Apr 16, 2021

Friday, April 16 2021, Mark MacLachlan

Theme: "There ain't no way to hide your lyin' eyes"

TGIF! Hello Cornerites and welcome to the blog. I chose today to inform, delight, and entertain you as best I can for the next 10 minutes or so. So sit back, relax, and enjoy!

First the inform: this was by far the hardest puzzle I've had to solve, not only as your blogger du jour, but perhaps ever. It kicked my skinny white (61-Across. Beast of burden:) ASS.

Second, the delight:

Third, the entertain: (go ahead and take your time; I could only find 6)

On to the puzzle: Today's constructor, Mark MacLachlan, "shifted" into (42-Down; Fifth, often, for a manual transmission:) TOP GEAR on this puzzle straight-away. I must've been having one of those evenings where my brain was in "reverse", as I didn't immediately get either (1-Across; Annie Lennox, e.g.:) SCOT, nor (1-Down; Snooze loudly:) SAW LOGS. I can always sense when a puzzle and I have no connection, and it's usually in the NW Corner. So after a lot of white space I finally looked up several clues to give me a toe hold, and eventually figure out this crossword puzzle. I got the "AHA" moment when I saw the (56-Across; Sign of deceit, and a phonetic hint to four puzzle answers:) "SHIFTY EYES".

All four entries have anagrammed words which change the meaning of the punned clue to a more familiar phrase, merely by shifting the letter "I". Didn't see that coming? Well, please read on . . .

16-Across. Cycling route for Broom Hilda?: WITCH TRAIL. Shift the "EYE" (phoenetic sound for the letter "I") in the word "TRAIL" and you complete the more recognizable phrase, "WITCH TRIAL".

Might this be the WITCH TRAIL she was referring to?

23-Across. Romantic locales for Miss Piggy?: DATING STIES. Put the "I" before the "T" in the word STIES (plural of "STY") and the word "SITES" appears. DATING SITES such as Zoosk, Tinder, eHarmony, Match dot com, et al, are the 21st Century's way of getting folks together, hopefully for romance. The piggies below aren't Muppets characters but they do look like they're in love!!

32-Across. Place to harvest your deepest secrets?: DIARY FARM. Shift the "I" with the "A" in DIARY and the word DAIRY appears. I've heard of a DAIRY FARM, but a DIARY FARM? This clue and solve seemed the "stretchiest" of the four, but it fits. I don't know why but DIARY FARM reminded me of this joke (I found a clean version)

48-Across. Equipment for identifying genuine island wreaths?: LEI DETECTOR. Shift the "E" and the "I" in LEI and the familiar LIE DETECTOR appears. This and 23-Across "tied" for the best of the four entries, IMO. And whilst the image below doesn't use the "DETECTOR" portion of the pun, I thought it appropriate! Wonder if their eggs are already "dyed" for Easter, e.g.?

There's more fill that needs an "I" examination . . . and I'm the lucky blogger today!

5. Phishing, say: SCAM. Since the puzzle's reveal is a homophone why not have one of the early clues be one as well? Had anyone here heard of the word "phishing" before the end of the last century? Moe-ku:

The band known as Phish
Jams like Jerry Garcia.
A Grateful Dead SCAM?
9. Start of many a "Jeopardy!" answer: WHO?. "Please state your answer in the form of a question" was a familiar piece of advice to the contestants playing "Jeopardy".

12. College fund-raising targets: ALUMS. ALUM-NI maybe. ALUMS? I'm gonna pull the grammar card on you, MacLachlan! And if I didn't Yellowrocks would! Here is what grammarly dot com has to say: "Alumni is always the plural. You have alumnus and alumna — or if you don't like gender discrimination, alum — to cover your singular noun bases. Alumnus for a male, alumna for a female, alumni for a group of males or mixed gender, and alumnae for a group of females". I couldn't find ALUMS as a plural for a group of college graduates. . .

However, had Mark used this reference I'd be OK with it: ALUMS: colorless astringent compounds that are a hydrated double sulfate of aluminum and potassium, used in solution medicinally and in dyeing and tanning

14. Flag bearer: POLE. Literally:

15. Crack from the wind, perhaps: CHAP. Wow! This clue and answer had me bamboozled! When I saw the clue this image appeared in my temporal lobe:

18. Instrument featured in "Waltz of the Flowers": HARP. OBOE also fits the letter count. But Tchaikovsky's piece from the Nutcracker features the HARP. Enjoy!

19. Old DJ's array: LPS. Long Playing RecordS. Though most used '45's I think. How about my original image of the Eagles "Take it to the Limit" (Side A) and "Lyin' Eyes" (Side B)?

20. Taper off: ABATE. Moe-ku:

You have just three casts
With a worm; then it becomes
An ABATED bait

21. One-up: OUTDO. Moe-ku:

If two hair stylists
Compete, would you then say they'd
OUTDO their updo's?

22. Bread grain: OAT. I prefer RYE and had that pencilled in for quite awhile

25. Maker of a fine cheddar?: GRATER. Cute clue. On Tuesday we had CHEESE GRATER as part of the "Shift Gears" entries. Did you hear that folks in Wisconsin use the term "Make America GRATE" when referring to their eponymous cheddar cheese?

