Dec 13, 2018

Thursday, December 13th 2018 David Alfred Bywaters

Theme: Eying "OR" - we look and find an alternative within the theme entries:

17A. Should we name the kid after the eldest Brady son or the James Bond author?: GREGORIAN? Greg or Ian?  Mr. Fleming had rather a rakish look about him:

I worked for the family bank in London a number of moons ago - Robert Fleming & Co. are no longer with us. Not my fault, or at least, not all my fault.

26A. Should we roll this old piano away or put it in order?: WHEEL OF FORTUNE? Wheel off, or tune? This one was the standout of the theme answers - the OR is not in any way at all easy to parse.

45A. Should we read a religious pamphlet or watch a movie ad?: TRACTOR TRAILER? Tract or trailer?

61A. Should we work on the experiment or go for a swim?: LABOR POOL? Lab or pool? Fortunately for the US audience, "labour" has lost the apparently superfluous "U".

I liked this one. The OR appears mostly where you might expect, and then the "Wheel of Fortune" entry quite takes you by surprise. I wonder if this was the seed entry that David saw and then went looking for more?

I didn't speed through this, I had a more NW-SE progress, then worked back and across. The top right corner was tricky, I didn't know Ngaio Marsh, but the downs eventually filled that in for me.

Let's see what else we can find:


1. "__ just won't do": THIS

5. "What a relief!": PHEW!

9. New Zealand mystery author Ngaio __: MARSH. So far from my wheelhouse that the house didn't even have a place to put the wheel. I'll need to go and read some back catalog from one of the "Queens of Mystery".

14. Automaker whose name means "Hark!" in Latin: AUDI! Very festive. "Audi" is more literal than the more poetic "Hark!" - "Listen!" would more fit the bill. However, let's try this stab at translation - I probably butchered it, but I gave it my best grammar school shot:

Audi! En canentes angeli:
 "Gloria Regi infanti;"

15. Peace of mind: EASE. Crackly audio but this will never get old. I sounds like it did coming out of my cheap stereo when I was a kid.

16. Expiate, with "for": ATONE

19. Done in: SLAIN

20. "Cray" and "totes adorbs," e.g.: SLANG. Oddly, I know that it should be "cray cray" for completely crazy. Why "adorbs" means "adores" I'm lost. The "totes" part is obvs, being as I live in the Valley. Totally. Whatever. Talk to the hand.

21. Same old routine: RUT

22. Moans and groans: CARPS. "Totes Carps Deems". "Seizes the Day" in the Valley.

23. Trip letters: LSD. Bad trip, good trip, roll the dice. Interesting history for the drug though.

25. __ it coming: HAS. Jumped in with "HAS". Should have waited.

34. Word in many hymn titles: PRAISE!

35. Bit: IOTA

36. Unheard-of?: NEW

37. '50s-'60s car features: FINS. Cadillacs. If you want a fun read, "How the Cadillac got its Fins" by Jack Mingo is an old book I found in my Hilton hotel room back in 1994. Want to know how the Post-It note came about? It's all in there.

38. Continental currency: EUROS. Sneaky plural.

40. As it happens: LIVE

41. Swampy area: FEN

42. Places for me-time: SPAS

43. Some party reminders: EVITES. Usually annoying.

48. Operate: RUN

49. Neutral possessive: ITS. Not IT'S. Not sure? Learn from "It's an apostrophe". I love that, saved my grammatical life a few times.

50. Sharp: ACRID

53. Mass vestment: ALB. I paid enough attention as an Altar Boy to know which was what.

55. Swear words: OATHS

60. Self-reproach: SHAME

63. Low prime: SEVEN. 1, 3, 7, 11, 13 ...

64. Lying on: ATOP

65. Austen's aspiring matchmaker: EMMA. My eldest nephew is getting married in Winchester next week - site of Jane Austen's tomb and the home of my Alma Mater. I'll be blogging from the UK next week.

66. Unexpected pleasure: TREAT

67. Mailed: SENT

68. Move slowly: SEEP


1. License plates: TAGS. Really? I put my tags on my license plate, they stick in the upper-right corner. I just renewed mine.

2. Spew, as insults: HURL. Also a less-pleasant act into a handy receptacle.

3. Notion: IDEA

4. One finger for a fastball, say: SIGN

5. According to: PER

6. Salon creation: HAIRDO

7. Isaac's eldest: ESAU

8. Departed: WENT

9. It may run during a sad movie: MASCARA. This one I loved. Thank heavens I don't wear mascara, I'd be blotchy-cheeked most movies. I cry at the slightest provocation.

10. Classic song title words before "my love has come along": AT LAST! Etta James classic.

11. Bust a gut: ROAR 

12. Tonsorial sound: SNIP. A tonsure is a monk's haircut - the "pudding bowl and bald bit on top" look. Not the most fetching, in my humble opinion.

13. Cooped-up layers: HENS

18. Looks untowardly toward: OGLES

24. Consider overnight: SLEEP ON

25. Uncomfortable situation: HOT SEAT

26. More twisted, in a way: WRIER. There's usually one entry each week that I didn't see until I came to look back at the puzzle. This one filled itself in. Personally, I'd have tried WRYER first? This a new one on me.

27. Quick Draw's co-creator: HANNA. Quick Draw McGraw. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. I was honored to visit with Joe in his Orbit City office just off the 101 freeway in Los Angeles. It was furnished like an 18th century library. Quite an amazing experience. This was the front entrance, you would never have guessed what was behind it:

28. Oktoberfest cubes: EIS. You put ice in your beer? Not me!

29. Guinness adjective: FIRST. This had me for the longest while. I was fixated on the stout, not the Book of Records.

30. Rock's __ Fighters: FOO

31. Make one: UNITE

32. Not once: NEVER

33. Ovine animals: EWES

34. [It disappeared!]: PFFT!

39. Old Mideast org.: UAR. United Arab Republic, 1958-1971. Egypt and Syria.

40. Short, for short: LI'L. Quick - any offers other than Li'l Abner?

42. Campus figure: STUDENT

44. Sun screen: VISOR

46. Black Sea peninsula: CRIMEA

47. Colorful prize: RIBBON

50. Second: Abbr.: ASST.

51. Pop diva in "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again": CHER

52. Wild party: RAVE

53. Word often said with a sigh: ALAS

54. Stuck in traffic, say: LATE. I hate being late, but I had to call just today and say "I'm stuck in traffic, I'll be there about ten minutes late", and this is when I allowed myself an hour for a 35 minute drive.

56. Big primates: APES

57. Weighty work: TOME

58. Browser button: HOME. I'm just looking at my browser as I type this and I don't see anything that looks like a "home" button? Can someone point it out for me?

59. Manual comeuppance: SLAP

62. Choose: OPT. Out or in?

And, there we are. A fun puzzle, I'm packing for my first two-week vacation in about 25 years or so, I'm going back to the UK for the wedding, Christmas and a lot of relaxation. I'm so used to travelling with a carry-on, I'm not sure what do to with a checked bag!

See you next week from the other side of the common-language divide. And here's the grid:


Notes from C.C.:

1) Have a wonderful vacation, Steve!

2) D4E4H had his Pacemaker installed on Tuesday. He was feeling a bit weak when I talked to him yesterday, but he sounded cheerful. He'll be out of the hospital today. Hopefully he will show up on the blog once he gains his strength. Please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers.