Where All the Pieces Fall Into Place

John Guzzetta and Michael Hawkins give our Friday puzzle some spice.

Comments: 229

  1. Fun puzzle, although a little easy for a Friday. I particularly liked sriracha and gryffindor. There were also some fairly uncommon answers - and scene, for example - and I say that as someone with over 60 years' experience in solving the Times crossword (a habit I inherited from my mother).

  2. I was once on a farm that had an old abandoned outhouse. In it was the remains of an old copy of the Sears Roebuck catalog, making the puzzle answer with cross DADDY instead of MAMMA: DAILYREAD.

  3. @Dave You say “the remains”. Was the catalog by chance the only paper product in the outhouse?

  4. @Andrew I have been in an outhouse with a Sears catalog which was placed there for precisely the purpose you suggest.

  5. I had UNfriend instead of UNFOLLOW for a time, and I never know the Harry Potter ones, but still well under the Friday average.

  6. A perfect puzzle (though a little easy for Friday), summarized by a perfect Wordplay column.

  7. Very enjoyable quick treat at the end of a stressful day. Within 3 seconds of my best Friday. SRIRACHA makes a regular appearance on my morning eggs and very pleased to find it in a puzzle!

  8. A fun and entertaining assortment of words! SRIRACHA, PENDULUM, GRYFFINDOR, WILD PITCH (with "steal" in the clue) and STOLE across from each other. EL DORADO! SWAMIS! Enjoyed it.

  9. As Jeff Chen points out (sort of) on xwordinfo, when there's a WILD PITCH, a base runner's taking the next base cannot be a steal. (Jeff said he thought it was an error, but it's not that, either.) A WILD PITCH is in fact defined by the fact that a base runner or runners advance on a wildly pitched ball without having set out on their own ahead of the pitch; if no one is on base, a pitch cannot be scored a WILD PITCH no matter how erratic it is. If the runner or runners do set out as the pitcher is releasing the ball, it's a stolen base and not a WILD PITCH. (Unless the runners pick up two bases; no one sets out to steal two bases on the same pitch. Then the next base reached is the stolen base; the second one is credited to a WILD PITCH.) A stolen base only occurs when events are set into motion (pun intended) by the runner. I know it's wordplay, but it's when it's based on the opposite of what really happens, it's also erroneous.

  10. @Steve L Yeah, but isn't it fun, talking about baseball? 😉

  11. @Ann Two weeks till pitchers and catchers.

  12. @Steve L I came here to mention this point, knowing that you would have already likely covered all the bases.

  13. Really quick for a Friday. Pretty fun + sparkly. Love a baseball clue, even in the off-season. 55 days till MLB Opener!

  14. EASY WIN or MIND BLOWN? Neither. It was impressive though. I liked those crunchy debuts as well. Very fast time - just 8 second short of my personal best. ECLAIR is a favorite dessert, so when I found out about its lightning-y (Ratatouille fans will appreciate that reference) origin, I committed it to heart. Surprised by EUCLID. Liked the clue for RENEW. Had CAIRO before ASWAN, INS before CMS, STS before RDS, When I see FEED ME, especially right next to ROSEBUD, I think of the Little Shop of Horrors movie scene - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLjook1I0V4 WILD PITCH a temptation to steal? I think temptation was given into and the base was STOLE..n. Least favorite entry - I MY was DOA. Most everything else I'M OKAY with.

  15. GRYFFINDOR was a BOLD MOVE, esp. when GREENHOUSE seemed like it would work as a play on “Potter’s house.” A few other clues that had alternative entries with the same number of letters that might have worked, like UNFRIENDLY instead of UNFOLLOW and I SEE for AS IF. Also, some nice IR symmetry with TETRIS and FAKIR, A___O male name symmetry with ALDO and ADOLFO, and “first word”/“last word” symmetry with MAMMA and ROSEBUD (and probably other symmetry that I missed). Thought it was a silky smooth, enjoyable Friday. A classy apology from @LJADZ to Deb earlier tonight toward the end of the long thread he started in yesterday’s comments. Peace.

  16. “He” as a pronoun for LJADZ is a reflection of my own bias — I don’t know whether that’s the right pronoun for LJADZ.

  17. @Puzzlemucker Thank you for pointing that out. I answered him.

  18. @Puzzlemucker Not a reflection of your own bias. LJADZ referred to himself as a “big boy” in his apology. I assume you meant UNFRIEND (my original entry), and not UNFRIENDLY (auto correct?) I had tried APOLLO before ADOLFO. 137 reccos for yesterday’s post. Holy COWGIRLS!

  19. My puzzle looked pretty funny at the halfway-solved point -- the entire right half was filled in top to bottom and there was nothing in the left half. I thought it might stay that way but made myself stop catastrophizing and actually read the clues, which is so helpful, y'know? ENDSCENE! (I keep reading that as an obscure form of OBSCENE....)

  20. @Millie but it's ANDSCENE ...

  21. @Leslie S. Oops! I assume I got it right in the puzzle, though, or it wouldn't have ended (or anded) well.

  22. Fast fun Friday fare.

  23. A recent YouTube obsession of mine is the Tetris World Championships. Ridiculous how good these players are. The 17-year-old (!) current champion was asked what other video games he played. His answer? "None".

  24. Any reference to John CLEESE (6D) immediately reminds me of Fawlty Towers - one of the funniest sitcoms ever. Anyone else who's a fan might enjoy these highlights from the show: - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1qAF8VAgVA

  25. @RichardZ Huge Fawlty Towers fan here. I can’t click on your link because I am in bed and don’t want to wake up my wife with uncontrollable laughter. Just thinking of some of those episodes has me in stitches. Oh, and don’t mention the war!

  26. @Andrew I did but I think I got away with it.

  27. @Andrew(s) - there are quite a few clips from the show available on YouTube as well as entire episodes available to purchase, so I had to make a conscious effort to avoid falling into a YouTube rabbit hole, and limit myself to one highlights clip (for now).

  28. Here's a favorite auction scene from North by Northwest https://youtu.be/YEv7cVW8hBA Cary Grant as fugitive Roger O. Thornhill pesters AUCTIONEER Les Tremayne, while Assistant AUCTIONEER Olan Soulé looks on. (There are other oft-seen character actors of the time in the crowd, including Helen Spring who has a timely insult for Grant, Paula Winslowe sharing the chair with Grant, and Patrick McVey and Ken Lynch as the policemen who arrive to take Grant away. Martin Landau and Adam Williams are the thugs he is trying to avoid by causing a disruption. Leo G. Carroll looks on from across the room.)

