Apr 19, 2018

Thursday April 19 2018 Mark McClain

Theme: To Enlightenment - find the path.

17A. *Look for a specific passage in, as a book: PAGE THROUGH. Flip, flip, flip - there it is! I've done this a thousand times. I like the phrase.

26A. *About 22% of an average 18-hole golf course: PAR THREES. A "classic" par-72 18-hole golf course will have four par-threes, four par-fives and 10 par-fours. Of course (ha!), all is variable. Muirfield, one of the "classic" links courses in Scotland began with just 14 holes. St. Andrews began life with 22 holes. They met in the middle at 18.

37A. *Point where it starts to hurt: PAIN THRESHOLD. Ow!

51A. *Like baklava layers: PAPER-THIN. Food! You should be able to read a newspaper through the pastry when it's rolled out.

61A. Explorers ... and ones who can determine what the answers to starred clues have in common?: PATHFINDERS

Nice clean puzzle from Mark, the reveal is nicely-placed at the foot of the puzzle, and the hint is clear - look for "PATH" in the theme entries. Symmetry with the theme entries starting with "PA" and broken with the second part beginning with "TH". Pleasing, maybe just to me.

Let's go and look around:


1. Space station wear: G-SUITS. Nice enough entry, but you don't wear a G-suit in the space station, where there's zero G's - you don't need one. Fighter pilots wear them.

7. "Walk Like __": Four Seasons hit: A MAN. The best version of this I ever heard was by a British a cappella group I saw performing in a pub in London in 1980. Sadly, no recording of that survives, but here's the single they recorded in 1983 that went to number 1. They were quite amazing. No special effects, just voices.

11. Sharp-tack link: A SA

14. Stage of intensity: DEGREE

15. Pitch a fit: RANT

16. Happened upon: MET

19. It's near the midpoint of the Miss. River: ST. L. St. Loius. No "on scoreboards" reference?

20. Rap sheet data: CRIMES

21. Place Sundance liked to see: ETTA. Very nice. Etta Place, mysterious associate of the Butch and Sundance "Wild Bunch".

22. "Gotcha!": PSYCH! I'd never heard this before - the "gotcha" moment after a teasing lie. "Hey - your car is getting towed! Psych!".

28. Every time: ALWAYS

30. Key: ISLET

31. Salt formula: NACL. Good old Sodium Chloride. Don't under-use it when you cook.

32. Sprain application: ICEBAG. I'd be more likely to use an ice pack, but that's just me.

42. Watch creepily: LEER AT

43. Corn syrup brand: KARO. My sister-in-law in England asked me to bring some over on my last trip. She's just starting a cake-decorating business, and apparently neither corn syrup nor marshmallow fluff exist across the pond. Who'd a thunk it?

45. Chimney plumes: SMOKE

49. Largest cat in the genus Leopardus: OCELOT. Pretty! They can hunt by low speed-stalking, or high-speed in-your-face full-on assault. They like to swim too. Don't be a small mammal or an iguana.

56. Change as needed: ADAPT

57. Musical meter maid: RITA. The Beatles "lovely" one.

58. Exposes, in a way: RATS ON

60. Gender-neutral possessive: ITS. No apostrophe. If you're not sure - "It's an apostrophe". Contraction of "it is".

66. Numeric prefix: TRI-

67. Tête output: IDEÉ. "Je pense, donc je suis"

68. Canadian dollar coin: LOONIE. I liked the story that a loonie was smuggled in and frozen in the rink at center ice in the hockey arena at the Salt Lake Olympics and Canada won the gold medal in the men's tournament for the first time in 50 years.

69. Buddhist school: ZEN

70. Give up: CEDE

71. Con target: STOOGE


1. Macroeconomics abbr.: GDP. Gross Domestic Product. I studied Economics at school back when Adam Smith wrote "The Wealth of Nations" and no-one could agree how to measure GDP. I don't think it's changed.

2. Bering, for one: SEA. Thank you, Dutchman Vitus Bering for exploring it, so the rest of us didn't have to go up there and freeze our nadgers off.

3. Footwear brand: UGG

4. Wrath: IRE

5. Easily peeved: TETCHY

6. Very, to Schumann: SEHR. Your German lesson for the day.

7. Candle emanation: AROMA. We had "SMOKE" earlier, so here's an alternative.

8. Catcher Joe with a trio of consecutive Gold Glove Awards (2008-10): MAUER. Thank you, crosses. C.C. would have known this without pause - he is the first baseman for the Minnesota Twins.

9. Fretful feeling: ANGST

10. Indefinite ordinal: NTH. It must have been tempting to clue this with reference to 14A.

11. Heineken brand: AMSTEL. They used to be competitors. The Amstel river flows through Amsterdam. Heineken bought them out in 1968. The best bargain in Amsterdam used to be the Heineken brewery tour before these things were common. The tour lasted about 30 minutes, then you could spend as long as you liked in the tasting room for the princely sum of about $2. Eventually word spread too wide, and like all good things, the tour came to an end.

12. Parlor piece: SETTEE

13. Finally: AT LAST

18. Material flaw: RIP

21. LPN workplaces: ER'S. Emergency Rooms where those amazing Licensed Practical Nurses ply their trade.

22. __ for gold: PAN

23. Open-handed hit: SLAP

24. Fem. advocacy group: YWCA. Young Women's Christian Association. I was a member of the London Central YMCA for quite a few years - they had the most amazingly affordable gym and swimming pool for many, many miles around and slap-dab in the center of London. I even made the swim team. I believe that year they were short of talent.

25. City WSW of Bogotá: CALI

27. Expensive: HIGH

29. Where it's at: SITE. I didn't see this until now, crosses filled it in for me.

33. 2008 biopic starring Benicio del Toro: CHE. The famous "Che Lives" poster from the 70's. My sister had one on her bedroom wall:

34. Blow it: ERR

35. Arthur with two Emmys and a Tony: BEA

36. Concerning: AS TO

38. Met or Nat: NL'ER. More baseball to keep C.C. happy!

39. Signed off on: OK'ED

40. Refrain syllables: LA LA.

41. Stop talking about: DROP

44. Legendary Giant: OTT. Mel. Baseball!

45. Quick squirt: SPRITZ

46. __ d'hôtel: MAÎTRE. The one you need to impress to get a table at a popular restaurant.

47. Decides to join: OPTS IN

48. Mauna __: KEA. or LOA. Wait for the crosses.

50. "All the Light We __ See": 2015 Pulitzer novel: CANNOT. This is really fantastic book that I read a couple of years ago. If you want to see a brilliant mind at work, read Anthonys Duerr's wonderful novel.

52. Woodworking, e.g.: TRADE

53. Despised: HATED

54. "With this ring, __ ... ": I THEE

55. Bad check letters: NSF. "Not Sufficient Funds". This can have rather unhappy consequences.

59. Lubricates: OILS

61. Photo: PIC

62. __-wop: DOO

63. Roxy Music co-founder: ENO. Brian, he of "Elevator Music". Roxy Music really were ground-breakers in pop - here's their first big hit from 1972. I remember watching Bryan Ferry and wondering which planet he came from! Brian Eno is the guy with the blond hair and psychedelic tie on the other side of the stage from Bryan Ferry. David Bowie and his "Ziggy Stardust" persona landed the same year. Good times.

64. Fix badly?: RIG. But if you rig it well, is it still fixed badly?

65. Observe: SEE.

That's about it from me - I've still got Roxy Music rocking in the background, so I'll sign off with the grid!

(with Roxy Music seguing into the Bob Dylan-penned song "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall")