Comments: 197

  1. Well, I loved it even though it was a fast (for me). Maybe I loved it because it was fast. Iggy Pop/ THE STOOGES had me racing out of the gate, and from there on out I HITCHed A RIDE on Daniel’s fast-paced nicely interlocking puzzle. Would have been cool if two of the entries had shared a SHRODINGER’S CAT square — for all I know one did and I simply missed it. Nice to see William BRENNAN, a judge with both an outsize mind and heart. Hard not to wonder what he and Thurgood Marshall would make of current events. I can be sure neither would be saying THERE IS NO ESCAPE. They knew that the Constitution is mightier than any DESPOT.

  2. Puzzlemucker, As long as there are defenders of the Constitution.

  3. @Barry Ancona I wrote that as much to buck myself up as for anything else. As down as I’ve been recently and as bleak as things look at times to me, I’m unwilling to believe that after 240 years of (very) gradually heeding the better angels of our nature we will be unable to overcome our present challenges. And yes, of course, you are right.

  4. @Barry Ancona That's quite the qualifier.

  5. Very nice, elegant puzzle. Clever clueing and a smooth grid.

  6. Nice themeless debut, Daniel. Well, themeless in the formal sense, but I did detect a few ... motifs?

  7. I finished quickly because my first entry was 4d. I hesitated because it can be SCHROEDINGER or SCHRÖDINGER. I don't believe I've finished a Friday in under 15 minutes before

  8. @Kiki Rijkstra In a crossword, it can be SCHRODINGER, just like it can be ANO.

  9. Challenging but quite do-able and entertaining. TIL Han Solo's HOME PLANET, and I've already forgotten it. (And liked seeing it on top of SPACE OPERA). Also the predecessor to OLD WELSH. I fell into the RIGA/EURO trap, but I knew 27A had to be DEAD CALM, so that was the last section to get correct. I think OVERLAID would be more correct than OVERLAIN but will defer to experts on that one.

  10. LizB — the clue "Superimposed" is a transitive verb. That would mean the answer should be transitive also. The past participle of the transitive verb overlie is overlain, so all appears well. But the object of superimpose is the thing being placed over another, while by contrast the object of overlie is the thing that it is over — a bit of a mismatch.

  11. @Liz B One would think that after so many times when the "capital" wouldn't fit in the answer that we'd have learn. I always feel like I'm Charlie Brown and Lucy pulled the football away, again. Sigh.

  12. @polymath “Overlie” is intransitive, “overlay” is transitive. Compare “to lie” and “to lay”. Example: “I lay down in bed at ten o’clock. The phone rang a few minutes later, but since I’d already lain down for the night, I let it ring.” The transitive version of this sentence might read, “I laid my body down to bed... since I’d already laid myself down for the night...” Lie, lay, lain, lying; lay, laid, laid, laying.

  13. "Successor language to Common Brittonic" just made my day.

  14. Daniel's valentine was a puzzle in which I could deduce all cultural references from the crosses. Many of us will likely approximate, if not better, our personals bests for a Friday. Very glad I found BRENNAN early. Kept me from entering RIGA instead of EURO. Kudos for the clever clueing on that one.

  15. I fell for the RIGA trap but had a bad feeling about it.

  16. @Doug So did I....

  17. @Millie I think many of us did.

  18. This one fell quickly since I knew the gedanken experiment, the owner of a certain Corellian freighter and stuff just seemed to click for me... thanks for the puzzle!

  19. For those not familiar with legal notation (like me) who were puzzled by 54D - per Wikipedia: The section sign (§) is a typographical glyph for referencing individually numbered sections of a document; it is frequently used when citing sections of a legal code. It is also commonly called section symbol, section mark, double-s, silcrow, or alternatively paragraph mark in parts of Europe. In case anyone else was curious ...

  20. @RichardZ E.g., 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the federal statute originally known as the “Ku Klux Klan Act” when enacted in 1871 and now commonly referred to as “Section 1983,” which allows individuals to sue for violations of their constitutional rights. (U.S.C. = United States Code)

  21. @Puzzlemucker and @RichardZ This place is so educational!

  22. @RichardZ Thanks!

  23. Surprised to learn that “Schrödinger’s cat” was a debut. Thought perhaps that the constructor of one of the Schrödinger-type puzzles would figure out to include the fellow himself (or his cat).

  24. @Margaret It actually has simultaneously been used and not used before.

  25. @Steve L As long as you don't open the archive to see.

  26. @Alan J, Steve L: you guys! Hahaha!

  27. Wow. Fell very fast for a Friday. Either I was in tune or (more likely) it was just easy for a Friday. I had OLDnorSe before OLDWELSH. Otherwise, the longs came very quickly. Fun puzzle. I hope a quick Friday is not an omen for a sticky Saturday.

  28. Re 39A (OPEN SET): I'm not a math person, but I don't believe that (x,y) - appearing by itself - would define an open set (which would seem to require an equation). From my math background, (x,y) would be referred to as an ordered pair. But I'll be curious what others have to say.

  29. @RichardZ, I think it was using (x,y) to indicate an open interval without the endpoints, as compared with [x,y]

  30. @Margaret - seems like a plausible explanation to me. Thanks!

