Jan 15, 2021

Friday, January 15, 2021, Gary Larson


Title: A pun puzzle for the openminded. 

We welcome back Gary Larson who in just over three years on the big stage has numerous publications here, at the NYT, the WSJ, and the Universal puzzle. I blogged one last October, and Gary does like wordplay. All the "J"s are now "CH." It creates some fun fill and starts us on our way, as they are very gettable once you grasp the concept. The sparkly fill includes ADOPTED, ESTELLE, HEROINE, MOLIERE, ONE LOVE, STANLEY, KALAMATA, and THE OPERA;  a diverse knowledge base required so there should be no complaints. 

The theme:

16A. Levi's alternatives in the bargain bin?: CHEAP WRANGLERS (14). Wrangler jeans, Jeep Wrangler. 

23A. Bright red semi?: CHERRY RIG. This is the biggest stretch for me. First, I learned the term as Jury-rigged, which does indeed have historical precedence, over jerry-rigged, with citations in the Oxford English Dictionary all the way back to 1788. Do non-truckers think about their big rig?

36A. Dog collar for obedience school?: PRACTICAL CHOKER. A sad but apt replacement for a practical joker. 

48A. Kibbles 'n Bits?: CHUNK FOOD. Well, I never thought of dog food like junk food, nor the little pieces as chunks but you must do what you must do.

57A. Inept patsy on water skis?: CHUMP IN THE LAKE. On that note, I won't suggest you go jump in the lake but get on with the rest of the puzzle.


1. Supplies food: CATERS. Not the easiest of starts for me. 

7. Lord with a namesake sports trophy: STANLEY. Requires knowledge of Hockey's Stanley Cup.

14. Showy bloom: DAHLIA.  Sometimes sad.

15. "The Miser" playwright: MOLIERE. Studying French in school helped with this "comedy" L'avare. Molière modeled the protagonist in The Miser on a character in Aulularia (Pot of Gold), a comedy by the ancient Roman playwright Plautus (254-184 BC), according to the nineteenth-century French scholar Eugène Benoist. 

18. Rial spenders: OMANIS. The currency of the country, and two others- Yemen and Iran.

19. Ascended: ROSE. To great heights.

21. Humdinger: PIP. A colloquialism defined by another. US origin, perhaps a blend of hummer (“something that moves fast”) +‎ dinger (“something outstanding”). First attested in a newspaper article in the Daily Enterprise of June 4, 1883, at Livingstone, Montana.

27. Song heard in the film "Marley & Me": ONE LOVE.
Don't cry...okay cry. 

31. Sign of success: VEE. Winston and a clecho.

32. Sign of success: SROStanding Room Only.

33. Arte who co-owns MLB's Angels: MORENO. A CSO to Lucina.

34. Prayer __: BEADS. And yet, a second CSO.

41. Sported: HAD ON. She sported a Givenchy at the Oscars.

42. Steamed cantina dish: TAMALE. Followed by the third and major CSO to our maven on the Mexican delight, Ms. Lucy Dale.

43. I in Innsbruck: ICH.

46. Mogadishu is its cap.: SOMalia. I like the word Mogadishu.

47. Getty of "The Golden Girls": ESTELLE. She was the youngest of the actresses and the first to leave us; only Betty White carries on. Young Estelle.

51. Petition: ASK.

52. Relaxation: EASE.

53. Smarts: WISDOM.

63. Captain Marvel, for one: HEROINE. The current ONE.

64. Walking on air: ELATED. A favorite word of our own C.C.

65. Taken in: ADOPTED.

66. Parlor pieces: DIVANS.


1. Govt. agency in many 2020 headlines: CDC. Center for Disease Control. Did you ever notice dis-ease actually means the opposite of ease, like disenfranchisement?

2. Spa emanation: AAH. Oooh.

3. Title Marx Brothers setting: THE OPERA.

4. Jack of "Rio Lobo": ELAM. He was a scary-looking dude.

5. Gifford's "Live" successor: RIPA. Kathie Lee and Kelly. 

6. Like logs: SAWN.

7. Huge hit: SMASH.

8. Passel: TON. Passel supposedly comes from a mispronouncing of "parcel". Ya think?

9. Niger neighbor: Abbr.: ALG. There is a sad STORY here.

10. Nothing: NIL. Important for hockey and football (soccer) fans.

11. Suspicious: LEERY. Not Timothy...

12. E on a scoreboard: ERRORS. Along with R and H.

13. Private aye: YES SIR. A little humor in the clue.

17. Often-steamed serving: RICE. Do all of you here have your own RICE COOKER?

20. It may be inflated: EGO.

21. Ceremonial display: POMP.

22. "__ out?": IN OR. Every pet owner knows this game.

24. First name in daredeviltry: EVEL. He's back!

25. Takes the bait, say: REACTS.

26. Software subsidiary of IBM since 2019: RED HAT.

28. Peace Nobelist Walesa: LECH.

29. Focused, jobwise: ON TASK.

30. Entirely without: VOID OF compassion?

34. Outlaw: BAN. Or a deodorant.

35. To a degree: SOME.

37. Villa-studded Italian lake: COMO. Or our old friend Perry the barber; I get him often. Where George hangs out.

38. Greek city known for olives: KALAMATA. Kalamata olives are rich in oleic acid, a type of MUFA (Monounsaturated fatty acids) which are linked to improved heart health and cancer-fighting properties. They're also a good source of iron, calcium, copper, and vitamins A and E.

39. Building additions: ELLS.

40. Strongly suggest, with "of": REEK. I will again LINK this scene from Game of Thrones, but please do not watch, it is awful and disgusting.

43. Bar staple: ICE. Not at Tinbeni's house.

44. Onomatopoeic dance: CHA CHA. This reminds me of the Cuchi Cuchi girl Charo and somehow really fits with a J to CH theme (in my mind).

45. Quieted: HUSHED.

47. Touch up, perhaps: EDIT.

49. Surgeon's opening?: NEURO. Neuro the boat merrily, merrily?

50. Dominated in competition: OWNED. When did this become the phrase?

54. Threw off: SHED.

55. Where to find a hero: DELI. These days, maybe the only place to find one.

56. Norse patron: OLAV.

58. Unruly head of hair: MOP.

59. Trading place: PIT. Chicago Board of Trade, e.g.

60. Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 __ minor: IN E. An ending E to match a beginning one.

61. First "Jeopardy!" guest host after Alex: KEN. WOW! We are really up to date, Ken is okay but he seems nervous to me.

62. Harris and a horse: EDS. Ed Harris who I featured for his role in ENEMY AT THE GATES.

There are 5 Fridays in January so you will see me again this month, GWATCDR. This was not the first week I blogged two puzzles, but my first Monday-Friday sandwich. I hope it was tasty. Lemonade out.