Sep 2, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 Kurt Mengel and Jan-Michele Gianette

Theme: 2's - Four words, to be exact, that indicate 2 start off the theme entries.

17A. 1971 road film co-starring James Taylor : "TWO LANE BLACKTOP". Classic cult film.

26A. Treachery : DOUBLE DEALING. Classic soap opera feature.

41A. Spectacles : PAIR OF GLASSES. Classic quote: "Men seldom make passes / at girls who wear glasses / but it really depends on their frames."

53A. Status of a multiple passport holder : DUAL CITIZENSHIP. Classic ???

Argyle(the one and only) here. An apt puzzle for today, if a bit uninspired. A couple of grid spanners, all in-language theme entries but I didn't warm to it. Your temperature may vary.


1. Gather for oneself : AMASS

6. __ accompli : FAIT. "fact accomplished" - or what we might called a 'done deal'.

10. Brontë or Boleyn : ANNE

14. Video game hedgehog : SONIC

15. Up to the task : ABLE

16. Cambodia neighbor : LAOS

20. Cozy stopover : INN

21. Golfer McIlroy : RORY
 # One.

22. Shaggy : HAIRY

23. City SW of Bogotá : CALI. Down in Colombia.

24. Prefix meaning "loving" : PHILO. "philosophy" = "love of wisdom" What would be "love of crosswords"?

30. Church organ features : PIPES. But don't tell the organist she has a nice set of pipes.

31. Two-masted vessel : YAWL

32. "Do You Know the __ to San Jose?" : WAY

34. Got older : AGED

35. Gets hot under the collar : BOILS [eew, bad image.]

37. Taste, as of a sandwich : BITE

38. Mangy mutt : CUR

39. Tight-knit family : CLAN

40. "Funeral Blues" poet W.H. __ : AUDEN

45. Hearty meals : STEWS

46. Ugh-producing : ICKY

47. Assume the role of : ACT AS

49. Poet Pound : EZRA

50. New Deal agcy. : WPA. Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration)

57. Longfellow's bell town : ATRI It was in C.C.'s Sunday Aug. 17th puzzle.

58. Indian princess : RANI

59. R&B singer Sam : COOKE

60. Flat-topped hill : MESA

61. Fencing weapon : ÉPÉE

62. County in SE England : ESSEX


1. Piedmont wine region : ASTI

2. Cut with a Snapper, say : MOWN. (past tense) Forrest liked his.

3. Shortly, to Shakespeare : ANON

4. __ vous plaît : S'IL. "if you please"

5. Sacred Egyptian beetles : SCARABs. very pretty colors.

6. Spenser's "The __ Queene" : FAERIE

7. "Dear" advice giver : ABBY

8. Feeling poorly : ILL

9. Celestial Seasonings offering : TEA

10. Acid neutralizer : ALKALI

11. Company that's "on your side" : NATIONWIDE. Also, sponsor of the junior NASCAR circuit.

12. Jordanian queen dowager : NOOR. Biography

13. Catch sight of : ESPY 40D. With suspicion : ASKANCE

18. Hall of Fame NFL coach Chuck : NOLL. Biography

19. Kick back : CHILL

23. Prompted : CUED

24. Ring loudly : PEAL

25. Partner of hems : HAWS

26. Unearth : DIG UP

27. Big names at the Met : OPERA STARS

28. Fading away : DYING

29. Garden swingers : GATES

30. Source of some D.C. funding : PAC

33. Strong desire : YEN

35. Low __: cheap shot : BLOW

36. Clumsy sorts : OAFS

37. On a tight schedule : BUSY

39. Getting gradually louder, in mus. : CRESC. (Crescendo)

42. Bologna's land : ITALIA

43. Tin __: Model T : LIZZIE

44. Parcel of land : ACRE

47. Sandler of "Grown Ups" films : ADAM. There is a third one in the works.

48. Like kitten videos : CUTE

49. Berlin article : EINE

50. Start of a "Knock, knock" response : WHO'S [there]

51. Toll road : PIKE

52. Mountain climber's goal : APEX

54. Wrath : IRE

55. Sink feature : TAP

56. Sailor's distress signal : SOS



Sep 1, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014 Amy Johnson

Theme: Huff & Puff - Follow-up on three little sty upgrades.

18A. Unlucky thing to draw : SHORT STRAW

26A. Tabletop game requiring steady hands : PICK-UP STICKS

47A. Go on strike, in slang : HIT THE BRICKS

60A. Menace who destroyed houses made of the ends of 18-, 26- and 47-Across : BIG BAD WOLF

Argyle here with a rabbit, rabbit and three little pigs. A simple premise with some testing entries but not beyond doing. There are some cute plums in there too. I never heard the house made of bricks was destroyed.


1. Junk email : SPAM

5. "A Streetcar __ Desire" : NAMED

10. Talks and talks and talks : GABS. yadda, yadda, yadda.

14. Strauss of denim : LEVI

15. Double-reed instruments : OBOEs

16. Author __ Stanley Gardner : ERLE. Perry Mason creator.

17. Fateful date for Caesar : IDES of March.

20. Poverty-stricken : DIRT POOR

22. Share and share __ : ALIKE

23. Banned apple spray : ALAR

24. Solved, as a cryptogram : DECODED

30. Witch trials town : SALEM

31. Like a prof. emeritus : RET.

32. Narrate : TELL

36. Supermarket chain initials : IGA. (Independent Grocers Alliance)

37. McCain's title : SENATOR

41. Pizzeria order : PIE

42. Male offspring : SONS

44. Univ. proctors, often : TAs. (Teaching Assistant)

45. Seat of New York's Oneida County : UTICA. Hi, Spitzboov.

51. Vehement speeches : TIRADES

54. Have in mind : MEAN

55. "I'll do whatever you need" : "USE ME"

56. "Language" that gave us "amscray" : PIG LATIN. 10D. "Amscray!" : "GET LOST!"

