Dec 19, 2008

Friday December 19, 2008 Allan E. Parrish

Theme: Have an AX to Grind

17A: Kenny G, e.g.: SAX PLAYER

24A: Modern message-sender: FAX MACHINE

37A: Like most charitable contributions: TAX DEDUCTIBLE

50A: Corporal of the 4077th: MAX KLINGER

61A: Rhapsodize: WAX POETIC

Hammer fell for me! So many unfamiliar proper names.

Got the theme rather quickly and filled in all the AX'es. But ZLOTYS (45D: Polish cash) intersects ELEAZAR? Impossible for me. Also, the clue for 50A meant nothing to me. I've never watched M*A*S*H.

Why abbreviated "Fr." for A DEUX (7D: Of two: Fr.) clue?


1A: Garfield for one: CAT. Garfield's pal is ODIE.

4A: Dazzling display: ECLAT. Very close to ECLAIR in spelling.

9A: Egg-shaped: OVATE. And OVA (35A: Eggs).

14A: Mary of "Where Eagles Dare": URE. Another "My Pet Goat" freezing moment for me. I can never remember the name of this actress.

16A: Brett of the gridiron: FAVRE. A rare gimme for me. Lots of Green Bay Packers flags & signs in our neighborhood. Weird to see him in Jets jersey.

19A: Thematic musical piece: FUGUE. This kid probably knows more about Bach's Prelude and FUGUE than I ever could.

23A: Crisp or Chanel: COCO. I think this is the first time that COCO Crisp appears in any nationally syndicated puzzle. He was just traded to the Royals.

29A: Small hill: KNOLL. It reminded me of the Grassy KNOLL & Dealey Plaza. Personally, I think Caroline Kennedy is trying to fulfill her brother's dream when she announced her interest in Hillary's seat. JFK Jr. was seriously contemplating running for the Senate before he died.

31A: Overturned: UPENDED

32A: Begin, for example: ISRAELI. Good clue. Menachem BEGIN. He won Nobel Peace in 1979, together with Anwar Sadat.

41A: Eclipse or Stride: GUM

42A: Tenon holder: MORTISE. Here is the diagram again.

43A: Dartmouth founder Wheelock: ELEAZAR. I googled his name.

46A: T. Garr movie: MR. MOM. I had zero familiarity with this movie.

56A: Fifth of CCCV: LXI. Roman 61. That will be the Super Bowl of 2027.

57A: QB stats: INTS. Interceptions I suppose. All I know about football is TDS.

66A: Salad bar item: BAC~OS. New to me. Is it tasty?

67A: Medicinal plant: SENNA. The "Tuscany city" is SIENA. And the "Earth pigment" is SIENNA. And of course, there is also the actress SIENNA Miller. Also HENNA, "Reddish Dye".


1D: "Serendipity" star John: CUSACK. I saw the movie. Very silly.

2D: Region of Spain: ARAGON. It's the region where Catherine of ARAGON came from I presume.

3D: Chevron's 2001 merger partner: TEXACO

4D: Emigrant's subject: ESL (English as a Second Language)

5D: Grain husks: CHAFF

6D: Clapton classic: LAYLA. Here is the clip. What does "Unplugged" mean?

8D: Tuesday god: TYR. Norse god of strife. Wikipedia says he is often portrayed as a "one-handed man". New to me.

10D: Slugger Mo: VAUGHN. Gimme for me. His baseball card is not worth anything.

12D: Play about Capote: TRU

18D: Long-winded: PROLIX. New word to me.

22D: American elk: WAPITI

25D: Penalize by fining: MULCT. This word just looks so wrong.

26D: Billy of Rock: IDOL. Wow, I am glad I've never heard of him before.

27D: Actress Campbell: NEVE. I liked her in "Party of Five".

28D: Writer LeShan: EDA. Would not have got her name without the across fills.

30D: Hippie drug: LSD. Did anyone actually try this drug in the 1960's?

37D: City south of Moscow: TULA. Foreign to me. See this map.

38D: NYSE rival: AMEX. Can you believe that Barnard Madoff was once the NASDAQ Chairman?

40D: Wodehouse's Wooster: BERTIE. No idea. See here for more information.

44D: Quite alike: AKIN TO

47D: Lola or Maria: MONTEZ. Lola MONTEZ was a dancer, and Maria MONTEZ was an actress. I knew neither of them.

52D: Gas giant: EXXON. It's merged with Mobil in 1999

53D: Wisconsin college: RIPON. Another new name to me. RIP ON, why would they pick up this name?

58D: Dubya's Florida brother: JEB. Molly Ivins coined "Dubya". Boy, she sure had a biting tongue.

60D: Vert. bars on goods: UPC

61D: London loos: WCS. Needs "briefly" in the clue.

62D: Volga tributary: OKA. I got this river from the across fills. Too many vowel-laden rivers in Europe.



Martin said...

Oh. My. God. That was a hammer. FUGUE crossed with VAUGHN (which was clued with Mo, not Vince), RIPON crossed with SENNA, WAPITI crossed with MORTISE which crossed with BERTIE which crossed with INTS which crossed with MONTEZ and, worst of all, ELEZAR crossed with AMEZ, TULA and ZLOTYS. ZLOTYS! I wanted HON or PET for GEM because I thought "individual" was asking for a person, not a thing. Boo! Oh and I didn't think of MASH until after I got MAX KLINGER. Doh!

20 minutes 14 seconds.

Carol made a comment yesterday about how women are treated in Indian, Arab and Chinese cultures and I defended "Asian" cultures. In retrospect, I can see how the treatment of women in Japanese culture is almost as bad as that in Arab culture. That's what I get for over generalizing.


Martin said...

PROLIX and MULCT were also unknowns for me. I was listening to COCO Lee this morning so that would have been a better clue for me.


Dennis said...

Good morning, c.c. and gang - not a full hammer for me this morning, but several stumbling blocks. The "ax" theme helped, but there were a few names I struggled with, such as 43A and 40D. Wouldn't have gotten either without the perps.

Martin, I believe it's Amexand Eleazar, not Amez and Elezar.

And where's Barry Silk been? Seems like it's been a while.

Still on the food theme, today is Oatmeal Muffin Day. Have a great Friday.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Martin & Carol,
Great posts yesterday. Things have changed a lot in China in the past decade. Nowadays women hold equal if not more power in urban living. Male dominance still exists in many small towns/rural areas though.

Maybe we will get a Barry Silk themeless tomorrow? It's indeed been too long since we solved his last puzzle (Dec 2, 2008). I wish I had some oatmeal muffin to go with my green tea. It's pomegranate flavored, very fragrant. Have you tried it before?

C.C. Burnikel said...

Barb B,
I am very happy and inspired by what you've achieved.

The "Pickles" yesterday was indeed funny. Great poem last night. I've learned that the "little things" our loved one does for us are indeed better than the words "I love you".

Seattle John,
Thanks for shedding the light on the emblazoned TABARD logo.

Re: Harbin. I thought I emailed you back immediately. Breathtaking pictures. Thank you. Sorry to hear the inconvenience the snow has caused for you. Now you have to cook?

C.C. Burnikel said...

Your Messiah answer is perfectly fine. What's your secret for long living?

I could picture you gently feed the birds. Do you use millet at all?

I loved your SATE observation. I miss comments like that.

Sorry about the ASSN error. I made a mistake on the intersecting SAN MATEO earlier yesterday morning.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Your 5-minute Dennis time looking for puzzle & the Picabo ICU comments made me laugh. Thanks.

Nice to "see" you. Very pretty picture.

Jeanne in MN,
I don't think being feminine contradicts being a feminist. They are not mutually exclusive.

Dennis said...

C.C., no tea. I need something cold in the morning to get my heart started. I think if I drank tea or coffee in the morning, I'd probably want to go back to bed. Besides, I always associate tea with being sick; seems like anytime you have anything, people want to give you tea and toast.

Off to the gym.

Dr. Dad said...

Good morning, C.C. and all.
Not really a hammer but darn close for me. Mulct???!!!! Fugue???!!!Prolix???!!! Then I stared at 4D = ESL and couldn't figure out what that stood for (English as a Second Language) until I googled the abbreviation. Did google some others to see if they were really words.

Eleazar was also the son of Aaron, brother of Moses.

New England is finally going to get some show. Predictions are anywhere from 6-15 inches in Rhode Island. Everyone here is running out to buy their milk and bread. A weird thing they do here since the blizzard of '78 caught them all with their pants down and no perishable items in their cupboards. I even know people that rarely eat bread and drink milk who go to the store to get them when a snowstorm is pending. Go figure.

Today is (in addition to Dennis' oatmeal muffins) Look For An Evergreen Day. And it is the Anniversary of the First Christmas Greeting from Space. In 1958 the first Christmas greeting (a recording from President Dwight Eisenhower) was broadcast from space by a satellite launched a day earlier. 10 years later another Christmas greeting was broadcast from space by the astronauts of Apollo 8 as they circled the moon on Christmas Eve.1968.

Have a good Friday. Next two weeks are vacation for me so I may not be on the blog much.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning CC & Jeannie and all who blog here.

38 years ago today I was born on this date.

14:51 today.

32 Across Begin, for example.


I thought was begin like when in school the teacher would give a test and she would say begin now.

Not fmr. PM Menachem Begin

Max Klinger portrayer Jamie Farr

He dressed in womens thinking that the ARMY would give him a Section 8 discharge (A U.S. Army discharge based on military assessment of psychological unfitness or character traits deemed undesirable)

In my opinion the earlier episodes with Frank Burns, Trapper John and Henry Blake were the funniest.

MASH episode 1 Season 2

C.C. Burnikel said...

Tea & toast are perfect for breakfast, esp for those who are not gluten sensitive.