27. Result of a missed deadline, maybe: LATE FEE. I always equate "LATE FEE" with the charge a library imposes when you forget to return a book on time . . .

28. Eye affliction: STYE. Moe-ku (and a reference to 23-Across):

Miss Piggy's eyes were
Infected after her date.
She got a sty STYE.

29. Sheer linen fabric: TOILE. I actually knew this one, but don't ask me why!

31. Pre-1991 map letters: SSR. Soviet Socialist Republics

36. Part of a Braille character: DOT. Lots of DOTS

39. Like many dad jokes: STALE. I had CORNY and then SILLY before STALE fit. FTR, my "Dad jokes" are not STALE, but they are, sometimes, "fresh"!

40. Italian wine hub: ASTI. ASTI Spumante is a sparkling wine from that region in Italy and is almost always sweet. Where is it you ask? Here, with the ALPS in "repose" . . .

44. Logically flawed: INVALID. IN-VAL'-ID vs IN'-VUHLID: in this case the heteronym chosen by cluing is IN-VAL'-ID

46. Hit, as the gas: STEP ON. Mazda's commercials implore us to STEP ON it. Zoom, zoom!

51. Dungeons & Dragons genre, briefly: RPG. I had no clue. Never played Dungeons & Dragons though I know of it. So Role Playing Game was a complete WAG (Wild Ass Guess)

52. Hungarian mathematician Paul: ERDOS. Paul Erdős (note the umlaut over the "O") (born 26 March 1913 – died 20 September 1996) was a renowned Hungarian mathematician. He was one of the most prolific mathematicians and producers of mathematical conjectures of the 20th century. You knew that, right?

53. Frodo's home, with "the": SHIRE. From "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy

54. Wine statistic: AGE. AGE, as in the period from the vintage year (actual year of the grape's harvest) to when the wine is "ready" for drinking. Some wines "AGE" better than others and is due in part to the grape varietal used (and where it grows), and the winemaker's vinification process. A CSO to yours truly as the blog's resident sommelier

As a side note, I used to buy wines that would AGE gracefully for years, maybe decades. But now that I am at a fairly "advanced" AGE (68) I don't even buy green bananas anymore!!

55. Baskerville Hall setting: MOOR. Baskerville Hall is the ancestral home of the Baskerville family. The place is an impressive manor located in Devonshire, England. Some say it's haunted. The word "MOOR" means: "a tract of open uncultivated upland; a heath". This?

58. Beast of burden: MULE. "Clecho" with 61-Across. "Moe" info: "ASS vs MULE: An ASS is either a male or female donkey. A MULE is the result of breeding between a male donkey and a female horse

59. Massage deeply: ROLF. Massaging technique named for its "inventor", Ida Rolf. Ida Rolf was re-invented in the 1977 movie "Semi-Tough" starring Burt Reynolds, Kris Kristoffersen, and Lotte Lenya as "Clara Pelf". I've posted the video clip of Reynolds getting "pelfed", but if you really want to know about the ROLF technique, click here

60. Workout output: SWEAT. I would imagine that actor Reynolds had a SWEAT or two as he anticipated Lenya's next move during the ROLF/PELF scene

62. Needs to settle: OWES. Hmm. OK it's Friday so the cluing should be a bit tougher. Of course I was thinking that "settle" meant to come to rest. Did I mention before that this was one of the hardest puzzles I've ever solved?

63. Drops the ball: ERRS. CELEBRATES NEW YEAR'S EVE was too many letters to fill this small area . . .

2. Some website images: CLIP ART. Is it one word or two? CLIP ART looks better to my "I" than CLIPART. But I digress . . . guess what folks? We use CLIP ART in our blogs! Clip art are simple pictures and symbols made available for computer users to add to their documents. But once again, my brain's temporal lobe thought up this image and I am pretty sure that "clippers" had a role:

3. Linger longer than, as a welcome: OUTSTAY. I've heard both OUTSTAY and OVERSTAY, but either way, as Ben Franklin said, "Fish and houseguests smell after three days . . ."

4. Film buff's choice: TMC. Turner Classic Movies

5. Jack in a rhyme: SPRAT. "Jack SPRAT would eat no fat, his wife would eat no lean . . ." or something like that

6. Kinkajou cousin: COATI. First off, it would've helped to know what a Kinkajou is! Wikipedia says: "The kinkajou is a tropical rainforest mammal of the family Procyonidae related to olingos, coatis, raccoons, and the ringtail and cacomistle. It is the only member of the genus Potos and is also known as the "honey bear". And now you know

How about a Moe-klu?

Certain Israeli's
ROLFing practice has the name:
"Ida's Kinkajou"


7. Sci-fi subject: ALIEN LIFE. WHO doesn't remember the most eponymous Alien Life Form from the 1986-1990 TV sitcom?

8. First name of two Spice Girls: MEL. Wikipedia says: "The Spice Girls are an English pop girl group formed in 1994. The group comprises Melanie Brown, also known as MEL B ("Scary Spice"), Melanie Chisholm, MEL C ("Sporty Spice"), Emma Bunton ("Baby Spice"), Geri Halliwell ("Ginger Spice"), and Victoria Beckham née Adams ("Posh Spice")

9. Hypotheticals: WHAT IFS. Are there hypothethicals in Jeopardy? For example, ANSWER: "The speed of light." QUESTION (as posed by a contestant): "WHAT IF I say, 'very fast'??