  29. @Alan J It's been a long time since I've seen North by Northwest, but any reference to that film will always make me think of this (and you know exactly what I'm going to link): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIY7BQkbIT8 ..

  30. @Rich in Atlanta Yep, exciting, highly cinematic, iconic, and great filmmaking. One of the true treasures of cinematic history. But also one of the most incompetent plans for bumping someone off that any incompetent gang of thugs has ever come up with. They manage to lure Roger to this foresaken corner of the countryside, and they decide the best idea is to attack from the air? Why not drive by and gun him down from a car? Much more effective, I would think. But then again, not very cinematic. This particular gang of thugs seems to have a track record of incompetency. They first try to bump him off by getting him drunk and letting him drive off a cliffside highway, but they don't render him unconscious before he can get away. Then he eludes them in an elevator by simply placing a couple of women between him and them while he runs for a taxi. They do manage to get him accused of murder by throwing a knife into someone else's back across a crowded room, risking that someone might have noticed the knife in flight. Why didn't they knife him instead? He outwits them at the auction. That's due to a cunning ploy on Roger's part. No fault of thugs. Finally they are unable to do away with the couple of good guys on the face of Mt. Rushmore, after letting them escape their grasp back at the house. Their track reocrd doesn't say much for Vandamm's (James Mason's) choice of henchmen. Their activities have cinematic flair, but low probability of success.

  31. @Alan J Getting good henchmen is not as easy as some think.

  32. This was a tough one, but a very satisfying solve. It’s always nice when all the pieces come together. I only cheated once (to look up how to spell SRIRACHA once I realized that’s what it was, cause for the life of me I can never remember how to spell it), and still managed to beat my average (barely). Overall, it was a fun mental workout!

  33. Very quick for a Friday but there were some tough ones. I had WILD_ITCH for the longest time before a baseball analogy came to mind (maybe because I was brought up on cricket). And then even once I had RENEW for 'Keep the books' I couldn't see it. And I had BIGGIRLS as the non-lachrymatory ones. Quick but satisfying.

  34. Nice column, Deb, and nice Friday puzzle. In my house, a heart-stopping “Crash!” means I say “what was that?” And whoever caused it says “NOTHING” !!

  35. that was fun, and wow was it quick! thought maybe i’m getting better at fridays but then i see it was fast for most. :-) i had a couple wrong entries when i started, in the top half, but quickly corrected and it went mostly smooth through the rest of it. the one thing that really got me the end was WILDPITCH. (at risk of being a broken record for people who read this blog regularly, i am... very not a sports person. TY to the posters here who believe it is incorrect, for explaining what it means to folks like me!). knew the cross stood for “licensed ____ nurse” but could only think of “vocational” as the middle word, forgot about “practical”, and ended up having to A-Z it.

  36. Was Rosebud the last word in Citizen Kane? I recall it as the first word spoken as a Kane dies and drops the snow globe. And at the end it’s on the sled as it’s thrown into the furnace. But aren’t the credits part of the film? Don’t they have other words? Is Rosebud the last spoken word of the film? Doesn’t a reporter at the end lament that the meaning of Kane’s last word will be forever a mystery? Is the reporter’s last word rosebud? Do I have to invest 2 hours of my life to get the answer? Peter Griffin, help me out here. - Tom

  37. @Tom Martin "Rosebud" was the last word of Charles Foster Kane's life. It wasn't (I don't think) the last word of the film, just the last dying word of the character.

  38. @Alan J, First word of film; first word spoken by main character in film; last word of main character’s life. Thanks! - Tom

  39. @Tom Martin Possibly very tricky because it doesn't actually say IN film it says OF film which gives it broader allowance. No offense intended in the least, seriously, but perhaps you were overthinking it a little? It's probably one of the most famous last words of filmdom without being the last word in a film.

  40. Anyone who says this puzzle was too easy is obviously a FAKIR.

  41. @Mike R ASWAN who found it easy, I disagree.

  42. @Andrew “AND . . . SCENE!” Thanks fellas, that’s a wrap. You boys always do good work.

  43. The N where AND SCENE crosses RENEW was my last letter. RENEW fit, but what did it have to do with books? Then libraries dawned--wonderful clue! What, though, does AND SCENE's conjunction conjoin?

  44. when you don't return books, you have to renew them at the library.

  45. @Speede “and scene” means “cut”

  46. @Vicki A lot of libraries these days allow you to renew books (if they can be renewed) online rather than just "at the library."

  47. I loved the misdirection for WILDPITCH and fell for it right through to the end when the crosses finally clued me in LOL!

  48. Had to chip away at this one, but it actually went fairly fast for me - about 80% of my average. There were a few gimmes and those were enough to get a foothold. Started with a few fills in the NW, then had more success going down the right side; and then started working on the left. Managed to decipher some of the clues, which led to getting crosses for other entries, and I finally ended by correcting a couple of mistakes in the SW. Good mental exercise!

  49. Couldn’t help thinking of the Four Seasons hit “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. I know it’s not a “country” song, but at least I had the GIRLS part correct. Liked the clue for RENEW as keeping the (borrowed library) books. WILDPITCH was easy enough to figure out but technically it’s not a stolen base when a runner advances on a bad pitch. It is simply a wild pitch. Enjoyed the puzzle.

  50. Robert Kern, yes, I never heard that song about cowgirls, but the Four Seasons hit was big when I was in high school in 1963.

  51. In recent days, I have noticed significant increase in help available in the blog to solve the puzzle and I am highly appreciative of that.

  52. Sorry, but a wild pitch is not a “temptation to steal.” If a runner advances on a wild pitch, s/he is NOT credited with a stolen base.

  53. Exactly!

  54. The runner might still be *tempted* to steal until remembering that rule about credit.

  55. @polymath I got that, finally, after having pretty many of the letters and the image of it just popped into my head. Not much of a baseball fan, but wouldn't a runner do this regardless of the "credit" if it would still advance their team towards Home?

  56. I'm running a MacBook Air with Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. For some reason which escapes me and (more to the point) the geniuses at the Apple Store, I can only get the NYT puzzles on Chrome. Does anyone else have this problem or any clue what might be going on? If I go to nytimes.com/crosswords in Firefox, it flashes up for maybe half a second and then goes blank. Rest of NYT is fine regardless of browser.

  57. I believe that Google developed the engine that runs the NYT crossword.

  58. I hired some app developers a few years ago and they would only promise compatibility with Chrome due to differences in browser technology. Initially, that was the case. The app now runs on most browsers even though we have never made any changes to specifically address the issue. I suggest you let the powers that be over at Firefox know your problem. They love a challenge like this.

