, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: September 2008


Sep 30, 2008

Tuesday September 30, 2008 John Underwood

Theme: Fruity Places

17A: Colorado site of three U. S. Opens: CHERRY HILLS

24A: Miami neighborhood: COCONUT GROVE

36A: Atlanta's main drag: PEACHTREE STREET

48A: Santa Ana, CA location: ORANGE COUNTY

58A: Roy and Dale's California town: APPLE VALLEY

COCONUT is not a fruit. It's a nut, isn't it? Such high fat content. I've never been fond of raw COCONUT milk or COCONUT meat. Always bake them first.

I liked this puzzle very much, so fresh, fruity and sweet. I still can not grok Norma Steinberg's choice of CLANG CLANG CLANG as a theme answer yesterday. I know it's trolley sound, but really it does not fit the other 2 theme entry pattern, unless I completely misread her mind.

I also liked how DECKS (1D: Ship's floor) intersects KOS (20A: Bout enders). I wonder what John Underwood's original clue is for DECKS, since it can also mean "Knocks down". The clue for SKILLET (46A: Cast-iron pan) is simply wrong. He probably never cooks.


1A: Thingamajig: DOODAD. I wonder if anyone has constructed a "Gizmo" themed puzzle. It would be very scrabbly.

11A: Canine grp.: AKC (American Kennel Club). I just learned that except Kenturky Derby (first held in 1875), no other continuously held sporting event in the US is older than Westminster show (1877).

14A: Bakery treat: ECLAIR. Decadent and delicious.

15A: Temple, ancient: NAOS. Greek for "temple". "Cella" for the Romans. I've never heard of it before. I suppose you can call Temple of Applo a NAOS. I wonder what is the diameter of those great columns.

31A: So I think, online: IMO. This is an excellent acronyms list. Thx, Clear Ayes.

27A: Gordon and Sheila: MACRAES. I got it from the down fills. Know neither of them.

32A: "And I love ___": HER. Here is the song. Does "HER" refer to Yoko Ono?

43A: Zigzag: WEAVE. They are not really synonymous, are they?

52A: Paid male date: GIGOLO. "American GIGOLO" is the first Richard Gere movie I saw.

62A: Tours season: ETE. Here is a map, see where Tours is? I like this clue.


2D: Cinco y tres: OCHO That will be "HUIT" in Tours.

4D: __ es Salaam: DAR. No idea. It's the largest city in Tanzania.

5D: Jordan's nickname: AIR. Always thought it's "AIR Jordan" altogether, not AIR alone.

6D: Solid carbon dioxide: DRY ICE

7D: Vidalia veggie: ONION. Nice gift box.

9D: Cell phone clip-ons: HOLSTERS. Here?

12D: City on the Vyatka River: KIROV. Foreign to me. See this map. Lots of "oblast", what does it mean? Province?

13D: __ de menthe: CREME. But I want some CREME brûlée, and this, and this. Je te veux, que je t'adore.

29D: Hammer end: CLAW. Seattle John said last time that the CLAW "is not technically an end of a hammer. It is an end of the hammer poll. A hammer has two parts - the handle and the poll. The poll is commonly called the hammer head. The poll has two ends - the face and the peen. The face obviously is the flat end for pounding things. The peen can take on various shapes depending on the hammer's intended use. The most common shapes are ball and claw. A ball peen hammer is used for forging materials and a claw peen hammer can be used for prying things like extracting nails."

34D: Campbell of "Scream": NEVE. I've never seen "Scream". I liked her Julia role on "Party of Five".

38D: Recruiting grp.: ROTC. Really?

39D: Piccadilly dilly: TWIT. I don't understand this one. What is "Piccadilly dilly"?

45D: Crazy Horse, for one: OGLALA

46D: Operatic spear carrier: SUPE. I did not know the meaning of "operatic spear carrier".

47D: Jacks: KNAVES. This answer did not come easily to me at all.

48D: Eyeballed: OGLED. I always thought of "eyeball" as "roughly measure something", as Rachel Ray often does.

51D: Tiny hooter: OWLET. Look at this lovely saw-whet, the smallest owl according to Kit.

55D: Unskilled toiler: PEON. So close to PEONY.

59D: Free ad: PSA (Public Service Announcement).


Sep 29, 2008

Monday September 29, 2008 Norma Steinberg

Theme: Bang a Gong

20A: Verisimilitude: RING OF TRUTH

39A: Trolley sound: CLANG CLANG CLANG

53A: Yuletide song: JINGLE BELLS

I am not sure I got the theme right. RING is singular, but BELLS is plural. What purpose does CLANG CLANG CLANG serve here? The echoing sounds when you RING BELLS? I really have difficulty understanding this constructor's thinking process. (Addendum: My bad. JINGLE, not BELLS, is part of the theme).

Somehow this puzzle brought back memories of Paul Newman. Too bad our editor missed the opportunity to pay tribue to him:

14A: Macho guy: HE-MAN. Didn't Paul Newman always present a tough, rugged HE-MAN persona?

25A: Energetic drive: HUSTLE: How about "Emulate Paul Newman's Fast Eddie"?

32D:Round of applause: HAND: Who doesn't like his "Cool ___ Luke"?

The clue for FED (21D: G-man) should be changed to a simple "Nourished" to avoid the duplication of MAN & man. I would have clued CAESAR (48A: Funny Sid) as "Veni, vidi, vici" speaker" to pair up with ET TU (8D: Ides of March rebuke).


1A: Cowboy leggings: CHAPS. Can Christina Aguilera really ride a horse wearing this CHAPS?

10A: Persian poet Khayyam: OMAR. "A jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and Thou..." That's all I need in paradise too. So simple, so beautiful.

19A: Jackknife or swan: DIVE. Jackknife DIVE is a new term to me.

23A: Girlie: SIS. What the heck is this? Isn't "Girlie" an offensive term to describe an effeminate man?

24A: 26th letter: ZEE. "Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

27A: Lacking vitality: PALLID

44A: Flexible joint: HINGE

45A: Upstanding: ERECT. This pink ERECT anthurium is so pretty.

62A: Composer Porter: COLE. Lovely clip.


2D: Dodge Ram engine: HEMI. New to me. I only knew HEMI as a prefix for sphere.

5D: Nodding off: SNOOZING. And SOOTHING (9D: Comforting). I think any grid should have a maximum of 2 *ING's.

28D: Actress Nazimova: ALLA. How boring! Is this the only way to clue ALLA? How about this?

40D: Office job category: CLERICAL

46D: British rule in India: RAJ. And CASTE (48D: Societal station).

47D: Jack Horner's dessert: PIE. I wonder what kind of pie he is eating.

56D: "So Big" author Ferber: EDNA. Have you read the book? What is it about? What is "So Big"?


Sep 28, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008 Arlan and Linda Bushman

Theme: Chem Lingo

23A: Einstein with no more einsteinium in stock, e.g.?: OUT OF ONE'S ELEMENT

36A: Incipient chemical concoction? INFANT FORMULA

54A: Caustic chemical couriers?: BASE RUNNERS

78A: Caustic remark about a litmus test result?: ACID COMMENT

97A: Report concerning chemical ions?: CHARGE ACCOUNT

112A: Attention given to a chemical mixture? COMPOUND INTEREST

16D: Where one buys chemical supplies?: MASS MARKET

71D: Neither black nor white chemical stuff?: GRAY MATTER


I really liked this puzzle, so well constructed. I had expected something complicated after I saw the titled theme, so I was elated when I got most of the themed entries without encountering too much resistance.

Wasted a long time on SNORE (73D: Saw wood in bed). I had actually heard of the idiom "saw wood" before, but I could not remember the exact meaning. I just kept wanting a past tense word and SLEPT sounded perfect.

I thought "Dorothy's surname" would be a better clue for GALE (22A: Whitecap weather) since we have AUNT EM (49D: Dorothy's guardian) in the grid.

It warmed my heart to see THAMES clued as "Flower by Big Ben" (35A), so comforting after my repeated pleas for a "flow-er" clue last week. But there should definitely be a "?" in the clue. Otherwise, it's too startling and senseless for a unsuspecting solver. I thought "Spanish flower?" would be a great clue for (48D: River of Spain) too.

There are so many things that flow: river, cash, air, hot lava, champagne, thought, information, idea, words, sweat, love and tears. But a broken heart is indeed like a river that won't flow.

I've been enjoying the real flowers and music in this Ravel Bolero clip. I hope you like it too.


1A: Natural fountain: SPRING. This flows too. What's the real difference between SPRING water and mineral water?

20A: Unbroken view: PANORAMAS. For those who only solve Sunday's crossword puzzle, enjoy this Outer Space flash movie Sallie linked yesterday. Beautiful!

27A: West coat seagull: MEW. Here is a picture. New to me.

40A: Ranch name in "Giant": REATA. I forgot. Saw this clue long time ago on a TMS puzzle. Have you seen "Giant" before? So many people collect James Dean memorabilia.

47A: Roskalnikov's refusals: NYETS. Is Roskalnikov from Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment"? Or is it just a popular Russian name? I had never heard of it before.

67A: Mr. Peanut's spiffy legwear: SPATS. New to me also. Is it the same as gaiter? SPATS was clued as "Rhubarbs" earlier this week.

68A: Kevin Klein movie: DAVE. It's a pretty good movie.

84A: Niels or Aage of physics: BOHR. Both of them won Nobel prize in physics.

92A: Pers. with a handle?: CBER

96A: "All Men Are Whores" dramatist: MAMET (David). I've never heard of his name before. But what a terrible play title. I dislike so much the word "whore".

105A: Canvas colors?: OILS. What do you think about this clue?

111A: Dated leader?: ANTE. A nice change from "Feed the kitty' clue.

119A: Combo bet: EXACTA. And trifecta. What else?


4D: Forge output: IRON BAR

5D: Letters on a rubber check: NSF. I did not know that a bounced check is also called a rubber check.

6D: Euclid's province: GEOMETRY. I also did not know that province also means "a department or branch of learning or activity".

18D: Loudly laments: KEENS. And 80D: Poetic lament: ELEGY

33D: Trivial stuff: DROSS. New to me also. I always thought of DROSS as "discarded waste matter".

38D: Old French bread?: FRANC. It's the "Stale Swiss bread" too.

39D: Series of eight: OCTAD. Basically there is no difference between OCTAD and OCTET, right?

50D: Bearded grazers: GNUS. I only remembered his horns, had never paid attention to his beard .

58D: Goalie's feat: SAVE. A closer can achieve this feat too.

61D: Robin Cook thriller: COMA. Learned this from doing Xword. Have you read this book?

65D: Novi Sad resident: SERB. Novi Sad is Serbia's second largest city, after Belgrade. New to me also.

68D: Moral obligation: DUTY. I vodka Dennis so much. He has done such a great job fulfilling his morel moral obligation for this country.

72D: Polecat defense: ODOR. Did not know that skunk is also called polecat.

75D: "As You Liked it" forest: ARDEN. I just learned that Shakespeare's mother's name is Mary ARDEN.

76D: Cereal box fig.: NET WT. Ha, I always thought it's NT WT.

91D: Big-billed bird: PELICAN. Gimme for Chris I am sure. It's their state bird. I really liked Denzel Washington's role in "The PELIAN Brief".

92D: Pause in conversation: CAESURA. Completely foreign to me. What exactly is a CAESURA?

98D: Spartan drudge: HELOT. I forgot. All I could think of was SERF. Have difficulty remembering any Spartan/Laconian stuff.

108D: Orlop or poop: DECK. I've never heard of poop deck before. What a strange name!

109D: Italian noble family: ESTE. I forgot how they are related to Ferrara.

115D: Joanne of films: DRU. I googled her name, and found out that she did quite a few movies with John Wayne.

116D: Outer: pref.: EXO. The opposite prefix is ENDO.


Sep 27, 2008

Saturday September 27, 2008 Willy A. Wiseman

Theme: None

Total blocks: 32

Definitely not an easy puzzle for me. Somehow I just could not focus on solving it. My mind was somewhere else.

Quite a few unfamiliar clues/anwers. Great to see ARI clued as "Jackie's second husband" (48A) rather than the factually wrong "Jackie's ex". I still do not understand the clue for NOMINATIONS (20A: Proposed candidates). Shouldn't the answer be NOMINEES?

I wonder if our editor is also clueless about Governor Sarah PALIN (66A: Michael of Monty Python). What a missed opportunity! With the current financial crisis, you would think he would choose "Fannie & Ginnie" rather than "West and Jemison" (61A).

I am so tired seeing ESA clued as "NASA's partner in space" (59D). Why not "Spanish pronoun" for a change?

I've never heard of BRIN (32D: Sci-fi writer David). Is he more famous than Sergey BRIN, the founder of Google?


1A: Jessica Parker or Vaughan: SARAH. Do you think SARAH Jessica Parker is UNE (50A: Nice one?) jolie-laide?

15A: ____ Spumante: ASTI. The sparkling white wine.

17A: Noted violin maker: AMATI. He is the teacher of STRAD. Joshua Bell used a $3.5 million STRAD in this famous Metro morning rush hour incognito performance. Over 1,000 people hurried by him, and he collected a total of $32.