10. Monster Angus Thickburger seller: HARDEE'S. HARDEE'S is a "fast-food" restaurant chain that started as a single facility by Wilbur Hardee in Greenville, NC in 1960. Wikipedia has lots more info than I can type here. FTR, I worked at one of their restaurants in York, PA in the summer between my sophomore and junior year in college. Minimum wage then was $1.65 per hour I think . . .

11. Adversary: OPPOSER. Our visit from the Thesaurussaurus

13. Protect from light: SHADE. I sure hope that no one will "throw" SHADE at me!!

15. Certain jumper's need: CHUTE. Or the equally familiar PARACHUTE. Both are acceptable, but why would you jump out of a perfectly safe airline, e.g.??

17. Way up the slope: T-BAR. Moe-ku:

Ski slopes in England
Are busy at 4:00 PM.
Long lines at T-BAR

Are my "dad jokes" getting a bit too STALE right now??!!!

21. KitchenAid competitor: OSTER. I wanted another Moe-ku (OSTER Oyster) but I'm done for today! Here is an OSTER appliance CLIP ART I found:

24. Apple variety: GALA. GALA apples are a hybrid that originated in New Zealand back in the 1930's. It is one of the more popular varieties and is one I almost always buy. Of course the "clue" today had me thinking of PDA's, and I had IPAD/IPOD/IMAC in mind. Each found their way into the puzzle before I realized it was an orchard fruit variety. Anybody else fall for that?

26. Rocker Nugent: TED. TED Nugent (Theodore Anthony, by birth) gained fame first as a lead guitarist for the band he formed called The Amboy Dukes, but is best known for his solo work. Here is a sample of his guitar prowess:

29. Convention center attraction: TRADE SHOW. If I had a nickel for every TRADE SHOW I attended or worked during my 35+ year career . . . I'd have about $5!!

30. Olive __: OYL. This became a "SHIFTY EYE" for me in a different way . . . I had this answered as OIL (with an I) at first

33. British __: ISLES. Wow, this clue seemed quite easy actually. One of the few spots I filled before cheating

34. Fighting: AT IT. My sister (older) and I were always AT IT when we were kids; we are much more cordial now

35. Astronaut Jemison: MAE. MAE Carol Jemison (October 17, 1956 - ) is an American engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut. She became the first black woman to travel into space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Wikipedia. Love this quote:

36. Word from the Greek for "two assumptions": DILEMMA. Another word I looked up to get a foothold on the Western border of the puzzle. DILEMMA: early 16th century (denoting a form of argument involving a choice between equally unfavorable alternatives): via Latin from Greek dilēmma, from di- ‘twice’ + lēmma ‘premise’. Caught between a rock and a hard spot, perhaps? Or maybe this:

37. Oppressive: ONEROUS.

38. Tube tops?: TV IDOLS. Once again, the "literal" clue appeared - "tube top" - as in the strapless clothing item worn by women; followed closely by the plastic lid one might find on a tube of toothpaste. But it wasn't until I found INVALID (the key "perp") before I knew that "tube" meant the slang word for television, and that "tops" meant stars or IDOLS. Meh. Maybe if they clued it "boob tube tops" I'd have had a chance of getting it the first go around . . .

41. Device that delivers a coat: SPRAYER. I liked this clue! And since we recently had a painting job to do that required a base "coat" (which we applied with a SPRAYER) it was crystal clear

43. Downs: INGESTS. Third person present. INGESTS means to take into the body (food, drink, e.g.) by swallowing; could also mean (with regards to information) "absorbing". As in "they spent their day by INGESTing the contents of the Encyclopedia Brittanica

45. Cherish: ADORE. Another "oldie but goodie":

46. Type: SORT. Got this straight away, too. Dunno why but it just seemed to "fit"

47. Part of a full house, maybe: TREYS. Look carefully: which is the better hand?

49. Easter Island's country: CHILE. Another gimme. See map here. Scroll to show just how far off of the coast of CHILE this island "LEIS". About 2,000 miles I reckon

50. Little disputes: TIFFS. Most of the time when my sister and I were "AT IT" we were having TIFFS

56. Box office sign: SRO. Standing Room Only

57. Female in a field: EWE. This cleu was "meh" for me. EWE?

The Grid: (72 words and 36 blocks - very difficult)



TTP said...

Good morning.

Yesterday I spent a full 15 minutes on the east side because I didn't know Kacey, couldn't recall umbra and because it took a while to workout and recall Chrissy's last name as Snow. Today I solved the puzzle in less than 15 minutes.

Spent more time on the review than the puzzle. Great write-up, Moe. I might have spent 15 minutes trying to find the diff's in the beach scene in your proem.

Scheduling error ? Oh well. On to other challenges.

Lizza said...

Good morning everyone! Very chilly but beautiful morning, 32 degrees. Beautiful sky, beautiful spring day.

I can’t believe I’m the first person to check in today.

I really enjoyed this puzzle, got the theme early.

What I didn’t get was rolf and coati, they filled in ok. Wanted exposition before trade show. Apple choices were many, first choice was Fuji.

