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Mar 5, 2021

Friday, March 5, 2021, Lewis Rothlein

Theme: Dyslexic's Nightmare!!

The reveal: 63-Across. Hair problem, and what three short puzzle answers each has: SPLIT END.

Chairman Moe here, trying to "tackle" the elusive "split end" that Lewis Rothlein featured in today's crossword puzzle. Not the easiest of tasks for this blogger, as I had to cheat several times in solving the puzzle. And then I had absolutely NO CLUE about the puzzle's "reveal" until my sister (who is visiting us for awhile) looked at the filled-in puzzle grid, and saw the SPLIT ENDS.

Let's insert the grid now, and please pay attention to the letters in red, including the circled ones:

First things first: if your puzzle came with no circles, this would be almost impossible to find. Second, the clue (in 63-Across; "what three short puzzle answers each has") was a bit misleading at first. This puzzle is filled with 3-letter answers, not circled. But I digress. Even looking at the circled "words" and trying to make heads or tails from them, all I saw were: CIM/MIC; TIP/PIT; SEY/YES; NOT/TON; DOG/GOD; and TOP/POT. And what, pray tell, did all of these mean? Four of the six circled words were "mirrored anagrams": TIP/PIT; NOT/TON; DOG/GOD; and TOP/POT. Hmm.

My first thought as I began blogging was to look at the uppermost circles: MIC and TIP. The "ends" of these words are "split" apart from their beginnings. What is a MIC TIP you ask?

Same with TOP and DOG.

And the third SPLIT END is NOT YES, it's HELL YES!

But then, as the clues and answers unfolded (I was all the way to 10-Down. "Sure!": WHY), when it finally hit me like a can of V-8! The "SPLIT ENDS" are: HOT MIC, HOT TIP, WHY NOT, WHY YES, AND LAPTOP, LAP DOG! Duh. All of these resemble what a SPLIT END looks like!! I hope it didn't take all y'all as long to figure it out as it took me. I literally wrote over 50% of the blog before I got it. And after devoting about 2-1/2 hours to my draft, I am not going to re-write the whole thing! So just bear with me, OK??!!

Anyway, that's my story and I am sticking to it!! Thanks, Lewis for a VERY CLEVER puzzle

Across:
1. "Born From Jets" automaker: SAAB. Not your average SAAB story

5. Fiscal exec: CFO. Chief Financial Officer

8. Sign of danger: BEWARE.

14. Like letters in an outbox: UNMAILED. Do you folks still use a mailbox flag to indicate your UNMAILED letters?

16. Transport again: RE-HAUL. Different than U-HAUL I presume . . .

17. Connecticut home of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament: STAMFORD. Learning moment for me. Perhaps my Friday blog partner-in-crime, (and native to the Nutmeg State) Lemonade714 would care to comment?

18. Nobody special: ANYONE.

19. One may reveal a secret: HOT. As in HOT TIP! A HOT MIC is not shown, but refers to a microphone that is active

20. Inconsistent: STREAKY. As a college student in the early '70's, my first thought about seeing the root word for this is captured by Ray Stevens below:

22. Pro Bowl side: Abbr.: NFC. National Football Conference. Or could've been AFC. Pro Football all star game. Football used to have SPLIT ENDS until they re-named them wide receivers. And if the game goes 23-Across. Past regulation, briefly: we would say that it's IN O.T.

25. Land in the ocean: ISLE.

26. Cal Poly setting, initially: SLO. San Luis Obispo. California Polytechnic Institute has a campus here. See the map image below, courtesy of Google Maps ... San Luis Obispo is north of Santa Barbara ...

27. Morlock prey: ELOI. You knew this, right? The ELOI are one of the two fictional post-human races, along with the Morlocks, in H. G. Wells' 1895 novel The Time Machine

29. Area 51 figures, supposedly: ETS. This link courtesy of Brittanica dot com has a lot of information, as well as an imbedded video worth watching. Are they really revealing the truth about Extra Terrestrial BeingS? What about this picture?

30. Way to earn interest?: FLIRT. Cute clue

32. Recipe amts.: TSPS.

34. "1984" superstate: OCEANIA. H.G. Wells with ELOI and now George Orwell with OCEANIA from the book Nineteen Eighty-Four

36. Find: LOCATE.

39. Lab tubes: PIPETS. Moe-ku:

Great Expectations
Was translated to Klingon.
Named, "PIP", for ET'S

40. Comparable things: ANALOGS. This one was a stretch for me. Too Friday-ish perhaps?

42. "Black Narcissus" figures: NUNS. Perps filled in this answer for me. A 1947 movie in which a group of Anglican NUNS, led by Sister Clodagh (Deborah Kerr), are sent to a mountain in the Himalayas

43. Word on mail from Toledo, maybe: AEREO. "Apartado aéreo" in Spanish means "air section/air post office", in English ... I think ... Toledo as in the city in Spain

44. Abate: EBB. Crossword puzzle staple

46. Just the best: TOPS. See the TOP DOG reference in the intro

49. __ thai: PAD. PAD Thai is stir-fry dish made with rice noodles, shrimp, chicken, or tofu, peanuts, a scrambled egg and bean sprouts. The ingredients are sautéed together in a wok and tossed in a delicious pad thai sauce

50. Mystery novelist Paretsky: SARA. SARA Paretsky is an American author of detective fiction, best known for her novels focused on the protagonist V. I. Warshawski

51. Sine qua non: NEED. From Latin. Loosely translated means: an essential condition; a thing that is absolutely necessary. NEED. Friday clue. But the wine geek in me saw this clue and thought about a California cult wine called "Sine Qua Non"

53. One often chosen for lightness: LAP. As in LAP TOP! Cats love them, and fittingly, the picture below ALSO shows a LAPTOP computer. No LAP DOG in this first picture, but the second one is questionable, methinks

54. Arced woodshop tools: C CLAMPS. Used in carpentry

57. Mex. title: SRA. SenoRA

58. Hercule's creator: AGATHA. Big day for books and authors. Wells, Orwell, Paretsky, and now Christie. Methinks our constructor must enjoy books and reading

60. "Join us for lunch?" regrets: I'VE EATEN. Sure; makes sense

62. Put back in the fridge: RE-COOL. Meh. Not an expression I would use

64. Drafted: DREW UP. Also defined as bringing a body of troops in array

65. Many a quote, for short: EST. LOL!

66. "South Park" co-creator Parker: TREY. Perps. I've heard of "South Park" but not the co-creator. Here is a clip of TREY Parker's favorite episode

Down:
1. Temaki or futomaki: SUSHI.



2. San __: Texas city nickname: ANTONE. Not gonna diss this clue and answer, because phoenetically, it fits. But just as natives from San Francisco do not refer to their city as "Frisco", neither do San Antonians refer to their city as "San ANTONE". Just sayin'

3. Explosive mixture: AMATOL. A high explosive consisting of a mixture of TNT and ammonium nitrate

4. "Kapow!": BAM.

5. Thicken, as cream: CLOT. According to Wikipedia dot com, CLOT(TED) cream is a thick cream made by indirectly heating full-cream cow's milk using steam or a water bath and then leaving it in shallow pans to cool slowly. During this time, the cream content rises to the surface and forms "clots" or "clouts", hence the name. It forms an essential part of a cream tea. And now you know!

6. Martha's Vineyard arrivals: FERRIES. I think that now, the only active ferry routes to Martha's Vineyard embark from Woods Hole, MA; Hyannis, MA; and Nantucket Island.

7. Most unexpected: ODDEST. Weird; I got this one!

8. Slow up: BRAKE. Do you say this to slow up or slow down?

9. Counting word: EENY. EENY, meeny, miney, MOE!! (That's me, in case you thought Malodorous Manatee was blogging today's puzzle . . .)

11. Internet recovery program: A. A. ON-LINE. This clue and answer didn't resonate when I was filling it in. And still didn't until I found this:. I guess that during the pandemic it is/was the safest way to continue the recovery process

12. Flee in fear: RUN FOR IT.

13. Utility abbr.: ELEC. Our ELEC bills range between $130 a month in the winter to well over $300 a month in the summer. But nothing like the recent bills in Texas this past month

15. Possibles: IFS. One of my favorite expressions (and I may be paraphrasing here): If IFS and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas!

21. As a bonus: ALSO. Did you get this, too?

24. Came to: TOTALED. As in added-up

26. Applies carelessly: SLAPS ON. But not in the case of "wax"

28. Puerile retort: IS TOO. Great word, puerile! Defined as: childishly silly and trivial. This answer could've been clued differently if it weren't a Friday

30. Artful dodge: FEINT. Another great Friday clue/answer. Our resident Canadian, Canadian Eh! might know it as this:

31. Prof.'s aides: T.A.'S. A teaching assistant (T.A.) or teacher's aide or education assistant or team teacher is an individual who assists a teacher with instructional responsibilities

33. Fielder's strong throw: PEG. An archaic baseball term, or it could've been clued as "a nickname for Margaret". But my "Margaret" does not want to be called this

35. PC brain: CPU. Central Processing Unit

36. SoCal ball club, on scoreboards: LAA. Los Angeles Angels. LAD fit, ALSO. As in Los Angeles Dodgers

37. Short report: ONE PAGE'R. Not this PAGER:

38. Turtle shell, e.g.: CARAPACE. I thought this a bit obscure, but it's been seen in other puzzles, recently

41. Letter closer: SEAL. Like this one:

42. Curry and Antetokounmpo, recently: NBA MVPS. National Basketball Association Most Valuable PlayerS. Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks

45. Sear and simmer: BRAISE. How to braise:

47. Vex: PESTER. Apparently our Thesaurussaurus has not heard of this synonym

48. Cool: SERENE. Another Friday clue for this answer methinks

50. Resell to desperate fans, maybe: SCALP. The word "SCALP" has some negative meaning, too. But the term meaning to resell tickets goes back a long way

52. Fine partner: DANDY. Did this come to ANYONE's mind?

53. Shortening, maybe: LARD. It's actually pronounced "uhts". My favorite potato chip

54. French cabbage: CHOU. Frawnch!

55. Hide: PELT. Moe-ku for SportsCenter fans:

ESPN host,
Now that he's bald, should be known
As Scott Van No PELT
56. Roman numeral?: SEI. As in "VI"?? SEI --> Italian for "six". Wow, what a stretch!!

