. Plus, I agree with @Rex...a bit bland. After yesterday's it seems like the puzzles are getting easier as the week progresses.

puzzlehoarder 12:17 AM  

This was the most toothless late week puzzle I've seen in a while. I've said it before but it bears repeating. If a constructor can think up an entry just off the top of their head so can everyone else. That's what this puzzle seems to be composed of. Look at the dearth of debut material in the xwordinfo clue list. TREADEDON on really doesn't count. It's just a generic green paint phrase. SEXCAPADE is a portmanteau for squares not lovers.

That's enough ragging for now. Obviously this was a disappointment.

JOHN X 12:22 AM  

"The Literary Crimes of Fenimore Cooper" is a scathing and funny essay by Mark Twain on why Cooper was a shitty writer.

I blasted through this puzzle. I learned ESTATECAR the other day as well, never heard of it before that. Now I'm going to use it all the time for everything.

Tita A 12:22 AM  

Hey everyone... lots going on these days, but wanted to stop by to say good luck to everyone heading to Westport this wekend!

I`m really sorry to be missing it, and missing all of my crossword friends.

My current diversion is bouncing my beautiful granddaughter on my knee. Since they live so far away, I am devoting every delicious moment of this visit to doting. And spoiling. And tickling.

So raise a glass for me, and best of luck in the competition!

Robin 12:23 AM  

Agree with @jae, This would have been the fastest Friday ever for me but I had to spend a minute going through the puzzle to track down a bad letter.

Dictionary I am looking at indicates that the past tense of tread is trod, not treaded. Rather, treaded is instead an adjective applied to a shoe or TYRE.

Mike in Mountain View 12:43 AM  

Agree with @Robin. Wanted some version of TROD____.@Rex: SW corner was an outlier in an otherwise very easy Friday.

Moly Shu 1:16 AM  

Today, WITCHHUNT triggered @Rex. What’ll it be tomorrow, dossier?? Had cODED for far too long. Kept me from seeing BAYER. Having gone to high school in the USVI, I never TYRE of Charlotte AMALIE. Oh, and tris before BOSE.

Harryp 1:23 AM  

Looks like the whole week had easy puzzles. El Capitan in Yosemite Valley is one of the more famous rock climbing venues in the world. Dean Potter, Alex Honnold, Lynn Hill and a host of other climbers there through 3 generations turned climbing into an art form. @ John X 12:22, I just finished rereading Mark Twain's Letters From The Earth, where his satire of J.F. Cooper's prose style is to be found. Fragments of deer indeed!

Grant Edwards 1:32 AM  

I don't read this blog. I used to. I just jumped down to the comments today to express how hateful and pointless this blog is. Rex Parker (if you're even here today) hang it up! Quit. I'll check back again in a couple of months and hopefully I'll find this blog doesn't exist any more. It's pure Schadenfreude to log on here at this point.

Whitey 1:49 AM  

Good puzzle.

I, too, did not care for the last paragraph in the write-up. Sometimes words are just words — they only come with a loaded meaning if you are looking for one.

chefwen 2:17 AM  

@Tita A. I congratulate you as I raise my glass of Chardonnay. Enjoy
@Grant Edwards. Don’t let that door hit you in the ass as you leave again. Many of us like it here.

First fill was EMERGENCY, spent what seemed to be a week there one day when my husbands blood pressure tried to climb through the roof. Turned out he was dehydrated, phew! Too much hot yoga. I keep telling him that exercise crap was going to do him in. How injured can you get falling off the couch?

Easiest Friday in a long time. I like that!

Loren Muse Smith 2:53 AM  

Randolph Ross – what a discovery that WITCH HUNT and BLAME GAME are both 9 letters.

Hey, there @Tita A! But you’re going to the ACPT, right? Yes? Please? Bring pictures of that granddaughter.

I can’t agree with everyone who’s saying this was easy. I will agree, though, about the southwest corner - took me forever to straighten it out ‘cause I had get “a hold” of reality. And I forgot that my penciled-in “rbis” was just a little test to see if it’d work. Once I changed it to ERAS, I finally finished.

With that wrong R starting 33A, I was going some kind of “bromance” portmanteau.

Rex – I’m not understanding your gripe about the clue for SEXCAPADES:

“I mean ... what "lovers" are going to use that "portmanteau"?”

“Portmanteau for lovers” doesn’t mean *only* that this is a word they would use. You’re just being tongue-in-cheek, right? A coy little rexcapade? That for in the clue doesn’t have to mean used by.

“Word for people who believe, well, that someone’s got their back and cares about them” = sheeple.

I work deep in the heart of sheeple country. They don’t use this word. But it’s a word for them.

My sellers at a craft show were “artistes” first. I snorted. Mom and a neighbor used to make these wallpaper fans to go in front of your fireplace when you weren’t using it. They sold like hotcakes. She and Mrs. Staples would work hours folding, creasing, weighting mauve and light blue fans that were just the thing your den needed to achieve that (kiss fingers in air) Perfect Touch. Anyway, I guess if you have to frenchify the word, you’re not the real deal. Matisse was an artist. Mom and Mrs. Staples were artistes.

ARTISAN is a whole ‘nother deal. I just looked into this matter. An artist creates something that’s pretty. An ARTISAN creates something that’s functional, useful but hopefully still aesthetically pleasing and stuff. I did not know this. So if Mom and Mrs. Staples had been crocheting those creepy toilet paper doll cover things we had in Chattanooga, they’d have been artisanistes.

It's no secret that a good portmanteau just floats my boat. I see SEXCAPADE and immediately see possibilities. Latexcapades - When Shane S and Brian J gained access to Nurse Trudi’s disposable gloves and were able to mix it up in class until I confiscated them. This was the week before they both showed up sporting Depends diapers over their jeans. Gifted pair, these two.

Can’t sleep. News on in the background. One big old vortexcapade circling closer and closer toward The End. Just keep pushing that flusher, Bob. The one next to the bowl of seashells. Next to the dusty roll of spare toilet paper.