Finishing up the home reno is coming soon. Happiest day lately was having washer and dryer reinstalled after 6 weeks.

And on the topic of car gear shifts. We just turned in our car for a new one. The gear shift is on a round dial where the gear shift normally would be. Very different, I’ll get used to it.

Thanks CM, your critiques are delightful!

Best wishes to all.

Lizza said...

Sorry TTP. You were ahead of me. You’re an earlier bird than I am

Anonymous said...

I agree the puzzle was hard. A lot of misdirection to deal with. Loved the differences puzzle. Much easier than the crossword.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

It rained last night, so SoddenLink went down. It just came back moments ago. Gotta love 'em. They've been down for at least an hour every day this week. "Dependable" isn't a word in their lexicon.

Figured Annie Lennox was an ALTO. Nope. Have I mentioned that I really hate it when I get 1a wrong? Still, this one turned out to be easier than your average Friday puz -- sorry C-Moe, gotta disagree with you. Learned COATI years ago when Mr. Greenjeans brought one onto the Captain Kangaroo show...many years ago. CSO to moi with "old D-J." Assumed that GALA was the name of an IPOD model, like the Nano. Learning moment. Learning moment #2 -- there are Rocket Propelled Grenades in Dungeons and Dragons. Thanx for the exercise, Mark, and for the sterling expo, C-Moe.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Challenging puzzle, thanks Mark Mac, altho I didn't find it as hard as Moe thought it was. Wow, Moe, you really OUTdid yourself on the blog. Good ones. Love the Eagles' "Lyin'Eyes". My girls used to sing it in lovely harmony.

38a tube tops. I thought of one of our local stations which has several "well-endowed" women news anchors & weather forecasters who wear clingy knit dresses. They bring new meaning to the term "boob tube"!

DNK: RPG, Chile, DILEMMA, ERDOS, SHIRE. Last to fill: 1a SCOT -- don't know who is Annie Lenox & 1d SAWLOGS ESP.

Lemur before COATI. vOILE B4 TOILE. Tournament B4 TRADESHOW. My son goes to a lot of those in his truck business.

I resisted putting in STIES because Miss Piggy is too classy for DATING in those.

Hand up for My favorite clue as SPRAYER. Took me several passes & perps to catch on.

Anonymous said...

Needed 11:06 to complete this one.

"Hungarian mathematician..." is never a good start to any clue. Also, I don't like "TV idols" for "tube tops". Tube for tv? Sure, no problem. But, idols for tops? Not a good pairing.
Other than those two, it was a good puzzle.

Annie Lennox has an amazing voice.

Hungry Mother said...

I found this very easy due to a very useful theme. Everything in my wheelhouse today.

Anonymous said...

Liked the puzzle, but I had SPAM in place of SCAM for the phishing clue, and I did not know COATI.

Met Paul Erdos when he worked with a professor at our school and gave a short talk.

ATLGranny said...

Well, surprise! I got a FIR today after a very slow start. I think STYE was my first fill with confidence. But then little by little the puzzle was less intimidating and began to make sense. CHAP was slow to understand for me too, C Moe, but then I thought of winter winds and chapped skin. (CHAPstick to the rescue for lips.) Saw the theme before the reveal when I got DATING STIES. Good, fun puzzle you made for us today, Mark. And super review, C Moe.

Had a few WOs as I puzzled my way through: lift/T BAR, cds/LPS (not old enough) and OiL/OYL (Hi, C Moe). But still, I found them in time and have a FIR. I'm celebrating and hope you all have a celebratory weekend coming up.

Big Easy said...

Moe I'm glad you cleared up DATING STIES for me. I FIR but the other SHIFTY "I"s were with a vowel. My brain didn't click on SITES. Duh!

Mark- a tough, ONEROUS puzzle for me that lead to a few dead ends I had to back out of. My AMANA became OSTER. I have Kitchen Aid dishwasher, microwave, & double oven, an Amana refrigerator, but wouldn't consider my OSTER blender a competitor since OSTER only makes small appliances. Olive OIL became OYL, the Phishing email went from SPAM to SCAM, and my SPATS were TIFFS.

My toughest fill was TV IDOLS crossing the unknown ERDOS. CHAP was a close second.
RPG- Rocket Propelled Grenade-I know. Role Playing Game- not known by me. perps.
ROLF-only knew of it from a previous crossword puzzle
I knew Annie Lennox was a singer but SCOT was perps.
INGESTS- because imbibes and inhales wouldn't work.
Kinkajou- didn't know if it was a fruit, vegetable, or animal-COATI was perps after changing SPAM to SCAM.
The apple variety? ROME, FUJI, I MAC and finally GALA

Lucina said...


No. Not that hard. A bit challenging, yes, but once the long themers fill, it's not too difficult to work from them. it's a bit like hanging clothes on a line.

I knew HARDEES from visiting in North Carolina and it's the only place I've seen them.

Recently Paul ERDOS appeared in a different puzzle. Did I remember? Of course not!

DILEMMA next to ONEROUS delighted me.

VOILE gave way to TOILE, hi PK.

One big ERRor, RPG since I have absolutely no knowledge of D&D. I had RWG and TOWGEAR made sense to me. SHIRE surprised me when it emerged because Frodo's home is unknown to me but I've encountered SHIRE in many British novels.

