Oct 11, 2019

Friday, October 11, 2019, Jeffrey Wechsler

The Game is Afoot! (This was foreshadowed Monday). I am sure iamb going to pay for my work here, but let's have some fun and peek behind the curtain.

Special collaboration to recognize the 150th published Los Angeles Times puzzle set by Jeffrey Wechsler.  He recently passed Barry Silk as the second most published at the LAT since the Corner switch.  We have conspired to show you exactly what happened between JW submitting the puzzle and its reaching publication. So let's start the ride. It will take some time but relax and enjoy it. JW's comments are in this color. Lemon comments are logically orange, and TTP's are the black ones.

Constructor’s note: 

Creating clues for crosswords can be a mixture of drudgery and creativity.  Writing between 70 to 78 clues for an average puzzle can be time-consuming and tedious, but every once in a while, a really clever or humorous idea for a clue comes along and just about makes the whole process worthwhile.   But editors have an important role to play as well.  Besides the job of straightforward editing for accuracy, spelling, grammar, and style, editors have to consider clue length and potential repetition of past clues.  And perhaps most importantly, editors have generally been accomplished constructors before they become editors, so they have the necessary creativity and experience to devise interesting clues.  Therefore, a constructor will occasionally get credit for an excellent clue that was actually devised by the editor.  (Of course, there are times that a clue considered quite clever by the constructor is not equally appreciated by the editor, and the original clue disappears, to the constructor’s dismay.)  In the crossword field, editors have the final say; a constructor will not know about any clue changes until the puzzle is published.  Because this aspect of the crossword world may be relatively unknown to most solvers, today’s constructor and reviewers present a behind-the-curtain peek at cluing.  We hope it is interesting and enlightening. 

"Needing a LEG Up"

Each of these 4 theme answers requires that you borrow an E and a G from an intersecting Down answer.   You probably first noticed that the two letters were EG, and then without hesitation noticed that each occurrence also was on top of an L, so four cases where a LEG goes up. 

15. Vermont alma mater of Alan Arkin and Peter Dinklage: BENNINGTON COLLEGE.  Bennington College.
They have many others including Betty Ford. LIST.

29. Coin of the realm: LEGAL TENDER.  Legal Tender

39. "MythBusters" target: URBAN LEGEND.  Urban Legend

55. '50s-'70s carrier with a Pittsburgh hub: ALLEGHENY AIRLINES.  Allegheny Airlines. USAIR to American Airlines.
Original clue: [Defunct carrier with a Pittsburgh hub].  The decades of the airline’s existence offer useful information and I appreciate the addition

63. Assistance, with "a" ... and literal assistance in solving the four longest answers: LEG UP.
Original clue: [Assistance – and literal assistance for solving the starred clues]. The suggested method of using starred clues was ditched -- I can never figure out why or when the “starred clues” system will be accepted or rejected.  And of course, that mention of “a” is quite useful

Borrowing a page from Husker Gary's playbook, I'm linking the grid here:


1. Long-term astronaut's home: Abbr.: ISSInternational Space Station - NASA

4. Old TWA competitor: PAN AM.
Original clue: [TWA competitor].  TWA and Pan Am are both defunct and from the same era, so I didn’t think further definition was needed.  The editor provided the “old”

9. FBI figure: AGT.  Agent

12. Mauna __: KEA.   If it's fill in the blank and three letters, enter the A in the third square, and check the perps to determine LO or KE. I have had my clue (It is higher than LOA) rejected by Rich Norris, C.C. and Jeffrey, but I still like it).

13. Sister of Terpsichore: ERATO.  Did not know Terpsichore. I never knew it it was pronounced (/tərpˈsɪkəriː/; Τερψιχόρη, "delight in dancing") who is one of the nine Muses and goddess of dance and chorus.

14. "But, as he was ambitious, I __ him" : Brutus: SLEW. JW gets his Shakespeare in early this week.

18. Provides with an alarm code, perhaps: ABETS.  Loved this clue / answer. 

19. Timeworn phrase: BROMIDE.  e.g. "Every cloud has a silver lining",  i.e. a platitude.  Very similar to clichés, which you should avoid like the plague.

20. Judicial prohibition: GAG ORDER.
Original clue: [Judicial attempt at secrecy].  The editor’s clue is accurate and terse.  Good call Does look like an improvement. 

24. Party nudge: OPEN IT.    "C'mon, OPEN IT !"
Original clue: [Christmas morning encouragement].  The editor’s clue is much harder, I think.  A “nudge” could be physical, not a verbal suggestion, and lots of parties don’t involve gift-giving Much harder for me.

25. "Bambi" doe: ENA.
Original clue: [Bambi relative].   Putting “Bambi” in quotes marks it as a title, and “doe” makes the answer female.  Careful editorial definition

26. Andy is her nephew: AUNT BEE.   There's Aunt Bee,  Andy,  Clara and ???  No idea either, anyone?
Original clue: [One attending to Opie].  The editing change makes the clue much harder.  Andy who?  There are a lot of Andys out there

28. Boomer?: TNT.   CSO to Boomer!

31. Disco era adjective: GO GO.
Original clue: [Type of 1960s dancer].  Equivalent, to my mind – each clue comes from a slightly different direction This edit is also more difficult for me.

