Apr 20, 2018

Friday, April 20, 2018, Mike McHugh

Title: Quick turn around!

Another 2018 debut puzzle, the first solo on a Friday this year, though Priscilla Clark did a collaboration here with Jeff Chen. We have had a spate of going in the wrong direction, and this time it was a simple turn the first word around, with a simple reveal if you needed it. For a newbie, the non-theme fill had some real sparkle. We are given ANEMONE, CAKE MIX, ISOTOPE, ITALIANO, OH DEAR ME, SLED RIDE and VINEYARD- fun!

17A. *Pay back: PRATTLE ON(9). PAY <----><----> <---->YAP. The clue backward is YAP, hence the fill. 

28A. *Step back: DOMESTIC ANIMALS (15). STE <----> <----> <---->PETS.

48A. *Snap back: GIVESABADREVIEW(15). SNAP <----><----> <---->PANS.
The reveal-
64A. One way to drive ... and what the last word of each starred clue really means: IN REVERSE (9).


1. Place for a guard: SHIN. I thought this was a clever way to begin.

5. American sports org.: USOCUnited States Olympic Committee.

9. Walk or wind preceder: CROSS. Walk, wind and word!

14. Suffix for the wealthy: AIRE. As in Billion-

15. Actor who's played a doctor and senator on TV: ALDA. Alan- he played Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce in M*A*S*H and Senator Vinick in The West Wing. They were not similar characters. LINK.

16. What captions can capture: AUDIO. I love the alliteration, even though it is not accurate.

19. Pay homage, in a way: KNEEL. A very im[portant way.

20. Basil sauce: PESTO. Don't use Thai basil.
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts (can sub chopped walnuts)
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste

21. Teed off: DROVE. Not angry, well-done misdirection.

23. __ Fridays: TGI.

24. Hideout: LAIR.

26. Like some sale quantities: LIMITED.

32. She played Mia in "Pulp Fiction": UMA.

33. "I did it!": TADA. A solvers' best friend.

34. Prefix with thermal: EXO.

35. "Puss in Boots" baddie: OGRE. Am not much of a fan of the story or the movie, but OGRE is always a good answer.

37. Brown in a Croce title: LEROY.
"And it's bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog"

39. Houston suburb named for initials from the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad: KATY. We have a  CSO to D-O; I did not know the name was derived from the MKT Railroad Company and was commonly referred to as "the K-T," which was also its stock exchange symbol.

43. 2018 Super Bowl designation: LII.

45. Compared with: THAN.

47. Tilling tool: HOE.

53. Buttercup family member: ANEMONE.  Gardening TIPS.

54. Beat at the buzzer: EDGE.

55. Benching units: Abbr.: LBS. Bench pressing.

56. Big name in little trucks: TONKA.

58. Many a UAE resident: EXPAT. Is this true?

62. Chain with a dog-and-cat logo: PETCO.

66. Really dug: ATE UP.

67. Command to Rover: COME. Sit, Roll Over!

68. Mindless repetition: ROTE.

69. Gumbo server: LADLE.

70. Govt. branch: EXEC.

71. PR firm's forte: SPIN.


1. '90s-'00s NFL Pro Bowler Warren: SAPP. His STATS.

2. Take on: HIRE.

3. Accts. funded annually, perhaps: IRAS.

4. Prickly plant: NETTLE.

5. Chi.-based flier: UAL.

6. Downhill excursion: SLEDRIDE. It is one of the only things I ever missed from childhood.

7. Bleach feature: ODOR.

8. Rapeseed oil: CANOLA. Oh, that explains it all.

9. Baking convenience: CAKE MIX.

10. Winning streak: RUN.

11. 2003 self-titled folk album: ODETTA. The VOICE of the Civil Rights movement.

12. Superman co-creator Jerry: SIEGEL.

13. Cones and cubes: SOLIDS.

18. Doomed, slangily: TOAST.

22. Resort near Cape Cod, with "the": VINEYARD. Reason to visit New England include these ISLANDS.

25. Napoli native: ITALIANO.

27. "It's just a scratch": I'M OK.

28. Outkast, for one: DUO.

29. Texter's "Shocking!": OMG.

30. Damage: MAR.

31. Magna __: CARTA. Magna Carta Libertatum was so much more than most REMEMBER.

36. I, O or U: ELEM. Iodine (53) - Oxygen (8) - Uranium (92). Nice misdirection.

38. "My goodness!": OH DEAR ME.

