One Making Waves

Andrew Zhou begins our solving weekend with a crunchy challenge.

Comments: 95

  1. I'm first to comment? All I can say is that it was an easy themeless Friday.

    Themeless XWDPUZs are the enemy of the RegEx geek!

  2. FU MANCHU was seen late yesterday. Did the emus find away to whitelist common phrases?

  3. FU MANCHU without the hack.

  4. A way!!!! I've been spoiled on blogs with functional previews.!

  5. Easy Friday, the best way to start the weekend, with low stress and unbitten fingernails. Thank you.

  6. I second the comment about low stress and unbitten nails.

  7. Other than trying to get "dinner is served" into 58A, this one went relatively smoothly. But very enjoyable, but then all of you already GNU that.

  8. Martin, I couldn't find a theme. When you have WOMANIZING, INANIMATE OBJECT and OCTOPUSSY in the same puzzle, it's time for a SHOCKJOCK. When you have WOMANIZING crossing SWINGS, it's time for TLC.

  9. Zero hits tonight. You'd think a SHOCK JOCK wouldn't be able to escape.

  10. I probably should have had a flu shot. Too late for Tamiflu, but I'm under the weather. Ironically, the weather has been really nice.

    It's day three. Hopefully it will be a four-day bug.

  11. Martin, it's never too late for Tamiflu unless you are no longer breathing. Feel better.

  12. enjoyable Saturday. some gimmes like Ram, Erne, and Zees. Easier clues helped with tougher ones like Boethius

  13. and Elke
    Guess I am the first to note that I found this A FAR CRY from easy.
    Had to look up too many names: LARUSSA (had Lasorda), ROCHE ( vs. Gilead), BOETHIUS, KNEX , TYNER and more.
    Did see the BOO and the LOO and the RAM , too. Noticed that MOTOR crossed AUTOTUNE(although the ZEE vs. Zed got me for some SECS). Nice how OBJECT and INJECT shared a J.
    While I knew OCTOPUSSY, SHOCK JOCK was not in my ken. And so close to WOMANIZING..
    I wish I GNU why Barbra STREISAND was NO HIT with Nixon.
    GO PRO cameras do not use film in CANISTERS , do they ?
    Now to create some AROMAS in the kitchen- plum tarts and apple pie.
    Challenging puzzle, thanks I think.

  14. R&E,
    I was not surprised, knowing her political stance,and now I gno:

    According to Wikipedia:
    In 1971, Streisand was one of the celebrities listed on President Richard Nixon's infamous Enemies List.*
    * "Harassment plots for Nixon's foes". Anchorage Daily News. Associated Press. June 27, 1973.

  15. and Elke

    Amitai- thanks. Thought it had to do with maybe not getting something wholesale for him :))

  16. .
    He recorded himself telling people he knew where to get a million dollars, cash. ("I-I know where it can be gotten" is a great use of passive voice!)

    I suspect he had his own access to consumer discounts!

  17. Friday and easy don't ever jibe; not so far as I can see it. Mon. thru Wed.-easy for me. Thurs. thru Sat-deeeeficult. Then again, I did get BOETHIUS. That's manna from heaven right there!...McCoy TYNER was a gimme so here's a seasonal number from him, "Autumn Leaves."

    The Muppets INJECT some levity blog side on this first Friday of Fall. They WAX POETIC about that horned beast of burden. "I'm a GNU" is a masterpiece.

    Off To Catch Some ZEES,


  18. I'd give ya an extra recco for the Muppets if I could, Bru!

  19. I love the song, Brutus, and I love the Muppets, so of course I loved the clip.

    But ... credit where due please: "The GNU Song" is a marvelous old Flanders and Swann number from "At the Drop of a Hat."

  20. and Elke

    SEEing GO PRO camera, film CANISTER and ERNE makes me think of our resident avian photographer :
    Mac Knight -how you doing ? . Hope you are up to lurking. Wishing you well.

