Dec 22, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014 Roger Wienberg and Jeff Chen

Theme: A Royal Monday - I'll forgo the pictures because some don't like that first one.

17A. Vietnam War chopper : COBRA HELICOPTER. King Cobra

24A. Supernova named for its apparent resemblance to a crustacean : CRAB NEBULA. King Crab

40A. Publisher with an Antarctic bird logo : PENGUIN CLASSICS. King Penguin

50A. Shade similar to coral : SALMON PINK. King Salmon

60A. Lion, and a hint to critters that begin 17-, 24-, 40- and 50-Across : KING OF THE BEASTS

Argyle here. A lot of themeage for a Monday; three grid spanners, wow! Plus, it appears to be a debut for Roger Wienberg.


1. Address for a Southern belle : MA'AM

5. California wine county : NAPA

9. Chip-in at a doc's office : CO-PAY

14. __ mater : ALMA

15. Preschool basics : ABCs

16. Where to hear high C's : OPERA

20. Measuring stick : RULER

21. Sigh of delight : "AAH!"

22. Atlanta-based news channel : CNN

23. Reverent poem : ODE

29. Caesar's "vidi" : "I SAW". (veni, vidi, vici/I came, I saw, I conquered)

30. Pierre's "Done!" : "FINI!"

31. "Scram, cat!" : "SCAT!". I said, "It can't be SCAT" and yet....

34. Bounty alternative : VIVA. Paper towels.

37. Knife hyped on infomercials : GINSU. No Z.

43. Arrive by corporate jet : FLY IN

44. Sandstorm residue : GRIT

45. Eight, en español : OCHO

46. Pharmaceutical product : DRUG

48. Blessing : BOON

53. "Then what happened?" : "AND?

56. Cunning : SLY

57. Fleur-de-__ : LIS

58. Magazine copy : ISSUE

65. "Too rich for my blood" : "I'M OUT!". Poker, when the bet is too high.

66. Ecstatic review : RAVE

67. Dispense, with "out" : METE

68. Pond critters : NEWTs. The juvenile is called an eft. Both are crossword staples.

69. Was in debt : OWED

70. River of Hades : STYX


1. Close-up lens : MACRO

2. Not whispered : ALOUD

3. Walk leisurely : AMBLE

4. Mature filly : MARE

5. "Not for me" : "NAH"

6. President in a stovepipe hat, familiarly : ABE

7. Techie training site : PC LAB

8. Himalayan, e.g. : ASIAN

9. Murmur lovingly : COO

10. Like across and down: Abbr. : OPP. (opposite)

11. Place for animal vaccinations : PET CLINIC

12. Competition setting : ARENA

13. Entertaining story : YARN

18. Parts of circles : ARCs

19. "Hell's Kitchen" contestant : CHEF

25. Sitarist Shankar : RAVI

26. Bowling over : AWING

27. Major leagues, in baseball slang : BIGS

28. What singers sing in when they don't harmonize : UNISON

29. Trendsetting socialite : IT GIRL

31. Sunblock letters : SPF. (sun protection factor)

32. Cartoon frame : CEL

33. Words said with impatience : ANY DAY NOW

35. DVD predecessor : VCR

36. Suspect's need : ALIBI

38. Org. with .edu addresses : SCH. (school)

39. Support gp. for troops : USO. (United Service Organizations)

41. E pluribus __ : UNUM

42. Like __ of bricks : ATON

47. Game often involving a cart : GOLF

49. Dust Bowl refugee : OKIE

50. "Ghostbusters" goo : SLIME

51. The "N" in TNT : NITRO

52. "Fiddle-faddle!" : "PSHAW!"

53. Balance sheet item : ASSET

54. Off-the-wall : NUTTY

55. Spay or neuter : DESEX

56. Tattooist's surface : SKIN

59. Wal-Mart warehouse club : SAM'S

61. Belly : GUT

62. Extra-play qtrs. : OTs. (overtime)

63. Time for last-minute Christmas wrapping : EVE. Almost!

64. Stream bottom : BED


Note from C.C.:

Today we celebrate the 70th birthday of our sweet Misty! On and off the blog, she's gentle and caring. "Gimme a break" for some unfair clues is the harshest thing she's ever said on this blog.

Misty and her husband Rowland

Dec 21, 2014

Sunday December 21, 2014 Mike Peluso

Theme: "It's a Start" - A? is added to the start of the second word of each theme entry. The ? repeats the starting letter of the original phrase, so essentially "A" sound is inserted.

25A. Speech at a revival? : TENT ADDRESS. Tent dress.

27A. Variety of stars on a clear night? : COSMIC ARRAY. Cosmic ray. Four of the phrases have ARR structure.
56A. Only matchmaker in town? : LONE ARRANGER. Long Ranger. (Lone Ranger! Thanks, Owen!) My parents' marriage was arranged, so were the marriages of all my three aunts and uncle. Zi You Lian Ai (Free Choice of Romantic Love) came to us in early 1980s. Quite a western concept then.

83A. Approval from above? : HEAVEN ASSENT. Heaven-sent.
114A. St. Louis tourist? : ARCH ARRIVAL. Archrival.

119A. Rap sheet listing? : BACK ARRESTS. Backrests.

36D. Ambush during a "wrestling" match? : THUMB ATTACK. Thumbtack. Three of the original phrase are one-words. No odd man out.

41D. Extra clothes? : SPARE ATTIRE. Spare tire.