63. Common quitting time : FIVE

64. List-shortening abbr. : ET AL.

65. "... had a farm, __" : EIEIO

66. Bullpen stats : ERAS. In baseball statistics, earned run average (ERA) is the mean of earned runs given up by a pitcher per nine innings pitched

67. Really annoy : RILE

68. Rose essence : ATTAR

69. Hankerings : YENS


1. Got one's uniform dirty, as a base runner : SLID

2. Feet pampering, briefly : PEDIcure

3. State confidently : AVER

4. Error : MISTAKE

5. "Never gonna happen" : "NO SOAP". I haven't heard that phrase in quite a while.

6. Finds repugnant : ABHORS

7. Tie up in the harbor : MOOR

8. At any time, to Frost : E'ER

9. Summer hrs. : DST. (daylight saving time)

11. Extra Dry deodorant : ARRID

12. Eubie of jazz : BLAKE

13. Embroidered, e.g. : SEWED

19. Potato bag : SACK. A day at the races.

21. Future prunes, perhaps : PLUMS

24. Weight loss plan : DIET

25. Opposite of endo- : ECTO

26. Trident-shaped Greek letters : PSIs

27. "Othello" villain : IAGO. 49D. Wife of 27-Down : EMILIA. Common knowledge?

28. Scottish family : CLAN

29. Garbage : TRASH

33. Larger-than-life : EPIC

34. Kiss from a dog : LICK

35. Grazing grounds : LEAs

38. Suffix with major or Smurf : ETTE

39. D.C. baseball team : NATS. Short for the Washington Nationals.

40. Beyond the burbs : RURAL

43. Shuffling gait : SHAMBLE

46. "30 Rock" creator : TINA FEY

48. Brainstorm : IDEA

50. Request earnestly, as mercy : BEG FOR

51. Potato or yam : TUBER

52. "Lord, __?": Matthew : "IS IT I?"

53. Fit for a king : REGAL

56. Couplet creator : POET

57. Michelin product : TIRE

58. Tennis great Lendl : IVAN

59. Mythical monster's loch : NESS

61. Org. with narcs : DEA. (Drug Enforcement Administration)

62. Oscar Wilde's forte : WIT

I found this fitting ditty while looking for something by Eubie Blake and couldn't pass it up.


Aug 31, 2014

Sunday August 31, 2014 Pancho Harrison

 Theme:  "Say Cheese" - Phrases with photographic term in are re-interpreted as if they're related to the specific photographer in each clue.

24A. The old-time photographer preferred the __ : NEGATIVE ASPECT. Now all digital.

31A. The IndyCar photographer used __ : ZOOM LENSES.  Zoom Zoom!

52A. The fashion photographer worried about __ : MODEL BEHAVIOR

66A. The dating service photographer was happy when __ : EVERYTHING CLICKED.

84A. The arctic photographer had to consider __ : EXPOSURE TIMES. Cold temperature exposure.

104A. The dessert photographer took a set of __ : JELLO SHOTS

112A. The stressed-out photographer __ : FINALLY SNAPPED. I like this as the final theme answer.

I know Lemonade remembers this fact: Pancho Harrison was our very first LA Times constructor when the Tribune Media dropped Wayne R. Williams edited daily crosswords.
Can you believe our local Star Tribune still carries the Williams puzzle? Same byline every day.


1. Thingamajig : DOODAD. I even nailed OEN (3. Vintner's prefix). Constructing crosswords sure makes me a better solver.

7. Toronto team, familiarly : JAYS

11. Schnauzer of fiction : ASTA

15. Jack Jones' record label : KAPP. Never heard of it. EMI (38. U.K. record label) was a piece of cake.

19. Place for an ace? : SLEEVE

20. Sitting on : ATOP

21. Stock holder? : BARN. Also, STY or PEN.

22. Jai __ : ALAI

23. #1 hit song from "Flashdance" : MANIAC. Got via crosses.

27. Foals' fathers : SIRES

29. Last Supper question : IS IT I? God I'm sure glad this question was asked. Very crossword-friendly combo.

30. A dog, or a little hoarse : HUSKY

35. Unassertive type : DOORMAT

39. Stuffed : SATED

40. Chorus : REFRAIN

41. "Suits" network : USA

44. Sea dog : SALT

46. Article 1, Section 3 constitutional subject : SENATE. Did you learn this in school?

48. Fair subject : SCIENCE. Subject clue echo.

50. Play area : THEATER

56. When tripled, and so on : YADDA

57. Smack, maybe : KISS

59. __ tai : MAI

60. Ortega's "other" : OTRO. No OTRO/OTRA confusion this time.

61. Stan Lee superheroes : X-MEN

63. Support bar : RAIL

64. Some coins : TOKENS

71. Finally : AT LAST

73. The last Mrs. Chaplin : OONA

74. "I'm buying!" : ON ME.  We also have A MOI (125. Michel's "mine")

75. Gardener's choice : LOAM

76. Here-there connection : NOR. Neither here nor there.

77. Dazzles : WOWS

79. Star athlete in Archie Comics : MOOSE. Also new to me.

89. Lao-tzu followers : TAOISTS

91. Meat-filled pastry : RISSOLE. I forgot. We had this before. Wiki said it's just small croquette.

92. "Help me out here, bud" : BE A PAL

94. ER command : STAT

95. Single : ONE

 96. Barenboim is its current music director : LA SCALA. Easy crosses. I have no idea who their music director is.

100. Modesto vintner : GALLO

102. Prior to, in poems : ERE

103. Peso part : CENTAVO

106. Arcade pioneer : ATARI

109. Mead milieu : SAMOA. Margaret Mead. Not the drink. Speaking of drinks, look what Steve sent to me.  I never had Rooibos or the other 7 teas before (Jasmine is my go-to tea). I'm now like a kid at toy stores. Different tea every morning.