Thomaso808 3:43 AM  

WITCHHUNT and BLAMEGAME are great bookends for this easy romp of a Friday puzzle. It’s on the front page every day here in Hawaii as they still try to hunt and blame those involved with the false missile alert from two weeks ago. As usual, the press is milking it and politicians are using it. What a pathetic mess.

Yeah, this was a little on the stale side. My Mr. Chips is Peter O’Toole, and I’m no spring chicken. I didn’t even know there was a 1939 original. Got DONAT on the crosses. About time for another remake?

BODED and TREADEDON just don’t seem right.

But I finished in 17 minutes which is amazing for me on a Friday (Thursday night), so all’s good!

BarbieBarbie 5:40 AM  

@thomas808, yeah, me too on TREADEDON. What happened to TROD?
Funny thing, I filled in ROGET right away and then my brain kept trying to name him Pierre, which didn’t fit. Had to get PETER from the crosses. Think much, ever?
SEXCAPADEis a great puzzle word, but I agree about the clue. 8t’s not that it didn’t make sense. It was just too vanilla to provide a grip.
Liked having CATSEYES paired with DOGSPAS and even HOG and FERRETS. Kind of a little domestic zoo theme in the South there. Actually the whole puzzle, in you count the ass.

Two Ponies 6:39 AM  

Strange to see estate car again so soon. I can hardly wait for the clue to be Britspeak for sedan and listen for everyone to lose their minds over saloon.

Hey, along with witch hunt and blame game we have two pesky Russians in the grid. Rex so predictably was triggered by the answers that boded today's unveiling of the dreaded memo. But seriously, if the Deep State really exists doesn't everyone deserve to know. Just because you drank the I-hate-Trump Koolaid surely can't mean you agree that domestic spying is ok, does it?

Anonymous 6:52 AM  

That Southwest corner was brutal. I had to reveal two words - SEXCAPADES (I had tried SEXSPLAIN and SEXPERTS, neither of which worked), and CATSEYES. TREADEDON was... questionable. I had always thought "trod" was the past participle. The dictionary says that "treaded" counts too, but boy is it ugly. In any event, I was focused on past tense verbs rather than participles. Perhaps if it were TRODON I would have thought otherwise, but I was just confounded.

With the two reveals I was able to get the rest, but otherwise I was stuck on ADHERE (I had PLEDGE, which is, I think, a better answer, and worked with SEXPERTS), SEESAW (with PLEDGE I had ADJUST). DONAT (who?) and ENEWS (huh? what?) certainly didn't help - because the first is obscure to anyone not the parent of a GenXER, and I'm still not convinced the second is a real thing.

Hungry Mother 6:59 AM  

Quite fast for me today. I wish I could say that about my morning run. Even the trivia were easy.

Glimmerglass 7:17 AM  

@Grant Edwards: Give it up! If @Rex ever caves in to the trolls, he’ll just quit writing the blog. No one else will be writing it. I agree with Rex about today’s puzzle. However, the gripe about portmanteau is ill-chosen. SEXCAPADE is not necessarily a word lovers use, but a word used ABOUT lovers. I’m amused by the term, which suggests a public orgy (a back-formation from icecapades?).

kitshef 7:18 AM  

Extreme outlier here, as I thought it was very hard.

SW in particular beat me up like mad. WoEs were ENEWS and DONAT crossing the ridiculous TREADED ON, and vague clues all over.

In that one area I had:
stack before DONAT
roo before XER (a male kangaroo is called a boomer)
rbiS before ERAS
aTlas before STEEL
waiver and tEEter before SEESAW
stEppEDON before TREADEDON
A DOSE changed to A bitE when nothing worked before back to ADOSE.

Fill wasn’t the best, but loved the workout.

Carter Page 7:31 AM  

Is your disgust at “ witch hunt” referring to the Mueller Investigation and the corruption at the F.B.I. ?

George 7:37 AM  

Here I was, about to check out Rex's blog, absolutely certain that he would *love* the bookending of WITCHHUNT and BLAMEGAME, and I was wrong! I, however, loved the pair. I also liked the puzzle despite the UNCAS and DONATs. Donuts = yes!, DONATS, not so much. And I have a thing for ESTATECARS, which I try to rent whilst on business in the UK. Unfortunately, last week I got a Nissan SUV. Still, we must all soldier on. Looking forward to Saturday's puzzle.

Anonymous 7:45 AM  

Rex spelled backward is xer. He is one I believe. His father, however, is not a boomer. He is a member of the silent generation. Sick of this Russian witch hunt too.

Unknown 7:49 AM  

Rex Parker and everyone who blogs in this column are sardonic self-whackers, mentally and physically.

Anonymous 7:54 AM  

Strzok and Page. Strzage?

Anonymous 7:59 AM  

Dang, @LMS, I only wish I didn't have to come by _here_ to read your gems. Today was a sparkling of glistering glitter. Kudoi.

joebloggs 8:19 AM  

BAYER not a pharmacy brand. It’s a pharma or drug brand. Anoying

Ken R 8:29 AM  

Poor Rex and the sad sack Democrats still denying the Witch Hunt they perpetrated on our President! Obama,Lynch the FBI hierarchy, the Obama justice department and liberal elites WERE, and STILL ARE unable to accept the will of the American voters! When the memo is released today they will try and put their media to work and spin the truth to suit their one goal, bringing down a democratically elected president! The Democrats and their Biased media are a JOKE, Total embarrassment. Pelosi Schumer and Schiff are a disgrace to democracy along with Durbin Feinstein Boxer and Waters. MAGA !

Sir Hillary 8:38 AM  

Yep, sailed through this one until the SW took me as long as the rest of the puzzle combined.

Love the WITCHHUNT / BLAMEGAME bookends. Made me smile and cringe at the same time.

BUDSELIG initially came off as ANTILABOR, what with the 1994 strike. But labor peace reigned for the rest of his tenure. Unfortunately, so did steroid use.

Has anyone ever said the word CRANNIES without the word nooks? Personally, I have not.

ESTATECAR seems a much more apt description for my parents' old Country Squire than does station wagon.