32. Robert of "The Sopranos": ILER. A.J. SOPRANO.

33. "Got it": I SEE.

36. Infant's place in Hyde Park: PRAM.   That would be Hyde Park, London,  not Hyde Park, Chicago.

44. Gloaming, in verse: EE'N.
Original clue: [Poetic contraction meaning “yet”].  Ah, the ubiquitous EE'N, one of the many poetic saviors/bugbears of the crossword constructor!  I can understand that editors crave new ways to clue such words.  I appreciate “Gloaming” as an exquisitely poetic clue, but it is also likely mysterious in meaning to many solvers and therefore rather hard

45. NAPA store item: FAN BELT.   NAPA is the initialism for National Automotive Parts Association. 
Original clue: [Occasional auto engine replacement].  I suppose you must be familiar with NAPA to get the editor’s clue.  If so, no problem.  If not, your solving just hit the brakes

47. Green span: LEA.  I thought of Alan first, but the space between told me no.
Original clue: [Grazing place]  Because many of my puzzles are considered by commenters to be among the most difficult at the LA Times, I often try to maintain a certain proportion of simple clues.  The editor created a somewhat harder clue, although it’s quite evocative

48. Bothers, as one's conscience: NAGS AT.

50. Ali, per Ali: GREATEST.
Original clue: [Ali, as self-described].  Proper editorial terseness.  Brevity is the soul of wit

52. Perch in a lullaby: TREE TOP. Why do we tell babies to go to sleep after landing on their heads?
Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, cradle and all
Original clue: [Lullaby cradle perch].  Removing “cradle” makes it slightly harder, but not by much, given the well-known source.  Very reasonable

54. Fuming: IRATE.

59. Genre with hard-boiled characters: NOIR.   Many favorites for me in this category, and still discovering them on the old movie channels. Great books and graphic novels as well.
Original clue: [Moody film genre].  Removing the film reference makes the clue slightly harder, but quite gettable, especially given the frequency with which NOIR appears in crosswords.  Hey, maybe because the answer has four letters, the editor was trying to fool some solvers into inserting EGGS!

60. Greet the day: ARISE.
Original clue: [Greet the new day].  Terseness, terseness

61. Encumber, with "down": BOG.   Details are often the culprit. 

62. Letters replacing a list: ETC
Original clue: [List substitute]).  Equivalent, I’d say

64. Small amount of work: ERG.


1. Floral art: IKEBANA.  The  Japanese art of flower arrangement.

2. French-speaking African country: SENEGAL.
Original clue: [Neighbor of Mali]  Extra information provided -- sure, why not! Because we are geographically challenged and have no idea where MALI is. 

3. __ Domingo: SANTO.  The capital of the Dominican Republic.

I love how Tom presents parallel pictures.

4. Author: PEN.

5. Braz. neighbor: ARG.  Argentina.    Chile has the longest border with Aregentina.
Original clue: [Neighbor of Uru.]  No difference that I can see – I wonder why! More limited geography knowledge.

6. D.C. athlete: NAT.  The Washington Nationals

7. Small step: A TO B.
Original clue: [First stage of an ongoing pathway]   At the Crossword Corner, I often read comments like “Oh, that Wechsler is always creating tricky or difficult clues!”   Well, ultimately a puzzle’s degree of difficulty is often determined by the editor.  I was trying to make an unusual entry easier for the solver, but it was not meant to be

8. Louisiana Purchase negotiator who later became president: MONROE.
Original clue: [He helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase]  Here the editorial makes things easier for the solver.  I think he was quite right to do so

9. Utterly enrapt with: ALL INTO.  

10. Castrated equine: GELDING.
Original clue: Donkey or mule, for example)  Well, well, well!  There I was, trying to craft a clue that danced around the obvious definition – maybe making a pun with “fix” – and the editor cuts to the chase, gets down to the nitty-gritty, and simply writes “castrated”.  I really thought that word was going to be a no-no, a victim of the so-called “breakfast test” for disturbing crossword content.  All I can say is – Bravo, editor!”

11. Send a short message: TWEET TO.
Original clue: [Direct a short message at]   Hmm…. Interesting.  Yes, I can see that “send”, without an added preposition, can imply the word “at” that concludes the answer.  That’s very subtle and somewhat more difficult, I think

14. Vague quantity: SOME.
Original clue: [Not very many].  Ironically, I think the word “vague” is, in this instance, more precise!