Dr. Dad,
Are you traveling somewhere for the holidays?

Kazie & Clear Ayes,
Wonderful posts yesterday. I enjoyed very much.

NYTAnonimo said...

Another bad puzzle day at the Trib-didn't get BERTIE, GUM, TULA, MONTEZ and had PET instead of CAT for 1A. Oh well. Off to the pool. Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Dr. Dad said...

C.C. - maybe going to Moorestown, NJ to visit my daughter. Other than that, no.

Barry G. said...

Morning, folks!

Had to drop my car off at the shop early this morning, so I'm running a bit late.

This puzzle wasn't as much a hammer for me as it was for C. C., but it was plenty difficult and kinda sorta defeated me in the end. There were lots of names I didn't know, including ELEAZAR, TULA, OKA, URE, RIPON, EDA, BERTIE, ZLOTYS and MONTEZ, but for the most part I was able to either get them via the perps or make educated guesses. I guessed ELEAZAR correctly, which gave me TULA and the initial Z of ZLOTYS. Unfortunately, I had BACON instead of BACOS for 66A, which meant I ended up with ZLOTYN instead of ZLOTYS. Ah well, I was close.

The next part that caused me grief was the bottom central crossing of RIPON and SENNA. RIPON was a complete unknown to me, and I was only about 60% sure about SENNA. I really wanted HENNA, but WCS was juist too obvious for 61D (although, when I first saw the clue for 61D I was thinking, "Wait -- aren't London loos called loos?") So I finally went with SENNA and got it right. But it just as easily could have been a college named RIPOT and a plant called SENTA...

The final part that messed me up and proved my undoing was the northern central section where I put SEEDY instead of SHADY for 15A. It seemed to fit fine with A DEUX (I know just enough french for me to have guessed that one), and so I was absolutely sure it was correct. Oops. Then, I couldn't quite remember LAYLA and convinced myself that it was actually LEELA (which also fit nicely with SEEDY). But that left me scratching my head trying to figure out 5D and 17A. In retrospect, both of those should have been gimmes, but I was so sure that 15A was SEEDY that I was blinded to the truth and ended up throwing in the towel for that section. I don't blame the puzzle for that, though.

The good news is that I did know MULCT (from past puzzles), MAX KLINGER, ECLAT, PROLIX and MORTISE, which kept the puzzle from being as much of a hammer as it otherwise could have been.

Oh -- and I should mentioned that I stared at 1A for quite awhile not willing to accept that it could really be as simple an answer as CAT. ^_^

Barry G. said...

Sorry, that last smiley should really have been:


It's a cat, get it? Whiskers?

Never mind....

Anonymous said...

Dr Dad

I remember the blizzard of 1978. In KY I was out of school for 3 weeks! My mom was ready for the snow to melt!

I live in the Central KY area.

Nov 77 4.5"
Dec 77 1.7"
Jan 78 23.5"
Feb 77 10.0"
Mar 77 4.4"

read more here:

Anonymous said...

Ripon College is in the city of Ripon Wisconsin. The city is the birthplace of the Republican Party. It has a sister city in England called Ripon. Ripon was a family name and is also famous for it's Ripon cookies. It is one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country.

Anonymous said...

I think the secret for long living in my case is genetics. Several of my ancestors lived very long lives. Healthful living counts, too.

lois said...

Good morning CC et al, This one gave me the 'chaff' and I'd like to give it the 'ax'. Thought 58D clue was cute and loved the reminder of hilarious Klinger. Considering an 'upended''gem', today is a great day for muffin eating - oatmeal or otherwise - but isn't every day?

Enjoy this grayt day.

Dr. Dad said...

Cute, Barry G. =^_^=

Jeannie said...

Good morning all. I had miscue after miscue on this puzzle this morning and had to take several jaunts to the g-spot more than I like to. I finally threw the towel on this gem. Ones I couldn't get: fugue, mortise, and mulct. I guess I learned some new words today which isn't a bad thing.

The only good thing about today is it is Oatmeal muffin day. Anytime you can start the day with a muffin (especially an ear pulling one) it's a good day.

Dennis said...

C.C., orange juice and cereal for me.

Lois, amen, amen, amen.

Oh, and to follow up yesterday's question: What's the worst Christmas/holiday present you've ever received?

Jeannie said...

Dennis, I have an aunt that gives me a God awful gaudy holiday sweater each year. It's hard to narrow it down, but I have one that actually lights up a couple of snowflakes in a most inappropriate place(s).

winfield said...

Unplugged refers to the use acoustic music which only uses instruments whose sound is not electronically modified such as an acoustic guitar. The word was used on the MTV series that began in the late 80's called MTV Unplugged. Musicians performed acoustic or "unplugged" versions of their familiar songs. Many of these shows were released as albums, often featuring the title Unplugged. Such as Dylan Unplugged...

kazie said...