I don't see more crosswordese than in a typical puzzle. I think @Rex rushed his review on this one.

music is for lovers 8:38 AM  

Professional musician here. I don't know what BIS has to do with music. Seriously. I got nothin.

Anyone?

QuasiMojo 8:39 AM  

Well, this one certainly felt more like a Wednesday than a Friday, but I guess it's silly to complain about being able to finish a puzzle without much effort. I've actually got a busy day ahead of me (not traveling to Westport, alas.)

I'm happy to see WITCH HUNT in today's grid because it reminds me of "The Crucible" and our country's tendency to overdo the BLAME GAME from time to time. It's almost as if there's something in the American psyche or zeitgeist that refuses to be objective or balanced. Talk about SEESAWs! The pendulum is swinging like crazy today. Reminds me of that great old joke about Tallulah Bankhead who went to midnight mass at St Patrick's and saw the Cardinal draped in his robes, swinging his incense. He asked her what she thought of the elaborate proceedings. She said, "Honey, I love your drag but your purse is on fire."

SEXCAPADE sounds like what the current Nashville mayor just fessed up to on the news last night. I loved her responses to the myriad queries about "WHEN" did you end your fling? She kept saying "when it was over." Ah, lawyers and politicians, you gotta love 'em.

JIVES is just wrong. If someone is "jiving" you it means he or she is BS'ing you, not taunting you. I struggled with GIBES and had CB'ers for a long time! Don't RV'ers use CBs? lol

That clue about the station wagon had me flummoxed for a moment because I read it as what the British "call" a "station wagon" meaning that a "station wagon" in England is a certain type of vehicle other than what we think it is. I thought of LORRY or DOLLY or some moveable CRAFT. Which reminds me, I wanted so much for that CRAFT SHOW to be about BOATS. I love boat shows.

SEXCAPADE sounds like a great name for an ICE SHOW in Vegas.

Best of luck to you all in WESTPORT. Don't forget to wear your "GREY-FLANNELED SUITS." :)






Pete 8:47 AM  

My hatred of all things "artisanal" made me retch at 26A, though it shouldn't have. The definition of artisanal is

(Adjective) so fucking precious in the attempt to be better, purer, more out-there that it results in something totally useless.

Take Artisanal bread. Have you ever had an artisinal bread, outside of a rye, that didn't have holes in it big enough to house a colony of marmots? Some artiste ( hi Lauren's mom) thought that having huge holes in the bread showed it was made by hand. What is showed was that it was made by someone who doesn't know how to proof their bread properly. And the ryes, don't get me started on the ryes. A rye is supposed to be dense compared to other breads, no dense compared to granite. Most artisanal rye my wife brings home could be used in the construction trade, and used by a true artisan at that - someone who can stack blocks of stone on top of one another and have them serve a useful puropose.

Stuart Showalter 8:58 AM  

WTF? This blog is about the xword, not politics. Go away!

Hartley70 9:05 AM  

@Quasimodo, loved your Tallulah line. What a dame, who's almost forgotten now. Thanks for the reminder. The lady mayor of Nashville was refreshingly terse and matter of fact when referring to her SEXCAPADE. I have heard way more than I want to know lately.

I enjoyed this solve. We have certainly had more difficult Fridays, but this gave me some pushback without tempting me to cheat. I like that virtuous feeling.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

When you live in a completely isolated bubble, totally oblivious to the real world, you wind up thinking like you do. I should say don't think. I feel sorry for your students

Tim Aurthur 9:09 AM  

So UNCAS is the penultimate Mohican?

As for getting CHINGACHGOOK in a grid, I bet BEQ could.

RJ 9:12 AM  

I agree with the bunch - a very easy Friday. I had several misstarts such as "hydro" instead of "tetra" for fluoride and "gibe" instead of "jive".

I find it amusing that some don't like it when Rex complains about cluing since I will bet $ that everyone who does these puzzles feels the same way. So here are my complaints about cluing

I agree with @joebloggs...Bayer is a pharma brand. CVS or RiteAid is a pharmacy brand

"sexcapades" - I only got this through fill. After , I listened to Merriam Webster podcast just to check my understanding of the word - learned a bit but still can't go from "lovers" to sexcapades. If the clue was "friends with benefits", "one night stands", "swingers"...all those would have worked for me.

I also agree with chefwen. I enjoy this blog - bloggers answer a lot of my questions about the puzzles

Z 9:14 AM  

Since when is TREADED an accepted past tense of TREAD? Ugly with a capital UG. “Spelled” doesn’t sound appreciably worse than “spelt,” but TREADED might as well be TREADEDEDEDED. It just feels clumsy. #TeamTrod

SEXCAPADE has everything to do with fucking and nothing to do with love, so I’m with Rex that using “lovers” as a synonym for “fuckers” is a quaint ‘70’s anachronism.

@kitshef yesterday - Yep, I agree but not quite my point. We don’t swear in front of Nana not because Nana hasn’t heard the words or will be offended but because we want Nana to think of us in a certain way. Roman Polanski means nothing to me, I don’t think I’ve ever seen his movies and the crime happened when I was busy doing other things. This doesn’t change the fact that using “Roman of Hollywood?” was especially tone-deaf in the current moment and easily avoided. It speaks yet again to the nature of the NYTX and it’s older white male centric limitations. So it is not about anyone being “triggered” and everything about the nature of the puzzle we’re doing every day.

@Two Ponies - “Deep-State” is tin-foil hat parlance for the professional bureaucracy. Unless one uses the term with tongue firmly in cheek one risks looking like a wing-nut.

Which makes feel like listening to a song from Hotel California, another quaint 70’s anachronism.

mathgent 9:18 AM  

It's becoming clear why Jeff Chen selected that mediocre puzzle of a few days ago as his POW.

@puzzlehoarder (12:17): Toothless, indeed. And charmless.

Puzzle bad, blog good. @LMS (2:53): Nice explanation of the distinction between artist and artisan. @Sir Hillary (8:38): Nooks and crannies is still written on packages of Foster's English Muffins. One of the first things my mother taught me was how to tear her morning English muffin to create the nooks and crannies. I remember that Classic Comics cover for Last of The Mohicans. I think that I read every issue of that excellent series. The only times my mother praised me for reading a comic.