40. Rarely served fish?: AHI.  Ahi tuna is usually served uncooked.

41. Low digit: TOE.

42. Archery wood: YEW.

44. Uranium-238, e.g.: ISOTOPE. Defined as each of two or more forms of the same element that contain equal numbers of protons but different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei, and hence differ in relative atomic mass but not in chemical properties; in particular, a radioactive form of an element.

46. Beersheba's locale: NEGEV. Beersheba, also spelled Beer-Sheva, is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel

48. Female bud: GALPAL.

49. Still being tested, as software: IN BETA. You can learn it all makes SENSE.

50. __ interest: VESTED.

51. "Mind your manners": BE NICE. Or you will end up as one of the ...

52. Irritations: VEXERS.

57. Polk's middle name: KNOX. James Knox Polk was an American politician who served as the 11th President of the United States. He previously was Speaker of the House of Representatives and Governor of Tennessee.

59. Support, with "up": PROP.

60. Product of white Muscat grapes: ASTI. Asti (also known as Asti Spumante) is a sparkling white Italian wine that is produced throughout southeastern Piedmont but is particularly focused in the towns of Asti and Alba. Made from the Moscato Bianco grape, it is sweet and low in alcohol and often served with dessert.

61. New driver, usually: TEEN.

63. __-de-sac: CUL.

65. Continental trade gp.: EEC. The European Economic Community was created in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome, which was signed by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany.

Well, there is much to talk about; welcome Mt. McHugh. Please stop by and tell us your story and you will hear some of ours. Thank you Corner, and thank you for the incredibly beautiful spring. Lemonade out.


D4E4H said...

Good Friday Friends!

- - Thank you Mr. Mike McHugh for this extremely difficult CW. I worked it sans theme, and did not understand the "Reveal." Wide areas of white remained after several passes, then P & P with lots of WAGs began to fill each cell to the point where I FIR finally in 44:03.

- - Le Mon,Thank you for your excellent review, and especially explaining the review in a way I could understand. I missed the point that the last word of each starred clue was the key. I was attempting to reverse the last word of the answer, not the first word of the clue. Whew!

- - As usual, I didn't think diagonally until I saw the grid in the review. Young Man Kieth will enjoy 3 NW to SE, and 2 NE to SW mirror diagonals with obvious hidden words.

- - I'm reviewing last week. On 4-12 OwenKL submitted a "Square Poem." The link showed that it must read the same from top to bottom as it does from left to right. OKL didn't mention that interesting point. Misty Wrote "Interesting wide-spaced poem, Owen." Several others commented on it also, but no one compared it to a CW.

Sheldor AFK.


desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Ah so, Grass-hoppuh. I had all the theme entries, was sure they were correct, but had no idea how they related to the clues. That 'splains it. Tried to put Beersheba in NUBIA and then NIGER before it settled in the NEGEV. Tin often refers to his GAL PAL. Nice debut, Mike McHugh. Thanx for the educational expo, Lemonade.

KATY: I had no idea why it was so named. One of the widest freeways in the country is I-10, the Katy Freeway between Houston and Katy. It's got up to 26 lanes if you count the "feeders" (they'd be called frontage roads in any other city in the country). In a former life I worked out that way, but moved up here to redneck land, hoping that the 100-mile daily commute would force me to retire. It worked.

SLED RIDE: In my ute the best sliding hill was at the school -- quite steep, with a one-lane bridge across the Pigeon River at the bottom. The bridge had a metal poles at the end to keep automobiles from attempting to cross. Guess who managed to sled into that pole going full tilt and slid off into the river? Because of that river our sports teams were the "Mighty" Pigeons. If we couldn't beat 'em, we could sure "mess" with 'em.

desper-otto said...

That was just one pole.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Sorry, To me this puzzle was one of the VEXERS. I don't like things I can't make sense of and the clues & answers that filled in just didn't jibe. I'm sure it was very clever, Mike, but not on my wavelength. Thanks for keeping me engrossed tho.

Lemony, a worthwhile offering. Your explanation of the theme took some digesting before it made any sense to me. Too far out -- and it was the best you could possibly do with what you had to work with.

I did know KATY and why it was called that. Have a friend whose father worked for the railroad.

I knew Warren SAPP from winning DWTS. However, the "bowler" part of the clue threw me off. Still don't get it or Cones & cubes = SOLIDS? What?

I'd forgotten rapeseed is made into Canola Oil. Very little rape grown where my farms are.

TTP said...

Good morning all. Thank you Mike McHugh and thank you Lemonade.

