Jan 17, 2019

Thursday, January 15 2019 Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: Axed - The five theme entries all relate to our tree-felling brethren:

17A. Lumberjack's favorite pirate phrase?: SHIVER ME TIMBERS. Walking the plank springs to mind here too.

22A. Lumberjack's main interest in naval records?: CAPTAIN'S LOG. Did you know that the Enterprise had two captains in the first season of Star Trek - Captain James T. Kirk and Captain Slog? He made the opening announcement in every episode "Captain Slog, Stardate 22117.1 ....."

36A. Lumberjack's way to punch an opponent?: RIGHT IN THE CHOPS.

45A. Lumberjack's preferred ABC News reporter?: DIANE SAWYER

55A. Lumberjack's reaction to an overly hard crossword?: I'M REALLY STUMPED. Happily, I didn't echo the lumberjack today.

Smooth theme today and with a lot of theme squares in the grid. Often that density can lead to a somewhat scrappy fill, but Jeffrey managed to stay away from the clunky stuff for the most part.

Let's take a mosey through the rest:


1. Fear of spiders, usually: PHOBIA. Arachno. Me. Those little buggers bother me.

7. Google Earth predecessors: ATLASES

14. Aesthetic feature?: SILENT A. This didn't really work for me, I sound the "A", more like "ace-thetic". I'm not sure if that's a British English thing or just me mispronouncing.

16. Hillary supporters: SHERPAS. Sir Edmund Hillary, who jointly made the first ascent to the summit of Everest back in 1953 with Sherpa Tenzing.

19. Theater award: TONY. The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre. Note the spelling of the last word! I go to the movie theater, but to the theatre to see a stage show.

20. Actor Holm: IAN. A good excuse to play the theme from "Chariots of Fire", Ian Holm took the role of athletics coach Sam Mussabini in the movie.

21. Slender Olive: OYL

27. Eero Saarinen's father: ELIEL. Crosses all the way! He was an architect too, I discover.

30. Many Sinatra recordings: LPS

31. Pipe shape: ELL

32. Quick cuts: TRIMS

33. Gig gear: AMPS

35. "__ pinch of ... ": recipe words: ADD A

39. Reverberate: ECHO

40. Baltic capital: RIGA

41. Store __: HOURS

42. Small matter: NIT. Very few in the crossword today.

43. Toon crime-fighter __ Possible: KIM. I didn't know this, but it was a fun guess that made me grin.

44. Check phrase: PAY TO

49. Civil War soldier: REB

50. __ of the woods: mushroom type: HEN. Such an odd name. Funniest-looking hen I've ever seen:

51. Athlete who wrote a history of African-American athletes: ASHE. Tennis legend Arthur.

60. Track foundation: ROAD BED. Usually ballast. They call it a track bed in the UK because, well, it's the bed for the track. Odd folk, those Brits.

61. French's product: MUSTARD. Where would we be without French's mustard on a hot dog? I do use Coleman's English Mustard for dipping asian foods like dim sum though - it's got a nice fiery quality to it.

62. Bottomless pits: ABYSSES

63. Ignore: PASS BY


1. Sideways whisper: PSST!

2. Crackers once sold in a red box: HI-HO. I tried HO-HO for absolutely no good reason and was happy until SOLENTA looked odd.

3. Actress Lena: OLIN. She crops up in the crosswords quite frequently. Swedish actress. She probably makes the "Shortz List" of a celebrity who appears more often in the crossword than in the regular paper. ERLE Stanley Gardner leads the list.

4. Quail group: BEVY

5. Having four sharps: IN E

6. Pertaining to a heart chamber: ATRIAL

7. PEI setting: AST. Prince Edward Island up there on Atlantic Standard Time.

8. Meteorologist's scale: Abbr.: THI. This one I had to look up once I'd solved the puzzle. Temperature-Humidity Index. Seems a tad obscure.

9. Veal piccata chef's needs: LEMONS. I wanted CAPERS so badly that it took me ages to see this one.

10. Contrary to popular belief, its name is not derived from its trademark sandwich: ARBY'S. The popular belief is that "RB's" is from "Roast Beef". It actually comes from Leroy and Forrest Raffel, the founders - the Raffel Brothers.

11. Described in detail: SPELLED OUT

12. "For all in vain comes counsel to his __": Shak.: EAR. The Duke of York, advising John of Gaunt to keep his breath for staying alive, rather than giving advice which will be dutifully ignored by Richard II,

13. Old draft org.: SSS. Selective Service System. The website is still up and running though, seems odd.

15. Jane Hamilton's "__ of the World": A MAP

18. Med. specialist: E.N.T.

22. "__ la vie!": C'EST

23. A, as in Athens: ALPHA

24. __ dixit: unproven claim: IPSE

25. One who knows the ropes: OLD PRO

26. Tumbler, e.g.: GLASS

27. 13th-century Norwegian king: ERIC II

28. Sensor that detects objects using closely spaced beams: LIGHT ARRAY. This was tough to parse - I had RAY in place and tried to find some kind of ray to fit.

29. Texter's modest intro: IMHO

32. How things are going: TREND

33. Jungian concept: ANIMA

34. Corp. get-together: MTG.

35. Mate's greeting: AHOY! Lots of nautical timber-shivering and hailing going on today.

37. Bearded flower: IRIS

38. Burn a bit: CHAR

43. Food on sticks: KEBABS. Food! Also kabobs, kebobs and any variation between. The Kebab Machine was a chain of fast-food places in London (a couple still exist) which were open late at night to catch the pub crowd turning out after 11PM closing. The doner kebab in a pita bread with shredded cabbage and hot sauce was a favorite. I woke up with one stuck to my face once, but that's a story for another day.

44. Repressed: PENT UP

46. Cries out for: NEEDS

47. "Please explain": WHY? Parental reply: "Because."

48. Cowpoke's polite assent: YES'M

51. Tsp. and oz.: AMTS

52. Places to unwind: SPAS

53. Cilantro, e.g.: HERB

54. Watery swirl: EDDY

55. Nest egg acronym: IRA. Three musicians in close proximity: Herb Alpert, Nelson Eddy and Ira Gershwin.

56. __ rule: MOB

57. Novelist Harper: LEE

58. Mormon initials: LDS. Latter Day Saints.

59. Mex. neighbor: U.S.A.

Picket line duty for me again this morning.

Here's the grid: