Donizetti heroine / FRI 9-27-13 / Landmark anime film of 1988 / Before my birth collagist 1914 / Robert W Service output / Montoya swordsman in Princess Bride / Romanova alter ego of Marvel's Black Widow

Friday, September 27, 2013

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Easy



THEME: To get from GERMINATE to TERMINATE you CHANGE / ONE / LETTER

Word of the Day: TYRESE Gibson (46D: "2 Fast 2 Furious co-star Gibson) —
Tyrese Darnell Gibson (born December 30, 1978), also known simply as Tyrese, is an American Grammy-nominatedR&B singer-songwriterrapperactorauthortelevision producer, former fashion model and MTV VJ. He is best known for his role as Roman Pearce in the Fast and Furious series. After releasing several albums, he transitioned into films, with lead roles in several major Hollywood releases. (wikipedia)
• • •

A very easy themeless that actually had a theme that actually made the puzzle even easier than it would've been had it been an actual themeless. I did this one faster than I did the "E.T." on Tuesday. That's how easy this was (or how oddly clunky the "E.T."puzzle was). I guess GERMINATE and TERMINATE are opposites, in a way, so you start with one and end with another and that is somehow fitting. OK. Why not? Puzzle seems just fine to me. Breezy and inoffensive. Yes, I know, nobody loves ALOES, but it's an outlier in its ugliness today. Love TAG TEAM and, strangely, CONDO FEE. The latter just seems like a nice invention. Something you'd improvise to get a corner to work. No idea if it's original and am not taking the time to look it up. Either way, I like it. A few proper noun pits to fall into, but I only got tripped up once or twice. LUCIA was a bit of a stumper—big surprise; OPERA shmopera. Never heard of Robert W. Service's "The Cremation of Sam MCGEE." Barely heard of Robert W. Service. Needed every cross for ASHER. Don't read Marvel Comics and yet somehow intuited NATALIA. In other comix clues, "AKIRA" is right in my wheelhouse (7D: Landmark anime film of 1988). A class manga and anime. Also, TYRESE Gibson wrote a comic once. True story. Pretty sure I own the first issue.

[INIGO! Montoya, swordsman in "The Princess Bride"]

I like DOMESTIC PARTNER. But I *love* my wife, Penelope, to whom I have been married ten years, as of ... right now. Today. Whatever bad that has happened or will happen in my life is, I assure you, completely offset by the ridiculous, unmerited good fortune I have had in meeting and marrying my wife. At our wedding I said "Everything about my life is better because of her," and I could barely get the sentence out without crying. I wouldn't have much more luck today. I could give you a list of complaints about my life a mile long—my stupid shoulder appears to be (painfully) frozen and I have a stack of 90 papers waiting to be (ughhhhh) graded and are they really gonna break the final season of "Mad Men" into *two* mini-seasons and stretch it out til 2015!? WTF!?—but all of it just looks silly when my wife and daughter are sitting there in the "Good" column. So Happy 10th Anniversary to my much, much better half. This paragraph notwithstanding, words can't express my joy and gratitude.


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

78 comments:

jberg 8:55 AM  

Gee maybe I'm first! I liked the theme -- makes the middle of the grid a challenge to construct, I'd guess! Didn't much like ARS, and IMARET is becoming a crossword standard.

All for now, I'm late!

August West 8:58 AM  

Happy anniversary, Rex. It is such an important life's blessing to be married to your best friend. Congratulations!

loren muse smith 9:00 AM  

Happy Anniversary, you two!! I'm happy for you.

I knew Robert Service because of Dad, believe it or not. I think he had a book of his poems.

I always like it when a Friday has a theme, and this one was great. I wish I had noticed that GERMINATE and TERMINATE were so close in spelling and so opposite in meaning!

Since I finished this ONE with no trouble, it must be pretty easy.

Lots of A-initial entries – 19 maybe?

The notes in my margin were few: I saw periphery theme pairs with ASHER/ASHES, AGNEW/AGNES, MET/VET, ARS/ARP, and AGA/ALA. Cool.

I'm not a birder, so aside from pewits, I know next to nothing. Never knew LARKS were early birds.

That southeast was tough – I had no idea that PAGODAS were "storied?" As in floors or tales? Grateful for Susan's ROLL puzzle this past Monday for IMARET!

Had "Snocat" for SKIDOO, then decided that "brief cold treat" was "Sno-yo," so I moved my "sno." Sno wonder that part of the grid was the last to be sorted out.

Nice job, Peter! Liked your DATE MOVIE last week, and I liked this one, too. And I love your bio picture at XWord Info!

joho 9:05 AM  

@Rex, what a wonderful tribute to your wonderful wife ... you made me cry just reading it! Happy Anniversary to you both.

I thought the puzzle was easy, too, which I enjoyed because I didn't have a lot to time to solve it.

ARMPIT sticks out a me, though!

Thank you, Peter Collins, for a Friday puzzle that didn't beat me up.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

Happy Anniversary to the Sharps. Just celebrated 15th last month, and am also exceedingly grateful for her and our 3 girls.

Figured this was going to be rated easy when i flew through most of the upper region, but i did get slowed down a bit by Snocat for SKIDOO.

Funny how we never think of VP's by number, but who besides Avis crows about being #2.

RT

John Child 9:11 AM  

I found the clueing end-of-week difficult: LUCIA (not the saint), INIGO (not Jones), AGNES (also not the saint) and AKIRA (not Kurosawa). I didn't think GASLOG was a thing, but Google says that it is. I KID without "you not" or "would I ... you" is pretty weak, but the long answers are good and the puzzle is very sound overall. ARMPIT and its clue treaded close to the breakfast-table-test line for me.

Gareth Bain 9:11 AM  

I don't see why anyone could possibly find ALOES ugly, as plants or as a crossword entry...

Horace Fawley 9:15 AM  

Congratulations, Rex, on ten years.

- Horace

crossword14.blogspot.com

Z 9:19 AM  

FRO-yo is so 2013. My town has zero ice cream shops but a half dozen frozen yogurt places (I don't consider DQ's product to be ice cream). My better half informs me that a local Bellacino's now includes a Häagen-Daz sign, so I guess we have one sort of ice cream store.

ALA/AGA also fits the "theme."

A fine Friday offering.

Carola 9:26 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carola 9:28 AM  

Happy Anniversary, Rex!

An easy Friday when IMARET has become a gimme :) Enjoyed solving this one, figuring out the theme. TYRESE and AGNES were new to me.

@loren - Besides those "almost matching" pairs, I also thought there was a sort of TAG TEAM effort going on with LUCIA -OPERA, MET-SAW, TECS-GAT, and "Sam MCGEE" as one of Services POEMS. OPERA - MET, too.

Sir Hillary 9:34 AM  

This puzzle did nothing for me. A real snoozer.

Rex's write-up, on the other hand, is AWESOME. Congrats to Michael and Penelope. I am 24 years into my marriage and am blessed to feel exactly the same way as Rex does.

Casey 9:38 AM  

Happy Anniversary, Rex and Penelope. We just celebrated our 53rd and wish you the same good fortune.

Mohair Sam 9:44 AM  

Very nice tribute to your wife Rex, congrats on 10 happy years.

We thought the puzzle was difficult as we did it, but we finished quickly and had only two letters that we had to white-out while solving (NATAshA for NATALIA). As we learned from "War and Peace" and "Rocky the Flying Squirrel" all mysterious Russian women should be named Natasha.

Glimmerglass 9:48 AM  

It's the CREMATION of Sam McGee, and it's a fun poem, much loved by middle schoolers in my youth. It has a memorable rhythm and lots of internal rhymes, so it's an easy poem to memorize (do schools still have contests where kids memorize poems?). It starts: Oh the northern lights have seen strange sights/ but the strangest they ever did see/ was the night on the marge of Lake LeFarge when I cremated Sam McGee. The poem even has a punch line at the end.

chefbea 10:00 AM  

Now that I've wiped away the tears...happy anniversary to you and Sandy!!!

A fun easy Friday puzzle. Especially like the clue for gas logs and the one for condo fee.

mitchs 10:02 AM  

I think The Cremation of Sam Mcgee begins: "There are strange things done in the midnight sun my the men who moil for gold...the arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.

The northern lights have seen strange sights...

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

Happy Anniversary - well done!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:16 AM  

Happy Anniversary, Rex and Penelope.

Nice puzzle. On first look I thought the internal answers might have to do with growth, flowering, and fruiting, etc. But that would have constituted a full theme.