18A: Furry-muzzled dog: SCHNAUZER. Here is a snow white miniture SCHNAUZER. Not a familiar breed to me. I am not a dog (or cat) person.

23A: Vin of movies: DIESEL. I wonder why he picked up Vin Diesel as his name.

27A: Danced to victory: CAKEWALKED. I did not know that CAKEWALK can be a verb too.

31A: Big band leader: LES BROWN. Unknown to me. Wikipedia says he wrote "Sentimental Journey", which brought Doris Day to fame.

35A: Bring back to life: REANIMATE. I didn't like this answer.

38A: Melodies: MUSIC. I penned in SONGS first. I rather like Huge Grant and Drew Barrymore's "MUSIC and Lyrics".

41A: Be tipped off: FOREKNOW. What a strange word!

45A: Style of Gaudi: ART NOUVEAU. I've never heard of Gaudi before. He designed Casa Mila. Some of René Lalique's ART NOUVEAU piece can fetch thousands of dollars.

49A: Uris novel, with "The": HAJ

58A: Efficiency expert: TIMESAVER

62A: Vaccines: SERA

64A: Latin handle: ANSA. I am really tired of this clue too.


1D: Cause of public outrage: SCANDAL

2D: Ornate wardrobe: ARMOIRE

5D: "Die Lorelei" poet: HEINE (Heinrich). Unknown to me also. Kazie probably knows this poet. She mentioned about Lorelei and its seamen-luring sirens in a comment some time ago.

7D: Spore sacs: ASCI. Singular is ascus. Big stumper for me.

11D: Lively Polish dance: MAZURKA. Another unknown to me. See this clip.

19D: Actor Armand: ASSANTE. I googled his name. His mug looks very familiar. I must have seen him in some movies.

28D: Arista: AWN. I forgot the meaning of "Arista".

30D: Symbol of Wales: LEEK. Good to know. This LEEK potato soup looks so white. Too much potato, Xchefwalt?

33D: Makes up for: RECOUPS

36D: Extinct bird: MOA. DODO if it's a 4-letter blank.

37D: Orangjestad's island: ARUBA

38A: Gandhi's title: MAHATMA. Sage. Ha, I always thought MAHATAMA was Gandhi's given name.

39D: Person of a third sex: URANIAN. What???

40D: "____ Infirmary Blues": ST. JAMES. Is this the song? I've never heard of it before.

44D: Groom or Churchill: WINSTON. Had no idea who WINSTON Groom is. He wrote "Forrest Gump".

47D: Old World monkey: VERVET. Another unknown. What happened to his tail?


Sep 26, 2008

A Crossword Poem

Clear Ayes posted this poem a few days ago and I liked it a lot. Thought some of you might not have read it.



Author: Xillus Xavier

Crossword Puzzle(d)

Four squares ACROSS:

Simple answer or torturous enigma?
Puzzles can be candy for the brain.
Or a thorn.

This puzzle shall entertain me!
Write black lines on white paper;
black and white answers.

Eraser: ally of guessers everywhere.

Quite Obvious
Five squares DOWN:

Only the mentally strong will
venture their time, their
energy, their intellectual
resources to sate the needs of
these letter-starved squares. Obviously!

With unyielding fortitude,
I shall use a pen - not pencil -
and confidently vanquish my grid-like enemy.
The overt words at first of course!

And when the clue
for an eleven-letter word for freedom arises -
Mr. Thesaurus here at my side
gives me deliverance.

Friday September 26, 2008 Michael T. Williams

Theme: The Long and The Short of It

17A: Three longs: DIVISION FACE BOW

57A: Three longs: SHOT ISLAND RANGE

3D: Three shorts: WAVE COMING STORY

7D: Three shorts: HAND CIRCUIT CAKE

11D: Three shorts: RIB TEMPER CHANGE

I like this theme, not the grid structure. Somehow the middle part felt very cramped and I had difficulty breathing. I turned the puzzle 90 degrees and I still did not like the shape. I did not know why those broken blocks bothered me.

There are quite a few unfamiliar clues & answers for me in this puzzle. And I struggled hard for letter T between the intersection of INIT (55D: 1st letter) and CHETS (66A: Huntley and Atkins"). I think I vaguely heard of CHET Huntley before, but I could not dredge his name out of my brain. Had a big V8 moment with INIT (Initial).

The clue for ATF (8D: Booze, butts, and bullets bureau) should have an abbreviated "bureau "or simply "org."


10A: Linkletter and Carney: ARTS. Pure guess. Not familiar with either of them.

23A: Hush-hush: SECRET. Beautiful red rose, such mysterious folded structure. No wonder rose (anagram of Eros) is the symbol of SECRECY, love, perfection and femininity. Dante's Paradise.

25A: Sweet-talk: COAX

32A: Arabic Mac: IBN. But BIN is more popular, isn't it? Both refer to "Son of". Abu is "father of". Al is "the", as in Al - Qaida. Here is a photo of FDR with IBN Saud, former king of Saudi Arabia.

36A: Guitar ridge: FRET. No idea. I got it from across fills.

40A: Phoenix of Egyptian gods: BENU. Or BENNU. See this picture. I've never heard of it before.

43A: Highland plant: GORSE. Also spelled as furze, furse, whin. An evergreen shrub. Unknown to me. Wikipedia says "Common GORSE flowers most strongly in spring, though it bears some flowers year round, hence the old country phrase: "When GORSE is out of blossom, kissing's out of fashion." The flowers have a very distinctive strong coconut scent."

44A: Stops a stealer: TAGS. Very creative baseball TAG. Hmm, this is great, so is this one, this one, this one and this one. I don't under this Colgroup tag, what does it mean? Other baseball references are OTT (22A: Mel of the Giants) and ATL (61D: Braves in box scores).

46A: Like-minded voters: BLOC

69A: Bacon amount: RASHER. Don't laugh at me, but really I have never heard of RASHER. Always thought it's called slice or strip. I've never developed a taste for bacon or hotdog. I do love apple pie.

52A: Place for three men?: TUB. Learned this rhyme from a comment Carol made sometime ago. I like this picture.

63A: Funny Jack of Hollywood: OAKIE

64A: End-of-week cry: TGIF. We seem to get a TGIF every Friday now.


5D: Robberies: HEISTS. Have you seen HEIST?

12D: Boxing letters: TKO

19D: Courteney or Wally: COX. Only know Courteney COX (Monica in "Friends").

24D: Indian cash: RUPEES

29D: Composer Saint - ___: SAENS. He composed "Danse Macabre". DANSE was clued as Saint-Saëns' "___ Macabre" in our puzzle before.

30D: Provide with a trait: ENDUE. New word to me. I was thinking of ENDOW.