59. Garage service: TOW. As in TOWing a vehicle to the garage for service

61. ABA member: ATT. American Bar Association has, as its members, ATTorneys

This was fun! Hope to hear from many of you about your solving trials and tribulations on today's puzzle . . .

71 comments:

OwenKL said...

DNF. Got maybe 2/3 done before I gave in and tapped the red. Got a little bit further, and after reading the reveal, I was able to fill in all the circles, which were mostly blank at that point, so it helped me a lot today. Still failed at the natick of IN_T + AMAT_L. neither word of which I had ever heard. Ditto needing ESP for NFC, CHOU, SEI, plus the usual array of misspellings and such.

BEWARE the ISLE of merch,
When to Amazon you lurch!
Stay a while
At that FLIRTY smile,
And your budget will go berserk!

A HOT TIP at the DOG track
May fall into your LAP, Jack.
But it's only DANDY
When funds are handy.
But WHY NOT, if your stash ain't slack!

{A+, B.}

WinthorpeIII said...

I had no circles but some blank squares when I stopped. Oh well, no complaints. As David Letterman said sometimes when he got booed, "How much did you pay to get in?"

Anonymous said...

I didn't see the theme at all until I came here, so thank you Moe for explaining it! I rationalized that LAP was just short for "laptop," but could not figure out at all how "Sure!"=WHY. Then I had no idea what AMAxOL was, so I couldn't get HOT.

Now that I understand the theme, it's quite clever, but it completely escaped me.

Anonymous said...

Some really unwelcome stuff, like: San ANTONE (this isn't a thing, AA ONLINE (this also isn't a thing), LAP for laptop (who calls a laptop a "lap"?), SEI (how about a clue involving whales?), plus two awkward foreign words (AEREO, CHOU).

Wilbur Charles said...

Another difficult Friday. To think I almost FIR but for SfO. I thought it was solid so even grok'ing AA* as the "Recovery program" and making no sense of fINE I left it. I was absorbed by two blank squares which I WAGged as (HO)T, IN(O)T.

My French cabbage initially was Euro. My French vocab didn't include CHOU but it seemed vaguely familiar.

The simple LOCATE , guessing Lewis wanted Spain not Ohio, and finally the WAG if ONE PAGER solved the SW.

WC

*I penned an AA poem on the J blog last week. It's here

Ps, I never grok'ed the SOLIT ENDS either. C-Moe , say thanks to your sister in behalf of the CC

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Just to be different, I'll admit to really liking this one. Figured out the SPLIT END (not BALD SPOT) theme, and saw the forks in the road. Very nice, Lewis. The solve wasn't without its missteps. I saw SINE QUA NON, but read QUID PRO QUO. Had NBA STAR before MVPS elbowed in. Tried EURO for that French cabbage. Non! This one took 25 minutes (really long for a Friday puz), but was a satisfying solve. Thanx for the expo, C-Moe (A Roman is an Italian, and SEI is an Italian number. The "?" was there to tip us off.)

Mailbox: Yup, we still have a mailbox flag. I also made a pop up flag from a hinge, switchplate, and magnet that displays "Mail" once the box has been opened. It's a 130' hike to the mailbox, and that flag eliminates false trips.

Mark said...

Never saw the theme. LAP and HOT were my last fills and they never made sense 'till I came here (that happens a lot).

I don't believe lard can, maybe, be shortening. They are two different products, one from animal fat, one from vegetable fat.

Cruci Verbose said...



To Mark, @ 7:55 .... Lard CAN be shortening .... it shortens the life of the Animal ... and maybe even the lives of the Eater(s), if LDL cholesterol is to be believed.

This puzzle was deeply satisfying and full of karma, especially for the super fast solvers. It makes them realize what the rest of us feel on normal weekdays.
Quirky puzzles can be great equalizers.

TTP said...




Wow ! Loved it, loved it !

But man oh man was it tough. At least it was for me. I was pretty certain of those three short answers because they perped in. But they were not making sense for their clues until I finally paid attention to the circles and the letters that were in them. That was around 32 minutes into the solve on this toughie. Finally finished the solved at 39:28. Longest time to solve a Friday in many months.

Liked having a couple of answers starting with the same letter consecutively. Didn't get either one based on the clue alone, but as they perped in, I thought that they were sure to bring out the boo birds. Not familiar with AA ONLINE, but I have plenty of C-CLAMPS.

Almost turfed it big time at "Letter closer" by entering SwAk - Sealed With A Kiss. Then almost as immediately as I keyed in wan for "Ebb", I realized, "No, that would be wane, not wan" so I backed it out. Moved to the next down clue and NBA MVPS went in quickly. Then saw that the "Abate" answer should be EBB, which gave me SEAL, and then easily led to C CLAMPS. Whew !

I remembered CHOU as French cabbage from blogging a Friday puzzle about a year ago. At that time, the answer was Euros. Usually slang in the clue means slang in the answer, but not necessarily true on Fridays and Saturdays. The French CHOU is pronounced somewhat like shoe, and the Chinese CHOU is Cantonese and is pronounced something like cho, rhyming with show. Chou in Chinese can have many different meanings depending on the tone. Our blog hostess goes by C.C, which is an abbreviation for the Cantonese spelling of her name, as in Chou Chin. The name Zhouqin is Mandarin.