  21. This went pretty smoothly although it started out looking like it was going to be a struggle. Thanks Brutus for posting The GNU Song. Flanders and Swann are a real treat.

  22. Sorry, Paul. I hadn't seen your post when I replied to Brutus about Flanders and Swann.

    I read comments oldest first.

  23. A couple of rough spots here. Didn't know BOETHIUS, TYNER, GOPRO or FOAMCORE. Same for SHOCKJOCK but a great word and a great clue for it. All of the above emerged from the crosses so no lookups.
    My first entry was OMAHAN (I was wed to one). That M prompted my to try some variant of ROMANCING for Lothario, which made 1D seem to be some kind of -RINGS, which seemed a likely thing for playgrounds. Eventually that sorted itself out to give me the obvious SWINGS.
    Another mistake that messed me up for a while was DIAN for DYAN. That final "I" for the clue "Quite removed (from)" where I already had A--R-RI sent me trying out some relative of APRIORI. When the Y dawned on me, AFARCRY seemed so obvious too.
    Just right difficultry for a Friday, for me.
    Since I don't have the grid and the blog on the screen at the same time, the constructor's treatise was wasted on me. Sorry.

  24. Here you go, Viv. All the clue numbers translated:

    I’m curious: can a puzzle serve as a critique? I’m adamantly against entries like WOMANIZING and too much SCREENTIME (not to mention AUTOTUNE) as phenomena; yet, almost as a result, they end up making for interesting fill. There is something here I might liken to satire, perhaps, in which the subject matter is being commented upon through its inclusion.

    I think of themeless crosswords in particular as somehow arguing for an archive of collective experience. As a result, I go for what I consider to be unusually evocative phrases, or ones that reflect this particular cultural moment. Looking back, I like many of the entries here for those reasons: SHOCKJOCK, WAXPOETIC, AFARCRY, YOUVEBEENSERVED, SCREENTIME, GOPRO (clued like this), and AUTOTUNE.

  25. You are a true gentleman, RiA.

    I appreciate it, even though I do keep the puzzle open while reading the columns and comments so that I can toggle between the screens.

  26. .
    Thought it was a really weirdly-written constructor's note, myself. Particularly coming from a constructor whose puzzles always seem to be very relatable (that doesn't mean "easy"). I often have the grid-screen open when I read the blog, but that's only because Comments sometimes refer to "33A" or some such, to save characters. I'd rather have to toggle screens than force a Commenter to push the 1500 limit. But toggling so I can comprehend a Constructor's note is not what I'm here for!

    Viv, I was ROMANCING and OMAHAN for a couple of years. Things took a turn for the worse after my 1st trip to OMAHA(). I do plan to return, for entirely different reasons; but I may bring my own food this time. They had a lot of good steak there; veggies, not so much. Also, my mom's best friend's late husband was from Nebraskan Jews. Until I was 8, and met one of his relatives at a holiday dinner (our family and their family typically had dinner at one house one night and the other house the next night), I thought all American Jews lived in only few states - and mostly near big cities. Excuse: I was young.

  27. The NW corner crumbled in nearly no time,. SWINGS, WOMANIZING, INANIMATE OBJECT, and OZAWA were gimmes or near-gimmes. The rest of the North fell a bit more slowly, due to unknowns, none of which required a lookup. Even the NIxONs at crossings 1A/9D and 26A/15D were easily guessable.

    The resistance increased as I moved southward, but I eventually filled the SW. I had to check the Skakespeare concordance in order to recall Cesario. This was the clue of the day for me; placing OLIVIA – the unrequited lover – so that she crosses VOILA, the anagram of Viola –Cesario's alter ego, is a masterstroke.

    I met my nemesis in the SE. Kitty-cat, which I only knew as the given name of Ms. Galore, showed up -- out of place --at the end of 55A. I knew no Pilate other than Pontius, was taken in by what should have been an obvious misdirection for ZEES. Worst of all, for a long time I had FacebOok before the unknown FOAMCORE, for which I needed a “reveal” in order to sort out the corner and finish the solve.