111. Computer acronym : ASCII

116. Passionate : ARDENT

120. Envelope abbr. : ATTN

121. Canter, for one : GAIT

122. Garr of "Tootsie" : TERI. Who's your favorite actress, D-Otto?

123. In layers : TIERED

124. Investment factor : RISK

126. Norse god of war : ODIN

127. Pope works : ESSAYS. Not Alexander Pope. Pope Francis, correct?


1. Mil. decoration : DSM

2. Motor extension? : OLA. Motorola.

4. Ben Franklin's belief : DEISM

5. Is of use : AVAILS

6. Downward movement : DECREASE

7. Star of TV's "The Fugitive" : JANSSEN (David). Thanks crosses. I've only seen Harrison Ford's "The Fugitive".

8. Supped : ATE

9. Hindu mystics : YOGIS

10. White-robe providers : SPAS. Marti told me she prefers massages over facials. How about you?

11. Not much : A BIT OF

12. Oskar Schindler, to many : SAVIOR. Indeed.

13. Half of sei : TRE

14. California's Santa __ Mountains : ANA

15. Done for : KAPUT

16. Pub offerings : ALES

17. Prepare for a trip : PACK

18. "That's rough" : PITY

25. Word with pool or table : TIDE

26. Twain of country : SHANIA

28. Shift neighbor : ENTER KEY. Of course I looked at my keyboard.

31. Piquant : ZESTY

32. Fred Astaire's birthplace : OMAHA. I thought he was born somewhere in Kansas, Gary/ Avg Joe.

33. Quieted, in a way : OILED

34. Dutch cheeses : EDAMS

36. Bulldoze, in Bath : RASE

37. St. comprised of two peninsulas : MICH. I had ???H earlier on and I knew it's not UTAH.

40. Cab in a bottle, say : RED. Wine.

41. Southwest competitor : UNITED. Steve's airline.

42. Disdain : SCORN

43. AHL's Iowa Wild, when they were in Houston : AEROS. Iowa Wild is an affiliate of the Minnesota Wild. They were called Houston Aeros before 2013.

45. Skosh : TAD

47. Set-__: arguments : TOs

49. Bring to mind : EVOKE. I tried to mimic Argyle, but I forgot he really reached out for Mr. John Deere.

Minnesota State Fair, August 26, 2014

Spitzboov & Argyle, Washington County Fair, August 23, 2014

 51. Makes serious demands on : TAXES. Not an easy clue.

53. Webzine : EMAG

54. Not of the cloth : LAIC

55. Puff up in the breeze : BILLOW

58. Chant : INTONE

62. "Rocky III" actor : MR T

63. Genetic letters : RNA

64. Airer of many RKO films : TCM

65. Vermont ski resort : OKEMO. I can only think of STOWE.

66. Slip by : ELAPSE

67. Luis' "Let's go!" : VAMOS. Learning moment for me.

68. Laugh-a-minute : HOOT

69. Calvary inscription : INRI

70. Prepares for use, as software : INSTALLS

71. 1999-2004 Olds : ALERO

72. Snake venom, e.g. : TOXIN

77. Like an Aberdeen newborn : WEE

78. Siouan language : OSAGE

80. Grafton's "__ for Outlaw" : O IS

81. Bone: Pref. : OSTEO

82. Get underway : START

83. Bass-baritone Simon : ESTES. Never heard of the guy.

85. Cirque du __ : SOLEIL

86. __ Bator : ULAN. The Chinese for Ulan Bator sounds very pretty.

87. Staff notation : REST

88. G.W. Bush is the only president who earned one : MBA

90. Dole out : ALLOCATE

93. Old TV's "knight without armor in a savage land" : PALADIN. "Have Gun, Will Travel" . I drew a blank.

97. Othello's lieutenant : CASSIO

98. Forward, to Fellini : AVANTI

99. __ Linda, Calif. : LOMA

101. Underworld god : OSIRIS. Isis's husband/brother. Do you know who his father is? Nut!

103. Ill-tempered type : CRANK

104. Made fun of : JAPED

105. Conceals : HIDES

106. At a distance : AFAR

107. South American monkey : TITI

108. Farm workers : ANTS. Ant farms.

110. Vision: Pref. : OPTO

113. NYC traveler's option : LGA

114. Holiday veggie : YAM

115. Verdi's "__ tu" : ERI

117. Victorian __ : ERA

118. Marshal under Napoleon : NEY. Wish Bob Ney still served in the Congress. We'd have a good clue for NEY. He was once so powerful, but so corrupted.

119. NFL scores : TDs


Aug 30, 2014

Interview with Martin Ashwood-Smith

Like many constructors, I check Cruciverb religiously to avoid theme dupe. Often I find out that the clever idea I thought I had was done by Martin Ashwood-Smith many years ago for the CrosSynergy. 

Martin is a very prolific constructor. As you can read from George Barany's Friends bio, Martin has over 550 puzzles published by the CrosSynergy alone. He also had 76 puzzles published by the New York Times. Of those 400 + Games magazines, half a dozen are 25x25 Ornerys.

Martin is known as a master of triple & quad stacks (three or four grid-spanning 15-letter entries are stacked together). In fact, he constructed and published more of both types of puzzle than any other constructor. He's had about 15 quad stack puzzles published in the NYT, which he thinks (to date) has the biggest collection of this type of puzzle. 