33D: Forbidden acts: TABOOS. "... You give me the Sweetest TABOO, that's why I am in love with you...."

34D: Greek letter: DELTA. Xchefwalt probably wants DELTA to be clued as "Flower's end?" I really like this tricky flow-er clue, you know, you can clue NILE "The longest flower in the word?"

36D: Calf-length skirt: MIDI. Do you call this one as MIDI? "Après __ " might be too obvious. "Nice noon?" sounds great, don't you think so?

43D: Egg white: GLAIR. New word to me.

46D: Dracula's conquest: BRIDES

50D: Baylor of basketball: ELGIN. No, not a familar name to me. ELGIN was clued as "City in Scotland or Illinois" in an April puzzle.


Sep 25, 2008

Thursday September 25, 2008 Alan P. Olschwang

Theme: Catch Me if You Can

20A: Start of a quip: HE WHO COURTS THEN

40A: Part 2 of a quip: RUNS AWAY, LIVES TO

54A: End of quip: COURT ANOTHER DAY

The original quote from Evan Esar is "He who courts and runs away, lives to court another day".

As usual, I don't fully grasp this quip. Why would he "LIVES TO COURT ANOTHER DAY" if he "RUNS AWAY"? What if "He is Just Not That into You" in the first place?

Very interesting to see RELAID (36A: Installed again, as tiles) so early in the morning. I hope the tiles are installed properly this time. I would change the clue for ANCHOR (4D: Relay finisher" into "Brian Williams, e.g." I often check his "Nightly News" just to see what tie he is wearing that night. I would also change the VEIN (13D: Layer of ore) into "The way to Brian Williams' heart?"

Wish the clue for SILLS (30D: Window bases) were "Soprano Beverly" to pair up with OPERA (21D: Massenet work), and I would reword the clue for OUIS (55D: Arles assents) into "Arles Législature votes" to match YEAS (71A: Affirmative votes). I also think there should be an abbreviation mark for VETTE (42D: Sporty Chevy).

Easy sailing this morning. Had to google EST (47D: Erhard's program) though. I was stumped by ESS (51A: 19th of a certain series).


1A: Madame Bovary: EMMA. The only Flaubert novel I've read. Poor little thing, she should have known that the sea of adultery is very stormy and unpredictable.

10A: Prison knife: SHIV. Slang for switchblade. I forgot. Did watch "In Cold Blood" and vaguely remembered the character made such a weapon out of a toilet brush.

18A: Skylit courtyards: ATRIA. I often confuse ATRIA with ALTRIA (Philip Morris). Kraft has a very formidble presence in China.

19A: Wrinkled citrus fruit: UGLI. I've never had this "Exotic tangelo from Jamaica".

44A: Change with time: EVOLVE

49A: Scottish feudal lord: THANE. New to me. Shakespeare's Macbeth's is THANE of Cawdor & THANE of Glamititle.

64A: Kind of trail: VAPOR. What caused this VAPOR trail?

67A: Immature seed: OVULE


7D: Ashram member: GURU. ASHRAM was clued as "GURU's community" last time.

9D: Rhubarbs: SPATS. I did not know the slang meaning of "Rhubarb". That's a huge RHUBARB.

10D: Golden table wine: SAUTERNE. Clear Ayes probably knows a lot about this semisweet white wine.

25D: Add to the heap?: SCRAP. What's the origins of "Deep-six" and "Eighty-six"? Faintly remember someone explained them to me before. But I crossed the River Lethe.

28D: One possessed?: SLAVE. Nice clue. Here is Britney's "I am a SLAVE 4 U".

32D: ___ del Sol: COSTA. Got it from the across clues. Would have been a gimme were it clued as COSTA Rica.

33D: Sean of "The Lord of the Rings". Learned his name from doing Xword.

37D: Cote resident: EWE. I always thought cote is for bird.

38D: Fourth of MMXVI: DIV. Roman 504.

41D: Cheap ocean passage: STEERAGE. Jack won his STEERAGE passage in a poker game in "Titanic".

54D: Edible first prize: CAKE. Razzberry, do you like this flourless chocolate CAKE?

56D: Samovars: URNS

58D: Artistic work: OPUS. OK, Kittyb, this Paderewski piece is for you.

59D: Lacquered metalware: TOLE. Nice flower tray.

62D: Poisonous evergreens: YEWS. I suppose YEW wood is not poisonous, otherwise, how could archery bows be made of YEWS?


Sep 24, 2008

A Nice Crossword Story

Below information is from Guardian's Crossword Editor's blog.

In 1929 the Manchester Guardian offered two prizes (two guineas and one guinea) for the best original story of not more than 200 words making the maximum use of words deployed only by crossword setters. The response was enormous and the prize went to a Mr RH Edmondson of Windermere for the following:

"Ena sat under the lee of a tor, singing an aria in Erse. Her molars gleamed; her ebon tresses shaded the tan on her nose. Idly she drew tunes in the loam. An erne rose from the mere, and the evil cry of an otter rang o'er the lea.

"Beside her sat a gallant tar, full of ale and élan. 'Fly with me,' he cried, 'my liner is at the quay and I have a store of taels and liras.' And he talked on Eden and of far manors of taro and copra where errant emus are, and beys and emirs dine on dates and all the denes team with irate asps and boas.

"But she must stay with her sire to ted the hay and ret the flax, tend the ewes and drive the bats out of the buttery. And what about her fiancé? A man of title, an Earl; he would slit his carotid with a snee if she eloped and she had no alibi."So she wended her way home, and the tar took his taels to some other damsel and the Earl jilted her. And she lived at home and did the crossword puzzles ever after.

Wednesday September 24, 2008 Barry Silk

Theme: Hit the Road

17A: Crash-test road?: COLLISION COURSE

33A: Western relocation road?: SANTA FE TRAIL

42A: Must-take road?: CRITICAL PATH

63A: Take one's eye of the road?: LOOK THE OTHER WAY

And STS (20A: MapQuest abbrs) & AVE (55A: Pennsylvania in D. C. e.g.). I also like the clue for E-ZPASS (47A: Toll road convenience). Wish TIRES (66A: Wearies) were clued as road-related too.

I am certain TSE (64D: Half a fly?) is not Barry's original clue, and I don't believe he made the AVE (55A) and SAKS (61D: Fifth Ave. retailer) mistake. Maybe our editor should give Roger Federer or Anna Wintour a call and see how SAKS should be clued more fashionably.

Nice puzzle overall, another pangram. I got the theme very earlier on and was able to fill in lots of blanks. I did google ISIAH Thomas, had problem obtaining AIR ACE & ARACHNE.

Alright, Barry, I love Sophie Marceau. Bring me BOULEVARD Champs -Elysees next time, and your alley, your corner, your lane & your terrace.


