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Aug 31, 2008

Sunday August 31, 2008 Willy A. Wiseman

Theme: FAMILY NAME: WILLIAMS (87D: Another last name for 23A, 39A, 56A, 77A, 94A, 111A, 8D and 69D)

23A: Cartoon character, not the playwright: TENNESSEE TUXEDO

39A: Former Brewers shortstop, not the comic: ROBIN YOUNT

56A: Media tycoon, not the Splendid Splinter: TED TURNER

77A: Legendary Brave, not the C & W singer: HANK AARON

94A: Pop artist, not the singer: ANDY WARHOL

111A: March composer, not the conductor: JOHN PHILIPS SOUSA

8D: Comic/writer, not Tiger's caddy: STEVE MARTIN

69D: Sculpture, not the tennis player: VENUS DE MILO

And don't forget Wayne R. WILLIAMS, our editor and the real author of this puzzle. In case you have not heard of it, today's constructor, Willy A. Wiseman is our editor's alias name. Willy A. Wiseman is an anagram of "i.e. Wayne Williams". I suspect that he created this puzzle to celebrate a family reunion.

Anyway, out of the above 8 theme answers, 23A was the only one I had never heard before. And I enjoyed this puzzle tremendously. The theme was right in my wheelhouse. I really liked the sports references (esp baseball). Antonio Banderas is hot to Clear Ayes & Lois, but STEVE WILLIAMS is a real HUNK (67D: Beefcake poser) to me, so it pleased me to see his name as an theme entry.

Several lively fills. And of course, there were a few very obscure words as well. But Google extended a helping hand immediately and I was able to finish the puzzle with a happy face. It's such a comforting feeling that he is there whenever I need him. Sometimes I can be very needy & clingy.

Oh, before I forgot, Barry Silk told me that in his original submission, he clued MIZE (58A) as "Slugger known as the Big Cat", PUZO (63A) as "Corleone's creator", and INTERMEZZO (29D) as "Between acts musical fare". Too bad our editor changed so much of his original lower left corner. I really would have liked those Z's. Johnny MIZE might be a bit obscure though, his nickname reminded me of the "Catfish" Jim Hunter.

I was not fond of seeing both WATERY (95D: Too diluted) and WATER-SKI (1D: Surfboard's little brother) in one puzzle. I was, however, very happy to see ACTA (47A: "__ Sanctorum"), STES (122A: Fr. holy women), and THERESE (43D: Saint __ of Lisieux) in one grid.

Across:

14A: Ski-slope rides: T- BARS. I don't think I've seen X-Files being clued in TMS puzzle. D-Day, X-Rays, T-Shirt, T-Men, T-Bone, yes. What other similar words can you think of?

20A: Artist Mondrian: PIET. Gimme for Gordon Brown I am sure. This is beautiful pair of Nike shoes inspired by Mondrian's 1921 masterpiece “Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue".

22A: God of the east wind: EURUS. God of west wind in Greek mythology is ZEPHYRUS.

26A: City on the Adige: TRENT. Unknown to me. Here is the map. See the green arrow?

28A: Loser to DDE: AES. It's just so unfair to see AES repeatedly being clued as DDE loser. He had a highly admirable political career. How about DDE opponent/challenger?

33D: End of a threat: OR ELSE. Groan Argyle?

44A: Welles character: KANE. "Citizen KANE".

45A: "A Lesson from Aloes" playwright: FUGARD (Athol). Wow, our editor sure loves this guy.

50A: Cubic decimeter: LITER. So abstract a clue. Why not simply "Soda bottle unit"?

53A: Paint solvent: ACETONE. It's the ingredient in nail polish remover.

63A: Grant's first name: HIRAM. I wonder why he disliked this name, esp since HIRAM means "noble" in Hebrew.

64A: Park in California: YOSEMITE. I'd love to be there.

66A: Pico de ___ (Pyrenees peak): ANETO. I simply forgot again. It's in northeast Spain near the French border. Ha, I remember these guys.

67A: Pueblo people: ZUNI. I want this pair of ZUNI earrings. I love the turquoise moon or star. Very pretty.

80A: Immemorial: AGELONG. I've never used AGELONG in writing.

88A: ___ cava: VENA. No idea. I obtained it from the down clues.

91A: Hebrew mystic: ESSENE. I can never remember this word. It refers to the ancient Jewish ascetic sect member during the time of Christ. They were "remarkable for their strictness and abstinence."

93A: "Lift Every Voice" author Guinier: LANI. Unknown to me. WP says she is "the first black woman tenured professor at Harvard Law School". This is the book cover.

120A: Chicago pros: BEARS. Have BEARS ever won a Super Bowl? The answer is NO for our Vikings.

121A: Seine tributary: OISE. And another French river ORNE (74D: Caen's river).

Down:

2D: Formal topper: OPERA HAT. New name to me. Nothing unusual about this silk hat. I wonder why it's called OPERA HAT.

6D: Morally corrupt: DISSOLUTE. Gimme. I am a morel moral expert.

9D: Structural support: TRUSS. Look at this TRUSS bridge in Denmark.

12D: EL __ Campeador: CID. Learned from doing Xword. What a great statue. His eyes are so deep and penetrating.

14D: Parathyroid malady: TETANY. New word to me. Dictionary defines TETANY as "a state marked by severe, intermittent tonic contractions and muscular pain, due to abnormal calcium metabolism." What's the difference between TETANY & Tetanus then?

15D: Overworked to exhaustion: BURNT OUT

16D: Bellicose deity: ARES. The Greek god of war (Mars for the Romans).

17D: Futhark letter: RUNE. I had to check the dictionary for the meaning of "Futhark".

24D: Bridge position: EAST. "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the EAST and Juliet is the sun! Arise fair sun and kill the envious moon...". I like the way Romeo romanticised Juliet. Sometimes love is very elusive, and so full of tears and fears.

25D: Masonic doorkeeper: TILER. No idea. Dictionary says it can also be spelled as TYLER, referring to the "doorkeeper of a Masonic lodge".

36D: Romani people in Spain: GITANOS. Spanish for GYPSY. New to me. It's "Bohémian" in French.

41D: Paradise resident?: UTOPIAN. Perfect clue.

42D: Actress Fabray: NANETTE. I've never heard of her name before. Have you seen this before?

46D: Avant-garde art movement: DADA. Ennui. I am so tired of DADA. When are you going to clue SURREALISM?

50D: Basutoland, today: LESOTHO. New to me also, both the clue and the answer. It's encircled by South Africa.