  28. BOETHIUS was my first fill, no idea how I remembered that but made me feel quite smug. I thought the clue for ANCIENTS was quite sneaky and I wasted time trying to think of different ways one might say dramatists or squeeze in Greek poets.

    Lucky guesses for the two long entries helped make this easier that most Friday's for me

    I may have caught Martin's cold, so stayed home from French class this morning.

  29. "BOETHIUS was my first fill" -- Wow! I'm pretty sure no one else would be able to make that statement.

    Any smuggery you feel is more than justified.

    Hope you feel better soon. MOL and I have very different doctors. Mine have always said to get the flu shot as soon as it is available, and in recent years have stressed getting the new industrial-strength version for seniors. I have done that, and haven't had the flu since 1989. The vaccine was available pretty early this year, and I got my shot two weeks ago.

  30. Fun but Fast Friday ("FBFF") or Fast but Fun Friday. Either way. Mini movie theme, with NOIR, SPADE(D), SCREENTIME, CANISTER, and even OCTOPUSSY. Had 'aprons' for a SEC before AROMAS. Not that they are drawers, but I was thinking attire. Still sad about RUSSERT.

  31. Duplos, Erector sets and finally KNEX.

    A ton of 14A in this grid albeit in a good way.

    Thanks Andrew

  32. We were a Meccano (sp?) and Lego family, ourselves. Duplo blocks were quickly retired in favor of the more interesting Legos. KNEX came along later....

  33. Impressed y'all GNU KNEX atall.

  34. I did a post-solve Google of the unknown KNEX.

    I learned that it has an apostrophe (I like apostrophes), and is really K'NEX and its name is supposedly a pun on "connects."

  35. I thought this was a really good puzzle, with lots of nice long entries - WAXPOETIC probably being my favorite. Some complete unknowns - notably KNEX, GOPRO and FOAMCORE, but they were all workable.

    I tried to note where I got misdirected today and I might say more about that in a separate post, but the one that really stuck out was the clue for LOO. Because as soon as I saw 'Hogwarts,' I just assumed it was something I wouldn't know, so never bothered to think about the fairly common 'head' misdirection.

    The only Bond girl I could immediately think of is the one whose first name is the last part of 55a (don't know if I can get away with typing that). Somewhere in the course of reviewing the puzzle after I was done, I came up with a fairly weird connection, starting with that character (the one I was thinking of), the actress who portrayed her in the original film, 2d (as pronounced) and finally 52a. Those STS were so named to _______.

    Maybe more later, as I mentioned. I'll be walkin' the dog.

  36. Hand up for the character mentioned.

    Interesting train of thought from 55a to 53A, RiA. You might have concluded it with 57A.

  37. What Amitai said, mostly.

    But I got kicked off the train of thought at the end, the STS part.

    (I became an Honor Blackman fan when I watched her in the pre-Diana Rigg version of "The Avengers.")

  38. DL, not sure exactly what you meant about STS. I agree that there are a lot more Drives, Parkways, Boulevards and Avenues but there are a few Streets here and there. Maybe that's not what you meant.

    I looked up Ms. Blackman and was surprised, first, that that is apparently her real name. Second, that she is quite an interesting person with some strong political views. Third that she is 91 years old, though I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised. It's stuff like that that makes me remember how old I am.

  39. Hand up for wanting "Dinner is served" at 58A. That was the only delay in my solve. I was surprised that 44D was not listed in the column under Tricky Clues: how would solvers who are not ANCIENTS know that STOVES once had pilots? And while it did not slow me, I felt I was seeing too many product placements and people's names today.

  40. Wow, Barry!

    How are you defining ANCIENTS? People old enough to vote?

