Jan 19, 2010

Tuesday January 19, 2010 Dan Naddor

Theme: Sports Nicknames - Famous athletes in various sports known by their nicknames.

20A. MAGIC: EARVIN JOHNSON. Has not died of AIDS, which made him decide to retire for awhile, but then return, then retire, then return, then retire again. Claims to have slept with 10,000 women.

26A. TIGER: ELDRICK WOODS. Going after Magic's record.

46A. PRIME TIME: DEION SANDERS. Played both baseball and football. How many other sports has he courted?

53A. YOGI: LAWRENCE BERRA. Voiced 10,000 malaprops.

Bonus sport personalities:

41A. Palmer with his own "army": ARNIE.

58A. Nastase with a racket: ILIE.

60D. Kareem, formerly: LEW. Alcindor.

Al guest blogging today. Bet you all are jealous I got to do one of Dan's. It upped the ante on the usual Tuesday fare.

Across:

1. Somewhat warm: TEPID. "Luke"warm. Who the heck is that, you may ask? Luke is a Middle English form of the Old English hléow meaning warm or sunny, from as early as 1205.

6. Polio vaccine developer: SALK. Injected form. Sabin created the safer oral version. There is an interesting chart that offers circumstantial evidence that pesticides had a more likely role.

10. Wheel edges: RIMS.

14. Like top-quality beef: PRIME. The highest rating of a combined high ratio of marbling with the youngest maturity of beef.

15. Prefix with logical: IDEO. Having a doctrine or philosophy.

16. Jacques's state: ETAT. French for state. Coup d' etat is to overthrow the government (state).

17. Phi Beta __: KAPPA. The oldest Academic Society, founded Dec 5, 1776 at William and Mary.

18. Earth inheritors, with "the": MEEK. Beatitude in the book of Matthew.

19. Water barrier: DIKE. Also a French word meaning "men's clothing".

23. Saint Francis's home: ASSISI. Italy.

25. Little Red Book follower: MAOIST. One who follows, not a sequel.

30. Madre's brother: TIO. Spanish. Aunt is TIA.

31. Silky synthetic: RAYON. Actually it is only semi-synthetic. And 49A. Glossy cotton fabric: SATEEN. A structure in the weaving process, can be made from different materials, like cotton and rayon.

32. Volkswagen sedan: JETTA. Derives from the German language word for 'jet stream', reflecting the period in Volkswagen's history when it named its vehicles after prominent winds.

36. Stuff of headlines: NEWS. Pretty much Haiti these days. 200,000 dead and 1.5 mil homeless. Everything else sort of pales in comparison.

38. Cooking apples: ROMES.

40. Teen detective Nancy: DREW. The original 56 books were written by 8 different authors.

43. Stories: TALES. Had to wait to make sure it wasn't SAGAS or EPICS or even EDDAS.

45. Hagen of Broadway: UTA. Died at 84 in 2004.

52. Bath sponge: LOOFAH. How to harvest and make them.

57. Akron's state: OHIO. Where Goodyear was started.

59. Tells really badly, as a joke: KILLS. Not to be confused with SLAYS, which means the opposite.

62. Suvari of "American Pie": MENA. Also the "rose petal" girl in American Beauty. I guess she's American...

63. Society oddball: NERD. A badge of honor to some...

64. And the following, in bibliographies: Abbr.: ET SEQ. Latin phrase et sequens (et sequentes, et sequentia).

65. Pigged out (on), as junk food: OD'ED. Overdosed.

66. Takes one's turn: GOES.

67. Cinema chain: LOEWS. Originally a chain of nickelodeons in Cincinatti, OH.

Down:

1. Rd. often spanning an entire state: TPK. No turnpikes in WI, this abbr. gets me all the time.

2. Historical span: ERA.

3. Shuts up: PIPES DOWN. Nice opposition.

4. Damage: IMPAIR. As in hearing, for example.

5. Letter opener?: DEAR SIR. or John.

6. California's __ Valley: SIMI. North of LA, near Thousand Oaks.

7. Yemen's Gulf of __: ADEN. Part of the Indian Ocean, south of Yemen, north of Somalia.

8. Actor Cobb: LEE J. Death of a Salesman.

9. City north of Indianapolis: KOKOMO. Unless you listen to the Beach Boys, then it's a Jamaican Island now known as Sandals Cay.

10. Like Rudolph: RED NOSED. Or W.C. Fields.

11. "Who's calling?" response: IT IS I. Pretty formal. Also not very helpful.

12. Strong sharks: MAKOS. They can get pretty big.

13. Surgical tube: STENT.

21. Goldsmith's Wakefield clergyman: VICAR. Set in rural eighteenth-century England, The Vicar of Wakefield chronicles the life of Vicar Charles Primrose, his wife Deborah, and their children. Narrated by the protagonist, the novel recounts the reversal of the Vicar's modest fortunes and a series of blows to the family's unity. Daughter Olivia marries a scoundrel who subsequently deserts her. The family loses all their money, and son George must end his engagement. The family is forced to move to a smaller house, which catches fire. Primrose is injured saving his family. Although destitute, Primrose finds the inner strength to rise above circumstances and to comfort those around him. The novel ends with a series of improbable resolutions that restore the Vicar and his family to their previous happiness and good fortune.

22. Trip to Mecca: HADJ. Religious pilgrimage that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so.

23. Health insurance giant: AETNA. Latin name for Mount Etna. Not to be confused with Prudential, which uses the Rock of Gibraltar as its symbol.

24. More devious: SLIER.

27. Former Japanese capital: KYOTO.

28. "Witchy __": Eagles hit: WOMAN.

29. Law school beginners: ONE LS. 1L

33. Test type with only two possible answers: TRUE FALSE. Technically, three. Leaving it blank means "I don't know". Had a teacher that gave negative points for guessing wrong answers, as opposed to zero if you didn't answer.

34. Aquarium fish: TETRA.

35. Covered with water: AWASH.

37. Hardly a main drag: SIDE ROAD.

39. Black Panthers co-founder: SEALE. Bobby.

42. Very wide shoe: EEEE.

44. Coral reef explorer's device: SNORKEL. Or a Sergeant in Beetle Bailey.

47. Unit with six outs: INNING. A little tricky at first. There are two sides that play each inning.

48. Frito-Lay chip: DORITO. Ali Landry

49. NFL replay feature: SLO-MO.

50. Responded to a massage: AAHED.

51. Strong string: TWINE.

54. Egyptian played by Liz: CLEO. She fell on her Asp.

55. Green land: EIRE. Or ERIN. Always have to wait for perps.

56. Dream worlds?: BEDS.

61. Four-sided figs.: SQS. Kind of a dud abbreviation, but how else to fit in 64A. ET SEQ?

Answer grid.