  31. @RichardZ I agree that (x,y) is an open interval, but an open interval is only one kind of open set. So this clue seems like using “It has a number on a beehive” to clue STATE HIGHWAY rather than UTAH HIGHWAY.

  32. I tried to add an E in SCHRÖDINGER to compensate for the missing umlaut. That halted me for a while. Note my last name.

  33. @Sue Köhler I hesitated also because of that possibility. 4d was my first entry and I just used the one that fit.

  34. I eliminated the e from Schroedinger after I got to the bottom and there was no room for the t in cat!

  35. Sue, The Times checked the times on today's puzzle; people with the last name Kohler had faster times.

  36. I loved this puzzle even though I haven’t mastered Fridays yet. I too fell into the Riga trap. I really like the clever word clues over the Trivial Pursuit questions and this one had a lot.

  37. Never knew there was singing in Flash Gordon...nyuk, nyuk, nyuk-I really wish that 1 across had been a clue for the slapstick trio. Loved the reference to quantum physics and Schrödinger’s Cat. Never thought I’d see it in a crossword puzzle. Capital of Latvia was a great clue. I already had E for the first letter, so I did not go for RIGA. Enjoyable puzzle-thanks

  38. "Loved the reference to quantum physics and Schrödinger’s Cat. Never thought I’d see it in a crossword puzzle." Robert, Have you missed all the Schrodinger crosswords? (Schrodinger himself has appeared in crossword clues before, just not in an answer.)

  39. @Barry Ancona Yes I have

  40. I solved SHRODINGERSCAT from the bottom up, which might be appropriate for that he's-here-wait-he's-not! feline, and got bits and pieces of THERE IS NO ESCAPE until it all popped into view. Was tripped up for a while by Riga, but the cross _had_ to be William Brennan so what the what???? But all's well that (eventually) ended well.

  41. My first Friday gold star! Enjoyed this one. If I can just get a Saturday gold star I will feel really accomplished.

  42. I knew I knew THE STOOGES, but they were buried somewhere in my subconscious, so I just kept going. A lot of the clues felt like that. They didn't come right away, but I felt they were nearby. Wound up solving from the bottom up and from the east toward the west. Favorite puzzle of the week (so far).

  43. @vaer Looking back over the puzzle I see 1987 #1 hit with Spanish lyrics is La Bamba. 1987? wait, what? But it was performed Los Lobos in the 87 movie of the same name.

  44. @Al in Pittsburgh That's mislabeled. It's Lou Diamond Phillips from the movie.

  45. “Eflat? Bflat? No no no what scale is it with only two flats?” Thirty years later... “Let’s see you got the Richter scale, the Mohs scale, the Scoville scale ... one of these is gonna plug in eventually.” Fun puzzle with a few treacherous leaps. TYRANTS before DESPOTS, CRYS before DABS, RADIOBOOKS before AUDIOBOOKS, DAMP before SUMP. BRENNAN was the last fill, with EURO. The East side of this puzzle, (COPE, SOS, PTSD, leading to HOMEPLANET and SPACEOPERA) reminded me of a great David Mamet quote about Superman: “Superman comics are a fable, not of strength, but of disintegration.” Thanks for that.

  46. Finally have a gold star streak of over 100!! The challenge has been to remember to leave time for the crossword every day, as much as the challenge has been pushing through late-week puzzles.

  47. Yay! Congratulations! 🎇 🎇 🎺 🎺

  48. If Superman can't find his attire, there is no S cape. (I Kent stop with these puns.)

  49. Mike, Dad joke puns are the Lois form of humor.

  50. @Barry Ancona and @ Mike If he Superimposed himself, would he be OVERLANE? (That's AWL ICON say.)

  51. @Mike Then he wouldn't be IN THE RED.

  52. and Elke What an eclectic puzzle. When THERE IS (seems)NO ESCAPE, I sure want to HITCH A RIDE with either (or both) Supreme Court Justices, Wm. BRENNAN and /or ELENA Kagan. Did an ORCA maybe get SCHRODINGER'S CAT ? Will let somebody else link RAVEL's "Bolero"- just the right music for Valentine's Day. Daniel L-great puzzle.

  53. Bolero: feh. If I never play it again (alas, sadly unlikely) it will be too soon.

  54. @bratschegirl I just watched a video, (Dudamel with the Vienna Phil.), to see how the work is spread around. I'd guess that the first chair wind players probably like their solos. The strings keep plucking away and then join into the repetition-fest. I sympathize. I suppose it's worse for the snare drummers.

  55. @Al in Pittsburgh - they at least have a challenge - a great one - in controlling that long long long crescendo. Pity the bass players!

  56. This puzzle to me was full of obscure facts I had to look up, and awkward words such as ONER. It took me 17 minutes.

  57. Heh. It took me 17 minutes, too. And while I didn’t look anything up, I did spend several minutes trying to conjure up names (THE STOOGES! KORN!) from the recesses of my brain. I actually thought it was rather speedy. 🤷🏻‍♀️

  58. @Irene The only 4-letter band name starting with K I knew was kiss, but when that didn't work I dredged up KORN.

  59. Yes, ONER is definitely a puzzle word. Can't recall seeing it anywhere other than a black and white grid

  60. A relatively painless Friday for me but I have to confess that Iggy Pop was after my time - but I can't use that as an excuse because he was presumably very early for Mr Larsen. And for a long time, because I had the A in the type of grass, I tried SAW and when that didn't lead anywhere I tried CAT- so I wasted a lot of time in the NW. And once I had Schrodinger's cat I knew there would not be another one. But I got there in the end with no assistance so I'm happy.

  61. I hitched many a ride back in the day (70's, mostly), 9,000-plus miles. Now almost everyone would be too scared to pick someone up, and I'd imagine a hitchhiker would be a bit wary of anyone who *would* stop to pick them up.

  62. Coincidentally, I was recently looking at given names of Supreme Court Justices, so I knew that William was the second-most-common name for Justices (there have been 11 Justices named William, second only to the 13 Johns). And four of those had surnames with seven letters! BRENNAN was the obvious choice and filled in easily with crosses, though. Incidentally, some of my favorite Supreme names include Bushrod Washington, Salmon Philander Chase, and Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar II.

  63. I’m waiting for the day when we can count Sandra or Ruth among the most common names on the highest court. A few years ago (I don’t have the reference) there were more Michaels as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies than women (in total). I think I may have a long wait.

  64. @M I mean those are all good ones, but I still put Learned Hand at the top of the list

  65. I loved this puzzle. I would only question the use of the word "palsy" as a synonym for "chummy." Palsy usually refers to a type of paralysis, and I couldn't find an alternate definition in a couple of online dictionaries, though I did find the word "pally" (which I've never heard or used). Happy Valentines Day all.

  66. @Layla I'm more accustomed to seeing it as palsy-walsy. Look that up.

  67. @Layla - they are two different words with different origins and pronunciations but spelled the same: (see Etymology 2 vs. Etymology 1)

  68. @vaer Yep, that one's there :) Out of curiosity I checked Urban Dictionary for "palsy", but none of the definitions related to chumminess, eg: "A state entered after smoking too much marijuana when one looses (sic) his or her fine motor skills" or "portmanteau of 'measly' and 'paltry'" etc (they get even more interesting...)

  69. The west destroyed me. I “knew” it had to be rIga and aUdiobooks. But how could they cross? Is there an alternate spelling to Riga? Is there such a thing as a videobook? “I’ll give it to you for a sang?” The only justice I remembered was Rehnquist. But great Friday. Hard (for me) but definitely fair. I really like it except “tankerful”

  70. Nice puzzle, really liked some of the debut fills and I only escaped the Latvia trap because I didn't know the capital and it got filled in on its own by crosses. Dumb luck as they say. I loved SCHRODINGERS CAT even though it took me a while to get it - I knew it was the cat in the box experiment from the clue but I couldn't remember what it was called. CAT IN THE BOX and BLACK BOX CAT just weren't cutting it! My only nitpick is OVERLAIN. I looked it up to make sure it was really something in usage - which of course I knew it would be or it wouldn't be in the puzzle, but really? Feh. That's my grumble for the day.

  71. @Lin Kaatz Chary—You’re right to complain about OVERLAIN. It’s wrong! It should be OVERLAID, as it is the past participle of the verb “to overlay,” which is a transitive verb. OVERLAIN is the PP for “to overlie,” which means to smother an infant in your sleep, among other things (or simply to lie across something, like a bed).

  72. Andy, (1) I'm not sure why you have a problem with "overlie" for "superimpose" (see def. 1). (2) Even if you still have a definition problem, clues are hints, not definitions.

  73. Santi, I prefer dictionary cites to ad hominems.

  74. SPELLING BEE 27 words, 95 points, 1 pangram

  75. @Kevin Davis Hints coming up. The pangram practically jumped out at me. I got all but 1 on my own, then Shumm's grid got me to QB. It was a word we've had in the last week too! Oh, and the disallowed word we've been complaining about for YEARS (hint) is now accepted. It was one of the first I tried, as always. Imagine my shock when it worked!

  76. @Kevin Davis Thanks! @ Mari. Missing you and sending best wishes from your international fan club

  77. @Kevin Davis Several compound words. Obscure word hints: Slang for uptight Record of events of a particular year First light Young deer Ornament for the end of a curtain rod Molded custard with caramel Material that occupies a hole Embedded into the surface Far from the ocean Past participle of being horizontal Hawaiian porch or island Arrival after a sea journey Place to bury trash Indian bread Nothing or “he swims” in Spanish Water nymph Gullible or unsophisticated person Grandma Wish to do something, slang Unexpected good fortune

  78. LETTER BOXED F-L(5), L-K(10).

  79. @Andrew F - R (7), R - S (7)

  80. @Andrew F - R (7), R - S (7) Brit spelling first word

  81. @EskieF I thought that L-K (10) was particularly appropriate today!

  82. There were a lot of answers I did not know so I thought I was going to get hung up longer than I did. As it turns out it was probably a little faster than my average for a Friday.

  83. If you get a chance to see Iggy Pop, take it. You do not need a front row seat as he will come to you. The rare combination of a science background and photographing rock and roll IDOLs saved my six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Stumbled over OLD ELSH and what a rebus (loathe them) symbol for everything might be. Sadly, hole punch took a minute or ten. Speedy solve for a Friday at 4:30 AM. Thank you Mr. Larsen

  84. @dk - you may already know this little factoid - Iggy Pop was used by the modelers of the Lord of the Rings movies as a reference for Gollum's body.

