Apr 16, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 Gareth Bain

Theme: Trick Shots. The first word of all the theme answers can precede "SHOT" to create a new phrase.

17A. *Tyke's dinnertime perch : BOOSTER SEAT. Just hearing "booster shot" as a kid was enough to strike fear into my heart. I didn't do well with needles.

25A. *Unfair deception : CHEAP TRICK. Floyd Mayweather notoriouly knocked out Victor Ortiz in 2011 with what was alleged to be a cheap shot. The referee looks as startled as Ortiz! This is a little different from the other theme entries as both words could be paired with "SHOT".

37A. *Insignificant amount : DROP IN THE BUCKET. Roger Federer is the master of the tennis version of the drop shot.

48A. *Numero uno : HEAD HONCHO. I live in the city of the head shot, and those of many an unknown actor adorn the walls of hairdressers and convenience stores.

And the reveal:

59A. Try, or a hint to the first words of the answers to starred clues : GIVE IT A SHOT

Hola, Amigos! Steve here with a nice Gareth Bain outing. Some very fun cluing and a tight theme adds up to a cheerful Wednesday.


1. Monarchy : REALM

6. Many a class reunion tune : OLDIE

11. "Captain Phillips" actor Hanks : TOM. I saw this movie recently - very intense. I was actually shaking at the end.

14. __ ink : INDIA

15. Fishing spots : PIERS. Hand up for HOLES first.

16. Title heartbreaker in a Three Dog Night song : ELI

19. "I'm not a crook" monogram : RMN. Richard Milhous Nixon, or more appropriately, "Tricky Dicky".

20. Rogue : RASCAL. Nice placement with the previous answer.

21. Plowing measure : ACRES. I wonder why this word escaped the US English spelling reform that transforms meter/metre and liter/litre amongst others.

23. Ad Council ad, briefly : P.S.A. Public Service Announcement. Crosses for me, I didn't know this abbreviation nor the connection with the Ad Council.

28. Energetic : ACTIVE

31. Obvious joy : GLEE

32. "Spider-Man" trilogy director Sam : RAIMI

33. Feel sorry about : RUE

34. Quipster : WIT

42. Weekend TV fare for nearly 40 yrs. : S.N.L.

43. Reading after resetting : OOO. I'm assuming this is referring to a car's mileage trip odometer? If so, what's the protocol for using letters to denote what are really numbers?

44. "Roots" hero __ Kinte : KUNTA

45. Scandinavian port : OSLO

47. Comeback : RETORT

53. Used to be : WAS

54. Lover of Euridice, in a Monteverdi work : ORFEO. I was scratching my head wondering why ORPHEUS wasn't going to fit and began pondering whether Euridice had more than one lover. Then the penny dropped with the reference to the Italian composer.

55. Decide not to ride : HOOF IT

58. Cambridge sch. : MIT

64. Rocks found in bars : ICE. Uh-Oh - don't look, Tinbeni.

65. Software buyers : USERS

66. Kevin of "Cry Freedom" : KLINE

67. Audio receiver : EAR

68. Tag cry : NOT IT

69. Loosened : EASED


1. Cage component : RIB

2. Ambient music innovator : ENO. Immensely talented gentleman. And for a man with a three-letter last name, he certainly makes up for it with what precedes it - his full name is Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno.

3. Worship : ADORATION

4. Brainy Simpson : LISA

5. Yoga class supply : MATS

6. Onetime rival of Sally Jessy : OPRAH. Sally Who? Before my (USA) time.

7. Stocking thread : LISLE

8. Mark of concern : DEE

9. Roth __ : IRA.

10. Collection of heir pieces? : ESTATE. Another fun clue.

11. Country singer Gibbs : TERRI

12. Ancient Mexican tribe known for carved stone heads : OLMEC

13. Capital WSW of Moscow : MINSK. The capital of Belarus. It looks quite pleasant from a distance.

18. "__ homo" : ECCE

22. Style reportedly named for Ivy League oarsmen : CREW CUT. The Germans call it a bürstenschnitt; I doubt we'll be seeing that in the crossword any time soon.

23. Western chum : PARD

24. Lasting marks : SCARS

26. Hot-and-cold fits : AGUE

27. Working class Roman : PLEB. I thought this was a slangy term for "plebeian" but as it's not clued that way I guess it's a word in itself.

29. Collapse inward : IMPLODE

30. Sundial hour : VII. One of my personal "Hall of Fame" words is "gnomon" - the shadow-caster on the sundial.

33. Greek consonant : RHO

35. "Don't tell me, don't tell me!" : I KNOW THIS. The puzzle-solver's mantra.

36. Neon swimmer : TETRA

38. Court plea, briefly : NOLO. Nolo Contendere, or a plea of "No Contest".

39. Multi-cel creature? : TOON

40. Commonly four-stringed instrument : UKE

41. Bits of ankle art, say : TATS. I'm tattoo-free - more needle-phobia.

46. Former Japanese military ruler : SHOGUN

47. Horseradish, e.g. : ROOT. A lot of the wasabi served in Japanese restaurants outside Japan is likely to be a mixture of horseradish and mustard, dyed green. I've had the genuine stuff freshly grated using a piece of sharkskin and the flavor is more subtle than the substitute.

48. Pal, slangily : HOMIE

49. Novelist Jong : ERICA

50. "... happily ever __" : AFTER

51. Oteri of 42-Across : CHERI

52. Lift : HOIST

56. Knockoff : FAKE

57. Land surrounded by agua : ISLA

60. Prefix with metric : ISO

61. Doc who administers a pet scan? : VET

62. United : ONE

63. English poet Hughes : TED. This Poet Laureate was fond of writing odes to dead things. Charming chap!

I'm in Texas this week - the first time I've actually set foot in the state (I don't count changing planes as visiting a state or a country). I'm hoping to track down some famous barbecue tonight!

As a Texan might say "It's a wrap, and bigger than any wrap you've seen before".


Apr 15, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 Annemarie Brethauer

Theme: •*¨*♫♥♫¸¸¸.•*¨*♫♥♫¸¸ - Part and parcel to 'reading' music.