BRAISED Country Style are on this week's menu plan. I pretty much follow that recipe but I "kick it up a notch" by adding a tablespoon of Emeril's Essence Creole Seasoning for the last half hour, and I serve with farfalle instead of polenta. Delish ! Perhaps even better as leftovers as all the flavors continue to meld.

Great puzzle today, Lewis. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Loved all of the clues with misdirection. Are you still teaching life long learning classes for seniors ? Specifically, "The Art of Solving Crosswords" ?

Great write-up, Chairman Moe ! Also enjoyed the Moe-kus. I have a neighbor that no longer has the flag on his mailbox. He complains about the USPS driver not checking his mailbox every day for outgoing mail. One day he got in his truck and chased her down and chewed her out for not stopping and picking up his mail. He told me all about it. I suggested he pick up a replacement flag, but he thinks he shouldn't have to, as it is her job. He is perhaps the ODDEST of the neighbors.

Tinbeni said...

Chairman Moe: Good job on the write-up & links.

Cheers!

Lemonade714 said...

I am on the side of appreciating this fine Friday. The complaints so far are more tortured than the clue/fill they are attacking. E.G., AAOnline is not only a "thing" Moe provided a link; SAN ANTONE may not resonate with Texans, but it is a thing Johnny Cash sang about; mon petit chou is a term of endearment we have discussed here at the corner. AERO as obscure is just plain silly.

Lewis is good/

jfromvt said...

Like others, I didn’t get the theme, which is OK, because it is very clever. But overall, I didn’t enjoy the rest of the puzzle, just too many weird clues and obscure answers. Having HARTford instead of STAMford made the NW a mess. Never figured it out.

Malodorous Manatee said...

A very challenging puzzle but, with dog's help, I was able to eventually see the theme and FIR although it took far longer than most Friday puzzles. The write up was a hoot. Thanks, Ch. Moe. I kept trying to sort out the pre-enlightenment bits from the post-enlightenment bits which added a new dimension. I totally missed the "mirrors".

AMATOL and CARAPACE were stared at for long whiles but both finally bubbled up through the tar that is the deep recess where ancient x-word puzzles rattle around in my skull. RECOOL was one of those "It can't be but, oh yeah, it's a crossword puzzle so it probably is" moments.

Big Easy said...

Tough puzzle that was a DNF. The cross of AMATOL & HOT was my downfall. Never heard of AMATOL and HOT for the clue made no sense even after I actually wrote MIC, NOT, SEY(left to right), TIP, DOG, & TOP across the top after filling SPLIT END. Brain just wouldn't click. Correctly filled WHY and LAP by perps because they didn't seem logical from the given clues.

NUNS and SLO were the only other unknowns filled by perps and SEI was a long time coming. I gave up on the NW even after filling the SE. I remembered CHOU from a HS French class referring to a girlfriend as "mon petit chou chou" for my little cabbage head.

Split Grammarian said...


To the lady who made the Split Ends video - she sure knows her Split Ends, but is she aware of her Split Infinitives ?

Husker Gary said...

Musings
-What a brilliant puzzle! The split end clue roots were non-sequiturs and then LAP TOP and LAP DOG pushed me into the gimmick! Loved it Lewis!
-REHAUL – One year we moved three times. Don’t ask…
-I would keep my non-ANALOG Apple Watch for this LOCATE feature alone
-Ben on Home Town on HGTV has a sign in his shop – “You Can Never Too Many Clamps.” Loved the cluing
-DREW UP – in our sandlot FB games we DREW UP our plays in the dirt
-A guy I did not know got paired with me on the golf course yesterday. He revealed he was in AA (not ONLINE)
-DQ has quit using the word BRAZIER Burger. It made for a lot of silly comments.
-This great Patsy Cline song contains SAN ANTONE

Anonymous said...

Nope. After 20 minutes I went to the Sudoku. Don't know why I even try Friday's.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

II thought this was a challenging solve, even for a Friday, but I FIR w/o help, yet I could not see the theme until reading Moe’s explanation. (Thanks, Moe,’s Sis.) The cleverness and execution, however, do not negate the frustration of the overall solve and elusive theme resolution, IMO.

Thanks, Lewis and thanks, Moe, for your chatty, down-home commentary and Moe humor, not to mention the visuals and links. Thanks most of all for making sense out of the theme.

FLN

ATLGranny, glad to see you so chipper after your surgery. Speedy and uneventful recovery!

TXMs, nice to hear from you, hope you’ll join us often.

Anon T, glad you’re back to your old self.

Have a great day.

desper-otto said...

Charley Pride: Is Anybody Goin' To San Antone?

TTP said...

SG at 9:43,

I'm guilty of that as well. All the time.

When grading my essays, my English teacher could literally run out of ink in her red pen. She told me that I've got to learn to not split infinitives. >)

I'm personally not a stickler for that rule.

oc4beach said...