  59. @Andrew Just curious as to why you’re not using Apple’s native browser, Safari.

  60. So much happiness! I’m on a 2 day run of near personal bests. I was only 1 minute 12 secs slower than my best tonight. LOVE eclairs! Personally, I prefer Cholula over Sriracha but that’s just me. ROSEBUD is a favorite of mine. The niceties of baseball are way too complicated for me so WILD PITCH made sense, but I can appreciate the aficionados’ quibbles. The whole puzzle was just chewy goodness! Kinda dreading tomorrow though...

  61. Wow! It's a long time since I had an easy Friday! A little over half my average and only eight minutes slower than my best. If only I had remembered it was MEL's diner, not Sam's, I might have been a minute or two quicker, but it was nice of some unknowns, ALDO, COE, LPN, to fill themselves in before I needed to worry about them.

  62. Good puzzle ... except for the obscure 23D/26A crossing.

  63. OK, but, um - SWAMIS? Pretty sure that's not a thing.

  64. @Ms. Cat Sis, boom, bah.

  65. TIL that the wordplay comments on the iPhone app get truncated and don’t display ALL replies. I was looking for yesterday’s thread mentioned by puzzlemucker and only saw the same 3 replies from yesterday. Then I got the bright idea to open wordplay in chrome (on my phone) and saw that you can expand the comment thread to see all the replies, not just the first few. Who knew? And all this time, I thought some of my comments were being nixed by the mods when, in fact, they just weren’t displaying in the app. Again I say, who knew?

  66. @Ms. Cat Quite a few of us here have known for some time, and try to post regularly about it. But not everyone sees all posts. It would be nice to have a permanent notice at the top of the forum. One more thing for the wish list, assuming that the iPhone issue is not going to get fixed.

  67. My best time ever for a Friday puzzle. I’m tempted to say it was easy for a Friday, but instead I think I’ll just pat myself on the back. I loved the misdirection for WILDPITCH, and since I usually have trouble with sports clues, getting that one made me especially proud.

  68. @ Shari coats Congrats! You definitely deserve a pat on the back. It took me YEARS before I could solve Fridays.

  69. I made slow progress, eventually getting a few solid crossing clues with AMERICA, DOA, SMACKED, KEENON and ROSEBUD. GENOESE before CHINESE, and then I got royally stumped with MCAN / COE ... stumped because I had it right, and the error was PENTULUM. Yes, PENTULUM, let me explain. Very clever to imply the abbreviation of “ROUTES” is actually the abbreviation of “ROADS” without hinting at “ALTERNATIVE” or “VARIABLE” - one could say it is a mesmerizing misdirection. As DMX once said, “Ya’ll gonna make me lose my mind *up in here, up in here* ya’ll gonna make me lose my cool ... “ well you probably know the rest. Anyway sweet puzzle, I liked AUCTIONEER and GOTIME too! Cheers

  70. @Michael I think you're misunderstanding one of the conventions of crossword cluing. When you see a clue like "Routes: Abbr.", it's not asking for the abbreviation of "routes". It's asking for an equivalent of "routes," but abbreviated. Other answers to that clue in other situations might be HWYS, STS, AVES, etc. Of course, "routes" here means signed, numbered roads, not driving directions from Google Maps.

  71. N.B. If you time-travel back to the Farrar era, you will not find that convention: abbreviation answers usually *were* shortenings of the clue.

  72. Started pretty rough with MOON for HUNT, and OUIJA for EMERY. Smiled at GRYFFINDOR and ROSEBUD and was feeling pretty great once I finally spelled SRIRACHA correctly. Then came ASWAN/MCAN/COE, a triple natick! Knew it was a city in Egypt but the only other city in Egypt that would come to mind was Cairo. Don't know George COE at all and also never heard of MCAN shoes. Managed to flyspeck the C & A to finish about 30 seconds off my average. Overall a very fun Friday!

  73. @Amber C Thom McAn is a brand of shoes that was started almost 100 years ago and is still available on Amazon, at Kmart, and Sears (if you can find a Sears these days). Was fairly popular through the '50s through the 80s, but they closed their stores in the mid-90's and sold out to Sears in the 2000s.

  74. @Amber C Aswan dam is pretty famous. McAn, I would never guess, but Thom McAn, I remember that brand from like 40 years ago.

  75. @Amber C MCAN is one of those words like ORR and OTT and ERNE and UMA which lives on (sorry Ms Thurman) only in the NYT crossword.

  76. Fun, quick and interesting, and a new Friday personal record for me. As a serial RENEWer with a dangerous stack of books on the nightstand, I especially liked that clue.

  77. 57 down: cool amount. MIL as in million?

  78. @Newbie Yep, as in the phrase “a cool mil”

  79. @Kristin J I'm just trying to scrape together a couple durty nickels.

  80. Sometimes, I wish sweets would fall out of ECLAIR blue sky. (When I post these puns, my friends dessert me.)

  81. clap clap

  82. "(When I post these puns, my friends dessert me.)" Them's just deserts.

  83. @Mike While some might say your cakes are sheet or that you're full of crepe, I cannoli see greatness.

  84. SPELLING BEE Stuck at 56 words 249 points, need about 9 more points. Any slang today? If not, will have to wait for Mari. Meanwhile, I'll compile the lengthy obscure word hints.

  85. Get a wiggle on today, Kevin! I’m stuck at mere Genius without your clues.

  86. @Kevin Davis can I ask what this is referring to? Another puzzle on the site?

  87. @PK71 It's the Spelling Bee. Scroll down for it. We try to corral SB comments into one thread each day (maybe two, if Kevin and Mari post at the same time).

  88. SPELLING BEE GRID Jan 31st MMXX L A B C I K T WORDS: 57, POINTS: 257, PANGRAMS: 2 (1 Perfect), BINGO Starting Letters-Frequencies: A x 5 B x 15 C x 10 I x 3 K x 3 L x 10 T x 11 Word Lengths -Frequencies: 4L x 22 5L x 14 6L x 7 7L x 5 8L x 7 9L x 2 Grid: 4 5 6 7 8 9 Tot A 1 3 1 - - - 5 B 7 1 - 2 3 2 15 C 1 5 1 2 1 - 10 I - 1 1 1 - - 3 K 2 - - - 1 - 3 L 4 3 3 - - - 10 T 7 1 1 - 2 - 11 Tot 22 14 7 5 7 2 57 (Y-Axis: Starting Letters, X-Axis: Word Lengths, X/Y Co-ordinates: Frequency/Number of Words for that letter and length)

  89. the very first word i saw was CLICKBAIT, a pangram which i was sure was THE pangram — only to find it’s not accepted! am plodding along but can’t not keep seeing it, sigh

  90. and of course AS EVER immediately after posting the above comment, i see the actual (well, the perfect) pangram! ha. the brain really is amazing.