52D: Gulf off Brittany: ST. MALO. Another unknown. Alright, Map of Brittany, See ST. MALO?

54D: Religious recluse: EREMITE

55D: Czech physicist Beckmann: PETR. No, completely unknown. What a strange name! He wrote "A History of PI".

57D: Jong and others: ERICAS. OK, let's review once again ERICA's Spitzer Morel Moral Lessons.

58D: Swedish rugs: RYAS. I like the lovely sun pattern in this RYA rug.

60D: Tapioca source: CASSAVA. How long do you think this CASSAVA is?

61D: Injected toxin: ANTIGEN. "-GEN" is a suffix meaning producer, "hydrogen" is another example.

62D: Back part: REAR END

67D: Pointed barbs?: ZINGERS. I like this Dorothy Parker Blue. Which of her quotes do you like the most?

72D: Forum footwear: SANDAL. I don't understand the clue. Why "Forum"?

79D: Old-time flasks: WINESKINS. See this picture.

90D:Govt. agcy. (1934-65): FHA (Federal Housing Administration). I got it from the across fills.

92D: Psalm ending: SELAH. Again, learned it from doing Xword.

93D: Roman law: LEX

96D: "Brigadoon" lyricist: LERNER (Alan Jay). Also the lyricist for "Gigi" & "Camelot".

101D: Constellation near Eridanus: LEPUS. It's more close to Orion I think. LEPUS is also known as "The Hare" constellation. New to me. Now I understand why rabbits and hares are called leporid mammals.

105D: Anticrime acronym: RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act). Enacted in 1970.

114D: G. I. wear: ODS. "Olive Drabs" I suppose.

C.C.

Aug 30, 2008

Saturday August 30, 2008 Barry Silk

Theme: None

Total blocks: 29

Disaster, total disaster today.

Maybe Barry Silk should write a book on how to read his mind and how to conquer his puzzles. Stan Newman's "Saturday-savvy" tip (top row consonants-heavy, lower row high occurrence of the quartet letters REDS) did not help me at all.

I started recklessly with a LIFT for 1D: Plagiarize. CRIB is always baby's bed to me. Then I filled in HADJ for 2D: Pilgrimage to Mecca and I was 100% sure that I was right. Then I was so confused by my LHA* start for 1A.

Flitted away quickly to the upper right corner, and filled in IVE rather than IAL for 11D: Adjective-forming suffix. Had no idea that both Christmas and Easters were Islands. Wanted EVES and it did not fit. I was very annoyed and gave up the puzzle after 10 minutes.

I think I need more rest, having trouble staying asleep lately.

Across:

1A: Action flick staple: CHASE SCENE. Which movie do you think has the best car CHASE SCENE?

11A: Christmas, Easter, etc.: ISLS (Islands). Big stumper. Here are Christmas Island (Terriroty of Australia, Indian Ocean) and Easter ISLAND (Territory of Chili, South Pacific Ocean).

15A: Up the duties: RAISE TAXES. If only taxes are raised for the sole benefits of the taxed.

16A: Blood-related: AKIN

17A: Water-cooler rumors: IDLE GOSSIP. Is there any non-IDLE GOSSIP? So the plural form of GOSSIP is still GOSSIP?

18A: Prose finisher?: LYTE. Very unexpected clue, nice!

19A: Wholesale club: BJ'S. I've never heard of this warehouse chain. Only know Sam's Club & Costo.

20A: Bankrupt: RUINED

23A: Alpine tool: ICE AX. Here is one. Leon Trotsky was killed by an ICE AX. I think I am more used to the AXE spelling.

25A: Observation: REMARK

27A: Singer Lopez: TRINI. I always wanted JENNIFER for this "Singer Lopez clue".

30A: Misdirected: LED ASTRAY. Women are more easily to be LED ASTRAY (though sometimes willingly).

32A: Worth mentioning: OF NOTE

34A: Overtake on foot: RUN PAST. And 62D: Take off: RUN. I dislike having two RUN's in the grid.

35A: Shopping ctr.: MKT. I dislike this clue also. MKT brings to mind NYSE/NASDAQ. I am OK with the STORE (6D: Shopper's stop) though.

38A: VW model: GTI. What does GTI stand form?

39A: Dinger or drum starter: HUM

41A: Tranquilizes: SEDATES

44A: Peterson and Wilde: OSCARS. Don't know who OSCAR Peterson is.

46A: Part of SALT: STRATEGIC. SALT is the acronym of Strategic Arms Limitations Talks.

49A: Wheel-alignment measure: CAMBER. Was this a gimme to you?

50A: Ill-gotten profit: LUCRE. Filthy LUCRE.

53A: Goddess of the moon: SELENE. The Greek Goddess. Luna is the Roman equivalent. There seems to be another pair of moon Goddesses: Artemis (Greek) & Diana (Roman). I don't know what's the difference.

60A: "Wayne's World" co-star: DANA CARVEY. So silly.

64A: Plotters: INTRIGUERS. I was only familiar with the "capture" meaning of INTRIGUE. Interesting, dictionary explains that INTRIGUE can also refer to "a secret or illicit love affair" (noun) or "To carry on a secret or illicit love affair" (verb). Now I am really intrigued!

65A: City on the Irtysh River: OMSK. I had no idea where Irtysh River was. Here is a good map, so close to Borat's Kazakhstan.

66A: Type of pliers: NEEDLE-NOSE. I did not know that this kind of plier is called NEEDLE-NOSE.

Down:

2D: Pilgrim to Mecca: HADJ. Or HAJJ.

5D: Neurological test letters: EEG. I forgot. My brain is so selective that it only remembers what it wants to remember.

8D: Former Philly pro, so to speak: EX-SIXERS. Hard, hard for me. I don't follow NBA. HOFer Mike Schmidt, a real "Former Philly pro", popped into my mind immediately.

7D: Offhand: CASUAL

9D: Nuremberg negative: NEIN. "NEIN, danke"; "Ja, bitte!"

10D: Artificial international language: ESPERANTO. I forgot again. Saw this clue before. Does anyone actually speak this language?

11D: Adjective-forming suffix: IAL. As in presidential and differential.

12D: Airline-safety figure: SKY MARSHAL. I am more familiar with AIR MARSHAL.

13D: Art of words: LITERATURE. Somehow I wanted Rhetorics.

13D: Backdoor: SNEAKY. I was imagining a real backdoor.

21D: One in hate mode: DESPISER. Such a made-up word.