Does anyone use BIS currently? Is it archaic?

Roo Monster 9:25 AM  

Hey All !
Happy Groundhog Day! Whoop-whoop.
Phil saw his shadow this year. Six more weeks of winter.

Agree with that SW corner being royally aggrevating. Had to Goog for DONAT, ROGET's first name, and what Vacillate meant. Having FEttErS for FERRETS didn't help. Is that mistake a form of dyslexia?

Other writeovers, dEEts-WEEDS, you know, details-dEEtS, like ADORBS, ET ALII. And AGApe-AGASP, wmD-IED. WITCHHUNT took a bit, as had iNCAn and the (correct) dEEtS.

So a fairly crunchy FriPuz that ran the gamut from easy spots to impossible spots. Is that playing the BLAME GAME?

Male poodle parents? DOGS PAS

A DOSE of CRANNIES
RooMonster
DarrinV

Rob 9:28 AM  

I'm a (hobbyist) musician with about 30 years of experience across 4 instruments and I've never seen BIS.

JIVES is straight up wrong for the reasons Rex already covered. I had no idea what KOA was so finding my "error" took some doing.

GILL I. 9:53 AM  

@Tita...A toast to you....Glad you "popped" in. My toast comes in May!
@Loren...Good gravy....Someone actually knits little paper dolls to cover up toilet paper? Why? I pile up my Cottonelle right next to the toilet so that everyone who uses it can see that I care about soft and plush on my tooshie. You can buy a Gucci roll for about $700.00
@Pete..Panera's makes an excellent rye that isn't labeled "artisinal." I make my own. The secret is good beer. Doesn't feel nor look like a brick.
Oh...The puzzle. Well...It's Friday and I only Googled once. Same SW problem. Had STEEL ERA XER so I decided to figure out who the Brown family was on 30D. I couldn't get Jerry out of my mind. EARTH TONE actually made me groan. It opened up that section for me especially since I didn't know ROGET actually had a first name.
Like the clue this time for ONE B. Didn't someone try and clue that answer as a seat next to the pilot?
I've seen BIS a ton of times. It"s a Latin word. Like Ettu Brutus.
Didn't even notice the WITCH HUNT BLAME GAME parallel. I suppose you cAn add FAKER and HOG to the mix if you want to get all political. I hope you don't....
@Nancy from yesterday...Thanks for the "Shrinklits" info. It's going to be one of my birthday gifts to me.

Maruchka 9:55 AM  

@JohnX - Spot-on for Twain's essay. Brutally funny. Ta!

Diego Gomez 10:02 AM  

Headline from The Onion yesterday which jibes with Rex’s concerns about the Mueller witch hunt and the Deep State: FBI Warns Republican Memo Could Undermine Faith In Massive, Unaccountable Government Secret Agencies

Wm. C. 10:04 AM  

This played a bit hard for me, especially in the SW ... Do at, ENews, Earthtones.

Geographically, I was OK, having sailed the BVI Circuit out of Charlotte Amelie twice, and hiked (not climbed!) to the top of El Capitan.

And @Tita_A, speaking of Westport, my wife and I were married there in the Saugatuck Congregational Church.

Nancy 10:17 AM  

Like so many others, I sailed through most of the puzzle and then struggled in the SW corner. For that I largely BLAMEGAME the 30D clue. While "Brown family member" may be a good way to make sure that no one FERRETS out EARTH TONE, it's really not a fair clue as far as I'm concerned. I also agree that TREADED ON is ridiculous and that it should have been TROD.

And while my ROGET's is a much used and much valued tool, his first name is nowhere in sight unless you go looking for it. I had ----R and thought it had to be PETER, but wasn't sure and went to confirm it before writing it in. Which makes this a DNF, I suppose. PETER led to SEXCAPADE which led to CAT'S EYES which enabled me to finish the very difficult SW section.

There were many things I liked about the puzzle: the clue/answer for WEEDS (1D); JOKE (31D); SEESAW (40D); and BOSE (35A), where I was looking for someone like Cicero.

Some thoughts for the day: Aren't DOG SPAS just too too? And Rex, I don't know how to break this to you, but "lovers" is a word that isn't ever going to be DATED.

No Time For TATAS 10:24 AM  

Enough is enough. The word TATAS has no place in the NYT puzzle. (Or anywhere else in the Times for that matter.) I don't care how it is clued-- we all know that it is an insulting phrase used to reference a part of a woman or Queer's anatomy. (I am not going to compound the problem by saying which part of the anatomy but I think you all know which part.) Phrases like this are a form of violence, and at this point there is no question in my mind that its inclusion is deliberate on the part of Will Shortz. Please join me in spreading the hashtag #NoMoreTimesTATAS! on social media, calling for an apology, and demanding that This. End. Now. TATA Time's Up, Times!

Maruchka 10:26 AM  

Easy overall, but liked the limited PPP-ness and old-timey feel. Nice pairing of ANTILABOR and STALINIST. Workers of the World, don't settle for lip service!

Hmm. I've used both trod and treaded. Is everyone crabby today?

Mom and Dad had a wonderful collection of 78s, several of which were DECCA recordings of Der Bingle. Wish we'd kept them. Bubbubba boo.

@Tita - Sweet. Many blessings on your little one.

GILL I. 10:29 AM  

@No Time For TATAS....
#NoMoreTimesForTATAS."
Best belly laugh today!

Nancy 10:36 AM  

From yesterday -- thanks to @Quasi, @GILL, @Joe Dipinto, and @jberg for your nice words. The answer to your question, @jberg, is yes, and I hope you won't end up sorry that you asked. :) You'll be hearing from me off-blog in the very near future.

Oldfatbasterd 10:41 AM  

@Stuart Showalter, no one is begging you to stay Sparky. If you don’t like the politics on here, then just vamoose.

Anoa Bob 10:42 AM  

Agree that WITCH HUNT and BLAME GAME are spiffy grid bookends. The clue for 30D, "Brown family member", was a real head-scratcher for me and I needed a lot of help before the light finally came on with EARTH TONE.

One of the reasons why this played easy for some might be the ess fest afoot, with 22 of the little buggers floating around. That's over 10% of the grid that's pretty much auto-fill. And one of the two Hall of Shame Super POCs, POSSESSES at 14D, makes a reprise appearance from a few days ago. It not only is a plural of convenience itself, but potentially enables a whopping five more crossing POCs. Here we only get four, TATAS, DAREDEVILS, ARTISANS, and HURTS.

The other Super POC? ASSESSES.

By the way, hereabouts TATAS means something more in line with SEXCAPADE than with "good byes"..

TubaDon 10:43 AM  

Started right off with ESTATECAR t;hanks to British mysteries and a cup of English Breakfast Tea to get my little gray cells working. Never read about any Mohicans, but CT has an UNCASville, which was enough of a hint. Just realized POSSESSES possesses more Esses than Mississippi.

old timer 10:50 AM  

I've seen BIS in a score, reminding the musicians to play a passage twice,

I too guessed Roget was a PETER but then looked it up to confirm.

My favorite lucky guess was DECCA.

When I was in France in 1998, ARTISANal was a much used word. Especially for boulangeries (bread bakeries) that made everything on the premises. The loaves did not have unnecessary holes, as they sometimes do here. They also made croissants, invariably delicious, and brioches (meh),

Maruchka 11:03 AM  

Btw - a belated shout out for Robert DONAT. One of the finest Brit film actors of his days. Check out Hitchcock's 'The 39 Steps'. Perfection.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

I wonder who “you” refers to, when Rex says you can “Shove.” “It.”

pabloinnh 11:19 AM  

What's the problem with "treaded"? No less a poet thatn G. M. Hopkins said

...Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have treaded, have treaded, have treaded

Oh. Never mind.

I have seen "bis" in lyrics for Spanish songs lots of times, and it finally appears in a xword, fulfilling another lifelong dream.

Hartley70 11:34 AM  

@WmC, coincidentally the Westport competition is being held at that church this year instead of the Westport Library.

James Hilton 11:36 AM  

@pabloinnh:
Don’t waste your breath trying to question Z, who is often wrong, but never in doubt.

Kathryn Horvat 11:40 AM  

Agreed and since when is a complete embarrassment a joke?

Esther Victoria Blodgett 11:46 AM  

I don’t know how Rex squares his love of TCM with his wokeness. It is a cesspool of misogyny.

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

I’ve treaded water since I was a child. I’ve never trod water.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

BIS comes from Latin for "twice", specifically in music, a passage to be repeated.

GHarris 12:11 PM  

Jumped right in on witch hunt (word of the year) and was rolling merrily along until, like most others, I bogged down in the SW. Didn’t know Donat, had to google for Roget’s first name and had teeter for seesaw. Enews was a nonstarter.
Hey @Ken R “democratically elected president “? Democracy is rule by the majority. Your guy fell 3 million votes short.

Trombone Tom 12:11 PM  

@puzzlehoarder (12:17) In a word! Toothless. Except hand up for miring down in the SW.

I, too, did a double-take on taunts as a clue for JIVES. That is, until I Googled the definition and there it is (North American usage). To me it's always been 1) music and 2) putting someone on.

And, having used Roget's umpteen thousand times, did I ever learn his first name? No!

So, Randolph Ross, thanks for an easy Friday with a couple of sneaky trip wires.

Masked and Anonymous 12:12 PM  

Yosemite is one of the prettiest places old M&A has ever been to. Sooo … Really enjoyed the ELCAPITAN entry, a lot.

CATSEYES and DOGSPAS get honrable mention.

yo, @Tita A. Good to hear from U.

fave portmanteau: The Blorg. Honrable mention to trumemop.

staff weeject pick: XER. As others have mentioned, REX's backup.

Thanx and y'all come back any oldtime, Mr. Ross.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


**gruntz**

Joe Bleaux 12:14 PM  

Amen! Twain's references to a "Cooper Indian" alone are LOL funny, and his comprehensive list of specific offenses is priceless.

OISK 12:16 PM  

pabloinnh just beat me with the "generations have trod, have trod, have trod," reference. I love poetry, but really dislike that poem. "Why do men then now not reck his rod?" is one of the ugliest lines of verse (unintended) I know, as Hopkins strains to find enough rhymes for "God." Yet critics love it, and it is analyzed in many college texts... ("It gathers to a greatness like the ooze of oil. Crushed." Awful imagery. BUT...I am a chemist, not an English professor!)

I've heard "Bis" shouted at classical concerts.

I enjoyed the puzzle a lot. Yes, it was easy for a Friday; for me it was much easier than Tueday's, where I DNF on "Elwes." (I keep thinking "I'll be loving you, Elwes...".) Liked the clue and the answer "Sexcapades." Since I never use the "F" word in any context, "Lovers" was entirely appropriate...

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

Bruce Ohr

Pete 12:28 PM  

Second Friday in a row having POSSESSES hogging up the right-most column. Can we get a REPOSSESSES next week? Maybe a POSSESSERS?

Liz T. 12:32 PM  

Isn't brown a member of the EARTHTONE family, rather than the other way around? All browns are earth tones but not all earth tones are brown!

Nancy 12:41 PM  

Right on, @Liz T (12:32)! That's exactly what I meant in my earlier comment (10:17 a.m., first paragraph), but didn't quite say. Good for you in making the error in logic of the clue/answer crystal clear.

Jill from PDX 12:42 PM  

Oh Rex. I would cry if I could not read your blog!!!!!

Bob Mills 12:44 PM  

Seemed hard at first, but turned out to be fairly easy for a Friday. I had "ARTISTES" for a long time before "ARTISANS" came to me.

Carola 1:09 PM  

Not easy for me, liked it.

@QuasiMojo, thank you for that Bankhead quote. My laugh of the day.