  91. OH DANG IT. sorry all. just realized that my first post reveals some other bee words, being a compound. and i can’t go back and edit it 😩. please accept my apologies, i’m so sorry!!!

  92. LETTER BOXED THREAD Jan 31 2020 Today: F - H (7), H - Y (6) ... 13! YESTERDAY: BACKUPS SHRINE (13) BACKUP PUNISHER

  93. @Mari Andrew asked yesterday how I kept my solution hints from being blocked by the swear-word filters used by the NYT (aka emus). You will notice that I add an extra space between the first letter and the '-' and then the '- ' and the last letter of each word-hint ... then the emu filters don't pick up any pattern that is a potential shortened swear-word such as yesterday's, with a starting 'B' and and ending 'S'.

  94. @Mari I noticed the extra space after I posted. The emus definitely don’t like the letter B beside the letter S! For the second day in a row I worked out a 13, only to discover that you beat me to it. Couldn’t miss today with that sport. Yesterday I had BACKUPS SHINER.

  95. @Mari yesterday I had BACKPACKS SUNSHINER. I didn’t actually expect that second word to be in their dictionary, but…thoroughly modern NYT.

  96. Apologies for being a purist. A wild pitch,32 Down, would not be a temptation to steal a base. A runner advancing due to a wild pitch would not get credit for a stolen base. A pitchers slow,lumbering delivery ,or a catchers weak throwing arm would qualify. Right sport. wrong definition.( Pitchers and catchers report in about 3 weeks!)

  97. @memorablegame came here to say the same thing, and am glad to know I’m not the only one.

  98. It still surprises me ... start off daunted by all those white squares, thinking Never Will I Fill Those In. But, bit by bit, it becomes like the clue for 19A.

  99. Not sure what just happened, but I almost halved my fastest solve time... for Thursday puzzels! Which I set just yesterday, so it's a good week for personal bests. I suspect it will be a while before that happens again, if ever. I like to take my time for the crossword, but sometimes the pieces just fall into place.

  100. Loved John CLEESE in Monty Python back in the day!

  101. @judy d They still broadcast the old epps on BBC America, if you have that cable channel. Still hilarious after all these years...

  102. Steve, Epps? Srsly?

  103. @Barry Ancona Wait, Omar was in Monty Python?

  104. I wish the four letter movie clue had been reversed. I saw Gigi once. It was the ''entertainment' shown on a white plywood screen at a Marine Combat Base up by the DMZ in RVN in 69. After a couple of hours with the film breaking constantly the fights fueled by hot beer broke out--now that was entertaining. Thanks for memory.

  105. TGIF, I say. On M-W I, a seasoned solver, have a lovely time warming the brain up with what are generally LOBs. Come Thursday, I'm on high alert, gimmick hunting, thrilled with the chase. But on Friday I settle into my chair, anticipating a most enriching experience, drawing from resources that took a M-Th holiday, and, as with today's puzzle, usually finding great satisfaction. On Friday, out come the SRIRACHAs, PENDULUMs, ROSEBUDs, and GRYFFINDORs, where they land like honey on the grid, along with clues like [Temptation to steal] for WILD PITCH. On Friday out come those delicious moments of waiting for a flash of understanding (such as with "Know it alls" for SWAMIS) or for a memory to pop into consciousness (ARGO). Out come post-solve pleasures, as with, for me, the cross of ECLAIR and MIND BLOWN, evoking precisely the memory of my astonishment, when, as a youngster, I tasted my first eclair. I can even picture that eclair, the thick cold chocolate on top with the pale yellow creamy treasure inside. Thank you John and Michael for coming through with this lovely gift, one that was like Hammerstein's edelweiss, clean and bright, and one that made me say, once again, TGIF.

  106. VERTEX connect-the-dots puzzle. "Clearly embarassed"? You should be if you can't spell "embarrassed"!

  107. @joan One college student says to his/her room mate, “How do you spell ‘financially’?” The answer is, “F-i-n-a-n-c-i-a-l-l-y - - - and embarrassed has two ‘R’s and two ‘S’s.”

  108. @joan Agreed. Now - what's the picture? I'm at a total loss. Can anyone figure out what that is supposed to be?

  109. @UCCF Beets, as in “beet red”. Embarrassed in the title has been corrected.

  110. While the printing press was indeed first invented in China, I’m pretty sure that it used block printing and not movable type. (Considering how many characters are in the Chinese alphabet, that would make sense.)

  111. @Rachel Reiss Considering how many characters they had to deal with, it’s exceedingly difficult to understand how even block printing came into being. There are WAY more characters than in any of the romance languages - - and viewing them backwards would be twice the difficulty.

  112. Rachel, A quick check of secondary sources confirms that movable type was indeed invented in China centuries before it was reinvented in Western Europe, but it was rarely used in China (in favor of blocks) due to the number of pieces of type needed.

  113. I was helping my 20-year-old daughter with the solve last night. When we came to WILD PITCH, I told her Steve would make a quick and correct call on it. (The comments and reco's on that clue and answer confirm the obvious: many people read comments from newest to oldest, and many post before reading earlier comments.)

  114. @Barry Ancona No need for replay review, even.

  115. @Barry Ancona -- Maybe more so on these 200+ and 300+ comment days.

  116. A “completion” - only with the aid of Auto Correct. Couldn’t spell that hot sauce name correctly - and it went nowhere from there - - almost. Even MAMMA gave me fits because of the third ‘M’. I had BIG GIRLS, VINES, GOOD MOVE, BOBBY, UNFRIEND, ASCOT, FRETS - - and, no doubt, some other clinkers after my first passes. Knowing it’s Friday and not having all day to spend working on this, I resorted to some appropriate “artificial intelligence” and worked through without any “research”. But my rules disqualify this approach as a “solve” (with or without a capital ‘S’). It was fun though! P.S. What is the significance of the brackets in the clue for MIND BLOWN??

  117. @PeterW I didn't get MAMMA MIA last week because of the "3 M" MAMMA. Mama Cass knew how to spell

  118. @PeterW Brackets are Internet forum-speak for conveying a wordless action. If I type [jaw hits the floor] I'm describing what happened instead of saying "my jaw just hit the floor."

  119. @coloradoz MAMA Cass knew how to spell in English. MAMMA MIA is an Italian phrase, spelled correctly in Italian.