23D: Daughter of Cadmus: INO. Greek to me. Dictionary says INO is "sea goddess who rescued Odysseus from drowning by giving him a magic veil."

24D: Mild chelating agents: CITRATES. No guts to clue it as "Sildenafil ___ (Viagra)"? Of course I did not get it. I did not even understand the meaning of "chelating".

26D: Kingston Trio hit: MTA. Here is the clip. I've never heard of it before.

27D: Mix of oaters: TOM. Did not know him. TOM Cruise yes. I was really picturing a group of oaters chatting idly on a ranch.

28D: Former Redskins home: RFK STADIUM. I did not know that the Redskins played at RFK STADIUM before. Might have got the answer if the clue were "Washington Nationals home".

29D: Burials: INTERMENTS. New word to me also.

33D: Joined, redundantly: ENTERED IN. It's indeed reduandant.

37D: Pc.: SEG

40D: NetZero rival: MSN. I like their butterfly logo. I like this pair of butterfly earrings too.

43D: Quiet finish of fame or fortune: SILENT E. Good clue.

45D: French key: CLE. I am truly tired of this French related clue. Tell me why you don't like the Cleveland Indians.

46D: Singer Renata: SCOTTO. I don't understand a word she is singing. I like her earrings. I've never heard of her name before. No problem for Sallie I am sure.

47D: Steamship line founder: CUNARD (Samuel). Another unknown. According to Wikipedia, CUNARD Line is the operator of Queen Elizabeth 2, Queen Mary 2, & Queen Victoria.

51D: Beany's pal: CECIL. Nope. Complete stranger to me. Here is a clip.

54D: Travel channel?: LANE. Good clue.

55D: Chevy model: AVEO. Did this come easily to you?

56D: Generation after boomers: XERS

57D: Disappear, as symptoms: LYSE. I forgot. It's clued as "Subside, as disease" on August 10 Sunday. I disliked the clue then, I still don't like it now.

C.C.

Aug 29, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008 Allan E. Parrish

Theme: Let's Say

18A: July 14th in France: BASTILLE DAY

59A: Spendable salary: TAKE HOME PAY

3D: Crosby movie: GOING MY WAY

24D: First Chief Justice: JOHN JAY

29D: Bobby Bloom hit: MONTEGO BAY

And CAY, FAY, GAY, HAY, LAY and MAY. What else?

I've never heard of JOHN JAY before, very interesting name. With Sheryl CROW, Christopher WREN and Peter FINCH, you can create a "Bird Spotting" themed puzzle. That will elate Larry BIRD.

A tough puzzle for me today. I got up late, and was stumped immediately by 1A. I wanted SIR and I knew it's not right. Somehow my mind was fixed on the physicist Newton. Never really gained any momentum, and struggled on various spots.

Across:

1A: Newton's first name ?: Why is it called FIG Newton Cake instead of Cookie/Bar?

4A: Chevy model: CAMARO. Here is the first ever Chevy CAMARO commercial.

14A: English privy: LOO. I think I really like "Elton's john" clue.

15A: Sandy or Roberto of baseball: ALOMAR. A rare gimme. I like how ALOMAR intersects MOST (6D: Part of MVP) because both of them were All-STAR Game MVPs (1997 & 1998). This is their father Sandy ALOMAR Sr (1966 Topps).

16A: 1997 Peter Fonda title role: ULEE. "ULEE's Gold". I've never seen it, have you?

24A: Actress Leigh: JANET. I don't like "Psycho", too scary.

25A: Man in Metz: HOMME. French for man. Here is Picasso's "Vieil HOMME Assis, Mougins". Another French word is OUI (49D: Nice assent).

28A: Hardly hemen: WIMPS. Are you OK with this clue?

32A: Poet Lowell: AMY. Unknown to me. What poem is she famous for?

38A: Alphrazolam brand name: XANAX. I simply forgot. Identical clue in a May TMS puzzle. It's an anti-anxiety drug.

43A: Digital image format: JPEG. I can never rememer its full name: Joint Photographic Experts Group.

48A: Fertile loam: LOESS. I sure have difficuty commmitting this word to my memory.

52A: QB Flutie: DOUG. No, I've never heard of him. A cover on Sports Illustrated? He must be very good during his college years then.

53A: Long Island institution: ADELPHI. New to me also. Is it very famous?

63A: Northern Illinois University city: DEKALB. Another unknown. WP says supermodel Cindy Crawford was born and grew up here. Here is the map.

66A: "___ Fideles": ADESTE. I don't understand a word Enya is singing, but it's beautiful.

Down:

2D: Actress Skye: IONE. No idea, even though I just watched her movie "Say Anything..." (with John Cusack) a few weeks ago.

4D: Minnelli film: CABARET. "Why Should I Wake Up?"

8D: Vituperate: RAIL AT

9D: Wrinkle-free fabric: ORLON. I had no idea that ORLON is a Du Pont trademark.

10D: Pool hall item: CUE STICK. Paul Newman's "The Hustler" is pretty good.

13D: Tunisian ruler: BEYS. Alwayst thought BEYS were Turkish rulers.

19D: Cinema-chain name: LOEWS

25D: Sister's clothing: HABIT

27D: Media bus. grp.: MCA. What is it?

35D: Devon river: EXE. It appeared in a Feb TMS puzzle, and of course I forgot. Here is the map. It flows to the English Channel.

42D: Infection type: STAPH

44D: Good gracious!: GLORY BE. I've never heard anyone say "GLORY BE!" alone as an exclamation. Is it like "Man Alive"?

54D: Confront boldly: DARE. "Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and dreams that you DARE to dream really do come true..." Now, tell me, do you DARE? " 'Cause if you do, I'll take you there...."

55D: Med. tests for the heart: EKGS. I forgot which one is more commonly used, EKG or ECG?

57D: Pakistan tongue: URDU. Nailed it this time.

C.C.

Aug 28, 2008

Thursday August 28, 2008 Alan P. Olschwang

Theme: The Power of Words

20A: Start of Molière statement: I WILL DEFEND

35A: Part 2 of statement: MY OPINION

40A: Part 3 of statement: TO THE LAST

56A: End of statement: DROP OF MY INK

Here is what Byron wrote about writing:

"But words are things, and a small drop of ink

Falling, like DEW, upon a thought, produces

That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think."

I don't quite understand those lines. The grammar is so confusing. Can you paraphrase them for me?

The Chinese translation of Molière' name is tragically beautiful: 莫里哀. I've never read any of his works though, but I do like his view that it's not reason that decides/governs love. Love is irrational and "there is something inexpressibly charming in falling in love...".