17A. Yellow sticky brand : POST-IT NOTE

26A. Caffeination station : COFFEE BAR

40A. Crisis phone service : HOT LINE

55A. Café serving group : WAIT STAFF

65A. Composer's output, and where to find the last words of 17-, 26-, 40- and 55-Across : SHEET MUSIC

Argyle here. Annemarie Brethauer has gone from a Sunday(Mar 23, 2014) to a Tuesday. I think she is ready to tackle a Monday. Makes my heart go pit-a-pat.


1. Wire insulator : TAPE

5. Australian gemstone : OPAL

9. Dressed : CLAD

13. They're found in veins : OREs

14. Zany escapade : CAPER

16. Saintly ring : HALO

19. Eric of "Spamalot" : IDLE

20. Color : HUE. Finally, a straight forward clue for HUE.

21. Manicurist's concern : NAIL

22. "Breaking Bad" award : EMMY. "Breaking Bad" ran on AMC from '08 to '13. 43A. "Breaking Bad" law org. : DEA

24. Out of bed : ASTIR

30. Vessel for the Mad Hatter : TEA CUP. "Why is a raven like a writing desk?"

32. Fast-running bird : OSTRICH

33. Kibbutz country : ISRAEL

36. 18th-century composer Thomas : ARNE. British composer best known for Rule, Britannia!.

37. Kenya neighbor: Abbr. : SOM. (Somalia)

44. Journey : TRIP. Go ask Alice.

46. Shed, with "off" : SLOUGH

48. Solar or lunar phenomenon : ECLIPSE

51. Hiss and hum : NOISES

58. Flawless : IDEAL

59. British "Bye-bye" : "TA-TA"

60. Tees off : IREs

62. Electronic eavesdropping org. : NSA. (National Security Agency)

63. Jalopy : HEAP

68. Sicilian volcano : ETNA

69. Golf targets : HOLEs

70. Quick gander : PEEK

71. Light bulb unit : WATT

72. Circular current : EDDY

73. Respectful titles : SIRs


1. Part of Uncle Sam's outfit : TOP-HAT. It was what the Mad Hatter wore also.

2. Turn on : AROUSE

3. Pre-euro Spanish coin : PESETA

4. Repair shop fig. : EST. (estimate)

5. Penta- plus three : OCTA

6. Lose one's cool : PANIC

7. 2014 Olympics skating analyst Ohno : APOLO

8. Replayed tennis serve : LET

9. Fire-breathing Greek monster : CHIMERA

10. 1960s White House nickname : LADY BIRD. Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Taylor Johnson, First Lady.

11. Every one : ALL

12. Anonymous Jane : DOE

15. Snorkeling areas : REEFS

18. Arrival en masse : INRUSH

23. Bumped into : MET

25. Here, to Henri : ICI. In France.

27. Folded manuscript sheet : FOLIO. (from Latin for leaf)

28. Clearasil target : ACNE

29. Actress Perlman : RHEA

31. Expert : PRO

34. On a cruise, say : AT SEA

35. Angled pipe fitting : ELL

37. Meat-and-potatoes dish : STEW

38. Ocean predator : ORCA

39. Combatively supportive : MILITANT

41. Religious sister : NUN

42. Self-absorption : EGOISM

45. Rain-on-the-roof rhythm : PIT-A-PAT

47. Kept secret : HID

49. Hollywood hrs. : PST. (Pacific Standard Time)

50. Money in the mattress, e.g. : STASH

52. Karate instructor : SENSEI. 先生

53. More like child's play : EASIER

54. Men's Wearhouse items : SLACKS

56. Chase flies or grounders : FIELD

57. Let loose : FREED

61. Online crafts marketplace : ETSY. Official Site

63. Chop with an ax : HEW

64. SFO posting : ETA

66. Gardening tool : HOE

67. Portfolio-increasing market moves : UPs. Not DOWNs, portfolio-decreasing market moves.


Apr 14, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014 Sean Dobbin and the CHSVT Cruciverbalism Class

Theme: One for the Guys - Four sets of Double Ds.

17A. Hand Vac maker : DIRT DEVIL

29A. Special "Jeopardy!" square : DAILY DOUBLE. Double dose.

40A. Cavity filler's letters, or, said another way, a hint to 17-, 29-, 49- and 65-Across : DDS. Doctor of Dental Science

49A. A&E reality series featuring the Robertson family : DUCK DYNASTY

65A. Computer component : DISK DRIVE. I'll leave this for CED to discover.

When you solve in Across Lite, click on View, then Notepad, you'll see below (Other on-line websites do not support Notepad):

Sean Dobbin is an English teacher at the Community High School of Vermont (CHSVT) in St. Johnsbury. His cruciverbalism class, for which students earn fractional credit, involves vocabulary, writing, and other areas of English. 12 students worked with Mr. Dobbin on today's puzzle.

Argyle here. The real story is not so much about the puzzle (tho it's a fine puzzle indeed) but about the constructors themselves. I see Mr. Dobbin had a solo puzzle in the NY Times but this, I think, is a first for the Cruciverbalism Class. Click here to read more about Sean Dobbin.


1. Steady look : GAZE

5. Uneducated guess : STAB. Or WAG, in our argot.

9. Knife and fork separator, in a place setting : PLATE. That must be in the fancy restaurants; in the diner, all three utensils are wrapped up as one in a napkin.

14. Black cat, to some : OMEN

15. Like a guru : WISE

16. Long-eared hoppers : HARES

19. Haloed messenger : ANGEL

20. Nocturnal annoyance : SNORE

21. Once in a while : OFF AND ON. Like my snoring. Honest!
23. Until now : YET

25. Road groove : RUT. Deeper than this.

26. Bermuda hrs. : AST. (Atlantic Standard Time)

36. Stir-fried hodgepodge : CHOP SUEY

38. Ad-lib comedy style : IMPROV. (improvisation)

39. Hailed vehicle : TAXI

42. Comedian Cook : DANE. No clip. YouTube trouble.

43. "The Real Slim Shady" rapper : EMINEM. Same excuse. Honest!