Martin was also the first to have have a quad stack puzzle in the LAT in 2012. David Steinberg was the second , and today's is our number three quad stack. One of Martin's  puzzle books consists entirely of stacked-style puzzles... titled unsurprisingly: "Triple-Stack Crosswords". 

I have no experience making quad-stacks, or triple stacks or even double stacks. They scare me. I imagine every quad-stack has a seed entry also, like today's WILD GOOSE CHASES? Were there any other entries you seeded in the triple 10's on top & bottom?

In this case, the seed entry was the bottom quad-stack entry, PEER ASSESSMENTS. Quad stacks are very difficult to construct, so you generally have to proceed from the 15-letter word that you think will give you be best chances of finding others that work with it. 

Can you tell us how a typical quad-stack puzzle is made and what challenges you face when filling in this type of grid?

I always try to assemble/construct the stacks first. This means that I usually have no idea what the eventual grid will look like. It's not uncommon for me to try and assemble dozens of "close-but-no-cigar" quad stack sets, before finally finding something that looks promising. Even then, there's no guarantee that a reasonable grid can be constructed around the set of quads. For example, in today's puzzle, I had no idea that the final version would have sets of stacked 10-letter-words in the top right and bottom left areas... but I'm glad it did!

I went though about 5 or 6 different grid variants before I came up with the final grid. I think the original had AAMES (the actor), but that made the grid far too closed off. A few days later, AA MEETINGS suddenly popped into my head, and the whole puzzle looked much more doable. Funny how that happens... that's one of the reasons I love constructing crosswords. 

You've made lots of themed & themeless puzzles for various newspapers & magazines. What are the major differences in your approach to fill?

Pretty much the same, although I try and keep any hard words out of my themed CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzles, since the majority of them are intended to be at about a Tuesday level of difficulty on the New York Times scale. 

For themed puzzles, which part do you enjoy the most in the construction process: theme development, filling or cluing?

I've always enjoyed the construction most, since I always try to come up with an original grid to accommodate the sets of theme clues.

What kind of theme/fill appeal to you and what kind do you try to avoid in your grids?

I avoid repeated word themes for sure, but they're pretty much verboten in most puzzle markets today anyway. I know I'm in the minority here, but I always enjoy making quote/quip themed puzzles, especially if the quip is fresh and amusing.

I read from this article in The Globe & Mail that you're a taxi driver. Do you mentally count letters when hearing interesting phrases from customers?

Actually, no (at least not often). My crossword life rarely intersects with my cab driving life. However, I do find my job very useful when it comes to hearing the latest usage and "in" words from teenagers. And occasionally, I will see or think of something that will give me some puzzle ideas. But on the whole cab driving is useful to me because it gets me out of the house, away from the computer monitor, and away from crosswords in general!

Besides crosswords, what are your other hobbies?

When I get the time I enjoy weightlifting, classical and electronic music. I'm also a bit of a train enthusiast.

Saturday, Aug 30th, 2014, Martin Ashwood-Smith

Theme: "Quad Stack 16x15"

Words: 69 (missing F,J,Q,U,Z)

Blocks: 36

  I did notice that today's grid was slightly larger than our normal fare, which I have missed in the past - Mr. Ashwood-Smith had a similar Saturday grid with a Quad Stack back in Nov 2012.  Mostly blank through my first pass, just a couple of three-letter fills, but I did know 57a.  Looking back, there really was not too much in the way of vagueness, nor obscurity, IMHO.  Ten-letter corners, two 12-letter spanners, and two 10-letter climbers, one of which I nailed (*).  The Quad Stack:

30. Give an essentials-only account : SPARE THE DETAILS - I had LEAVE OUT DETAILS

39. Exercises in futility : WILD GOOSE CHASES - ugh, took too long for me to get this one, especially having "-CHASES" filled in

40. Mortgagee's calculation : INTEREST PAYMENT - Started with MONTHLY PAYMENTS

41. Group project feedback : PEER ASSESSMENTS - I'd like your assessment on my solo project - here's the finished benches

Carry ONward~!


1. W. Coast force : LAPD - Police Force, Los Angeles

5. Trailer : MOBILE HOME - Dah~!  I had "MOVIE -----", and that was working for a while

15. "Superman" (1978) co-producer Salkind : ILYA

16. Guacamole maker's discard : AVOCADO PIT

17. Active : SPRY

18. Struggle for a 23-Across : SENATE RACE - circular references in Saturday puzzles are the bane of some here on the blog; 23a. Goal in an 18-Across : SEAT

19. Historic Greenwich Village club : THE BITTER END - I have 'heard' of it, but that's all; their website

21. Ivanhoe, e.g. : SAXON

22. Lao-__ : TSE

26. Volume One words, perhaps : A TO - A to Amer., e.g.

28. Blame : RAP

42. Singer's asset : EAR

43. Waste no time : HIE

44. Half-day exam given four times a yr. : LSAT

47. Welcome words : "HI's~!"

50. Mil. trial : N-TEST

54. One at the end of the line : WIDE RECEIVER - Football line

57. Band with the 1986 #1 hit "Venus" : BANANARAMA

60. Marquee time : NITE - "shorthand" for NIGHT: uses less tiles/letters and space - I had to change the marquee at a "NITE" club called Casanova's, so many years ago; see 38d.