"I am not sure as to what you mean about "hiding" my abilities. Can you expand on that?"
I'm sorry if I misread your meaning to be saying they let you do those things for them. It sounded like you were miffed that they weren't doing their share and you had to clean up after them behind the scenes. I remember a sign someone put up in our workroom at school once: "Your mother doesn't work here. Clean up your own mess." Maybe you could use something like that too.

I thought the 7D clue was a bit off. "à deux" would not mean "of two", rather "for two". I had to g'spot TULA, ELEAZAR, got MULCT from crosses and still don't have a clue about it. I screwed up EMPTY because I had USB instead of UPC, and BACOS didn't even occur to me because I call them bacon bits (remember, I don't remember brand names).

I do know of Ripon College. Many of our best students go there to avoid the huge campus at Madison.

Zlotys was also a gimme since I always remember being on a Cook's tour in Poland coming back from Moscow and being advised not to change cash into zlotys as they were worthless.

We are still awaiting the snowplows here after getting about a foot of snow and still counting. Son and d-i-l are on a bus to O'Hare, after giving up on flying out of Madison to begin their trip home to Chemnitz for Christmas. So what's it like in Chicago today?

Barb B said...

This one beat me into the ground. I did ok in the first half, then crashed and burned when I got to ISRAELI. What a good clue. It was the little words that killed me. GUM AND GEM – not foreign – just totally unexpected for me. I had ZED for the last letter, so I couldn’t get MISCUE. I don’t know- probably just got psyched out.

About women’s status, from yesterday, I have to say that things are VERY much improved. Women have more choices and opportunities than ever before. I had it easier than my mom, by far.

Still, Ireland, Latvia, New Zealand, Finland, Philippines Bangladesh, Mozambique, Germany, Chile, Liberia and Jamaica all currently have women heads of state, but it’s a big deal in the US. I think it’s because we have a strong fundamentalist thread running through our culture that is very toxic.

I hope we can keep moving forward.

bethann said...

Some of these were easy as pie and then others were buggers! I knew 1a and d easy enough as I absolutly love John Cusack and can't stand Garfield. I don't understand waxpoetic can someone explain that to me? also tenon holder? I kept thinking teDon holder some of these clues and answers were just downright crazzzzzzzy lots of xuz's today. Have a good one :)

kazie said...

Barb B,
I think New Zealand was first to give women the right to vote too. One of the last was Switzerland.

I also had trouble with GUM, forgot to mention before--I never chew it and... brand names again.

Anonymous said...

mark - Buenos Aires

The Spanish word for a fine is "multa" so it could be the same root.

I prefer the clue to read "immigrant´s" rather than "emigrant´s" - emigre´s perhaps is OK

Ripon is indeed a beautiful town in Yorkshire. I suppose the one in US takes its name from the English town as does eg New York, Lincoln, Birmingham and East Liverpool where 5,000 families from the Potteries area of Staffordhire (ie Stoke on Trent) settled and started making pottery. Is that industry still there?

How about a cryptic clue

"Safe place in Fifth Avenue"
5 letters

A bit of snow here would be wonderful, another 100 degree day.

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, It's a good thing I caught the "AX" second and third letters of the theme early on. That helped quite a bit with words like PROLIX, TULA, RIPON and MULCT.

Has anyone ever returned an overdue library book and paid a MULCT? The noun is weird, and I'm not sure how to use this word as a verb. "Did the court MULCT you for that speeding ticket?" (Past tense.."Yes, they MULCTED me."???) Other than adding it to my word list, I don't plan on ever using MULCT again.

I'd steer clear of BACOS bits at a salad bar, unless I were a vegetarian. It is made out of soy and doesn't taste a lot like real bacon.

C.C. Yes, femininity and feminism can go hand in hand. They are not mutually exclusive. Nowadays, my husband's gentlemanly (and feminist) habits of doing his own laundry, wiping down the toilet and scrubbing the shower after use have melted my heart more than once. I show my appreciation in the most feminine way possible. LOL

Seriously, until rape as a tool of war in Sudan's Darfur and other countries is stopped, the world still has a tragic reminder of the way huge numbers of women are treated.

Anonymous said...

For Barb B.:There are several "Evangelical" churches who place women in leadership roles...not just the Quakers...

I took your advice, C. C. and am posting under my name...

Crockett1947 said...

Good morning, all. Where to begin with unknowns? URE, ELEAZAR, SENNA, CUSACK, PROLIX, TYR, VAUGHN, BERTIE, TULA, MONTEZ. That said, I was able to get everything without going to the G spot.

@barryg Read your web site last night. You've had an interesting life so far.

@barbb When and where are commencement exercises? Are they still going to be held?

Another snow day here, but I may try to keep the vet's appointment for our cat.

Have a great Friday!

Barry G. said...

How about a cryptic clue

"Safe place in Fifth Avenue"
5 letters

Hah! That would be HAVEN (whose letters are contained within the phrase "Fifth Avenue"). I finally got one of those buggers...