  41. A very nice mix. Lovely answers (A_FAR_CRY, WAX_POETIC, YOU'VE_BEEN_SERVED, AUTOTUNE, GOPRO, GRUBS) and clues (EMBOSS, TEA, RAM, BOO, LOO); four double S's, four double E's, and words embedded in my brain that I haven't jogged in a while (LARUSSA, OCTOPUS, OZAWA, DYAN, RUSSET, K_NEX, TYNER). My only "hmmm" moment was with SENT_TO, where that TO seemed superfluous.

    This puzzle felt easy for a Friday -- and MOTORing through a Friday puzzle waxed exuberant for me. I am a fan of Zhou-topia.

  42. Since our constructor brought it up in the notes,* I would be curious to know exactly how he thinks the entry and clue at 14A serve to critique or satirize the subject, which he is adamantly against. Perhaps I'm missing something very subtle, but I'm just seeing an accurate clue for an offensive activity.

    *I’m curious: can a puzzle serve as a critique? I’m adamantly against entries like 14A and too much 61A (not to mention 35D) as phenomena; yet, almost as a result, they end up making for interesting fill. There is something here I might liken to satire, perhaps, in which the subject matter is being commented upon through its inclusion.

  43. Barry, IMO your requirement that reference to any undesirable subject must be clued critically or satirically is taking political correctness too far. Sufficient to the day be it that the clue should not be construable as a recommendation.

    Either way, the term Lothario has a strong negative connotation, as opposed to ladies' man, or even Don Juan, whom Shaw exonerated.

  44. It was not *my* requirement; it was my understanding that it was his.

  45. I don't see how Barry was saying that reference to undesirable behavior should be satirical. Or, if you were referring to the quote, that the constructor was saying that either, although he came closer.

    But whatever, I think it was a fine entry and a fine clue.

  46. I thought the cluing on this one was exceptional, in fact after noting my favorites for Jazz combo, Hearing command, Give a raise?, Kitchen drawers? and Cannon shot in Hollywood I stopped writing figuring I'd run out room if I kept going.

    This was AFARCRY from ordinary, thank you, Andrew Zhou, today you can say, VENI vidi vici!

  47. Spunky and fun Saturday, probably because BOETHIUS and I have been professionally acquainted for some time.

  48. Platonically, I assume.

  49. Leapy, go to your cave.

  50. Solved with one letter wrong -- that's where solving online would be an advantage: BOETcIUS crossing ROCcE. I could/might have recognized ROCHE had I run the alphabet...but I didn't!

    I thought this was going to be frustratingly difficult when I first started, but then the top half (aside from the above) went together quite nicely. There were several things in the puzzle overall with which I was unfamiliar, including KNEX, GOPRO, TYNER, RUSSERT, and LARUSSA (hey, I know Tommy Lasorda, waddya want?).

    The big slow-down was TIME ONLINE where SCREEN TIME was wanted, but the light bulb blinked on eventually. Pretty much a Goldilocks puzzle for me. Thx, AZ.

  51. I too found this on the easy side for a Friday. Started in the SE with TYNER and worked my way north from there. The two grid-spanning 15s were nearly automatic with a few crosses. Some nice misdirection in the clues, but I had my brain set on Friday. Not familiar with BOETHIUS, but as Deb says, now I know. Always good to see a JIM in the grid.

    Pop quiz: what was the theme song for "OCTOPUSSY," and who performed it? If your immediate answer was "All Time High" by singer Rita Coolidge, go to the head of the class!

  52. .
    Rita Coolidge?

    A couple of weeks ago, we had 2 Calvin Coolidge clues in one crossword. The answer to one was TERSER. The answer to the other was YOU LOSE.

  53. Oh, Pooh. I was feeling so good about unscrambling the NW and I guess I am too exCITABLE, because I failed to notice I hadn't finished in the NE. I had BOY for the cry of surprise, so that meant I had RYC-E and an unknown philosopher; I needed to come back to that but between finishing my Shreddie-and-almond milk and answering the phone (PhysicsDaughter checking up on us) I failed to notice the blank. I had moved on to the Variety puzzles.
    So, 2 wrong letters and a Fail.

    DYAN Cannon took a long time to appear; she has disappeared. Nick is the only Cannon I still associate with Hollywood.

    A couple of stinkers in this one--CITABLE and having to think of Fragonard's full name (though I'd have gotten it faster had it been Daumier).

    Plus I entered LA SORDA from the two A's and that gave me fits.
    Wanted playwrights/no, dramatists/no, Athenians/no.... sheesh.
    Andrew Zhou, chalk up another Kill.

  54. You made me Google Shreddie, MOL. I learned a lot from that, and most of it wasn't about the unknown cereal. XWDs are even indirectly educational!

    You also made me Google Nick Cannon. Picture my surprise that you knew the name of a rapper, apparently not from NYT XWDs, or else I'd have heard of him too. I guess I haven't heard too much about DYAN Cannon for a while though. If she's anything like me, she has probably aged quite a bit.

  55. Shredded Wheat is our go-to breakfast, with fresh fruit and almond milk. No sugar.
    Nick Cannon a rapper? I didn't know. Became aware of him in 'Drumline' (good movie despite some tacky moments) and now see him on 'America's Got Talent' as a humorous emcee. This year, though, he changed his 'look' and seemed silly.

  56. On Wednesday I posted this note, but it was at the end of the day and at the end of a long thread, so I don't know if anyone saw it. I am reposting it here because I cannot think of anything to say about today's puzzle, and I found this information to be interesting.

    I have been doing these NYT puzzles for some months now, and I do not recall seeing these words in any earlier puzzles, yet they appeared together in this one.

    It would be helpful for me to know if this reposting is useful to you, so I know if this is worthwhile or instead something you already read or knew and is just a waste of time at this point. (I read the blog and comments on Wednesday and could not determine if people knew about this stuff.)

    Lifted directly from the Wikipedia article for "Tonne" --

    "Ton and TONNE are both derived from a Germanic word in general use in the North Sea area since the Middle Ages (cf. Old English and Old Frisian tunne, Old High German and Medieval Latin tunna, German and French tonne) to designate a large cask, or TUN.[14] A full tun, standing about a metre high, could easily weigh a tonne. An English tun (an old wine cask volume measurement equivalent to 954 litres) of wine weighs roughly a tonne, 954 kg if full of water, a little less for wine."

    Also, for steve I (= SI? metric? ... just kidding), the Wikipedia article indicates that "tonne" is of British origin (as was also alluded to in the lorry comment in the thread on Wednesday).

  57. Blue, I read your original post and reread it here.

    #1) Yes, I appreciate this kind of thing, and I think others do too. We're word people here. And if a particular thing isn't of interest to any reader, it's easy enough to skip it.

    #2) I wondered at first reading, and still wonder, what SI refers to. (I recall that SI was used elsewhere in the discussion about TONNE, before your original post, and I didn't understand it then. By the time I read yours, it was too late in the day to ask a question with any hope of getting an answer.)

  58. Thanks Amitai.

    This is not the kind of development that I follow, obviously. I always thought metric was metric.

  59. I started watching the video, Blue, but saw that it was over 42 minutes long and I wanted to come back to the comments. So far I'm fascinated, and intend to go back and watch it, or at least skip ahead a bit and see various stages of the process.

    Being an impatient sort, I Googled "butter RAM" and found that apparently there's an easier way, albeit one that requires purpose-made equipment:

    What isn't clear is where this tradition, if tradition it be, came from. And why. It's apparently Polish. My Scottish grandmother w2as very big on making butter, um, spheroids, but that's as far as she went. She had "butter paddles" for the purpose.

    I await Martin's explanation, and whether he bought the molds or carved his own.

  60. DL, I just thought it was funny. The blog says "not that kind of butter" -- well, not so fast! (You can just skip right to the end to see the finished product.)

