Feb 26, 2020

February 26, 2020 Blake Slonecker

Theme - Alas, poor Marion Crane, we hardly knew ye.  The theme answers all begin with elements of an iconic event in a classic noire movie.  First the unifier.

59A . Classic "Psycho" segment where one might see the starts of the answers to starred clues: SHOWER SCENE. Here it is, in all its screaming intensity.

17 A. *Top brass: HEAD HONCHOS.  The people in charge.   In the movie scene, there is some controversy over whether a body double was used.  But clearly, the HEAD belongs to Janet Leigh, who portrayed the unfortunate Marion Crane.

25. *Response to wild applause: CURTAIN CALL.  When the actors get another chance to bow after a great performance.  But that is after a stage play, and we're at a movie. The CURTAIN is prominent in the scene, and afterwards Norman Bates, played by Tony Perkins wraps Marion's corpse in it, and sticks it in the trunk of her car.

37. *Political metaphor about dealing with bureaucracy: DRAIN THE SWAMP.  Nope. No politics. The stage blood circling the DRAIN is a bit of cinematic brilliance.

50. *Market-based pollution-control policy: CAP AND TRADE.  The junction of politics and economics is still of limits.  Moving right along  .  .  .   One might have expected Marion's shower CAP to keep her hair neat - but all to no avail, since her corps ends up in an UNDRAINED SWAMP.   But wait - she doesn't wear one!  Am I missing something here?!?

Hi gang, a somewhat confused JazzBumpa here to direct today's excursion.  Hope we don't get too bogged down.


1. Commerce pact to be replaced by USMCA when it's ratified: NAFTA.  Trade deals, new and old.  More politics, where we dare not venture.

6. __ circus: MEDIA. A news event with hyped-up or out of proportion coverage.

11. Cook quickly: ZAP.  Use a microwave.

14. Fluffed-up dos: AFROS.  Most popular X-word hair style.

15. Apple music players: IPODS. Portable player of digital audio and video.

16. Actress Longoria: EVA. Eva Jacqueline Bastón (née Longoria; born March 15, 1975) is an American actress, producer, director, activist, and businesswoman. [Wikipedia]

19. Outlaw: BAN.  Officially or legally prohibit.

20. Iraq War concern: Abbr.: WMDWeapons of Mass Destruction.  There weren't any.

21. New beginning?: NEO-.  A prefix denoting a new or [more likely] revived form of something.

22. Spine-tingling: EERIE.  Like a scene depicting a murder in a shower.

24. Farm female: EWE.  This answer makes me feel sheepish.

28. Almost on "E": LOW.  Fuel gauge reference

29. Biblical mount: ASSHere are 76 references.

30. Attend: GO TO.

31. "The Art of Loving" author Erich: FROMM.

33. Cubs' home: DEN.  Animal offspring, not a sports team

34. Fort Collins sch.: CSU. Colorado State University.  Home of the Rams.  Our second ovine of the day.

41. Wild blue yonder: SKY.

42. Unagi, e.g.: EEL. Japanese fresh water eel.

43. Beyond angry: IRATE.  Feeling great anger.

45. Membership fees: DUES. An obligatory payment

47. "Help!" at sea: SOS.  A Morse code distress signal transmitted as an unbroken sequence of 3 dots, three dashes and three dots.

49. P-like letter: RHO.  Rho (/roʊ/; uppercase Ρ, lowercase ρ or ϱ; Greek: ῥῶ) is the 17th letter of the Greek alphabet. [Wikipedia]

54. "__ Explain Things to Me": 2014 Rebecca Solnit essay anthology: MEN.  Man-'splainin' is politically incorrect.

55. Yellow-and-white daisy: OX EYE.

56. "Otoh, what will you pay?": OBOOr Best Offer.  Price haggling phrase.

57. Long of "Empire": NIA. [b 1970] American actress

58. A-lister: VIP. Very Important Person.  I'm not sure who decides these things.

64. Canon SLR: EOS. Electro-Optical System. An autofocus single lens reflex mirrorless camera series.

65. Programmer: CODER.  Software engineer.

66. Certain Jamaican, religiously: RASTA.  A religious movement with distinctive and restrictive modes of diet, dress and behavior that honors people of African descent.

67. Brief reaction to oversharing: TMI. Too Much Information.

68. Newspaper essays: OP-EDS. Items placed opposite the editorial page.

69. Wild West movie: OATER.  An allusion to horse feed.


1. "Don't think so": NAH. Slangy negation

2. Brief thing to say: A FEW WORDS. Literal

3. Basic structure: FRAMEWORK. Or supporting structure.

4. Lincoln in-law: TODD. Relative of Mary Todd Lincoln.

5. Shade of gray: ASH.

6. Ones who dig hard rock?: MINERS. Literal, not musical.

7. Florida theme park: EPCOT. At the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando.

8. Play-__: kids' clay: DOH. Colorful modeling material mostly made from flour, water and salt.

9. Wedding promise: I DO.  But, alas, so many don't.

10. Agreement: ASSENT.

11. Striped equine: ZEBRA. Native to Africa.

12. To no __: useless: AVAIL.

13. Group of judges: PANEL.

18. Weight on one's shoulders: ONUS. From the Latin word for a load or burden.

23. Tesla Model X, for one: ECOCAR. An environmentally friendly vehicle.

24. "The Hobbit" being: ELF.  ORC is also three letters, as is ENT.

25. Sleeveless top, for short: CAMI.  Camisole, for long.

26. "A Death in the Family" author: AGEE.  James AGEE [1909 - 1955] started writing this autobiographical novel about his father's 1915 death in 1948.  Ironically, he died in 1955 with the novel not quite finished.  It was released posthumously in 1957.

27. + or - particles: IONS.  Atoms or molecules with an electron either added or missing.

32. "Help!" at sea: MAYDAY.  This is repeated three times at the beginning of a transmission, to avoid any misunderstanding.  The word was selected in 1921, and is derived from the French  venez m'aider ('come and help me.') I did not know that.

33. UPS rival: DHL.  Parcel delivery companies.

35. Most ingratiatingly earnest: SMARMIEST.  In a way that is extreme and/or insincere.

36. Get serious, gambler-style: UP THE ANTE.  Increase the stakes in a deliberation, conflict or dispute.

38. Can't live without: NEED.  Must have.

39. Push to the limit: TEST. Can you do it?

40. Sage: WISE.  I once met a sage named Herb.

44. Seemingly forever: EON.  A long time of indefinite duration.

46. World Heritage Site org.: UNESCO.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

47. Civil War swords: SABERS.  A SABER is a type of backsword [having a single-edged blade and a hilt with a single-handed grip] with a curved blade associated with the light cavalry.

48. Baking soda target: ODOR.  It absorbs the odor causing substance.

50. Tenth Commandment verb: COVET.  The desire to possess something.

51. Universal principle: AXIOM.  A statement regarded as established, accepted or self-evidently true.

52. One side in the "cola wars": PEPSI.  Preferred by some in my family. My lovely wife favors Coke.  I am indifferent.

53. Crewed in a shell: ROWED.  Shell is word with many meanings.  It was my nickname for my daughter when she was little, based on her middle name, Michelle.  Here it refers to a light racing boat used in the sport of crew.

57. College Football Playoff org.: NCAANational Collegiate Athletic Association.

60. Sock __: HOP.  An informal dance event, usually to popular recorded music, generally held in a high school gymnasium.  Hard soled shoes had to be removed to protect the floor - hence the name.

61. Lyrical tribute: ODE.  A lyric poem in the form of an address to a person or object.

62. "No seats" sign: SRO. Standing Room Only, indicating an at-capacity event.

63. Cup handle: EAR.

That wraps up another Wednesday.  Crazy week so far.  Nobody knows how dangerous the corona virus may be.  We are having a snow event that closed all the schools today.  Stay warm and safe.  Take your vitamins.  By low and sell high.  And please be careful in the shower.

Cool regards!