I don't understand waxpoetic can someone explain that to me?

To wax poetically (or, in it's shortened form, to wax poetic) is to speak with eloquence about a subject. Wax, in this case, means to increase (the same way the appearance of the moon is said to wax and wane over the course of the month). Actually, in this context it means more "become" than "increase."

Bill said...

OK, If you say so!
Some fell to adjacents and some didn't fall at all 'til I got here.
Forecact is for LOTS of S*** today and it started about 1 1/2 hours ago, so I think I'm homebound today!
CY'all later

NYTAnonimo said...

Explanation and picture of MORTISE and tenon here bethann. And here is an elaboration on WAX POETIC-they note that "One definition of wax is to pass into a mood or state. So it literally means to pass into a mood or state of being poetic." Rhapsodize means To express oneself in an immoderately enthusiastic manner (from the Hope that helps.

kazie said...

Barb B,
I'm not sure exactly the correct interpretation of "evangelical", but our United Methodist Church has had more women pastors in the course of our membership, than men. They are meant to change every 6-10 years, and I have counted four women and only three men.

I agree about emigrant too. They emigrate from their homeland, and immigrate to the place where they would need ESL. (Prefix e(x) = out of; i(m/n) = into)

Anonymous said...

ARGH!!! Strange words, same ones everyone else had problems with. Got the Theme words, but mis-read TENON 3x as TENDON. Once I read it correctly I was ok. First thought on beloved individual(41D) was MOM, but that obviously didn't work.
On Bertie Wooster, he is a very funny character who is totally controlled and saved from hilariously witless plans by his "man" Jeeves. The books were written as satire about the worthless and silly rich young men of the upper class and set in the time period between WWI and WWII. PBS used to show the TV version with the hysterically funny British comedy team of Stephen Frye as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie of HOUSE as Bertie Wooster. As a comment on the uselessness of the British upper class it is spot on!

There were just too many names today. Finally had to check a couple of the fills here to make sure I was headed in the right always, thanks C.C.

Kathleen SF Bay Area

Anonymous said...

Hi C.C. and all,

Not even close to solving this puzzle. Finally gave up about half way and let C.C. fill in the rest.

As to bird feeding; I buy "Wild bird feed" and "Cracked corn" in 50# bags and mix them together.
Every morning I scatter the seeds across my back yard, and here they come.
They have learned the routine and are always waiting for my appearance.
I also put out some cheap dog food for the squirrels. They have plenty of pecans to live on but I think they like a little variety in their menu.

Fun to watch nature at work.

Anonymous said...

Hi C.C.

It was a tough puzzle for us today. I had kept trying to find a definition for Begin like start until I finally realized my error.

RE: Clapton unplugged?

That one of my most favorite CD's ref:

"Unplugged" means that it's an acoustic version i.e. not using electric guitars.


melissa bee said...

good morning c.c. and all,

c.c. we are opposites today. i am very fond of the movie 'serendipity' and billy idol, and MASH is my favorite tv show, bar none. movie is also excellent. i knew bertie wooster from the jeeves and wooster stories, and knew favre because .. well because i'm alive, but never heard of mo vaughn - and coco crisp is just some cereal my mom never allowed in the house (thanks mom).

i know alot of people like him, but i think a better clue for kenny g would be sax MANGLER. (mangle: to spoil, injure, or make incoherent especially through ineptitude.) i wish HE were unplugged. there.. i said it.

thought radar before klinger, loved the clue for israeli, and enjoyed the fugue link - thanks. it is the same tempo as the pitter-patter of rain on my sky lights.

can't think of a worst christmas gift - but i saved a xmas card i got that started like this: 'merry christmas, i have black fungus on my toe.' totally serious.

@bethann and all the other newbies: welcome!

@buckeye: wonderful to hear your coroner's report.

@calef: lovely christmas gift observation, and i couldn't agree more about healthful living.

@drdad: enjoy your vacation.

@barb b: happy graduation day .. i shall be cheering for you!!

carol said...

Good morning C.C.and friends....I had a very rough time with this puzzle and had to look up far too many words for it to be enjoyable. I did get the 'theme' words but it didn't help with the rest as they were so obscure (to me).

C.C. (at 6:19 to Jeannie) I agree with you on feminine/feminist.

Jeannie, I loved your idea of just picking out your own copies/faxes and leaving the rest. Perfect! As you said, the rest is not yours or your responsibility. Geez, office areas sound just like they did when I haunted them!

I still can't help thinking about 'muffin tops' when I see the word muffin. I didn't know until recently that it meant that part of a person that hangs over their pants at the waist line. What a hoot! We used to just call it a roll of fat. Aren't euphemisms great? :)

Clear ayes, very clever and funny remarks about 'mulct" LOL
Also too true about the Bacos bits. Years ago, when they first came out, I tried some in a salad and almost broke a tooth! (no flavor either, only salty)

My husband also helps around the house without me asking. He vacuums, wipes down the shower, cleans the toilet (in his bathroom), always helps carry in the groceries, etc. Yet, he listens to me opinion on politics, investments, my rantings on social issues so we have a good blend.
As stated before, women have come a long way (in this country)but have much farther to go in others.

embien said...