Al

Jan 18, 2010

Interview with Stella Daily

Like Tyler Hinman, Trip Payne and our LA Times constructor Doug Peterson, Stella Daily is one of those few top-notch speed solvers who have regularly constructed puzzles for various major newspapers.

Since April 2002, Stella has had over 90 puzzles published by LA Times alone, 89 of them are collaborations with Bruce Venzke. Together they've also made 14 puzzles for the NY Times. Stella's puzzles also appeared in the NY Sun, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, etc.

We've solved four of their puzzles since the switch last March. Stella just told me that she's quitting constructing. I decided to run this interview as a special since we might not see another Daily/Venzke byline again. They've stopped submitting to LAT as a team several months ago.

What is your background and how did you develop an interest in crossword construction?

I have both a scientific and a writing background -- I studied chemistry in college (and, in fact, my first published puzzle, which ran in the LA Times, had a chemistry theme) but I've always loved to write, and eventually I discovered medical advertising, which is a marriage of both science and writing. I've solved crosswords since I was a junior in college. I attended my first tournament in 2001, when I was living not too far from Stamford, and did horribly. I resolved that I was never going to be that low in the standings again and I began solving much more often. Once I was solving a lot, constructing a puzzle seemed like a natural step.

What is the highlight of your crossword construction career and what's the best puzzle you've made? Why?

Highlights: I've really enjoyed working with Rich Norris from the very beginning -- he's willing to take the time to give detailed feedback and I've come a long way from the first puzzle of mine that he published years ago. Also, I've enjoyed being a part of CrosSynergy, because the editing is done by group review, and the constructor gets to address any issues pointed out in the review as he or she wishes. Since I'm the clue-writing half of Daily/Venzke, when we submit a puzzle to another outlet, a lot of the "me" part of the puzzle gets lost when the editor decides to rewrite some clues. But with CrosSynergy, I can address what the others are asking for and still keep my voice intact.

It's hard to pick one "best" puzzle, but one of my favorites was "Oh, You Beautiful Doll!" which was Bruce's and my first collaboration for CrosSynergy. The four theme entries were RAGGEDY ANN, RAINBOW BRITE, AMERICAN GIRL, and BETSY WETSY, which I thought was fun and inclusive of several decades' worth of pop culture. I want puzzles to embrace more recent references, not just stuff from the fifties and sixties, and I thought that puzzle was a great balance between older (RAGGEDY ANN, BETSY WETSY) and newer (RAINBOW BRITE, AMERICAN GIRL) pop culture.

How did you start working with Bruce Venzke and what does the collaborating process look like?

My first published puzzle -- the one with the chemistry theme -- was a solo effort. It was customary at the time to announce one's debut on the Cruciverb-L mailing list, so that's what I did. Bruce sent me a note to say he was impressed by how much thematic content I'd managed to stuff into the puzzle, and how did I do my grid work so well? I responded back saying that it required a heroic effort on my part, because I didn't (and still don't) consider grids my strong point. He said, "Really? Well, I hate writing clues!" I don't remember which of us said "Wanna work together?" at that point, but that's pretty much how it happened.

As for the collaboration process, one of us will come up with a theme (you'll notice that on some of our puzzles, his name comes first, and on others, mine does; whichever name is first is the one who came up with the theme), at which point Bruce builds a grid. If it's my theme, he may ask me to come up with different entries if it will make the grid-building process easier. Then he sends me a grid. I'll look over the grid to see if there are any too-similar answers that need to be removed, or if there's a word I don't know how to clue, and if grid changes are needed, I shoot it back to him to take care of that. If not, I write the clues, and he submits it to whatever publication we've decided is best for that particular puzzle.

You've been very prolific & creative, where do you normally find your theme inspirations?

It's funny, I don't think of myself as prolific, which is part of why I'm getting out of constructing! Bruce and I have been working together long enough that we have a large back-file of old themes -- maybe we sent a puzzle to the NY Times and it wasn't right for Will Shortz, but it's still a good theme and worthy of use somewhere else, for example. So we've been working out of that back catalog for some time. But when I was generating theme ideas more, I would say that inspiration always seemed to be a feast-or-famine thing. I'd hear a phrase and suddenly be able to think of six themes related to the phrase within minutes, or I could go for months without a new idea. My friends do tease me that I'm always counting letters -- if I hear a short, interesting-sounding phrase, I immediately tally up the number of letters to see if it would fit into a 15x15 grid!

What kind of puzzle do you solve every day? And who are your favorite constructors?

I'm an A-division solver (Bruce is not!), so I do a lot of puzzles. Every day, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CrosSynergy (if I haven't already solved the puzzle during the review process), and Newsday, and once a week the Onion, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, Merl Reagle's puzzle. I also do puzzles in books, like Simon and Schuster or New York Sun collections, when I'm getting ready for the tournament.

My favorite puzzle is the Onion's, because it's written mostly by people from my generation. Crosswords tend to skew toward an older audience -- there are so many pop culture and history references from TV shows I'm too young to have seen, Cabinet staff from presidential administrations long before I was born, radio shows, old news stories, that sort of thing. We're all supposed to know who Clem Kadiddlehopper is, but when I write a clue that refers to, say, "Gossip Girl," and put it into a CrosSynergy puzzle, the other reviewers invariably respond with, "Who? What? I've never heard of that!" It's not that I think Clem Kadiddlehopper needs to go away entirely (though I wouldn't mind), but as a 31-year-old I like to solve puzzles that refer to the world we live in now, not the world of 40 or 50 years ago. The Onion puzzle is great for that. Plus it has less of the "Sunday morning breakfast test" filter on it, which I also enjoy.

My favorite constructors are the harder ones -- Bob Klahn, Byron Walden (even though he cost me the B championship in 2005), Brendan Emmett Quigley, Frank Longo, Joe DiPietro, basically the whole Saturday crew.

What's the reason for quitting making crossword? And what's your planning for the future?

For a while, puzzling was a huge part of my life, and if you asked me to describe myself in three sentences, one of those sentences would invariably be about crosswords. But more and more, my life has expanded to include a lot more than just puzzles. I was recently promoted to a senior management position at the advertising agency I work for, plus I now run marathons, sing in a choir, take Argentine tango classes, and study philosophy through an Ayn Rand Institute program. Plus, I got married last year and I do like to see my husband once in a while! So as these other parts of my life have grown tremendously, puzzles have felt less and less like something I do for fun and more like something I *have* to do, and that's not how I want to feel about it. So last year I told Bruce I wanted to stop doing puzzles once our last agreed-upon CrosSynergy puzzle was done.

Bruce is much more into constructing than I am, and he's going to continue on solo (or perhaps collaborating with others on occasion). He's always wanted to do more constructing together, and I've kept pushing him to do less, both because I simply didn't have time to enjoy it and because once we started doing it on a deadline, as CrosSynergy works, I felt like my ability to come up with good ideas was compromised. I have to work on deadline every day in my day job, and that's fine, but it doesn't work too well for me when generating theme ideas -- the ideas flow much more freely for me when there's no pressure. So now that I've removed that pressure from myself, I'm not saying I'll never construct again -- if I have a really great idea, I'll work on a grid for it and send it out. If that means I produce one puzzle a year where I used to co-produce twenty, that's completely fine with me. I just want that one puzzle to be one I thoroughly enjoy making! And I'll still be around at the tournament every year -- I certainly haven't stopped solving, and I will continue to try to beat Tyler :)

Monday, January 18, 2010 James Sajdak

Theme: Terms of Endearments - The first word of each familiar phrase is a word one might address a loved one.

20A: "The Nutcracker" dancer: SUGAR PLUM FAIRY

32A: Piano bar piano, often: BABY GRAND

45A: Pooh's food source: HONEY TREE

58A: Executive's golden parachute, e.g.: SWEETHEART DEAL

Argyle here. Baby Grand here. A cute Monday puzzle with echos from yesterday.

1A: Gremlins and Hornets, briefly: AMCs. (American Motors Corporation)

33D: Car: AUTO.

44D: Popularly accepted tales: LEGENDS. (Acura Legend)

61D: Pervasive emanation: AURA. (Saturn Aura)

Vehicles may be TWEAKED. (9D: Fine-tuned.) That might make them RACY. (12D: Risqué.) Then take them out where the road is PAVED.(65A: Covered with asphalt.) And if they're a bright color 27A: Canary color: YELLOW. like this, even better. Just watch out for guys like these, 5A: Bay Area law enforcement org.: SFPD. (San Francisco Police Department)

Across:

9A: When repeated, consoling expression: THERE. "There, there" and a pat on the back does wonders.

14A: Cat's cry: MEOW. Cats and Dogs 3D: Welsh dog: CORGI. 51D: __ apso: dog: LHASA. Lhasa is the capital city of Tibet and apso is a word in the Tibetan language meaning "bearded," so Lhasa Apso simply means "long-haired Tibetan dog."

15A: South Seas edible root: TARO.

16A: Female: WOMAN.

17A: Being, to Brigitte: ETRE. Language lesson. 67A: Behold, in old Rome: ECCE.

18A: Sleep like __: A LOG.

19A: Heroic tales: EPICS.

23A: Well-thrown football pass: SPIRAL.

24A: Like the night: DARK.

25A: Omaha's state: Abbr.: NEB..

38A: Ross of "Lady Sings the Blues": DIANA.

39A: Currency on the Continent: EURO.

40A: Lieu: STEAD.

42A: Bit of affection from Fido: LICK. From all the avatars we've been seeing, this must be a gimme for many.

43A: In the least: AT ALL.

47A: Zoo swinger: MONKEY. A lot of animals mentioned today.

49A: Grand Canyon State sch.: ASU. (Arizona State University)

50A: Neuter, as a male horse: GELD.

53A: Blows, volcano-style: ERUPTS.

62A: Pantomime performer at the circus: CLOWN.

63A: Border on: ABUT.

64A: Roy's cowgirl partner: DALE. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans

66A: "No problem": "SURE".

68A: States unequivocally: AVERS. 4D: Take a vow: SWEAR.

69A: Bio lab gelatin: AGAR. Bio lab is an echo, too. (Sat. 53A)

70A: Take ten: REST.

Down:

1D: "What __!": "Yuck!": A MESS.

2D: Got together (with): MET UP.

5D: Desktop tools: STAPLERS.

6D: Apple-picking season: FALL.

7D: __ as a peacock: PROUD.

8D: Religious doctrine: DOGMA.

10D: Navajo neighbor: HOPI. Our Southwestern Indians Map

11D: Mideast chieftain: EMIR.

13D: Naval Acad. grad: ENS..

21D: "You __?": butler's question: RANG. I immediately thought of Lurch.

22D: Cook in oil: FRY.

26D: Shower alternative: BATH.

28D: Light, happy tune: LILT.

29D: Lion's den: LAIR.

30D: "Fool me __, shame on you ...": ONCE.

31D: Waves behind a ship: WAKE. What's the story behind Wake Forest?

32D: Smile from ear to ear: BEAM.

34D: Muffin stuff: BRAN.

35D: The sun in sunny side up: YOLK. Also yellow.

36D: Prefix with classical: NEO.

37D: Comic Carvey: DANA.

41D: Military runaway: DESERTER.

46D: Mongolian tent: YURT.

52D: Fix, as a computer program: DEBUG.

54D: Milk source: UDDER.

55D: Quiet companion?: PEACE.

56D: Locker room powders: TALCS.

57D: Icy winter weather: SLEET.

58D: Many a Balkan native: SLAV.

59D: Made on a loom: WOVE.

60D: Washstand pitcher: EWER.

62D: Tax returns pro, for short: CPA.

Answer grid.

Argyle

Jan 17, 2010

Sunday January 17, 2010 Don Gagliardo

Theme: Hybrids - Each two-word theme phrase is a hybrid of two car models from two different manufacturers.

23A. Chutzpah? (Chevy/Saturn): CAVALIER OUTLOOK. Chevy Cavalier. Saturn Outlook.

29A. Duffer's trip through Scotland? (Volkswagen/Honda): GOLF ODYSSEY. Volkswagen Golf. Honda Odyssey. Duffer is a bad golfer. Scotland is a mecca for hardcore golf nuts.

36A. Memorable forest caretaker? (Ford/Acura): RANGER LEGEND. Ford Ranger. Acura Legend.

50A. Speeding, e.g.? (Chevy/Ford): CITATION FOCUS. Chevy Citation. Ford Focus.

69A. The feel of Manhattan? (Honda/Saturn): CIVIC AURA. Honda Civic. Saturn Aura. I am not familiar with the Civic Center in Manhattan.

87A. Columbus gone wild? (Nissan/Ford): ROGUE EXPLORER. Nissan Rogue. Ford Explorer. This answer made me laugh.

100A. Beethoven's 32 for piano, say? (Hyundai/Subaru): SONATA LEGACY. Hyundai Sonata. Subaru Legacy. Wikipedia says Piano Sonata No. 32 is the last of Beethoven's piano sonatas.

108A. Feature of the queen's English? (Buick/Hyundai): REGAL ACCENT. Buick Regal. Hyundai Accent.

117A. Nice plot? (Buick/Oldsmobile): RIVIERA INTRIGUE. Buick Riviera. Oldsmobile Intrigue. "Nice" here is the French resort city (along the French Riviera).

And ACR (113A. Like any theme ans. in this puzzle). All of the 9 theme answers are placed in Acr(oss).

None of the 18 cars are real hybrids, are they? I am not a car person. Definitely could not name all the makers without the bracket hints in the clues.

Quite a unique concept, as it's the case with every Don "Hard G" Gagliardo's puzzle I've blogged. His themes are all rather bold, exploratory, distinctive and unforgettable. Think of his "Hard G", "Alfred Hitchcock" and "Money Talks" (symmetry "error" tied to the theme).

I just can't imagine the amount of work he did to give us such a NONESUCH puzzle. esp since he told me he made two different filled grids sans software, and ended up discarding those and even changing some theme answers during the process. He eventually completed the grid with the help of Crossword Compiler last fall.

How did you fare today? Did the bracket information help you ferret out certain theme answers? I did surprising well. Was bothered a bit by the unusual number of fill-in-partials, but they sure gave me toeholds in several places.

Across:

1. Bet: WAGER. A rather easy start.

6. Ancient sorcerer: MAGE. The ancient magician. Gave me trouble last time.

10. Concentration amt.: PPM (Parts Per Million). Not familiar with this chemical abbr.

13. 130-minute H.S. tests: PSATS

18. Notwithstanding: ASIDE. All kidding aside ...

19. Model: IDEAL. Nice to have "model" in the clue, given the amazing numbers of car models in the grid.

21. Altar constellation: ARA. Literally "altar" in Latin.

22. Find a new home for, as a plant: REPOT

26. Singer Bryant: ANITA. Not aware of this singer. What's her most famous song?

27. Cockney aspiration?: 'OPE (Hope). H is dropped in Cockney accent.

31. Pilot lead-in: AUTO. Autopilot.

33. Capa waver: TORERO. Capa is Spanish for "cape".

35. Donny and Marie, by birth: UTAHNS. I wanted OSMONDS. We also have UTE (49D. Salt Lake City college athlete).

39. Deck used for readings: TAROT

41. Continue until: END AT

42. Vast spice trade region of yore: ASIA. Esp India.

43. Miniseries, often: SAGA. True.

44. Hebrides isle: IONA. Off Scotland's west coast.

48. Formally exit: SIGN OUT

54. Proceed tediously: PLOD. What I do with LAT Saturday puzzles.

55. Kickoff aid: TEE. Alas, no tricky wordplay for a very playable word.

57. 2000s sitcom single mom: REBA

58. Hues: TINCTS. Tinct is a verb too.

59. Ancient Egyptian deity: AMEN-RA. The hybrid god. Maybe JD can tell us the differences between Amen-Ra and Aten.

62. Bit of exercise room equipment: AB TONER. I need one.

66. Microwave brand: AMANA

71. Awards since 1949: EMMYS. Easy guess.

73. Confine, with "in": HEM

74. Choose paper over plastic?: PAY CASH. Clever clue.

76. First step toward nirvana: SATORI. Literally "sudden understanding" in Japanese/Chinese.

78. Off the beaten path: AFIELD

80. Residents: Suff.: ITES. Or ESES.

82. Singing syllables: LAS

83. Local movie venue, in Variety slang: NABE. Short for "neighborhood". New to me.

91. "No prob!": SUITS ME

93. Let slide: DROP

94. Minus: LESS. Preposition.

95. Enjoy Doritos, say: NOSH

97. Tender cockerel: CAPON. Castrated chicken.

98. Like Itt: HAIRY. The hairy cousin Itt from "The Addams Family".

103. Styx ferryman: CHARON. Styx is the river in Hades.

106. Movie set structure: FACADE

107. Mensch lead-in: UBER. Übermensch. Literally "superman" in German.

111. Dill pickler: BRINE

116. Typewriter type size: ELITE

120. Hall of Fame Vikings lineman Carl: ELLER. Gimme. Detailed coverage in our local paper every time he's found to have a substance abuse.

121. With 125-Across, words before customer: ONE. And PER (125. See 121-Across). Neat answer tie-in.

122. Radio pioneer: TESLA (Nikola)

123. Peasant's meal: GRUEL. I have rice/millet gruel for breakfast occasionally.

124. Silt deposit: LOESS

126. Metrical units: FEET. Did not fall into the trap of putting S at the end first.

127. Fresh: SASSY. Just learned this new meaning of "fresh" a few weeks ago.

Down:

1. Chisholm Trail city: WACO. Was ignorant of the Chisholm Trail.

2. "I need it fast!": ASAP

3. Basketball maneuver: GIVE AND GO. One offensive player passes the ball to another, then runs toward the basket to take a return pass. New term to me.

4. "Grandparenting in a Changing World" author LeShan: EDA. Always want her name to be Ada.

5. Empathize with: RELATE TO

6. Look: MIEN. Same root as "demeanor".

7. Fees charged to sponsors: AD RATES

8. Like some historical time scales: GEOLOGIC. Adjective of geology.

9. Mer contents: EAU

10. Italian soccer great Rossi: PAOLO. Was oblivious to this guy. Equivalent of Paul in English.

11. TA's boss: PROF

12. Speedy shark: MAKO

13. Seek divine intervention from: PRAY TO

14. Hit: SENSATION. Fresh fill.

15. Imitative: APISH

16. Count from one __: TO TEN

17. Visits: STAYS

20. Three-star rank: Abbr.: LT. GEN. (Lieutenant General). Tricky abbr.

30. "Inka Dinka Doo" composer: DURANTE (Jimmy). Here is a clip.