46. Big name in gloves : ISOTONER

51. Arid : DRY

52. Past-tense verb that sounds like a number : ATE

53. EMT technique : CPR

55. Squirrel's discard : NUTSHELL

60. Continental bank notes : EUROs

64. Hauled to the hoosegow : RAN IN

67. Speak one's mind : OPINE

68. Good earth : LOAM

69. Peak : APEX

70. Moisten, as a lawn : WATER

71. Tolkien tree creatures : ENTs

72. Ash Wednesday-to-Easter time : LENT. Almost over.


1. Zeus and Apollo : GODS

2. Idi of Uganda : AMIN

3. None : ZERO

4. Way in : ENTRY

5. Nor. neighbor : SWE. Norway / Sweden

6. DVR pioneer : TIVO

7. "Not a chance!" : "AS IF!"

8. Steeple section with a ringer : BELFRY. Where my bats are.

9. "The __ of the Opera" : PHANTOM

10. Touch down : LAND

11. Jason's ship : ARGO

12. New driver, often : TEEN

13. Immigrant's subj. : ESL. (English as a second language)

18. Closing documents : DEEDS

22. German automaker : AUDI

24. Cross-shaped Greek letter : TAU

26. Played a part (in) : ACTED

27. SeaWorld orca : SHAMU. In the news lately.

28. Poisonous, as waste : TOXIC

30. Mil. roadside hazard : IED. (improvised explosive device)

31. Winona's "Beetlejuice" role : LYDIA. OK, it's working again. Honest!

32. Prom hairstyle : UPDO

33. Mark with an iron : BRAND

34. Introvert : LONER

35. "__ Breath You Take": Police hit : EVERY. Video(4:13)

37. Internal color of a medium steak : PINK. Anybody give 'sous vide' a try after we had it awhile ago.

41. Puncture sound : [SSS]

44. 1970s Mary Tyler Moore co-star : ED ASNER

45. Folk story : MYTH

47. Non-prescription: Abbr. : OTC. (over-the-counter)

48. Used a keyboard : TYPED

50. Tattoo tool : NEEDLE

54. Not urban : RURAL

55. California wine valley : NAPA

56. Textbook chapter : UNIT

57. Fork prong : TINE

58. Big cat : LION

59. Test for a future atty. : LSAT. (Law School Admission Test)

61. Like a red tomato : RIPE

62. Cookie cooker : OVEN. Cutie cluer.

63. Modern message between trysters, perhaps : SEXT. A sexual text between lovers.

64. Spreadsheet feature : ROW

66. Metric distances: Abbr. : KMs. (kilometers)


Apr 13, 2014

Sunday April 13, 2014 C.C. Burnikel

Theme: "Breaking Par" - Par bookends each theme entry.

23A. Schoolyard promise : PINKY SWEAR

25A. Engrossing read : PAGE TURNER
36A. Molson Golden, e.g. : PALE LAGER

38A. Milwaukee Brewer in the Hall of Fame : PAUL MOLITOR. He grew up here in Minnesota. Graduated from the same school as Joe Mauer. Played his last season with the Twins.

66A. Time honoree : PERSON OF THE YEAR

96A. Economical vacation option : PACKAGE TOUR

98A. Arctic denizen : POLAR BEAR

112A. One interpreting lines : PALM READER

114A. Nothing to be afraid of, really : PAPER TIGER
Now I see Rich saved this puzzle for the Masters' weekend. It was accepted earlier than the "Home, Sweet Home" puzzle I made with Lemonade.

PAUL MOLITOR was originally PARTY POOPER. As you can see, the first three letters is an intact PAR. This is the kind of mistake I hope I won't make in the future.

You can read my original clues here.


1. Have a big mouth? : GAPE

5. Power yoga aftermath : ACHE. I don't practice yoga, but a friend does.

9. Proud papa's present : CIGAR

14. Feature of a bad air day : SMOG.  Lots of bad air days in Beijing. Way too many coal & steel plants in areas surrounding Beijing.

18. Together, in scores : A DUE

19. Circular : ROUND

21. City near Kobe : OSAKA

22. Skateboarder Hawk : TONY. I confuse him with Bode Miller.

27. Liberal arts maj. : SOC

28. JFK's UN ambassador : AES (Adlai Ewing Stevenson). "Owen's Law" moment. Bad fill.

29. Skin care giant : MARY KAY

31. Workout portmanteau : TAE BO

32. On display : SHOWN

34. Puzzle-solving asset : LOGIC. And 1D. Flaws in 34-Across : GAPS

35. Dodge __ : CITY

44. In the thick of : AMID

45. Farm expanse : LEA

46. In jeopardy : AT STAKE

47. Tech sch. since 1824 : RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). Oh, Spitzboov & Splyner this is how much I love you two :-)

48. Pitching stats : WINS

49. Old vitamin label nos. : RDAs. Now replaced by RDI.

52. "Project Runway" topic : STYLE

53. Lancelot's strong suit? : MAIL

54. Scotch datum : AGE

55. Stays under the radar : LIES LOW

58. Celestial altar : ARA

59. Two-time Oscar winner Michael : CAINE

60. Add : TOSS IN

62. Toledo snacks : TAPAS. Steve sent me a picture of the beautiful Aria from his Hilton Elara suite. Don't think he will miss their famous tapas bar.
64. Showed serious anticipation : DROOLED

70. File holder : CABINET

73. Auctioned autos, often : REPOs

74. "Am I the only one?" : IS IT ME?

78. Takes it easy : LOLLS

79. Pvt. address : APO. Army Post Office.

82. Beaming : RADIANT

84. Dashed : RAN

85. Stuck in __ : A RUT

86. Surprised jerk : START. Oh, I like this clue. Rich's of course.

88. February Revolution victim : TSAR

89. They're in one year and out the other : FADS

90. Sault __ Marie : STE

91. Some sightings : SAUCERS

93. Dakota, to Elle : SIB. Fanning. Elle towers over her older sister.

95. Chevy subcompact : AVEO

100. Dinner crumbs : ORTs

101. Have leftovers for dinner, e.g. : EAT IN

103. Bridal accessories : VEILS

104. Spread apart : SPLAY

106. Sticks it out : HANGS ON

109. Opening night nightmare : PAN

110. National Pizza Mo. : OCT. We'll celebrate then! Hopefully Dave will be in his pizza making mood.

117. "Dies __" : IRAE

118. Crepes for Putin : BLINI

119. Skyy shelfmate, familiarly : STOLI

120. Dior fragrance : DUNE

121. Alaska, once: Abbr. : TERR

122. Lisa of "Enemy of the State" : BONET

123. Role for Skippy : ASTA

124. Hunt for : SEEK


2. "Hasta la vista, pal!" : ADIOS AMIGO

3. They make you laugh, hopefully : PUNCH LINES

4. "A mouse!" : EEK

5. Weapons center : ARSENAL

6. Milk sources : COWS

7. Jade or ruby : HUE. Did you want GEM also?

8. Win over : ENAMOR

9. Mimics : COPYCATS

10. "Out of Africa" author Dinesen : ISAK

11. "Do What U Want" Lady : GAGA

12. Play __ role in : A KEY

13. First animal in the Chinese zodiac : RAT. Rich did his research. He always does. See here. Pig is the last. I'm a pig. What are you? Click on the year, let me know if the descriptions fit you.

14. Low-hanging clouds : STRATI

15. Laundering evidence : MONEY TRAIL

16. Seat usually in first class : ONE B

17. Athens street food : GYRO

20. Wet blanket : DRAG

24. Two-master : YAWL

26. Serviceable : UTILE

30. TV morning co-host : RIPA (Kelly)

33. Hefty refs. : OEDs (Oxford English Dictionary)

34. Results in : LEADS TO

35. "Life Begins Here" sloganeer : COKE

36. Probe in a catlike way : PAW AT

37. "Chicago" star : GERE (Richard)

39. Court org. : USTA. Tennis court.

40. "Star Trek" meas. : LT-YR (Light-years)

41. Affliction : MALADY

42. Speak out : OPINE

43. In a lather : RILED

50. Hooper's Store proprietor on "Sesame Street" : ALAN. No idea. Never watched "Sesame Street".

51. Deep sleep : SOPOR

53. One of New Zealand's official languages : MAORI

55. Legal claims : LIENS

56. Concerning, to a dictator? : IN RE. Dictation dictator.

57. Thin cookie : WAFER

59. Vacation destination : COAST

61. In need of mopping up : SPILT

63. Mar. honoree : ST. PAT

65. Silver checker : REIN.  Lone Ranger's horse Silver.

67. Great Sphinx, e.g. : STATUE

68. Mortar carriers : HODS

69. "The NFL Today" analyst : ESIASON (Boomer)

70. Hold tight : CLASP

71. Vital line : AORTA

72. Like Jeff Foxworthy's "Comedy Tour" : BLUE COLLAR. Never saw the show. Rich's clue.

75. Picture-packed presentation : TRAVELOGUE. Thought of Kazie.

76. Acted out publicly : MADE A SCENE

77. Belgian artist James : ENSOR. Learned from doing xwords.

80. Peace talks goal : PACT

81. Snack that's been a kosher food since 1998 : OREO

83. Seed cover : ARIL. Foodies all call pomegranate seeds as arils. This word won't be a crosswordese once the term gains steam, like Umami. Just remember, Uma= Delicious. Mi= Taste.

86. Droops : SAGS

87. John Wayne classic : TRUE GRIT

89. Teo of Formula One fame : FABI. Definitely "Owen's Law" moment. We need a more famous Fabi.

91. Creature seen on some antique wine cups : SATYR

92. Mmes., in La Mancha : SRAs

94. State bordering Austria : BAVARIA

97. "Seinfeld" goofball : KRAMER. Nuts.

98. Party gift holder : PINATA

99. Let : RENT

102. The best, or bests : TOPS

104. Patio cooking aid : SPIT

105. Rid of rind : PARE

106. California baseball cap image : HALO. Angels.

107. Court edge : AD IN

108. Island goose : NENE.  Hawaii's state bird.

109. Hit with hail, say : PELT

111. Slog : TREK

113. Dwindle : EBB

115. +, on a batt. : POS (Positive)

116. Verification docs : IDS


Apr 12, 2014

Saturday, Apr 12th, 2014, John Lieb

Theme: None

Words: 70 (missing F,Q,X)

Blocks: 27

     This would be a second LAT solo puzzle from Mr. Lieb, who had a Sunday back in 2012, right after C.C.'s B-day.  The last puzzle we saw from John was a duo with David Quarfoot this past Thanksgiving.  Today's offering got done only with a huge number of W.A.G.s on my part, and there was quite a few names dropped, and some 'strange' fill, too.  Triple 9's and 8's in the corners, with two 12-letter spanners;

39a. Emma Frost portrayer in "X-Men: First Class" : JANUARY JONES - and a proper name

31. One of the moveable feasts : EASTER SUNDAY - Timely - and we just had a moveable feasts puzzle



1. Extremely lame, in slang : WEAK SAUCE - new phrase to me; my last fills in the grid were the "S" and "U" - starting off with a 'strange' fill....

10. "The Zoo Story" dramatist : ALBEE - and continuing with a proper name

15. One with breaking news : ANCHORMAN

16. Conger cousin : MORAY - Eels

17. African kingdom : SWAZILAND - Africa #1

18. Lite-__: classic Hasbro toy : BRITE - some of these Lite-Brite works of art are over the top; WARNING~!; some racy content

19. 3 part? : ARC - when you write the number '3', it has two arcs

20. Do followers : RE MI - musical D'oh~!, not a hair "do"

21. Ad lib : WING IT

22. Scott who played the lead in 1976's "Bugsy Malone" : BAIO - proper name

24. Maintain the status quo : SIT PAT

26. Cádiz cycle : ANO - one year, and a semi-clecho @ 60a. Month abroad : ENERO - technically, the second "January" in the puzzle