  61. Butt *Why*?

  62. Another fun, challenging Friday that seemed impossible for the first several minutes. VENI VOILA PLOP led me to SOLEMN for a decent start, and AIM/IOU gave me a boost in another section. Not knowing the camera company (or the Tamiflu company) had me Googling GOPR (good guess, that R!) for confirmation of my last two letters, R and O. Didn't understand LOO till I came to the blog.

    My only other mistake was writing in AFARWAY, but I was able to correct that when I figured out ELIDES, and oh by the way the Clue of the Day for me was 30A.

    Top o' the morning, folks. No more CRYing here.

  63. I quite enjoyed this puzzle, with it's entertaining entries and lively cluing.

    Started slowly, with only GRAS, SWINGS, and SENT TO in NW, with JIM in my mental maybe file.

    Nothing then until DYAN/GNU/RUSSERT gave me my toehold, and I moved nicely through the south. I was thinking of kite as a bird, but I'm not an ornithologist so its "cousin" was a guess. Loved AUTOTUNE, wanted some kind of FOAM backing but CORE took a moment. Didn't know TYNER, but the crosses were easy.

    Had a hard time getting back up north though, not knowing where "Cake Boss" can be seen (mercifully no longer in Port Authority, which briefly housed an ill-conceived pastry shop of that name), or who the baseball guy was.

    Then WOMANIZER revealed itself to me, and the whole NW folded before my razor-sharp brain. Zipped over to NE with similar results.

    Except where I was left with one empty square:

    I don't know whether 11D/36A qualifies as a NiXoN: It's two proper names, and the letter could have been an S or an M, maybe even an N. Is that enough ambiguity for NiXoN status, or is this just a Natick? At any rate, I guessed right first time, and Mr. Happy Pencil was ecstatic.

    I note from today's xwordinfo that Jeff's newfound feminist sensitivities are somewhat tenderer than mine. But mine have been around longer. I think WOMANIZER is fine, SHOCK JOCK is In The Language (and fun), and OCTOPUSSY is the flick's title and the fault of Ian Fleming or someone in Hollywood. Fair game.

    Thanks to all.

  64. As threatened, one more post - this about solving in general. I know I'm not a very good solver, but I really do want to get better and faster at these.

    I've been doing older puzzles and trying to learn a bit about construction and both of those do help.

    Anyway, this morning I decided that maybe it would be a good idea to forget about 'faster' for a while and just focus on 'better.' I took my time and tried to be aware of and analyze my own thought processes as I went along and consider what I could have done better. First, clues: I assumed the first 'wave' in the clue for 1a was probably a misdirection, but never really thought about the second one. I also didn't stop to think about the phrase 'making waves' as a metaphor. I never considered an alternate meaning for 'pilots' at 44d, and got stuck on the 'fire in a crowded theater' meaning for 33d. I already mentioned my mistake with Hogwarts below. All of that is a part of getting attuned to late week clues, or what I like to think of as learning 'SSL' (Shortz as a second language).

    Answers: In any section, I tried to expand my mind a bit and consider multiple answers at the same time, focusing on letter patterns (that has to be a vowel, etc.). I also tried to be aware of what letter it was that finally gave me a specific answer and consider why that was and how I might have gotten there earlier. Stuff like that. To my surprise, It all actually helped.

    I hope that may be useful to others who struggle with these.

  65. Bravo, RiA. I really like how you identified something you wanted to and developed and executed an ordered approach to doing it.

    You're gonna be solving cryptics before ya know it.

  66. So, condemning Rich to a life of misery, then?

  67. .
    Superb guidance, RiA. I was a bit uneasy for a second but when you got to the part where you figured something had to be a vowel, I knew you were on the right path.

    Normally, I would save the following for a newbie, or for someone who wants to take on tougher cluing. But since you seem to be going back to fundamentals like a hoops team doing passing drills, maybe this will help you as well:

    Some people spend an hour on a puzzle in a new level of difficulty (Friday, Thursday), entering little and becoming frustrated much. If I wanted to learn a new degree of difficulty an hour at a time, I'd spend 10-15 mins. entering stuff, continuing ONLY if I had some rhythm going. Then comes the learning. Take the clues and pair them with the corrected grid; read each entry and figure out how the clue goes with the entry. Look back at your own filled-in squares and make sure your correct entries were correct for the right reasons; also figure out what error led you to wrong entries.

    And as I have repeated ad nauseam, all we're doing (if a puzzle is hard) is entering letters, a square at a time. (Mentioning the rebus here would be uncharitable.) We're not answering questions. It simply didn't matter that I had never heard of BOET... . I have all the time in the world AFTER the solve to research that.

  68. Anthony "Tony" Dalton ROCHE (71) is a former professional Australian tennis player. He won one Grand Slam singles title and thirteen Grand Slam doubles titles, and was ranked as high as World No. 2. He also coached multi-Grand Slam winning World No. 1s, Ivan Lendl, Patrick Rafter, Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt and former World No. 4, Jelena Dokic.

    Roche started to play tennis at school when he was nine. His father, a butcher, and mother were recreational tennis players and encouraged his interest.[3] Roche grew up playing in Australia under the tutelage of Harry Hopman, who also coached other Australian tennis players such as Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall.

    He was five times the runner-up at Grand Slam tournaments: With compatriot John Newcombe, he won 12 Grand Slam men's doubles tournaments.

    Perhaps one of his greatest achievements came in 1977, being called up to play singles in the finals of the Davis Cup tournament versus Italy, nearly 10 years since he had last played for Australia. In the tie, Roche upset top Italian Adriano Panatta, 6–3, 6–4, 6–4, to lead Australia to a 3–1 victory, winning the Davis Cup. Shoulder and elbow injuries cut short his career after having finished in the top 10 for six consecutive years.

    Roche was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1981 and an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2001. He entered the International Tennis Hall of Fame alongside doubles partner and close friend John Newcombe in 1986.

  69. .
    Well-deserved. May he someday achieve Avatar-status with as much frequency as Trish Regan (to whom I apologize for associating her with MSNBC).

    JFC, your write-up serves as an excellent argument for using the Harvard Comma [aka the serial comma, fka the Oxford comma but Oxford's style manual doesn't recommend its usage any more].

    You typed: "His father, a butcher, and mother ...", which is accurate and clear. But omitting the comma before the "and" would give us "His father, a butcher and mother ...". [note to purists: I am totally aware that JFC did not, strictly, use a serial comma]

    On the subject of people whose injuries cut short their singles careers, I wish to highlight Martina Hingis of Switzerland. Once an enfant(e) terrible of the Ladies' Singles courts [suejean said I'm OK using "Ladies"], she ran into various problems and retired (twice). Now she's a big money-earner on the doubles circuit, and is again racking up a few Major titles a year.

    For the benefit of those who grew up in nations without sports reporting: Harry Hopman (sp?) was a legend.

  70. Aiming for hypercorrectness out of curiosity, how would Chicago or NYT punctuate this: "His father, a butcher, and mother ..." ?

  71. .
    Can't speak for Chicago.

    I believe NYT eschews serial commas; but I say again, the comma after "butcher" isn't strictly the kind of comma they focus on. The Managing Editor for Standards used to have a blog that told us what he would do with various passages.

    In this case, he would have said to rewrite the sentence. But I wouldn't agree if he said that.

    Attention to usage in These States is spotty at best. Roll Call, one of the newspapers solely devoted to covering Capitol Hill, described Representative Charlie Rangel (D-Harlem) as having had a "colored" career in the House. They did not mean "colorful". Mr. Rangel was one of the co-founders of the Congressional Black Caucus (under a different name).

  72. Most excellent puzzle. Happy Friday!

  73. I find it odd that people are being forced to write "butter spheroids" when in an article in today's Times online about the killing in Charlotte, both the police officer and the victim's wife were quoted verbatim as using an adjective starting with the sixth letter of the alphabet and rhyming with trucking.