61. Help in a stock exchange? : BROKER'S TIP

62. Old 442 rivals : GTOs

63. Fast-moving game : SPEED CHESS - not for me; I have to think about my moves

64. Lacking : SANS


1. Joggers of a sort : LISTS - I keep mine in the cel phone now

2. Top dog : ALPHA

3. Brand introduced by Corning in 1915 : PYREX

4. Certain prep schooler : DAY BOARDER

5. Caravel feature : MAST - Our constructor had a ship clue/answer in the Nov '12 puzzle, too

6. British miler Steve : OVETT

7. Crams, with "up" : BONES - put it in, took it out

8. Comforting comment : "I CARE"

9. Up-to-the-minute : LATE

10. Wonderlands : EDENS

11. Multitude : HORDE

12. WWII cost-stabilizing agcy. : OPA - Office of Price Administraion - the Wiki

13. Jack letters : MIC - DAH~! I shoulda known this kind of jack - music; usually a different ohm rating than say, "guitar".  I went with LBS, as in spare tire car jack

14. Time for les vacances : ETE - Frawnche - haven't seen much in a long, long time

20. Former Acura model : INTEGRA

24. Gotten up : ARISEN

25. Local __ : TALENT

27. Chiwere speakers : OTOEs

29. Attention getters : PSSTs

30. Take the wrong way? : SWIPE - dah~! Went with STEAL

31. __ gland: organ that secretes melatonin : PINEAL

32. Lets out, say : ALTERS - I bought me a suit this week - my first tailored get up, and it felt good - I've lost 30lbs this summer

33. Old West transport, in dialect : HOSS - Oater-speak for "horse" - I linked genuine frontier gibberish two weeks ago

34. Historic Padua neighbor : ESTE

35. Passbook amts. : DEPs - Deposits; don't hear much about passbooks anymore; I do all my banking with direct deposit, online transactions and mobile app functions

36. Net funds : eCASH - Dah~! Went with "GROSS"

37. DNA compound : THYMINE

38*. Sessions involving steps : A.A. MEETINGS - I did a second "Fourth Step" with a new sponsor this summer; still have NOT followed up on his suggestion....terrifying

45. Up : AWAKE

46. Like a rake : TINED

47. Pulitzer journalist Seymour : HERSH

48. Hot : IRATE

49. They occur before finals : SEMIs

51. "You Must Love Me" musical : EVITA

52. Place atop : SET ON

53. Bobby pin target : TRESS

55. Jeanne __ : D'ARC


57. Hardly big shots? : BBs - Cute

58. Klee contemporary : ARP

59. __ Valley: San Francisco area : NOE - map

I have one more surprise for my buddy Adam; his logo as a plaque to go opposite the benches on the bar wall of his restaurant;


Note from C.C.:

JD's grandson Truman turned 7 years old yesterday. Here he is with his brother Grady on the right and cousin Cameron on the left.

Aug 29, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014, Frank Virzi

Theme: When the world gives you lemons, make a puzzle.

There is an old saying that if you had enough monkeys and enough typewriters one would write a great novel just by chance. Today we have a puzzle which is all about my nom de plume, as each of six (!!!!) sets of fill have the letter LEM directly above the letters ADE, presenting a picture of LEM ON (top of) ADE. This is the third of the five LAT puzzles by Mr. Virzi that I have blogged, and it harkens back to the first one I did, for which the visual was HAM ON RYE, with the same  presentation of HAM directly above RYE, but the reveal was just the two words and there were only three sets.  Barry G. scolded Frank for not having a reveal, and here we have something I am not sure I have ever seen, a reveal  (LEMONADE) which is also part of  two of the six sets of clues. The fact that the puzzle runs on Friday, a day blogged by me (lemonade) is either a really odd coincidence (most likely), an example of Rich's awareness and sense of humor, or the most unexpected birthday present ever. This puzzle like Franks' others is nice blend of medium to longish fill with no obscurities that are not filled by the perps. Some fill of note are: BROMINE,  FACED IT,  FERMENT,  NEONATE,  O’CONNOR,  PLUMPER, ADENAUER, A STUDENT,  LEMMINGS, NATHANIEL and the very apt NO PROBLEM. The 3 and 4 letter fill are not too overdone, with only IRE even close and it is clued for the country abbreviation, not anger. let's look at our pairs:

8A. Red Cross red cross, e.g. : EMBLEM. (6) First hint at the theme.
16A. Diatribe :                             TIRADE. (6)

20A. Muskrat relatives : LEMMINGS. (8) Didn't know they were related.
22A. Highly skilled :       ADEPT. (5).

32A. "Consider it done!" : NO PROBLEM. (9).
38A. Green gemstones :                     JADES.(5).

52A. Clay being of Jewish lore :         GOLEM. (5)  Pretty crazy STUFF.
59A. Picnic serving, and when divided properly, a hint to a hidden feature of six pairs of puzzle answers :     LEMONADE. (8)
                                                                      LEMONADE. (8)
63A. West Germany's first chancellor : ADENAUER. (8), Der Alte. Interesting man.

56A. King's "__ Lot" : SALEM'S.
62A. Dodges :              EVADES.


1. Herding dog name : SHEP. This popped right out, though in retrospect, I have never met a dog with that name.

5. Pledge of Allegiance ender : ALL. "...indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

14. Ember, perhaps : COAL.

15. Cattle call : MOO. Not for acting but cow to cow.

17. Valedictorian, typically : A  STUDENT. Typically? I cannot imagine it being anything else.

19. Duplicates : CLONES. The term has been around since 1903!

21. Company with a bull in its logo : ELMER'S.

23. When Juliet asks "wherefore art thou Romeo?" : ACT II.

25. Ici __: French "here and there" : ET LA. Literal French translation. Not et al.

28. First female Supreme Court justice : O'CONNOR. Sandra Day. LINK.

36. "__ say more?" : NEED I.

