Jan 23, 2019

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 Roland Huget

Theme: Every Snowflake Is Different!  What I love about this claim is that it is not testable.  In today's puzzle, the claim is that for each multi-word theme entry, every letter is different.  This is testable, so let's get our deerstalker hats and magnifying glasses and have a go at it.

20 A. 2011 Steve Carell romcom: CRAZY STUPID LOVE.  Careful inspection confirms that each letter is, indeed, unique.  I am not a fan of the genre.  The presence of Jennifer Aniston in a movie's cast is enough to make me say, "No, thanks," no matter how cute she is.  But this movie has Julianne Moore supported by an all-star cast.  I'm actually rather fond of this flick.

34 A. Rickety abode: TUMBLE DOWN SHACK.  Not a phrase you're likely to encounter in daily conversation, but the meaning is clear enough. Reminds me of my mom's humble beginning in rural south-east Ohio. Searching through all the rooms - and even the outhouse - I was unable to find even one duplicated letter.  So far, so good,

41 A. "Stop whining!": DON'T BE SUCH A WIMP.  Do WIMPS duplicate letters?  Not here they don't! Not on my watch! Does this phrase foster toxic masculinity? I'll just leave that as food for thought.

53 A. Neither 20-, 34- nor 41-Across has any: REPEATED LETTERS.  Is it my hyper-active sense of irony that notes the repeated Rs, Es and Ts in the unifier?  Well - be that as it may, we do have a clever and unique theme, aptly described, with four grid-spanning entries, and that is only a J and a Q away from being a pangram. Yes, I also love run-on sentences.

Hi, Gang.  Inspector JazzBumpa here looking under cushions and dusting for prints.  Let's see what we can find.


1. Soft ball: NERF.  A toy brand created by Parker Brothers and now owned by Hasbro.  The product line is mostly foam-based items, like balls and weaponry.  Mostly harmless, I suppose.

5. Berkshire Hathaway headquarters city: OMAHA.  A multi-national conglomerate run by Warren Buffet.  Note the repeated A.

10. Greenish-yellow pear: BOSC.  A European cultivar that originated in France, now grown in many locations in Europe and North America.

14. Mine, in MontrĂˆal: AMOI. They speak French there.  I visited the city once, back in the early 80's.  It was wonderful.

15. Chicano rock band Los __: LOBOS.  It means The Wolves.

16. "Enchanted" girl in a 2004 film: ELLA.  Not your typical RomCom.

17. Hors d'oeuvre cracker: RITZ.  Nabisco product introduced in 1934, the depth of the depression, to offer their customers "a bite of the good life."

18. Lose tautness: DROOP.  Sag, limply hang down.

19. Logician's error, maybe: LEAP.  One step should lead logically to the next.

23. Slangy affirmative: YEH. Unhuh.

24. Light beam: RAY.  Heavy beams are used in construction.

25. Poseidon's realm: SEA.  In Greek mythology, the god of the sea, storms, earthquakes and horses.  Horses?  How did they get in there?  Anyway, He was one of the most ill-tempered, moody and greedy Olympians.

28. Lav, in Bath: LOO.  Comfort station, to be delicate.

30. Zero in: AIM.  Focus attention on something.

31. Federal bldgs. with mailboxes: POSPost Offices.  Though I imagine other Fed bldgs. might also have mailboxes.

38. Diva's time to shine: ARIA.  Solo vocal feature in a longer musical work such as an opera or oratorio.

39. Savings plan inits.: IRAIndividual Retirement Account.

40. Fair-haired sci-fi race: ELOI.  One of two post-human races of the far distant future in The Time Machine, from 1895 by H. G. Wells

46. Chinese menu surname: TSO.  Generally speaking.

47. Put away: EAT.  Consume at the dinner table.

48. Pine-__: cleaning brand: SOL.  A registered trade mark of Clorox.  From its inception in 1929 until 2016 it contained pine oil.  Then the product was cheapened to increase profitability.

49. Old Nintendo game console: Abbr.: NES.  The classic Nintendo Entertainment System was released in 1985.

50. UFO pilots, supposedly: ETSExtra-Terrestrials.  I suspect they took one look at us, shook their hairless, crenellated heads, and just kept on going.

51. Nintendo game console: Wii.  The letters don't stand for anything.  Instead, the two lower case is are intended to represent gamers together, reinforcing the "we" pronunciation of the item's name

62. Similar in nature: AKIN.  Derived from the word "kin" meaning related by blood.

63. Online biz: E-TAIL.  Electronicized retail.  Is this a portmanteau?

64. Compete for the America's Cup: SAIL.  This Cup is the prize awarded to the winer of a race between yachts, so named because the original winner in 1851 was the schooner America.  Any qualifying yacht club can challenge the current cup holder, at a place and time determined by mutual agreement.  The winner retains the cup until defeated.