Nothing exicting about this puzzle. I've had enough APO Quips/Quotes.

Across:

1A: Indian tourist site: AGRA (Taj Mahal). And one more reference to this enimgatic land that offered us the mysterious Kama Sutra: HINDU (9A: Caste member).

24A: Retail customers: END USERS. This is more of a computer term, isn't it? END USER vs Programmer.

27A: "Spy vs. Spy" magazine: MAD. This clue should please Xchefwalt.

28A: Shake choice: VANILLA. I like dipping French fries into chocolate milkshake. Yummy.

45A: Like clear nights: STAR LIT. "Starry, starry night, flaming flowers that brightly blaze, swirling clouds in violet haze, reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue...". I hope you like this wonderful clip as much I do.

47A: Hop to it!: HIE. Hurry up duck, shake a leg.

48A: Land figures: ACREAGES

58A: Fragrant resin: ELEMI. I forgot. ELEMI was clued as "Varnish ingredient" in Olschwang's July 24 puzzle.

62A: Altercation: RUN-IN

65A: Feudal person: SERF. ESNE also means "Feudal SERF". FIEF is "Feudal estate". LIEGE is "Feudal lord", VASSAL is "Feudal tenant".

Down:

3D: Fleet: RAPID. I was thinking of ARMADA, but it did not fit. I did not know that "Fleet" can be an adjective meaning "swift".

4D: Sanctuaries: ASYLUMS

5D: Like some cobras: HOODED. I don't grok this. Why HOODED?

9D: Escape artist: HOUDINI (Harry). I forgot who mentioned this name in a comment sometime ago.

12D: God in Grenoble: DIEU. "Mon DIEU", though I often curse with "Oh, Merde".

13D: Argue for: URGE. I would love if it's clued as "Impulsive desire/longing", but I understand the rationale behind this verb cluing. Too many nouns in this grid.

26D: "The Delta of Venus" writer: NIN (Anaïs). I only read a few pages, way too provocative & graphic for me, a bit disturbing actually.

31D: A chip, maybe: ANTE

43D: Staunch: STEM. Hmm, no "Flower stalk"?

44D: Short theatrical offering: PLAYLET

50D: The easiest of putts: GIMME. Ah, the 6 inchers! No problem. I've never yipped or choked on those putts.

51D: City near Limerick: ENNIS. Not familiar with this town. WP says it's "located only six miles from Shannon and Shannon Airport". Here is the map, see ENNIS & Limerick?

52D: Woman's combo garment: SKORT. I love SKORT. She looks so pretty in her pink SKORT.

54D: Hebrew month: ELUL. The last month of Jewish calendar.

C.C.

Aug 27, 2008

Wednesday August 27, 2008 Willy A. Wiseman

Theme: He Must Be Off

17A: Screwball pitcher: DIZZY DEAN

36A: Peculiar parodist: WEIRD AL

58A: Millinery fruitcake: MAD HATTER

11D: Touched toon: DAFFY DUCK

32D: Kook of Koontz: ODD THOMAS

Of the above 5 theme answers, DIZZY Dean was a gimme, and I knew DAFFY Duck. The three 3 were new to me. But I caught the theme very earlier on, so I did not struggle that much.

I solved this puzzle without peeking at the constructor's name. After I was done, I thought it was from John Underwood. We have not seen his work for a long time. Now I am so curious to see who will be the QUIP/QUOTE author tomorrow. Can't be Alan P. Olschwang as we just did his VICTORY puzzle yesterday. Maybe Robert H Wolfe?

The clue for EIDER (37D: Downy duck) definitely needs to be changed as we had DAFFY DUCK as an answer. "Spread Down?" sounds good to me.

Across:

4A: With 64A: Wild Sioux: CRAZY. And HORSE (64A: See 4A). The monument looks quite imposing right now. But I can't wait to see the finished sculpture.

9A: Golden-touch king: MIDAS. Interesting to see ANE (59D: Dijon donkey) in the grid. MIDAS has donkey ears.

15A: Actress Anouk: AIMEE. I've never seen any of her movies. Her parents must love her a lot to name her AIMEE.

19A: Crime group: MAFIA. I like "GoodFellas".

22A: Gabfest: CONFAB. I forgot. Saw this clue before. Is CONFAB a common word?

23A: Ground-nesting Old World bird: BUSTARD. Foreign to me. Dictionary says BUSTARD came from a blend of French word "bistarde" and "outarde'. Both from Latin "avis tarda", meaning "slow bird". Great BUSTARD.

27A: Of armorial bearings: HERALDIC

30A: Came up: AROSE. Here is A ROSE for you. I also like the clues for ITCHES (47D: Restless desires) and YEN (8D: Desire), don't you?

42A: Balin and Clair: INAS. Yawner! Can you think of something else to clue INAS?

45A: Conventional: ORTHODOX

48A: Rabbits' kin: HARES. And HUTCH (50D: Rabbit residence). I wanted WARREN.

53A: Cigar fan: SMOKER. Yep, Freud is right, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

55A: Gumshoe: TEC. Always thought of Pinkerton seeing this clue. Pinkerton has a very successful Intellectual Property Investigation service in China.

57A: Actress Veronica: HAMEL. Unknown to me. WP says she is in "Hill Street Blues". Oh, I saw Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) in the picture. Which one is HAMEL? The girl on the last row?

61A: Clean with a bill: PREEN. I am so vain.

62A: Fifth of MV: CCI. Hmm, me, I, myself.

63A: No longer in: PASSE

Down:

1D: Back of a tape: SIDE B

5D: Passengers: RIDERS. Great EASY RIDER clip.

7D: Fervor: ZEAL. I like the Z's in today's puzzle. See also ZETAS (18D: Greek letters).

9D: Champagne cocktail: MIMOSA. Did not know that MIMOSA was invented at Ritz Hotel in 1925.

10D: Without sense: INANELY

22D: Chick of jazz: COREA. This should make Katherine happy.

24D: Over again: ANEW

25D: Card displays: MELDS. No idea. I don't play canasta or any card game.

27D: Little well-furred rotund mammal: HYRAX. Another unknown animal. WP says "From a distance, a HYRAX could be mistaken for a very well-fed rabbit or guinea pig." He looks so cute.

29D: Charlotte or Gary, e.g.: CITY. Clever clue.

33D: Sots: WINOS. So many words to decribe a drunkard.