27. Old Colgate competitor : IPANA - 5 letters, and an old toothpaste? 

29. Spam producer : 'BOT - computer spam; Hormel makes the meat kind

30. "Splendor in the Grass" screenwriter : INGE - proper name

35. Mitty creator : THURBER - proper name

38. As you like it : TO TASTE
41. Backwoods possessive : HIS'N - and HERS'N~!!?!?

42. Letters before P, perhaps : V.S.O. - found on Cognac, Very Superior Old Pale

43. State tree of Texas : PECAN - leaming moment; nailed it, D-otto?

47. Sch. where chapel service attendance is mandatory : ORU - Oral Roberts Univeristy

48. Silk-spraying movie monster : MOTHRA - ah, used to love those Saturday afternoon monster movies

51. It only makes sense when it's broken : CODE - "It only makes cents when broken" is a dollar

52. Oil sources : OLIVES

54. Wine quality : NOSE

56. Collection to burn : CDs - Dah~!  Fooled me

57. High fliers : KITES

58. Traumatic expression : ACTING OUT

61. Klondike product with a shell : CHOCO-TACO

62. V-shaped fortification : REDAN - The Wiki; I should have known this; I am a huge castle lover - I get a calendar every year....

63. Postgame finger-pointer : SORE LOSER


1. Hot stuff : WASABI - The "I" from IPANA was in the odd, last position here, but then the light bulb shown brightly

2. Swaddle : ENWRAP

3. Mimosa family member : ACACIA

4. AM radio abbr. : kHz - the Frequency at which Amplitude Modulated radio broadcasts (as in your car) is between 535-1605 kilohertz

5. Liszt's "Harmonies du __" : SOIR

6. City on the Rhone : ARLES - anyone else try "ESSEN" first? ( I just checked; it's on the Ruhr )

7. One of the five basic taste sensations : UMAMI - another 'strange' one; the Wiki; from the Japanese, for "delicious taste"

8. "Am I seeing things?" : "CAN IT BE?"

9. Intention : END - Dah~! Not AIM

10. Extent : AMBIT

11. Bereft, old-style : LORN

12. Outlaws : BRIGANDs

13. Causing agita : EATING AT

14. Good way of seeing : EYE-TO-EYE

21. Nicklaus rival : WATSON - Jack and Tom, two respected golfers - and proper names

23. Kind of lead a closer often has to protect : ONE RUN - so baseball has arrived for 2014; I am keyed up for the Stanley Cup playoffs in hockey now

25. __-Novo: Benin's capital : PORTO - Africa #2

28. "Rubáiyát" rhyme scheme : A A B A - more 'strange'

30. "Soon" : "IN A SEC~!"

32. Electronic control mechanisms, briefly : SERVOS

33. Tabloid scoop : TRYST

34. Sun Bowl Stadium coll. team : UTEP - More Texas; University at El Paso

35. '80s Shatner cop show : T. J. HOOKER - never watched it; still think he's "Captain Kirk"

36. Mr. Clean's lack : HAIRLINE - well, I knew it was HAIR something, or something HAIR

37. Not appropriate : UNSUITED

40. He played Harold in "Harold & Kumar" films : JOHN CHO - proper name

44. Winter warmers : COCOAs

45. Cite as proof : ADDUCE

46. Counselor at Troy : NESTOR - proper name

48. Elementary particle : MESON - too complicated when I checked the Wiki

49. Centrifuge component : ROTOR

50. "Cold __": 1977 hit for Foreigner : AS ICE - Run, Tin, Run~!

53. First name in fashion : VERA - Wang, proper name

55. Hydroxyl compound : ENOL

58. Short coolers? : ACs - Air Conditioners; around here, it's mostly "A/C", but I have heard some people call it "AirCon"

59. Pontiac co-designed by John DeLorean : GTO


Apr 11, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014, David Poole

Theme: Initial here please! Y-not?

By adding a vowel to the beginning of a word or phrase, also in progression like Bernice Gordon's wonderful Wednesday, we have five very different phrases, clued appropriately. I am not sure if they all create hyphenated words, but it looks cleaner to me that way. David has been on our radar many times and my last time blogging his work being a rather controversial effort, VIEW. This is a much tamer theme with two old favorites, the 'add a letter' and the 'vowel progression' in play. This is like a casserole of Bernice's vowels and marti's letter words. The fill had some fun like BARRELS, CURACAO, LEONIDS, MINARET, BETHESDA, PRORATED and TAXI DRIVERS. There seemed to be quite a few initialisms, but maybe that was deliberate in light of adding the letter. Okay, let's do it.

17A. Cost to join the elite? : A-LIST PRICE. (10) Does the concept of an "A" list bother anyone?

25A. Kindle download that's too good to delete? : E-BOOK KEEPER. (11). I think this is cute and it is consistent with 58A by breaking the word in two when the letter is added.

35A. Origami tablet? : I-PAD OF PAPER. (11). Cute but confusing clue. We used to call our composition books tablets.

49A. Expert on circular gaskets? : O-RING MASTER. (11). The circus meets mechanics, as the torus shaped ring appears.

58A. List of reversals? : U-TURN TABLE. (10). A table is like a list, but that only confuses me.


1. Hitching aid : THUMB. This answer stuck right out for me.

6. Journalist Paula : ZAHN. One time rising news star at most network news shows, she now hosts a show on Investigative Discovery channel. She left CNN after major scandal about her affair and marriage breaking up. In looking for her link, I ran across a site called wikifeet; most disturbing.

10. Silo occupant, briefly : ICBM. InterContinental Ballistic Missile. To qualify, the missile must have a minimum range of 3,400 miles.

14. Place to practice pliés : BARRE. Is a practice bar a place?

15. Arab League member : OMAN. Oh man, I learned CHAD is not a member, nor is IRAN (Persian, not Arabic); the choices were Oman or Iraq and that Q is pesky.

16. __ Tea Latte: Starbucks offering : CHAI. I like a Chai tea now and then, but no lattes for me.

19. "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" composer : KERN. Jerome. Time for a musical interlude.

20. Pay for, in a way : CHARGE. no extra credit for getting this one correct.

21. Wonder Woman accessory : TIARA.

22. Stroke gently : PET. Most women resent being petted.

27. Like some felonies : CLASS A.

29. Seuss pond-ruling reptile : YERTLE. Interestingly, this turtle is now available in an E-Book. (7:49). Yertle does appear to be unrelated to 63A. Feigned : MOCK, and the  Mock Turtle.

30. Ready for FedEx, perhaps : BOXED.

31. Yahoo : BOOR. Calling someone a Yahoo seems outdated but I guess Boor is also.

34. Only 20th-century president whose three distinct initials are in alphabetical order : HST. This is interesting because Truman's  middle name was "S."

39. Common HDTV feature : LCD. Liquid Crystal Display.

41. Basic water transport : RAFT. Ask Tom Sawyer or yesterday's Huck Finn..

42. French royal : REINE. Queen, en Française.

45. California city on Humboldt Bay : EUREKA. from Archimedes, right Bill G. and Fermatprime?

48. Certain allergy sufferer's bane : POLLEN. That is why there are seasonal allergies.

53. Induced : LED. At least it is not another initialism.

54. Places for pews : NAVES.

55. Places for sweaters? : SAUNAS. Read "sweaters" as sweat-ers, those who sweat.

57. Makes certain of : ICES. And there was the cold place.

62. Jeanne __ : D'ARC. French for Joan of Arc.

64. Inventor Howe : ELIAS. The sad story of the man and the Sewing Machine.

65. Fair : SO SO.

66. Bellicose god : ARES. Bellicose is such a nice word.

67. They may be hammered out : DENTS. So can plans.


1. TV Guide abbr. : TBA. To Be Announced.

2. McRae of the '70s-'80s Royals : HAL. He became a manager and his son, Brian,  played in the majors as well. LINK.

3. Ocean State sch. : URI. University of Rhode Island.   Not far from where I grew up; main campus is in Kingston, I believe.

4. Richie's mom, to Fonzie : MRS. C. Cunningham.

5. National Institutes of Health home : BETHESDA. Maryland.

6. Don Diego de la Vega's alter ego : ZORRO. I liked this ONE (1:47) better than the movies.

7. Pal of 6-Down : AMIGO.

8. Czech diacritical : HACEK. No clue, the perps filled the spaces, but I looked it up. Way more than you wanted to KNOW.

9. Terre Haute-to-South Bend dir. : NNE.

10. More repulsive : ICKIER.

11. Event offering superficial pleasure : CHEAP THRILL. Awful, who would want a superficial pleasure? Dennis, Lois where are you when I need you.

12. Crude containers : BARRELS. Not badly made, but crude oil.

13. Muezzin's tower : MINARET. I am unfamiliar with the clue, but I know the tower, so...

18. Early sunscreen ingredient : PABA. Para-AminoBenzoic Acid.

21. Tapered support item : TEE. Not my first mental image.

22. Chem. pollutant : PCB. PolyChlorinated Biphenyl. This Bad Boy.

23. "Evil Woman" rock gp. : ELO. Electric Light Orchestra.

24. Hacks : TAXI DRIVERS. Hack probably comes from the British Hackneys.

26. "The Closer" star Sedgwick : KYRA. Who is she married to? WATCH and brush up on your Italian.

28. Libra's mo., perhaps : SEPtember. My youngest is one.

31. Glitzy wrap : BOA. The feathery kind, not the crush and eat you kind.

32. On vacation : OFF. Cute how on leads to off.

33. Stop wavering : OPT.

36. Wee bit o' Glenlivet, say : DRAM.

37. Apportioned : PRORATED. What needs to be done with real estate taxes at closing.

38. Unagi, at a sushi bar : EEL. A C.C. favorite.

39. November meteor shower, with "the" : LEONIDS. 2013. I just watched a PBS show, I think.

40. Liqueur named for an island : CURACAO. One of the ABC islands in the Netherland's Antilles.
The blue one.

43. Once known as : NEE. Referencing the female birth name, before marriage. From the French.

44. "The World's __": 2013 sci-fi comedy : END. No idea.

46. "Romanian Rhapsodies" composer : ENESCO. A very accomplished violinist as well. The name probably was Enescu, but I will let our musical people address his work.He was an answer on Jeopardy Thursday.

47. Metric wts. : KGS. Kilo grams, 1000 grams, or 2.2 pounds.

48. One of the Ivies : PENNsylvania.

50. Fur tycoon : ASTOR. John Jacob

51. Ristorante potful : SAUCE. Well, it depends because many Italians call it 'gravy' even if it is red sauce.

52. Iraqis' neighbors : TURKS.

56. Word with white or fire : SALE.

58. Thurman of film : UMA.

59. Recycling vessel : BIN.

60. Delt neighbor : LAT. Muscles, deltoid (shoulder)and latissimus  dorsi (back).

61. Superhero symbol : ESS. The big S for Superman.

I guess it is time for me to head off into a phone booth and fly out of here for another week. Hope you had a good time.  Lemonade out.

Apr 10, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014 Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: "BERRY nice puzzle!"

This is a "definition" type theme with no revealing entry or unifier.  All of the theme clues are types of berries, but the answers are not.

17-Across. RASPBERRY : SOUND OF DERISIONHere's a quick lesson on how to get it just right. 1:49

26-Across. BLACKBERRY : WIRELESS DEVICE.  And we also have 11-Across. 26-Across download : APP.

43-Across. HUCKLEBERRY : TWAIN CHARACTER. The inimitable Finn.

56-Across. STRAWBERRY : REDDISH SKIN MARK. Also known as a "hemangioma," they usually appear at birth and often fade with time.

Two fifteens and two fourteens allow for some freedom in the fill. Some nice long down entries with A BIT SIMPLE and Dracula's WIDOW'S PEAK. Other nice shorter entries made this a pleasant diversion from the trials and tribulations of life...


1. "Find your own road" automaker : SAAB.

