FRIDAY, Jan. 22, 2010 — Fred Jackson III

THEME: "Blah Humbug!" — Add an "L" (after an initial "B"), get a wacky phrase

Uh ... OK, I guess. Feel like the LAT relies way, way, way too much on the add-a-letter gimmick. Today, a couple of the theme answers are cute esp. BLEAT THE RAP. For whatever reason, it took me a little while to pick up the theme, as BLANK ROBBER didn't register quickly. SW gave me the most trouble, first because I mysteriously had BLANK LEA- instead of BLAND LEA- (and ORK for ORD didn't raise alarms, as it's a reasonable, and much better, answer), and second because everything S of RIATA (exc. DER) was clued oddly / toughly. Difficulty seemed very much in line with the typical Friday LAT. Low-mid 6s for me.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Scrabble cheat? (BLANK ROBBER)
  • 11D: Perform a sheepish hip-hop number? (BLEAT THE RAP)
  • 25D: Boring boss? (BLAND LEADER)
  • 53A: Singer who loves flashy jewelry? (BLING CROSBY)

[This is where "BLING" comes from ... 1999]

What I really like about this puzzle: the entire SE. FLY SOLO (41D: Achieve a piloting milestone) and CALYPSO (48A: Caribbean music genre) give that corner serious flair, BRO' (56D: Pal). YES they do.

Crosswordese 101: DER (61A: "___ Rosenkavalier": Strauss opera) — the oldest of old skool clues for DER — a clue/answer I learned in my early days of solving the NYT under the editorial tutelage of Eugene T. Maleska. Feels like I haven't seen this exact clue in a while (where I feel like I used to see it in every other puzzle back in the day). There is a very accomplished young crossword constructor named Kevin DER.

What else?

  • 63D: Ninnies (YO-YOS) — I had DODOS; that hurt a little.
  • 10D: Pendant pair (EAR DROPS) — I have a hard time accepting this answer. Had EARRINGS, of course. Considered EAR HOOPS. EAR DROPS are things I put *in* my dog's ears if she has, say, mites.
  • 32A: Solution for a bad hair day (HAT) — I had GEL.
  • 51D: Org. with the Chicago Sky and Seattle Storm (WNBA) — misread this as a clue about a radio station ... WNBC! Maybe? No.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Everything Else — 1A: Golf relative? (JETTA); 6A: Camp sight (CANOE); 11A: A favorite is a good one (BET); 14A: Liquid fat (OLEIN); 15A: "The Audacity of Hope" author (OBAMA); 16A: Language of Southeast Asia (LAO); 17A: Scrabble cheat? (BLANK ROBBER); 19A: Cause of star wars? (EGO); 20A: Isn't on the level (SLOPES); 21A: Put one's cards on the table (DEALT); 23A: Doctor's order (LAB TEST); 26A: Babbles (PRATES); 27A: White Rabbit's cry (I'M LATE); 28A: "Like, wow!" ("FAR OUT!"); 30A: Antiquated alpine apparatus (T-BAR); 31A: Curl beneficiary, informally (BICEP); 32A: Solution for a bad hair day (HAT); 35A: Rooster's mate (HEN); 36A: Moisturizer target (DRYNESS); 38A: Printemps follower (ÉTÉ); 39A: Traffic reg. (ORD.); 40A: Miss Muffet, before the spider showed up (EATER); 41A: E-mail heading word (FROM); 42A: Stay a while (LINGER); 44A: Viselike device (C-CLAMP); 46A: Future doctor's project (THESIS); 48A: Caribbean music genre (CALYPSO); 49A: Oater prop (RIATA); 50A: Low areas (SWALES); 52A: Stop (END); 53A: Singer who loves flashy jewelry? (BLING CROSBY); 58A: Bartender's concern (AGE); 59A: Leave alone (LET BE); 60A: Piercing look (GLARE); 61A: "__ Rosenkavalier": Strauss opera (DER); 62A: "The Federalist" component (ESSAY); 63A: Ninnies (YO-YOS); 1D: Position (JOB); 2D: Wright wing, maybe (ELL); 3D: Break fluid? (TEA); 4D: Old West badge (TIN STAR); 5D: Low sock (ANKLET); 6D: Take for one's own use (CO-OPT); 7D: French friar (ABBÉ); 8D: Catches (NABS); 9D: East Ender's flat ('OME); 10D: Pendant pair (EAR DROPS); 11D: Perform a sheepish hip-hop number? (BLEAT THE RAP); 12D: Boston College athlete (EAGLE); 13D: Whistle sounds (TOOTS); 18D: American Beauty, e.g. (ROSE); 22D: Agua, across the Pyrenees (EAU); 23D: Collectible print, briefly (LITHO); 24D: Fossilized resin (AMBER); 25D: Boring boss? (BLAND LEADER); 26D: Wash. title (PRES.); 28D: More delicate (FINER); 29D: Andy Roddick, at times (ACER); 31D: Data measure (BYTE); 33D: Tiny quantities (ATOMS); 34D: A conductor might pick it up (TEMPO); 36D: Subject to contradiction (DENIABLE); 37D: Tattered duds (RAGS); 41D: Achieve a piloting milestone (FLY SOLO); 43D: Suffix with Mao (-IST); 44D: Math class, briefly (CALC); 45D: Service providers? (CLERGY); 46D: Its gradual loss leads to baldness (TREAD); 47D: Depend (on) (HINGE); 48D: Shrewd (CAGEY); 50D: Convenes (SITS); 51D: Org. with the Chicago Sky and Seattle Storm (WNBA); 54D: Paris article (LES); 55D: Utter (SAY); 56D: Pal (BRO); 57D: "May I help you?" ("YES?").


GLowe said...

Have to smile - PG pre-vitrioled a theme for me, as an incredible favor a while back.

I got a big thumbs down for adding an ... L, after a .... B, creating whacky phrases. (amongst other small problems in fairness)

Still, I like the puzzle, but surprised at the difficulty level.

Rex Parker said...

I don't understand that comment at all. "Incredible favor?" "Whacky?" "problems in fairness?" You might try providing some kind of context.

Friend of Dorothy said...

Thanks for the write up Rex - I didn't know DER Rosenkavalier had a lesbian theme.

imsdave said...

6 minutes for Rex, 12 for me. I think that's about as close as I've ever gotten to one of his times.

Definitely a pleasant solve.


Loved the puzzle today! Really had to work it. Only one lookup, Boston athlete. Other than that, several erasures because I was sure it was earrings not eardrops and dryskin not dryness. I think it took me a good 40 mins to solve but they were thoroughly enjoyable!

Orange said...

3:39 for me, on a par with other Friday LATs.

I looked up "ear drops" in the dictionary. It told me that two-word ear drops are what Rex gives his dog for mites, and that one-word eardrops are hanging earrings. I had not known this, though I feel EARDROPS were clued as earrings before and felt "off" then, too.

I can't help seeing a mystery in here. The perp is the DENIABLE EATER and I suspect he or she killed the ACER in a fit of rage because the tennis world never calls anyone an "acer." The Deniable Eater may also target ALERs and NLERs.

Parsan said...

Harder than most. NE was my downfall because I stuck with earrings too long; EAR DROPS=ear aches to me. Never heard anyone say "I'm wearing ear drops".

Got the theme early with BLANK ROBBER and BLAND LEADER, so the BL had to be BLING CROSBY which made canny CAGEY.

No longer a skier but didn't know a T BAR is antiquated. What is used currently?

Traffic reg. ORD (ordinance?) filled in but I don't know what it means. Why is Roddick the only ACER we get in puzzles? I know that's his strength but there are others.

Briefly had adopt for CO-OPT then saw OBAMA. Wanted tress for TREAD (best clued word) but DER coun't be denied.

Thanks Rex.

Van55 said...

Had EARRINGS for EARDROPS for a time and ASSES for YOYO's. Once these errors were fixed, the rest came fairly easily. Just the right amount of resistance.

Ego Patrol said...

Orange is much faster than Rex, who is very fast, and who is twice as fast as imsdave, who is also pretty fast.

Orange said...

And then there's Dan Feyer, who did the Wednesday and Thursday LAT puzzles in 1:43 and 1:46, but has not posted his Friday time yet. Probably still under 2:00. You see why I can make the top 10 at the ACPT but not the top 3? There's that gulf between Tyler/Dan/Trip/Al/Howard and the rest of us.

Reality Bites said...

I'm slower then Dave (my time 20-25minutes) and much slower then Rex and doing a different puzzle then Orange.

I do admit to a crush on Wynona Ryder even to this day, whiy isn't she more often seen in crosswords?

mac said...

@Ego Patrol: I'm about 1.5 minutes behind IMS Dave.

I liked the puzzle, favorite theme answer Bling Crosby. Of course I expected a rapper there. Had to go through the first lines of the nursery rhyme to get "eater". Eardrops are probably an oldfashiond term. Some of my clients call anything dangly "drops" (I mean in the jewelry business).