Got though the puzzle easily enough. The northeast gave me a bit of a problem with ODETTA and SIEGEL.

I just couldn't figure out what was happening with the starred answers, even with having them all and the reveal. The last word of each starred clue was "back." That didn't help. Then I thought the reveal should have used the word answer instead of clue. That didn't help.

Thanks for explaining it Lemonade.

KATY - no problem. Been there and through there many times. Knew the history. I-10 west of the 610 loop was known as the "Katy Freeway." Do they still call it that ? There used to be a honky-tonk somewhere between Katy and Brookshire on an FM road north of the highway.

Desper-otto and Texas Miss, you should have heard the morning news anchor trying to pronounce Atascocita as she was reading the crawler. Cracked me up. Couldn't find a clip to share. You would think the news editors would cover pronunciations with the anchors before they go on the air.

BobB said...

Got it done but never did get the theme. The starred clue/answers made no sense til I read the blog.

inanehiker said...

I'm with D-O - filled in the puzzle but needed the reveal clue to figure out what my long answers had to do with clues! Very creative!

I'm very familiar with the MKT as I live on one side of the Missouri River and the KATY trail is on the other. It is one of the rails to trails parks scattered across the country. Our portion stretches from the St. Louis area to the Kansas City area. It's a wonderful place to walk or bike without worrying about traffic. Some people even do the whole stretch biking (NOT me!!) Our son who lives in San Antonio lives at the other end and there is a plaque along the River Walk about it that he showed us.

Thanks Mike and Lemonade for an enjoyable start to the day!

desper-otto said...

TTP, back in the day, when I was working in radio in Wisconsin, we had a booklet of Wisconsin place names and their pronunciation. It was put out by the AP. Some that come to mind: Rio (rye'-oh), Muscoda (muss-ko-day'), Ripon (rippin'), Menominee (meh-nom'-in-ee), Waupaca (wah-pack'-a). Didn't help me when it came to La Jolla, CA, though.

Unknown said...

What a bear of a Friday puzzle! Thanks for the very clever challenge, Mike, and to you, Lemonade, for the exposé -- without which I'd still be staring at the reveal and the starred clues in not-so-blissful ignorance. "Simple," said Lemonade. "Lemony must be a genius," said Northern Boy.

Don't know where to start, there were so many answers outside of my, apparently, very provincial knowledge base. Had never heard of ODETTA; Outkast was just a spelling error; KATY is obvious now but I had never heard of the suburb before; and, KNOX as Polk's middle name and not a fort? (You know it's a Friday when....). Amazingly, still managed to FIR, which, I guess, shows us why crosswords are so much fun.

A good day, all....

Big Easy said...

TGI-----perps for this one today. I started off badly (radioactive with U and Uranium), with Warren MOON instead of SAPP and stumbled all over the place. I had no idea as to what the starred clues meant because they made no sense ( to me). I'm with you on that one D-O. I finished and am lucky with only two unknowns-ODETTA and KNOX. It was more CAKE MIX than CAKE WALK figuring this one off. I was just WAGging and actually filled OFF COURSE for 'One way to drive' in the SE. The perps changed it to IN REVERSE.

ISO before EXOthermal. ENER before EXECutive branch.
KATY- I know the place but I was thinking of the KCS (Kansas City Southern RR); MKT RR is one I'd never heard of. There's a major street close to where I live with the name LAPALCO, named for Louisiana Power And Light Company. There are large power line towers running down the middle of the street, and I guess they were there before the street.

VINEYARD-didn't the movie "Chappaquiddick" open last week? Oh, no politics. YUK, YUK.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

I didn't understand the reveal either. Got the theme fill from perps. Had a little trouble in the NE but finally mucked through it. Lots of fresh fill, but the theme was a loss. SO to CanadianEh! with CANOLA. 33a. Wanted woohoo but settled for TADA.
NETTLE - Is on the Coat of arms of Holstein and is on the Schleswig-Holstein flag.

Have a great day.

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Lemonade and friends. This was a good Friday challenge. Like many others, I didn't make the connection between the theme answers and the clues. I looked at the last work of the answer and not the clue. ON, ANIMALS, REVIEW?

My favorite clue was Rarely Served Fish = AHI. We are big fans of Sushi.

I never thought about the original of KATY, Texas. Interesting.

Nice CSO to Tinbini and his GAL PAL.

QOD: It’s difficult working with someone who is not a team player. ~ George Takei (b. Apr. 20, 1937)

TTP said...