15. Torus-shaped food: BAGEL.  (Pictured with a schmear)
Original clue: [Edible torus].   Equivalent -- although I think my clue sounds funnier

16. Nation since 1948: ISRAEL. Me too!

17. Deal: COPE.
Original clue: [Deal (with)].  Another instance of the disappearing preposition.  I’ve noticed this reductivism especially in clues for Saturday LA Times puzzles, where one-word clues are common.   I suppose “deal” and “cope” are synonyms, but I feel that the “with” makes the equivalency more natural

21. Sci-fi classic set on an arid world: DUNE.

22. Gridiron maneuver: END RUN.

23. GPS datum: RTE.

27. Hush money payer: BRIBER.
Original clue: [One involved with dirty money].    Again, terseness

30. Cratchit kid: TIM.
Original clue: [Cratchit family member].   More precision = easier to solve

31. Salon supply: GEL.

34. Large word on a mall sign: SALE.
Original clue: Word written large on a mall sign).  Sure, why not

35. Involve: ENTAIL.

36. Compound with five carbon atoms: PENTANE.
Original clue: [C5H12].  I knew this one would be changed.  The publishing format for producing the puzzles probably cannot create chemical numerical subscripts in the clues, but I figured I’d give it a try

37. Parking in back: REAR LOT.
Original clue: [Parking for a street-front store, perhaps].   Short but sweet – good work, editor

38. Like a sleeping baby: ANGELIC. A bit grumpy Jeffrey.
Original clue: [Like an ideal child].   I think the new clue falls short because I don’t think a sleeping baby necessarily looks angelic by definition – I seem to recall several who did not

40. "Notorious" court initials: RBG.
Original clue: [Initialism that titles a 2018 biopic of a U.S. Justice]) Besides being way too long, my clue was wary of whether the majority of solvers knew the phrase “The Notorious RBG” in reference to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  I’m glad the editor took this route

41. Franklin's wife: ELEANOR.
Original clue: [Franklin’s mate].  The editor was right to use the word “wife”.  After all, this is a tricky clue: I assume that most solvers will first consider Franklin to be the last name and might wonder: “So that rat Wechsler expects us to know the name of Benjamin Franklin’s mate?!”  And “wife” will at least deter people from considering Aretha Franklin as the subject

42. Financial planning target: NEST EGG.

43. Teen gossip fodder: DATES.

45. It's inevitable: FATE.

46. Without a key: ATONAL. This was not a lock for me.
Original clue: [Like music without a key].  Terseness that makes things a bit tougher

49. Very, in Vienna: SEHR.
Original clue: [Essex : “Excellent! :: Essen : ___ gut!”).   I thought the phrase “sehr gut” might help solvers recall the German word

51. Erie or Huron, but not Superior: TRIBEI like this clue.

53. Ritual heap: PYRE. Musical interlude.
Original clue: [Hindu ritual structure]).   Ritual heap?  Well, maybe so, but that does seem a bit indelicate.

56. 2008 bailout co.: AIG.
Original clue: [Global NYC-based insurance and finance corp.]).  By this point, we can all say the magic word together – terseness!

57. Ames sch.: ISU.   Originally in 1870 as the "Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm"
Original clue: [Sch. With an Ames campus]).  Remember, everyone!  Ters…  oh, enough already! Perhaps easy for the midwestern solvers, but does everyone know the Iowa State Cyclones are from Ames?

58. House fig.: REP.

The great tribute and experiment have come to an end, and I applaud each of you who stuck with this until it was finished. It may cut into your Jumble or KenKen solving, but hopefully, you now know some more and all will comment more and provide more insight. I hope this pleases the regulars and brings more of the quiet ones to join the ways. 


OwenKL said...

FIR, sorta. Got the gimmick before the reveal, but because of a couple wrong entries at the time I saw it, I didn't realize all those uprights were LEGs. Had a natick at ALLEG?ENY + SE?R, but on the third WAG I got my ta-da!

There once was a caveman, OGOG,
Couldn't tell a LEA from a BOG.
Sent his sheep out to graze.
They sank to their grave.
In dismay, he got drunk on EGG nog!

ERATO and TERPSICHORE are sisters.
The latter has feet all in blisters.
She often is so frantic
To trip the light fantastic,
That her sisters talk about her in whispers!

{B+, A-.}

Anonymous said...

I loved, loved, loved reading this! It was really interesting to read the constructor's comments in so much detail. Thank you for this, and please do it again!

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, JW, Lemonade and TTP. What a clever puzzle. I caught the clue with BENNINGTON COLLEGE (on about the 3rd or 4th pass). Having grown up in New England, I was familiar with that Vermont school, if who its former graduates might be.

The north west corner gave me a lot of grief. I was sure Floral Art was Paisley and that a French-speaking African country was Algeria. And hey, the torus shaped food must have been a Donut. BAGEL never even entered my mind despite the fact that we earlier this week we bought 3 dozen for our annual Yom Kippur Break Fast.

My cousin is learning IKEBANA, so it was an Aha moment when the word finally appeared.

I also wanted US Air for the TWA Competitor.

I was sure that the Braz. neighbor would be Suriname. After all, this is a Friday puzzle. Argentina seemed too obvious for a Friday.

Nice clue CSO to our very own Boomer, whose commentary is explosive!

