May 26, 2016

Thursday, May 26th, 2016 Gareth Bain

Theme: Old McDonald. The theme entries have a farm animal "split" out at the start and finish of the phrase.

18A. *Steinbeck novel set in Monterey : CANNERY ROW. Cow. Beautiful part of the state, although it wouldn't have looked quite so charming in Steinbeck's time. The locals seemed friendly though.

23A. *Starter : HORS D'OEUVRE. Horse. Pedantically speaking (who, me?) one of a number of appetizers before the meal, not a starter.

35A. *China server : GRAVY BOAT. Goat. Many gravy boats are quite startling examples of kitsch. This, one, for example. Do a Google search and see what you think of the man-eating tiger variations.

52A. *Refinery job : PIPE FITTING. Pig. "Red sky at night, the refinery's alight". Refineries have lots of pipes which require fitting, I guess.

58A. Wall Street announcement ... or a hint to the circled letters : STOCK SPLIT.

G'day! Neat enough theme from Gareth. He likes to toss a couple of African references into his puzzles - we've got CAIRO and AFRICA (and African in the CAIRO clue) so check that box.

MEGS/SHO/RDS/SEPT/SAE/CRT/SSN/SGT/SLC/PMS/GPO felt like a lot of abbreviations - probably no more than the norm, it just felt like a couple too many.

Let's see what else we've got.


1. Teeth setting : GUMS

5. Parts of gigs : MEGS. Lots of bytes. When I started out in the computer industry, an IBM mainframe disk drive had a capacity of around 320Mb and cost somewhere north of $100,000. The solid-state disk that I put in my laptop has a capacity of two terabytes (almost 7,000 times as much) and cost less than $900.

9. Golf club part : SHAFT. I'd like to see a tournament where the pros use old-style clubs with hickory shafts, and persimmon heads on the woods.

14. Parrier's tool : EPÉE

15. Rent-a-car choice : AVIS

16. African city that hosts an annual international film festival : CAIRO

17. Lacks being : ISN'T

20. "Homeland" airer, briefly : SHO. Showtime on pay TV.

21. GPS options : RDS.

22. Stick homes : NESTS

27. "__ the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" : IT'S

29. Stumped : AT A LOSS

30. Viennese "a" : EIN

31. Ale serving : MUG

32. "Git!" : SHOO

33. Story __ : ARC

34. Michaelmas mo. : SEPT. September 29th is the feast day of St. Michael and all Angels in the Christian calendar. Michael is top banana in the angel organization.

39. Guy friends : BROS

42. Like a few hours after midnight : WEE

43. Wait patiently : BIDE

46. Dark side : YIN. Best clue/answer of the day, in my ever-so-humble opinion.

47. Bill encl. : S.A.E. Your paper bills usually come with a self-addressed envelope for your payment.

48. Texas home of Hardin-Simmons University : ABILENE. Ah yes, that famous educational heavyweight institution. Home of the fearsome sporting Cowboys (and Cowgirls).

51. All Hallows' __ : EVE

54. "Four Quartets" poet : ELIOT. I find TSE's poetry to be a bit of a slog, to be honest.

56. Obsolescent PC component : CRT. The now-defunct cathode ray tube in the display.

57. With respect to : FOR. Really? I can't think of a sentence where I could interchange "with respect to" and "for" and have it sound correct. Anyone else?

60. Poke fun at : GIBE

61. New Orleans feature : LEVÉE. That e-acute is getting a workout today. You drive Chevys to levées, per Don Mclean

62. Self-defense spray : MACE. I carry a little can with me when I go hiking very early in the morning on a couple of my routes - there are two mountain lions who've staked a claim to the territory. They lie low during the day and hunt at night. I'm not sure how much use it would be, but it makes me feel better. This is the one who hunts near the Hollywood sign.

63. Skin : PELT

64. Salad green : CRESS

65. Rigel or Arcturus : STAR

66. Some lyric works : ODES


1. Tea ceremony participant : GEISHA

2. Results : UPSHOTS

3. Hanukkah symbol : MENORAH

4. Solidified, as plans : SET

5. Modern shortcuts : MACROS. Computer lingo.

6. Gets around : EVADES

7. "Never needs sharpening" brand : GINSU. I can never remember this, it's always crosses for me.

8. Tax form no. : S.S.N.

9. Project at the theater : SCREEN. The verb, not the noun form of "project".

10. "Airplane!" actor Robert : HAYS

11. Advertiser's purchase : AIRTIME

12. Become covered with rime : FROST UP. In Tennyson's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, did you know he tried out for a goalkeeper job but wasn't very good?

"IT is the ancient Mariner
and he stoppeth one of three"

13. Drag behind : TOW

19. Physicist Fermi : ENRICO. He created the world's first nuclear reactor, poetically named "Chicago Pile 1".

24. Arduous jobs : SLOGS

25. Way out : DOOR

26. Action word : VERB

28. Cpl.'s superior : SGT.

33. Word to a captain : AYE

34. Support for the circus? : STILT

36. Is in store : AWAITS

37. Ford, but not Lincoln : VEEP. No "familiarly"?

38. Slightly : A BIT

39. Sports schedule advantage : BYE

40. Rosie, notably : RIVETER. If it's not going to be SPOKESCOW, it's going to be this.

41. Bob Marley song with the lyric "Let's get together and feel all right" : ONE LOVE

44. Put on a pedestal : DEIFIED

45. Raise up : ENNOBLE

47. Bike wheel parts : SPOKES. Not on this bike:

48. Where the Zambezi flows : AFRICA

49. Caustic : BITTER

50. "Snowy" birds : EGRETS

53. Showiness : ÉCLAT

55. Gets done in a bakery : ICES

58. Utah metropolis, initially : S.L.C.

59. The U.K.'s Pitt the Elder and Pitt the Younger : P.M.'S. Prime Ministers in the 1700's.

60. Mail hub: Abbr. : G.P.O. General Post Office. This is my local post office. I'm not sure what the turrets are for!

And ... here's the grid.


Notes from C.C.:

 1) The fifth Minnesota Crossword Tournament will be held at the Landmark Center in St. Paul on June 12th, 2016 Sunday. Please click here for more details. Here is the direct registration link. Entry fee is only $20 per person.  

Don G and I teamed up again this year. Other contributors (all LAT/NYT constructors) include George Barany, Victor Barocas (also our editor), Tom Pepper, Andrea Carla Michaels, David Liben-Lowell, Michael David, Johanna Fenimore, Andrew J Ries and our own Jeffrey Wechsler, who is flying from New Jersey to volunteer for the event.

2) Peg Slay (C6D6 Peg on our blog) and I made today's WSJ "Play Ball" puzzle. You can click here to print out the PDF file.

Congratulations to Peg on her WSJ debut! She's so talented & fast-thinking. I'm  inspired by her attention to details & intuition as well. Thank you for a wonderful collaborative experience, Peg!

Peg & her husband Steve