65. Fish catchers: NETS.

66. Art class subjects: NUDES.   Unclothed models.

67. Stubborn sort: MULE.  A sterile beast of burden, bred from a male donkey and a female horse.  By extension, a person who acts as stubborn as one.

68. Aussie greeting: G-DAY.  Short mouth for "good day."

69. Part of LED: DIODE.  An electrical component that only allows current flow in one direction.

70. Marked for deletion: EXED. X marks the spot - and not in a good way.


1. DEA operative: NARC. The Drug Enforcement Agency employs NARCotic agents to enforce the relevant laws.

2. House of Saud bigwig: EMIR.  A title for various rulers of Arabic Muslim countries.

3. Duty roster: ROTA.  Derived from the Latin word for wheel.  I imagine this might indicate that the jobs rotate.  But I'm just guessing.

4. Like soda pop: FIZZY.  Bubbly, due to carbonation.

5. Part of a comfort simile: OLD SHOE.  I found a proverb I wasn't familiar with: "Old shoes are easy, old friends are best."  So, an OLD SHOE is something or someone you are unquestionably at ease with.

6. Mad Magazine cartoonist Drucker: MORT.  He was born in 1929, started with Mad Mag in 1956 and continued with them for 55 years.  I loved Mad when I was a kid, and his satirical drawings of pop culture icons was a part of it.

7. Leigh Hunt's "__ Ben Adhem": ABOU.  A poem with a sweet message, that you can read here.

8. Earring style: HOOP.  A round dangling ornament.

9. "Take two __ and call me ... ": ASPIRIN.  Cliched expression representing being shrugged off by an uninterested doctor.

10. Kind of dancer: BELLY.

A brief how-to video

11. Breakfast spread: OLEO.  An ersatz butter substitute made from vegetable oil, also called margarine.

Also a jazz standard written by Sonny Rollins in 1954, to the same chord progression as the Gershwin classic tune I've Got Rhythm.

12. Balkan native: SLAV.   Members of an Indo-European ethnolinguistic group.  There are three geographic sub-groups, Eastern, Western and Southern.  Balkan natives are in the Southern sub-group.

13. Superman accessory: CAPE.  Dracula, too - but not always a good idea.

21. Holler: YELL.  Produce a loud vocalization.

22. Beaver creations: DAMS.

25. Town, in Germany: STADT.  Literal.

26. Irish banknotes: EUROS.  Unaffected by Brexit, Ireland remains in the E. U.

27. Protein-building acid: AMINO.  An organic compound containing both amine and carboxylic acid functionality. These are active groups that can react with each other, and therefore build long chain molecules.  Due to its alternating vowels and consonants, it is also a frequently useful building block for crosswords.

29. Poet with dedication?: ODIST.  One who writes an ode - a lyric poem, usually in an elevated style, in the form of an address to a particular subject.  I suppose some dedicatio is required to achieve this.

30. Military plane acronym: AWACS. Airborn Warning and Control System - designed to detect various kinds of vehicles at long distances and perform command and control functions in a battle engagement.

31. McCain's running mate: PALIN.  'Nuff said.

32. "__, all ye faithful ... ": O COME.  Opening of a famous Christmas carol.

33. Decides not to attend: SKIPS. As a school class or social event.

35. Baseball club: BAT.  The smooth, tapered wooden club used to strike the ball.  An ambiguous clue, since an organized team is also called a club.

36. Tulsa sch. named for an evangelist: ORUOral Roberts University, an interdenominational Christian university founded in 1963, and named for its founder.

37. Use an axe on: HEW.  Chop.

42. Test version: BETA. A software version with a limited distribution for testing, prior to public release.

43. London area that includes Canary Wharf: EAST END.  You can read about it here.

44. "Is there another way?": HOW ELSE.  Searching for alternatives.

45. Landed: ALIT.  Descended from above.

50. Itty: EENSY.  Teeny tiny.

52. Answer at the door: IT'S ME.  Truthful, no matter who says it.

53. Pealed: RANG.  Loudly, as in a bell in a bell tower.

54. Scratched (out): EKED.  Got by with difficulty.

55. Pocket bread: PITA.  From the Greek word for a pastry.  In this context, a flat, hollow, unleavened bread that can be split open and filled.

56. Small decorative case: ETUI.  From an Old French word meaning: something shut up, as a prison; then by the 17th century, a small container.

57. Carpentry groove: DADO.  A flat, parallel-sided groove cut into a board so that it may be attached to the edge of another board.

58. Wasn't honest: LIED.  Made an intentionally false and misleading statement.

59. French waters: EAUX. Literal.

60. Stir up: RILE.  Early 19th century variant on ROIL, meaning to aggravate, bother, annoy, or make water muddy by disturbing the sediment.

61. Malamute's burden: SLED.  The malamute is a large domestic dog bred for strength and endurance to haul heavy loads, and therefore dog SLEDS.  It is closely related to the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Husky, but not the Canadian Eskimo dog nor the Greenland dog.

That wraps up another Wednesday.  And true to the theme, every answer was unique.

Cool Regards,