38D: Org. of Gulbis and Creamer: LPGA. Ah, the prettiest girls in LPGA Tour. Both have dangerous looking dip drives. See this clip.

41D: Movers' partners: SHAKERS

46D: End of a threat: OR ELSE. "?!!"

49D: Passover meal: SEDER. Did not know that SEDER means "order" in Hebrew.

51D: Standing tall: ERECT. Long, ERECT flower stalk.

55D: Cocoyam: TARO. I had no idea that TARO is also called cocoyam. I miss so much the TARO cakes in Guangzhou.

C.C.

Aug 26, 2008

Tuesday August 26, 2008 Alan P. Olschwang

Theme: VICTORY (40A: Sign found in 18A, 24A, 50A and 61A)

19A: "Guitar Town" singer: STEVE EARLE

24A: Carry out: GIVE EFFECT TO

50A: Certain lineman: DEFENSIVE END

61A: Renewable power source: WAVE ENERGY

This puzzle brought to my mind Churchill's VICTORY quote: "Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival."

It's an OK puzzle, not very exciting but much better than a lazy Quip. I liked the position of VICTORY in the grid. Lots of 4-letter words. I suppose it's mainly due to the length of the theme answers.

Other **VEE** words I've got are: VEEP, LEVEE, VEER, HUMVEE, the French word ELEVEE and the song "I Only Have Eyes for You". What other words can you think of?

Across:

5A: Woven net: MESH. Mariah Carey looks gorgeous in this MESH tank top.

16A: Nora's pooch: ASTA. From "The Thin Man".

22A: Colorful mount: ROAN. We need to have a discussion today about what exactly colors a ROAN horse exhibits.

28A: MacDonald's refrain: EIEIO. Inaccurate. It should be "Old MacDonald" refrain.

33A: Dweeb: NERD. Remember TWIRP/TWERP the other day?

35A: Wear away: FRAY. What's the difference between "Become raveled" and "Become unraveled"?

43A: Astronomer Tycho: BRAHE. I got his name from down fills. Yipes, look at his mustache.

59A: "Painting" painter: MIRO. I don't like this clue at all. "Painting" is not that well-known. This is his "Dog Barking at the Moon".

60A: Follow logically: ENSUE. Hmm, looks like our editor lacked the courage to clue ENSUE as "Come next" again. Martin sure had fun last time. Here is Beatles' "Come Together", for you.

70A: Mountain lake: TARN. I can never remember this word. WP says TARN is "derived from Old Norse word tjörn, meaning pond". This is TARN Hows in England.

Down:

1D: Scrawny one: SCRAG. Know SCRAGGY. Have heard of SCRAG.

2D: Maiden in Koranic paradise: HOURI. Their "virginity is renewable at pleasure", what a dream! It's so hard for me to picture HOURI & PERI (Persian fallen angels) as the same level as other beautiful creatures like Venus, Aphrodite, Apollo & Adonis.

3D: Bogey: ONE OVER PAR. I wonder why Humphrey Bogart was called "Bogey/Bogie". Did he play lots of golf?

4D: Famous meteor shower member: PERSEID. New to me. Have barely heard of constellation Perseus. PERSEID is defined as " one of a shower of meteors that appears to originate in the vicinity of the constellation Perseus during the second week of August."

7D: Cubic meter: STERE. I only learned this morning that STERE is from Greek "stereós" meaning solid.

8D: Total confusion: HAVOC

9D: Distinct personality: IDENTITY. Are they really synonymous? I thought of INDIVIDUALITY for "Distinct personality".

12D: Place for cargo: HOLD. CARGO was clued as "Hold contents" yesterday.

25D: Stereotypical poodle: FIFI. How come it's never clued as the annual FiFi Award?

30D: Magical command: OPEN SESAME

33D: Mount of Moses: NEBO. This is where Moses died I suppose. And 2 more Biblical mounts: SINAI ("Ten Commandments") & ARARAT (Noah's Ark).

40D: Impassioned: VEHEMENT

46D: Lettering aid: STENCIL

49D: "___ Got You Under My Skin": I'VE. Not a familiar song to me. I just heard it and I liked it. Beautiful song. Frank Sinatra had such an colorful life, so involved in American politics, JFK & Reagan adm. in particular.

51D: Half a tenner: FIN. Or "Half a sawbuck".

53D: Water wheel: NORIA. Unknown to me. It's "a device consisting of a series of buckets on a wheel, used in Spain and the Orient for raising water". See this picture.

54D: Techno-rock artist Gary: NUMAN. Pieced his name together from the across fills. Katherine, do you know this Gary?

63D: Long-snouted fish: GAR. Huge GAR. Is it edible?

64D: Over there, briefly: YON. I don't understand this Robert Burns' "O Were My Love YON Lilac Fair. But it looks beautiful, with "purple blossom" and "red rose". What does "I'd feast on beauty a' the night" mean?

C.C.

Aug 25, 2008

Monday August 25, 2008 Josiah Breward

Theme: (Which) Way to GO

17A: Imagined: THOUGHT UP

58A: Duck product: EIDER DOWN

11D: Without guilt: RIGHTEOUS

33D: Soup ingredients, perhaps: LEFTOVERS

Good puzzle. I like the positon of UP, DOWN, LEFT & RIGHT, very well placed. But I just feel that something is missing at the heart of the grid. I want HERE or ICI (Vous êtes ICI) as an anchor.

I dislike how ELITE (16A: Privileged few) due to FEWER (51D: Not so many), visually very jarring. Tell me how you would clue ELITE.

Had some trouble at the lower right corner. Had to google Philosopher Mach (52D: ERNST).

Across:

1A: Not so much: LESS. And FEWER (51D: Not so many)

5A: Trigger-happy: EDGY. This reminds me of Barry's TENTER (cloth stretcher) &"On tenter hooks" connection explanation last month.

9A: Branchlet: SPRIG. "Branchlet" is a new word to me.

15A: Novelist Morrison: TONI. Nobel Literature winner in 1993. I know her only because of her "our first Black President" comment on Clinton. I've never read her books.

19A: Basketball player: CAGER. My favorite CAGER (KG).

21A: I haven't a clue: SEARCH ME. New phrase to me. I've never heard anyone use SEARCH ME to mean "I haven't a clue".

26A: Lizard with sticky feet: GECKO. Here is GEICO's GECHO.

28A: Still: AT REST

31A: Where van Gogh painted like mad: ARLES. Yes, this is the place where he madly painted all those blooming (and withering) sunflowers, and the beautiful "Starry Night Over the Rhone", and of course, the gorgeous "Bedroom at ARLES". Are you happy with the clue?