37. Yeats' land: Abbr. : IRE. A way to clue with no anger.

40. Get a move on : HIE. Old timey word.

41. Walking aid : STAFF.

44. Currier of Currier & Ives : NATHANIEL. He was from Roxbury, MA

47. Netanyahu, for one : ISRAELI. Simple, but tricky.

49. River to the Elbe : OHRE.  We know so little geography. LINK. and 12D. River of central Germany : EDERLINK. Kazie? marti?

50. Boorish : CRASS.

64. Musical Dion : CELINE.

65. Quarterback Tebow : TIM. A Florida Gator, but unemployed as a QB.

66. 100 C-notes : TEN-G.

67. Big name in lawn care : SCOTT'S. A nice hello to our own Santa baby.

68. 1940s mil. zone : ETO. Eastern Theater of Operations.

69. Language that gave us "clan" : ERSE. This is tough since ERSE can be either Irish or Scottish Gaelic. LINK.


1. Italy's La __ : SCALA.

2. Bamboozled : HOSED.  Such a versatile WORD.

3. Invitation on a fictional cake : EAT ME. I would never presume to link a cake as long CED does such wonderful work.

4. More roly-poly : PLUMPER.  I wonder where roly poly started?

5. "You're so right!" : AMEN. 18D. Word of agreement : DITTO.

6. Extended : LONG. So many choices.

7. "__ luck!" : LOTSA. followed by 8. "Blah, blah, blah," briefly : ETC ETC. and 9. Great number of : MILLION. a mini-theme?

10. Element #35 : BROMINE. I long ago forgot the table.

11. Path in a pool : LANE.

13. Boot camp meal : MESS.

24. Awaken : COME TO.

26. Great Society monogram : LBJ. Lyndon Baines Johnson, born August 27, 1908. Hannibal Hamlin was born August 27, 1808. One VP for Kennedy, the other for Lincoln....

27. Self-titled 1991 debut album : ALANIS. Morisette.

29. Classic beverage brand : NEHI. Does everyone think of Radar O'Reilly?

30. Cartoon canine : ODIE. Garfield's 'buddie.'

31. Cambodian cash : RIEL. Rial, are these clues for real?

32. Not yet final, legally : NISI. Ooo I know this one, in the old days they issued a Rule Nisi to allow time for someone to show cause why an order should not become final. I believe some states still use this approach.

33. Scraps : ORTS.

34. High-fiber fruit : PEAR. Did not know this.

35. Educator LeShan : EDA. A popular educator in crosswords.

39. "Zip it!" : SHH.

42. Met the challenge : FACED IT.

43. Agitate : FERMENT. English is such a strange language, so many ways to say one THING.

45. One of the noble gases : ARGON.

46. Nursery arrival : NEONATE. Latin for newborn.

48. Girls : LASSES.

51. Schedule : SLATE.

53. Gumbel's "Today" successor : LAUER. He used to have hair.

54. Idyllic places : EDENS.

55. Sign on an on-ramp : MERGE.

56. Brief moments : SECS.

57. "__ plaisir!" : AVEC. With in French

58. Composer of the opera "Le Roi d'Ys" : LALO. We usually get Schifrin, but instead this:

60. Adjust to fit, perhaps : EDIT.

61. One in an office exchange : MEMO. Oddly clued, but not hard.

Well, my fun week continues, great puzzles and lots of fresh squeezed Lemonade (and Key Lime pie!) Thank you Frank Virzi!!!! and all of you for your birthday wishes and for appreciating my sweet Charlotte; have a happy healthy safe holiday week end. Lemonade out.

Aug 28, 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014 Bernice Gordon

Theme: "How do you define....?"

20-Across. PITCH : TONAL FREQUENCY. A nice perk from this answer is that it lends a "Q" to the grid.

25-Across. PITCH : COVERING ON A ROAD. I was going to object, that they usually use asphalt. But "pitch" is a generic term for certain bitumens, like asphalt.

44-Across. PITCH : AGGRESSIVE SPIEL. I hate robocallers that start with "Don't hang up! This is not a sales call!"

50-Across. PITCH : THROW TO A BATTER. Baseball, of course.

I glanced at the clues and saw that PITCH was repeated, so I immediately knew what I was in for. That didn't make it any easier, though! The mid-west area was quite tricky, and if I had been doing it on paper, I'm sure I would have worn a hole in the grid with all my erasures, or had one massive ink blot with all my write-overs. (Ahhh, the beauty of typing in answers on a keyboard!)

Did you notice? This puzzle is a pangram, using every letter of the alphabet at least once. For newcomers to the corner, you might like to read about this very interesting lady.


1. Bon Ami competitor : AJAX. J and X are the toughest letters to fit into a grid, but Bernice dispenses with both of them in the first word!

5. Start of a classic Christmas poem : TWAS. the night before Christmas...

9. Terra __ : COTTA.

14. "Star Wars" role : LUKE. Skywalker.

15. "Hell __ no fury ..." : HATHThe actual quote is from “The Mourning Bride” by William Congreve:
"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."

16. Isolated : APART.

17. Frigg's husband : ODIN. Norse goddess.

18. First name in suburban humor : ERMA. Bombeck.

19. Group scuffle : MELEE.

23. Justice Fortas : ABE.

24. Spleen : IRE.

34. Some final exams : ORALS.

35. Immature salamanders : EFTS.

36. One who may signal to a bullpen: Abbr. : MGRManager.

37. Hall of Fame golfer Middlecoff who had a DDS degree : CARY. Could not remember his name for the longest time. Finally remembered it after filling in CA*Y.   (^0^)

38. Oscar de la __ : RENTA.

40. Fictional estate near Atlanta : TARA.

41. Covert maritime org. : ONIOffice of Naval Intelligence. NCIS has its roots in the ONI.

42. Notable Cuban bandleader, familiarly : DESI. Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha, III, better know as DESI Arnaz.