Interesting to have (England's) Hyde Park and Franklin (Roosevelt) clued, due to the association of Hyde Park in the US with the Roosevelts.

How nice to have ELEANOR in today's puzzle since today is the anniversary of her 135th birthday. Therefore, here is today's QOD: The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their own dreams. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt (née Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, Oct. 11, 1884 ~ Nov. 7, 1962)
I knew Andy was AUNT BEE's nephew after I got the T and B.

Anonymous said...

Always assumed it was Aunt Bea as in Beatrice.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Excellent outing. We often see this clever type of theme in the NYT, but I thought it was verboten in the LAT. Apparently not. Can rebus puzzles be far behind? Even after figuring out the LEG up, I inked in URBAN MYTH. D'oh! Thanx for the peek at the weird workings of your mind, Jeffrey, and for the collaboration, TTP and Lemonade.

ANGELIC: I find it interesting that ANGRY begins the same way.

"Hyde Park": There are also Hyde Parks in Houston and Austin.

IKEBANA: Figured this was gonna be wrong -- definitely a learning moment.

ISU: Gimme. Our Cedar Rapids radio station carried the Cyclone football games. The local Mercury dealer was an alum, so it was an easy sale for the advertising dept.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

What a treat! FIW, not being able to remember how to spel ALLEGaENY AIRLINES, tho I can still see the smoke pouring out of their DC3's engines when they started up at Huntington's Tri-State Airport (of Marshall football fame).

More later; gotta run to the motor home for some pre-trip maintenance.

Big Easy said...

A great collaborative write up today for the puzzle. After going through most of the puzzle it felt as though Wechsler had turned me into a GELDING. The GE words- BAGEL, GELDING, GEL, ANGELIC- were gimmes but the rest of the puzzle wasn't. I saw the light at ALL-HENY AIRLINES. BENNINGTON was in place but nothing made since until the LEG UP went into place.

"NAPA store item"- I kept thinking valley, not auto. FAN BELT was slow to make it. But the one that drove me crazy was ATOB. I kept looking at it, knew it was right, and duh-realized A TO B. It took 25 minutes to finish.

"Notorious" court clue. All I could think of was the 'Notorious B.I.G.' but the URBAN LEGEND wouldn't allow that, so RBG was perps and then the V8 moment hit.

"Gloaming" for EEN and IKEBANA were unknowns words. perps.

Anon@6:52--I agree with you on the Aunt BEA instead of BEE. But it took E to correctly solve it.

Anonymous said...

Took 12:36 to finish the puzzle, and probably three times that to finish the explanation, but it was worth it. I appreciate the peak behind the curtain. As a suggestion to the Corner, I am now curious what a similar review would like with a less prolific constructor.

Also curious: where I can find the all-time/career standings for constructors of the LAT Crossword?

Thank you Mr. Wechsler, Lemonade, & TTP for the time and effort.

Anonymous said...


Yellowrocks said...

Wow! What a puzzle and what a write-up! Clever, tricky theme. Jeffrey, Lemonade and TTP, thanks for the fascinating peek behind the curtain. I saw the LEG up early on. I wonder why College didn't fit. Then I noticed that I needed to borrow the EG from the circles at Allegheny. I went back and filled the rest in. Challenging, but FIR, fast for Friday and a Wechsler puzzle.
I needed the ANA to get IKEBANA. My Japanese DIL studied IKEBABA in JAPAN in her youth. She still makes lovely floral creations.
MONROE,leading to PAN AM, ERATO and EEN, and Ames sch. ISU were gimmes. ISS and DUNE were ESP (every single perp.)
So many of the traditional children's rhymes and tales are quite dark, but I think most if us as kids never noticed that. For example: Rockabye, baby The cradle will fall. Ring Around the Rosy is about the Black Plague. Hansel and Gretel's parents abandoned them in the woods and the witch was about to eat them. Snow White's evil stepmother turns herself into a witch and tries to get Snow White killed. We knew they were just fairy tales.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

And then for dessert we get to read the wonderful multi-part intro this morning. A real keeper and one for CC's album.

Bounced around a bit getting this going. But @ URBAN (something (END)) I saw what was going on with the GE stuff; confirmed later with the LEG-UP fill. I guess it can loosely be likened to the rebus idea if the vertical LEG is thought of as a 'picture'. FIR; no help was needed.
BENNINGTON is just up the road apiece from IM. Also the site of a skirmish which preceded the Battle of Saratoga 242 years ago this month.
TRIBE - Liked the clue.

Yellowrocks said...

IKEBABA? Drat, I fat fingered the N.

I learned GLOAMING as a kid from this song. I love it and still remember the all the words. "When the lights are dim and low" suggested twilight or evening. Being a lifelong word nerd, I looked it up.

n the Gloaming

Anonymous said...

Come on...!!Unintelligible results...!

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

Congratulations to Jeffrey on having 150 (Wow, 150!) LAT published puzzles. I doubt that I've solved them all, but have no doubts about the enjoyment and satisfaction provided by many of JW's efforts, over the years.