34A: Dawson or Gide: ANDRE. Hmm, another Nobel Literature winner (Gide). Do you think ANDRE Dawson will make HOF next year?

38A: Poppy extract: OPIUM. I am addicted to OPIUM.

39A: Sushi choice: TUNA. Delicious! Hot, hot wasabi!

41A: Zest: SPICE. Which one, Dennis?

45A: Group psyche: ETHOS. And 5D: Cultural: ETHNIC

47A: Parts of ranges: OVENS. I was in the mountain range direction.

49A: Western state capital: SANTA FE. I've never been to New Mexico. Do you like Georgia O'Keeffe?

53A: Turns back: REVERSES

56A: Pipe cleaner: REAMER. No idea. Always associate REAMER with citrus juice.

60A: Hold contents: CARGO. Ha, the nautical "Hold" got me again. I kept wanting "Hold" to be a verb.

62A: King toppers: ACES. I was thinking of this King and his wig.

63A: Middle of a tassel?: ESSES

65A: Do a postal job: SORT. Of course, I penned in MAIL first.

Down:

1D: Stop gripping: LET GO

2D" "___ Frome": ETHAN. Learned it from doing Xword. Have never touched any of Edith Wharton's books.

3D: Audible expression of contempt: SNORT. I wrote down SNEER first.

7D: Wildebeests: GNUS

8D: Holy cow!: YIPES. Sometimes this kind of simple exclamation stumps me. YIPES, Yipee, Holy mackerel! Have you ever used "Man alive"?

9D: Hide away: SECRETE

10D: Glacial deposit: PLACER. New to me. It's a "surficial mineral deposit formed by the concentration of small particles of heavy minerals, as gold, rutile, or platinum, in gravel or small sands."

18D: Wounds with a tusk: GORES. What, not us?

22D: Cause anxiety: ALARM

24D: Giraffe relative: OKAPI. I would not have got this one without the across fills. Barb B likes the pantaloons.

27D: Preserved for later: ON ICE. Is this also a hockey term?

32D: Sports zebras: REFS. Hmm, some kind of "striped" under-theme in this puzzle.

39D: Tex-Mex menu items: TOSTADAS. Yummy.

42D: Goofy error: BONER. I should really use this word instead of abusing "faux pas" & "screw-up" all the time.

44D: Even the score: AVENGE

46D: Islamic women's quarters: HAREMS. I was wondering if men really are not allowed to enter HAREMS. Will they be punished if they do?

50D: BP merger partner: AMOCO. They merged in 1998.

52D: Philosopher Mach: ERNST. So the the Mach in "Mach topper" (SST) refers to him?

53D: Chop into small pieces: RICE. Really, not DICE?

C.C.

Aug 24, 2008

Sunday August 24, 2008 Edgar Fontaine

Theme: Chick Flicks

24A: Diane Keaton title role: ANNIE HALL

46A: Dorothy Dandridge title role: CARMEN JONES

69A: Kirsten Dunst title role: MARIE ANTOINETTE

95A: Barbara Stanwyck title role: ANNIE OAKLEY

118A: Ingrid Bergman title role: ANASTASIA

3D: Rosalind Russell tittle role: AUNTIE MAMA

9D: Cate Blanchett title role: ELIZABETH

15D: Shirley MacLaine title role: IRMA LA DOUCE

69D: Julie Andres title role: MARY POPPINS

78D: Greer Garson title role: MRS. MINIVER

84D: Ingrid Bergman title role: JOAN OF ARC

I like the theme, very ambitious. All the theme entries except ANASTASIA (118A: Ingrid Bergman title role) look great to me.

I am annoyed at ANASTASIA not only because because we already have one Bergman movie (84D), but the crossing of ANASTASIA with RALE (112D: Last breath) corner is extremely irksome. 4 RALE/RALES in one week? Unbelievable!

This is where the editorial creativity is sorely needed, as I am sure the constructor was not aware of the RALE(S) binge we've had. After reading the news clip on Madonna's "Sticky and Sweet" tour this morning, I thought of her title role EVITA, but it's too short. And QUEEN VICTORIA (Judi Dench in "Mrs. Brown") is not a title role, and it's too long. What movie title can you think of? It has to be a 9-letter word.

Crossword constructing is so hard. I really have huge respect for those guys, even if I often criticize their work. But my complaints are "For Love of the Game".

Lots of entertainment names in the grid, fitting the theme nicely. I had fun googling, no time to fully digest what I had read/linked though.

Across:

14A: Zodiac sign: LIBRA. Mine is Cancer. How about your?

19A: Comic Anderson: LOUIE. No, I've never heard of him or his game show "Family Feud".

22A: Bottom deck: ORLOP. I forgot why Clear Ayes mentioned this ORLOP last week.

26A: Stomachs of ruminants: OMASA. Singular is OMASUM. New to me. It's "the third division of the stomach of a ruminant animal". How many stomachs does a ruminant animal have? Three?

30A: Precision machinist: DIE MAKER. Boy, I had DOE MAKER for a long time. I wrote down SOLO instead of SOLI for the intersecting 13D: Arias for one.

40A: Fall off the wagon: IMBIBE

42A: Amin's birthplace: UGANDA. Ha, I already forgot where the capital of UGANDA is. Kampala, Kampala, Kampala.

54A: South Carolina river: SANTEE. It's named after the SANTEE tribe. Here is the map. New river to me.

57A: Womanizer: TOMCAT. I just learned that TOMCAT can be a verb too.

60A: Mother of Apollo: LETO. And the "Swan lover" is LEDA (or the "Mythical queen of Sparta").

64A: Louis and Carrie: NYES. I know neither of them, though I do remember "a NYE/NIDE of peasants".

73A: Fire opal: GIRASOL. New to me.

93A: Intermittently windy: GUSTY. Really? "Intermittenly"? I thought "GUSTY" was continuously blowing hard (This sentence feels weird, correct me if I am wrong).

94A: Ninny: SIMP. So many different words to describe an airhead.

98A: Fed: G-MAN. The FBI guy. Fed can also be T-MAN, the IRS guy.

99A: Egg receptacle: OVISAC. Another new word. It's "a sac or capsule containing an ovum or ova". What a solid made-up word! Reminds me of cruciverbalist.

103A: Patagonia plains: PAMPAS. Look, this lone gaucho seems to enjoy his life on PAMPAS.