32. Amin subject: UGANDAN. Idi Amin.

36. Survey taker: Abbr.: RESP. Respondent I suppose.

37. Shrub yielding a blue dye: ANIL. Learned from doing Xword.

38. Dormant state: LATENCY

43. Single or separated, e.g.: STATUS. Lovely clue.

45. William of __, for whom a logical "razor" was named: OCCAM. Occam's razor, law of succinctness. The simpler, the better.

46. Screwy: NUTTY

47. Carrying team: ASSES. Was thinking of the sports team.

51. Sub, perhaps: TEACHER. Not sandwich.

52. Palindromic pop group: ABBA

53. Pottery worker: FIRER. Better than the one who axes others.

56. Red explorer?: ERIC. Eric the Red.

60. Syrup source: MAPLE

61. Is of use: AVAILS

64. Pop singer Bedingfield: NATASHA. No idea. British singer.

66. "__ Day's Night": A HARD. "A Hard Day's Night". Beatles' film.

67. "What do you take __?!": ME FOR

68. Barcelona buddy: AMIGO. Alliteration in the clue again.

70. Comparison words: IS TO

72. Coin-making: MINTAGE

75. 19th century soprano __ Patti: ADELINA. Verdi called her the greatest vocalist that he ever heard. Stranger to me also.

77. Columbus sch.: OSU. The Buckeyes.

79. River to the Tigris: EUPHRATES. First time I see this river in a puzzle. Neato!

81. Medicinal plant: SENNA

84. Shoots for dinner: ASPARAGUS. Was confounded by "shoots".

85. Ivied halls swaggerer, briefly: BMOC (Big Man On Campus). This abbr. often gives me fits, regardless of how it's clued.

86. "__ ... moe": EENY. " Eeny, meeny, miney, moe"

88. Gen-__: XER. I am one.

89. Study of Freud, etc., in a coll. catalog: PSY (Psychology)

90. Asphalt layer, perhaps: ROAD BASE

92. Mostly submerged hazards: ICEBERGS

96. Germ-free: STERILE

99. Many CBS Radio listeners: AOLERS. I don't get the clue. Why CBS Radio?

100. __-Flush: SANI. Have never heard of this toilet cleaner brand.

101. Original Crayola pack, e.g.: OCTET

102. Fontanne's theater partner: LUNT. Lunt-Fontanne Theater in Broadway.

103. Fishing trap: CREEL

105. Physically flexible: AGILE. Sam Snead could kick a 8-foot ceiling even in his 70s.

106. Abnormal temperature: FEVER

109. Field yield: CROP. Nice rhyme.

110. Theater: CINE

112. __ the finish: IN AT. What does it mean?

114. Sticks with leather tips: CUES. Pool sticks.

118. Two-minute warning giver: REF. Football.

119. George's songwriting partner: IRA. The Gershwin brothers.

Answer grid.

In LA Times #19 Crosswords my husband got for me for Christmas, there are 72 daily puzzles that appeared in LA Times from July to December 2007. The leadoff puzzle is from Don Gagliardo. Actually, he has 5. There are also a few puzzles each from our regulars Dan Naddor, Stella Daily/Bruce Venzke, Donna Levin, Jack McInturff, Doug Peterson, etc. Don suggests us to try this LA Times series (probably starting from #17) for any Dan Naddor puzzles we might have missed.

C.C.

PS: Don Gagliardo has by now had at least one puzzle published by LA Times for each day of the week. This "Hybrids" completed his "Hitting for the Cycle". Congratulations, Don!

Jan 16, 2010

Saturday January 16, 2010 Frederick J. Healy

Theme: None

Total blocks: 33

Total words: 70

Man, this constructor Frederick J Healy sure loves multi-word entries. He used more than 20 in his last themeless, then again 20 today.

Very often long single words are easier for me to ferret out. My mind is just not wired to parse multi-word properly. I simply don't use those idioms or slang in my daily conversation. Feel very handicapped by my background.

Favorite clue today is HOLED (29. Rolled into a cup). I was definitely not thinking of rolling the golf ball into the cup. Sigh! I am actually pretty good at reading breaks on the green.

OK, let's tee off with multi-words:

1A. Nut: WHACK JOB. Terrific entry.

16A. Knows about: IS ONTO

17A. Rubbernecked: STARED AT

23A. The way you see it: AS IS. I wanted IMHO.

27A. Title burglar played by Bruce Willis in a 1991 film: HUDSON HAWK. Have never seen this movie.

33A. Note in an E major scale: G-SHARP. Got the SHARP part rather quickly.

35A. 1992 Grammy winner for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance: K. D. LANG. I peeked at the answer sheet. Name with initials is very tricky.

42A. Stock mover: CATTLE PROD. Oh, livestock. I was thinking of those trading shares.

51A. Succeeds completely: ACES IT

53A. Place to learn about cells, briefly: BIO LAB

55A. Improve in small ways: FINE-TUNE

59A. Mr. Right: THE ONE. Have you found yours?

60A. It's the most likely to succeed: BEST SHOT

2D. Ran into trouble: HIT A SNAG. I've learned not to recklessly put ED at the end.

8D. Pleiades components: B STARS. Most stars are classified using the letters O, B, A, F, G, K and M (mnemonic is "Oh, Be a fine girl /guy, kiss me"). O stars are the hottest and the letter sequence indicates successively cooler stars up to the coolest M class. I was stumped.

9D. Minded: LISTENED TO

12D. One after another: IN A ROW

13D. Gift giver, informally: ST. NICK. During Christmas.

37D. Discusses: GOES INTO

43D. 1980s-'90s Tennessee senator: AL GORE. Thought of Bill Frist first.

Across:

9. Apollo, musically: LYRIST. Because Apollo is God of Music/Poetry?

18. Car lot array: SEDANS

19. Texas-Louisiana border river: SABINE (SEY-bahyn). Spanish for "cypress". Wikipedia says it's in reference to the extensive growth of such trees along the lower river. New to me.

20. Sagan's subj.: ASTR (Astronomy). Carl Sagan.

22. Wrestler Flair: RIC. Born Richard Flair. Total stranger to me.

24. Works in una galleria: ARTE. Spanish/Italian for "art".

25. 1951 Emmy winner Imogene: COCA. My entry point today.