It took me a few minutes to figure out what was going on with this intricate grid, but, finally, the penny dropped. I stumbled over MIR/ISS and Nesters/Nest Egg. Total unknowns were Ikebana and Pentane, and Senegal, as clued. I liked the CSO to our Boomer who isn't TNT, but very much a VIP. I also liked the Angelic (sleeping baby) crossing Tree Top. I found this a lot more difficult than Jeffrey's last puzzle, but it was also more to my liking with its tricky theme and wordplay, JW's trademarks.

Thanks, Jeffrey W, for this wonderful milestone and thanks so much for the insight and analysis of the cluing and editing process. You've answered some questions I've had from my own limited cluing experience with editors. Lemony and TTP, you outdid yourselves with the detailed and highly informative background information. I consider today's blog a special gift to the Corner family from one of my favorite constructors and two of my favorite "de-constructors." Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Anon T ~ I agree with you about Farmers commercials being palatable, but the State Farm She-Shed ad, to me, is silly and annoying. To be honest, the only ads that pass my tolerance test are those Suburu-driving Labs! (Hope you're feeling better!)

Have a great day.

Yellowrocks said...

Anonymous @9:38


I bolded the letters that were in the circles, E & G. Then I took those letters and inserted them after the L in L--AL TENDER, LEGAL TENDER.

Not everyone's cuppa tea, but it does make a wacky kind of sense.


Hungry Mother said...

Had to wag the top left square, looking for GE or EG and having no luck. The only thing floral I know is lei. Cute and tricky theme.

Husker Gary said...

-Fabulous on all fronts and learning on many levels. #1 for puzzle/review combo for this solver!
-Yeah, I saw GE and then EG and its necessary insertion but it took the reveal to see the entire, wonderful gimmick
-Jeffrey’s insight was a very welcome “lifting of the curtain”
-I first saw “noodge” and wanted wet blanket or such. Rich’s clue was up a notch in difficulty
-The other woman in AUNT BEE’s kitchen is named Mary. If you look closely, you can see Andy has a cast on his right hand. He broke a bone when he hit a wall in anger at home but still filmed this episode - Aunt Bee The Warden
-As I blogged recently, SENEGAL was a center for the West African slave trade
-Me – “What a junky car!” DW – “Well it gets him from point A TO point B”
-I thought the hush money payer would be the BRIBEE who pays the BRIBER
-It took the write-up to discover RBG
-Ben Franklin’s common-law wife was Deborah Read

TTP said...

Thanks HG !

Of course I knew Clara as Aunt Bee's friend and foil, but didn't know the other woman. I'm watching the episode now.

Misty said...

Well, it was a special morning with this 150th Jeffrey Wechsler puzzle, and great commentaries from the others. Many thanks! The puzzle itself was a Thursday toughie for me, and as usual. I first got the bottom with TREETOP and SEHR crossing (I know my Austrian German), and then having ETC give me ANGELIC and then PRAM (nice baby crossing). I got AUNT BEE instantly--love seeing her in crossword puzzles. Also got GREAT-something for the Ali clue, but never heard of ILER--I'm so sorry that I missed "The Sopranos" back in their day. Anyway, brilliant puzzle, as always, Jeffrey, and a very special and exciting commentary from everybody.

Have a GREATEST day, everybody.

CrossEyedDave said...

(a report from how the clueless interpreted this puzzle...)

Got stuck at around 50% complete,
Vague qty was a few b/4 some,
eats at b/4 nags at (insert letters replacing a list here...)

It was L-EG-al tender that finally gave me the theme,
trying to figure out why there was no reference to the circles.
(If you didn't have 63A, you needed ingenuity...

Thank you Jeff, it was a fun workout!

I still have a gripe (more than a nit) that The Star Ledger
has removed any reference to not only the Constructor, but the editor as well?
(Something must be done!)

If you want to get more people interested in the Blog,
may I suggest more of the GoGo Dancers?

My personal favorite...

AnonymousPVX said...

So who has the most published puzzles in the LAT?

JudyB said...

Oh Jeffrey, when I see your name at the bottom of the puzzle I know I’m in for a real treat. Thank you for another fun puzzle!


Tinbeni said...

Lemon: Excellent write-up.

Jeff: Thank you for a FUN Friday puzzle. I liked the "LEG UP" theme.


Lucina said...


What a treat! A Jw puzzle with comments from the man himself! He and Lemonade make a great team! You should do it more often. I caught the GE gimmick early.

I don't have much time right now but I'll say that the solve was quite enjoyable. One of my friends is an IKEBANA certified flower arranger. Her work is beautiful and has been featured in the Garden Club calendar.

Parts of Scottsdale are zoned for horse property and many of the streets have equine names including GELDING.

There is so much clever cluing in this puzzle but I'll have to return later for comments. I have a mani appt. right now so have to go.

Have a superb day, everyone! It certainly has started sensationally!

WikWak said...