  120. Got held up for a minute or two in the SW corner but otherwise a fairly smooth solve. I'm always amazed when I immediately think of an answer (today was 62A, ETHEL) but don't put it in because "it can't be *that* simple", but in the end, I was right... No complaints today, as this was a fine grid. Heading south tomorrow to visit family in Savannah GA. Weather for the trip down looks good, but we may have to stay an extra day or two if the long range forecast holds up. I suppose we'll survive... ;-) Happy Weekend all!

  121. Very nice puzzle and an enjoyable solve. I figured most would find it relatively easy, but I can't claim success as I had to look up three things and still had a couple of failed checks. One of those look-ups was GRYFFINDOR. I've heard that the Harry Potter books are actually quite good and they were recommended to me by a couple of colleagues at work some years ago, but... those were the same people who had previously recommended 'The Da Vinci Code,' so I just smiled and went on my way. A couple of clue history look-ups today. One was for ASWAN, wondering how often it had been clued as two words. Answer: Once out of 123 appearances. The other was sort of similar and was inspired by ALKALI. With baseball season coming up that made me think of my childhood baseball hero and I wondered how often ALKALINE had been clued as two words. Answer - 5 times in 10 appearances. Batting .500. Haven't seen Citizen Kane in quite a while. Might have to see if I can find it on demand later tonight.

  122. @Rich in Atlanta I took a chance on entering ASWAN as I had the AN ending, but I've only seen it with reference to the Dam

  123. @Rich in Atlanta The only thing Dan Brown books and J.K. Rowling books have in common is that they sell well. Rowling's books (the Potter series and the ones written using a nom de plume) are excellent explorations of the human experience. The magic stuff is clever but extraneous. From book one through book eight she takes you from light and fluffy with an edge of sadness to dark and serious. We all have different tastes but, to me, the series is a masterpiece.

  124. A very pleasant unScrabbly challenge with a lovely profusion of disparate answers. Though "Temptation to steal" had the obvious meaning and the answer was some kind of itch or a word I didn't know (wildritch?): was the nurse practical or registered? And didn't know Gryffindor, having never read a Harry Potter book, though disses seemed the only possibility for "Burns." Was puzzled by renew for "Keep the books," but of course it works for a library book. Didn't know door keys was a term since they're the default. Nice to see the answers eclair, my favorite pastry, and REI, a chain I like a lot and am a member of. (I *guess* just maybe you could say "the Chinese" invented the compass and movable type in case the inventors were Chinese. But more likely there were individual inventors, and you wouldn't call just a couple of people "Chinese" as a *noun* meaning the inventors.) By the by, the colored pieces in today's photo are called polyominoes, and specifically tetrominoes since they all are composed of four squares. Lots of jigsaw-style puzzles are based on polyominoes and their 3D cousins, polycubes ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetromino ).

  125. polymath, I miss Martin Gardner.

  126. Hooray for Sriracha! What a fun puzzle, although easy. Lots of fun references in the clues, and tons of great entries. Here’s to Friday and Saturday.

  127. I hated, hated, hated this puzzle. There were no rebuses. Please warn when the puzzle contains no rebuses so I do not waste my time. :) All kidding aside, I thought it was an enjoyable puzzle, and if wasn't for the crosses, I would have never gotten GRYFFINDOR in a million years.

  128. Just got around to the spelling bee today and I have one question: why isn't 'alkalic' an accepted word? It's not the first time I've had words rejected that are perfectly good English, not proper nouns, and certainly not more obscure than some accepted words that had me consulting my dictionary...

  129. Because the beekeeper has some arcane word list that no one else is fully privy to! For example, there's a C5 flower that was allowed today, but CANNA (also a flower) is not. (Insert shrug emoji here :-)

  130. @S North And CLICKBAIT shouted at me within seconds! CLICK was obvious because of the way the letters fell and I looked to see what was left. B A and T; got it. What an extraordinarily clever chap I am to see that within seconds but I knew that anyway. Enters CLICKBAIT. Not on word list? Are you serious? You expected me to find RATATATAT yesterday but you won't let me have CLICKBAIT today? I think I'll lie down.

  131. You guys do know that there's a separate SPELLING BEE thread elsewhere, so those of us who haven't finished it yet don't have to unsuspectedly see answers given away to them?

  132. Tough and absorbing. My struggle began at 1A, where the only hot sauce I knew was TABASCO and it didn't fit. Look, I like some spice in my food some of the time, but it has to stop right before the place where it burns. A burning mouth, a burning throat -- these to not spell f-l-a-v-o-r to me. These spell p-a-i-n. I don't know how hot SRIRACHA is. All I know is that I don't do anything jalapeno, serrano or Vindaloo. (My spelling appears to be wrong. Forgive me.) I had eND SCENE, otherwise know as "Cut", before AND SCENE (16A). I thought "know-it-alls" was a pejorative term for obnoxious people, rather than an admiring term for people who really do know stuff, like SWAMIS. I didn't know GRYFFINDOR. Did anyone? I don't like "burns" = DISSES at all. I would have actually preferred SRIRACHA as a clue. Thought for the day: If you have no "followers" and if you seek no "followers" then no one can ever UNFOLLOW you, right? Leading to a much happier life, I should think.

  133. Everyone (else, except you?) knows GRYFFINDOR, although I admit I was initially trying to fit PRIVET LANE in there somehow.

  134. @Midd American And me.

  135. @Midd American I didn’t know GRYFFINDOR, though I know I’ve heard the word. Never read the Potter books - that’s the source, right? I got it filled, then googled to verify the double-f.

  136. Curious how "Hosts" can be solved with MCS. Shouldn't there be some indication in the clue that the answer is an abbreviation? (Emcees would be the non-abreviated answer.)

  137. Jason, I'd say MC and Emcee are recognized by more people today than is "Master of ceremonies."

  138. @Barry Ancona Also, aren't these rules relaxed on Friday to make the puzzles harder? (It seems that way to me)

  139. childishgrambina, See 4D. We say MC or Emcee; we don't say RD. That, rather than the day of the week, is the distinction (to my knowledge).

  140. A lingering, peppery 1a after-taste eventually prompted this caddy answer: the short lived (it fit) Scirocco. I soon backed up that myopic response with the correct Cadoo, the luxurious ELDORADO...The SW needed a goog or two but the rest filled without any additional research...Some 25 years ago, I saw an off B’way (Minetta Lane Theater) production, “COWGIRLS.” The plot: a mixup ensues when classical musicians arrive for rehearsals rather than the required c&w group. Get the picture. Here’s a clip from an up-dated troupe. Don’t miss the water bucket/brushes percussionist. https://youtu.be/b5N32c8H50A Snowless in So. Central Jersey, Bru

  141. I enjoyed the puzzle, as I do every day, so I guess that's not terribly remarkable. Today though I encountered an entry--AND SCENE--that I so wanted NOT to be the answer that I spent many minutes manipulating answers around it so that it might be anything else. I guess I didn't think it fit entirely with the clue (further parsing of both proved me wrong), plus I associate the phrase with annoying improv artists and that grated on me. Every time I open my mouth around here you get to see a little more of my crazy, right? Anyway, I was defeated, the answer slotted home, and all is now right with the (cross)world.