  85. Excellent puzzle! Especially enjoyed THESTOOGES (I Wanna Be Your Dog, a three-chord punk wonder) crossed with the ponderful CAT.

  86. Nice puzzle. Had to look up some things but I'm going to count it anyway. Five day streak after last week's disaster. Who knows - maybe I can solve a Saturday. Yeah, probably not. Yep - had RIGA before EURO but that didn't last too long. A couple of other letters were bigger slowdowns: MISLAID for one, but especially SEAM before SEAT. If I'd had CAT there, I would have gotten 4d quite quickly. As it was I had to work out a number of other crosses before it finally dawned on me. ETTA two days in a row. Despite having looked up the clue history on that yesterday, the 'Candy' clue was one I hadn't noticed - it's only appeared 3 times before. Needed crosses to get it today.

  87. Many lovely solving moments all in one puzzle: * Answers with spark that make me smile (DEAD CALM, AUDIO BOOKS, MICROCOSMS, IN THE RED, SCHRODINGERS CAT, THERE'S NO ESCAPE). * Out-of-wheelhouse answers that reason satisfyingly conquers when a few letters fill in (OLD WELSH, HOME PLANET, OPEN SET). * Deeply-buried answers that pop into consciousness with an "Oh, yeah!" when a few letters fill in (GIACOMO, LA BAMBA). * A true LOL moment (realizing [No, not that!] is THIS). * That "Aah" that results when an answer I mentally pencilled in indeed turns out to be correct (PERT, MEME, BRENNAN). And, of course, the joy of getting it all right. Thank you for all of this, young Daniel. You've got a knack and talent for this. I selfishly hope you continue with it!

  88. Fantastic puzzle!! What great fill - HOMEPLANET over SPACEOPERA with MICROCOSMS nearby, and I loved SCHRODINGERSCAT and THEREISNOESCAPE ( which I agree is “deliciously evil”). I was all in after starting out with Iggy Pop, and the reference to Los Lobos was the icing on the cake. My second best Friday time (which does amp up the enjoyment) - sending a big Happy Valentine’s Day to Mr. Larsen!

  89. The fight to preserve the proper conjugations of “to lie” and “to lay” feels like a losing battle, but I still hoped the NYT would be fighting the good fight. It was very disappointing to learn the answer to 47A was OVERLAIN, when, as “superimpose”is a transitive verb, it clearly should have been OVERLAID. I suppose in time it will evolve into “nonstandard English,” thence to general acceptance, as is the case for “irregardless.”

  90. @Andy Thanks for that. I still get them mixed up, but OVERLAIN for “Superimpose” did not *feel* right. Correct me if I’m wrong, but “Blanketed” would have done the trick. Just checked Xwordinfo and this was OVERLAIN’s NYT Xword debut.

  91. @Andy and the improper pronunciation of "bruschetta" as "brooshetta"not the correct brusketta will soon be acceptable standard English. I was glad to see Alex Trebec correct one of the contestants who answered "brushetta." I'm fighting a losing battle but it's like nails on a chalkboard to my ears.

  92. @Rigoletto I'm with you on "bruschetta", but I must correct your spelling of beloved University of Ottawa alumnus Alex Trebek!

  93. Liked it! Just got all three of the ELENA Ferrante BOOKS from the library yesterday! Was that a TEXT ALERT? LOL

  94. I confess that I looked up a few things, which makes my star counterfeit, but overall I’m feeling much stronger as a solver of end-of-the-week puzzles! I never thought it would happen. In fact, I had so much fun with this that I will graciously forgive the constructor for implanting LA BAMBA in my brain for the day (or week).

  95. Judi D, I just finished the Neapolitan set. Wow. Get ready for a powerful experience

  96. I used to catsit for Schrodinger whenever he went out to play some pick-up basketball. It was pretty easy since I wasn't even allowed to open the box. Actually, one time I did pick the box up and shake it a bit. It sounded like some glass broke so I quickly put it down.

  97. Excellent Friday puzzle! Thank you, Daniel Larsen! Loved seeing (at 50D) those beautiful closing words from the voiceover at the end of "The Shawshank Redemption": I HOPE.

  98. Even though it doesn't work well for many reasons (not just fill-related), I really wanted DEADCAts to cross SCRHODINGERSCAT.

  99. @Steven Just curious: are you really from NATICK, or is that a shibboleth for your crossword enthusiasm?

  100. When we get to late-week puzzles, the facts of language come into play. We might see "put" and the game is to determine whether it is in present or past tense - the corresponding word will agree with only one of them. Today we see "superimposed" and the game is the same. "Something superimposed" is indeed, as many have registered, "something overlaid." But reconsider the grammatical use of the letters in the clue as it stands: Something was "superimposed" = something was "overlain." The fill can substitute directly for the clue, that's one of the basics. The fact that you have to "put" your mind in the right framework to make that the case is simply late-week business.

  101. @David Connell - I have reconsidered and withdraw my defense of the clue. The senses are opposed because the verb depends on whether one means the thing overlain or the thing overlaid, and only one of them can properly be called superimposed. There's no undo button...

  102. @David Connell I've thought about it and thought about it and remain in @Andy's camp that OVERLAIN for "Superimposed" is in error.

  103. @Puzzlemucker It’s not often we find mistakes in the Puzzle—that’s why it’s so much fun when we do!