Just when you think the letter addition/deletion/alteration options are exhausted, Mike came up with this creative approach.

The grid is expertly laid out. Mike places 6 theme entries Across and 2 Down. He also makes sure his longest non-theme entries are shorter than his shortest theme entries.

Also, no cheater square (very difficult to achieve on Sundays) and only 67 black squares.


1. Anjou relative : BOSC. I loved the juicy pears Don G sent me via Harry & David.

5. Sleeveless garment : VEST

9. Chimú conquerors : INCAS

14. Give credit for : OWE TO
19. Russian city near the Ukraine border : OREL. Go eat a worm if you miss this city again. Our third encounter with it this week. See it?

20. Will-wisp connector : O'- THE

21. Fed. security : T-NOTE

22. Preferences : LIKES

23. Black Sea region : ASIA MINOR. Four of Mike's 9 non-theme entries intersect.

 29. Indulged : CATERED TO

30. 1969 Three Dog Night hit : ONE. I got via crosses. I just kept thinking that annoying "Who Let the Dogs Out" song. The Baha Men.

31. Alley prowler : TOM. Poor D-Otto!

32. Protected whale : SEI. It's not clued as "Italy six" because we also have SEIS (3D. Ocho menos dos) in the grid.

33. Scand. kingdom : NOR (Norway)

34. Neaten again, as a mustache : RE-TRIM. I just had my hair trimmed again yesterday. 2 inches off, as usual. Some day I'll get courageous and cut it really short like Marti's.

37. Putting up : ERECTING

40. "Sorry to hear that" : SO SAD

44. Essen exclamation : ACH

45. Primary : MAIN

47. Metz milk : LAIT

48. Grand venue : OLE OPRY. Feels like a partial to me.

50. Tag announcement : YOU'RE IT

52. Transp. to the Hamptons : LIRR (Long Island Rail Road)

53. Like Vivaldi's "Spring" : IN E. I filled in IN?, then waited.

54. First name in spydom : MATA

55. "My treat" : ON ME

60. Angling tool : ROD

61. Ora pro __ : NOBIS. Pray for us.

63. Gershwin's "Rialto Ripples," e.g. : RAG. Difficult clue for me.

64. Gobi abode : YURT. Look at this polling yurt.

65. Missouri NFL team : CHIEFS. Oh, Kansas City Chiefs.

67. "... some kind of __?" : A NUT

69. Rum __ Tugger: "Cats" character : TUM

71. More, on a score : PIU. Tricky little word.

72. Prefix with decimal : HEXA. Oh, another six.

73. Send with an email : ATTACH

75. Mosque leader : IMAM

77. Hush-hush maritime org. : ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence). Navy's CIA. Not well-known, but important.

79. Bit of mischief : ANTIC

82. Word with bird or call : CAT

87. Aleutian island : ATKA. And 120D.  Nautical rope : TYE. Both gimmes for Spitzboov. ONI too, of course.

88. Financial pros : CPAs

90. Jeanne d'Arc, e.g.: Abbr. : STE

91. Buck ending : AROO

92. Like trees in the wind : SWAYING

94. Badminton item : RACQUET. Lovely 7-letter entry.

96. Query indicating betrayal : ET TU

97. Mil. addresses : APOs

98. Sturgeon delicacy : ROE

99. Invite to one's penthouse, say : ASK UP

100. Club for a short par-3, perhaps : NINE IRON. Nailed it, though I need at least a 7 iron for a short par-3.
103. Cunning : SHREWD

105. I problem? : EGO

107. Frau, across the Rhine: Abbr. : MME

108. That, in Tampico : ESA

109. Eastern path : TAO. Or DAO in Mandarin.
110. Bart Simpson catchphrase : AY, CARAMBA. Sparkling!

121. Heathrow lander : AEROPLANE. And 1D. Former Heathrow lander : BOAC. British Overseas Airways Corporation.Read more here. It ceased existence in 1974 but merged with another airline and became today's British Airways.

122. Raise : BREED

123. No-brainer course : EASY A

124. Milieu for Sharks and Penguins : RINK. For JD & Splynter.

125. Nevada city on I-80 : ELKO. We have an ELKO in MN also. They have a big flea market.
126. Literature Nobelist Gide : ANDRE

127. Expensive : STEEP

128. Barrie baddie : SMEE

129. School official : DEAN


2. About : OR SO

4. Din : CLAMOR

5. Message medium : VOICE MAIL

6. View from Catania : ETNA. I did not know Catania. Wiki said it's the "second-largest city in Sicily and the tenth in Italy".

7. Edit, in a way : SHORTEN. What Rich does to my clues. I'm not a wordy person, but sometimes I can't express what I want to say concisely.

8. Intense fear : TERROR
9. __-bitty : ITTY

10. Shreveport-to-Little Rock dir. : NNE

11. Vanity : CONCEIT

12. Reach : ATTAIN

13. It may be saved : SEAT. I thought of FILE first.

14. Grayish-pink color : OLD ROSE. Stumped me last time it appeared in our puzzle. I'd like to be a red rose in my next life. You? What kind of flower do you want to be?