My only (slight) nit is with 47 D, "Pack into a thick mass" for MAT DOWN. My concept of matting down has more to do with being compacted as a result of getting wet -- not that I could put that in a short clue.

Lindsay 10:28 AM  

My father used to read the Cremation of Sam McGee to us when I was a kid. You know, sitting by the fire on a winter night. I myself have pounded the lectern and recited the line about "A promise made is a debt unpaid" to our municipal planning board on the subject of an abutter's application for a site plan amendment. Got me nowhere, unfortunately.

Writeover: caRry-OnS >>> AEROSOLS.

oldactor 10:44 AM  

Hand up for carryons. Also had jeRKS for LARKS for a moment.

Jim Walker 10:46 AM  

Happy Anniversary. Thank you for reminding us what is important in life.

DBGeezer 11:05 AM  

Happy anniversary Rex and Penelope. A wonderful tribute to ten years. I am delighted that they did GERMINATE and trust that they will never TERMINATE!

quilter1 11:05 AM  

My former boss could recite The Cremation of Sam McGee from memory, and frequently did, whether asked or not. Sometimes it was entertaining, sometimes just embarrassing. Good puzzle.

mathguy 11:15 AM  

It got my competitive juices going. Only four gimmes. Eleven entries I didn't know, ten of them proper nouns. Living in San Francisco, I don't know about snow vehicles, so I had to sweat the NE because of SKIDOO and also LUCIA, GASLOGS, and FRO.

Being able to solve it made me feel good.

Happy anniversary, Rex!

jae 11:16 AM  

Congrats Rex. Nicely said.

Easy for me too.

@lms -- In my notes from last night I had "possible other theme -- stuff that starts with A."

Erasures: @Mohair Sam-Natasha for NATALIA except that I forgot to change the S so I had a careless DNF (I hate when that happens). Also had guar before AGAR because I had gobs before ATON.

Liked it! Any puzzle with INIGO, GODIVA, NOLAN, AGNEW, and Tatum ONEAL in it works for me.

Evan 11:27 AM  

I sorta wish the CHANGE/ONE/LETTER nexus hadn't been clued in the way it was. I think it would have been more fun to clue them separately and let the solver discover a hidden mini-theme later. Of course, then there'd be the question of, "Why GERMINATE/TERMINATE and not other pairs?" (though it would also work per @loren's list of other one-letter-off pairs).

But that's alright. Puzzle was on my easy side.

Happy anniversary, Rex. And see some of you tonight at the Westchester Crossword Puzzle Tournament!

wreck 11:31 AM  

My first pass-through had me a tad worried as I only had a few tentative words penciled in. The NW corner then came quickly and I was off and running. I guess I don't get what constitutes a puzzle being "themeless" -- sure seemed like a themed puzzle to me!

gifcan 11:39 AM  

Beautiful tribute to your wife, Mr. Sharp-Parker.

There were some Canadian gimmees in this puzzle with Robert Service twice and big name in winter vehicles. Also, snow job is up the Canadian alley.

Kids still recite The Cremation of Sam McGee in school. It's almost a rite of passage.

Got GODIVA and quickly wrote in GetMoving as I also saw MRED. Hey, picture this, Lady GODIVA riding MRED. I'd hazard a guess that Wilbur's eyes would be popping out.

Susan McConnell 11:41 AM  

Ditto, @Sir Hillary, on all accounts. Saying yes to Hubs 30 years ago was easily the wisest decision of my life. I love to see happy marriages celebrated.

Master Melvin 11:52 AM  

Their proximity in the grid somehow evoked for me a strangely unsettling image of Lady GODIVA riding MR ED!

TYRESE is a guy?

Masked and AnonymoUs 11:57 AM  

Penelope's a cutie -- and check out that look she's shootin over to old Rex. Looks like that match was always meant to be. Happy tenth anniversary, you two. Tin, as I recall.

Hey! Look! Way out there! It's a word! It's a bird! It's Pewit Guy!

Change one letter in PEWIT. Please. Make it a U, if possible. This puz is a quart low. But thUmbswaaayUp, for a ftheme on a Friday.

M&A

M and Anniversary Planner 12:15 PM  

p.s.
Top Anniversary Present ideas for stuff with TIN in them:
* SATIN SHEETS
* STING ALBUM
* LITTLE LATIN LUPE LU RECORD
* FREE RETINA SCAN
* SALTINE CRACKERS
* MATINEE MOVIE DATE
* ARGENTINA GETAWAY (together!)
* MARTINIS FOR TWO
* RIN TIN TIN WINDUP TOY
* Anything wrapped in TINFOIL

That's ten, so I'll stop.

p.p.s.s.
My PuzEatinSpouse insisted on diamonds and rubies, on our tenth. Just sayin.
M&A

dls 12:22 PM  

Am I the only one who thought he was so clever by throwing in ASTOR at 50D?

mac 12:45 PM  

What a lovely tribute! It brought tears to my eyes, too.

Easyish Thursday, although I had jerks at 10D and overcomes at 15A for a while.

Like BobK I thought there would be different stages between germinate and terminate for a while.

Have to finish packing, then I drive to Westchester!

Sterling Bromide 12:54 PM  

Happy Anniversary! That's a wonderful tribute to your wife.

KarenSampsonHudson 12:56 PM  

Many, many happy returns of the day! Glad you two found each other---you are both blessed!

Benko 1:09 PM  

Wow, a lot of people sure know a lot more about Robert Service than I do. I saw a documentary about the Yukon gold rush that spent some time on him and his life, I think, but that's about it.
I'm more of a Yeats guy.
Love AKIRA, both Kurosawa and the brilliant, one-of-a-kind anime. Don't be intimidated or underwhelmed by the fact that AKIRA is a Japanese sci-fi cartoon--it's seriously worth seeing for any movie buff.
Happy anniversary to @REX--but I thought they were stretching Mad Men into 2015???

retired_chemist 1:13 PM  

@ Bob K - I doubt you have a long-coated dog, e.g. a golden retriever, or MAT DOWN would have been your immediate answer to that clue.

@ Loren - I think "Storied" pagodas refers to floors.

Easy also here, though the NYT Scorecard makes it look a bit harder. A bit slowed by having Sam MaGEE, since CLEARING would have eased the SW. AREOLe instead of AREOLA momentarily had Pavlova portraying SWeN 4,000+ times. A hugely popular Russo-Swedish transvestite opera - what a concept.

AARON fell by the wayside easily from one cross, yielding to ASHER. That was one of the several answers I got from who knows where in my subconscious - also SKI-DOO, INIGO (fixed on it immediately from ___GO, when dieGO would have been the clear pick), NOLAN, and AGNEW (although 5 letter VPs of roughly the 60s doesn't leave a lot of choice).

A fine Friday puzzle with just the right amount of bite. Thanks, Mr. Collins.

quilter1 1:17 PM  

I skipped the writeup to comment as I ran out the door.

Happy Anniversary to the Sharps and many more. We are looking at 47 and say you just need to show up everyday and keep your promise.

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

Happy anniversary, Rex. One cavil with this puzzle: "MATDOWN"? What kind of an expression is that? But I guess if Shortz is going to allow "TOUGHROAD" c/w "TOOLER," as he did on Saturday (yes, I'm STILL peeved about that one), then "mat down" is a "legitimate" expression in common usage (as opposed to "mash down" or "tamp down"). Somewhere. In an alternate part of the multiverse, with an alternate Earth, with an alternate U.S., using an alternate type of colloquial English. Sheesh.

I skip 1:20 PM  

Delighted to read of your tenth. Hope you never have to go through what Odysseus did, but sounds like you would!

OISK 1:26 PM  

Happy anniversary! As usual, clues that were troublesome for Rex were gimmees for me, and vice-versa - Lucia di Lammermoor (sp?) is not a particular favorite, but I have seen it several times. (prefer daughter of the regiment among Donizetti's works)"Asher" is an apt answer today, Simchas Torah - his name is on some of the flags the children wave today. I memorized "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" long ago, but I know Sam McGee pretty well, "Since I left Plumtree down in Tennesee, it's the first time I been warm!" On the other hand , meaningless to me were Akira, Agnes (Baden-Powell) , Tyrese, Nolan, Natalia (Romanova) and Inigo. Easy, mostly pleasurable Friday, despite too many (for me) pop culture names. One other personal nit. I dislike product clues in general, but why resort to one for a word like "dodge."? There are so many creative ways to clue that word without using an auto model.

ahimsa 1:40 PM  

@Rex, I'll add my best wishes to the others. Happy anniversary! I wish you many more. My husband and I just past our 28th anniversary.

Puzzle was easy for a Friday (which is fine by me!) and I enjoyed the mini theme. I did not know FRO-yo at all, and I had such a hard time getting CONDO FEE from that clue, so that crossing F was my last letter.

@John Child, I've heard people say "I kid!" all the time. It's just a shorter version of "I'm kidding!"

Many thanks to Peter Collins for a fun puzzle!

Lewis 1:43 PM  

Aww, Rex, that was so sweet! It nearly destroys your curmudgeon cred... congrats!

And speaking of love, I loved this puzzle, with its clever cluing, mini-theme, plus the motif that LMS mentioned. I guess Peter intended this to be a Thursday puzzle, but Will thought the theme wasn't strong enough, so he took away two black squares, changed the puzzle from a 74 worder to a 72 to make it work on a Friday. Peter says he feels more like a co-constructor on this one. So thank you Will or Frank or whoever worked on this.

I learned IDEOGRAM and must admit that I am still learning to remember IMARET.

Ray J 1:47 PM  

Happy Anniversary!

I only saw one problem with this puzzle: no cats. Glad to see @RT 9:06 at least tried to sneak one in.

Speaking of “pits to fall into,” on one of my many Wyoming adventures I stumbled onto Natural Trap Cave near the Big Horn Mountains. This bone-digging voyeur tells all about it. Notice the name of the camp in the pics at the bottom of the article.

Bird 1:50 PM  

Happy Anniversary Rex and Penelope! My wife and I are celebrating 17 wonderful years next month.

Love the puzzle, but DNF in the NE. Didn’t know LUCIA or what a magnetron is. Never heard of FRO-yos (oh, frozen yogurt) and had GASL**S (maybe if I took a break LOGS would have came into view).

While on vacation in Niagara Falls I saw a man wearing a t-shirt with a name-tag label (like the kind you wear at class reunions) design on it. The label said, “Hello my name is . . . Inigo Montoya” then in smaller letters below, “You killed my father, prepare to die.” Great shirt, great movie.

TGIF

Gillian 1:55 PM  

Baden Powell's name was Olave. Where on earth did Agnes come from?

Ray J 2:07 PM  

Frickin’ links!

bone-digging voyeur

If that doesn’t work I give up.

http://tinyurl.com/lasygxc

Z 2:20 PM  

AGNES Baden Powell

I have a GAS LOG in my fireplace. Something about me not creating enough draft and smoking up the house. Turn a knob and TaDa, real fire from a gas line hidden by a fake log. 24+ years and she still keeps me around despite my lack of pyrotechnic expertise, so who am I to complain?

Last Silver Bullets 2:40 PM  

Top Froze Shoulder treatments:
* Heatin pad (preferrably turned on, to medium)
* Ice (preferrably with vodka added)
* Gentle motion exercises (like gradin papers, etc)
* Two words: See Doctor (ObamaCare)
* Use other arm for a while (GOPcare)
* Aleve
* Little Latin Lupe Lu picture sleeve (only added cuz it rhymes so good with previous bullet)

Top methods for painlessly gradin 90 (ugh) papers:
* Everyone gets an A
* Everyone who didn't use the word DUDE in their paper gets an A. Rest get A +.
* Pass yer paper to student sittin behind U method.
* Stop assignin all these day-um papers!!
* The old mah shoulder was frozen excuse.
* Coat papers in beef gravy. Place near dogs.
* Lottery method. Student picked 90th must be referred to as "Pewit Guy" for restbof term.

May all yer other problems be little ones (like that Mad Man dealy)
M&A

Gill I. P. 3:00 PM  

Well, I'll jump on the caboose with @Sir Hillary and @Susan McConnell.
Thought this had way too much trivia for my liking. ICEE, SKIDOO, IKID, NATALIA Romanova????
26 and counting. It gets better with age. Happy Trails @Rex and Sandy.

mac 3:21 PM  

Just realize that magnetron is the word for microwave in Holland. Is it interchangeable in English?

John V 3:36 PM  

Congrats, Michael and Penelope, from one who is blessed to have celebrated 43 and still counting!

Well, I knew this would happen. I know most would say easy, but not here, is what I'm saying. Chopped up day made it harder and FRO/CONDOFEE Naticked me. No hope to know amime stuff, TYRESE whoever, Service's poetry, Dark Knight director, INIGO whomever. You get the picture.

I was SOOOO worried that 4 down was going to be CRUZ, but caught a break there.

All said, pretty nice puz, Peter. Thank you.

retired_chemist 4:09 PM  

@ mac - not AFAIK. It's an electronic device which amplifies or generates microwaves, which is exactly in line with a microwave oven. But I have never heard the term used for what sits on your kitchen counter.

Doc John 4:23 PM  

Happy Anniversary, Rex! Here's to many more years of happiness.
Also found the puzzle easy- I finished it in one sitting. It didn't hurt that once 1A was solved, 61 was a gimme.
As for ARS, I figured it out right away but was really groaning when I wrote it in. I still can't figure out why they won't make that string of letters more legit by using the (recognized) abbreviation for Atlanta Rhythm Section. They had a couple of really big songs but it was long ago enough to make them Friday-hard. Just sayin'.

Lewis 4:24 PM  

m&a 2:40 -- great post! Had me chucklin'

dk 4:49 PM  

Nice photo of P. Rex you kinda have bobble head thing going. Next time have them shot you straight on not up from "below" God I sound like Rex reviewing puzzles... Happy Anniversary: Eat Cake.

Liked the puzzle

������ (3 Stars) OPERA, SWAN some real cultah heah

sanfranman59 5:13 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Fri 19:05, 17:34, 1.09, 75%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Fri 11:19, 10:00, 1.13, 73%, Medium-Challenging

Chip Hilton 5:17 PM  

Thanks, Diane Chambers, for giving me LUCIA in an instant. Classic Cheers scene had her explaining that Lucia di Lammermoor was an opera by Donizetti. This in a box, to Sam, Norm, Woody, and Cliff. By the performance's end, all five - Diane included - were sound asleep. Great visual.

Liked this puzzle but liked Rex's tribute to his wife even more.

Questinia 5:29 PM  

I agree with sanfranman's medium-challenging. Not easy.

Easy is reading the love in that great picture. Lucky are we who have gotten on easy. Happy Anniverary!

Steve J 7:19 PM  

Happy anniversary to the Sharps!

This played on the easy side for me, too, meaning this was a Friday where I didn't have to resort to Google, even with having never heard of some things (like anything related to either Robert W Service clue, the latter of which features NOVEL and BOOKS before I settled on POEMS).

Enjoyed this overall, but it felt like some of the fill didn't quite synch up with common usage. I'm much more accustomed to hearing MINDING THE STORE in its simple present tens, and MAT DOWN (which, contrary to Anon 1:19's fulminating, is indeed a legit phrase in the language, with the caveat that @Bob Kerfuffle noted) seems to be more frequently used in its past-tense form.

Also, the clue for OVERTAKES felt a bit off. If you OVERTAKE someone, you don't simply catch up; you catch up and then some.

Still, I'm happy anytime I work my way through a Friday unaided and with such minor nits.

Mike 9:02 PM  

Happy Anniversary!

sanfranman59 10:02 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon no data
Tue 8:22, 8:12, 1.02, 59%, Medium
Wed 9:01, 9:44, 0.93, 33%, Easy-Medium
Thu 10:43, 16:30, 0.65, 4%, Easy (7th lowest ratio of 196 Thursdays)
Fri 18:52, 17:34, 1.07, 73%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon no data
Tue 5:29, 5:09, 1.06, 66%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:20, 5:34, 0.96, 39%, Easy-Medium
Thu 6:49, 9:27, 0.72, 6%, Easy
Fri 10:12, 10:00, 1.02, 55%, Medium

Mette 10:38 PM  

Happy, happy anniversary. Loved the tribute to what is important. Loved the picture of the two of you. Thanks for sharing it.

skua76 11:15 PM  

Happy anniversary...here's to many more. Great photo!

mac 11:21 PM  

Had a fun time and saw many puzzle people on Westchester!

Bob Mackey won, Jeffrey Schwartz came in second, and third was Glenn Ryan.

"Our" Evan came all the way from Philadelphia, and he contributed the final puzzle, which will be in the NYT next Thursday. It's a good one!

Tita 9:45 AM  

@mac - not that I've ever heard...but it is sometimes cazlled a Radarange, because Amana made that...

My puzzle-sister and her puzzle spouse were married 35yrs yesterday!
And 24 yrs last week for me & Phil.

September is a great month for anniversaries!

Lovely tribute, @Rex...


I finished Friday - yay!
Thanks Mr. Collins - enjoyed it.

Tita 9:48 AM  

Meant to say - shout-back to Tom Pepper, yesterday's constructor.

SPOILER ALERT...
If anyone wants to do his awesome puzzle from about a year ago, skip over.

But his began with BEGIN at 1A, and ended with FINISH.

spacecraft 10:33 AM  

I'm confused. I posted a blog and got an error message that I had "double-clicked" something (I didn't) and I should hit the back button on my browser and try again. Okay, I'm trying again. Why am I so tech-stupid?

Anyway. My first gimme was MCGEE, thankfully NOT clued as NCIS "proby" Tim. We had Service in grade school, so they must have thought him important. That helped do the SW, though trying dieGO didn't. After the image of TAGTEAM crossing ARMPIT, I needed plenty of AEROSOLS to sweeten the air.

The theme just aha!ed itself to me about halfway through, and that was enough to take care of business, despite my climbing on the wrong brand in the NE. Once I parked my Snocat and started up the trusty SKIDOO, all was well.

How fitting that the name ONEAL should appear in today's puzzle, calling to mind "Love Story." If ever I read a real-life one, it was here today. Many, many happy returns.

Solving in Seattle 2:10 PM  

Since we Syndies are in the future, Michael and Penelope, may I be the first to wish you two a happy 11th anniversary!

Whenever I hear the name Penelope it EVOKES the image of her taking the stitches out of her knitting every night as she faithfully waits for the return of her husband, Odysseus.

As for this very enjoyable puz, I had zero writeovers. Maybe a Friday first for me. The kick start was getting DOMESTICPARTNER on two vowel crosses. (Back pat, please Diri.)

My only grimace was the clueing for MATDOWN/GOTTENIN. Awkward, both.

Loved the clue for PAGODA. Wished 1D had crossed with 52A.

Have a good weekend, Syndylanders.

Capcha: heeklym. An institution to confine hayseeds?

Waxy in Montreal 2:37 PM  

The AMY/IMARET/TYRESE intersection and OLAVE before AGNES caused this otherwise relatively easy Friday to be a DNF. But very enjoyable.

And to make a clean-breast of it, let me confess that I fully support @SiS's suggestion re 1D/52A.

DMG 3:19 PM  

Enjoyed this one, and the reminder of the night that Sam MCGEE was left to "sizzle". Had a little trouble coming up with 1A, wanted something along the lines of "got started", but once the reveal showed up, everything fell into place. When Friday comes this easily, I fear Saturday!

Eastsacgirl 4:45 PM  

Pretty easy puzzle for Friday. Happy Anniversary Rex!

Dirigonzo 5:13 PM  

Two days in a row that Rex has gushed over a grid - I suspect his anniversary bliss has affected his attitude toward puzzles.

I finished in the SW corner where I did not know any of the proper name going across but I was saved by the downs. Yay crosswords!

I had one write-over with NATALIe/A, easily CHANGE(d) by the cross (get it?), so a big POTB to SiS for his WO-free grid and nailing DOMESTICPARTNER (maybe I should re-word that?).

One more time - Daylight Savings Time ends this weekend, so "fall back" Saturday night.

Dirigonzo 5:20 PM  

I meant to add for @Waxy, I think we have ample evidence from today's and previous comments that you are most certainly not a "Leg (I'm using that term so as not to offend anyone)-Man".

Anonymous 2:26 PM  

akpeds

From Alaska, where Robert Service High School is a couple miles from my house. The poem about Sam McGee is legendary here, where there are times you just do not feel you'll ever get warm enough. Though I will say we just had the warmest October ever, 8˚ above normal average daily temps. Usually the kids trick-or-treat in the snow. (Also have Easter Egg hunts in the snow.)
Skidoos, snow clearing: a great Arctic puzzle. But, DNF for me as I had Diego Montoya (I googled, this wrong answer came up in the suggested choices, I didn't actually investigate by clicking on it).
Happy belated anniversary to the happy couple, may you have many more. Please thank your wife for sharing you with us!

Dirigonzo 8:05 PM  

@Anony 2;26PM (aka akpeds?) - here in Maine we describe the annual weather cycle as "nine months of winter and 3 months of rough sledding" but it sounds like you have us beat. Syndiland has regular contributors from many locales - I hope you'll join us to keep us posted on the "puzzling scene" in Alaska.

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