43. Good __ : AS NEW.

48. Hail to Caesar : AVE.

49. "__ Mine": Beatles song : I MEGeorge Harrison's homage to Hindu spirituality, and criticism of the selfishness of Lennon and McCartney. It was their last new song before they split up. 2:22

58. Characteristic : TRAIT.

59. Cannes cleric : ABBE.

60. Destroy : RAZE. Z is another problematic letter when trying for a pangram...

61. Nemo's creator : VERNE. ...and V is often missing.

62. Pinochle combination : MELD.

63. Setting for "The Quiet Man" : EIRE. A great John Wayne / Maureen O'Hara film.

64. Swamp grass : SEDGE.

65. Peacock tail spots : EYES.

66. Anti-aircraft fire : FLAK.


1. Oodles : A LOT.

2. Self-defense method : JUDO.

3. Related : AKIN.

4. Small-screen princess : XENA: Warrior Princess. Played by Lucy Lawless and filmed in New Zealand.

5. Enforcement org. since 1908 : THE FBI.

6. Rabbit home : WARREN.

7. "Don't throw bouquets __": song lyric : AT ME. I can't resist a song from "Oklahoma!" 3:12

8. NBA nickname : SHAQ. Shaquille O'Neal. A quarrelsome teammate, he played his last season for the Boston Celtics before retiring in 2011.

9. Shooting equipment : CAMERAS.

10. Kitchen gadget : OPENER.

11. Powder in the nursery : TALC.

12. Low card : TREY. I just had this word last week.

13. Ended a fast : ATE.

21. Metallica drummer Ulrich : LARS.

22. Utah's __ Mountains : UINTA.

25. Drink after a day on the slopes : COCOA. I really would rather have a toddy, which also fit. (Just sayin'...)

26. Chimp cousin : ORANG.

27. First Brazilian airline : VARIG. This was a tough little section. Never mind that I had entered "toddy" at 25-Down, did not know this airline, and had a devilish time remembering golfer Middlecoff.

28. Cambridgeshire cathedral town : ELY.

29. Supernatural lamp occupants : GENII. Plural of genie, also spelled djinn, djinny or jinni. I just read "The Golem and the Jinni" by Helene Wecker.  Hahtoolah recommended it, and I loved it!

30. Time and again, to a poet : OFT.

31. Spender of rials : OMANI.

32. Jibe : AGREE.

33. Feature of LBJ speeches : DRAWL. And a feature of DH's speech.

38. Fix again, as a hem : RESEW.

39. Count ending : ESS. Countess.

40. Chef's meas. : TSPTeaspoon.

42. Zealot : DEVOTEE. "Fanatic" also fit...

43. Headed for an isle, maybe : ASEA. At least it wasn't clued as "confused."

45. Very eager : RARING. This word is fairly new, dating only to the 1920's. Oxford Dictionary says it's a dialect variant of "roaring."

46. Like a good alternative : VIABLE.

47. War zone correspondents : EMBEDS.

50. Family __ : TREE. Gaaack!  I had "ties" at first. It made this crossword puzzle pretty...

51. Tough : HARD. But in the end, I fixed all my blunders and it turned out to be...

52. Not so tough : TAME.

53. Mind : OBEY.

54. Not kosher : TREF. Have you finally memorized this word?

55. Word with spin or wind : TAIL.

56. Biblical prophet : EZRA.

57. Stink : REEK.

58. Sony products : TVs.

And that's all, folks!

Aug 27, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 Gareth Bain

Theme: Fits to a "T". Put a "T-" in front of the first word of each of the theme answers and you have a new noun. Theme answers are placed in Down for visual effects.

3D. *Hearty repast : SQUARE MEAL. T-Square. My woodshop teacher walloped me with one of these when I was about 13, so I remember this carpentry tool well. I deserved it too, so no complaints.

9D. *"Politically Incorrect" host : BILL MAHER. T-Bill. Well-known to solvers, but I realized I'd never actually seen one, so here we are. In the words of Dr. Evil - One MILLION Dollars!

31D. *Sensitivity to cashews, say : NUT ALLERGY. T-Nut. I've never used one. I wonder if there are T-nuts in a T-top?

35D. *Fine porcelain : BONE CHINA. T-Bone. Food! Unlike the T-Nuts, I've cuddled up to one or two T-Bone steaks in my time. You get a twofer - tenderloin and strip, so you get the best of both worlds

The reveal:

29D. Sporty car roofs, and, literally, what the first words of the answers to starred clues can have : T-TOPS. Largely defunct now that engineering advances mean that you don't need the structural roof elements to keep the car from flexing like a Muscle Beach exhibitionist.

Salut, amigos and amigas. Steve here with a fun Gareth Bain offering which shows a 90-degree shift in the usual theme entry orientation. I enjoy the times I have to figuratively turn my head sideways to see what's going on. I loved that the theme required not just the "T", but also the "-" to make sense of the new nouns.

Let's see what else we've got:


1. Bygone U.S. station name : ESSO. Standard Oil (of Texas). What's the word for the verbalizing of an acronym and the resultant spelling of that to make a word? If there isn't one, we should come up with it.

5. Subsides : EBBS. Moons wax and wane, tides flood and ebb.

9. Parade group : BAND

13. Chef's hat : TOQUE. A great word. No French chef worth his sel would be caught without one. It all got a little silly when the height of your toque was meant to represent your superior standing in the culinary world

15. Rich topsoil : LOAM

16. Java Freeze brand : ICEE

17. Lies next to : ABUTS

18. In __: actually : ESSE

19. Cry out for : LACK

20. Plays first, in some card games : LEADS

21. Innocent : CHILD-LIKE

23. Comedy Central send-up : ROAST

25. Chowder morsel : CLAM

26. Pre-A.D. : BCE. Hmmm .. why the "E"?

28. Portable Asian dwellings : YURTS

30. Horses' tresses : MANES

34. Gyro meat : LAMB. Food! I love lamb, and gyros. If you are ever on the I-15 driving though Baker, CA (usually on your way to or from Las Vegas) then stop at "The Mad Greek" for the best gyro you'll ever.