Some fun clues, like for Jetta and dealt. Enough bite to make it a LAT Friday.

Just almost finished the Fireball puzzle. Will I ever really finish one?

rosief said...

And I'm just glad to finish without googling! Some hit and miss in this one for me, too, those darn EARRINGS.
@parsan t-bars are still used in Europe, but here in the States it's all chair lifts and gondolas.
I loved the Bling Crosy, too!

John said...

I drove myself crazy trying to remember EARBOBS from that OTHER puzzle. And isnt the shape TEARDROP?

lit.doc said...

Today’s puzzle made me wish more than ever that I could run the clock while solving. The school district’s Big Brother filters block the LAT though, oddly, none of the others, and too many interruptions during school to just watch the clock. I found this one to be harder-than-usual LAT, but in a good way.

Shredded NW, got the L thing with BLANK ROBBER (cute) which shot BLAND LEADER into SW, and then hit that big SW-NE diagonal like it was a blick wall. Found some traction in SE, filled it, but still lots of white space down the diagonal.

Worked through it, NE to SW, with 46D the last fix. Along the way, BED REST before LAB TEST, WILEY before CAGEY (ooooh, right next to WNBA), and EARRINGS before EARDROPS (oh please). I soooo wanted 46D to be HAIR, but when I first *thought* I was finished had TREID (WTF?), due to HENCE (which was due to REATA, the Spanish spelling) and ICE instead of AGE. Fixed and done. Fun.

lit.doc said...

@mac and anyone else who subscribed to Fireball CWs, I'm sitting here with 23 white squares and, so far, only using Check All for help. Gonna take one more shot at it after I finish the NYT puzzle. Those tectonic plates at top and bottom are pretty amazing!

One-armed Dave said...

I love the puzzle and the blog. Bling Crosby is my fav. I can't even read the clues in 3:00, so I'm happy at about 30:00.


What? No crosswordese?
Fred did a masterful job of avoiding this, using fresh new fill words and clues.
For me, this was a very enjoyable weekend level puzzle. Once I got BLANK ROBBER the "Get-the-L-out-of-here" theme was obvious and off I sailed. Surprisingly it was a fast solve after that. Liked the pun clues, like...
"Golf relative" (JETTA)
"Scrabble cheat" (BLANK ROBBER)
"White Rabbit's cry" (I'M LATE)
"Curl beneficiary" (BICEP)
"Wright wing" (ELL)
"East ender's flat" (OME)
"Its gradual loss leads to baldness" (TREAD)

Did you notice... there were very few cheap pluralizations?

A better clue for 19A would be "crossworder's problem".

First time I've seen YOYOS for "Ninnies" (I used ASSES).

Now regarding Scrabble cheating. Are you Facebook Scrabblers aware of online cheating? And we puzzlers cheat all the time with Google and we think nothing of it. Oh well, at least crosswording is a non-competative thing (only competing with myself), so I guess that's not really cheating.

Here's the Scrabble alert---

Time for yesterday's leftover Spinach-Ham-Cheddar Omelet.

Y'all have a great weekend.

Carol said...

Funny fun Friday puzzle. Loved BLING CROSBY & BLEAT THE RAP.

Didn't have to Google or look up anything, but sure took me a while!

So glad we're back to more challenging end of the week puzzles.


Charles Bogle said...

thanks @johnsneverhome for listing very clever--and for me tough--clues

This was difficult for me today, took forever. Upper NW stymied me; I kept trying to find an athletic sport to be a relative of golf, eg, links play. And never heard of OLEIN, RIATA, CCLAMP, OME (assume the "h" is dropped linguistically?), PRATES for "babbles"

Really liked TINSTAR

Personally, I would have loved it if, with the clue to 2Down (Wright
wing, perhaps), the constructor had added "...and a clue to this puzzle's theme..." But clearly the speedsters and stars didn't need it! At least, I did catch the "L" theme but by then it was too late to help. Oh well

ddbmc said...

Guess I hung around the grandmoms too often, as I wanted EARBOBS for EARDROPS.

Loved the BLING CROSBY, because there was hardly anything "bling" about him!

Riata, Swales, Hinge, Deniable, Curl Beneficiary (girls?)-Bicep-all fun! Had SLANTS for SLOPES, DOPES instead of YOYOS. As you can see, couldn't come close the Le Torch's or any other Speedy Gon Solves'em times!
Have a great weekend, all.

Sfingi said...