What a great idea! I loved this morning’s collaboration. I’m also pleased to be able to say that I FIR, but in about twice my usual time. I found the NW, where I always start, to be the most difficult. (Possibly because it was a JW puzzle? ;-) ) Tons of thanks to Lemony and TTP for your wonderful addition to today’s blog and to JW both for that and for a difficult but solvable puzzle!

The RGB at 41d took ESP. Very difficult clue and answer for me.
I got the gimmick right away, and that helped.
Hand up for finding it difficult to remember the correct spelling of ALLEGHENY.
Finding the SALE at 34d would’ve been a lot easier if I had read the clue correctly; I read it as a “mail sign” at first.
ISS was a gimme for this amateur radio operator who has actually talked with an astronaut while he was up there.

Rainy, gloomy day in Chicagoland. I hope your day is drier.

SwampCat said...

Wow! What a special treat!! Fabulous Friday puzzle and the extra special dissection by Jeffrey himself. Thanks for the insight and the pleasure. Loved Provide with an alarm code, perhaps? for ABET. I into the trap. I didn’t fall for Author for PEN. And I knew Andy plus nephew had to be AUNT BEE.

Thanks to all of you for the multiple commentaries . Such fun!

SwampCat said...

Owen, thanks! I’m feeling so sorry for Terpsichore and her poor feet. But I may never drink Egg Nog again! Hehehe

Anonymous said...

Go-Go dancers predated the disco era in my recollection.

Ticked Off said...

Oh, all the fawning! Everyone is tripping over each other to say how fabulous this puzzle was. What.. a ...slog. If you can call this a REBUS, or something else, it's still annoying. I expected something much better than this...considering all the hype leading up to Friday. Got the gimmick, but so what?
R.I.P. Merl Reagle, Crossword Genius.

Jayce said...

I also love love loved the puzzle and the collaborative write-up. A very special treat indeed. Thanks to you all for making it happen.

After getting GE in a couple of places I entered GE into the other two places, but didn't see that they should be read upwards as EG until finally succeeding in figuring out why the answer was only LAL TENDER. Gosh, I thought, the letters EG are missing! And then, doink! the V-8 kicked in. Really really good stuff! Not the V-8, though I do like V-8 juice, the puzzle!

My day is made :)

CrossEyedDave said...

I do have a question...
(2 actuallY, can we go over 5 posts on this special occasion?)


Be honest,

Did you know and insert Ikebana as an original idea,
or did you get stuck & Google your way out of the NW corner...

(Inquiring people want to know...)

P.S. in searching for silly links to honor your puzzle,
I do not think these things, I found it on Google...

TTP said...

PVX, I believe Lemonade was counting the most puzzles since C.C. created, rather than the overall most puzzles published in the LAT.

I think there was someone else that was blogging the LA Times puzzles but decided to call it quits sometime on 2007. C.C. created this blog in Jan of 08.

As for most LAT puzzles since was created, it would have to be none other than our prolific hostess.

Anon @ 7:56, no idea where there is a database or listing of all time LAT constructors.

CrossEyedDave, have at it.

Anonymous said...

Ticked Off, sorry you didn't like the puzzle. Different strokes for different folks.

inanehiker said...

Interesting puzzle - I got all the GE's in the circles before I got the theme of "Leg Up" since the "L" wasn't in the circles as well.
I had DONUT before BAGEL for the "torus-shaped food" but easily changed by the perps.
I also had BRIBEE before BRIBER for the "hush money payer" as I figured the person paying the hush money was not the one doing the bribing! but I guess payer could also mean the person to whom you were paying to - I didn't LIKE the word BRIBEE but I thought it was a more accurate answer.
Like HG - at first I thought a "party nudge" was going to be someone who was a party pooper but BZZZT -no!
Fun to see the CSO to Boomer- hope you are back to full strength after your treatments in September.

Fun trio of blog commentators. Congrats to JW!

Lemonade714 said...

Inanehiker, I spoke with Jeffrey and he told me there were no circles in his presentation, and he agrees to circle only the GE made the solve harder.

SwampCat said...

CED. Jeffrey seems quite comfortable around art, perhaps even this kind of art.

Spitzboov said...

AWWWW T=O @ 1255, I had an absolute feeling of euphoria and now you've gone and deflated it. When you're older, it's hard enough to remember all the possible fill without having a brain fart, and now my bubble is bursted. Guess I'll have to go out and find something else to make my day.

Ray -O- Sunshine - - Just got back from Voss's and had a twisty cone. BH had a Butterfingers cone. I think they're open until the last weekend of Oct.
BTW - I'm near you; Town of New Hartford. Coffee or lunch some day?

Jinx in Norfolk said...

CED, thanks a pantload. Because of the Liz Brewer (and some singing guys) video my eyes have whiplash.

I never complain about puzzle circles, including today's. I just don't understand why they are there today.


Bill G said...

Hi everybody!

Thanks Jeffrey, Lemon, Rich, CC and everybody else who was involved with this. I really enjoyed the “lifting of the curtain”. Also, thanks to CED. I have missed those sexy Go Go Go dancers.