D-O, I know, right ? I've learned a lot about different Wisconsin places and her people as I've watched the PBS shows here. Among them are Wisconsin Outdoors and Wisconsin Foodie. One I really like is Around the Corner with John McGivern. Good watching. You might enjoy some of the episodes.

Yellowrocks said...

I plugged away successfully until the northeast. I finally let the Mensa site give me CAKE MIX with "solve the word." Then I finished on my own. Looking back, I had done an ABC run in my mind for E-O and stopped before X which would have suggested cake mix, as I had -MI- . It would have led to a FIR. Drat. I still don't quite get the theme. The LAST word of the clue? In 17A, for instance, the FIRST word of the clue PAY was reversed to YAP which means PRATTLE ON. Someone, please explain why last word instead of first word.
Today all my internet devices went offline. After a long while I finally unplugged the router. Then after waiting 5 or 10 minutes I was back on. What a vexing start.
I am looking forward to my book club today. The social outing is even more satisfying then the reading.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

Solving crosswords for many years has led me to this conclusion: Sometimes, I'm as smart as a whip and other times, I'm as dumb as a rock. Today was boulder day, in spades. The puzzle itself was challenging in parts, but I eventually filled it all in. Understanding the theme, however, was another story. I, like others, was trying to make sense of the answer instead of the clue. In retrospect, if I had read the reveal more carefully, I would have saved myself much head scratching. I had only two w/os: NCAA/USOC and Saudi/ExPat. Unknowns were Siegel and Knox and Negev. Negev is not really unknown but I read the clue as Bathsheba's lover, not Beersheba's locale. Eye exam due, perhaps? My only nose wrinkle was at Vexers. Thought of Canadian Eh at Canola and Tin at Gal Pal.

Thanks, Mike, for a very clever theme and an enjoyable, if somewhat elusive, solve and thanks, Lemony, for a fun and fact-filled review, no pans from me!

Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

One really lame puzzle – and the "reveal" was misleading, if not downright wrong, in referring to the last word instead of the first word of the starred clues.

jfromvt said...

Like some others, I completed it without really getting the theme. I get it now, but it’s not the most creative or enjoyable puzzle I’ve seen. More labor than fun.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

Thumper, thumper. But we were due for a Saturday-ish Friday puzzle, because we've had few Wednesday-ish ones in recent weeks. I'm glad some folks enjoyed it.

CrossEyedDave said...

Posting without having read the Blog yet,
(I am saving it to savor over lunch...)

But had to jump in about last nights late comments:

To D4E4H, sorry about "the path at my house" link.
I used a source called "The Meta Picture."
They have great stuff, but there are very picky
about having any of their work copied.
Here is the silliness I intended: The path at my house.

Snarky posts?
SwampCat @ 8:16, I do not read any snarkiness in Anons 7:56 post.
I only hear concern that Fermats email address may not be where she wants it seen.
"Go back under your rock" seems to be an overeaction, and not warranted...

P.S. puzzle was absolutely amazing!
Had to cheat to finish, and still could make no sense of the theme until I peaked at the Blog.

MissScarlet said...

Very vexing. Just say it folks: BACK. The reveal is that word. Period.

Professor Plum said...

Aha, so it was Miss Scarlet with the Word in the Blog.

Bill G said...

Hi everybody. Very clever and tricky stuff. Thanks Mike and Lemon.

Like so many others, I finished the puzzle without understanding the theme. I too was trying to reverse the answers rather than the clues. But I did figure it all out before coming here.

Time for some eggs and stuff. Later.

Lucina said...

Lemonade, thank you for explaining the theme; now I see it but I find it convoluted.

It was a smooth solve most of the way even with so many unknowns as clued. I've never heard of KATY, never saw UMA in Pulp Fiction, hadn't heard of ODETTA, etc. But I knew enough to grokk my way through.

Surprisingly Super Bowl LII slid out quickly; I guess with all the hype it stays in my mind. USOC was completely perped.

The NE was last to fill; I had _MIX and once KNEEL came into view so did all the rest.

One bad cell, though, where I had CHIN instead of SHIN since SAPP is unknown and CAPP looked right. I'm sure Boomer knows. Don't catchers wear CHIN guards?

In retrospect, the theme was very clever but beyond my ken.

Thank you, Mike McHugh for the mental workout and Lemonade for your ever faithful analysis.

I hope you all have a spectacular day!

Husker Gary said...