  142. Michael, No crazy not knowing AND SCENE. My daughter knew it from (recent) high school conversation, but never used it directing films in high school. P.S. I expect you'll be less crazy after Monday...

  143. @Barry Ancona - "and... scene" is not a film director's instruction; it is a stage director's and particularly an improv director's cue. "and... cut" or "and... gate" or "and... check the gate" would be a film director's cue. "and... action" also comes to mind. The "And..." which seems to be causing trouble today is a "phatic" word - a word that doesn't mean what it means, but is rather a verbal sound that indicates something outside of itself. The initial word in most close-drill commands has the same value: it is at the same time a timing cue (preparation) and an indicator of something outside of itself. Right... FACE Present... ARMS Forward... MARCH And... SCENE check the gate anacrusis and... that's a wrap

  144. In case anyone -- of any age -- didn't understand why the "old ... catalog" in 11D was MAIL ORDER, it was introduced before much of the rural Midwest had any telephone service, much less long distance telephone service. N.B. Larger products were shipped by rail freight, not mail.

  145. Ask any Doctor - it's DADADADA not MAMMA because it's much easier to make the DA sound than the MA sound for baby's developing mouth muscles. (Try it yourself) This annoys Mothers no end DOOR-KEYS. Really? Ugh.

  146. Yes that’s what I put initially

  147. my spouse and i used to argue whether she was saying mamma or mmmmmmm otherwise known as the yum yum song. So I always thought mama came naturally out of our first love of food. twenty years later, she's at college and helps me when i can't finish the NYT puzzle.

  148. @bjtv I haven't found doctors (even pediatricians) all that well-informed about speech/language development. My children both said MAMA first (plainly knowing where their bread was buttered...or at least, where the milk came from)...Thumb-sucking is seen in the womb, and the mouth muscles are plenty strong enough at birth for babies to latch on and nurse. ...and make the /m/ sound.

  149. The discussion about wild pitches and steals led me down a rathole, trying to find out how many stolen bases follow a base taken because of a wild pitch--it turns out, if I am reading the rules correctly, that even if a player takes TWO bases on a wild pitch, the second base is still not considered a steal. Also found this entertaining tidbit: https://batflipsandnerds.com/2018/11/03/analytics-and-its-effects-on-the-mlb-the-stolen-base/ A quick and pretty relaxed Friday for me, other than my absurd efforts to find as many potential spellings of GRYFFINDOR as possible before the crosses helped me get it right.

  150. @Puzzledog This one bugged me because a stolen base usually isn’t awarded on a wild pitch.

  151. @PK71 If the answer had been WILD PITCHer then a player on base might have a " temptation to steal." Unless a base runner was already in the act of stealing (i.e. not "tempted" by the WILD PITCH) he's not awarded the stolen base.

  152. This is the first Friday that I’ve done with no help. Kept wanting to use Unfriend. And ‘RoUNDuP’ the usual suspects (I know it’s not the last word but it looked so good).

  153. Yay you, @Outofbox Dock!

  154. My best Friday ever. I rarely complete them without research. I also think that a lot of it has to do with your mind and the constructor's working in a similar fashion. Outside of the clues with exact answers of course. There are times when I go through a puzzle with almost no answers and realize that my mind and the constructor's are formatted very differently. Today we were quite aligned and it made for a wonderful Friday for me.

  155. @Anne Schultz I love that take on puzzle relativity! Some puzzles make me feel like I am from a different planet than the constructor.

  156. @Anne Schultz I love that take on puzzle relativity! Some puzzles make me feel like I am from a different planet than the constructor.

  157. @Amber C Puzzle relativity - I like that! Yes, it can be scary to feel like you're an alien, but boy it feels great when your brain connects with the constructor like a Vulcan mind warp.

  158. @Puzzledog I live in a Sears house, built in 1925. Very well constructed.

  159. @TabbyCat The day Ikea starts selling houses, I’ll start to worry.

  160. I just realized that DOORKEYS is a cross between DONKEYS and DORK. Sort of. I really enjoyed this puzzle. We've got CLEESE and ETHEL to entertain us and MAMMA to feed us STIRACHA, ECLAIRs and CHINESE. Thank you, John Guzzetta and Michael Hawkins! I will never UNFOLLOW you.

  161. @Johanna I’m not familiar enough with Harry Potter to know whether he was ever considered a GRYFFINDORK.

  162. @Johanna I think MAMMA had better dish up the bicarb, with maybe a side of ipecac, LOL!

  163. @Andrew Nah, that sobriquet probably would have been applied to Hermione.

  164. Our library has a new system of sending an email when a book is due, and two minutes later one saying it has been automatically RENEWed. Drives me crazy.

  165. @Wags Same here. Must be a Colorado thing

  166. I've given up on Friday puzzles in the archive so I'm thrilled I solved this in 57 minutes with only one Google lookup: lye for ALKALI. I wasted 30 minutes in that corner. I want to kick myself for not seeing MC but 2 letters for a host I was stumped. Now I know! I also was stumped on "Thanks for___."I had the A, so I thought "Thanks for a laugh?" Once I looked up Lye it all fell into place. It's great because after the first pass I felt like I was in way over my head. One by one, it got filled in. I can see a huge improvement in only a few weeks. I'm working thru the Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the archives.

  167. My dyslexia (which I only seem to have on puzzles) kicked in and I struggled to figure out what the heck a BOFDMOVE was. Some days .....

  168. How did this puzzle make me feel? MINDBLOWN.

  169. Go ahead, make me feel old! Proud that I managed to do the whole puzzle without “cheats”, but had no clue why GRYFFINDOR was worked out as correct. That’s right, I’m so old that I don’t get any Harry Potter references. Not my genre... never read the books and only saw the first movie as a treat for a child I tutored at the time. I am, however old enough to recall THOM MCAN shoes! Thanks for a fun and satisfying solve!

  170. @Amy Read all the HPs when my youngest was reading them, shortly after they came out. They're an easy read, but entertaining.