It was enjoyable except the perverse sports clues. The first theme answer i got was BLANDLEADER, and the last, BLEATTHERAP took a while.

But, do many people really know these teams, Chicago Sky and Seattle Storm or the Boston College Eagles? Googled both.
Please don't say yes.

Before I went for the general word, ACER, I Googled Andy Roddick and discovered an intense relationship with koalas, real and toy. I suppose I should now him as the top US tennis guy.

I don't agree with 11A BET as a favorite, thus good, one, but am kind of glad it wasn't BRA, which would have been truer.

When I see SWALE, I always think of the poor late horse.

I think of BICEPs in the plural only, but there it was, all bulgy.

TBAR and CCLAMp. Hmmm. Where's IBEAM?

Got a booboo at PRATES vs PRES. Assumed 26D was yet another sports team I didn't know, so I had oRATES and oRES. (You know, the Washington Ores, or Oreos, or whatever.)

Also, stuck with EARringS to long.

Collectible print LITHO. Our family sold a ton (literally) of paper "ephemera" from g'pa's house through Hesse Galleries and did very well. I recommend using an auction house near, but not in, NYC.

Das, der, dem, den, des, die. Pick a definite article and wear it well. Don't cover your EARDROPS.

@EgoPatrol - Is that an algebra problem?

Rex - like the videos muchly!

My orange Blogster name has disappeared. Had to go on "gray." Is it because I used an avatar yesterday? Things were going too well, I guess. Any ideas?

xyz said...

I liked this puzzle a lot. It takes me just long enough to really work through it as there are just obscure and tangential enough clues for me to work through such as the cluing for TREAD as a good example.

The theme is just fine and I figured it out on first theme solve BLANKROBBER.

For folks like me, never to be a speed whiz, not likely to solve too many Saturday NYT's in my lifetime and happy to work to get a puzzle like this finished without gooogling or errors, even if :45 or so, those of us need puzzles, too.

Rex, you do a fine job, but don't be such a puzzle snob, your two other bloggers here aren't. Your NYT led me to this one and I am getting better, but I rarely can endorse your disdain. Solving this puzzle was a lot of fun for me.

Oh bother, now I'll get I.P banned or something.

C said...

An enjoyable puzzle which was a fairly straight forward solve for me (about 5 minutes on paper) as I avoided the EARRINGS/EARDROPS trap. My spidey sense tingled when I wanted to use EARRINGS so stopped the fill at EAR and worked an across to ferret out the -DROPS. Had no clue what that meant but it fit with everything else.

I like to work old NYT puzzles edited by Mr. Maleska, so DER was an automatic. I have no idea what Der Rosenkavalier sounds like but when I see it in a puzzle, I know what to do.

Good write up today, Rex.

Tinbeni said...

@Charles Bogle
I was struggling due to the sport for golf alternative also.
Then got the _ETTA, and a light bulb went off.
Groaned at BLANK ROBBER but the 'L' theme was revealed.

The crosses got me EARDROPS, but I got to groan.
Pet became BET
Lasso became RIATA
Swamps became SWALES (Low area, thought of the Everglades).
THESIS and TREAD finally showed me my mind was thinking in a different direction all through this puzzle.
EAU clue was cleaver.
Even ETE was clued NICEly.

My final grid looks like an Ink Blot test.

imsdave said...

@Sfingi - It does help at times to be a college basketball fan - I'd guess that 5% of the players in the WNBA came from UConn (the women's team was named one of the top performer's of the last decade by SI). BC is a frequent opponent, so Eagle was a non-issue for me.

Sorry I said "yes".

shrub5 said...

Add me to the list who went through EARRINGS to EAR HOOPS to EARDROPS. I've never heard eardrops as jewelry, just medicine. Also had BED REST before LAB TEST. I don't time myself but I think this puzzle took me about 20-30 mins; no googling but several writeovers.

I had Miss Muffet as ALONE -- it took awhile for EATER to override. 51D) WNBA was a gimme. Fave clues were: bartender's concern (AGE) and East Ender's flat (OME). LOL at TREAD clue/answer. New words for me: SWALES and OLEIN.

Enjoyable and challenging puzzle -- thanks, Fred.

@Sfingi: Sometimes I find I have to go back to blogger.com or google.com and sign in again, then my identity returns. When you go to either of these sites, look at the very top of the page to see if you are signed in.

DataGeek said...

@sfingi - I never know those team names either, but usually I can get a few letters and make an intelligent guess. Also, had SWALES and LET BE, so WNBA was inferrable.