There's a big fire run amok about 30 miles north of here. It's clear that inconveniencing thousands of people by turning off their electricity has not solved the fire problem in this dry and windy weather. I hope the electricity utilities will reconsider.

Nap time...

Mailman1959 said...

This one hurt

LfromAlberta said...

Thank you JW, Lemon and TTP. We really enjoyed the behind the scenes peak. What a tough tough puzzle. Our Canadian disadvantage was in full play as Bennington College is a complete unknown and had to be perped from beginning to end. Franklin's wife....Franklin who? Notorious? RBG? Monroe? But we are enjoying the circles, newly acquired since solving via the Washington Post, and eventually did get a leg up. We love travelling the world via the puzzle and the blog, so it's all good. Hopefully we can remember all this new knowledge for longer than a minute. Had a couple laugh out loud moments at Jayce being "doinked" by a V8 can, and CED's owl. Thanks for brightening our day.

Lucina said...

Musing about the puzzle I wonder why the L isn't in a circle as well as GE to complete LEG. Just my opinion.

As a clue, DEAL, sans with, seemed confusing to me as well. My first thought was something related to dealing cards.

The one I really don't understand is BROMIDE. Anyone?

TWEET TO reminds of someone I would rather forget.

Picard and all who are close to the fires, I hope you are coping well.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Merci, Danke, Gracias, & THANKS, TTP, Lemon, and JW!
A wonderful lesson in cruciverbalism today! Much appreciated!

And a tough but do-able sesquicentennial pzl* today--the kind of challenge that makes me feel brighter than I am.
Ta ~ DA!
If only there had been at least one diagonal with a neat anagram... (sigh)

Bill G said...

Lucina, according to the dictionary, a BROMIDE is a a commonplace or hackneyed statement or notion.

I think DEAL is a shorthand way of telling somebody to deal with something you've said that they don't like.

What do you think?

Ol' Man Keith said...

Lucina ~
A BROMIDE was a common sedative in the old days, hence it became a catch-all word for any thought or saying that provides temporary relief. One further step turned it into an "unoriginal place-holder" or "pacifier."

CanadianEh! said...

Fabulous Friday. Thanks for the fun, Jeffrey (thanks for dropping in and giving us an insider's view), Lemonade and TTP.
I fought my way through this CW and saw the LEG UP, but came here to understand some of my answers.
I needed to parse ATOB and GAGORDER (it didn't help that I had Santa instead of SANTO giving me Gagarder. I thought it was some fancy Latin legalize LOL.)

Then, like LfromAlberta, my Canadian disadvantage was showing with RBG, BENNINGTON COLLEGE and MUNROE. Perps or WAGs to the rescue. ELEANOR I knew. (Thanks Hahtoolah for the QOD on her birthday.)
Cute that IM and Misty noticed separate crossings of ANGELIC with PRAM and TREETOP.
And talk about scary fairy tales, the death of ENA at the beginning of the Bambi movie is a traumatic moment for many sensitive children.

Hand up for changing Bea to BEE.
We are IRATE today, not ired. (Well anon@12:55 might be both😡)

Just back from a fall fair and craft show on this beautiful sunny day to start our Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. The trees are starting to show some autumn colour.
Wishing you all a great EEN in the gloaming!

Alice said...

This is a great puzzle even though I FIW. IKEBANA was completely unknown to me so I couldn't recognize it even with fairly good perps. Many fills were easy and the "leg up" theme was very straightforward. The repetition of fills like NOIR, ILER, ERG, ERATO made the overall solving very do-able and fun.

I knew Senegal -- the second time through the puzzle -- because it had EG in its name.

BAGEL instead of donut secause it had EG in its name.

Actually, Ticked Off, this puzzle reminded me of Merl Reagle's enjoyable themes. I'm starting to like Jeffrey wechsler almost as much as Merl.

Lucina said...

Bill G and OMKeith:
Thank you! Even though I have a vast reading experience, I can't recall ever seeing BROMIDE used that way. I learned something new.

Our current book club book is Tears of the Silenced by Misty Griffin. What an eye opener! It's sad and tragic and yet hopeful for her who though she experienced such horrible mistreatment and suffering she managed to rise above it and create a new life for herself.

I had only a cursory knowledge of the Amish and knew a little of their lifestyle having toured one of the communities in Lancaster, PA and enjoyed some wonderful food in their restaurant. But this book provided first hand insight of the good and the bad. I highly recommend it if you haven't already read it.

SwampCat said...

Lucina, the L was not circled because JW is devious, devilish, and delicious!

Did i mention I got this one on my own without cheating? Unusual for me with JE!

SwampCat said...

Oops JW

SwampCat said...

Hey! I can even spell WECHSLER....

Michael said...

Hint: check out BROMISM, and you'll see why BROMIDE isn't a common word anymore.

D4E4H said...

Carol and I FIR  in 52:14 min,and are quite happy with our success.

Good evening Cornerites.

Thank you Jeffrey Wechsler for your impossible Friday CW.  We even sussed the theme.

Thank you Lemonade and TTP  for your excellent review.  We have yet to read on.


Picard said...

Jeffrey Wechsler and Lemonade thanks for the inside view of puzzle construction.

Clever puzzle today. Got it with AlLEGheny Airlines after first thinking it was misspelled. FIW with IKEBAvA/EvA which seemed just as good.

SENEGAL was fairly easy for me as clued. There are quite a few SENEGAL people in Paris selling souvenirs.

This SENEGAL souvenir seller posed for me in Paris and I bought some of his souvenirs.

Lucina thank you for the safe wishes. When I got up this morning DW told me Ventura was burning which is just 40 miles from here and I have friends there. But it seems that is under control now. They had fierce winds and near zero humidity so it could have been worse. Ventura is on the ocean and we don't expect near zero humidity there. This seems to be the new normal and it is scary.

From yesterday:
AnonT can you tell us more about you posing with the Aloe?

Yellowrocks said...

One meaning of bromide is a chemical compound.
OTOH Very often I see bromide used to mean a time worn phrase, banality, cliche, platitude. Among dozens of up-to-date print references I copied these:
"That he’s been putting forth some of the more vapid, consultant-driven bromides ever heard in politics is part of the problem." Seattle Times May 1, 2019
"The plan offered only bromides in response to a deepening recession, double-digit unemployment and prices rising at a 20 percent clip." New York Times Apr 10, 2019
Bromide used this way is quite common in writing and formal speeches, but not so much used in conversation.

Lemonade714 said...

bromide is like a poor relative to an axiom/

TO at 12:55PM, you missed the point of the puzzle and the write-up this week. We were exploring more than the theme (gimmick?) but also the editorial process and the creative process. Most found that interesting.

Nice to see you come and comment and as I said, TTP did most of the work on the write-up and I just worked with Jeffrey.

I think we were all pretty happy about today

Wilbur Charles said...

FLN: -T, Good Morning Starshine" ring a bell.? I'm sure you are familiar with Drake.
Baseball fans of yore would recall the The Homer in the Gloamin. I referenced the wiki because the entire article is a worthy read for a baseball fan.

Didn't know ISS. 5 Vowels to choose from and I picked A SS.

And... I knew how to spell BENNINGTON but changed the O to A because OTOB made no sense.

I'm always rushing. Then I post a t nearly midnight. I think -T will read this though.

Interesting four way write-up, the fourth being Rich. I agree with terseness.

I just took another look at the xword and spotted the LEGs UP. Jeff is the Owen of genius.


Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

JW took my lunch money again. Oy!

Thanks JW, Lem, and TTP for the fun behind-the-scenes tour of the puzzle process. I was surprised to learn that JW is not so terse in real life. JW - cluing, to me, is creative-fun and the best part right after coming up with a third or fourth themer that C.C. says is Goodenough.* :-)

NOGOs: GOGO (I agree w/ 12:54 Anon; pre-disco (and I wasn't even alive then!)), BaNNINGTON [sic] is completely unknown [it's not just a Canadian problem C, Eh! & AlbertaL] as is IKaBANA[sic], and ALLiEN-Y [sic] AIRLINES (headquartered in Roswell?). ABET was completely blocked because OPENS is what happens when I give the house-keeper the alarm-code.

A cheat was required to get rid of Algeria [damn it! it is ISS! And I was wracking my brain for another acronym for "human Area, 1 ea."]
URBAN Lore was MythBusted and right-out.

WOs: Hand up for DONUT b/f I realized GE was going in all the cirlcles. ibid eAtS AT. AUNT BEa should have been but I couldn't COPE until after my third peek at TTP's grid. TWEETed at 1st.

Fav: Notorious R.B.G. If she dies while Trump is still in office, the left is going to pull a Weekend at Bernie's with her. Of this, I know ;-)

{A, A+}

WC - yes I read and yes, it does ring a little bell. I too would love to have Rich involved in another behind the curtain expo.

TTP @1:16p - I think you're referring to LA Crossword Confidential. I lurked there b/f lurking C.C.'s blog [b/f eventually feeling smart enough about one thing to pipe-up].

YR - I liken the Grimm's tales and other "dark tales" of yore as a sign that life really has gotten better over the centuries. Folks use humor to deal (er, COPE) and Ring Around is just one of those Gallows humor things we turn to - esp. children.

OMK - thanks for the info on BROMIDE (and YR for examples). I only knew of -1 Bromine.

Picard - DW and I were just wondering around one of the Cinque Terre towns and I happened upon the aloe. I was flabbergasted by its size. I had DW take that snap so I could send to Pop w/ the caption "Got Burns?" I did my best "dork pointing at a thing" impression to make it a tad silly.

Everyone in the CA fire's path please stay safe and check in when you can to let us know you're OK. Fermatprime - you too please.

Cheers, -T
*Nobel prize for Chemistry inre: Li-ion batteries.