15. Teletype machine area : WIRE ROOM. New term to me. We need our newswoman PK back.

16. Barely managed, with "out" : EKED
17. Try out : TEST

18. Bologna bone : OSSO

24. Villainous "Austin Powers" alter ego : MINI-ME. I don't like his picture. Please don't link.

26. Wide-screen TV spot : DEN

28. Florida's __ Island : AMELIA. Never heard of it. I thought it's named after Amelia Earhart. Nope.

32. Saddle attachment : STIRRUP

34. Synthetic silk : RAYON

35. Budget prefix : ECONO
38. Have in stock : CARRY
39. Old game show prop that contestants didn't want to hear : GONG. I'll try Gong Li next time. Rich probably will change the clue. He might not if he sees this picture. Gong Li is the most recognizable actress in Asia.

42. Fromm's "The __ Loving" : ART OF. Have any of you read the book?

43. Twosomes : DYADS

46. "Use __ lose ..." : IT OR
49. Freeloader : LEECH

51. Isabella, por ejemplo : REINA

52. Pea, e.g. : LEGUME
53. Pitched properly : IN TUNE

57. Indigenous : NATIVE. Xi'an has it own dialect. Much easier than Cantonese but outsiders can't understand it.

58. Melodious piece : ARIOSO. Rooted in Aria.

59. Ostrich's cousin : RHEA

62. Similar items : SUCH

66. Slangy veto : IXNAY. Zippy 5-letter entry.

68. More than just this : THESE

70. Dugong relative : MANATEE

73. Gulf of Guinea capital : ACCRA

74. __ bar : TAPAS

76. Cuban patriot José : MARTI. Hey, our Marti got a rare shout-out! Thanks, Mike.

78. Javert's rank: Abbr. : INSP.  Javert is that jerk inspector in ' "Les Misérables".

80. "You don't have to tell me" : I KNOW

81. Behind bars : CAGED

84. Business letter abbr. : ATTN

85. More like a lemon : SOURER

86. Like some golf penalties : TWO-STROKE. Hate when this happens. One stroke is enough.

89. Narrow victory : SQUEAKER

93. B-flat equivalent : A-SHARP

95. Go from coach to business, say : UPGRADE

96. As one : EN MASSE

97. Angels' home : ANAHEIM. Mike's team is Mariners.

101. "What a long day!" : I'M BEAT

102. Glitzy winter event, with "the" : OSCARS

104. Muddied : ROILED

106. Crew member : OAR

110. "The Winner Takes It All" singers : ABBA

111. It may be spun, in more ways than one : YARN. Indeed.

112. Kept in the loop, briefly : CC'ED. Oh me!

113. Mil. rations : MREs

114. Ominous letters after "See me" : ASAP. I had ??AP very early on.

115. Secretary of Education Duncan : ARNE

116. Low-lying area : VALE

117. "My Way" lyricist : ANKA

118. Spanish province or its capital : LEON. No idea. But its Google images are gorgeous.

Congratulations to Lemonade, who's getting married today. Lemonade has been blogging for us since March 2010. I can count the days he missed his write-ups. So happy to see him find his soul mate and settle down.

Dec 20, 2014

Saturday, Dec 20th, 2014, John Lieb

Theme: None

Words: 70 (missing F,J,Q,X,Y,Z)

Blocks: 29

  We have seen John before, this year, and I thought I was going to sail to a quick finish - I was racing through some of the long fill - but then the NE did me in for too long....oh well.  Oh, and I was totally off-point in a minor area of the SE, too.  Long line of unused letters today, but we have had seven on a Saturday.  Triple 9-letter across corners, triple 8-letter downs, and two 12-letter spanners;

32. 1970 Top 40 song with the lyric "And I'm lucky that you're mine" : RUBBER DUCKIE - I think I've heard it - link away~!

38. Nickname for the NFL draft's last pick : Mr. IRRELEVANT - half perps, half educated guess - but it makes sense; the Wiki


1. Go figure? : DO THE MATH - I have been looking for funny T-shirts for Christmas - I liked this one
10. Scented candle option : LILAC - Once I filled AVE MARIA, and WAGed CAROUSED, the ---AC made me realize this was not "TAPER"

15. One may become an exurb : RURAL AREA

16. Carew's Twins roommate : OLIVA - Oh, I know C.C. nailed this one~!

C.C. & Tony Oliva

17. Monopoly duo : UTILITIES - I started putting in RAILROADS, which fit - but there's FOUR of those.  Duh. 

18. Inspiration for some Yahtzee categories : POKER - Had it, took it out, ended up trying it again

19. Reasons for handshakes : DEALS

20. Large volume : TOME

22. Alt-rock subgenre : EMO

23. Material for Caesar : GAGS - Ah, Sid Caesar

24. Russian crepes : BLINI

26. Egyptian __: cat breed : MAU - once I saw it, the V-8 can flew

27. Warm time for Nancy? : ETE - Is Nancy Frawnche~? I guess....

28. Nursery nourishment : LOAM - Good WAG on my part - I was in that nursery, not the kiddies

29. Slinky ad feature : STAIRS - oh, THAT Slinky - you know my mind was here - and see, Nancy is American, I'm sure

34. Restraining device : MANACLE

37. Numskull : AIRHEAD

40. High regard : ESTEEM

41. Alice's workplace : MEL'S - the Alice of TV fame

42. 1956 milestone for Ford: Abbr. : IPO - I put in LBO - which is, um, totally wrong