  171. @Amy I'm an old lady and I've read the entire series through twice, after I read each of them as they were released. I watched the film version of The Prisoner of Azkaban (#3) directed by the marvelous Alfonso Cuarón. Given that even he couldn't do right by the book I've not watched another. The books work on so many levels. Putting aside the cleverness of the world she creates, they really capture emotional and intellectual development. If she hadn't been able to do that so well there is no way J. K. Rowling's books could have become such massive international bestsellers. Her young readers grew with the series so that by the time the final one was published they were mature enough to deal with the dark situations. Mature readers understood that the magic and wizardry were really just a vehicle for a gifted writer to explore human experience.

  172. @Amy, I always remember Thom Mcan as the guy with an extra letter in his first name and at least one missing in his last :) But really, why aren't all Thomases Thom? Probably the same reason some Roberts are Bobs and not Robs?

  173. This one was tough for the crew at my office who works the Friday each week! To be pedantic: if you advance by wild pitch it is scored that way, not as a stolen base. We were stuck with -----ITCH and had some crazy ideas for a while - MIND'S ITCH? My favorite moments are the ones in retrospect when you had yourself convinced of an insane answer.

  174. @Oswald MIND'S ITCH was not my first guess for WILD _ITCH, (nor yours I'm sure). Now if the clue had been, "What to expect when you're caught out at home", maybe....

  175. They're digging around the house foundation, so I was thinking DITCH WITCH

  176. Sitting in a hospital waiting room working my puzzle while my hubby has some tests, I completed this Friday one in record time. A very nice distraction from reality for awhile. So many people are wearing face masks to ward off the corona virus. A bit scary it is, but COWGIRLS don’t cry. :-)

  177. Deb, apparently old Sears catalogues used to 'end up' in outhouses, for multi-purpose uses. Now, *that's* recycling. ... And if you're going to mute someone, it can't be done more nicely than with a picture of Ms. Monroe I believe I conflated SIROCCO [also hot] with SRIRACHA, as I had it as SCIRACHA till I came back with a RENEWed perspective. The boys of summer are warming up with attendant memories not far behind. Remember when Mr Tiger moved in on a WILD PITCH like it was a gentle LOB? A BOLD MOVE that SMACKED it over the wall for his 3000th hit and an EASY WIN? You-all probably know I STOLE that base lie -- from whence I know not -- but the Detroit Tigers certainly did retire his No. 6 and AL KALIne was a HoF shoo-in, and that's no lye. I'm always KEENON puzzles that solve as sweetly as this one, as long as I can make it a Wynne. Just try not to end with calling us DOORKEYs.

  178. @Leapfinger I, too, misspelled 1A as SCIRACHA - more of a Tabasco and Melinda's habanero user.

  179. @Leapfinger I just went straight to the fridge for the spelling!

  180. Ron, It doesn't need to be refrigerated.

  181. I had to run through quite a few last lines...DAMN came to mind, but that was only Rhett's last word. FREEDOM (from 'Braveheart'....etc. MLK was first into the grid. I haven't much to do with Cadillac's so I tried ESCALADE because I saw one recently. Nope. NYT puzzles first introduced me to SRIRACHA, and now we love it. DHubby, however, got Louisiana Hot Sauce this time.

  182. @Mean Old Lady - if you ever make a soup of the bisque-type with squash (acorn, butternut) or potato, or what have you: get a squirt of Sriracha on top of that soup bowl, and you'll be happy you did. It's a perfect match. And - thanks for speaking up for thimbles! No thimble, no nerve endings a day later...

  183. Enjoyed this puzzle for the most part. Some notes. MAMMA - one wonders if at any point in the English language this spelling was used for that particular context as opposed to MAMA, but ambiguous phoneticizing has been used to cover all sorts of war crime cluing. ECLAIR - nothing to criticize, I just found that fact very interesting. SWAMI and FAKIR - either Mr. Guzzetta or Hawkins may as well admit that they were swindled into a cult at some point based on including both of these in a single puzzle. AGEE - You understand that if you're going to include something like this, either the author's name listed in the clue is going to form part of a palindrome, or else this is obscenely granular trivia of the "what have I got in my pocket variety?" You can smell exactly what part of the horse went into this glue. WILD PITCH - baseball is a dying relic emblematic of a type of Americana that never truly existed and I will celebrate when it goes the way of sharecropping and manufacturing towns.

  184. @Kyle Wow! What did baseball ever do to you?

  185. @Kyle Uh, swamis and fakirs are no more culty than priests and rabbis. Which may be pretty culty, depending on one's world view. So, OK. NOT TO GET INTO A PC ARGUMENT! js Baseball is welcome to die out the day after I do. Now animal racing - I hope to see the end of THAT "sport."

  186. @Ann, I've never watched another race after Barbaro's last.

  187. Re Spelling Bee: Doing a puzzle last September, I was one word short of QB: ABBATIAL. I made a note of it. Today, I enter ABBATIAL, which fits perfectly, and find it's rejected. Kinda frustrating.

  188. Paul. Please post SB comments in the SB thread. Thanks.

  189. Hi! Where does one find the SB thread? Laptops only? I can’t find it while on my iPhone. Thanks!

  190. Annie, Right here! Look for a thread-starting post with SPELLING BEE at the top.

  191. Fun one. little on the first pass through the across clues, breakthru at Gryffindor. right half fell quickly after that. the punchline: NW gave me the most trouble and the last letter I filled in was the second "T" in TETRIS at the end of the HUNT. Fitting end.

  192. Loved the puzzle, but - and this is a minor technicality - a runner who advances on a WILD PITCH is not credited with a stolen base. "Temptation to advance" would be a more accurate clue.

  193. So here's how I interpreted "Potter's home": A place where potters work -- i.e. people who make pottery. Maybe back in the Middle Ages. GRYFFINDOR sounded somewhat medieval. And I had no idea where people made pottery back in the Middle Ages and I didn't think anyone else would either. That was the meaning of my comment. I never thought of Harry Potter. Why would I? I've never read Harry Potter. If I had known it was an HP reference, I wouldn't have made the comment. Heck, no. DISSing Harry Potter on this blog is like telling parents their child is ugly. People go nuts. And I'm not looking for trouble. In fact, I'm SO not looking for trouble that, with a rueful farewell to some very likeable Wordplay friends, including Andrew, Barry and David, I'm going to leave this blog. Fifteen comments today. Nineteen comments two days ago. Most dissecting my comments in ways that were gratuitously unpleasant. To those who defended me -- sincere thanks. I'll miss many of you. But I shouldn't have to be defended for giving my honest assessment of a puzzle. If this is not a blog on which I can be honest, if I have to walk on eggshells and watch my words and always say flattering things, then it's not a blog on which I belong. Which will make some of you a lot happier, it seems.