  74. Me too. But the commenting system is different than the reporting system, and unfortunately and as much as I've tried, that doesn't look like it's going to change.

  75. We know you didn't do it, Deb.

    I'm the one that mentioned my grandma's butter spheroids.

    I wonder if the one-word turkey brandname would have to be altered to get past the emus. (Of course, they might just object to it because their "cousins" are the ones being roasted.)

  76. I'm always on the lookout for phrases that I suspect may be making their debut in written English.

    I think 'my grandma's butter spheroids' has to be strong candidate.

  77. My first thought for Jazz combo? was "sets" as in "they played a set" - combo of songs. The e and s fit :-)

  78. I hope you will excuse my tendency to WAX POETIC about my beloved pandas, but if you want a pleasant way to indulge in SCREEN TIME, you might be interested in some of what went on at the Giant Panda Species Survival Plan meeting this past spring in Edinburgh.

    Today's email from the Smithsonian also had a picture of Bei Bei eating his very first piece of sugar cane. He apparently loved it.

  79. .
    In less-happy news, .

    I hope the off-topicity will be excused; yesterday's column did have a related video. And on the same day, Jimbo resolved an argument in Comments by citing a film written/directed by that article's subject; namely, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".

  80. So sad to hear about Terry Jones.

    I know I am not alone here in my love and admiration for the Pythons.

  81. .
    Thank you for not denouncing my Reply as off-topic, deadline. It's much appreciated.

    Remember the last Acrostic?

  82. I've been solving for a couple months and have been super impressed by so many puzzles. This is the least impresssive so far. Some of the clues were downright poor, and it was not artful like most other puzzles -- even easy Monday ones.

  83. I have no idea if this Reply will post.

    Welcome! Can you give examples of a couple of clues that were bad?

    Also, due to technology problems (not yours), please specify which crossword you're talking about? Thanks.

  84. Great Saturday puzzle. Hope the comments open soon!

  85. Just to save her some time...

    Deb didn't do it.

  86. Actually, I did do it this time, but I appreciate the support. :)

    Comments on the Saturday puzzle are now open.

  87. I still can't get to Sunday's comments. I hoped to see some people here.

  88. Saturday, of course.

  89. I was hoping to find the Saturday comments working when I checked back nine hours later, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Guess I'm comment here.

    1. Great puzzle (as I said last night). Good cluing, solid fill, enjoyable misdirects (clue for sculptor was my favorite). This one really LAID IT ON THE LINE. It is also the first time that I "knew" a 15-letter answer but needed the crosses to spell every single letter of it. Brava!

    2. Re: SHIPS. My older daughter took a college history course called "U.S. History: the Cold War Era." I looked at the course description and said "Oh, current events." Whether WWII was in your U.S. (or World) History class or current events, I hope you remember that USS Arizona has been sitting on the bottom of Pearl Harbor since December 7, 1941. You might also remember that the Japanese surrender papers were signed in Tokyo Bay on the deck of USS Missouri. (And I don't think you need to be a military ship buff to know that both battleships were built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.)

  90. Saturday's comments are still not open, so I guess I have to make my comment here:

    Raise your hand if you could spell MALALA YOUSAFZAI correctly without looking it up.

  91. I got it, no lie! I remembered as far as MALALA YOUSAFsomething, then got the last three letters from crosses. I did confirm it on google, though - my only lookup.


    The comments are, at this point in time, still not available for the Saturday puzzle so some have commented here.

    Just FYI to commenters - some of us (like me) look at the previous days comments to see if there's anything new before we go on to solve the new puzzle. I had already finished the Saturday puzzle before I saw the newer comments below, so it wasn't a problem for me. But if you're going to write a comment about the Saturday puzzle here, I would suggest putting a banner headline at the top of it to alert people before they read on.