  104. Going by the comments, it looks like I'm in the minority for not knowing Schrodinger's cat. I had ALEX and SEAM, giving me Schrodinger exam, which looked to me like it could be a real thing. Lol. And although I know crossword clues love to trip you up with the word "capital" (city/currency double meaning), I really hoped that my knowledge of world capital cities would pay off with RIGA. Nope. Your time will come!

  105. @Toby Same here, and with PALEY for Chummy which didn't look right and whose definition is definitely off-color.

  106. For me, it was a fine puzzle for a Tuesday. I found it not as challenging as I look forward to on Fridays.

  107. Since I don't know my quantum physics, my Beaufort scale, my Arabic letters, or my billionaire philanthropists any better than I know my Rock and roll bands, my metal bands, or my 1987 #1 hits, I found this an equal opportunity occasion to Natick on arcane knowledge -- not just on pop culture. Only I didn't Natick; I somehow solved this without cheating. You can't say a puzzle is unsolvable when you solve it without cheating, right? But I did feel as though I was taking an end of year exam for which I hadn't studied -- one covering every course I'd ever taken. And also not taken. I had IDOL before ICON for the "much admired person", keeping me from seeing BRENNAN. (I had ----LAN, which looked like HARLAN, but was too long.) The only William justice I could think of was Rehnquist and he didn't fit. IDOL also kept me from seeing DEAD CALM (27A). It didn't help that I thought the Beaufort scale had something to do with elements and that I was looking for an element beginning with O. I suffered quite a bit in the solving of this puzzle. And not in the way that I most like to suffer.

  108. @Nancy - pop culture is the antithesis of arcane knowledge, isn't it? It's really a tale of wheelhouses, isn't it? ICON - it is something you click and not worship! IDOL worship, on the other's biblical!

  109. @Wen ICONs can be Biblical, too, it turns out: i·con /ˈīˌkän/ noun 1. a painting of Jesus Christ or another holy figure, typically in a traditional style on wood, venerated and used as an aid to devotion in the Byzantine and other Eastern Churches. Similar: image idol portrait likeness representation symbol figure statue model 2. a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration. "this iron-jawed icon of American manhood" Source: Google

  110. @Steve L - it is very important to the orthodox who venerate icons that they are not images, but rather embodiments, immanences. They are not likenesses, but realities. Icon, in your quoted sense 1, is, for the faithful, a non-substitutionable instantiation of divinity or immanence in the form of a venerable object representing a venerated personage. In the same way that an observant Jew does not extinguish a candle that is lighted for sacred purposes: an icon is a living embodiment of a living thing, to an observant Orthodox Christian. Neither way is it biblical, nor scriptural. But it is liturgical, and cultic, and has currency that way.

  111. Turns out I had a DNF. Sigh. My "trousers part" was SEAm -- giving me SCHROEDINGER SCAm for the "thought experiment in quantum physics." Well, why not? And anyway, I already told you that I didn't know my quantum physics.

  112. Not often that I start right off filling in a long 1-across, but Iggy got me off to a good start. I really wanted an E in SHRODINGERSCAT and idol for ICON left the midwest for last. Other than that it seemed like a very straightforward solve for a Friday leading to a time about two-thirds of my average.

  113. This was a really fun puzzle to solve and I'm very proud of myself for having looked up only 1 clue (I had Emiglio for Puccini and just needed the right answer for a jump start). I got into the NYT crosswords using Autocheck, then weaned myself off of that and am on a 25-day streak. At some point I'll set myself a goal of not looking anything up, but I like the more gradual challenge. Loved the space, science, and math themes, and the long strings were fun--once you have one of those answers, it helps with so many others.

  114. Used my AWL yesterday, but for the life of me can’t figure out why it is a symbol for “everything” in a rebus. Can someone explain? Great puzzle - finished in record time!

  115. @Gabrielle Thomas This type of rebus uses pictures to represent words. AWL sounds like ALL

  116. A rather easy Friday puzzle considering I know nothing about Iggy Pop. Old enough to have hitched a few (long) rides, though. 😁

  117. @Paladin Only one long ride hitched, but memorable, from New Haven to Atlanta: First leg, by Cessna low-wing 4-seater, to Greensboro NC. May not count, as we knew the pilot. Then 3 rides thumbed on the highway a) a middle-aged Mom&Pop, desultory conversation b) a gimlet-eyed male, steering wheel in death-grip, barely spoke a word c) a pair of college students heading for FL Spring break, out of their gourds on smoke. I remember the second ride was unnerving, but we both truly feared for our lives on the 3rd This was in a 'safe' time, early 70s, but even then I doubt I'd have even considered it without a PALSY guy.

  118. A final word from @Nancy on SCHRODINGER'S CAT: I decided I ought to fill in the holes in my education as regards quantum physics, so I Googled SCHRODINGER'S CAT. I read the Wiki explanation and I watched a very cute You Tube hand-drawn cartoon-y explanation. I get what's being said, but I emphatically don't agree. Forget Schrodinger. Forget Einstein. That cat is either dead or he's alive. He's not both. You heard it here first. End of discussion. That's all I have to say on the matter.