114A: Coast of Morocco: RIF. I crossed the River Lethe again on this word. Here is the map. Argyle said "Er RIF" comes from the Berber word arif (The RIF, Er-RIF in Arabic).

115A: Composer Shostakovich: DMITRI. Can you believe I forgot his name again? This is the third time he appeared in our puzzle. Was it a gimmie to you? Do you like his music?

117A: Computer language std.: ASCII. Know the word. Can never remember what the acronym stands for.

124A: Redbone and Russell: LEONS. Interesting. "Stranger on a Stranger's Land". I don't grok what he is singing.

125A: Ancient Chinese poet: LI PO. "Li Bai" in Mandarin Chinese. From the Tang Dynasty (with capital in Xi'An). Here are some lines from his well-known "Drinking Alone by Moonlight": A cup of wine, under the flowering trees; I drink alone, for no friend is near. Raising my cup I beckon the bright moon. For her, with my shadow, will make three men....."

131A: Saint of letters: CYRIL. I've never heard of this saint. Have vaguely heard of the Cyrillic alphabet though.

Down:

4D: Time of Nick?: NITE. "Nick at NITE". I've never seen it.

6D: Kiddie spoilers?: GRANDMAS

8D: Dog's first name: RIN. RIN Tin Tin.

17D: Al of the '50s Indians: ROSEN. Couldn't tell whether this card is a real card or a reprint.

25D: Mammalian epoch: EOCENE. I could not believe this is a real word. It looks so wrong. OK, Eos is Greek goddess of dawn. "cene is " means "new", like "recent" I suppose. ECOCENE is "an epoch in which mammals dominant (50 million years ago)."

28D: Like lofty poetry: ODIC. Very interesting how adjectives are formed. For Pindar, it's Pindaric; For Keats, it's Keatsian, not Keatsic.

31D: German Dadaist: ERNST (Max). A surrealist as well. Here is The Elephant Celebes. I am looking forward to seeing ERNST's buddy Paul KLEE next week.

32D: Papeete's location: TAHITI. Got it from the across fills. I had no idea where Papeete is. FYI, Gauguin painted his "Two Women on the Beach" in TAHITI also.

33D: "A Perfect Peace" author: AMOS OZ. Gimme. He knows "How to Cure a Fanatic".

39D: Central Park S. Landmark: NYAC (New York Athletic Club). No idea. I've never been to NY.

41D: Brown in fat: BRAISE. I don't think this clue is wholly accurate. The process of braising needs some liquid for simmering.

44D: Organisms requiring oxygen: AEROBES. AER(O) is air, Obe is from Microbe. Good to learn this stuff.

53D: Multi-deck game: CANASTA . Not a familiar card game to me. I've never play rummy.

56D: Wild pig: WARTHOG. I forgot. So ugly.

79D: Thick soup: POTAGE. I did not know that some POTAGES are made of thickened liquid with mashed FLOWERS/fruit. Sounds so sweet.

80D: Fred of "The Munsters": GWYNNE. I would not have got his name without the crossing fills. It's so hard for me to grasp the popularity of this show and the wide-range (often expensive) collectibles.

83D: Water-to-wine site: CANA. You can find The Wedding at CANA at Louvre.

91D: Share a book project: CO-EDIT

92D: "The Listeners" writer Walter: DE LA MARE. "Is there anybody there...." This is the first time I heard of this poet.

97D: K2 creature?: YETI. I had no idea that K2 is a mountain peak (Karakoram Range in northern Kashmir). And it's the 2nd highest in the world. I am just so used to the "Abominable Snowman" clue.

100D: Traveling bag: VALISE. This Civil War VALISE is so well preserved.

105D: Georgia city: MACON. I forgot. Dennis mentioned this name when we had the MOON PIE long time ago. MACON is nicknamed "Heart of Georgia". Lovely cherry blossom.

107D: Incendiarism: ARSON

115D: Dist. across: DIAM (Diameter). I don't like this clue. "Dist. across" what? A square? Definitely needs a "circle" in the clue.

116D: Somewhat blue: RACY. Van Gogh' somewhat blue (literally) "Starry Night Over the Rhone popped into my mind immediately. He is such a brilliant yet tragic figure. I really like his various paintings on sunflowers, esp those in full bloom. I am so touched by his bold & daring strokes of yellow color, breathtaking. Indeed, Theo, "The sunflower is mine in a way..."

123D: Lowly NCO: CPL. PFC is the lowest NCO, right?

C.C.

Aug 23, 2008

Saturday August 23, 2008 Robert H. Wolfe

Theme: None

Total blocks: 26

I hope you found beautiful red, red roses in this thorny puzzle. It's way too tough for me. Felt like climbing Mountain Everest without a shirpa. I definitely need a theme to guide me.

Too many unknowns and strange cluings. I was stumped immediately by KAMPALA (1A). Letter K was simply impossible for me as I was not familiar with crossing KIWANIS (1D) at all. And I got bogged down in MENOTTI area for a long time. Had to ask Google for help.

Across:

1A: Capital city of 15A: KAMPALA. Here is the map. It's located on Lake Victoria.

8A: "The Consul" composer: MENOTTI (Gian Carlo). I forgot. Vaguely remembered seeing his name somewhere before. Wikipedia says he won Pulitzer (1950) for The Consul". He wrote both the music and the libretto for the opera. Amazing. He must love Wagner.

15A: Infamous dictator: IDI AMIN. I still don't understand why he is called "The Last King of Scotland".

16A: Protein in cereal grains: ALEURON. No idea. I could only think of GLUTEN. Dictionary says it's a "granular protein found in the endosperm of many seeds or forming the outermost layer in cereal grains." ALEURON is Greek for "meal".

17A: Rhode Island city: WARWICK. We get quite a few TMS solvers there.

18A: 3-D miniature scene: DIORAMA. New word to me. Beautifully done.

22A: Hindu sect member: SIKH. Literally, "disciple" in Sanskrit. I always confuse this word with ANKH, the Egyptian cross.

23A: City in NE France: NANCY. METZ was clued as "City near NANCY" on a July puzzle. I wonder why the editor has never considered cluing RANCY Reagan.

25A: Death rattles: RALES. This word should really be mothballed.

28A: Subcontinent leader?: INDO. INDOCHINA. Trickey clue.

29A: Adriatic seaport: BARI. It's here in Italy. Unknown to me.

30A: Seed covering: TESTA. Also, "head" in Italian.

34A: Up to the patellae: KNEE DEEP. Interesting clue, so literal.

