Jan 17, 2020

Friday, January 17, 2020, David Van Houten

Title: A tribute to our own Melissa B. As we hold our noses and hear the sound change.

This is the LAT debut for Mr. Van Houten, who did have a puzzle published in the David Steinberg's Universal crossword October of last year. Here is the LINK to the FIEND write-up. Oddly we have had a spate of "B" puzzles but this one is not intended as a letter substitution but as a sounds-sort of-like puzzle. The rest is not a typical Friday with many 3/4 letter words. and not a great deal of new fill. But it was fun. We do have some longish fill BECAUSE,  LOOSENS,  HEAD COLD,  RAT'S NEST, and TROTTING and some

17A. What dogs do to set a tempo?: BARK TIME (8). I like this visual, with a Boston Terrier leading the band.

24A. Bartender's lager-serving skill?: BUD SLINGING (11). Mudslinging was an old fashioned political strategy.

40A. Convenience for a fish traveling around the city?: BASS TRANSIT PASS (15). Mass transit...

52A. Annoyed answer to "How's your jobless roommate working out?"?: BUMS THE WORD (11). "Mum's the word" means to keep silent or quiet. Mum is a Middle English word meaning 'silent' and may be derived from the mummer who acts without speaking.

And the reveal:

65A. Malady that accounts for four Across puzzle answers: HEAD COLD.

That was the beginning, then came...


1. "__ Is Betta Than Evvah!": 1976 R&B album: ETTA.
5. "Disgusting!": UGH.

8. "The Real Housewives" series airer: BRAVO. Do you WATCH?

13. Sprat's choice: LEAN. Jack was an early Keto supporter.

14. Slice of pizza?: ZEE. Did you fall for this?

15. Consuming: EATING. True but not my first thought.

19. One making amends: ATONER. Another literally correct fill, but even during Yom Kippur I would not use this word.

20. __ dog: ALPHA. A 2007 movie

21. Uproars: DINS.

23. Miler Sebastian: COE. Sebastian Newbold Coe, Baron Coe, is a British politician and former track and field athlete. As a middle-distance runner, Coe won four Olympic medals, including the 1500 meters gold medal at the Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984. Take that Frank Shorter.

28. "Just __": BECAUSE. Did the quotation marks help you solve?  DO you prefer ELVIS; DIDO; or, JANE's ADDICTION?

32. Creepy glance: LEER.

33. Word said with a sigh: ALAS.

34. School subj.: SCIence.

36. Self-service bar offering: SALAD. That is a cop-out

44. Join: ENTER.

45. Excavation: DIG. My oldest has been on 4 so far, three in Italy and one in Greece.

46. Green subj.: ECOLogy.

47. Barflies: SOTS.

50. Works free: LOOSENS.

56. Beer choice: IPA. India Pale Ale.

57. Prefix with byte: TERA.

58. Name on Re-Nutriv cosmetics: ESTEE. Lauder.

63. Sport played on a variety of surfaces: TENNIS.

68. V-8, for example: ENGINE. Not a canned juice.

69. 1979 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee: ORR.

70. Brest bestie: AMIE. A mixed-language alliteration. Brest is a port city in the Finistère département in Brittany.

71. Mild oaths: DANGS. Perhaps from 1781 (in Sophia Lee's comedy "A Chapter of Accidents," which was acted first in 1780), a minced euphemism for damn.

72. Feed bit: OAT.

73. Coffee __: BEAN.


1. Italy's Isola d'__: ELBA. On April 11, 1814,  Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France and one of the greatest military leaders in history, abdicates the throne, and, in the Treaty of Fontainebleau, is banished to the Mediterranean island of Elba.

2. Blue-green shade: TEAL. Teal is a blue-green color. Its name comes from that of a bird—the common teal —which presents a similarly colored stripe on its head.

3. Cover during a delay: TARP. Baseball.

4. Pharaoh's symbol: ANKH.

5. Gun designer __ Gal: UZI. The Israeli machine gun designer.

6. Beloved person: GEM. A stretch, but the perps were fine.

7. Follows: HEEDS.

8. Babies leader?: BEANIE. Beanie Babies are a line of stuffed toys created by American businessman H. Ty Warner, who founded Ty Inc. in 1986. Notably, the toys are stuffed with plastic pellets rather than conventional soft stuffing, giving Beanie Babies a flexible feel.

9. Total mess: RAT'S NEST. A place of great clutter or disorder. Also, our techies can explain the meaning of this for computer wiring etc.

10. Words on the first of a set, perhaps: A TO-.

11. Leonardo's birthplace: VINCI. That is where the Da Vinci comes from.

12. Situation after a leadoff double: ONE ON. Baseball.

16. One of the Bradys: GREG. Barry William Blekhorn

18. House of Dana fragrance: TABU. It has an interesting history. The first fragrance of the house was Tabu, created by Jean Carles 1932. ... Before creating Tabu, he was instructed to make a fragrance for a whore (‘un parfum de puta’).

22. Down (with): ILL.

25. Old map abbr.: USSR.

26. Octa- plus two: DECA. Silly.

27. Sour __: GRAPES.

28. 1995 Oscar-nominated animatronics film: BABE. I really loved this film. WATCH.

29. Pizazz: ELAN.

30. Credits heading: CAST.

31. Rate: ASSESS.

35. Like Brahms' Symphony No. 2: IN D. Sorry, maybe JzB will explain.

37. Tie (up): LACE. Your shoes, not your significant other.

38. "... __ is given": Isaiah: SON. We Corner bloggers do not comment on religious issues, but for those who want a different perspective, I will provide this LINK.

39. PC connections: DSLSDigital Subscriber Lines are a family of technologies that are used to transmit digital data over telephone lines.

41. Palomino pace: TROTTING. I like the alliteration.

42. Missile site: SILO.

43. Hunchbacked assistant: IGOR.

48. Dissertations: THESES. It seems fitting next to...

49. Preacher's msg.: SERmon.

51. Binged (on): ODED.

52. Quick meal: BITE.

53. Capsize: UPEND. Tricky.

54. Japanese comics: MANGA. We have seen this often recently. My favorite.

55. Large mackerel: WAHOO. If I were Boomer, I would say it reminds me of WAHOO MCDANIEL but is just a FISH.

59. Union member's nemesis: SCAB. I thought it was an acronym, but it is from Middle English (as a noun): from Old Norse skabb ; related to dialect shab (compare with shabby). The sense ‘contemptible person’ (dating from the late 16th century) was probably influenced by Middle Dutch schabbe ‘slut’.

60. Great work: TOME.

61. Academy award-winning director Kazan: ELIA. An impressive but controversial DIRECTOR.

62. Fall site: EDEN. The fall of man with snakes and not apples.

64. Diarist Anaïs: NIN.

66. History book chapter: ERA.

67. Fine print, say: ART. A little humor to finish the grid.

I hope you had a fine solve and some hope for the future with MLK day Monday. Welcome DVH and be well all. lemonade out/