Definitely did not get it today. Didn't get the theme, didn't get many of the clues without Red Letters on and it took a while to see Moe's red letters in his excellent write-up.(I'm Red-Green colorblind).

This was definitely a tough Friday puzzle.

I thought Shortening was a vegetable based fat, but I was wrong. LARD is one of the original shortenings which really makes great pie crusts and to many of us in Pennsylvania, great potato chips like Gibbles (plus I'll add a shout out to Grandma Utz Kettle Chips).

Getting ready to go to get our second Moderna Vaccine shot. Then maybe in a few weeks I'll feel a little safer when the antibodies are fully functional.

Be safe everyone and please wear your masks.

desper-otto said...

FLN:

Spitz, you wrote, "The 'v' in Dutch has the English 'f' sound." I always thought it was a 'u', not a 'v'. :)

Anon-T, good to hear that you're on the mend.

TxMs, good to see you again.

AtlGranny, nice to see you're feeling well enough to post. Hope the post-surgery healing goes well.

CrossEyedDave said...

What TTP said: (Wow!)

Unlike many a Saturday puzzle, that turns out impossible (for me)
This Friday puzzle has to be the hardest I have come across that was
Still perpable. Although in the end was a one letter alphabet run thru a Natick...

The theme?

This puzzle was like Chairman Moes link to the Karate Kid.
I was busting my butt waxing on and off, painting up and down, etc...



But Moe's write up explained everything Like this link.
(Who knew Chair Moe was a crossword sensei?)

CrossEyedDave said...

Just my two cents, but I think my puzzlement was aggravated
By the circles, or lack there of...

I tried to follow the split ends in the wrong direction,
Making no sense. And then came to the blog to try and understand
The "hot" and "why" clue answers that also Made no sense.
(Thank goodness for our crossword sensei!)

I wonder if "hot" and "why" were circled instead,
Would the puzzle have been easier to solve?
Or, if hot and why etc were circled 8n addition to the existing
Circles, would it have been too easy?

I dunno,
But it's all fine and dandy,
but I am not too sure about that either...

Yellowrocks said...

I liked the puzzled and thought it was fair, although crunchy. Two cheats. Even after Moe's explanation, I am not a fan of this theme.

BTW, Grammar Girl says it is fine to split infinitives.

Wiki: Present style and usage manuals deem simple split infinitives unobjectionable. For example, Curme's Grammar of the English Language (1931) says that not only is the split infinitive correct, but it "should be furthered rather than censured, for it makes for clearer expression". The Columbia Guide to Standard American English notes that the split infinitive "eliminates all possibility of ambiguity", in contrast to the "potential for confusion" in an unsplit construction. Merriam–Webster's Dictionary of English Usage says: "the objection to the split infinitive has never had a rational basis". According to Mignon Fogarty, "today almost everyone agrees that it is OK to split infinitives".

Much of what we learned in school more than 50 years ago is obsolete today.

Yellowrocks said...

LOL Oops, I like the puzzle which puzzled me.

waseeley said...

I think I missed Friday's puzzle. This is Saturday right? But thank you Lewis for all the great fill (and whoever came up with the clues). It was a valiant struggle, which I eventually DNF because of an explosive mixture of brilliant clues in the NE. And lucky for me CMOE that I didn't draw the short straw this week. Despite your best efforts I'm still CLUELESS on the THEME.

I'll start with 17A (and try to beat Lemony to the PUNch): You can find everything there is to know about the yearly STAMFORD tournament and much, much more from the video WORDPLAY. It is ESSENTIAL viewing for all cruciverbalists: STOP, DO NOT PASS GO until you've logged into AMAZON and rented or bought it. Trust me that after you've seen it you'll want to own (Dw and I have already watched it 3 times and we lending it to a friend next week).

Fav clues/fills 23A IN O.T., 55A EST, and 56D SEI. All masterful indirections.

35D CPU (well not so favorite). The notion that a CPU is any way, shape, or form a BRAIN is a part of the ongoing efforts by AI researchers to anthropomorphize AI (and keep the grant money rolling in). IMHO the notion of the SINGULARITY is folly. AI will never be able to mimic the achievements of the human mind. E.g. I'd like to see a computer figure out the theme of today's puzzle!

50D SCALPED. Dw and I were scalped while visiting MILAN. We were offered tickets to that evening's performance at LA SCALA and jumped at the chance. The performance that evening was not OPERA, but rather a 3 hour orchestral concert of 12 tone serialist works. But we gladly suffered through it to gain entry to the greatest OPERA house and museum in the world (excepting the MET in NY of course!).

53D CMOE, UTZ potato chips are a childhood favorite of mine. They're made just up the pike in Hanover, PA.

Cheers,
Bill

Shankers said...

Despite three wrong squares I'm claiming a personal victory simply for not giving up. Carapace? Really? An inordinate number of obscure clues to make it fun. And answers that made no sense. Tomorrow will likely be as tough. I guess that's why we're all here--to share in our collective joys and frustrations.

Bob Lee said...

OH, I get it now. I had no idea why WHY was the answer for "sure" when I penciled it in, and the rest of those clues made no sense to me either.

Perhaps if the beginning word of the split (ex, WHY) was ALSO circled, it would have made the answers comprehensible. I gave up after spending too much time wondering.