36A: Omnispective: All -SEEING. "Omnispective" is a new word to me.

38A: Paginated: FOLIATED. No idea. I always thought FOLIATE is an adjective. I've never heard of "paginate" before.

45A: Cricket segments: OVERS. No. Dictionary defines OVER as "the number of balls, usually six, delivered between successive changes of bowlers". I originally thought OVERS might be like our "innings" in baseball.

48A: "The Lion King" character: NALA. "Can you feel the love tonight?...". Beautiful song from "The Lion King".

53A: One-tenth of MDXL: CLIV. I cannot think of any other non-Roman numberal way to clue this "CLIV", can you?

55A: Lumberjack's two-man tool: PIT SAW. Hard work!

58A: Otological problem: EAR ACHE. Be prepared, the answer might be OTALGIA next time.

60A: Bereft: SO ALONE. I disagree, they are not synonymous.

62A: Commonplace: PROSAIC

63A: Cutting tooth: INCISOR

64A: Nerve connection: SYNAPSE. This puzzle should please our fellow solver Flyingear.

65A: Suppurates: FESTERS. I did not know the meaning of "Suppurates".

Down:

1D: Worldwide service club: KIWANIS. Unknown to me once again. It's "an organization founded in 1915 for the promulgation of higher ideals in business, industrial, and professional life".

3D: "Right to remain silent" warning: MIRANDA. "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law..."

6D: Tiny insects: LICE. I penned in NITS.

8D: Kahn of "Blazing Saddles": MADELINE. I googled her name. I've never heard of "Blazing Saddles".

12D: Gad about: TRAIPSE

13D: 1992 U.S. Open winner: TOM KITE. Know him, but had no idea he was the 1992 Open champion. I was thinking of Lehman. That ball did land in the hole.

14D: Randomly piled: IN A HEAP. I got this after cheating with the across fills.

21D: Delineated: MARKED OUT

24D: 1997 Nicolas Cage movie: CON AIR. Good movie, good song too.

26D: Gregg user: STENO. Did not know what "Gregg" is.

29D: Wallop: BELT. Nice BELT.

31D: Abutting: EDGING. No need to clue *ING answer with an *ING. "Border" is just fine.

37D: Carefully planned and executed performance: SET PIECE. New phrase to me also.

38D: Medical implement: FORCEPS. Completely foreign to me. Here are some surgical FORCEPS.

39D: Of plant seeds: OVULARY. Sigh... no, no.

40D: Shackle: LEG IRON. Techincially it's "lower shackle".

42D: California city: SAN JOSE. "Do You Know the Way to SAN JOSE?"

43D: Rigby of song: ELEANOR. Not familiar with this Beatles' song. Only know ELEANOR Roosevelt.

44D: Lumberyard employs: SAWYERS. I always thought it was SAWERS.

47D: Isolated mountain: MASSIF. New to me also. It's defined as "A large mountain mass or compact group of connected mountains forming an independent portion of a range". Behind them is the Himalayan Annapurna MASSIF.

51D: Plant pest: APHIS. I forgot. Saw this clue before. Strange plural form APHIDES.

52D: Aircraft surveillance acronym: AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System). Nope, too sophisticated for me to undertand and remember.

54D: Swedish ship that sank on maiden voyage: VASA. No idea. I like the bright colors on this VASA model.

C.C.

Aug 22, 2008

Friday August 22, 2008 Barry Silk

Theme: MONEY (69A: This puzzle's theme)

21A: Flour, water and shortening: PASTRY DOUGH

27A: Steamers: LONG NECK CLAMS

46A: Bibb alternative: BOSTON LETTUCE

54A: Italian restaurant staple: GARLIC BREAD

Wow, edible "Steamers", new to me. I knew DOUGH, LETTUCE, BREAD are slang words for money, had no idea that "CLAMS" can mean money too. But why CLAMS instead of CLAM?

I thought CABBAGE SOUP & BACON AND EGGS are great theme entries too. But I guess they don't fit the "Cash back" theme pattern.

Great puzzle. I like how MONEY is revealed in the very end. I often wonder why constructors/editors like to define the theme title for this kind of synonym type of grid. Why can't they just clue MONEY as "It talks" and then let the solvers figure out what those theme entries in common and enjoy the "Aha" moment when they find the MONEY.

Across:

1A: Kuwaiti 69A: DINAR. The first word that popped to my mind is EMEER. I was thinking 69D might be RULER. But quickly discarded my idea after seeing 1D.

10A: Comic Foxx: REDD. Very interesting stage name. Obviously he liked Jimmie Foxx. I would have liked C. C. Sabathia had he not played for the Indians and worn his cap off-kilter all the time.

24A: She's possessive: HER. I dislike this clue. Given ARGO (11D: Jason's vessel) other "Sailor" & "Pirate" clues, I would prefer HER to be clued as ship related.

39A: Writer Talese: GAY. I've never read any of his books. Knew him because of his wife Nan Talese ("A Million Little Pieces" scandal).

41A: __ B. Davis: ANN. Pure guess. I've never heard of her or watched The Brady Bunch.

51A: Sailor's drink: RUM. Why??

62A: Flinch or start, e.g.: REACT. "Flinch, e.g." is enough. And another "Flinch" reaction is RECOIL (10D: Draw back in horror).

64A: Promised land: ZION. I would not have got this one without the down fills. So, this is how we got the word "Zionist" I suppose.

68A: "Peter Pan" pirate: SMEE. And 53D: Pirate's pal: MATEY.

Down:

1D: Vader or Maul: DARTH. Know the name, but I have never seen "Star Wars".

3D: Vieux Carre location: NEW ORLEANS. An educated guess. Knew "The French Quarters", but was not aware of its French name.

5D: Minnesota's state tree: RED PINE. Too close to each other.

9D: Mount of the Several Sisters: HOLYOKE. No idea.

13D: Real looker: DISH. Foodies would probably like the clue to be "Chef's serving".

23D: Down source: DUCK. Brought a smile to my face.

30D: All-Star third baseman Ron: CEY. Dodgers's.

31D: Not limited to roads: ALL TERRAIN

35D: Ex-Yankee Martinez: TINO. Vaguely heard of him before.

42D: City near Sacramento: LODI

44D: Greek portico: STOA

48D: Go from 2 to 6, say: TREBLE. Not familiar with the triple meaning of "TREBLE".

55D: Calcutta's continent: ASIA

57D: Porkpie feature: BRIM. Had no idea that "Porkpie" is a kind of hat.

C.C.