Teedmn 1:21 PM  

@kitshef, thank goodness I didn't know the trivia tidbit about boomers and roos - XER went right in and gave me SEXCAPADE though I'll admit to wrinkling my nose at the clue for 28D as not quite, quite.... But even with EARTHTONE going right in also, I had to chip away at the SW from the right side. A sudden aha at BAYER cracked open the CATSEYES and gave me the finish.

The W at 1D made me think Wonky but that isn't very metaphorical. "Sausage" didn't fit. But no EMERGENCY there, ESTATE CAR went in quite nicely and kept me out of the WEEDS.

The clue for 20A made me laugh in embarrassment at something that happened 35 years ago. I was cross-country skiing with friends. I had taken the "easy" path with a friend whose knee was giving her trouble. When we came to where the "expert" trail joined the easy trail, a guy in a fancy, red, tight, windsuit swept by at a fast clip and I yelled, "Hot dog!!" about 15 seconds before I realized that was not my friend Jeff, who was dressed similarly. Thank goodness that guy was so far ahead, I never had to face him. You just don't yell things like that at random strangers in Minnesota.

Not a bad Friday, but I'll add my "easy" rating to others'. About 6 minutes too easy for a Friday.

Joe Bleaux 1:36 PM  

@GHarris, I resisted the temptation to point that out to @Ken R because Trumpists often are offended by what Is referred to in consensus-based reality as "facts." We'll see whether he responds. (Meanwhile, I will say this for Mr. R: In his post, he went three for three in correctly using "their" where his brethren usually opt for "they're" or "there." In his next one, he may call folks like us "losers" instead of "loosers" -- who knows?)

Two Ponies 1:40 PM  

@ Z, You sounded so proud of your "professional bureaucracy" earlier.
How ya feeling now?

pabloinnh 1:45 PM  

@Anonymous 12:06

I suppose I've "treaded" water since I was a child too, but I've never trampled it, which was the clue.

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

@pablo 1:45 PM

Touché. I suppose I should’ve mentioned I was responding to an earlier comment on this blog which denied that treaded is the past tense of tread:
“Since when is TREADED an accepted past tense of TREAD? Ugly with a capital UG. “Spelled” doesn’t sound appreciably worse than “spelt,” but TREADED might as well be TREADEDEDEDED. It just feels clumsy. #TeamTrod
My bad.

kingyeti1 2:07 PM  

In the original grid COLLUSION was in 52 across, but the puzzle was edited because ther was no collusion

Aketi 2:07 PM  

@No Time for TATAS, as a lactation consultant I have learned a zillion alternative names for the original baby food dispensers.

Two TMI songs that those with fear of TATAS or their names should not watch.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CDXj-yuIjcw
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-dw2XHMUnyE

Aketi 2:10 PM  

@Tita, congratulations!

Alex Wright 2:11 PM  

Can't believe the NYT let in notable Nazi corporate sponsor BAYER to another clue. Can we please start only clueing that as "hound, maybe"? Thank you and good day from Seattle Washington.

Chuck Duggins 2:11 PM  

Dehydration causes low BP, not high. Low blood volume low blood pressure.

Aketi 2:29 PM  

@LMS, I think my mom and my aunt might have made Santa crocheted kleenex box covers one year to go with the felt and sequined Santa doorknob covers among their artinisalista efforts. I hate to admit this but the link reminded me of the Barbie doll cake I made one year for a 4H contest. Barbies TATAS and midriff were respectfully covered in pink frosting rosettes but her legs were amputated to make it easier to stick her into her cake skirt. She fared better than the Raggedy Ann doll cake that was eaten by our dog the year before.

Anonymous 2:36 PM  

Every day I thank God for Z's mulish but amiable natterings.

Banana Diaquiri 2:36 PM  

@Ken R
" the will of the American voters! "

well, not really. 77,900 yahoos in PA, MI, & WI put that bald chucklehead in the White House.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

There's no verb form "treaded" (maybe for tires). What gives, NYT?

David 2:57 PM  

Music engraver and editor here: you'll find "bis" in many older scores, especially German ones from the 19th and early 20thc CE. In Europe you'll also hear it shouted after a concert, when it means "encore". Bis comes from Latin through Old German to mean "twice" or "repeat".

Personally I would have flagged it as "archaic" because it's unlikely you'll find it in any contemporary editions.

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

I know BID from medicine for twice so BIS wasn't a stretch as I figured it was related but did not know it. Good to learn something in my crossword.

Mother Pence 3:47 PM  

Oldfatbasterd, you are one nasty piece of work.

jberg 3:52 PM  

Surprisingly many people today who can't tell when @Rex is joking. Lighten up, people!

I started with AGApe, wishing it was clued as "Greek love" to go with ARTEMIS. I wasn't sure about it, but it was confirmed by GrApeS at 11D, so I was off and running. It worked with those Indian steel mills at 18A, as well.

AMALIE finally set me straight, and the NE filled itself in, with only a little hesitation about JIVES (and little groan about RVER) I got most of the NW as well, but just couldn't move down into the bottom part of the puzzle, so I went back to the east, got that whole part filled in -- and then found out that the only way into the SW required knowing ROGET's first name! I didn't think he had one -- no more than Liberace or Cher -- so I was stuck.

My real problem was that CArraraS fit so well for the marbles. I mean, a bad POC, but still. Some poem I learned in childhood had the line "from sheds new-roofed with carrara...came Chanticleer's muffled crow" (it was about a snowfall), and it has stuck with me ever since. That was some rabbithole.

So now I had EAR....NE and was trying to fit in Earnestine, too long fortunately. Also, although Duck Duck Go says there are 342 Earnestine Browns, none of them seems to be crossworthy. It also didn't help that TREAD UPON sounds so much better, ruling out A DOSE -- I tried a puff for awhile, but that didn't help. (Just kidding, General Sessions.)

So I did finish eventually, but my time was a complete embarrassment, a JOKE (Hi, @Kathryn Horvat!)

@Sir Hilary -- Well, Tennyson did:


FLOWER in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower—but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all, 5
I should know what God and man is.

Everybody's citing poems about God today. Must be something in the air.