1A: Modern journal: BLOG. Very interesting BLOG from Guardian's Xword editor. If you like cryptic crossword, you should read Sandy Balfour's "Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose (8)". I forgot the twisted logic, but the answer to his book title is REBELLED.

5A: "Squawk Box" airer: CNBC. Where is Maria Bartiromo?

9A: "Wheel of Fortunate" host: SAJAK. And AN O (23A: "Wheel of Fortune").

21A: NHL Senators: OTTAWA. Does this clue feel OK to you?

24A: Sub builder?: DELI. Good clue.

27A: Hypotheticals: WHAT-IFS. I like the answer.

36A: 20th-cent. conflict: WWII

37A: Prefix's prefix: PRE. Hate this clue, very lazy. So many ways to clue PRE.

50A: Bridge support: TRESTLE

52A: Verdi opera: AIDA

58A: Star in the sky?: AIR ACE. Another great clue. Took me a long time to get it though.

67A: E. Ness, e.g.: T-MAN

70A: Marquis de ___: SADE. Too dark for me, I adore this SADE.

71A: P-U connection U: QRST


1D: Some pens: BICS. I use Pilot Easytouch, how about you?

3D: Quiet raptors: OWLS. Why "quiet"?

6D: Night in Metz: NUIT. Once again, van Gogh's "La NUIT Étoilée" (Starry Night). I never get tired of this clip.

11D: Shook up: JARRED

18D: Greek colony: IONIA. See this map. The architectural term IONIC is from this word, isn't it? What is the difference between IONIC and DORIC?

19D: Kind of lily: CALLA. That's rather an erect anther, isn't it? Or is it stigma?

29D: Black cuckoo: ANI. It will drive me nuts if it's clued as "Wheel of Fortune" purchase (AN I) again.

34D: Part of TNT: TRI (Trinitrotoluene). Always associate TNT with "We Know Drama".

35D: Geom. figure: RECT (Rectangular)

39D: Tangled mass: MAT. This is a new definition to me.

40D: Bakker's letters: PTL. I did not know that Jim Bakker is still alive.

43D: S. Hemisphere nation: RSA. I was thinking of a South American country.

44D: Thomas of basketball: ISIAH. What does this photo say? I don't understand it.

45D: Maiden turned into a spider: ARACHNE. So hard to remember this name. It's clued as "Spider woman of myth" last time. So is she the symbol of presumption then?

46D: Flood zone sight: LEVEE. I penned in HAVOC first.

47D: Jumps for joy: EXULTS

48D: Focus (on): ZERO IN

49D: Like some deductions, with "a": PRIORI

57D: Timetable, briefly: SKED

65D: Supply slip, in brief: REQ. Required?


Sep 23, 2008

Tuesday September 23, 2008 Norma Steinberg

Theme: MIDDLEMAN (62A: Middle of 17A, 35A and 52A)

17A: Biblical injunctions: TEN COMMANDMENTS

35A: Did some questionable redistricting: GERRYMANDERED

52A: Charlemagne's domain: HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE

Very nice puzzle. I like this go-between MAN theme. But "behind every great MAN is a great WOMAN, and behind her is his wife." So I really hope Ms. Steinberg can offer us a "Pretty WOMAN" or "Scent of a WOMAN" themed puzzle soon. Wife is not necessary.

Quite a few lovely words with MAN in the middle: romantic, permanent, adamant, etc. Some celebrities also have MAN in their names: Giorgio Armani, Nicole Kidman, Gene Hackman, Hugh Jackman, etc. All beautiful people.

I dislike the clue for HMOS (51D: Med. care gps.) due to the answer MEDS (34D: Rx item). A simple "Doctors' grps" would be just fine.


15A: At large: LOOSE. What exactly is an "Editor-at-Large"? Is he/she always traveling on the road?

23A: Plays a banjo: STRUMS. As opposed to picks?

31A: Dry by rubbing: WIPE. The clue does not sound very fluid to me. "Rub dry" would be OK.

33A: Online bookseller: AMAZON. Or the "Mythical warrior" who "burned off the right breast in order to use a bow and arrow more effectively."

39A: Hot, spicy drink: TODDY. No idea, only knew GROG.

40A: Dollar, slangily: CLAM. Thought of BUCK first.

45A: Shepard or Houston: SAM. Know Houston, not Shepard.

49A: Student of Socrates: PLATO. He is also the teacher of Aristotle.

58A: Home of BYU: PROVO. Know this because of Barry.


1D: Ramada chain: MOTEL. This word MOTEL always brings to mind the scary scene in "Psycho".

3D: Refusal to admit: DENIAL. I've never understood "DENIAL isn't just a river in Egypt". What does it mean?

8D: Kept inside: PENT- UP. Oh, that PENT -UP desire...

9D: Actor Lorenzo: LAMAS. I actually watched a few episodes of his "Are You Hot?" Rachel Hunter was another judge on the show.

11D: Runtish: PINT-SIZE. Is PINT-SIZE and PINT-SIZED the same? How about bone-head and bone-headed?

13D: Punner's duo?: ENS. I think the best ENS clue I've seen is "Dinner twosome?"

19D: Comic Deluise: DOM. I've never heard of him before. Got his name from across fills.

25D: Demonstrates connections: RELATES

33D: After-market item: ADD-ON. Why?

35D: Colorado tributary: GILA. Is this how GILA monster got its name?

42D: Gender bias: SEXISM

43D: __ del Fuego: TIERRA. Foreign to me. Obtained this name from the across fills. See this map.

44D: From the mountains of Peru: ANDEAN. Very nice picture. I wonder what those llamas are thinking.

46D: Bumps on a hog?: WARTS. No idea. How come?

55D: "..... __ gloom of night...": NOR. The postal motto: "Neither rain, nor sleet, NOR gloom of night...". I wonder why our editor did not clue NOR as "Neither rain, ___ sleet...". It would be more straightforward.


Sep 22, 2008

Monday September 22, 2008 Allan E. Parrish

Theme: CHECK (28D: Word after 21A, 39A 54A, 3D and 30D)

21A: Carolyn Gold Heilbrun's pen name: AMANDA CROSS

39A: Resting place of the Edmund Fitzgerald: LAKE BED

54A: Some time: QUITE A SPELL

3D: Painter's application: FINISH COAT

30D: On-screen stand-in: BODY DOUBLE

What is COAT CHECK? I've never heard of it before. Nor have I heard of BED CHECK. BAD CHECK yes.

I thought of RAINCHECK, PAYCHECK and BACKGROUND CHECK, what other *CHECK phrases can you think of?

Very interesting theme. I like how CHECK is placed in the grid. Like Dennis, I prefer the defining entry to be structured in the middle rather than at the lower right corner, unless it's word END.