  119. @Nancy I'm betting a quarter that you don't believe in the Uncertainty Principle either. [teehee]

  120. @Nancy Schrodinger is driving along a city street. His car happens to resemble one used in a recent bank robbery, so he is pulled over by the police. The officer tells him to get out of the car, looks all around inside and then tell him to open the trunk. The only thing in there is a box. "What's in the box?" he asks. Schrodinger replies, "it's a cat." The officer opens the box and then steps back and says, "This cat is dead!" Schrodinger says, "well, it is now."

  121. @Leapfinger The cat has eight more opportunities at least to prove the theory. Or not, at the same time. Seriously, I was sorry to encounter this clue in the crossword today, of all days. I have always HATED the Schrodinger's cat "thought experiment" that puts the innocent life of an imaginary cat at risk for the sake of illustrating the paradox (and no, I really don't care that it's "just a thought experiment"; haven't we had enough, enough, enough of Teutonic "scientific experiments" after the last century's horrors? Even if it was meant to be funny, or an "extreme" example of a simple illustration of a complex concept, why force us to imagine death to make the point - and the death of a companion animal, of all things?) It's chilling. It's disturbing and unacceptable. Would it be any more illuminating to have oh, say, Schrodinger's own wife or child in the box instead? I daresay there wouldn't be so many cheers for the experiment in that case, but still: there just isn't any justification for accepting the ugly sacrifice of creatures - especially a companion animal - whether it's in a lab or in one's mind.

  122. Well, I got a little 'tangled up' in a Bolero ("No, you DIDN'T!"), and thought that 5-letter 50s automotive sponsor could be DODGE, till the middle letter proved to be S, and IN THAT CASE was EDSEL. Also ran my 'tasty band' ran past [chocolate] KISS and KOKO to KORN, and I voted for KENNEDY before BRENNAN. Apparently had some trouble with first names, given that I needed a couple of crosses to remember GIACOMO Puccini. Am I wrong, or does GIACOMO come up in the chorus of "Iko, Iko"? [They seem to have XED my favourite Dixie Cups video] This was the kind of solve where oft a clue could draw a blank, then have the light flick on with a single cross. Makes for a SUMPtuous solve. And speaking of SUMP, whose pUMP got clogged with clay silt from a foundation trench dug behind the house? um, MEMEMEME!! Once again, ye olde basement natatorium... Some carry-OVER quirkiness from yesterpuzz probably hit the two great grid-spanners that DanLarsen threw into the works. IN any CASE, I saw each one make a turn and head for the border. *Given Evites, Emags, Etc, there's Everyday more things you can get Electonically, but somehow I believe you still can't get virtual mouthwash. Yes, Virginia, THERE IS NO E-SCOPE *Mrs SCHRODINGER was fed up with how her husband would AWLways NAIL the family cat into a crate, until ONE day in a DEAD CALM she hauled off and gave him a SCHRODINGER SLAP Enjoyed it! A good one for US SR-citizen solvers.

  123. @Leapfinger Also had OVERLAID instead of OVERLAIN. Perhaps DavidC has E-lucidated the difference. IN any CASE, that created 43D problems, as I'm not well-versed in cablet-v But it was when I saw ELENA sharing the bench with BRENNAN that I began to shake, as I never noticed till then that I had a PALSY.

  124. A nice slow solve. I had SOBS for DABS, which threw me off for ages. And I can't remember why HHH is ETAS, though I know someone told us this not too terribly long ago. Very nice puzzle!

  125. @Mary, I don’t understand your question about the clue for ETAS. Where did you see HHH? Not trying to give you a hard time, just curious.

  126. @Shari Coats I'm guessing that Mary is using a device or software which does not recognize the Greek letter eta which is a long E. The lower case eta has the general appearance of the lower case English letter "h". The device did the best it could by interpreting the 'eta' of the clue as an 'h.'

  127. @Andrew and Shari - How nice of you to take the trouble to answer this for me!!! Thank you!

  128. Isn't Riga the capital of Latvia? (28D)

  129. @Judith They are using capital to mean currency. Both were four letters long. Brutal, eh? Those hosers...

  130. @Judith "capital" as in money.

  131. @Jennifer R @Judith Incredibly, LOONIE has only been in the nyt three times, and only since 2014. That is one under-appreciated coin.

  132. EURO is not the “Capital of Latvia”. The capital of Latvia is Riga, EURO is the currency used there.

  133. Ach, I realized my pitfall right after making the comment. The capitalization played a trick on me :D

  134. @Eva Are you really from Estonia? And you got hung up on the Latvia clue? “Ironic” What’s the capital of 🇪🇪...?

  135. @Eva I wound up getting EURO (after initially filling in Riga), but I'm having a hard time equating the term "capital" with "currency". Perhaps I've just read too much Marx, but these are different concepts for me.

  136. I'm likely the only one for this, but when I got the O and the T in 6D, I thought immediately of CAT grass. Our Mitzi loves it, but they haven't had it lately at our local pet store. At least I got another cat later in the puzzle.

  137. @Wags Oops. I meant the A and the T.

  138. You can grow your own cat grass by planting wheat, rye and/or oat kernels in a tray of potting soil. It’s nearly free, and the indoor cats love it.

  139. THE STOOGES and KORN both coming from a constructor in his mid-teens? Will wonders ever cease?

  140. Today I learned that Queen Victoria had a collection of OPALS Is that the first time it’s been clued that way? Rich?