5. Bitter disagreement : STRIFE. If it escalates, it might become armed.

14. Minuscule lake plant : ALGA.

15. Wee hr. : FOUR AM. One or two AM? - too short. Three AM? - too long. FOUR AM - juuuust right!

16. Dude : BRO.

20. Vampire's bane : STAKE.

21. T-man, e.g. : FED.

22. Courageous : GUTSY.

23. Hermey of TV's "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," e.g. : ELF. He wanted to be a dentist.

25. Take out : ERASE.

32. Newtonian elements? : FIGS. Fun misdirection.  They now have STRAWBERRY and Triple BERRY Newtons, but I still like the Fig Newtons best.

33. Is ready for business : OPENS.

34. Big runners : EMUS. Early week puzzles would have some kind of reference to "down under."

35. Bustle : ADO.

36. Natural resource : ORE.

37. Educational org. : PTA.

38. Chloé fragrance maker : COTY.

Imogen Poots - one of the faces of Chloé

40. Good-sized chamber ensemble : OCTET.

42. Baseball family name : ALOU. Even I, baseball-challenged as I am, remembered this family.

46. Goal line play : SNEAK. The quarterback sneak. The ball is snapped as usual, but instead of passing it off to another player, the QB himself dives for the goal line.  Usually done on 4th down and short yardage. Bart Starr used one to win the game in the 1967 NFL Championship.

47. Kitchen tool : POT.

48. Like wasted milk in Westminster : SPILT. American English spells spilt "spilled."

49. Its HQ is named for George Bush : CIA. The George Bush Center for Intelligence.

52. Schisms and chasms : RIFTS.

59. __ kwon do : TAE.

60. Sherlock Holmes' instrument : VIOLIN.

61. Small case : ETUI.

62. Wanted-poster letters : AKAAlso Known As...

63. Use : EXPEND.

64. Percolate : SEEP.


1. Fresh answers, say : SASS. Nice misdirection.

2. Oodles : A LOT.

3. Lago contents : AGUA. Spanish lago = lake, agua = water.

4. Ones showing varying amounts of interest? : BANKERS.

5. Facility about 350 miles NW of LAX : SFO. San Francisco International Airport.

6. Beau Brummel, for one : TOFF. Derogatory British word for an aristocrat.

7. Brusque : RUDE.

8. Steamed : IRED.

9. Word with cry or out : FAR.

10. Future citizen, perhaps : EMIGRÉ. C.C. was an emigré from China, and got her U.S. citizenship on June 2nd, 2010.

11. Not particularly challenging : A BIT SIMPLE.

12. "Law & Order" figure : PROSECUTOR.

13. County fair mount : PONY.

18. Mark of rejection : DELE. Editor's rejection, that is.

19. Like James Bond : SUAVE.

24. Ubiquitous insurance spokeswoman : FLO. She annoys me.

25. To whom reporters report: Abbr. : EDs. Editors, who sometimes reject their entire story...

26. Dracula feature : WIDOW'S PEAK. Nice fill.

27. Brainstorming cry : I GOT AN IDEA. Nit: Technically, "got" is the past tense. You might say, "While we were brainstorming yesterday, I got an idea." But during the actual session, you should cry "I have an idea!" You could even use colloquial English and say "I've got an idea!" But I GOT is just poor English. Unless you're Spike Lee, and then you can say "He Got Game!"

28. Historical segment : EPOCH.

29. Simmons competitor : SERTA. Sealy also fit. Just sayin'...

30. Show contempt : SNEER.

31. Son of Isaac : ESAU.

32. Fundamental of science : FACT.

39. Harvest output : YIELD.

40. Spider-Man nemesis Doc __ : OCK.

41. Select : TAP. You can tap a friend for a loan. In that case, you probably should select one who is both generous and rich.

42. Occasionally : AT TIMES.

44. From around here : NATIVE.

45. Podiatrist's concern : CORN.

48. Mlle., in Monterrey : SRTA. Abbrs. for mademoiselle and señorita.

49. Recipe verb : CHOP.

50. Cruise destination : ISLE.

51. Related : AKIN.

53. You've got it coming : FATE. Do you believe in FATE? 54-Down. "No argument here" : TRUE.

55. Ignore : SKIP.

57. Pack quantity : SIX. Six pack. Beer or abs.

58. Senator Sanders of Vt., on ballots : IND.ependent.

So now I'll take my leave, and see you next Thursday!


Apr 9, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 Bernice Gordon

Theme: FANNY BONE.  Well, not really, but you know I wouldn't be able to resist.  What we have is a classic VOWEL PROGRESSION.  Each two-word theme answer begins with the letter combination F_N-, and the blank is filled in with a vowel.  Progressing through the puzzle in order, the theme answer vowels are A, E, I, O, and U, just like the alphabet.  Why? Y not?

17. Waist bag : FANNY PACK.  Not a trash container, but a carrying pouch worn around the waist.  You can read here why it is not called a FANNY PACK outside the U.S.A.

25. Herbal remedy for indigestion : FENNEL TEA.  I did not know that.

38. Renege : FINK OUT.   Slang term.

50. Piece of Le Creuset cookware : FONDUE POT.   Device for melting cheese, into which can be dipped bread chunks on skewers.  Tasty, and you can have fun doing it.

60. Sense of humor : FUNNY BONE.  And a good joke might tickle it, my theme title not withstanding.

Hi Gang, JzB here to guide your stroll through the alphabet, and this puzzle by Bernice Gordon.  Now 100 years old, she has been publishing puzzles since 1952, when I was the goofy little four-eyed kindergarden kid who hated finger painting.  You can read about her and some of her puzzles, including this one, in this Philadelphia Inquirer article

Lets see what we can find, and no JAY walking!


1. Lead-in for bird or walk : JAY.  JAY birds I understand.  I've been told not to JAY walk since at least the first grade, but had to learn that a JAY is a beginner, or someone not very good at something.  So a JAY WALKER is one recklessly crossing a street away from a cross walk. Though this illustration looks dangerous, note that the umpire is calling the runner safe.


4. Nervous and irritable : UPSET.  Like a coach when his team loses to an inferior rival.

9. Thai cash : BAHT.  About 3.1 cents at the current exchange rate.

13. Musician Turner : IKE.  Also famous for his uncertain number of marriages [between 5 and 13] and beating Tina Turner.