  194. @Nancy The internet and its spawn, social media, blogs, comment lines, and the like, have become a "safe space" for folks to vent their spleens without any consequences of any consequence. This is the world we now inhabit. Sorry to see you go --- I enjoy your posts.

  195. @Nancy Sorry for not defending you the other day and perhaps adding to your feeling of being under siege. You shouldn’t go. You add a lot to the forum.

  196. @Nancy -- My sense is that you are known here for not only your humor, wit, clever verse, and clear expression of your thoughts, but especially for your honesty, for telling what you like and what you don't like, and, regarding the latter, never being rude or mean. I always read your posts closely, looking forward to them, and I am sure I am not alone. I believe you add so much to this community; I hope you change your mind and keep on keeping on here!

  197. A tough but really fun one. I don’t research so I thought this would be a loser for me, but I had DRY FOUNDRY for the Potter clue for a while, which, of course, didn’t make a whole lot of sense but was my best guess until I was able to see finally that this is Harry’s clue.

  198. Smooth sailing through most of the puzzle but the SW had me stumped until I looked up ASWAN and AGEE. The other 3/4s were quite fun though!

  199. @Bob Ha! Those were the exact same two clues I had to look up too!

  200. Would have been nice to turn "TETRIS" into a true theme and have the black pieces composed of only those 7 block types.

  201. @Justin @Justin Aha! A budding crossword puzzle constructor!

  202. My kids both said “Dada” first, much to my annoyance:-), but otherwise this puzzle was smooth sailing for me and quite fun.

  203. @Kate Sorry. It may be small comfort but in Spelling Bee there are several acceptable spellings for mama but it doesn't accept "dada."

  204. @Keta Hodgson Yes—oddly, though, I still try “dada” every time.

  205. Can anyone shine some light for me for the meaning behind ACME's clue?

  206. @Allan Ne plus ultra means the top of the heap, the end, it doesn't get any better than this. Beyond this, nothing!

  207. @Allan Ne Plus Ultra is defined as "the perfect or most extreme example of its kind; the ultimate." ACME is defined as "the point at which someone or something is best, perfect, or most successful." Not to be confused with the ACME Corporation, which counts Wile E. Coyote as a frequent shopper.

  208. @Allan I didn't recognize this as Latin, and instead interpreted "Ne" as neon! At one point I filled in ACnE, which at least had "Ne" in it. 😀

  209. Took a long time for me to see the baseball interpretation of 32D's "Temptation to steal." Also, though I was pretty sure SWAMIS was correct, I had never heard of MCAN shoes. Since I also had never heard of George COE, I instead had haAN for the shoes, as in Cole Haan, the shoe brand. Eventually ran the alphabet on the weird looking George aOE with the M in SWAMIS and everything worked out.

  210. @Tyler D. I had Haan, too! Though I do know MCAN.

  211. @vaer I'm actually quite surprised that I'm the first one to bring up this particular issue.

  212. You must be young!

  213. RE: Spelling Bee 'Clickbait' not in the word list? bad omission

  214. Yes! I really wanted that to be one of the pangrams.

  215. How nice to see that I can still use Wordplay. Too bad that my paid subscription to the Sunday Times, which previously included the puzzle subscription just the other day,was suddenly disconnected from the puzzle. My iOS apps are now persona non grata - something I first encountered in the puzzle, years ago - and the Times tech staff says they are working with Apple on this. Gee, the Times app knows I’ve done five Friday puzzles in a row. How come it doesn’t count me as a subscriber for puzzles? I’d like answers, and help to get back to the puzzles I was supposed to receive with my subscription. Is it too much to ask?

  216. Hi @Barry, There is a FAQ at the top of Wordplay that gives you our customer service email. For your convenience, it’s [email protected].

  217. Dear People in Charge of the NYT Crossword Puzzle Online, Please do not put the "teaser" for WordPlay right underneath the puzzle. I was stumped today by the clue, "Where all the pieces fall into place." While really trying to solve it, I accidentally scrolled down the page a bit and saw the Tetris image underneath a headline with the clue. It gave away the answer, which I wanted to find on my own ability. This kind of thing has happened several times before. While I try not to scroll down, it does happen accidentally and unavoidably. Can you put some other kind of teaser or link to WordPlay on the same page? It really diminishes the pleasure of solving a tough puzzle.

  218. @Francis DeBernardo I've thought for a long time that the picture at the top of Wordplay generally serves no purpose at all, and should just be eliminated. The photo archives are usually so thin that there isn't a good picture to match the puzzle most of the time.

  219. "So many comments lately, so little time!" she cried, in a way most unbefitting a COWGIRL. It ought to be noted here that (if one may rely on literary and anecdotal sources) it is the FAKIRs that are better known for their stoicism than women with a fondness for pull-on boots. SRIRACHA: good stuff, but not that hot if you're used to New Mexico green chile. Definitely a pinch hitter in the seasoning department. ASWAN took me down the memory lane of hands-down the best trip of my life to date. ROSEBUD and Raphael took me back to undergrad pick-six-outside-of-your-major(s) electives. Potter's house? Why, my mind had gone straight to a M*A*S*H tent. (Here's looking at you, @Puzzlemucker, and, btw, I could not believe my eyes when I saw you referred to as a "woke scold" yesterday. Definitely a contender for Misnomer of the Year.) I don't want to limpet an OT comment to another string so, @David Connell, if you happen to glance at this one, thank you for answering my question re. transliteration from Korean yesterday.

  220. @Sam Lyons Speaking of COWGIRL stoicism, I've known a few who were wont to floss with bob [sic] wire. Have you been away or was that me? I think I missed you.

  221. Yay! This was my best Friday time - under 15 minutes! :-)

  222. @Nancy, I just read your threads, and those aren't attacks on *you*; they're attacks on what you *said*. Dang, I probably say 6 things before breakfast that could have me brought up on charges, and I live alone. Try putting your fingers in your ears while chanting "La-la-la, I can't HEAR you!" ... and stick around.

  223. As a science teacher, have to nitpick that multiple units of centimeters are properly labeled cm as opposed to “cms!” That threw me for a minute or two as I was searching for a pun to go there instead.

  224. Diana is not the goddess of hunt she is the goddess of the hunt. I use definite articles when I speak and a crossword puzzle should reflect the way I( we ) speak. The clue should include the words "with the" I don't care that it's a Friday you can't become ignorant of syntax for the sake of difficulty. Come on Will, get on the ball let's be real, cutsie has its place but not here.