The clue for QUAG (54D: Bog) needs an abbreviation hint. And the clue for IOU (26A: Debt chit) is simply unacceptable, as CHIT is the answer for (19A: Voucher: CHIT). I am certain this is not the constructor's error. Just another botched effort from our editor. He seems to be very absent-minded in his editing.

I had a hard time this morning. Somehow I could not focus on solving this puzzle. I don't know why, too many proper names perhaps.


1A: Put off: DEFER. Shakespeare said: "DEFER no time, delays have dangerous ends."

14A: "Crazy" singer: CLINE (Patsy). Here is the song. I've never heard of it before. Did you know that Willie Nelson originally titled the song "Stupid"? Maybe it is "Stupid" to be so crazy in love. Oh, by the way, what does Forrest Gump mean by saying "Stupid is as stupid does"?

16A: Natural tone: ECRU. I thought of NUDE first.

17A: Virtual certainty: CINCH. I tend to confuse CINCH with CLINCH.

20A: Pilot's gauge: ASI (Airspeed Indicator). No idea. Barry Silk mentioned last time that our editor does not allow partial fills, just AS I thought. What a pity!

24A: Favorite to win: BEST BET

27A: Boondocks possessive: HIS'N. This Li'l Abner talks stump me all the time.

28A: Own-kind feeder: CANNIBAL. I did not understand the clue until I obainted CANNIBAL.

45A: Author of "The Swiss Family Robinson": WYSS (Johann David). Foreign to me. Wikipedia says his novel is based on Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe". Also, WYSS' son, Johann Rudolf WYSS, wrote the Swiss national anthem.

46A: Like some missiles: ANTI-TANK. Is this video real?

62A: Circuit: AMBIT. This is a new word to me.

64A: Violinist Leopold: AUER. I can never remember his name. He wrote "Violin Playing as I Teach It".

66A: French city on the Deule: LILLE. The textile city. Charles de Gaulle was born here. He did possess some TACT (65A: Savoir-faire), didn't he?

67A: Crimebuster: G-MAN. I still wanted some sort of "abbr." hint in the clue.


1D: 1983 Mr. T flick: D. C. CAB. Unknown to me. See the poster. Have you seen the movie?

2D: Beethoven's "Fur ___": ELISE. Here is "Fur ELISE" from a 8-year old.

5D: 12-step plans: REHABS

10D: New enlistee: RECRUIT. I like Colin Farrel/Al Pacino movie "The RECRUIT".

12D: Writer Murdoch: IRIS. I think I love van Gogh's IRIS. A puzzle without a flower is not appealing to me now.

22D: High-IQ crew: MENSA. "Stupid"! Dennis.

29D: Actress Jessica: ALBA. Wow, that's one daring shirt!

34D: Tennis situation: AD IN

36D: Blood-related: AKIN

39D: Shop machine: LATHE. What kind of shop?

40D: Actress Georgia: ENGEL. No idea. Wikipedia says she is in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"

43D: Actor who is Sissy Spacek's cousin: RIP TORN. I did not know this trivia. What a strange name he has.

49D: "Deck the Halls" syllables: LALALA. Why? What is "Deck the Halls"?

51D: Piquant: ZESTY. There seems to be always a ZEST or ZESTY in Parrish's puzzle.

52D: Tremulous sound: TRILL. I did not know the meaning of "Tremulous".

57D: "Major Barbara" playwright: SHAW. The only SHAW play I know is "Pygmalion". This collection must be worth lots of money now. Do you collect first edition books?

63D: Shuffle: MIX. Or the surname of this oater cowboy.


Sep 21, 2008

Sunday September 21, 2008 Willy A. Wiseman

Theme: BG's AEIOU




97A: Organic fuel delivery is delayed?: PEAT BOGS DOWN IN TRAFFIC (PEAT BOGS, BOGS DOWN IN TRAFFIC)


The clue for 119A is inaccurate. The order should be reversed to "50s dance/sci-fi movie". Still, I could not find anything about "BUG-EYED MONSTERS" movie this morning. Or did I read the answer wrongly?

I caught the BAG, BEG, BIG, BOG, BUG vowel progression very early on, but did not get the "Before and After" concept until the very end. I am not good at this "Before & After" word game. Have never watched "Wheel of Fortune".

Nevertheless, it's a very unique puzzle, with five 21-letter running-through theme entries, the least I've seen since I started blogging in late Jan. I am not clear about TMS puzzle rule, but LA Times requires at least 6 theme entries (minimum 84 theme squares) for a Sunday 21*21. NY Times requires a minimum of 80 theme squares (at least 5 theme entries I presume).

Did you notice that SONTAG (40D: "Illness as Metaphor" writer) comes up a lot on Sundays? I think I've also seen enough of AGORA (82D: Old Greek market).


1A: Formal judicial order: WRIT. Habeas corpus is the most important WRIT.

5A: Make oneself presentable: CLEAN UP

12A: Designed to conform: ADAPTIVE

21A: Red phone: HOT LINE. I don't understand this Hillary "Red Phone" parody. Who are those characters in the middle of the clip?

22A: Bad repute: DISFAVOR. Are they really interchangeable?

34A: Balanced conditions: STASES. The singular form is STASIS. The plural for equilibrium can be equilibria or equilibriums.

39A: Old English characters: EDHS. How so?

40A: Fort Stewart neighbor: SAVANNAH. Pure guess. I've never heard of Fort Stewart before.

51A: Bad pun: GROANER. New to me. Can you give me an example?

52A: Verbena plant: LANTANA. Also unknown to me. I don't think I've seen this kind of flowering plant before, have you?

76A: Radioactivity pioneer: CURIE. I suppose this can refer to either of the couple. Without this answer, MME (23D: Fr. woman's title) could be clued as "CURIE title".

77A: In good working order: A-OK. Funny how the same hand-gesture can mean different thing in different culture.

83A: Wall St. letters: NYSE. And ASE (14D: NASD competitor). I am more familiar with AMEX & NASDAQ though. Are there any differences that I am not aware of?

90A: Poetic time of day: MIDMORN

101A: Jerkwater: ONE-HORSE. I did not know the meaning of "Jerkwater". What a strange name!

126A: Blood deficiency (var.): ANAEMIA. Dates, you need lots of sweet dates, they are very rich in iron content.

128A: Marine celebrities?: SEA STARS. Very nice clue.

129A: Author of "Kissing the Gunner's Daughter": RENDELL (Ruth). I've never heard of the book nor the author. Nice library.


5D: Hot lunch?: CHILI DOG. I've never quite understood this food Chili. Does it always have beans in it?