Otherwise a so-so puzzle for a Friday but superbly reviewed by CMoe! Thank you! And thank you for the Eagles.

Enjoy a fabulous Friday, everyone!

Oas said...

Good morning all.

Great puzzle and write up . Thanks MM and CM.

Had to change Voile to TOILE in order to make TRADESHOW work. The rest came together ok without canges .

I was like PK not wanting to put Miss Piggy in the sty.

Crossword was a good workout . I had to start with WHO and work my way down . Got to SHIFTYEYES and the game was on . Ended up at SCOT and TMC .

Wishing all a great weekend . We used to check in on MIL regularly years ago and when we asked how things were she invariably replied “ As usual every day Sunday”. We go on drives and walks to break the monotony during these restrictive nearly lock down times.


Bob Lee said...

Although the NW and SW corners stumped me for a bit, I didn't think it was that difficult (for a Friday).

Also tried ALTO for the first clue.

My favorite answer: LEI DETECTOR. LOL!!

I think I read once that Paul Erdos would randomly show up at other mathematicians' houses unannounced to stay with them for a few days to work on some math problems.

Oas said...

Ettu Lucina? Voile TOILE

Anonymous said...

As per Merv Griffin's idea for the show, the answers are on the board and the contestants provide the questions, hence no answers would start with "who". Maybe to technical but still.

Husker Gary said...

-What a hoot! Seeing the letter switch in the second word on the first two gimmicks made me look at DAIRY FARM a long time before AHA! While that was in my mental hopper I quickly ERRED by putting LEIS at the end of the next theme entry.
-Annie Lennox was an ALTO but “Who am I to disagree” that she was also a SCOT?
-Note to self: Koala starts with a “K” but COATI does not
-The Waltz Of The Flowers was a lovely interlude, Moe!
-RPG/MPG – Multi Player Game didn’t cut it
-I well remember my first CLIP ART
-Our HARDEES got shelled on FaceBook for bad service and moldy bread and now is always empty
-CHUTE filled in and my first jumper thought was of a bucking bronco in a rodeo. No harm, no foul.
-The statues on Easter Island are fodder for ancient astronaut advocates

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

For a Friday, the easy-to-parse theme helped a lot. I figured out LEIDETECTOR without a perp. But still FIW...Had TOeGEAR crossed with ReG. Forgot RPG from earlier puzzles. (How about enuff with the gears).

Not sure cherish and ADORE are the same. How did I never know Easter Island was part of CHILE? STYES and STIES in the same puzzle. Was tempted to put Borden for the bovine burgers company but that seemed cruel. HARDEE'S was perpwalked. A Jeopardy "answer", more accurately, a reponse, should be a "question". A philosophical DILEMMA 🤔. So a MOOR is a heath. (What's a heath?). I have a cousin named MEL, short for Carmela. Like Big E, think of Kitchen Aide as large appliances but the usual answer Amana wouldn't work.

Annie Lennox has such a clear beautiful singing voice so I was shocked (why I should have been I don't know) when she spoke with a thick Scots accent during an interview years ago. Kinda like I'm surpised when Nicole Kidman speaks in her normal Aussie accent.

I just automatically put oboe, it's always the answer (not this time) but neither was horn/HARP. GALA apples are OK, prefer Braeburn 🍎(and my Ipad). Tulle/TOILE another repetitive mistake. Add MAE's name to that.

What attracts fish.....ABATE.
How many ____ in a typical British theater?..ISLES.
More bashful.....SHIRE.

Great write up CM

The Outback all loaded up for the 4 hr trip to visit the kids in Massachusetts for a few days. DW packs like we are leaving the country.

🚙....and ...away.....we.....go...

waseeley said...

Thank you Mark and thank you Moe for another stellar review. Surprisingly, except for a little crunch in the NE, I found this smooth sailing for a Friday FIR.

As a trusting soul I didn't pick up on the theme until Moe 'splained it. ADORED all the theme PUNS, especially Ms Piggy's favorite website.

Most of the fill was known to me (one person's trash is another person's trivia!), except for 10D which I initially answered as HARPERS, completely missing the BURGER and thinking it was a child's monster story. I proceeded through the rest of puzzle, but eventually got back up there to reckon with "OUTPO" and "LATEEFRE".

Thank you Moe for the Moe-kus and musical accompaniments. Loved the joke about the ventriloquist and the LYIN' EWES.


Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

CM - I found the 10 differences. Puzzle was harder.
I wasn't on Mark's wavelength either, so, used more white-out than usual. Top half took awhile; incl. 3 pauses. Finally was able to stitch the NE together and it was done - right. Got the theme idea with LEI DETECTOR. DNK ERDOS; thought of Euler but think he's Swiss. HARDEES was a WAG. Had 'rye' before OAT. Much of the solve had me on the horns of a DILEMMA
TIFF - an artificer in the Australian Navy and some other military entities.
MOOR - German Moor. I grew up hearing about "Moorland" (which was common in my parents' homeland between the North and Baltic Seas.)

Thanks CM for a fine intro. I agree with you about today's tough solve.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @9:31 while you were out picking nits, is it too much to expect you to use too instead of to?