I'm feeling pretty good about my 8:25 time today - I thought that was slow! My writeovers were as above - EARRINGS, EARHOOPS finally EARDROPS, also had BED REST for LAB TEST. Pretty fun puzzle overall, tho.

THANKS, RP for your usual stellar write-up.

Anonymous said...

Ditto redanman. Would really like to see a puzzle RP rates really well. Enjoyed the puzzle though not a speedy solve. Just do it for the fun

Van55 said...

The Wright wing(?) clue was a nice little misdirection as well. I was thinking Orville and Wilbur at first before I remembered Frank Lloyd.

Sfingi said...

@ImsDave - when I graduated in '62, there was no women's basketball. I do think it's nice that $ is being put into women's sports. But for team sports I'll always have a bad taste in my mouth. Since I'm short, I was always picked next to last, the last being the fat hunchback girl (I kid you not). When I went to college, we had English Riding (and bowling and archery). Then I had some fun.
What is SI?

@Shrub5 - I will check that out. Thanx.

Tinbeni said...

Already miss the little turtle avatar.

Hand up for knowing both EAGLE & WNBA.

SI - Sports Illustrated

When I was in HS back in the '60s the girls had swimming & tennis.

Today there is a sport for just about everyone.
Still, with all the other stuff that has come along, the kids say they have nothing to do. Go figure.

Wright wing, maybe; I kept thinking about an abbr. for aileron, then the 'duh' moment revealed Frank Lloyd, a cleaver clue that like the Golf (thinking other sport) drove me crazier.

Funny thing about the puzzle, last clue and answer were;
52a 'Stop' ... END !!!

JIMME said...

SI = Sports Illustrated?

Anonymous said...

@Anon.@11:04 - back atcha. This L.A.C. blog's first week stated how it was to be directed towards the more beginning puzzler, I guess we're all supposed to have caught up in our abilities and our tastes in themes. Tell you what, let's give Rex a pass, he's been cranky for a couple of weeks now. He is after all pretty darned good at these suckers.

My experience from both blogs is that these constructions can get really really 'technically cool', but unfortunately, if you've done 6-8 puzzles a day for 10 years, you're going to have seen a lot and express ennui. Just buy a "medium-challenging" NYT book of puzzles at Borders, they are much easier than today's NYT's even easier than today's "Exhibit A" LAT, but good practice. It's like art I suppose, it all can get so ... droll, you know ... even drôle, n'est ce pas?

My "cocktail party talk" repertoire is pretty deep, but it only helps so much at puzzling. I really don't even want to break 10-12 minutes, I guess.

p.s. It's me" the one with the Mad Man "AH-VA-DAR"

as to the puzzle as am no longer at work:
---DROPS for "pendant pair", cool, had SOLOING before FLY SOLO,T-Bar is not too antiquated (seen in Wisconsin, N.C. or even SUISSE/SCHWEIZ) hmmmm, I'd say a little deceptive but even helpful, tried TRIG before CALC was proven (without GEOM) correct, SWAMPS before SWALES, ALE before AGE, (DER was gimme), DENIABLE thus underwent some tinkering ..., picked TEMPO as better than BATON and was right, IOTAS before ATOMS, SHERIFF before ---STAR before TINSTAR ...heck, these things take time while you're working! Given clues that lead to these kind of choices, it makes for a pretty darned good puzzle that was loads of fun. GOLF/JETTA made this golfer laugh, you wouldn't believe the obscure golf terms I thought through for a "relative" sort of tangent

(hopefully does not count towards my limit of 3/day)

@Tinbeni - great way to "finish" LOL. I know a singer who'd call that IRONIC arrrrgh!

xyz said...

p.s. OLEIN is actually a real honest-to-god Chemistry word (B.S. Chem '73), just like SPONDYLOLISTHESIS is a real Orthopaedic word (FAAOS '86). I thought pretty tough, surprized not more discussion or a "word of the day". More obscure than OLIO/OLEO not guessing it's standard cross-word-ese, am I right or terribly wrong?

~Sort of like (obscure:not too)::(Obs:NToo)


but only loosely as medical terms seem pretty well used with all the vowels

Anonymous said...

Saks fifth Avenue sells a baseball cap that says



Tuttle said...

I actually found BLEAT THE RAP to be an awful answer. Or, rather, an awful clue. No indication whatsoever that it will have anything at all to do with escaping a legal predicament (beating a rap). I had BLEATBOX RAP at first since 'beatbox', a subgenre of rap, actually matches the clue (sheepish, hip-hop).