-Fabulous! My head still hurts from trying to reverse the word in the fill and not the clue to get the gimmick! I even toyed with NOEL and SLAM
-Many wonder why Malcolm Butler – the Patriot hero of SB XLIX – only played one down in SB LII
-My tilling device must have an engine. Neg on the HOE!
-Did “THAN” dredge up this beautiful song to you? (3:00)
-These Huskers have been ON A RUN for over a decade
-Knowing athletes like SAPP compensates for my lack of some literary answers
-I’m sure Tinman will check in after GAL PAL appeared!
-Jerry Siegel sold his rights to Superman in the 30’s for $130
-The ISOTOPE of U238, U235, was the basis for the atomic bomb
-Here’s a nice note from a lurker I put on our map - For me it truly adds to view of all the truly remarkable people who add comments daily.  Agree or disagree, I look forward to the intelligence, humor, slants and all else that makes for an enjoyable morning
-Final notice for adding/deleting names on on our LA Times map

Lemonade714 said...

Mike Mc after Mark Mc yesterday, hmm - conspiracy?

Like AVX, I spent my first 50 years solving puzzles never thinking about, nor discerning themes. Then I discovered the Corner, and I began an appreciation for the quick-witted minds that not only made it all fit but added a layer of fun. The theme. I first encountered the Corner when I was looking for understanding, not an answer. I had filled the puzzle completely, felt I had it correctly, but an answer made no sense. C.C., then a solo flyer easily explained what I missed. Finally, when I was honored to be chosen to do some write-ups, I was compelled to think in terms of themes. Now it is second nature. I think if you each looked at the puzzle and thought to yourself, how would I write about this solve, you would begin thinking in terms of themes. As others have suggested, the reveal is both correct and fair as it is the second word 'back' that controls the theme. While the first word is reversed, it is the second word that tells you do so.

Susan, it was good to see you.

Misty said...

Surely this was a Saturday and not a Friday puzzle. I can only imagine what a nightmare we'll get tomorrow. I got only the northwest and a few items here and there before I had to start cheating, and didn't get the way it worked until I finally worked my way through Lemonade's explanation. Not your fault, Mike, that this puzzle was just too clever for me. But hey, that's the range of crossword experience and the extreme cleverness of this one is therefore a good thing and not a bad thing. And thanks, Lemonade, for carefully explaining things for those of us who are little on the, ahem, slow side.

But we have a sunny morning and I wish everyone a great day! By the way, thanks, Dave, for remembering my comment on Owen's spare poem.

WikWak said...

Well, WEES about the gimmick. I got it all done—finally—without seeing that. It's a clever twist but too convoluted for me. Thank goodness for Lemon's exposition! My sticking point was the NW, which finally fell but not without a good fight. There were some gimmes (ODETTA, KATY, KNOX, NEGEV) and all in all it was a fair fight. Wanted cactus before NETTLE and that didn’t help all that much [grin]. I’m still in awe of anyone who can create a crossword of this size; just makes my head hurt thinking about it. Oh, well.

CrossEyedDave said...





And the reveal...

AnonymousPVX said...

Ummm....I got the solve, along with the many others who also did so without understanding the theme.

I don’t think it’s “clever” when so many solved and STILL couldn’t figure out the theme.

You shouldn’t have to have it explained, it should reveal itself, especially after solving.

At least it was well clued, enabling the solve sans understanding the “theme”.

AnonymousPVX said...

Also....many thanks to those who gave me a HB wish, appreciated.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Very tough time. East side, especially.

THAN is so simple and straight forward, but it was a very late fill

Lots of thought went into this puzzle - clever, original, no bad fill.

Still didn't enjoy it a lot, though. Was clueless about the theme until the reveal, then it was more of an "Oh." than an "AHA!"

That said, I'm impressed with the construction.

New countertop just arrived, so I'm a bit distracted. Big moment in the kitchen remodel. Should take a couple hours to install.

Happy weekend, everyone,

Cool regards!

oc4beach said...

Wow! I filled it all in today, but with Red Letters, but an official DNF. This was a nice puzzle from the standpoint of the new fresh fill that Mike used, but like others, the theme and the reveal beat me up. Lemon 'splained everything nicely so that there was an Ah-Ha moment even if there was no TADA.

There were a few fixes that I had to make along the way today. I wanted CAJUN vs LADLE for the Gumbo Server and I tried SAUDI and ARABS before EXPAT filled in with perps. I looked up the UAE population and was surprised to find that only about 20% of the inhabitants are Emirati and the rest are immigrants. Who knew (other than Mike, that is)

It's finally sunny and not precipitating (no snow, sleet, graupel, rain or hail) today. Not very warm, but the sun feels good.

Have a great day everyone.

Anonymous said...

