Feb 28, 2020

Friday, February 28, 2020 Mark MacLachlan


18. Power of a Hummer?: UTE FORCE.  Brute force

23. Enormous card revealed at end of magician's routine?: ACE FOR IMPACT.  Brace for impact

38. Tattoo depicting the last woolly mammoth?: INK OF EXTINCTION.  Brink of extinction

47. Avian mascot on a refueling vessel?: OILER CHICKEN.  Broiler chicken

57. Hotel employee who only works one day a month?: IDES MAID.  Brides maid

68. Subject of a 2016 U.K. referendum, and a hint to five puzzle answers: BREXIT.  Parse it as BR Exit.

I liked this puzzle.  Drop the Br from the commonly known phrases and redefine the remnants.

Initially couldn't figure out any of the theme answers due to good cluing and a few crossing unknowns.   Then got IDES MAID but didn't think too much about it.   A few moments later, got BREXIT and then knew the game.   Add Br back in and fill in the rest of the common phrase.   Nice !

This is Mark's fifth puzzle.  One each year starting in 2016.   I looked back at each.

"C Battery" Sunday March 26, 2016

"Three Little Letters" Wednesday April 5, 2017

"Iron In" Friday September 28, 2018

"Code Crackers" Sunday July 14, 2019

Mark is a chemistry professor at the University of British Columbia.    Using my code cracking skills (not very refined), I see a pattern: 
  • Add C (the chemical element symbol for Carbon).    
  • Add Fe (the chemical element symbol for Iron).    
  • Drop Br (the chemical element symbol for Bromine).  
Every other one of his puzzles is going to have wordplay based on an element symbol !

I don't recall the Friday puzzle and had no comments that day, but of the other three it appears I only aced one.   It would have been one for four if not for perp saves on  SPIFF,  ON THE DL,  ETOILE and SEN-SEN. 

Hope you had fun solving it !


1. Big divides: CHASMs.    Ideological divides: Schisms.

7. Vat sediment: LEES.   Dregs.  Speaking of remnants...

11. Swindler: CON.

14. Aid, as a fallen teammate: HELP UP.    And, 23D: Give a hand: ASSIST.

15. Munch Museum city: OSLO.  Dedicated to the life and works of the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch.  The new museum opens in the fall of this year.

16. Crazy Eights relative: UNO.

17. Connected: ONLINE.

20. Greek group: FRAT.

22. Discreetly, in slang: ON THE DL.   Down Low.

27. Form fig.: SSN.

28. Fictional anchor Nessman: LES.

29. Goes apace: HIEs

33. "Your point being?": SOO.    An informal,  and perhaps confrontational or condescending  "What is your point ?"     Elongate so.    Why drag it out ?

34. __ 51: AREA.

36. The slightest bit: A TASTE.

41. Avoids: SKIRTs.   Sidesteps.

42. Muslim leader: IMAM.

43. Carol contraction: TIS.    No,  Tinbeni,  the lyrics to "Deck The Halls" do not have the verse,  "Tis the season to drink Stoli" but it does have a nice ring to it.

44. Immobilize with a charge: TASE.

45. "Moby-Dick" setting: SEA.   Hardly a favorite here.

46. Bullring bravo: OLE.

Ole wore both of his winter jackets when he painted his house last July.   The directions on the can said "put on two coats".

Sven says to Ole "I found dis pen, is it yours?"
Ole replies, "Don't know, give it here" 
He then tries it and says, "Yes it is"
Sven asks "How do you know?"
Ole replies, "Dat's my handwriting!"

53. Three on a match, they say: BAD OMEN.   Bad luck is what I knew.

56. Ikea purchase: SOFA.  Some of their brands include  Kivik, Ektorp, Klippan, Friheten and  Balkarp.  These are the kinds of words I would need if I were creating a crossword.   