26. Feminine name ending: INA. As in Christina, Angelina, etc. Or tsarina, ballerina.

30. Telecom setup: LAN (Local Area Network)

31. Brian who produced some U2 albums: ENO

32. Firm heads, for short: CEOS. Firm = Company.

38. Old shipping allowance: TRET. The container weight is TARE.

39. Nice season?: ETE. The French city Nice.

40. Gut reaction?: OOF. Good clue.

45. A funder of PBS's "American Masters": NEA (National Endowment for the Arts)

46. Crab's sensor: PALP. Same root as "palpable" I think.

47. Some flawed mdse.: IRRS

48. Get-up-and-go: ZEST. Didn't come to me readily.

49. Barbary Coast land: Abbr.: ALG (Algeria). See this map. It spans quite a few countries in north Africa.

50. Zap with a beam: LASE

57. Loll: SPRAWL

58. Beckons: ATTRACTS

Down:

1. Holiday toast: WASSAIL. Have faintly heard of this word.

3. High-spirited horses: ARABIANS. Better than ARABS, isn't it?

4. Former "SNL" regular Farley: CHRIS

5. Insightful: KEEN. Keen can mean "wail" too. Keening.

6. Green hue: JADE

7. Concubine's room: ODA. The Harem room, reserved for women. We also have CASA (25D. Havana home).

10. Important river in WWI: YSER. Battle of the Yser. The Belgian river. Flows to the North Sea.

11. Wand: ROD

14. "Vissi d'arte" singer: TOSCA. Tosca is the title heroine in Puccini opera "Tosca". Too obscure a clue for me. Besides, I don't like the arte/ARTE (24D) repetition.

21. Warehouse workers: STOCKERS

24. Some new parents: ADOPTERS

27. Spirit: HEART. Your heart sank when ...

28. Fly-by-night: UNRELIABLE. Fly-by-night is a new phrase to me.

34. www letters: HTTP. The URL starter.

36. Model of excellence: NONESUCH

41. Most profitable, as a business contract: FATTEST. Like the ones for Erik Prince/Blackwater or whatever the new name is.

42. Islamic leader: CALIPH (KEY-lif). Dictionary defines it as "a spiritual leader of Islam, claiming succession from Muhammad". I could only think of IMAM.

44. Ready-made: PREFAB

46. Brewer Frederick: PABST. Easy guess. I did not really know Pabst founder's given name, the same as today's constructor.

48. Sorority letters: ZETAS

50. Egg-rolling site: LAWN

51. Colony workers: ANTS

52. Like some U.S. mail: CERT (Certified). A special "Thank you" to MJ for mailing me the Dan Naddor obit in LA Times.

54. Thai native: LAO

56. Ore suffix: ITE. Common mineral suffix. Graphite, for example.

Answer grid.

C.C.

Jan 15, 2010

Friday January 15, 2010 Jack McInturff

Theme: HE'S GETTING AWAY (52A. Cry during an escape, and this puzzle's title) - HE is removed from the start of the second word of a familiar phrase.

20A. Air-conditioning commuter trains?: COOLING ONE'S (HE)ELS. Cooling One's Heels. Commuter trains = ELS.

32A. Pitch from a personified spud?: MR. POTATO (HE)AD. Mr. Potato Head (the toy). Pitch = AD.

41A. Like finger-painters?: YOUNG AT (HE)ART. Young at Heart.

Cute unifying theme title. Rather light theme entries. Maybe I am used to Dan Naddor's heavy themage on Fridays.

Not fond of the three "GO" entries:

18A. Continue: GO ON. "Thug" for GOON would have avoided the GO repetition.

9D. Rotten: GONE BAD

42D. Enter: GO IN

Lots of Wite-Outs for me. Fell into every possible trap. Favorite clue is BAIL (46A. Cost of freedom?).

Across:

1. It's rarely a hit: SIDE B. Sometimes it's B SIDE.

6. Acted like a rat: SANG. Sing is slang for "squeal".

10. Pre-bedtime fare: NEWS. Was thinking of food/drink.

14. "The Three Faces __": OF EVE. Have never seen the movie. Starring Joanne Woodward (wife of Paul Newman). Enviable long-lasting marriage.

15. Lickable treat: OREO

16. Apple for the teacher, perhaps: IMAC. Apple computer.

17. Let fall, as tresses: UNPIN

19. "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" musical: GIGI. I liked Leslie Caron better in "An American in Paris".

23. Old comm. giant: ITT

24. Demure: COY. I often confuse "demure" with "demur".

25. Ill humor: BILE

26. Allocation word: PER

27. __ flakes: BRAN. Plunked in SNOW.

29. Anteater's slurp in the comic "B.C.": ZOT. No idea. ZOT does not sound slurp-y to me.

36. Set of standards: CODE. Wrote down NORM first.

37. Craters of the Moon monument site: IDAHO. I've never heard of Craters of the Moon. Lava fields.

38. Eastern sash: OBI. Literally "sash" in Japanese.

39. Piercing weapon: TALON

40. Poet Sandburg: CARL. His poetry was mostly focused in PJB's Chicago.

43. Quiz: ASK

44. Some fiction: PULP. Pulp fiction.

45. Sue Grafton's "__ for Outlaw": O IS. The only possible clue for OIS.

49. Single, for one: Abbr.: SYN (Synonym). (Added later: Single is a synonym of "one").

56. Mitchell with the 1969 album "Clouds": JONI. I can't think of any other Mitchell.

58. In the slightest: AT ALL

59. Ocean hunter: ORCA

60. Alençon's department: ORNE. A department as well? Man, I thought it's just a river name.

61. Fool in "Pagliacci": TONIO. No idea. Italian for Tony?

62. Automobil route: BAHN. Automobil is German for "automobile" I presume.

63. Student stats: GPAS

64. Doc Golightly portrayer in "Breakfast at Tiffany's": EBSEN (Buddy). I finally saw "Breakfast at Tiffany's" a few weeks ago. Did not pay attention to the Doc actor though.

Down:

1. Sans __: carefree: SOUCI. Literally "worry" in French.

2. Otherwise: IF NOT

3. Station: DEPOT

4. Mean business: EVIL. I don't understand the clue. Why "business"?

5. Treat kindly: BE NICE TO. Mine was BEFRIEND.

6. Overwatered: SOGGY

7. Buck add-on: AROO. Buckaroo. Switch/smack add-on is EROO.

8. Strip lighter: NEON. Oh, Las Vegas Strip.

10. Bruce of Sherlock Holmes films: NIGEL. Stranger to me. The British actor who played Watson.

11. "Thérèse Raquin" novelist: EMILE ZOLA. Not familiar with the novel. Thérèse Raquin is the eponymous heroine.