Boy, any more of these and I'll give up crosswording.

Yellowrocks said...

Thanks, Lemon, for explaining the clever theme. I do understand the intention of the reveal clue, but still I find it infelicitous. There must be a better way to express it.
Happy belated birthday, Anonymous PVX.
Sunshine at last, but still quite below average April temps. My heating bill for the past month is unusually high. Most likely we will go straight from chilly to blazing hot, with no middle ground.

Unknown said...

TADA with not understanding the theme. I really dislike the puzzles that have these tricks...missing letters ...fill it backwards etc. I am good enough now that I get enough crosses to suss out the only letters that make words in some of these long fills but couldn't guess the backward theme if you gave me all day. maybe that's why I am a better engineer than a physicist. I see a problem and I work to finish it in the most straight forward way possible. These puzzles give us a great insight on how our individual brains work...or in the case of xword themes and MY brain ; clearly doesn't.

How's the MacPro ?

Anonymous said...

I am really getting familiar with the flavor of each day's summaries. That being said, I don't have a taste for the Friday fare. Appreciate the effort I guess.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

WHS at 11:08. I was stumped at trying to reverse the fill instead of the clue. Oops! Otherwise smooth sailing. Put Vineyard right in; it’s more or less in my neighborhood.

Speaking of which, I haven’t seen Chappaquiddick yet. It sounds interesting. I was young when that incident happened, but I remember it was big news.

Lemon - sledding is less fun at greater age. Trust me on this. I have lived all my days across the street from an excellent public sledding hill, and within recent times I saw fit to trot out the Flexible Flyer and let gravity do its thing. I was sore for days.

Ol' Man Keith said...

But I had no idea of the real meaning of Mr. McHugh's theme clue, IN REVERSE, until reading Lemonade's write-up.
I kept trying to read the fills in reverse - obviously to little avail.
I can't recall an earlier instance where the trick referred to the clue itself rather than to the fill.
I applaud the creativity!

Misty, while both Friday and Saturday pzls can be tougher than noshing on tar, they don't always get chewier between the two days.
Why, I'll bet tomorrow's pzl will surprise you. It'll probably be a piece of cake.

Diagonal Report: A count of three or five, depending on your strictness. On the main side (NW to SE) we have the standard 3-way slash, i.e., the main diagonal flanked by two sub-diags.
On the mirror side (NE to SW) we see that the main line is missing. All that remains are the two sub-diags. I am personally loathe to count flankers when they have nothing to flank.
Others (bless 'em!) may be more generous.

Misty said...

I hope you're right, Ol'Man Keith--that would be great!

Ol' Man Keith said...

Further on the Diagonal Report: In the interest of clarity, I should add that the mirror side has four diagonals if we count all the subs. This is rare. Today's pzl actually has two sets of sub-diagonals on the NE to SW side, although it lacks a main mirror line.
On a 15x15 grid, the main diagonal has 15 squares; the first set of sub-diags has 14 squares each, and the second set has 13.

But you know what I think of sub-diags that have no main diagonal.

Chairman Moe said...

"Puzzling Thoughts":

TGI Friday! Was a very long week, but also very "fruitful" - sold a lot of wine (no ASTI) and covered a lot of ground. Winemaker visits are always welcomed ...

Other than a few WO's, I had no trouble with this puzzle, and oddly enough did get the reveal and the REVERSE of the starred clues. I had ISO/EXO, and started putting ABS/LBS, but that's it. The TADA came very early for a Fri xword. Lots of great clues; kudos to M McHugh and L714 for their efforts today.

My Moe-ku brain was a bit off today, as you'll notice in my ditty below. Please don't GIVEABADREVIEW. Treat this in the same manner as you viewed CED's mascot pic:

Girl named CANOLA
Has a mom who was defiled.
Impregnated by rape seeds


Happy weekend.

CrossEyedDave said...

I usually look forward to Fridays
as "Gimmick" day, when the theme is a bit quirky,
as it usually helps me solve.

This one, while brilliant, is a bit more Tetchy (new word learned yesterday)
than quirky...

Happy Birthday AnonymousPVX
Can't find an AnonPVX cake,
so I am just going with "happy."

Chairman Moe said...


Re: sledding

As a kid we had several great hills for sledding, but we usually stayed on the streets in our local "subdivision" whenever possible - especially before the trucks and plows came out to apply cinders to the road surfaces. That really messed up our sledding. Anyone else recall when cinders were used instead of salt? My dad worked for one of the larger tire chain mfrs; I also remember when those were used to help 1950's / 1960's cars travel through snow

As for my kids (and Lemony might know of this hill) Goodwin Park in Wethersfield CT was a favorite. Only problem was the long hike back to the top.