14. Words Alice read on a cake : EAT ME.   Eating too much cake can make one too large, as she discovered.

15. Month in Madrid : ENERO.  Alliterative clues often hint at foreign language fill.

19. Once more : AGAIN.  

20. "It's __ bet": "No risk" : A SAFE.  I wanted A SURE, but can assure you that was wrong.

21. Everlasting, to a poet : ETERNE.

22. Cal. entry : APPT.   Calendar and appointment.  Note abrv. in cl. and ans. 

27. Custard dishes : QUICHES.  Would you eat one on a train?  Could I egg you on?

30. River in NW France : ORNE

31. "The Star-Spangled Banner," e.g. : ANTHEM.

32. Countdown-ending número : UNO.   When launching Spanish rockets [cohetes.]

33. Leveling wedge : SHIM.  A tapered spacer used to provide a better fit or level surface.

37. Pen name : BIC.  Cute misdirection.. BIC is a brand name for a pen company.

41. Amin of Uganda : IDI

42. Twice vier : ACHT.  Vier is 4. German, I fear.

44. Word of surprise : GEE.  GEE whiz golly wow!

45. __ Zee: area where the Hudson River widens : TAPPAN.  This wide spot in the river is named for the TAPPAN sub tribe of the Delaware people and the Dutch word Zee, meaning wide expanse of water.  In this region the river is about 5 miles wide.

47. Taj Mahal home : AGRA.  Popular crossword destination.

49. Heavenly higher-ups, in Christianity : SERAPHS.  The highest ranking angels.

54. Chess piece : ROOK

55. People with skill : ADEPTS.  Like Bernice.

56. Place to store valuables : VAULT.

59. Station : DEPOT.

64. Old hat : STALE.  Unfashionably out of date, passé Fashionably out of date is retro.

65. Popeye creator Segar : ELZIE.  I will never remember this.

66. Type of museum : WAX.  A place exhibiting WAX-constructed human likenesses, typically of the famous and infamous.

67. Kane's Rosebud, e.g. : SLED.  Citizen Kane.

68. Nobel-winning Irish poet : YEATS. William Butler.  He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1923.

69. It may need a boost : EGO.  I suppose a Nobel Prize might do that for you.


1. Peanut butter brand : JIF.  Because it spreads so quickly?

2. Alias, for short : A.K.AAlso Known As.

3. Hankering : YEN.   I thought about going to Japan, but didn't have the YEN to travel.

4. They may be done by ones who have gone too far : UEYS.  U-turns.  Clever clue for a word with variant spellings

5. Family nickname : PAPA.  The perp A SURE gave me PAPU.  I prefer Bumpa.

6. Support crews : STAFFS.  A SURE got in the way here, as well.

7. Game show personality : EMCEE. Master of Ceremonies, with the initials spelt out.  What do you call that kind of construction?

8. "__War": Shatner series : TEK.  This series of Sci-Fi novels was conceived by William Shatner and ghost written by Ron Goulart.

9. Defeated : BEATEN. Like everyone who played the U. Conn. men's basketball team in the NCAA tournament, or the U Conn. women's team all year. 

10. 49-Across, por ejemplo : ANGELES. Spanish Angels.  "For example" rendered in Spanish hints at the language of the fill.

11. Soul partner : HEART. Time for a retro musical interlude.  [I thought this was interesting.]

12. Puzzle video game with three heroes : TRINE.  Check it out.

16. Top draft status : ONE-A.  We've had an all volunteer army since 1973.

18. "Of course!" : NATCH.  Derived from "naturally," I presume.

21. Along the way : EN ROUTE.

22. Red Sea port on its own gulf : AQABA.  Jordan's only coastal city.

23. __ Wars: Rome vs. Carthage : PUNIC.  The PUNICS were the people of Carthage.

24. Tuner's concern : PITCH.  Piano tuner.  You can't tune a fish.

26. Words to Nanette? : NO, NONO, NO, Nanette is the 1925 musical that gave us the songs Tea For Two and I Want to Be Happy.

28. Playboy nickname : HEF.  Hugh Hefner.

29. Political fugitives : EMIGRES. People who have migrated out, usually with a connotation of political or social self-exile.

32. Island instrument : UKE.  Hawaiian Islands, Ukelele.  Here is a strange and beautiful version of one of my favorite songs.


34. River horse : HIPPO.  Short for hippopotamus, which is Greek for river horse.

35. Snake River state : IDAHO.  River snake is ποτάμι φίδι.

36. Belarus capital : MINSK.

39. Tide type : NEAP.  This occurs just after the first and third quarters of the moon, when the sun and moon are at right angles relative to the earth, and their gravitational forces work against each other.  Thus, the difference between high and low tide is minimized.

40. Roofer's supply : TAR.  Tiles, shingles, nails and rolled EPDM won't fit.

43. Stage in a frog's life : TADPOLE.  A.K.A. Pollywog, this is the larval stage of toads and frogs.

46. Medicare section for physician services : PART B.  Part A covers hospitalization.

48. Destroyed the inside of, as a building : GUTTED.  My sister just bought a house, and the kitchen will be GUTTED and totally reconfigured.

49. Verse segment : STANZA. Here, the word "Verse" means a poem. A group of lines forming the basic metrical unit of a poem is called a STANZA, from the Latin for a stopping place, or, alternatively, a verse.  Confused?  I could be wurst.

50. Hula Hoop et al. : FADS.  Back to my childhood. Less retro than NO, NO, Nanette, though.

51. "Golden Boy" dramatist : ODETS.  Clifford.  In this 1937 play, the hero is torn between commercial success and artistic fulfillment.

52. India neighbor : NEPAL.  Good place to get high.

53. Small egg : OVULE.  A small or immature ovum.

57. Workbook chapter : UNIT.

58. Strong alkalis : LYES.  LYE is sodium hydroxide (NaOH.)  And that's the truth.

60. "30 Rock" star : FEY.  Tina.

61. Be indebted to : OWE.

62. Pick on : NAG.

63. Outer: Pref. : EXO

All done.  Not quite everything from A to Z, but we did travel from A to U.  Hope you enjoyed the journey.

Cool regards!