Chairman Moe said...

waseely —> the “design” of the words HOT MIC/HOT TIP (et al) looks like a SPLIT END ( rewatch the video at the beginning). A split hair end is two-pronged. And the connection of them confirms it. Trust me, even with my sister’s visual assistance, I was serious about being 60% finished writing the blog before I realized what the actual connections were. This was by far my toughest puzzle to figure out ...

Chairman Moe said...

CED —> laughed like crazy at the George Carlin “Fine and DANDY” clip. Thanks too, for the sensei reference! Both made me recall this puerile haiku:

The Karate Kid
Pleased himself by putting his
Wax on; then wax off ...

Misty said...

Tricky, tricky Friday puzzle, but that's what they're supposed to be at the end of the week. So, thanks, Lewis, and thanks for the explanations, Chairman Moe. And I did notice the clever puzzle grid today.

Not many names, and I didn't know SARA or TREY. But fun to see AGATHA in the puzzle--at least I recognized Hercule.

Have a good weekend, everybody.

AnonDon said...


Where else can you crash and burn and enjoy it?

Acesaroundagain said...

Heck, it took me a while to figure out the theme after you told me what it was! At least I have a place to come to find my way in from the dark.

Becky said...

DNF, but what a great puzzle and theme!! Moe, thanks for the explanations and many many links.

Bob Wills had a song that began "Aaaaw Haaaw, San Antone!" He did Texas Swing a long time ago.

Becky

Lewis said...

@Chairman Moe -- Wow! What a fun, funny, informative, insightful puzzle review/recap. I had a blast reading it. Thank you!
@TTP -- That "Art of Solving Crosswords" class is on hiatus during covid. It just doesn't lend itself to Zoom.

I must thank Rich Norris, who kept my better clues, and replaced my lesser clues with better ones. He also had me rework a couple of places, which greatly improved the puzzle.

Puzzles often use the same clue twice, for two different answers, but rarely use a clue ONCE for two different answers (there's a type of crossword called a Schroedinger puzzle where this happens -- that famous NYT puzzle that had both CLINTON and BOB DOLE as answers to a single clue is one). So here I tried it in a way I've never seen before. I see for some people it worked, and for others it didn't.

My appreciation for all your feedback, happy and not so happy, as I'm always trying to hone my game.

Lewis Rothlein

AnonymousPVX said...


Wow...just....wow.

Horrible clues, horrible fills, plus a gimmick not easily figured makes an alp most unsolvable puzzle.

What’s not to like, besides all of it?

Worst grid of the year, IMHO.

AnonymousPVX said...


alp most =almost

Wilbur Charles said...

TTP, you must absolutely not split those infinitives.

JB2 said...

Total fun sponge for me. Too clever by a lot more than half. Noted the constructor. Won't do another by him.

JB2

JB2 said...

Ok. Let me modify my above comment. There were no circles in my paper. Had there been, it would have come together much more quickly. Still not a fan of these types of puzzles however.

Wilbur Charles said...

I see earlier posts liked Lewis piece of bedevilement* later posts the opposite. As an AA'er of 42 years to FIW on AAONfINE is aaarrrggghhh!!!-worthy. I blame it on Mr S. That kind of theme always escapes me even though in retrospect 'So simple, duh'

I had lunch after my AA mtg and a lovely lady (wife of a fellow traveler) said, coincidentally, that she'd be interested in an intro to xwords course.

I MENTIONED ENA, ESAI, ERIE etc as xword glue (as opposed to hanging fruit like NBA MVPS**). However, even a captive audience can only stand CC talk for a few minutes. The website was my intro.

I motor-mouthed because I grabbed the wrong coffee this morning. Any caffeine does that. Also …

TTP liked this because it's similar to some of the Evan Birnholz Wa-Post xwords. Not to speak of Shortzian rebii(rebuses?) . I'm way behind, I'll have to take a trip to Boston by rail and solve away the trip.

WC

*That's a Big Book term. Antonym to the "Promises"
**HF's depend on the beholder. Anon-T's pop music, science for many CC'ers, Spanish for Lucina etc.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Wow Lewis... That was rough; got about 1/2 (mostly the North) before cheating and 2/3 b/f tossing the towel. DNF. I like what you did with the theme but *WHOOSH* -- right over my head. Thanks for the grid though - some fun cluing... ANYONE? ANYONE?
Also, a big "thank you" for stopping in at The Corner.

And I thought this was going to be so easy while filling SAAB, CFO, and BEWARE w/ nary a perp.

Wonderful expo C.Moe! Thanks for completing my grid and whacking me on the head w/ what I didn’t get. LOL Billy Idol reference.

Re: San ANTONE - Y'all know The Doobies? Right? [China Grove]

WOs/ESPs: I'd be faster to tell you what I did ink...
Misreads 'till the end - who's Resell? Do his/her fans have a pet name for 'em? D'Oh! Re-sell.
Who created Hercules? D'Oh! Not the titian....
Anyone else think we were going for Indian fare w/ 42d? NBA - Oh, Seth...
//at least I knew TREY Parker

Fav: Fine and DANDY - CED beat me to the Carlin clip :-(

{A+, B+}
Karate Kid 'ku - LOL

TTP - I gotta try that dish (what, no Crystal for the extra kick?)

Oc4 (and IM) - yep, Gibbles are excellent chips that are all for me since the Girls here don't like the LARD.

Back to work... Play later.

Cheers, -T

Michael said...

Anon @ 9:54: "Nope. After 20 minutes I went to the Sudoku. Don't know why I even try Friday's."

Because suffering builds character ... AND vocabulary.

Kelly Clark said...

Raising hand to signify my love, love, love for this puzzle! The construction is remarkable, the cluing, fantastic, and the AHA moment? Delicious! Thanks to all involved!

Avg Joe said...

Nothing to really add to the comments about difficulty and challenge, but I will add applause. A very tough, but ultimately doable puzzle. Probably took close to an hour. Well done!

Hungry Mother said...

FIR, but not in a hurry. I try to ignore circled letters, but today I needed the theme and used it. Quite a slog, but worthwhile.

Hungry Mother said...

@Lewis: I daily enjoy your reviews of the NYT puzzle, but I didn’t realize that you wrote this one until the comments. Thanks for the great workout. A very ingenious construction.

Spitzboov said...

Hello everyone.

Had some bad cells in the SE incl. SERENE, Had 'arm' before PEG. Overall thought it was quite hard. And not getting the theme I was definitely not the TOPS today.
I was only familiar with pipette; PIPETS is new.

Anonymous said...

A bit of a nitpick but c-clamps are mostly used in metal working.

CanadianEh! said...

Frantic Friday. Thanks for the fun, Lewis (and for dropping by) and CMoe.
This CW took P&P and I still could not quite finish. And as for the theme. . . AnonT’s Whoosh describes it! I did see TIPSY and TOP DOG in those circles though😁. Thanks to Moe’s sister👍

Again, this Canadian does not know all those SoCal clubs and locations.
We had LARD today after my Buttergate discussion with Ray-O yesterday.
I knew CHOU but stuttered at the double C in the unknown to me CCLAMP. Oddly enough, our neighbour just asked to borrow my husband’s for a plumbing project. I got a lesson.
Yes, Spitzboov, I am used to pipettes (French also I think) and Analogues.

AA ONLINE was clever. I was in Safe Mode😁
Yes, CMoe, this Canadian hockey mother is familiar with DEKES. On that note, RIP Walter Gretzky, our quintessential Hockey Dad.

Wishing you all a great day.

Anonymous T said...

@3:29 - you're kidding right? If not, I'll run out to the garage and take a snap of all the wood-working C-CLAMPS I have... Some were my grandfathers and he didn't do metalwork either.

Cheers, -T

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

A disaster..couldn't come close to finishing. Super busy day ("c'mon that's a poor excuse"). All those glaring white empty squares mocking me...But at least spared from trying to parse what sounds like a complicated theme.

No inane comments

À demain mes petits choux

🙃


NaomiZ said...

I enjoyed today's puzzle and the "Aha!" moment when SPLIT END made sense of the seemingly nonsensical answers and circles. It was my first DNF this week, with AMATOL and IN OT crossing in the NW, but that's what humility is for. Many thanks to Lewis for the puzzle and for visiting here, to C. Moe for slogging and blogging, to Rich for giving us all a fighting chance, and to all the Cornerites who found something nice to say. Enjoy the weekend!

Jayce said...

Whew! This puzzle flew way over my head. Not only did I have to cheat quite a bit, I did not get the gimmick at all. I am NOT complaining. I recognize and appreciate quality work and I love some of the clever clues. However I would not insult someone who didn't like the puzzle by calling his/her comments "tortured" or "silly."

Jayce said...

Chairman Moe, I heartily commend your exposition. Enlightening and interesting. Thank you.

OwenKL, thank you for the terrific verses today.

Continue to take precautions, all.

unclefred said...

DNF. Nope. 1/4 of the way done and it was making no sense to me. Did not see how HOT could be ONE MAY REVEAL A SECRET. Or how WHY could be SURE. What I was sure of is that I was putting in wrong answers, so I gave up. Did not see how circled letters connected to the other clue. Very clever CW Lewis. U stumped me completely. Reading Chairman Moe’s excellent write-up revealed the cleverness. Even had I finished the CW I would not have figured out the reveal. Just too, TOO clever for my mediocre CW skills....or lack thereof. I bought my gf a second refrigerator as hers is always stuffed. It was delivered today and sits on her screened in patio, directly opposite her other fridge. I also have a fridge outside, out of the weather but still subject to S. FL humidity. They rust like crazy within a few years. I thought of covering the entire outside with Contact paper, carefully applying it to prevent air-bubbles, and covering all metal with it to keep the hum-didly away from the metal. I use a speckled design so there is no pattern to try to match. My outside fridge is 7 y.o. now with no rust, so it works. So today I spent the day carefully covering her new fridge in Contact paper. Gotta go back tomorrow and finish it, as I ran out of contact paper. I thought I had two full rolls, turned out one was a partial. Anyway, there’s a hot tip for how to make that $1,200 outside fridge last longer, and not turn into a still functioning but disgustingly rusty eyesore in three or four years.

Chairman Moe said...

unclefred @ 4:49: My hidden dyslexia surfaced when I read your post . . . I thought for a second you said, "I bought my second gf a refrigerator!! At our age I'm guessing that one girlfriend is enough!! ;^)

Chairman Moe said...

And to all of those that commented today, thanks for the kind words. As I said, it was truly one of the more difficult puzzles to parse and blog. Unlike all y'all, I have a few days ahead to re-look at the grid and clues to figure out what occurs. You guys have just today to solve and suss, so I have a slight advantage . . . hopefully tomorrow's puzzle won't be quite so difficult, but I will be solving it when my paper arrives tomorrow morning. No "spoiler alert"!

Anonymous said...

Too cute for its own good. This one sucked eggs.

TTP said...




Wilbur Charles, yes, I do like solving the Evan Birnholz puzzles.

Dash T - I think you'll enjoy that recipe. As to the Crystal... DW would rather that I don't kick it up a notch with the Emeril's seasoning in the first place. At least that's what she says !

Oh, and yes. I have bar clamps, corner clamps, spring clamps, pipe clamps and so on. Different clamps for different purposes. Sometimes, C CLAMPS and cauls are the best and most efficient solution. More so, anyone that has done bent wood or bending wood after steaming knows the usefulness of having plenty of C CLAMPS.

Malodorous Manatee said...

Ch. Moe, and all, FWIW tomorrow's puzzle took me longer to solve than did today's. YMMV.

Shankers, @ 11:12 A.M., Right On!

Emile O'Touri said...

This one gave me a headache and a DNF.Hard and extremely unpleasant.Not a big fan of we made this hard by making the cluing preposterously awkward.I do not and will never understand why anyone would want to solve a puzzle that needs an explainer at the end so you can appreciate just how great it is.

unclefred said...

Ch. Moe, at my age (76) one gf 22 years younger than me is MORE than enough....don’t even think about two.

unclefred said...

MM at 7:36 thanx for the tip. If tomorrow’s CW is harder than today’s I’ll just wait for Monday which is more my ability level. M-W I manage; Th I struggle but usually manage; F I sometimes manage, sometimes don’t; S I usually find too much for my meager ability. Today was FAR over my head. So....thanx again for the warning.

LEO III said...

As with yesterday, and as I knew I would, I had a DNF with a few incorrect fills. However, I did much better than I thought I would. I only count eight red letters, the squares I had to look up, which I fill in with a red pen. Wish I could have gotten them too. I agree: It was way over the top difficult --- but FUN!

Thanks Lewis Rothlein and Chairman Moe!

If you're interested, read Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base, by Annie Jacobsen. Reviews of her book run the gamut from WONDERFUL to TOTAL BULL. Here is a link to an NPR interview with Jacobsen:

Area 51 - NPR interview with Annie Jacobsen

ATLGranny said...

Well, as you can see I kept trying to finish this puzzle, coming back to it all day and much of the evening, but it was not to be. A big DNF for the first time in a while. It took me back to earlier times when I needed the blog to help, not just explain. And I didn't get the theme at all. But occasionally I need a harder puzzle to remind me how much I have learned. Thanks, Lewis, for the challenge and for coming by. And C Moe many thanks for wrestling with the puzzle. Good job!

Chastened, but glad to have something to while away the hours, I am looking forward to Saturday's puzzle. After all, tomorrow is another day.....

Lemonade714 said...

Jayce, I am sorry if you found my comment offensive but that was the point, as all of the nasty comments about the constructors who use a clue or a fill that the anons do not like are equally offensive.

Mahalo

Anonymous T said...

HG - The 'find my phone' feature would have been useful this morning. I awoke and couldn't find my phone(!?!) to tell me what time it was (it was light outside, I was sure I was late for work). I eventually found my phone in my robe.... I took it to my computer lab (the loft) at 3a to login (to check on a scan I started at 1a) and left it in the robe's pocket.
But it was totes-panic for 20min looking for my phone!

C.Moe, Moe, Moe - earlier I went to find Billy Idol's Rebel Yell.
There was this juxtaposition that really bothered me: the now? Oy.

Unclefred - I started doing puzzles >15 years ago. On a good day I could win a Tuesday. Now, Thursdays still vex, Fridays I normally get --- Saturdays are still way above my pay-grade. Some weeks, like this one, I think Rich just has it out for me :-)
Oh, and my outdoor fridge? Just stickers from brew-houses I've visited holds the thing together :-)

LeoIII - ever read Blank Spots on the Map. Or, for even more non-fiction fun: I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed By Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World? I have a first edition of the latter w/ real(ish?) emblems in it!

Astronaughts to the Moon? ;-)
//HG - yes, I know better :-)

Cheers, -T

Anonymous T said...

LeoIII - I forgot to mention Skunkworks about Area51.

I had a buddy that left [REDACTED] AFB to work at Groom Lake. When he came back to visit he said,
"Area51 is really just a big hole.
Us Airmen just hang around the rim smokin' cigarettes and tossing our butts into the hole.
When it's full, we'll move onto Area52."

Sarge was a joker, he was.

-T

Chairman Moe said...

Dash T —> love the Billy Idol videos!

Moe Moe Moe