SwampCat said...

CED, I appreciate your calling me out about my comment to the anon last night. You are right . I overreacted. I reread the whole exchange from last night and perhaps the anon was just trying to be helpful. It still doesn't read that way to me, but I can't define his/her intention.

I have no defense. I did overreact. We had had so many snarky comments all day. Must be something to do with the moon.

I'm sorry.

Jayce said...

I didn't understand the theme either, but I think it is a well-constructed puzzle. I found it to be quite difficult and had to turn red letters on for help. That's when I found out that SIMPLE interest, the prickly plant CACTUS, the dog command STAY, and the PR firm HYPE were all completely wrong. I liked the clues for TOAST and AHI.

CartBoy said...

Pretty straightforward solve. Paused two or three times to sleuth the theme. Was unsuccessful each time and moved on. Sometimes I've gotta get the theme to get unstuck but wasn't stuck so didn't need the theme. My thinking here is clear as mud, I get it.

Based on the posts, while I think the reverse cluing is unique, sometimes, regardless of what we are doing, our human nature is to "reach too far", "try to do too much", "overthink something" or some other pertinent crosswordese like adage, saw, precept, truism, cliche, saying or axiom especially when making our debut. Looking forward to Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Dudley @ 1:54 - I don't want to be a spoiler about Chappaquiddick, but what I will say is that it wasn't a deep movie (no pun intended) that left out some of the facts. It didn't put Ted Kennedy in a great light, but didn't crucify him either. It wasn't a Michael Moore movie. As far as movies go, it was interesting.

Anonymous T said...

//posted hastily because ATT was going to disconnect me to bury their cable and now correcting says ...

Hi All! (And Happy 4/20 Tin! - toke it up w/ GAL PAL)

Mark got me good today. Hand-up for being rock-dumb today (Hi IM!). It took me 3 Googles for the FIW (the only Warren I knew was Moon - he lived in the 'hood at my old house). Thanks Mark for the mind-bender; I never caught on that things were BACK-WORDs in the clue.
Theme makes sense now and is cute (if not diabolical). I was so stuck on "pay back is hell," like when someone (DW?) PRATTLEs ON after you've said sorry. And backwards, that's NO! (on<->no, no? [um, no]). Like most EES, I tried to reverse the last fill words and tossed the towel anticipating Lem's 'splainin'.

Thanks Lem for the Expo and depicting what an Outkast was (not German, apparently).

WO (highlights): ISO->EXO after I found ISOTOPE* (Hi BigE!); Heel b/f Stay b/f looking up KNOX; iRatE b/f DROVE which was fixed 'cuz I knew Rapeseed==CANOLA (Hi C, Eh!).

ESPs: ODETTe [sic for FIW], SIEGEL
Favs: ITALIANO and learning about the 'burb just north of me [KATY].

Last Google was NEGEV.

I knew LII 'cuz LI was played in Houston.

TTP - Yep, still the KATY freeway and, as DO said - big. Even after adding 8 lanes, it's stand-still at rush hour.

Dudley - I found that out too but with GoKarts instead of SLEDS. Bros and I went racing on an indoor track last Sunday while in Denver. The Karts can hit 35+ mph. After I almost flipped in the 5th turn, I took a 'PETS back' and slowed a bit. I came in last. Army Bro (12 yrs my Jr.) EDGE'd out everyone. Frankly, I was done after the 3rd (of 10) laps.

CED - pix were priceless today! [I'm still giggling about Pooh's pants]

A little ditty about James K. Polk [TMBG]

Cheers, -T
*In a network built in the early-aughts, I named all the servers after ELEM/ISOTOPES - the mail server was U238 'cuz it nuked Spam (anyone remember MIMEDefang?)

Lucina said...

For allergies, I take stinging NETTLE, a natural herbal substance which helps me.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's puzzle!

Yellowrocks said...

I would suggest "starred clues literally." First or second clouds the issue.

PK said...

CED: Thank you for never failing to make me laugh. Really needed some good ones today.

CanadianEh! said...

AWOL again these past few days (helping to move and downsize an elderly relative!) and I haven't had a chance to do today's CW.

But FLN, LOONIE was a fun CSO. And that story about the Loonie under the Olympic ice at Salt Lake City was true. It has been hidden at other sports competitions also, and apparently the Canadian Mint has produced a specialty "lucky loonie" for games.
Maybe the Toronto Maple Leafs or Raptors could use one.