45. __ anglais: English horn : COR

46. Actor Ken and others : OLINS

48. Hitch : TOUR - the 'meh' clue for the day

49. Its Batman version contains a Joker : UNO

50. Like some annoying blog posts: Abbr. : ANON - let's see who pops in today~!

51. Coming-out party? : BELLE - har-har

52. Quality of a good math proof : RIGOR - still no algebra

54. Zen-like "Caddyshack" mantra : BE THE BALL - I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of this movie

57. Grenoble's river : ISERE

58. Hoops matchups : ONE-ON-ONES - basketball, not earrings

59. Former lab heaters : ETNAS - outdone by Bunsen

60. Like many lotteries : STATEWIDE


1. Lowly worker : DRUDGE

2. Best in a mess : OUT-EAT - I had OUT--T, and this just wouldn't come to me

3. ER protocol : TRIAGE

4. "Vapor Action" brand : HALLS

5. 2013 NCAA Men's Ice Hockey champs : ELIs - another WAG

6. Place to wrestle : MAT

7. George W.'s first press secretary : ARI - perps

8. Driver's appointment? : TEE TIME - nailed it

9. Sports : HAS ON - I had the "---ON" part, so no misdirection for me

10. Make big strides : LOPE

11. U.N. workers' gp. : ILO

12. 2002 Lil' Bow Wow film : LIKE MIKE - I had '--KE--KE', and a vague recollection crept into my mind - IMDb

13. Prayer sung by Desdemona in "Otello" : AVE MARIA

14. Carried on : CAROUSED

21. Makes bad calls? : MIS-DIALS

24. Hall of Fame pitcher who managed the Yankees to a 1978 title : BOB LEMON - more baseball for C.C.

25. Tag : LABEL

28. Ill-gotten loot : LUCRE

30. Chances : TURNS

31. Vier times zwei : ACHT - German 4 X 2 = 8 - still no algebra

32. Special : RARE

33. Poetic rapper : RAVEN - ah, that kind of rapper - as on a door....

34. Only woman with two Nobel prizes, formally : Mme CURIE - Oddly, I filled this in with only the -CU- in place; and she WAS French, technically - the Wiki

35. Insurance fraud perpetrator, perhaps : ARSONIST

36. Ammonia component : NITROGEN

39. Distinguished : EMINENT - I think the "arsonist" clue made me read this as "extinguished" first

42. Historic island palace : IOLANI - I'm a big fan of Hawaii Five-O, both the old and the new - some trivia, including the palace

43. __ pork : PULLED - I, um, had BALLed pork to start - my palace was LElani, and, well, cut me some slack - it's been a long month

44. Uncreative threat : OR ELSE

47. Latin rock group Los __ : LOBOS

48. First sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy : TEBOW

50. "Iliad" war god : ARES

51. Factor opening : BENE - benefactor

53. Mouths, anatomically : ORA

55. See 56-Down : TEA - circumferential, I got all the letters via perps

56. With 55-Down, sore throat soother : HOT


Dec 19, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014, John Lampkin

Theme: Wherefore ARt thou AR?

Man what more could a guy ask for: marti, followed by C.C., followed by a John Lampkin special. I am in blogger heaven. Good thing this is not November 19. Letter removal puzzles require the result to be entertaining and John does not disappoint. CRIER PIGEON, MINAMALIST T, BROOM BRAWL (featuring witches) and PILL TO POST all evoke (see 49A) very funny images to me. The rest of the fill is loaded with stuff like CAPITOL, ECLIPSE, EXPORTS, ONE EYED, OOMPAHS, ORIGAMI, SPARE ME, TOENAIL, HOOFED IT, I’M NO FOOL. John always slides in some insects and some music, so lets play.

20A. Easy mark with a sob story? : CARRIER PIGEON (11). Someone who is a sucker for a crying female. Carrier pigeons are in retirment now, and should not be confused with this long gone COUSIN.

54A. Shirt that hardly covers anything? : MINIMALIST ART (11). Which would you rather have: Skimpy T-shirts


10D. Ruckus at a coven? : BARROOM BRAWL (10). Broom being the un-PC way to refer to witches. We have our California coven here at the Corner; hello ladies.

28D. Very small pharmaceutical mail order? : PILLAR TO POST(10). Yes, mailing a single pill sounds silly, but with the price of some of the new drugs, it might just make sense. I recall the announcers at the Gillette Friday Night Fights used the term  "he was battered from 'Pillar to Post.'"
And the hint
67A. Noble gas, and a homophonic hint to how this puzzle's four longest answers are formed : ARGON (5).  AR is GONE from each phrase. Regional accents may make this more difficult.


1. What Rudolph used to be called : NAMES. A semi clecho. 41. 1960 Olympic gold medalist Rudolph : WILMA.

All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names
They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any reindeer games

6. One in a wild bunch? : OAT. Sowing anyone?

9. Beatles song syllables : OBLA. Does this parse  OHHB LAHH, or OOOO BLAH?

13. Pilot : AVIATE. JL, really?

15. Baseball letters : RHE. Runs Hits and Errors on the scoreboard. JL is the undipsuted King of Clechos, as is seen here.

16. Baseball's Hershiser : OREL. He works in the booth now. A repeat fill with totally diferent clue.

17. Baseball champs of 2013 : RED SOX. So many years of futility followed by such success, I wonder if Joe Maddon can do that for the Cubs?

18. "What do you take me for?" : I'M NO FOOL. I/ME today, a minI theme? 31A. Part of a team observation : NO I. Just two weeks after I used this as part of my name for marti's Friday puzzle. 7D. Woeful words : AH ME. 32D. "I've heard enough" : SPARE ME. (Also, s CSO to Boomer). 38D. "No real damage" : I'M OK.

22. Trail terminus: Abbr. : OREgon. Sounds like ARGON? I wonder if terminus refers to the fact the Oregon Trail ends in Oregon, or that Trail is added to the end of Oregon?

23. British pop singer Lewis : LEONA. She won X-Factor.

24. Expressionist painter LeRoy : NEIMAN. I think football made him famous. See the SITE.

26. Habitat for some ibexes : ALPS. You run into many, marti?

29. Coke go-with : RUM.

30. Balkan native : SERB. I wonder if they serve rum and coke in Serbia?

32. Fine groove : STRIA.

34. Salt's output : YARNS. Sailors love to spin them.

37. It's seldom total : ECLIPSE. Unless it is of the HEART. GLEEFUL.

39. Digital filer's target : TOE NAIL. Devlish misdirection with digital referencing the 'digit" i.e. toe, for all you pedicure experts.

42. Cape Cod catch : SCROD. It is baaack!

44. Intl. commerce group : WTO. World Trade Organization. 14D. International commerce components : EXPORTS.

45. One-third of a WWII film : TORA. "Tora! Tora! Tora!", named after the code words use by the lead Japanese pilot to indicate they had surprised the Americans, covers the days leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, which plunged America into the Second World War. (Wiki). Interestingly, the screen play credits both American and Japanese authors.

47. Wind often affects it : AIM. Yes, in shooting, golf etc.

48. Joy : GLEE. Nene Leakes is/was on Glee.

49. Calls to mind : EVOKES.

51. Some future fliers : PUPAE. larvae, pupae, John loves dem bugs, see below for more.

53. Hint : TIP. Do not try giving your server a hint.

59. Didn't ride : HOOFED IT. Archie Goodwin was always hoofing it from the old brownstone and leaving the Heron in the garage.

61. Hamper : HOGTIE.

62. "... we fat all / creatures __ to fat us": Hamlet : ELSE. I love this scene where the King asks Hamlet where Polonious is, and is told he is at supper, the king asks where Polonious is eating his supper and Hamlet replies:
Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. A certain convocation of politic worms are e'en at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet. We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service—two dishes, but to one table. That’s the end.

63. Roger or Brian of music : ENO. There will alway be music in John's puzzles as there is in his soul.

64. Bundle up on the farm : SHEAVE. A perfect winter misdirection.

65. Speedometer reading, e.g. : RATE.

66. Margarita condimento : SAL. salt in Spanish.


1. Buster? : NARC. The question mark is your clue to the clue as it means one who busts.

2. Affirm as true : AVER.

3. Noon in Paris : MIDI. Time for a Midi? Mini or maxi? Skirted that issue.

4. Stands by an artist : EASELS. Only thing I think of

5. Put away : STORE.

6. Folding craft : ORIGAMI.

8. Dovetail sections : TENONS. Splynter, hope you get some rest.

9. Punch line? : OOF. See cartoon.

11. The first Mrs. Arrowsmith : LEORA. From the eponymous Sinclair Lewis book. She was played by Helen Hayes in the movie.

12. Kind of wrench : ALLEN. Actually it is a Hex Key, but Allen manufacturing from Hartford seems to have cornered the market.

19. Like some picture cards : ONE EYED. I think we had Jacks recently.

21. Gets used (to) : INURES.

25. Land with a red, white and green flag : IRAN. Man there are a lot of them. LINK. I should have paid more attention when watching...

26. Over : ANEW. Starting over- starting anew? Not easy JL.

27. Point sets, in math : LOCI. Bill G., this is all yours.

33. Court : ATRIUM. Noun, not a verb.

35. Time in ads : NITE.

36. Sour fruit : SLOE. Not in a Singapore Sling.

40. Marching band lows : OOMPAHS. Oh those TUBAE! 50D. String quartet part : VIOLA.  two violins, one cello and a viola. John Lampkin is  an accomplished piano player, teacher and composer.

43. Hill building : CAPITOL.

46. Dramatic devices : ASIDES. Shakespeare anyone?

48. Counter man : GEIGER. Har har.  It actually is the Geiger–Müller counter. LINK.

49. It's a real knockout : ETHER. Har har, though knockout drops were Chloral hydrate (please insert intelligent comment scientists).

52. Wahine's greeting : ALOHA.

55. Two-time Atlantic crosser of 1493 : NINA. I did not know this tidbit.

56. __ party : STAG. Most bachelor parties are stag; my first wedding had one but it was boooring.

57. DVR option : TIVO. How are they doing now that cable, dish people provide the DVRs?

58. Adult, at one time : TEEN. Being a teen is 7 years for each of us on the calendar, a lifetime for most males.

60. Commission : FEE. FIE FO FUM.  I finish with an introduction to some of the photography of our multitalented constructor John Lampkin, who takes the best bug pictures even if bugs are yucky. He also offers his commentary. See you after Christmas, Happy Chanukah to those who light the candles. Lemonade out. Here are pictures and words from JL. Thanks John for the puzzle and more.

For 51 Across – PUPAE
This Armyworm caterpillar (seen head downwards) had been parasitized by a very tiny braconid wasp. She had stung the caterpillar laying dozens of eggs. The eggs  hatched and the wasp larvae ate the caterpillar from the inside out avoiding all vital organs toward the head end. The wasp larvae then crawled out through the caterpillar’s skin and formed the white fuzzy pupae  sticking out of the caterpillar.  The caterpillar was still alive when I shot the pic. My Florida naturalist friend Karen Finch, bless her,  took everything home in a jar and hatched out the wasps to confirm our ID. Since parasitized larvae like this Armyworm nearly always die, braconid wasps can be an eco-friendly control of garden pests like Tomato Hornworms.
Total lunar eclipse I shot as a time-lapse from my yard at 3:33 am, December 21, 2010. 