36. Portable bed : COT

37. Without even a scratch : UNHURT

38. McFlurry option : OREO

39. Rounded hill : KNOLL

41. Italian hot spot : ETNA. The most famous volcano in the world of cruciverbalists.

42. Sounds echoing through the castle : CLANGS. Usually accompanied by the cries of those unfortunates consigned to the dungeons with all kinds of unpleasantness to follow.

44. Quill, perhaps : PEN

45. Commuter's option : RAIL

46. Clark Kent, at birth : KALEL. Crosses all the way. Must ... remember ... this ... for ... future ... crosswords .... Nope, it's already forgotten.

47. Son of Sarah : ISAAC

49. Gettysburg Campaign VIP : LEE. Why am I thinking "desserts" here? Oh wait, it's "Sarah" in 47A, not "Sara".

50. Use profanity : CUSS

52. East Asian capital : SEOUL

54. Where it'll all come out? : IN THE WASH. Not always, I've got some white shorts that never recovered from the person next to me on a flight dumping a cup of coffee in my lap and then my own self-abasement when I dropped my in-flight pasta on top of the original sin. My bad. We both blamed the excellent wine selection in the United lounge pre-flight.

58. Oldest of the Stooges : SHEMP. Completely, never, ever heard of him (?). Is this the "Iggy" Stooges or the "triple" incarnation? I await your wisdom.

61. Amos at the piano : TORI

62. Early Genesis brother : ABEL

63. Stooges count : THREE. Ah, apropos of 58A above, I believe that Iggy Pop had more than three sidemen, so I'm guessing this is the "Curly" cohort count.

64. All tied up : EVEN

65. Anti-leather gp. : PETA

66. Sweetie : SUGAR

67. Chichén Itzá builder : MAYA. Great clue for an old staple. I learned something today - that's why I love the crosswords!

68. KFC side : SLAW

69. London's __ Park : HYDE. I saw Queen play a free concert in Hyde Park in 1976 - the first free gig since the Rolling Stones in the 60's.


1. And others, in citations: Abbr. : ET AL.

2. Maker of Lifewater beverages : SOBE

4. Surpass : OUT-DO. I'm not sure if the hyphen is required, but it looks better to me.

5. It can't help being negative : ELECTRON. Favorite clue/answer combo of the day.

6. "Poppycock!" : BOSH


8. Detect, in a way : SMELL. Usually "in a bad way"! Smells seem to be bad, aromas are good. English is a tremendously confusing language. I've no idea how C.C. et al manage.

10. Berry sold in health food shops : ACAI. Messed up with "GOJI" first,

11. Giraffe's trademark : NECK. Does it come with a ™ symbol?

12. Fake in the rink : DEKE

14. Test type you can't really guess on : ESSAY

22. Rhett's last word : DAMN

24. Lures (in) : SUCKS. Nice, polite clue

26. Inhibit : BLOCK.

27. "Cheers" waitress Tortelli : CARLA

32. Bert's roommate : ERNIE

33. Old : STALE

37. Radii neighbors : ULNAE. Latin "ii" in the clue suggests Latin "ae" in the answer.

40. Legislation pertaining to dogs : LEASH LAW

43. Stuff to stick with? : GLUE

47. "Eva Luna" author Allende : ISABEL. It seems all proper names are "Help! Crosses!" for me, particularly today.

48. Goes for : COSTS

51. Scoreless Words With Friends turns : SWAPS. I know the app, but I don't have it and have never played it. Good to know that you can swap. Is it like Scrabble when you've got a rack of Q's, W's and K's and you burn a turn dumping all seven tiles and drawing a new set but miss a turn? Always sounded like a bad idea to me.

53. "That's correct" : UH HUH

54. Couple in the news : ITEM

55. Old Chevy : NOVA. Plenty to choose from, but the "V" was there so it was a fill-in.

56. "South Park" co-creator Parker : TREY. Middle name "Genius" IMHO.

57. __ good example : SET A

59. Ancient drink making a comeback : MEAD. Comeback? Really? Tinbeni - have you tried this stuff? I'm sure it can't be pleasant - the whole reason wine was sweetened with honey was because the wine was too nasty to drink.

60. Paris pop : PÉRE.  Because "Orangina" doesn't fit. Neither does "Le Coke".

That's about it! Enjoy your Wednesday!


P.S. I just want to take two seconds to give an enormous shout-out to C.C. for her amazing generosity with her time, encouragement, help and advice to an originally clueless constructor!

Oh wait - I need to upload the grid - I always forget about that!

Notes from C.C.:
1) Working with Steve is unique & inspiring! He grew up in the UK, reads extensively and is very knowledgeable about lots of subjects. He was never discouraged by the "No" answers I sent to him regarding certain themes or fill. He's always eager to learn & is super efficient. Just what you expected from a triathlete.

2) Happy Birthday to Charlotte's grandpa Lemonade, who has been our Friday Sherpa since March 2010. Lemonade sees beauty in every crossword and is attentive to both newbies and regulars. I'm so pleased with his two LAT puzzles and looking forward to his solo. Please click here for more pictures. Love his purple shirt here.

 Charity Award Time

 At Work with Aaron

  Charlotte, happiest baby, bar none