I am sure that there must be more Canadians besides Northern Boy and myself who read the blog. But we must be braver than our copatriots!

Back later, maybe.

Picard said...

Hand up with Big Easy: ISO before EXO and ENER before EXEC.
Hand up with Lucina: CHIN/CAPP which seemed just as good to me, too. A bit sad to get everything else right and feel certain of a FIR... and then discover FIW.

Struggled to get the theme. Without which indeed the clues made no sense. It was a breeze to finish the theme answers after that!

The last remaining mystery was how I, O or U was ELEM? When the light went on, I laughed out loud. That made it all worthwhile!

Here we were at Be'er Sheva/Beersheba after crossing the NEGEV.

We were leaving Eilat after visiting Jordan. We picked up three Yeshiva students who were hitch-hiking and Be'er Sheva was their destination. So it became our destination! A beautiful little city and some beautiful little museums. It was our one chance to have Japanese food, too!

Did anyone else think of Calvin and Hobbes with SLED RIDE?

Calvin and Hobbes had many such "enlightening" SLED RIDE experiences!

Bill G said...

I didn't think of Calvin and Hobbes but I should have. A favorite for sure.

Roy said...

Like everyone(?) else, I missed the theme. Had to read Lemonades explanation several times before I got it. IMO, clever but not unfair.

Missed NFL and was thinking of PBA; Warren SAPP is a complete unknown.

HEEL! before COME! Uncertain about NCAA or IOCC. GEOthermal before EXO.

Wanted to locate Beersheba in JUDAH or JUDEA before perps gave NEGEV.

LBS because REPS and SETS don't fit.

Did not realize ODETTA released an album this century.

Hangup was the SE. TEEN, then IRON, then back to TEEN. ECHO before ROTE. Had to look up UAE demographics (you have to be a resident 20 years and speak Arabic to become a citizen) and Muscat grapes.

TX Ms said...

This lurker doesn't have time to read all posts this late, but

TTP (7:35 am), wish you would've mentioned the station the news anchor was trying to pronounce Atascocita - maybe I could've googled it. I'm sure D-O and Anon-T would've gotten a big laugh. Running through various attempts - could it have sounded like "atta-skeeta" kinda like atta-girl addressing a mosquito? Feeble, I know. Wisconsin city names, D-O, are totally beyond me - still can't remember how to pronounce where J.J. Watt is from.

Truly a head-scratcher until "domestic animals" appeared. Then I read "back"wards the first word of the clue. Ingenious. Thought of Warren Moon, but "shin" was my first fill. With the NE in place, I thought of Nepal first, never thinking of an area within a country.

Lemonade - yes, I'm wondering too how many expats live in the Arab Emirates.

Two more days of spring-like weather in South Texas before humidity descends for 7 months.

Onward to Saturday.

Wilbur Charles said...

My big problem: not reading clues. Hence a big FIW thanks to BRISK and BAKE in the NE. AURAE for AUDIO.

And, I didn't read that the theme referred to clue not answer.

Thanks Lem for the explanation . I liked your Ku C-Moe.

I'll leave y'all's with this*

And what of the bow?

The bow is made in England
of YEW wood, the true wood
The wood of English bows.


+ That ditty is from A.C. Doyle ."The White Company" . The Bowman's Song .

Len Goodman said...

PK @ 7:24 am

To answer your question....

Warren Sapp was the "runner-up" to Brooke Burke in Season 7 of Dancing With The Stars.

He was selected to the NFL Pro Bowl 7 times in his career making him a Pro Bowler.

Also, cones and cubes are geometric solids.

Anonymous said...

Back from New Zealand. This puzzle was difficult, but I loved the theme and got it, with no help except from my husband who kn ew the Superman guy. Siegell. I wrote it wrong at first but then when I reversed the e and i, it all fell together.


PK said...

Thank you, Len Goodman. I guess Warren Sapp was my favorite. I wondered after I'd posted that he won, if I remembered right.

My son was stationed in the UAE and never went off the AF base because of kidnap threats to officers. He was piloting missions and felt he saw all he wanted to from the air. I think, expats need to have a lot of money to live in UAE.

Mark M said...

So glad for this site. Otherwise I’d still be scratching my head at the theme. One of the answers had “NI” in it, which of course is “IN” in reverse. So that threw me off for the longest time. BRISK works great for walk or wind preceder, confirmed by RUN at 10D. Other than that corner, I filled everything in correctly, but the theme completely eluded me.