Malodorous Manatee said...

I am still experiencing internet problems at the house but can use my cellphone when away from home (where I use an internet-based micro tower due to very poor cellphone reception). Grasped the theme pretty quickly and that helped quite a bit. Very thorough and extremely entertaining write up, CM.

Anonymous said...

Surprised no mention of "The Hound of the Baskervilles", probably best known Sherlock Holmes story for non-Holmesaphiles.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I found this less difficult than a typical Friday, but it had enough crunch, all the same. Erdos and Chile were the only unknowns but I, like others went astray at Voile/Toile. I caught the gimmick early on but the revealer was a surprise Aha moment. Diary Farm was the weakest themer and Witch Trail was the strongest, IMO. Style/Sties was a little jarring, but I liked Mule above Ass. Overall, a smooth solve.

Thanks, Mark, for a fun challenge and thanks, Moe, for the entertaining and informative write-up. As always, your links, visuals, and Moe-kus were as enjoyable as your lively commentary. I especially like the Difference Pictures and found all ten.

Oas @ 9:00 ~ My mother’s reply to that question was, invariably, Fair to middling’.

Ray O @ 9:35 ~ Safe trip and enjoy your visit!


Anon T, congrats to daughter #2. Has she decided on college yet?

Have a great day.

Irish Miss said...

Stye/Sties. I wish autocorrect would butt out!

Oas, just to be more clear, I was referring to the question you asked your MIL.

NaomiZ said...

I *loved* Mark's puzzle, and laughed out loud at Moe's blog, which did indeed "inform, delight, and entertain" me. I am sure that the pressure of solving for everyone else made it harder for you, Moe. I was able to FIR, although I had no idea where Easter Island was, and was ignorant of Paul ERDOS.

Some familiar items were slow to recall. My son played lots of D&D growing up -- which I promoted because it involved imagination and *reading* -- but RPG slowed me down. SHIRE was another one that took a bit, although I was very fond of _The Hobbit_.

Fantastic Friday! I'm going to go start the challah. Shabbat shalom!

Yellowrocks said...

I was on Mark's wavelength today. All the puns and misdirections made it fun and were easily sussed. Yay, Mark! ERDOS was all perps.
I soon dove to the bottom and worked upwards. LEI DETECTOR was easy and gave away the theme. I soon had EYES.
Great blog, Moe. Since you asked me, I believe ALUM and ALUMS are much used slang. Google slang agrees, "A little over a hundred years ago the shortened form of alum began to be used to describe a graduate or past attendee of either gender. Although many people feel that alum is informal, it is in increasing use, and we appear to be moving toward a greater acceptance of the word. The plural of alum is alums."
I have not heard SAW LOGS since I was a kid. The meaning is snoring as loud as a buzz saw.
My thesaurus gives adore as the first synonym for cherish.
We have a Hardees here. Great onion rings.
I process Alan's food in a Ninja blender. He is longing for "real" food.

oc4beach said...

Friday, Friday not so good to me. I didn't get the theme until it was too late to help solve the puzzle. I liked it though. And Moe's enjoyable tour actually took longer than solving the puzzle because I had to stop and enjoy each of the songs and graphics. I did find all 10 items, but it took a minute or two.

I'll finish later. I'm losing my vision because of a Migraine onset.

Oas said...

Caught that but thanks.

Anonymous said...

The cluing felt harder than normal. Just hard to see the joy here.A tough puzzle so yeah, it was a grind. Some of the fill was not great.

Oas said...

Sorry to hear of your dilemma. DW has those kinds of migraines. Her doctor told her years ago that the vision problems were a kind of migraine. Luckily there’s no headache involved, only tiredness and vision issues. These episodes are becoming less frequent as time goes by, and a bit of rest and maybe a nap will usually take care of it.

Lucina said...

Safe travels! I hope you can contact us while on the road otherwise I'll miss your SIN-onyms.

Loved your use of DILEMMA!

I am so sorry you are experiencing migraines. I understand the pain is excruciating.

Misty said...

A Friday toughie, but a very enjoyable one--many thanks, Mark. And loved all your pictures, Chairman Moe. Irish Miss, I too found all 10 of the Difference Picture differences.

Like Bob Lee, and possibly others, my favorite clue was the one that gave us LEI DETECTOR. (My least favorite, I have to admit, was DIARY FARM.) And, yes, I too was conflicted about OIL versus OYL, and sadly put OIL until the down across corrected it.

PK, I loved your remark about Miss Piggy being too classy to live in a STYE.

Have a good weekend coming up, everybody.

staili said...

Chairman Moe, I think you and I were on the same wavelength around this puzzle! I also had corny and then silly before STALE, and I also thought about woodwinds for "crack from the wind." I was trying to figure out whether there was a wood for a cracked note from a musical instrument for way too long!

Some interesting trivia: Paul ERDOS is probably best known outside mathematical circles for the Erdos number. He was so prolific and collaborated with so many people that the Erdos number is a measure of how many degrees of separation an academic has from Erdos by co-authorship on papers. According to Wikipedia, his influence is so widespread that mathematicians' Erdos number is the lowest, but the Nobel winners in Economics, Chemistry, Physics and Medicine also have low Erdos numbers as well.

Wendybird said...