59. Acted greenly?: REUSED.

63. It usually needs breaking: TIE.   Last year's Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in an 8-way tie.   The final eight went 20 straight rounds of spelling without any errors.  The Bee simply ran out of predetermined words to sufficiently challenge these children.   Each co-champion took home the $50K first place prize.  The Bee is taking steps to reduce the number of entrants to the final, and searching for new lists of words that are even harder to spell.

What word in the dictionary is always spelled incorrectly ?   

64. 1968 self-named folk album: ARLO.   Arlo Guthrie, known for singing songs of protest and about social injustice. - Wikipedia.

65. Stands in a studio: EASELs.   Bob Ross used them on his program... 

66. Wrap up: END.   "That's a cut !"

67. Changes to green, say: DYEs.   Sounds Eco.


1. Comic Margaret: CHO.    Not my cuppa.

2. Egg producer: HEN.

3. The lot: ALL.   Lock, stock and barrel.   Everything. 

4. Calvin's spaceman alter ego, in comics: SPIFF.   Spaceman Spiff  at Fandom.

5. Literature Nobelist Alice: MUNRO.   "Munro’s stories reveal her as a consummate artist who is without question among the most accomplished masters of the short story."  - Nobelprize.orjg

6. Weapon for Goliath: SPEAR.    Asparagus, broccoli or pickle ?

7. Teammate of Babe: LOU.    Ruth and Gehrig, respectively.  Numbers 3 and 4 on their jerseys and on your Yankees lineup card.

8. Legally prevents: ESTOPs.

9. Justice Kagan: ELENA.

10. Cymbal sound?: SOFT C.

11. "Friday I'm in Love" band, with "The": CURE.    A British band that scored a top 10 pop hit with that song.   No idea.  Perps.

12. Saved, in a way: ON CD.  

13. Holiday song: NOEL.

19. "Ah, I see what you meant": OH, THAT.

21. Household cleaning brand: TILEX.

24. Dolphins Hall of Famer Larry: CSONKA.   Talk about brute force.   The big bruising fullback was the featured running back in the ball-control ground-game offense of Don Shula's undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins.  Jim Kiick and fleet-footed Mercury Morris shared the halfback duties.

25. Japanese mushrooms: ENOKIs.

26. More substantial: MEATIER.

30. "Will this work for you?": IS IT OK ?

31. French star: ETOILE.   étoile definition is - a star or a pattern in the shape of a star. Merriam-Webster.

32. Longtime breath freshener: SEN-SEN.   Me too, Carrie, me too.

34. Back to a mate: AFT.   As in the stern (back) of a ship and a crewman (mate).

35. Dorm, briefly: RES.   Residential quarters.

36. Gasteyer of "SNL" (1996-2002): ANA.     What do Ana Gasteyer,  Jane Curtain,  Brad Hall,  Gary Kroeger,  Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Seth Meyers all have in common ?  They are all former members of SNL that attended Northwestern University.

37. Network for film buffs: TCM.  Turner Classic Movies.

39. Chocolatey Post cereal: OREOOS.

40. Apple models: IMACs.

45. Declining due to age: SENILE.

48. "Grr!": I'M MAD.

49. Comic Denis: LEARY.

50. Biblical mount: HOREB.

51. "The bad news is ... ": I FEAR.   Spellcheck can only do so much.  The user still needs to have a clue.   This one probably didn't make it out of the first round in the school's spelling bee.

52. It might have a champion: CAUSE.

53. Sound __: BITE.

54. Score after deuce: AD IN.

55. Monopoly card: DEED.
58. Mexican pair: DOSuno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez.

60. __ roles: SEX.   Gender roles.

61. Inventor Whitney: ELI.    The History of Interchangeable Parts in the Industrial Revolution

62. Summer hrs.: DST.

Here's the grid:
Note from C.C.:

Just another reminder for the Cru Dinner again, which will be held on Friday, March 20, 2020 (6:00pm to 8:00pm) and officially kick off the 43rd ACPT. The space is limited, so please contact with Mike Alpern as soon as possible. Mike's email address is:

Here is more detailed information.