10D: Two-toed sloth: UNAU. I forgot. Here is a two-toed sloth UNAU. And this is a three-toed sloth AI".

31D: "Star Trek" role: UHURA. Nope. I've never watched "Star Trek". She is the communications officer on the Enterprise. I did get LEIA (88D: "Star Wars" role). How to pronounce UHURA?

32D: Windows basis: MS-DOS

34D: Actress Thompson: SADA. I filled in EMMA first. Have never heard of SADA Thompson. Here is SADA in "Family". Do you like "The Princess Bride"?

42D: Can't be beat: NO-LOSE. The clue feels like it's asking for a verb, doesn't it?

46D: Water depth: abbr.: FTH. I suppose it's for FATHOM. Not a familiar abbreviation to me.

48D: Insect: pref.: ENTOM. As in ENTOMOLOGY.

49D: Levels in London: RASES. I like our RAZES. Good alliteration in the clue. "Levels in Leeds" is great too.

57D: Stallone sequel: ROCKY II.

69D: Rolling Stones hit: ANGIE. Here is the song. It sounds so sad.

70D: Auto racer Niki: LAUDA. I googled his name. Wikipedia says this former Austrian Formula one champion owns 2 airlines: LAUDA Air and Niki.

71D: Farm: GRANGE. This is a new word to me. Isn't GRANGE a kind of music genre?

73D: Violet essence: IONONE. Another new word to me. Dictionary says it's "a colorless to yellowish liquid, C13H20O, having a strong odor of violets and used in perfumes."

91D: Old Greek coin: OBOL. No idea. Here is some very interesting information about OBOL & Hades.

95D: Type of molecular geometry: TRIGONAL. New to me also. Same as triangular I suppose.

99D: In the act of: DOING. This clue just feels so awkward to me.

104D: Indian princes: RAJAS. Wouldn't have got 119A without the letter "J" from RAJAS.

106D: Siamese fighting fish BETTA. No idea. Dictionary says it's also called "Fighting fish". Wow, what a strange idea to put a plant and fish together in a vase.

109D: Befell:: TIDED. I did not know that TIDE can mean "Befall" also.


Sep 20, 2008

Saturday September 20, 2008 Barry Silk

Theme: None

Total blocks: 28

There is slight stream of financial terms running in this puzzle:

28A: Nest-egg initials: IRA

31A: Financial specialist: ECONOMIST

5D: Wall St. unit: SHR

7D: Tax act letters: ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act)

I liked this puzzle, some of the clues are so refreshing. For example:

16A: Where Aesop shopped?: AGORA. The Greek mall.

19A: Zodiac butter?: RAM. I thought "Butter?" is even better.

33A: Spar alone?: SHADOW BOX

51A: Curly poker?: MOE

21D: Second course?: PLAN B

But shouldn't the clue for NAIL SETS (14D: Carpenter's tool) be in plural form? (Addendum: Please ignore this comment. The answer is NAIL SET. I made a mistake when I typed in the blog entry)

I had to google today. There is no way I can complete a Barry Silk puzzle unaided.


1A: Freezes: STOPS DEAD. I was brought to an immediate & complete halt by this clue.

15A: 1965 hit by the Zombies: TELL HER NO. No, no, I've never heard of this song.

16A: Crenshaw or casaba: MELON. Neither is my favorite. I like honeydew. What's your favorite MELON? How do you serve them? In balls?

17A: Backing: ENDORSING

18A: ___ Gras: MARDI. Ah, I am so hungry for some FOIE gras on toast.

20A: NASA's ISS partner: ESA (European Space Agency). Or "That" in Spanish.

21A: Melatonin gland: PINEAL. No idea.

22A: Warriors' org.: NBA. I don't think I've seen NBA clued as "Timberwolves' org." before. We have great sports teams here in MN: Twins (MLB), Vikings (NFL), Wild (NHL) and T'wolves (NBA). Oh, we have Thunder & Lightening too.

23A: Argue noisily: WRANGLE

29A: Writing-on-the-wall word: MENE. New to me. Dictionary defines MENE as "numbered, one of the words of the mysterious inscription written "upon the plaister of the wall" in Belshazzar's palace at Babylon. The writing was explained by Daniel".

35A: Pool game: EIGHT- BALL

38A: Insults wittily: ZINGS

43A: Linguistics suffix: EME. I misread the clue as "Language suffix", so I wanted ESE.

44A: Exam cramming: REVIEW. I don't understand this clue/answer. Is REVIEW here a noun or a verb?

46A: Annoyed: HASSLED

48A: Nashville-based awards org.: CMA (Country Music Association). I really do not understand Kenny Chesney's appeal.

49A: Six-feet of water: FATHOM

52A: 911 responder: EMT. Nice change from the"CPR specialist" clue.

54A: Retaliation: TIT FOR TAT

57A: "Odyssey" sorceress: CIRCE. She "detained Odysseus on her island and turned his men into swine". Not familiar with this Greek mythology at all. It kind of reminded me of the seamen-luring SIRENS.

58A: Make slender: ATTENUATE

59A: Exalt to the heavens: ENSKY. New to me also.

60A: Cut: SHORTENED. It seems that whenever "Cut" or "Read" are clued, the answer is always in past tense.


1D: Less flexible: STERNER

2D: Rationally defensible: TENABLE

3D: Children's card game: OLD MAID. Just learned this card game when we had WAR clue the other day.

6D: Skip out on: DESERT. I like this verb fill rather than "Sahara/Gobi" DESERT.

8D: 1993 Playmate of the Year: ANNA NICOLE SMITH. I thought of Pamela Anderson first.

11D: Alaska's fist governor: EGAN. It's clued as "Magnet and Steel" singer on Barry's Sept 5 puzzle.

12D: Marilyn's blond part?: LORELEI. Another unknown. I've never seen "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes". Dictionary says LORELI is "a quasilegendary nymph of the Rhine who lured sailors to shipwreck on her rock by singing". So, another SIREN?

27D: Undemanding: CUSHY. Really? Give you give me an example?

29D: 2014: MMXIV

31D: Dutch cheeses: EDAMS. Or GOUDAS if there is one more blank.

34D: Crosswise, nautically: ABEAM. It's perpendicular to the keel, isn't it? We seem to have nautical term every day now.

35D: Imposing structure: EDIFICE

37D: Old-fashioned footwear: GAITERS. Another unknown. Here is a picture. They look pretty cool to me.

39D: Comment to a sun worshiper: NICE TAN

40D: Having buds: GEMMATE. I can feel Spring.

44D: Sailor's jacket: REEFER. What's the difference between a REEFER and a pea coat?

46D: Hive product: HONEY. HONEY, you thrill me.

50D: Unrespected writer: HACK. What do you call those people who write fanfictions?


Sep 19, 2008

Friday September 19, 2008 Arlan and Linda Bushman

Theme: B, literally (Words/Phrase that start with letter B)

17A: B, literally: BANDLEADER

61A: B literally: BOBBLEHEAD

10D: B literally: BRITISH OPEN

25D: B literally: BATTLEFRONT

Hmmm, the farm boy Westley of "The Princess Bride" probably wants a BUTTERCUP COVER. How about BATMAN FACE? What else can you think of?

I liked this puzzle tremendously. Very creative theme idea and smooth cluing. A bit of musical instrument sub-theme:

41A: Slender reed: OBOE

47A: Luau music maker: UKE

50D: Big brass: TUBAS

I also thought of CHEERLEADER, CLUBHEAD, COLD FRONT, CANADIAN OPEN for a "C, literally" themed puzzle, with a golf-sub theme.


1A: Top points: ACMES. If it's a 5-letter blank, then it could be APICES, the plural form of APEX.

10A: Rorshach image: BLOT

20A: Pack animal: ASS. My first though was RAT.

22A: Wrestling ring duo: TAG TEAM. I learned this morning that only one match is allowed in the ring at one time. Such aggressive wrestling match types: Last Man Standing, Hard Ten Match, Strip Matches (Bra and Panties, Tuxedo), Pillow Fight, Mud Match, etc.

24A: Hitchcock thriller: THE BIRDS. Only saw the very end of the film, horrifying! I like Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief", lovely! "Rear Window" is a bit scary too.

29A: Spot for reporters: PRESS BOX

34A: Latte topping: FROTH. Holy hot wick FROTH. What caused it?

38A: Mia of soccer: HAMM. Very nice clip.

40A: Garden perennial: PEONY. Here is a beautiful PEONY for you. China does not really have a national flower. People simply can not decide whether to pick PEONY or winter plum blossom. We also have lotus for summer and chrysanthemum for autumn. So basically, China is one country, 4 flowers (for 4 seasons).

44A: Watch furtively: SPY ON

46A: Road marker: MILEPOST

49A: Potency: STRENGTH

54A: Austere: SPARTAN

65A: Kinks' title woman: LOLA. Here is the song. Not very familiar to me. LOLA is always the "Damn Yankees" girl to me.

66A: Ballet __ of Monte Carlo: RUSSE. No idea. Got it from the across fills.

69A: Thomas and Green: SETHS. Another educated guess. Have never heard either of them.


1D: No longer on deck: AT BAT. Wouldn't it be awesome if the clue for the intersecting TRADE (14A: Line of work) is "Baseall news"?

9D: Game plan: STRATEGY

12D: Southern side dish: OKRA. I always associate OKRA with Gumbo.

26D: Brussels ___: SPROUTS. Have you ever grown Brussels SPROUTS? The stems are so long.

31D: Mollycoddle: BABY. "BABY, I Love You."

33D: Wolverine' s group: X-MEN. The Marvel Comics.

34D: O'Hara's "___ the Terrace": FROM. Another unknown. Easy to infer though. Have you seen the movie?

44D: Kabob holders: SKEWERS

47D: River to the Caspian: URAL. Or URAL Mountains (Europe/Asia separator).


Sep 18, 2008

Thursday September 18, 2008 Alan P. Olschwang

Theme: Don't Forget... (Evan Esar)

20A: Start of a quip: WRITING THINGS

32A: Part 2 of quip: DOWN IS

41A: Part 3 of quip: THE BEST

48A: Part 4 of quip: SECRET

59A: End of quip: OF GOOD MEMORY

This will be a short write-up. I cut my left index finger while peeling a nectarine earlier. Difficult to type. All I can say is that I had no problem understanding this quip.


1A: IV quantities: CCS. Or "E.R./O.R. quantities."

9A: Samantha of "The Collector": EGGAR. This is her website. I've never heard of her name or the movie before.

14A: Cheer in a bowl?: RAH. I wonder when/how this "bowl" came into being.

16A: Director of spaghetti westerns: LEONE (Sergio). No idea. Only knew Sierra LEONE the country. Who is the guy on the left? Would you call Clint Eastwood an OATER (33D: Shoot-'em-up) in those movies?

18A: Slowly, in music: LENTO. Like the opening tempo of this Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 I suppose. Do you like it?

19A: Wide receiver Terrel: OWENS. Poor Jessica.

24A: Japanese honorific: SAN. I cannot believe this restaurant's name is Mama-SAN. So audacious! Maybe they meant okaa - SAN?

34A: Workday start, often: NINE AM

37A: Jetson's dog: ASTRO. I bet Mr. Olschwang hates Houston ASTROS.

44A: Ivan of tennis: LENDL. So the ball hit McEnroe's chest only?

50A: Beset by problems: HARRIED. Are you OK with this clue?

54A: Spicy stew: OLLA. It's clued as "Earthen ware crock" in his last puzzle. I've never had OLLA before, have you? Is OLLA really cooked over a fire?

64A: Plays' players: CASTS. I like verbs in the puzzle, so I would clue it as "Flings".

72A: Coffee concoction: LATTE


3D: Australian lass: SHEILA. I've never heard of this expression before. Kazie, what's the slang for "Australian lad"?

6D: Band of pals: GANG. Have you heard of China's "GANG of Four"? The lower right lady is Jiang Qiang, Chair Mao's wife. They were arrested and charged with treason after Mao died.

9D: North Carolina University: ELON. I can never remember its name. See this Phoenix Rising statue at Elon University. Their sports teams are called the Phoenix.

10D: Baubles: GEWGAWS. What's the origin of GEWGAW?

13D: Legal thing: RES. And ESSE (63D: Latin being)

27D: Those, to Tomas: ESOS. Singular is ESA.

30D: Durham sch.: UNH. Got stumped again. Here is their Wildcats logo.

39D: Highland dance: REEL. No idea, it's "a lively Scottish dance".

40D: Penned in: ENCLOSED. Maybe I should be a cattle. I would have had no problem penning in ENCLOSED. Cleverly misleading clue.

45D: Forced inductee: DRAFTEE. I don't like this clue. Would prefer something "non-volunteer" related.

47D: Tap on a table: DRUM. I don't understand this clue/answer. What kind of DRUM is a "Tap"?

51D: Wagnerian heroine: ISOLDE. It's clued as "Tristan's beloved" last time.

57D: Main artery: AORTA

61D: Shoulder muscle, briefly: DELT (Deltoid). I forgot. See here. Isn't woman always looking for a warm shoulder to cuddle her head on?

62D: Carnivore's choice: MEAT. I don't think so. It's "Carnivore's diet". Would be OK were it clued as "Omnivore's choice".