12. Funny ones: WAGS. That's our Lois.

13. It's not always exact: Abbr.: SCI. Science?

21. Nick's wife: NORA. From "The Thin Man". Asta is their dog.

22. It may be deadly: SIN. Seven Deadly Sins. Jack likes to have biblical/church clues or fill in his puzzles "as a reminder of eternal values".

26. Four-time Hugo winner Frederik: POHL. Nope, sorry! Four-time Hugo does not mean anything to me.

27. Emerge suddenly: BOB UP

28. It's forecast in percentages: RAIN.

30. Glade target: ODOR. Glade is the air freshener brand.

31. Caterpillar's creation: TENT. No idea. It's cocoon also called TENT?

32. Glittery mineral: MICA. I've never associated mica with "glittery".

33. Nutritional stds.: RDAS

34. Stroller's rest spot: PARK BENCH

35. Saw, e.g.: TOOL. Thought of "old saying" saw first.

36. Musical with Grizabella and Growltiger: CATS. Waiting for Buckeye to comment.

39. Stadium party site: TAIL GATE. Great entry.

41. Hot Christmas staple: YULE LOG. Tom and Jerry jumped to my mind first.

44. Babe, for example: PIG. Babe is the name of the pig in the movie "Babe".

47. Turk, most likely: ASIAN. Some are European.

48. They have highs and lows: TIDES

49. Trumpeters on a lake: SWANS

50. "Boola Boola" singer: YALIE. "Boola Boola" is Yale's fighting song.

51. Hose material: NYLON

52. Dance that may involve a chair: HORA. The traditional Romanian and Israeli round dance. Was a chair involved in your wedding dance, Hahtool?

53. Diamond cover: TARP. Baseball diamond.

54. Albacore, e.g.: TUNA. Toro (in Sushi bar) is the fatty belly portion of tuna. Delicious!

55. From __: slight progress: A TO B

56. Assignment: JOB

Jan 14, 2010

Thursday January 14, 2010 Ed Sessa

Theme: SHEEP (65A. Animal family hidden in 17-, 35- and 57-Across)

17A. Hackneyed line: HAVE WE MET BEFORE. After "You look familiar". EWE is embedded.

35A. Chowder base: CLAM BROTH. LAMB is hidden. What is the difference between broth and stock?

57A. Summertime cosmetic mishap: MASCARA MELTDOWN. Sweat. RAM is enclosed.

What an coincidence! Windhover just mentioned last night that kidding and lambing season is about to start.

All of the above hidden animal names are spread between two words. Nice consistency. Simple theme & light theme entries, which allow for plenty of long letter non-theme entries. I counted total 18 seven-letter entries, 12 of them are stacked in in each quadrant. Very Dan Naddor-like.

I was also delighted by the sparkling clues for short answers:

21A. Heros: SUBS. Hero Sandwich.

22A. Male delivery: SON. Playing on "mail delivery".

29A. Killed, in a way: VETOED. Killed "bill".

32A. MA and PA: STS (States). Pun on "Ma and Pa".

53A. Rear admiral's rear: AFT. Oh, the rear of his ship.

30D. Move in high circles?: ORBIT. For the planets.

39D. Talking a blue streak?: PROFANE. "Blue" here means "risqué".

55D. Brest friend: AMIE. Playing on "Best friend". Brest is a seaport in western France.

Easier than our average Thursday, wasn't it? Maybe I just mind melded with the constructor (Thanks, Argyle).

Across:

1. Italian port on the Adriatic: BARI. In southeast Italy. And AMORE (20A. Love, in 1-Across)

5. Los Alamos project, briefly: A-BOMB. Thought of A-TEST first.

10. Newspaper family name: OCHS. Of the New York Times.

14. Yemen's main port: ADEN

15. Roofed patio: LANAI. Literally "roofed patio" in Hawaiian.

23. Frothy fountain drinks: MALTEDS. Partially alliterative clue.

26. Green soldier: RECRUIT. "Green" = inexperienced. Tyro.

31. River in NW France: ORNE. See this map. If flows to the English Channel.

33. Bakery worker with a gun: ICER

34. Spirited equine: STEED

38. "__ moi, le déluge": Louis XV: APRES. Literally "after". Après moi, le déluge = After me, the flood. Just means that nothing matters after he's dead.

41. New Rochelle, NY, college: IONA

42. "Pygmalion" monogram: GBS (George Bernard Shaw)

45. 1975 A.L. MVP and Rookie of the Year __ Lynn: FRED. When he was with the Red Sox. His baseball cards are not worth much. Ichiro is another player who won both MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same year (2001).

46. "The evil that men do lives after them" speaker: ANTONY. From "Julius Caesar". Not a familiar line to me.

48. Brutally harsh: RAW. As weather.

49. __ stone: ROSETTA. Shouldn't "stone" be capitalized?

51. How architects draw: TO SCALE

54. Crimson Tide, briefly: 'BAMA. They just won the BCS Championship.

56. "Flip This House" network: A AND E. I've learned to parse AANDE.

61. Hall of Famer Slaughter: ENOS

62. Book from which the film "What's Love Got to Do With It" was adapted: I, TINA. I know it's Tina Turner's autobiography. Have never heard of the film though.

63. Netman Nastase: ILIE. Alliteration in the clue.

66. Buffoonish: ZANY

Down:

1. Commonwealth off Florida: BAHAMAS

2. Uncompromising: ADAMANT. I am, sometimes.

3. Rises up: REVOLTS

4. At a standstill: INERT. The grammar confuses me. "At a standstill" is an adjective, Kazie?

6. Kapow cousin: BAM. I want Kapow to be in quotation. "Kapow".

8. Come of age: MATURE

9. Like many lobster eaters: BIBBED

10. Galoot: OAF

11. Sense of completeness: CLOSURE

12. Sandra Bullock role, e.g.: HEROINE. Sandra Bullock is always so goofy.

13. Like some candles: SCENTED

18. Agricultural pests: WEEVILS. Here is one. Report please!

19. Corner PC key: ESC. Upper-left corner.

24. Numerical prefix: DECA. Prefix for "ten". As in decathlon.

25. Pipe part: STEM

27. Portnoy creator Philip: ROTH (Philip). Has anyone actually read "Portnoy's Complaint"?

34. Patronizes, as an inn: STAYS AT

35. Hand over: CEDE

36. Canine anchor: ROOT. Canine tooth. Not dog.

38. Popular ski country homes: A-FRAMES. Drew a blank. Easy for snow to slide off the roof I presume.

40. Sits atop: RESTS ON

42. Hiker's snack: GRANOLA. I am so in love with my raw cashew & Medjool dates bar lately.

43. Longtime Steinway rival: BALDWIN. Piano maker. I've only heard of Steinway.

44. Todd of Broadway: SWEENEY. Sweeney Todd.

46. Classic video games: ATARIS

47. "Broadway Joe": NAMATH. Quarterback Joe Namath is nicknamed "Broadway Joe".

52. City near Gibraltar: CADIZ. Here is the map. Quite far from Gibraltar, isn't it?

58. Western KY clock setting: CST. Had no idea that KY has 2 different time zones.

59. Santa Barbara-to-Vegas dir.: ENE. Direction is often my weakness.

60. Slurp (up): LAP

Answer grid.

C.C.

Jan 13, 2010

Wednesday January 13, 2010 Dan Naddor

Theme: DEFENSE (36D. Stadium chant, and word that can follow the ends of the answers to starred clues)

16A. *Dictated reminder: NOTE TO SELF. Self-Defense.

19A. *"We must be nuts!": THIS IS INSANITY. Insanity Defense. Pleading "Not guilty by reasons of insanity".

32A. *Restricted airspace: NO FLY ZONE. Zone Defense. Basketball/football.

50. *"We answer to a higher authority" brand: HEBREW NATIONAL. National Defense. I've never heard of the kosher hot dog/sausage brand Hebrew National, made by ConAgra.

55. *Marquee name: MOVIE TITLE. Title Defense.

A healthy 63 theme squares. Heavy themage. The first two and the last two theme answers are overlapped. A feature of many of Dan's puzzles.

Today's Dan Naddor Index (non-theme entries with 6 or more letters) is 24. Very high. Nice stacks of 7-letter Down entries in each quadrant.

My favorite clue is WMDS (51D. Scary arms, briefly). Nailed it immediately. Did fall into trap of calculating the clue for EFFS (9D. 40% of fifty). Not enough blanks for TWENTY or SCORE. Then I realized the letter play trick. There are two letter Fs in the word "fifty", hence spelled-out EFFS.

Across:

1. Dadaism co-founder: ARP (Jean)

4A. "I'm serious!": NO JOKE. Three Js in this grid.

10. Egyptian viper: ASP. The kind that killed Cleopatra.

13. Chase, in a way: WOO. Wanted RUN.

14. Supposing: EVEN IF

15. Zig or zag: VEER

18. Wrath, in a hymn title: IRAE. "Dies Irae".

21. Word with car or bumper: POOL. Have never heard of the billiards game bumper pool, which only has 2 pockets.

22. Dover's st.: DEL. Where Biden is from.

23. Skedaddles: SCATS. And SPLITS (61A. Skedaddles).

24. Derby drinks: JULEPS. Have you been to Kentucky Derby? I bet Windhover has.

26. Moor on stage: OTHELLO. The only Moor I know.

28. Beef source: STEER. Oh, real beef, not complaint.

29. Flowery welcome: ALOHA

35. First name in tyranny: IDI. Uganda's Idi Amin.

38. Donnybrook: MELEE

39. __ talk: TRASH

43. Classic TV family: NELSONS. From "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet". Stumped me.

45. Filmdom: CINEMA

46. Second of three black keys: A FLAT. No idea. I've never touched a piano.

49. Sea depleted by irrigation projects: ARAL. The Shrinking Sea.

57. Italian vineyard region: ASTI. In northwest Italy.

58. "It __ matter": DOESN'T

59. Years and years: EON

60. The Carolinas' __ Dee River: PEE. Named after the Pee Dee Tribe.

62. CD players: DJS

Down:

1. Barley bristle: AWN. Like this. Last time it's clued as "Grass appendage".

2. Destroy completely: ROOT OUT

3. Asphalt fault: POTHOLE. Nice rhyming sound.

4. Clears: NETS

5. Eggs, e.g.: OVOIDS. Always thought of "ovoid" as adjective.

6. Longtime North Carolina senator Helms: JESSE. Not fond of the clue because SEN is the answer for 31A. VIP on the Hill.

7. NBC newsman Roger: O'NEIL. Total stranger to me. Can't even find a picture of him.

8. Potter's need: KILN. Was worried that it might be Harry Potter related.

10. Shots from above: AERIALS. Was picturing snipers.

11. "Grey's Anatomy" setting: SEATTLE. The answer emerged itself.

12. Victimizes: PREYS ON

15. Country singer Gill: VINCE. What's his most famous song?

17. Actress Brennan: EILEEN. Oh, she's the terrible officer in "Private Benjamin".

20. People or region of Ghana: ASHANTI. New word to me. Only know the singer Ashanti.

21. Dr. Dentons, e.g.: PJS. Not familiar with Dr. Dentons at all. Don't wear PJS.

25. Hype: PROMOTE

26. Slip through the cracks?: OOZE. Why question mark?

33. Squishy lowland: FEN. Marshy swamp.

34. Verdi title bandit: ERNANI. The opera was based on Hugo's play "Hernani". I was clueless.

35. Piled any which way: IN A HEAP. Parallel with another 3-word entry I'LL BITE (37D. "It's a trick, but tell me"). Terrific entries.

40. Effervescent, perhaps: AERATED.

41. IHOP order: SMALL OJ

42. Dave's "2001" nemesis: HAL. The "2001" computer.

44. New York restaurateur: SARDI (Vincent). The owner of Sardi's Restaurant in Broadway.

45. Customer: CLIENT

47. Subject of contemplation?: NAVEL. Contemplate one's navel.

48. Formal "Who's there?" response: IT IS I

52. Don Knotts denial: NOOP! Easy guess.

53. Baseball's Mel and Ed: OTTS. Only knew Mel Ott.

56. Dash widths: ENS. Or EMS.

I'd like to share with you a very touching story Rich Norris (LA Times crossword editor) told me about Dan Naddor's memorial service:

"There were more than 100 chairs set up in the room. I paid little attention to the decor until the first speaker pointed out that it was not an accident that some chairs had white covers and others had black covers. When viewed from above, the black-covered chairs were in the same pattern as the black squares in Dan's last puzzle (Deliver-ANCE) published before he passed away! I thought it was a brilliant touch. "

LA Times also made available Dan's "Star Search" mentioned as one of Rich's favorites in Dan's obit.

Answer grid.

C.C.