  141. Yes, she was, suejean. Very.

  142. GTYR, Leapy

  143. @suejean Looked it up on and this was the first time OPALS (or OPAL) was clued this way.

  144. Seemed a bit too easy for a Friday. But it was a fun one, especially getting a majority of the lengthy crosses worked out and filled in in the first six minutes. Ended with a new Friday best time!

  145. I personally *would* not use OVERLAIN for superimposed; I'm not clear on why I *should* not use it (in real life or crossword).

  146. Nice challenging Friday, but quite doable. I was surprised to see that SCHRODINGER’S CAT was a debut, as it seems familiar. Those two long seed entries were very nice, and not too hard to get, which helped with everything else. I knew of Iggy Pop, but not his Stooges. Maybe I’m missing something—will check it out. KORN was also a TIL for me today, as well as ETTA Candy. Perhaps I’ll remember them for next time. One can always hope. Thanks for a good workout Mr. Larsen.

  147. @Shari Coats If you're familiar with Iggy Pop, than you're probably at least somewhat familiar with The Stooges -- you just never recognized the distinction.

  148. This one is a real joy. Loved the misdirect on EURO ... had it rigorously Riga until the crossings let the cat out of the bag.

  149. Cat out the bag... clever

  150. Thanks to my math/science offspring (esp PhysicsDaughter) I had a big gimme in this puzzle. It ALMOST makes up for the crossing of Iggy Pop's band and the Arabic alphabet. No Fair! I wanted William O. DOUGLAS for the Justice, and it least until, lettery by letter, I had to dismantle it. After I finished the puzzle I was discussing some of the clues with DHubby (who was hooked up to a device on the PT table) and read the clue for 38A, to which he instantly responded, "BRENNAN." He has no explanation why he got it at all.

  151. Nice tough puzzle today that was just right for a Friday. Funny how hitch a ride is reminiscent of Hit Parade, almost making Hit Charade. (Was puzzled by the answer of open set for "(x, y) in math," since that notation is almost universally reserved for the point of the plane whose x-coordinate is x and whose y-coordinate is y. But it *could* be used to mean the interval from the number x on the x-axis to the number y also on the x-axis, not including the endpoints x and y. This would indeed be an open set in the "real line," another name for the x-axis. Because of that ambiguity, the endpoints of an open interval in the x-axis are virtually never called x and y, but the clue can be technically justified.) Uh-oh before this, Riga before euro, idol before icon, overlaid before -lain. Nice to learn of the letter tha in Arabic. (According to Wikipedia there are several different orders used for the Arabic alphabet, not to mention they are all displayed right to left.) Favorite entries: Schrödinger's cat and microcosms. (I don't much like Bartok's "Mikrokosmos," but I do like his "Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste.")

  152. @polymath - celesta, for future reference.

  153. DC, thanks for setting me straight on that!

  154. My favorite thing about this puzzle is its illustration of the princpal that Schrödinger's umlaut can be simultaneously there and not there... Had a spot of bother in the NE, having A'd where I should have O'd in Puccini's first name and having no idea what makes an AWL "a rebus symbol for 'everything.'"

  155. @Roger Pun on all.

  156. @Roger a Rebus is not what they call a Rebus in these crossword puzzles where you add an extra letter to a square. Rather it is a series of pictures, icons or drawings that are put together to make a word or phrase. For example "I see all" could be represented by an Eye then a picture of the Sea then a picture of an Awl. For the clue, a word for Everything is All, which could be represented by an AWL. I've only solved Rebus puzzles in Italy where they are extremely popular and I think in Italian there are so many small words inside of larger words that it is easier to create fun Rebus puzzles than it is inEnglish.

  157. @Roger re: the umlaut, I'm pretty sure the convention is that without the umlaut, the substitution is "oe" as in Goering for Göring. And then there's Mötley Crüe.

  158. At Detroit's Grande Ballroom in the 60s, it was the Psychedelic Stooges.

  159. I was disappointed that the Supreme Court justice wasn't William O. Douglas. Sure do miss him...

  160. @Carolina jessamine Miss Brennan too.

  161. @Carolina jessamine, I even miss Alito.

  162. Where is Deadline today with that column photo? That might be my favorite of all time. Ruth Fremson, I appreciate you.

  163. Also having grown up in the country where we frequently lost power, having a sump is hardly a feature. It's something you live with 😀

  164. This would have been close to my fastest Friday ever but I got all bolluxed up in the upper right because I (stupidly) had THEIR for THERE in the long answer and didn’t notice until I couldn’t finish that corner.

  165. Regarding 47A OVERLAIN is the past participle of overlie SUPERIMPOSED is the past participle of superimpose. IF you consider "overlie" a synonym for "superimpose", then the answer as given could be considered correct. YMMV

  166. Regarding 47A OVERLAIN is the past participle of overlie SUPERIMPOSED is the past participle of superimpose. IF you consider "overlie" a synonym for "superimpose", then the answer as given could be considered correct. YMMV

  167. @RAH - it's the "impose" part of "superimpose" that's the source of the disagreement: I can superimpose thing 1 on thing 2, but thing 1 cannot superimpose on thing 2. Thing 1 can overlie thing 2, but I cannot overlie thing 1 on thing 2. I can overlay thing 1 on thing 2. So they have similar meanings but are not interchangeable.