Very tough puzzle for me, but I still enjoyed it due to clever theme and lots of sparkly fill. I fell into the same holes as others, LPS/CDS, VOILE/TOILE. But I made an error no one else reported - quickly put SPAM, and thought kinkajou must be some sort of Pokemon character, hence POATI instead of COATI. Major head slap.

Years ago I went through a series of Rolf sessions - once in a lifetime is enough!

Ch. Moe, thanks for entertaining tour. I saved the entre nous cartoon. My mother used to say, when telling me something that must remain private, “This is strictly entre nous”. Also, Jack and I named our favorite sailboat Entre Nous.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

CrossEyedDave said...

A lot of unknowns, but perpable with a little work.

I went looking for some funny shifty eyes,
But the page that loaded was full of shifty eye GIFs
And crashed my iPad...

You only got 6 differences?
They are:
1branch twig
2bathing suit color
6 spade/shovel
8suntan lotion flip top/sprayer
9pillow/roll direction

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Thank you Mark for a fun puzzle. North and SE fell quickly but then I thought I was going to 'DNF it' in the SW. But, when I committed to TV IdolS, the DELIMMA was over. I don't know why MULE was so burdensome to come to mind.

What TTP said, C. Moe. Took longer to read the expo (I found 7 - CED: 8-10 I missed) than do the puzzle.
//BTW, if those hands are in the same game, someone's getting a bullet for putting an extra Two of Clubs in the deck.

And thank you for the Shifting EYEs (I's) enlightenment - that part of the theme went right over me head. (I was just enjoying the puns)

WOs: COATe, Olive OYe (brain fart), wanted sPats b/f TIFFS (I inked the P waiting for anything to perp).
ESPs: MEL, MAE, ROLF (which I was sure was wrong), ERDOS (sounds like an Operating System - and I kept thinking, "What's Pauli's first name? Wait, no, Mark specified Mathematician...").

Fav: c/a GRATER

Anyone else stuck thinking, "what goes on Top of the TV? DVR, doily, antenna? Nothing starts with an 'I'."
Idol was a leap of faith.

Lizza - that's wonderful that the reno is coming to order.

BigE - KitchenAid also makes stand-mixers and food-processors; I have 'em.

D-O: I also learned was a SCOT and not an alto. LOL RPGs!
//I played a lot of D&D in my ute but my 1st thought was MUD -- Multi-User Dungeons
(on-line RPGs).

waseleey - today I'm hot|cold|hot|cold. I want to just sleep but I keep waking myself when I rollover to my left side (where I got the shot - it hurts!).

IM - Youngest wants a law degree from a private institution and I'm like "no, no, no... you get the same $$$ your sister did."
So, she's going to the community college where DW teaches (Youngest got into DW's Honors college (no, DW was NOT on the committee for that)) and then I'll pay handsomely for the two years after that.
The CC route keeps her home for another 2 years, so that's nice.

Cheers, -T

Steven M. said...

To CrossEyed Dave,

There is an 11th difference in the "Find 10 differences" cartoon: a squiggle in the sand at the extreme left, independent of the sand castle.

unclefred said...

I agree w/ Moe and several others that this was a Saturday or Sunday CW. FIR, but took 32 minutes and a few “cheats” in looking up the answer, like 52a. SPRAYER occurred to me immediately for some reason, and with TOPGEAR and INGEST perped RPG, which I had no idea what it meant until Moe ‘splained it to me. OSTER I’m familiar with, I have several of their products which I find to be top quality, including a blender that is about 30 years old and still works fine. I took the time and found all ten differences. A whole lot easier than this challenging CW. Thanx (I think) Mark for the challenge. I figured out the theme immediately with WITCHTRAIL, and still struggled with this CW. Outstanding write-up, Chairman Moe, as always!! Thanx for all the time and effort. Now for a brief siesta, then time for TGIF in my favorite saloon.

Ol' Man Keith said...

A solid PZL for a Friday, tough but completely doable.
The SHIFTY EYES theme was fun!

A 3-way on the far side.
Difficult to extract a decent anagram today because each of the three diagonals is either exclusively (or near-so) vowel or consonants.
The best option is the top line, offering three "O"s among its consonants. This allows a brief anagram (9 of 15 letters), a contemplation or meditation on divinity...

Chairman Moe said...

Puzzling thoughts:

IIRC, the day (make that the evening) when I first looked at and started to solve this puzzle, I may have been a bit “overserved” 🥃🥃 Our dear friend and fellow blogger Malodorous Manatee has turned me to the “dark side” of whisky drinking, and I’m pretty sure I was well into my second or third dram by then ..

But I digress ... CED —> the “find the differences” cartoon was obviously just as difficult for me as the puzzle was 🤪😂. But thanks for sharing the answers; I did give up after finding just 6!

Yellowrocks —> Margaret (my SO) agrees with you that ALUMs is an OK plural ... we can disagree though as I’ll pass on using ALUMS and still use ALUMNI/ALUMNAE for describing school graduates

To all others —> thanks for your comments. It’s interesting how some of us (Spitzboov, e.g., as well as I) struggled with this puzzle while others found it quite easy. Echoing d-otto’s comment, I too find crossword puzzles much more fun when the NW corner (1-Across) is relatively easy or definitively solvable. The choice between ALTO and SCOT is fine further into the grid. The clue should lead you to one answer in that spot ...