From Wikipedia: The eclipse was the first total lunar eclipse to occur on the day of the Northern Winter Solstice (Southern Summer Solstice) since 1638, and only the second in the Common Era


Dec 18, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014 Ed Sessa

Theme: "That's an Order!"

3D. Diner's breakfast request : EGGS SUNNY SIDE UP. The order you give to Flo, in Mel's diner.

5D. Baseball manager's decision : STARTING LINEUP. The list of players who will be in the game.

9D. Cop's command : PUT YOUR HANDS UP. An order that caused a lot of unrest in Ferguson.

And the reveal:
11D. What sports stats are usually shown in ... or what 3-, 5- and 9-Down each represents? : DESCENDING ORDER. Each of the three theme entries is a type of "order" descending in the grid. I am not sure if "up" at the end of each one has something to do with the theme, or if they are just coincidental. Let's see if Mr. Sessa can enlighten us.

(From C.C.: I thought they're coincidental. Lemonade said Rule 39 is "there are no coincidences". So we consulted the constructor Mr. Ed. Here is what he told us:

I figured it added a little twist to the puzzle, up being "down", along with having three different "takes" on the meaning of the word "order")

Unusual grid, with left to right symmetry, but not top to bottom. It also seemed very easy to me for a Thursday, but your experience may vary.


1. Many Pindar poems : ODES.

5. Philatelist's find : STAMP.

10. Mt. Rushmore locale : SDAK.

14. "Rich & Meaty" brand : RAGU

15. "I should have made my way straight __ long ago": Whitman : TO YOU.

16. "Try this" : HERE.

17. Joule fractions : ERGS.

18. Explosive trial : A-TEST.

19. "Makes sense to me" : I SEE.

20. Old Buick : LESABRE.

22. Not surprising : TYPICAL.

24. Schoolyard comeback : IS NOT.

25. Chaps can be seen in one : OATER. This one got a smile from me.

26. Like boxed matches : UNLIT.

28. Jackson successor Van __ : BUREN.

29. Predatory seabird : ERN.

31. "Hit me" : ONE MORE. You might hear those words at a bar or at a Blackjack table.

33. Speckle : DOT.

36. Broadway's __-Fontanne Theatre : LUNT. No clue. All perps. It was originally called The Globe Theater, but renamed after renovation in 1957, in honor of Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontaine.

38. Grind, as teeth : GNASH.

39. Young hombre : NINO.

40. Shout before Silver : HI YO. Silver, Awaaaaaaaaaaay!

41. Patterson who played the singing flight attendant in "Airplane!" : LORNA. Loved that movie.

42. Handling the situation : ON IT.

43. Pancreatic hormone : INSULIN.

45. Blue hues : INDIGOS.

47. Chase scene sounds : SIRENS.

48. Annexes : ADDS ON.

49. One of a fiver's fifty : DIME.

50. Recipe word : STIR.

51. Flock females : EWES.

53. Freedom, in Swahili : UHURU. Total WAG, with only 5 perps needed. ;-)

57. "The Country Girls" novelist O'Brien : EDNA. the novel was banned in Ireland, and her parish priest publicly burned copies, because it dealt with sexuality in the '60s.

60. Big oaf : LOUT.

61. Surgical holding area : PRE-OP.

62. Go slowly (through) : SEEP.

63. Hard-to-do dos : MOPS.

64. Part of REM : EYE.


1. City about 225 miles from Moscow : OREL. I always get this city confused with Orem, which is near Provo, Utah.

2. "__ say it?" : DARE I.

4. "Valley of the Dolls" author Jacqueline : SUSANN. Gimme.  That book was also considered "racy" when it came out in the '60s.

6. Carry : TOTE.

7. Word to a captain : AYE.

8. Greatest amount : MOST.

10. Many an Iraqi Muslim : SHIITE.

12. Toward the stern : AREAR.

13. Boat base : KEEL.

21. Barn dance neckwear : BOLO.

23. Remove the skin from : PARE.

27. Mortise inserts : TENONS.

28. Sarajevo's region : BOSNIA.

29. K-12 : ELHI.

30. Roman holiday attractions : RUINS. It's an incredible feeling to walk where Caesar once stood.

32. Dent or scratch : MAR.

34. Pizza topping : ONION. I just made Hawaiian pizza last night, with ham and pineapple. Yum!

35. Wee ones : TOTS.

37. Busload at a resort, probably : TOURISTS.

39. Loud to the max : NOISIEST.

44. Moon lander, briefly : LEM.

46. Prohibited insecticide : DDT.

51. With 65-Across, source of shade : ELM. And 65-Across: See 51-Down : TREE.

52. Act the suitor : WOO.

54. Charlemagne's realm: Abbr. : HRE. Holy Roman Empire.

55. Turn that's hung : UEY. I think we should take a vote for our favorite spelling of this, and then banish all other spellings forever from crossword puzzles!

56. Canapé topping : ROE.

58. Wedding page word : NEE.

59. Oaf : APE.

That's all from me. Let's hear from you!


Dec 17, 2014

Wednesday, December 17th 2014 Fred Piscop

Theme: Kangaroo Commands.

17A. *Source of chips and 6-Across : IDAHO POTATO. Ah, the humble spud. I read somewhere that the rich Idaho loam which nurtures these delicious tubers came from Yosemite when the caldera exploded c. 55,000 years ago. Apparently this happens about once every 50,000 years, so the potato farmers should be expecting another gazillion tons of topsoil coming their way sometime soon.

51A. *Cervantes creation : SANCHO PANZA. Equerry to the chivalry-reviving, windmill-tilting Don Quixote, and a Picasso subject.

11D. *Wide-legged fashion : GAUCHO PANTS. Not gauche pants, those would be sequined disco-trousers from the 70's. According to Target's fashion page, gaucho pants are "flowy and fab". Just the thing for Don Q. and Sancho.

25D. *Rory McIlroy won it in 2014 : BRITISH OPEN. The oldest of golf's four majors, and properly called "The Open Championship".

37A. Words to a hitchhiker, and a literal hint to what spans both words of the answers to starred clues : HOP IN

Buenos dias, muchachos y muchachas. Steve here hitching a ride with Fred's latest. The theme ended on little bit of a flat note for me - the fourth theme entry had the odd-man-out feel with Idaho/Sancho/Gaucho tripping rhymily off the tongue, then "British" coming in as something of a clanger. Wedded to the fact that the tournament isn't actually called that, it all just seemed a little clumsy. Maybe I should go and change out of my grumpy pants.

That aside, I enjoyed this one - a few missteps left me with a couple of head-scratchers and that's always a good thing. Let's check out the rest.


1. Crockpot concoctions : STEWS. Food! I'm happy, right off the bat.

6. Bar snack made from 17-Acrosses : SKINS. Let's see - fried potato, bacon, cheese, sour cream and salt. I'm not sure your cardiologist would call this a snack, more a heart attack on a plate.

11. USO show attendees : GIs. Here are some very happy ones:

14. Purity measure : KARAT. Karat vs. Carat. Discuss.

15. Card for a seer : TAROT

16. Hibachi residue : ASH

19. Draw upon : USE

20. Two-thumbs-up review : RAVE

21. When directed : ON CUE

23. Drop in the ocean : EBB TIDE. Starting out with LOW TIDE had me looking at some odd downs later.

27. Certain female grouse : SAGE HEN. They taste great with sage stuffing, how apt.

29. Round numbers : ZEROES

30. Lake Erie port : TOLEDO. Home of the AAA Mud Hens. They don't sound as tasty as 27A's.

31. Like Wrigley Field's walls : IVIED. It's a ground-rule double if a ball gets lost in it.

32. Baby spoilers, perhaps : NANAS

33. Play with, cat-style : PAW

36. Brings home : NETS

38. Anti-art movement : DADA

39. One of football's Mannings : ELI. Your other options are Archie or Peyton, neither of which fit.

40. Like 101 courses : BASIC

41. Not as loopy : SANER

42. "Heathers" actor Christian : SLATER. Fortunately for my lack of knowledge of actors and movies, there are not many "Christians" in the business. I've never heard of the movie. Did it garner 20A reviews?

44. Terrarium pet : TURTLE

45. Siri speaks on them : iPHONES. Pretty much the only thing she says on mine is "I'm sorry, I didn't get that". I don't think she speaks British English.

47. Idiomatic trendsetters : JONESES

48. Trembled : SHOOK

49. They're usually loaded : SOTS

50. Cut back : LOP

58. Wolfed down : ATE

59. Poseidon's realm : OCEAN

60. Hunter of myth : ORION

61. Jamaican "mister" : MON

62. Grown-up efts : NEWTS

63. Wyoming's __ Range : TETON. I read somewhere that the French explorer who first encountered the Grand Tetons named them for a couple of the physical attributes belonging to his wife back home. I can't comment on that.


1. Schuss, say : SKI. Straight downhill. The first and easiest skiing maneuver you learn. Then you discover you need to stop or turn, when all your problems start. I once had a T-shirt that read "To turn is to admit defeat". I might get some of those made again.

2. Tiny bit : TAD

3. Procter & Gamble detergent : ERA. I don't recall seeing this in my local market.

4. Sob syllable : WAH

5. Legendary : STORIED. Is a legendary high-rise many-storied?

6. Housewarming buy? : STOVE

7. Designer Spade : KATE

8. Tax-deferred plan, for short : IRA. Individual Retirement Account, for long.

9. "__ funny!" : NOT

10. Trio in funny shorts : STOOGES

12. Campaign topic : ISSUE

13. Gold lamé quality : SHEEN. I had SHEER first which made SAGE HER an odd-looking bird.

18. Inflates, as an expense account : PADS

22. Writer Buntline : NED. Who? Perps all the way.

23. Newsstand app download : E-ZINE

24. Slanted edge : BEVEL

26. Little piggies : TOES.

27. __ boom : SONIC. We used to hear them occasionally in Los Angeles when the Space Shuttle went over en route to touchdown. The first one I heard was back in England when the Concorde was being test-flown - it caused much consternation.

28. Arkin of "Argo" : ALAN

30. Fleshy-snouted beast : TAPIR

32. Snouts : NOSES. Fun proximity to the anteater above.

34. Singer with the albums "19" and "21" : ADELE. Named for her age when the albums were recorded. Quite a talent.

35. Stuff to hawk : WARES

37. Can't stomach : HATE

38. Chance it : DARE

40. Trusts : BANKS ON

41. Solar event caused by magnetic activity : SUNSPOT

43. London lav : LOO

44. Oz visitor : TOTO

45. Major religion of Indonesia : ISLAM

46. ID component : PHOTO

47. "Flag" artist Jasper : JOHNS. I'm ashamed to say I'd never heard of him. He's a Presidential Medal of Freedom winner too.

49. Ella's style : SCAT

52. Complete perfectly : ACE

53. Improved partner? : NEW

54. "__ you serious?" : ARE

55. Minor objection : NIT

56. Bronx tourist attraction : ZOO

57. New England cape : ANN. I learned this from crosswords. I think I should make a bucket list of "cruci-places" to visit - Cape Ann, the Aral Sea, Mt. Etna, Laos, the River Yser, the Soo locks - there's quite a world tour!

Here's the grid - see you all next time!


Note from C.C.:

I've been missing posts from Yellowrocks (Kathy), who is going to have knee surgery on January 12, 2015.  Then she can dance to her heart's content. Below is a picture of Kathy from their church's Cookies and Creches event. She also told me:

"This month I am deep in the clutches of the medical system, working on pre-surgery and preparation for Alan's stay at respite while I am in the hospital in January. The govt. regs are time consuming.. Also my weak knees are slowing me down quite a bit. 

On the bright side, I am beginning to see the "light at the end of the tunnel" (thanks, Argyle). Only two more appointments,  today and Thursday. Also, I am miraculously on track with my Christmas preparations."

Yellowrocks (Kathy)

Dec 16, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 Jerry Edelstein

Theme: At the end of a tunnel - is a light and both parts of the starred entries are lights also.

17A. *Actor Sydney of "Casablanca" : GREENSTREET. Green light. Street light.

11D. *Talent show hosted by Ed McMahon : STAR SEARCH. Starlight. Search light.

25D. *Break for fuel : GAS STOP. Gaslight. Stop light.

30D. *Danger after a heavy rainfall : FLASH FLOOD. Flashlight. Flood light.

59A. Understand (and a hint to both parts of this puzzle's answers to starred clues) : SEE THE LIGHT

Argyle here. More vert. than horz. today. I do wonder if  the theme has been done before. (C.C. said not both parts as lights) No matter; it was fun.


1. __ excuse for: hardly the best example of : A POOR

6. Largest city in Belarus : MINSK

11. Reg. : STD. (regulation/standard)

14. "__ Rae" : NORMA. 1979 film about a factory worker starring Sally Field.

15. Political convention setting : ARENA

16. Golfer's peg : TEE

19. Crazy way to go : APE

20. "Dallas" matriarch Miss __ : ELLIE. Barbara Bel Geddes.

21. Brought up : REARED

23. Boiling mad : ENRAGED

27. Takes advantage of : USES

28. Shower offering : GIFT

31. Waiter's carrying aid : TRAY

32. Get on in years : AGE

33. Pioneering ISP : AOL

34. Break down, as a sentence : PARSE

35. "It's the __ I can do" : LEAST

38. Hidden loot : STASH

40. Superman's symbol : ESS. Pop quiz: How is he standing?


41. Bug in a program, say : ERROR

42. Tomato concentrate : PASTE

43. Kitchen appliance : STOVE

45. Activist Guevara : CHE. He's been away for awhile.

46. Hem and __ : HAW

47. Ripped : TORE

48. Word with horse or track : SHOE

49. Tender-hearted : SOFT

51. Slander : ASPERSE. Ten dollar word.

53. Throbbed : PULSED

55. Things that shouldn't be done : NO-NOs

58. DDE's WWII command : ETO. (Dwight David Eisenhower/World War II/European Theater of Operations)

64. Bustle : ADO

65. Like a fifth tire : SPARE

66. Youngest Jetson : ELROY. The Jetsons (TV Series 1962–1988)

67. Curtain holder : ROD

68. Furry swimmer : OTTER

69. Trickles (through) : SEEPS


1. Zambia neighbor: Abbr. : ANG. (Angola)

2. Tiny skin opening : PORE

3. Sports analyst Hershiser : OREL. Former starting pitcher who played 18 seasons in MLB.

4. Folded eggs dish : OMELET

5. Took to jail : RAN IN and 24D. Takes to jail : ARRESTS

6. Gym cushion : MAT

7. Like some outlet store mdse. : IRR. (irregular)

8. Maiden name indicator : NÉE

9. Dummy Mortimer : SNERD

10. "Kiss Me, __" : KATE. Broadway musical version of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.

12. Conical dwelling : TEPEE

13. Homeowners' documents : DEEDS

18. Sealy rival : SERTA

22. Hole-boring tool : AUGER

26. Dilapidated building, e.g. : EYESORE

28. Quick intake of breath : GASP

29. Greek "i" : IOTA

32. Protected, at sea : ALEE

34. "That was close!" : "PHEW!"

36. Arty NYC locale : SOHO

37. Shade provider : TREE

39. Sports page numbers : STATS

44. Jules who created Captain Nemo : VERNE. "Vingt Mille Lieues Sous Les Mers" 1870

48. Forgetful, maybe : SENILE

49. Asparagus serving : SPEAR

50. Perform better than : OUTDO

51. Handy : ADEPT

52. Boot bottoms : SOLEs

54. Exxon, previously : ESSO. And still is, elsewhere.

56. Folklore monster : OGRE

57. Go for groceries : SHOP

60. Consume : EAT

61. Three, in Bologna : TRE

62. Ship's pronoun : HER

63. TV host Pennington and Hall of Famer Cobb : TYs. Tygert P. host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.