@Nancy -- thanks, I can't wait!

phil phil 4:28 PM  

I come here for the @LMS comments as well as a few others @barbie...thx

Slow for me with a blank NW quite a while. the WITCHHUNT coming to me helped a lot but CRevices had to be overcome then IMouT crossing a bad laura DuRN even though it was obviously a bogus answer.

I should have gotten the crosswordese CEL quicker and made things easier. Those come easily to the speed solvers out there. I’m lucky to ever catch on.

Stampeded for trampled

Joe Dipinto 5:35 PM  

I've almost never seen BIS in a music score either; as @David 2:57 points out, it's probably archaic by now. (There is a Swedish classical label called BIS Records that focuses mostly on Scandinavian performers and composers.)

I didn't find the SW particularly more difficult than the rest. I had FRAUD instead of FAKER at first, and also JIBES instead of JIVES. Did anyone complain about ONE B? That seemed weird as clued. I could see it clued as First floor apartment, maybe. Which reminds me, it's nice to see @Tita back, she showed me how to do italics here. :-)

Re: EARTH TONES -- @Liz T and @Nancy, the clue does seem sort of backward, but since anything that's in the brown family counts as an earth tone, I suppose it's not technically wrong.

I don't know what Rex's beef with WITCH HUNT is. It's a perfectly good answer, with a perfectly good clue.

Joe 5:39 PM  

Rex, I thought that WITCHHUNT was okay when bookended with BLAMEGAME.

The5th Harp 6:23 PM  

Go away. Nobody here cares what you think.

semioticus (shelbyl) 6:24 PM  

Not my cup of tea.

HGT XER NCAR ONEB RVER TYRE DECCA DONAT TATAS UNCAS are all a collection of letters and are not words in my book. OK, maybe I'm a bit unfair with TYRE, but still.

I would have enjoyed DOGSPAS more if I weren't legit bored/frustrated by the end. SEXCAPADES was interesting though. So was PETERROGET. Good trivia.

This might be the most boring selection of clues that I have ever seen. Well, one exception is "Well-known speaker". The rest is as stale as the fill is.

It's really hard to come up with a stale Friday, so for that, I congratulate Mr. Ross. That's still an achievement.

GRADE: C, 2.4 stars.

The5th Harp 6:25 PM  

Yes. Go away. And he lost by 3M votes.

semioticus (shelbyl) 6:32 PM  

By the way, isn't having "dog" both in the clues and in the answers a no-no? 100 comments and no one mentioned it? I guess I don't know the pseudo-ethics of crossword construction as much as I think I do.

Anonymous 6:59 PM  

What on earth is NCAR?

Corey Booker 2020 7:08 PM  

To 5th harp GHarris and others who apparently don’t understand the Electoral College. Hillary Clinton did not “win” the popular vote as there is nothing to win. She did receive more than 3 million votes than Trump, but that is not a statistic relevant to elections in the United States anymore than a football team that gains more yardage than its opponents wins a game in which the opponent scores more points. I hate Trump more than all of you but stop making that idiotic argument please. Thanks.

Anonymous 7:11 PM  

I'm blinded by my own hatred.

Joy2u 7:17 PM  

@QuasiMojo 8:39 AM = "Honey, I love your drag but your purse is on fire." made me LOL . . repeatedly and for a really long time, tx

Alpha-Data 7:25 PM  

Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad puzzle!

Roark Herron 8:24 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Calman Snoffelevich 8:29 PM  

How does HOT DOGS = DAREDEVILS?

Roark Herron 8:29 PM  

That would be North Carolina...

sanfranman59 8:37 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 4:50 4:13 1.15 80.9% Challenging
Tue 5:40 5:44 0.99 44.0% Medium
Wed 6:43 5:54 1.14 74.5% Medium-Challenging
Thu 7:36 10:11 0.75 15.7% Easy
Fri 9:48 11:36 0.84 31.4% Easy-Medium

I've struggled a bit with Ross's annual Sunday constructions over the past 6 years, but haven't had much trouble with his archived puzzles through early 2001. I don't know how I made it through the SW as well as I did, but the X in XER was very helpful and somehow SEXCAPADE came to me after a few looks, I managed TREAD-something and EARTH-something for 29 & 30D and ADOSE helped me complete them. ANTItrust(?) was a boner in the NE and AGApe held me back up there a bit. "Followed" was ensuED and my flouride was ulTRA(?) at first, but a reappearance of ESTATE CAR saved the day (thanks Will). My only hmm/no idea/dang it moments were BIS (hmm ... my amateur musical training failed me here), ROGET's first name (no idea), Robert DONAT (dang it). A surprisingly smooth Friday for me.

Anonymous 10:12 PM  

Geez, I thought CSA like farmshare and was looking for some sort of vegetable. Thanks.

John 12:29 AM  

I don't know where else to turn with this. September 12, 2005. 30 down. Will someone, anyone, please look at that clue and tell me that the NYT has it wrong? I must be missing something.

Doctor Dangerous, MD 2:48 AM  

@John 12:29AM
30D "Preceders of cues, alphabetically" PEES
"pees"= P's "cues"=Q's ; P precedes Q alphabetically, thus the preceder of Q's is P's

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

There's an older German term "bis" which I think translates to something like "twice" which is what a "repeated measure" is like.

John 10:09 AM  

Thank you for that explanation, Dr. I feel stupid, but less confused.

Ken R 11:49 AM  

Touche' Joe

TCProf 3:24 PM  

“Witch hunt” is a disgrace and in very bad taste because it has two H’s, which obviously stands for “Heil Hitler.”

Hypocrite Police 4:17 PM  

@GHarris 12:51 PM

Whoa! Don't get too far out over your skis there big fella. One can still be "democratically elected" without the benefit of residing within the confines of a pure democracy. America is a democratic republic which is a form of government operating on principles adopted from a republic and a democracy. Rather than being a cross between two entirely separate systems, democratic republics may function on principles shared by both republics and democracies. A democratic republic IS a simple representative democracy, but by consent of the majority or their representatives. The operative word in that last sentence is OR!