Joon said...

tuttle, BLEAT THE RAP has nothing to do with any legal predicament, so the clue shouldn't either. BLEAT is make sheep sounds; a RAP is a hip-hop number. clues for this type of theme are pretty much always based on the actual answer in the grid, and not on the base phrase. notice that the BLANK ROBBER clue has nothing to do with banks, the BLAND LEADER clue has nothing to do with bands, and the BLING CROSBY ... okay, fine, it's about bing, but that's just because CROSBY is still there (and i guess they didn't want to talk about sidney).

sfingi, i too knew the sports clues. that's just how it is. there are some people who know sports, and it seems like a ridiculous amount of information (leagues, teams, players, games, stadium names, etc.) for non-followers. to which i can only say: yeah, it really is, but it's not like we spend time studying lists of this stuff; it just comes with the territory if you follow sports. if you read the news and watch CSPAN, you will know the names of lots and lots of elected officials. it's pretty much the same thing in a different arena.

and by the way, BICEPS is a singular noun. BICEP is informal usage, based on the mistaken premise that BICEPS = 2 of those arm muscle thingies, so a single one must be BICEP. it's not so, and some people still consider BICEP to be an error. originally, i suppose it was, but now it's common enough to be considered correct, though still informal (as suggested by today's clue).

chefwen said...

Well, this certainly was a nice EGO boost after the thorough ass kicking I got over at the NYT. Not to easy, not too tough, just right.

Had a few goofs, hand up for earrings, bud before BRO, trig before CALC. Laughed when TREAD revealed itself. Oh yeah, dry lips before DRYNESS.

Thanks Rex and Mr. Jackson III.

GLowe said...

@ RP: *sigh* It's hard to believe I make a living communicating. As soon as I hit submit, I thought hmmm... but I had to run out the door.

Let me try this:

Coincidentally, I thought of a similar theme a while back. Because she is a nice person, PG agreed to provide her opinion on that theme, which was thumbs down: not necessarily because of the "BL" nature, but because of other issues that weren't apparent to me until she pointed them out.

It made me smile to see how it that theme can actually work, and even then get luke-warm reviews. I got good advice.


(I'll just be quiet from now on.)

G said...

Looking back at the ten most recent Friday puzzles, 5 were add-a-letter(s), and another 2 involved letter removal or switching. That's 70%. How much is too much? Well, clearly that's subjective, but given the recent pattern I don't see Rex's complaint as overly nit-picky.

Me, I was much more bothered by the BLING CROSBY issue Joon mentioned. Perhaps the clue referred to David Crosby...?

Charles Bogle said...

@tinbeni: loved your write-up; somehow, you and I were working on this puzzle together

Good again to see a testy and clever Friday puzzle; thanks LAT

Sfingi said...

@Joon - thanx for biceps info. That's the kind of feedback I like.
Or feedblack.

Well, I suppose I'll never be totally up on sports. Just try not to draw the same blank twice. I have picked up a handful of words, not really knowing what they signify.

You're right about politics - my husband knows trivia on that. I like to think I'm good with art and science. I'd better be at philo, math and grammar.

@Shrub5 - Looks like I got my avatar/mojo back.
Don't let the bledbugs bite.

Burner10 said...

I'm feeling rather much improved - did google a bit and ultimately missed with TANSTAR - had many of the same stops and starts as described above. My bus distance for this happy puzzle was 1/2 the way to work and 1/2 the way home - on the long part of my ride. On a good Monday I'm done by the end of the first bus. I'm sure there is some kind of a translation with a good bus schedule. Yea Friday! Onto WSJ.

split infinitive said...

Like others, I swallowed my pride after being married to 'earrings' and forcing crosses around that section. Knew OLEIN because I read cookbooks that focus on the science behind the cuisine.

Miss Muffet, I thought was a 'sitter' before she was an EATER, so I was baffled. Otherwise, the add-an-L gimmick saved me from further tragic puzzle-blunders, with theme answers well spread throughout the grid. Am still a newbie here, so a theme I can actually comprehend is a helping hand and an EGO booster.

Rex calls 'em as he sees 'em, for which I'm thankful. He's not 'cranky' so much as honest and particular about what he loves and what he loathes. I admire that. Guy knows his stuff, and is good at 'splaining it.

JETTA and Golf were both Germanic names for winds, if I recall correctly. Golf was renamed "Rabbit" for North American consumers. I had one, powder blue, and got very lost in the Alps in one.

p.s. @ Sfingi: you are a delight!

Jan said...

Loved everything about this one, especially "French Friar"!