Have a great weekend! We are enjoying some really nice weather right now; 80 deg with about 15% humidity. Hoping it stays this way through the end of the month but our newspaper is already soliciting guesses as to when the mercury will reach 110+. Last year we hit that in the first week of May!

AnonymousPVX said...

This was a crunchy Friday go.

Lots of snow, this not a lot of

Write-overs...AMC/TMC, OBOE/HARP,

I also did not care for 38D, seemed a stretch.

I guess I’m showing my age.. 51A could have been clued...”old computer language.” Report Program Generator. Now I feel old.

Then again, Monday is my birthday.

Stay safe.

AnonymousPVX said...

This = thus. Geez.

Lucina said...

I feel your pain, re: college tuition. Luckily I had only one and she managed to find some grants for 1) female 2) minority person 3) excellent grades. However, she paid most of her own way for the Master's degree. Now her daughter #2 is a senior and checking out universities. She will start at Community College.

Best of luck to your daughter.

Lucina said...

I can find only 8 differences. Did anyone find all 10?

Yellowrocks said...

38 D tube tops = TV IDOLS. TV used to be called the tube and the TOP stars are idols. I thought it was cute.

Chairman Moe said...

Lucina @ 4:20

According to CED, here are the 10 differences:

1 branch twig
2 bathing suit color
3 flippers
4 sandals
5 sand castle
6 spade/shovel
7 book
8 suntan lotion flip top/sprayer
9 pillow/roll direction
10 sunglasses

BTW, aren't you enjoying this brief period of lower temp's? It's absolutely delightful outside right now - 3:00 and 82 degrees and no humidity

CrossEyedDave said...

Steven M @ 11:49 said
There are 11 differences ...!


Establishment said there were 10,
So, I only looked for 10...

Steven is right!
There is 11!

The squiggly line!

I don't know if I should be more worried that
The establishment is screwing with us,
Or that there is some one more OCD than me...

CrossEyedDave said...


Could there be twelve!

I am sorry, but I may not get t9 the Saturday puzzle
Until I find the 12th difference...

But what if there are 13!?..

No, that would be bad luck,
There must be fourteen...


AndyHat said...

Correction: TMC = The Movie Channel. Turner Classic Movies is TCM. Too many movie channels.

waseeley said...

-T @1:17 pm. Yeah both DW and moi have slight fevers (99-100). Our niece, who is an RN recommended lots of H2O and we've be drinking lots of it. Seems to be having a cooling effect, but haven't measured temp. We've also been taking single caps of Xtra strength Tylenol every 4 hrs or so. It's really nothing to whine about though.

waseeley said...

AnonPVX @2:56 pm You're the first person I've met in a Coon's Age who coded in "Read Punch & Grunt". We also used the closely related Mark IV. My first IT gig was in an Academic Computing Center and it had Heinz 57 Varieties of languages. As a consequence I was BAD in all of them!

waseeley said...

CED @5:56 pm A lot of the clouds didn't line up either.

Lucina said...

Thank you. I had not counted the roll's direction.

I just saw one of the best movies I've ever seen about Jesus and I have seen many! It's "Risen" with Joseph Fiennes who is a brilliant actor. Usually those movies are either sappy, over-emoted, too sentimental or just badly acted. This one was just right, IMO.

Yes, this is one of the best spring times in recent memory. In the past few years the temperatures have been too hot too early. It's been beautiful and seems to be staying that way for the foreseeable weeks.

Anon Wilbur said...

Wilbur here. I'm on a borrowed cellphone. Mine seems kaput. Time for a new one anyhoo.

MOORS. For Baskerville Hall should have popped quicker. I immediately thought of the "Meres of Morthland" from JRR*

RPG was familiar from using a millennial. D&D was a pre-online activity

I had to solve online. I forgot to bring the xw insert up to Dunellon. Even with interruptions it was 33(net 20). First FIR since Monday.


*The Mounds of Mundberg. I'll paste it in on next comment. Anon,I think the Sherlock connection might have been too obvious because of the movie

Anon Wilbur said...

We heard of the horns in the hills ringing,
the swords shining in the South-kingdom,
Steeds went striding to the Stoningland
as wind in the morning. War was kindled.
There Théoden fell, Thengling mighty,
to his golden halls and green pastures
in the Northern fields never returning,
high lord of the host. Harding and Guthláf,
Dúnhere and Déorwine, doughty Grimbold,
Herefara and Herubrand, Horn and Fastred,
fought and fell there in a far country:
in the Mounds of Mundburg under mould they lie
with their league-fellows, lords of Gondor.
Neither Hirluin the Fair to the hills by the sea,
nor Forlong the old to the flowering vales
ever, to Arnach, to his own country
returned in triumph; nor the tall bowmen,
Derufin and Duilin, to their dark waters,
meres of Morthond under mountain-shadows.
Death in the morning and at day's ending
lords took and lowly. Long now they sleep
under grass in Gondor by the Great River
Grey now as tears, gleaming silver,
red then it rolled, roaring water:
foam dyed with blood flamed at sunset;
as beacons mountains burned at evening;
red fell the dew in Rammas Echor.