  168. @David Connell lay (present tense) vs. lie Again, where is Deadline? A beautiful feral cat, lie/lay, Nellie BLY (who deserves her own column and I will guess was a hero to Deadline) . . .

  169. @David Connell Which raises the more existential question - Can a word with a similar meaning serve as a clue OR must the clue word be interchangeable with the answer?

  170. @Deb Amlen Thanks for the link—I really enjoyed this!

  171. Deb: ditto!

  172. @Deb Amlen It was such a delight to hear you speak at length about the NYT puzzles and puzzlers. Your enthusiasm and kindness really come through. I envy those who will attend your presentation in March. (Word to the wise. When Deb's interview is over the next audio file that plays automatically is a song that I found to be extremely crude and offensive though, as always, YMMV.)

  173. TIL a bunch of facts about LA BAMBA: it was a #1 for Los Lobos (movie soundtrack) in 1987, but was only a #2 for Ritchie Valenzuela (AKA Valens) in 1958 as the B-side to Donna. Still not clear if they were buying the disc for the sappy love ballad or the rattlesnake. Shrodinger's cat? I Wanna Be Your Dog. (It's an Iggy Pop song.)

  174. The company was IN THE RED because the accountant always subtracted DEBITS

  175. CZ, At AICPA that would get a laugh; here, not so much.

  176. @Barry Ancona 😥

  177. Amazing how a looong gimme (SCHRODINGERSCAT) and a good guess (HOMEPLANET) can make a Friday into a Tuesday. For me, a PB almost 25% below my previous Friday record. I was lucky I couldn’t think of RIGA the first pass through and by the second pass it was no longer an option. Maybe some Sunday the clue will be “There is no escape” and the answer will be RESISTANCEISFUTILE.

  178. When I was 16, a friend and I decided we wanted to see another friend,who went to a different high school,play in the finals of the state basketball tournament in Iowa City.. Since neither of us owned a car, we decided to see if we could HITCH A RIDE. So we stick out our thumbs on a street on the west side of Des Moines. The very first car stopped to give us a ride. It was the parents of our friend, who we had never met, on their way to the game

  179. Uh, Latvia Capital is Riga. Please explain the Euro answer or give a better clue next time.

  180. @Bonobo "capital" is a synonym for money

  181. @MisterK Yeah I was stuck on the usage as it refers to the seat of the national government. Riga & Euro both being 4 letters long wasn’t helping.

  182. Regarding the lay/lie question. I'm not particularly bothered by the two becoming fairly synonymous, but I know many others are. A fun fact that I learned from a linguistics podcast recently is that the distinction: * a = act upon the object * i = act on the subject used to be far more common in English. In fact there are other examples of it in modern English. In particular: * I raise (a thing) * I rise (myself) Fascinating!

  183. The crossing of SCHRODINGERSCAT with OVERLAIN was a clever HINT at Schrödinger’s Superposition. “Schrödinger’s Cat” was a thought experiment designed by Erwin Schrödinger (though the idea originated with Einstein) as a reduction ad absurdum of the Bohr-Heisenberg interpretation of quantum mechanics. “It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects. The scenario presents a hypothetical cat that may be simultaneously both alive and dead, a state known as a quantum superposition, as a result of being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur.”ödinger%27s_cat. Unlike the cat who can’t decide whether to go out or stay in, this poor feline would have NO ESCAPE from its indeterminate state until some human peered into the quantum MICROCOSM and, by measuring radioactive decay, caused the superposition to collapse into one or another of a number of possible states. (So much for the independence of cats.) None of this I knew until now, so my gratitude to Daniel Larsen for nudging me outside my comfort zone.

  184. I find this whole SCHRÖDINGER CAT subject much too cerebral. PALSY not so much.

  185. A lifetime of Nerd Experience™ pays off as SCHRODINGER'S CAT, MICROCOSMS and HOME PLANET all fell into my lap without crossings. I only struggled in the west as "DOUGLAS" and "RIGA" didn't work together - as it turns out, neither worked with the correct answers, either!

  186. I liked this one. Iggy Pop. Schroedinger's cat. Well-clued glue, for the most part (Tip of the hat for Latvia's capitol). Plus, it allows me to link to this astonishing bit of high camp.

  187. @Puzzledog capitAL You're welcome.

  188. Capitol refers to the building in a state’s capital city where state business takes place. The city in which it is located is the capital.

  189. @Anne Willis - that is the principal principle!

  190. Wonderful solve! I started out w only a HINT of letters in the grid, looked up just a few fill answers and the rest came tumbling in!!! Also wonderful column & comments with video... the high camp Flash/Queen was so fun.... thanks, Puzzledog! & Deb’s interview was so enjoyable!

  191. Late thought: Would love to hear Ella Fitzgerald doing some SCHRODINGER SCAT.

  192. My humble apologies to Will, Daniel, and anyone else who chose OVERLAIN, as the right answer. I argued that it should have been OVERLAID. Both verbs are transitive, but the former takes an indirect object, and often the direct object is implied. (“If I had lain [my body] in bed all day, I would’ve got nothing done.”) “Superimposed” also takes an indirect object—“The logo was superimposed on the photo.” In other words, “the logo lies (lay/had lain/was lying) on the photo.” I was blinded by my eagerness to find a mistake.