If you think that the founding fathers "artificially contrived" the concept of the Electoral College owing solely to mistrust of the Hoi polloi, you are either being purposely disingenuous or unintentionally nescient. The founding fathers did not necessarily fear the will of the majority. The far greater fear was that a small majority could hold infinite sway over a large minority. Three million votes is less than 1% of the current population.

At the time, three of the thirteen colonies probably held 50% to 60% of the population. The founders had the prescience to realize that true majority voting would cause serious representational disparities with the remaining ten colonies, and that the problem would only be exacerbated as the union grew. Hence, the electoral college.

Think about this. At full strength, there are 435 members in the house of representatives. As of today, Republicans hold 238 seats and Democrats hold 193. There are 4 vacancies. California, New York, Massachusetts and Illinois control 76 Democrat house seats. Excluding those four states means that there are only 117 Democrat held house seats,(or 27%) representing the other 46 states in America.

Still think the founding fathers didn't have it figured out?

Tom Beckett 12:14 PM  

Some of us actually like Rex and look forward to his diatribes and praises. But to each their own. Find another blog.

Tom Beckett 12:15 PM  

I don’t think Rex is being paranoid when it comes to Will’s political slant.

Scott McLean 1:12 PM  

I was a bit surprised at so many folks pronouncing this one “easy.” The whole west coast gave me trouble; I had to resort to IMDB for both DONAT and DERN (didn’t know she was in Last Jedi - still haven’t seen it! I need to.)

Once I had the actor and actress in place, though, I was able to FERRET out the rest. My only write-overs were wmD for IED, and GrApeS for GUAVAS (nice misdirect!).

I found it tough but not TOO tough; good balance for a Friday.

A word about WITCH HUNT: I honestly don’t understand people getting bent out of shape over this. The phrase has been in use since at least the 1920s and is well-known enough to make a nice 1-across. Anyone thinking it references any current situation is reading too much into it. If it had been clued as, say, “What the FBI is doing to the president,” then you’d have a point. 31-down could have been clues as “Donald Trump,” and his apologists here would have (rightly) had a fit. But neither was clued as such. So there’s no need for anyone to get offended by a simple word or phrase with no explicit context.

Burma Shave 10:36 AM  

BAYER TATAS

Oh, GOD! A WITCHHUNT for a neighbor
became a BLAMEGAME for SEXCAPADES,
or ELSE ADOSE of ANTILABOR
POSSESSES him to contract AIDES.

--- AMALIE ARTEMIS

Diana, LIW 11:30 AM  

@Strayling from late yesterday - "A Quibbble of Crossworders" is perfect! (like a murder of crows, etc)

Any other ideas?

Lady Di

spacecraft 12:07 PM  

I don't know how anybody can call this easy with such off-putting clues. Taunts = JIVES?? No way. And how does complete embarrassment come out to be a JOKE? wouldn't be funny to ME, for sure. I tell you, I ran the alphabet three times for square 31, asking for a volunteer--and the other 25 took a step back! I was left with a very unhappy J. Then we have that well-known Brown family member: Uncle EARTHTONE. Come on, Mr. Ross, get ADOSE of reality here!

Do we have GrApeS to make some jam, jelly and juice? Oh, no. We have: GUAVAS. Hey mom, can I please have a peanut butter and GUAVA jelly sandwich? Yeah, right. Truth be told, I don't know how I finished this thing; I think luck played a part. Sometimes when people submit a themeless puzzle, they try to toughen up the clues so it will fit into a Fri/Sat slot. But this is going over the top! Go ahead and be tough--but be fair. Those 31 clues were nonsense.

More strange stuff in the NW: WEEDS as policy details?? Never heard of this. And who says "IMSET?" Nobody. "I'm good." That's what they say. Thank you, Laura DERN, for brightening the mood a little today, and please don the DOD sash. Bogey.

rainforest 3:13 PM  

Second easy puzzle in a row to end the week. I confess that some assessors might believe that a puzzle that POSSESSES an excess of essess messes up the puzzle. Not I.

WITCH HUNT and BLAME GAME were great as were other entries
Over quickly, and liked it.


rondo 4:14 PM  

The reappearance of ESTATECAR and its TYRE helped finish off the NW rather quickly, so the DAREDEVILS saved me from a potential GrApeS mistake; I had thought about it. One of my colleagues often mentions not wanting to get too far into the WEEDS of general policy. And I am of the opinion that our current president is a FAKER, a complete embarrassment, therefore a JOKE.

@No Time for TATAS – hilarious. Laughed so hard it HURTS.

BUDSELIG – “former” MLB team owner and puppet commissioner. You could see his buddies (other owners) pulling the strings.

I will stretch a little to recognize yeah baby Carole BAYER Sager.

No write-overs and lotsa nice longish answers made for a pleasant solve. TREADEDON sounds a tad clunky, but I’ve got nothing ELSE.

leftcoastTAM 6:43 PM  

On something of a W-F end-of-week losing streak, so far.

In trouble from WEEDS/WITCHHUNT, to GrApeS instead of GUAVAS, and down to SEXCAPADES/PETER...(but, yeh, got ROGET and most in between.).

HURTS a bit.

leftcoastTAM 7:19 PM  

Rex's comments are consoling despite his EASY rating on this one.

Anonymous 8:19 PM  

DNF - so I'm going to play the blame game. I was agasp at some of the clues and answers. I feel the constructor jives me. Is he a faker ?

wcutler 10:18 PM  

Wow, just when I thought I was getting reasonably skilled at these things, enough to maybe fit in anyway, here comes this "easy" puzzle that had me leaving the sexcapaders and the all the rest in the SW totally naked.

I enjoyed reading about guava jellies. It finally reminded me of the cheese biscuit-like pastries filled with guava jam at a farmers market in Honolulu. All winter, I had never tried them with the guava because I knew I didn't like guava. Wrong. And then I only had one more Saturday to enjoy them. Now I'll be thinking about them all night.

Linda Daugherty 7:02 PM  

I'm with you all the way. What's wrong with mass-produced bread? It means they've got it right.

Linda Daugherty 7:04 PM  

Bayer is a brand seen in the pharmacy, so it's a pharmacy brand.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

It's not in the clue

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