Sep 21, 2017

Thursday, September 21st 2017 C.C.Burnikel

Theme: "King of Horror" - to celebrate Stephen King's 70th birthday, four of his very extensive fiction catalog begin the four theme entries:

17A. Measurement based on inflation and unemployment rates : MISERY INDEX. For 2016 Venezuela was ranked most miserable and Japan least miserable.The US was ranked towards the least miserable end of the scale.

24A. "Postcards From the Edge" author : CARRIE FISHER. Sadly, recently passed.

38A. Smart comment? : IT HURTS. Nice! Smart in the lemon-juice-in-the-nick-in-your-finger sense.

52A. Semipermeable biological barrier : CELL MEMBRANE. Osmosis: "a process by which molecules of a solvent tend to pass through a semipermeable membrane from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one, thus equalizing the concentrations on each side of the membrane.". Phew.

and the reveal:

62A. Author born 9/21/1947 who penned the starts of 17-, 24-, 38- and 52-Across : STEPHEN KING

C.C.'s tribute to Stephen King on his birthday. The reveal did nothing to help me, as I've mentioned before, I don't do horror books nor movies, they scare me to death and make me cry. I saw "The Exorcist", "The Omen" and "Carrie" in short order in my youth. I slept with the lights on for about a year, and even now I can't listen to Side 2 of "Tubular Bells".

Fun puzzle, crunchy Thursday cluing and a couple of trademark long downs - and A-ROD making an appearance on C.C.'s watch.

Let's see what else we've got to talk about:


1. Hopped out of bed : AROSE. Oh, the energy of youth. I stagger out of bed nowadays, stumble on a good day on the way to go hike.

6. Challenge for Santa's dry-cleaner : SOOT. I remember as a small boy asking my mother if we were getting our chimneys swept in time for Christmas. Then we got central heat installed, and I could not figure out how Santa was going to get into the house.

10. Medicine __, Alberta : HAT. Nailed it!

13. OPEC, for one : CARTEL

15. Radius neighbor : ULNA. Arm-bone pairing.

16. Sworn statement : I DO. "... the truth, the whole truth and nothing but .."

19. X, at times : TEN

20. Tesla Motors co-founder Musk : ELON. Space-X bloke too. He seems to know his tech. Did you see that Tesla came in for a lot of flak when they remotely "turned on" the extra mileage range capability of the cheaper models for drivers evacuating Florida in advance of Hurricane Irma?

21. "Inside Politics" channel : CNN

22. Poet laureate, e.g. : TITLE. My favorite UK Poet Laureate was Ted Hughes, a surprising choice as his poetry was often about subjects such as dead carrion and lines such as:

"... Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head."

Not exactly the stuff of "Happy Birthday to the Queen" poems, a requirement of the Laureate.

My friend Linda, a student of American poetry, tells me that the US Poet Laureate is appointed on the basis of influence, rather than talent. I think the late, lamented Ted may have had something to say about that.

28. Where Moses received the Ten Commandments, for short : MT. SINAI

31. Colorful fall tree : MAPLE

32. Put together : BUILT

33. Instagram upload, briefly : PIC. Apparently I have an Instagram account, which comes as something of a surprise considering I've never used it.

34. Three-time A.L. MVP : A-ROD. The first with the Texas Rangers, the subsequent two with the Yankees.

37. "Is there more?" : AND?

42. Baja she-bear : OSA. OSO is he-bear. A bunch of bears of mixed sexes are OSOS, the plural takes the male form. Can you tell I've been paying attention in Spanish class?

43. Understands : SEES

45. Solar wind particle : ION

46. Song of worship : PSALM

48. Off-white color : PEARL. I tried PEACH first, mentally justifying this highly curious solution to the fact that there are white peaches. I question my decision-making sometimes.

50. It may be reckless : ABANDON

55. Big glitch : SNAFU. I think it was last week we had the conversation about the meaning of the "F".

56. Inhospitable : ICY

57. 2000s Chevy : AVEO. Thank you crosses, never paid attention to one.

61. Signature piece? : PEN and ink. My signature is now a couple of wiggles and a line tailing off

66. Biblical craft : ARK

67. Roof edge : EAVE

68. "Mad About You" co-star : REISER. Thank you, crosses.

69. "But, mom!" evokers : "NO"S

70. Zoomed : SPED

71. Drumroll drum : SNARE


1. Top : ACME

2. Scenic overlook safety feature : RAIL. There's a lot of these on Mulholland Drive a the top of Hollywood Hills near me. It still doesn't stop cars plunging off the road, there's generally an incident every couple of years.

3. Driving directions qualifier : OR SO. "Make a right, then go half a mile or so and it's on the left. Oh wait, no. Make a LEFT, then go a quarter mile or so, then it's on the RIGHT. No, wait ...". Thank goodness Google Maps is more precise.

4. Sign maker's aid : STENCIL

5. Always, in sonnets : E'ER

6. Denomination of most Iraqi Kurds : SUNNI

7. Unlike spring chickens : OLD. Hand up. See 1A for bed-staggering.

8. Person : ONE

9. Advice for an e-filer : TAX TIP

10. Get going : HIT THE ROAD. Cue Ray Charles

11. One-named "All I Ask" singer : ADELE. Sorry, Ms. Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, Ray just snuck in with my music link for the day.

12. Skin care product : TONER

14. Sports bra fabric : LYCRA

18. Cross characters : INRI. Christian imagery.

23. Land surrounded by agua : ISLA. Yay! More Spanish!

25. Not pro : ANTI

26. Bahrain bigwig : EMIR

27. One of John Adams' "stubborn things" : FACT. "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." Smart chap, that Adams fella.

28. Corp. execs' degrees : MBAS

29. Use a fork, perhaps : TUNE. I have a tuning fork in E to tune my guitars to concert pitch. I never use it, the electronic ones are quicker.

30. Exercises that strengthen obliques : SIDE PLANKS. I came across the most bizarre leotard design ever when I went to look for an example of the side plank. I can't not use it.

33. "Sign language is pretty handy," e.g. : PUN

35. Nobel Prize city : OSLO

36. Butler's last word : DAMN. That's when he dropped the teapot in her Ladyship's lap. It was his last word before he was fired. Or, it might have been "Gone with the Wind". Perhaps.

39. Flag : TIRE

40. "Chariots of Fire" Oscar nominee Ian : HOLM. He played the legendary athletics coach Sam Mussabini.

41. Time period : SPAN

44. __-service : SELF

47. Enter surreptitiously :  SNEAK IN

49. Makes giggle : AMUSES

50. Cat's back shape, at times : ARCH. Accompanied by hissing, if said cat is riled about something.

51. Tylenol rival : BAYER

52. Political channel : C-SPAN

53. Calendario month : ENERO. Nailed it! I can confidently recite them all now.

54. Two-footer : BIPED

58. Authorization to enter a country : VISA. I first came here on an H1B visa which allowed me to work, but only for the company who sponsored me. Mutterings of "Indentured Servitude" accompanied bad days at work.

59. Fed. power dept. : ENER.

60. Barbarian : OGRE

63. __ water : TAP

64. Holiday threshold : EVE

65. Nintendo's Super __ console : NES. All together everyone: "Nintendo Entertainment System".

Cue the grid!