14:37 today. Wow, a tough one for me with so many obscure names, several of them crossing. For me, that means a guess-fest, which I find very unsatisfying.

I hate clues like 37d: City south of Moscow (TULA). I mean, there are an infinite number of cities "south" of just about anywhere, Moscow included. The clue might as well read "name a four-letter city that isn't at the north pole". I imagine I'm south of Moscow, in the sense that my latitude is lower than their's? (I'm not looking up Moscow's latitude, so this may not be correct.)

@c.c.. I found your email reply re: Harbin. Somehow it got routed into the wrong folder and I missed it.

Clear Ayes said...

Kathleen, Hugh Laurie's Bertie Wooster was so adorably dimwitted and Stephen Fry's Jeeves was the epitome of a gentleman's gentleman. All of the Masterpiece Theatre series is available on Just search "Jeeves and Wooster".

My worst Christmas present was also one of the best. I just didn't realize it until about 20 years later. When I was seven or eight years old, my grandmother made a quilt for me. All my cousins got dolls or other toys. I was so disappointed when I opened the biggest package under the tree and found a quilt! I loved my grandma and wouldn't hurt her feelings, so I tried not to let on that it was the last thing I would have wanted. I did sleep under the quilt for many years, but it finally wore out. When I grew up, I realized how much care and love went into the making of that quilt. I wish I had it now.

Melissa bee, laughed at your fungus Christmas card. My B-I-L sent his latest Christmas letter. The opening sentence is, "The best part of 2008 was no surgeries - I am well over 20 so far". Isn't that a cheery way to start off? I love G.A.H.'s brother, but he can be a downer sometimes.

I also agree with your Kenny G assessment. At least the answer was just SAX PLAYER, not SAX MASTER. That would have called for a clue like "Charlie Parker or John Coltrane"

Carol, your husband is a keeper too.

kazie said...

A couple of additional ideas on MULCT. First, I looked it up in my OED, and the original root is Latin, often with the "c" omitted. So it makes sense that the Spanish word Mark suggested earlier would be related.
Secondly, I wonder if the slang expressiion "to milk something" might be related too, since in Latin one form of the verb to milk is "mulctum". Latin for "woman" is "muler"--maybe that's why they've been trying to milk us for all we're worth throughout history! Even without Martin's thoughts on how well off women were in Roman times, they were a source of mother's milk.

Anonymous said...

A tough one for me today. I had trouble getting my brain working and it took me for ever to finish.

c.c. - It is called Ripon college because it resides in the city of Ripon. Ripon, Wisconsin is named after the English city of Ripon. The meaning of Ripon is obscure but it is a tribal name (also seen with alternate spellings) and presumably what the original inhabitants of the area called themselves.

Seattle John

melissa bee said...

@clear ayes: oh, oh!! your post reminded me .. when i was about 10 my grandparents sent me my grandfather's violin.. he had to give up playing after breaking his wrist. the varnish and stain was worn off on the neck from many years of use. i loved it then, but like you and your quilt, did not appreciate it fully until years later. still have it. smile.

another favorite, one xmas my mom sent me copies of all the letters between her and her sister when she was pregnant with me, til the time i was one or two.

@embien: ditto your south comments.

Barb B said...

I stand corrected. I apologize if I offended. My personal observation – and I admit that it’s limited – is that the few I know about that allow women to lead are still trying more than doing. But I’m very happy to see any efforts made. My point was that we have a long way to go still, not to bash anyone.

Kazie – I love the United Methodist Church, which is NOT one I consider evangelical. They call themselves a reconciling church, and they are. Perhaps I have a narrow view of evangelical; I guess I’m referring to the churches who interpret the bible literally – like the ones Buckeye mentioned.

My late husband did as much housework and cooking as I did; perhaps more. And I, like Clear Ayes, was very grateful, in the most feminine way.

Crockett1947 Tonight is the hooding ceremony for the seminary, where they drape a little scarf thingy on us – that’s at George Fox Tigard campus. Tomorrow is the general to-do at Newberg campus.
Yes they’re still planning it, even though many schools are closed. I delivered my dogs to the kennel this morning and couldn’t get up their quarter mile drive – the nice owner came down to get them. So cross your fingers for me –it’s now or never. ☺

Melissa Bee – lol – I bet I know who had the black fungus!!
Thanks for the support.

I don’t think I ever received a bad Christmas gift; but I struggled with my ego one year when the family drew names, and everyone got lovely, personal gifts; except me. I got a giant bottle of generic bubble bath from the supermarket. I can laugh now, but I was young and vain at the time, and it hurt my feelings. After that I made a wish list.:-)

Anonymous said...

Mark - Buenos Aires

Barry - correct - thanks for taking the time to think of it.

Linda said...

Is that really your picture or just one of your collection?
From some of your comments, may I deduce that you are of Asian extraction or have lived there at one time? I always enjoyed books by Pearl Buck.
Today`s puzzle was difficult for me.
But then, my head wasn`t "around" it...Christmas errands and all...

Anonymous said...

Kazie and Barb B and Linda,
Our English word “evangelical” comes from a Greek word, euaggellos, meaning “Bringing good news”. Generally the good news is that the Messiah has come and brought us a way to eternal salvation. However, many people nit-pick the Scriptures to define this news to suit their own concepts, so there is considerable variation in different “evangelical” churches.

Barry G. said...

Oh -- and I forgot to mention earlier that, despite my general ignorance regarding sports figures (I couldn't get JAGR in today's NYT puzzle, for instance), I knew both COCO Crisp and Mo VAUGHN. It helps that they both played for the Red Sox in recent years and I happen to be from Boston....

bethann said...

Barry G. Thanks that explanation was great. Also thanks to NYTAnonimo, I should have known mortise. My father's hobby is wood working and he uses these often I just didn't know what they were called.

Mark have you ever been to Stoke on trent? I was actually there last summer the little bit of it I saw was quaint. I had the most interesting conversation with 2 gentlemen in a cute little pub. They even gave me a English flag, not the Union Jack but the one with the white background a red cross. They told me it was looked down on to fly these flags instead of the Union Jack which is considered the United Kingdom flag. It seems that many people over there would like to be recognized as England not the United Kingdom. Anyway it was a fabulous trip and I would love to do t again some time.

Crockett1947 said...

@linda Welcome to the blog. Check out C.C.'s profile for the inside information. That is definitely NOT a picture of her! She collects baseball cards and is a bit of a baseball nut, if I may say so!

C.C. Burnikel said...

Judi & Seattle John,
Thanks for RIPON. Interesting, GOP was birthed in such a small town. Do you know where is the birthplace for the Democratic Party then? I also found out that both Spencer Tracy and Harrison Ford graduated from the RIPON College.

My worst Christmas gift is a train ticket to Brussels (from Gare du Nord). I really really should not have accepted it.

Winfield & Warren,
Thanks for "unplugged".

A DEUX is "For two" to me also.

Clear Ayes said...

FYI, a lot of P.G. Wodehouse's works are public domain now and are available to read as ebooks on the internet...easy and free. Check out for thousands of free books from hundreds of authors.

I also found out that Wodehouse wrote the lyrics for Bill from the Jerome Kern musical Showboat. Here's gorgeous Ava Gardner's movie version.

Bethann, We stopped at Stoke-on-Trent for lunch once, but didn't spend any more time there. I doubt that we ate at "your" pub, that would be quite a reach LOL.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Jimbo & Calef,
I lost both my parents too early. I don't think I can live a long life as you two do.

The picture you see is Justin Morneau, the first baseman for the Twins. "The Good Earth" is one of my favorite books.

Barb B,
Have a wonderful time tonight and tomorrow!

Mind telling me what presents you bought for your wife for Christmas?

Mr. Ed said...

G'day C.C. & all - nothing much to add to what's already been said. Parrish definitely makes you think. I had to put it aside several times to get the distractions out of the way. But, thanks to correct guesses & perps, it's on to bigger and better projects.

If I even get an Oregonian tomorrow I'll check in. But, if not, I hope you all have a nice weekend & if you're in the snow, stay safe & warm.


Crockett1947 said...

C.C., Jeanette is a big fan of Charley Harper, a Cincinnati area native graphic artist who passed away in 2007. Over the years I've gotten her lots of his prints and other products. This year I got her two books: ABC's and Charles Harper's Birds & Words. The first is a child's board book with illustrations and descriptions for the letters of the alphabet, from A is for Ape to Z is for Zebra. The other is a collection of prints and words about birds that is actually a reprint of an older out-of-print book. Then I have two sets of 2008 U.S. Commemorative stamps with a book to put them in. That has been a traditional gift for 25 years, and I really caught heck one year when I didn't get to the Post Office to get them. Now I do the ordering on-line and don't have to worry about opening hours and standing in lines.

What do you have for Boomer?

Clear Ayes said...

Embien's 12:59 post about TULA being "South of Moscow", reminded me of yesterday's "City near Oakland" and the answer SAN MATEO. Sure, SAN MATEO is close to Oakland if you had been considering SAN DIEGO, or SAN BUONO in Italy as the answer.

Crockett, what lovely gifts you have chosen. Your wife is fortunate to have such a thoughtful husband.

carol said...

Barb b, I just want to add my congrats on your wonderful accomplishment.

Linda, welcome to our crazy, fun group.
Pearl Buck is also one of my very favorite authors. I have all her books and have read each many times.

We are in for yet another storm due to hit tomorrow. It seems the whole country is having bad weather...even places in the mid-west that are used to it have had to close airports. You can have it!!!

RichShif said...

Hi C.C. and all,

Seems like I had some of the same problems as everybody else. Couldn't finish until I got home this evening and pulled out the dictionary.

Here is a clip of a band that use to tour around this area frequently. The Waxing Poetics

No need to apologize for the ASSO mistake, I thought it was rather humerous that I assumed that I had made a mistake and spent the time reviewing the puzzle looking for my error.

The unplugged series on MTV made quite a stir when they did Clapton. It became the best of the unplugged series. The version of Layla that was done caught many people by surprise as the original is heavy with electric guitars.

Another unusual treat (at least for me) was when the Beatles released "Let It Be Naked". This is the way that they had originally wanted the album to be recorded. They went back to the mater tapes and stripped all of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound enhancements. The song "The Long and Winding Road" sounds completely different. The Long and Winding Road

kazie said...

Barb B,
I meant to wish you all the best for your ceremonial weekend. I hope all goes well and that weather doesn't get in the way.

Anonymous said...

In regard to your comment; "I lost both my parents too early. I don't think I can live a long life as you two do." I would like to say that for an individual the quality of his/her life is more significant than the length of it. That may not be as true for the individual's loved ones, who will miss him/her.

Anonymous said...

Barb B. I add congratulations on your coming ceremonies. It's awesome, as the kids say. And to know that you have lost a husband adds to the fact of your accomplishments.

Clear Ayes: You have a way of putting things that is clear and intelligent. This time I'm referring to your comments on feminism. I totally agree. I am a feminist, but I surely do appreciate my husband's insisting that I precede him, opening doors, etc. And his great deed is doing the cooking and much of the grocery shopping.
Must add that I am surely glad that I moved to SW Florida and am enjoying temps in the high 70s, having moved from 7200 ft in Colorado. No more snow for me!

kazie said...

I also lost both my parents young: Mum died at 67 from cancer, and my Dad just 10 weeks later from a heart attack at 64. I was 28. But they were both lifelong smokers, which is why I never started smoking. I'm hoping that was more at fault than their genes, since several of their siblings and other relatives have lived to over 80. Calef is right--quality of life is important, and being careful how we treat our bodies and what we eat can have a great influence on both the quality and length of life.

JD said...

Kazie, my mom also died of cancer at 62; dad died of a heart attack 3 mo later. I was also 28, and felt like an orphan.Both smoked like chimneys.My oldest sister is 74 and is healthy although she always thinks she has numerous diseases. 2nd oldest sister passed away unexpectantly at age 62. I do not think I will die young because they did, but I agree that it is not the longevity that counts.I feel blessed with each new day, and I was lucky enough to see my girls happily married and become lovely adults.

Too much going on today to tune in earlier.I had 3 empty spots when I came to you: u and t in mortise, and the c in bac-os ( I also call them bacon bits, but have never tried them. They look fake!) There were a dozen words that I didn't know so I was busy, busy.

wrong:ovi, edi
right: ova,eda

Jeannie said...

Hey, you feminists out there...I was misinformed or uneducated about what feminists were all about. I grew up in the 75-80 period when most of the hard earned work was already layed. A good friend pointed out to me today that FEMININE is definitely part of the word feminists. Sorry, I couldn't resist putting in the word "layed".

Jeannie said...

To top it all off, I am number 69. That's a lucky number in my book.

kazie said...

That really is a coincidence, our both losing parents so quickly and at the same age. One difference is you have siblings, and I am an only child. There were other complications when Dad died too--my husband and I were on our way here, in New Zealand, and nobody knew how to reach us, so we missed the funeral. When we did get the letter from an uncle, and went back, we had only three weeks to get everything sold up and finalized before leaving again. Afterwards, it took months before I was able to convince myself that they were really gone. We were here, and there was no chance to see their environment with them missing from it.
But now I feel I've had/am having a wonderful life, one of our boys is happily married, and the other is in a good career and level headed so I know they'll do well too. You have to take what comes your way, I guess, and be thankful.

Anonymous said...

Clear Ayes,

I am a P.G. Woodhouse fan and have a big collection of his books. Some bought in England and others found in used bookstores. Also a big Frye and Laurie fan. Stephen Frye also did an amazing job portraying Oscar Wilde. I love British mysteries and also have collected over the years a lot of the Georges Simenon MAIGRET mysteries.

What I don't do is watch a lot of TV, so I don't get some of the current TV names in the xwords.

Love reading your blogs...this is all so new to me, xwords are a recent passion and blogs are totally out there for me. Took a long time to post for the first time.

To all of you, I have fun reading all the comments and back and forths...

Kathleen in SF Bay Area

Crockett1947 said...

@clear ayes Thank you for your comment.

JD said...

welcome Kathleen in the SF Bay area,
I think it took most of us a long time to feel comfortable enough to join in. This is a great group, so much knowledge to share. We owe it all to C.C.!
Melissa B and I are also in the bay area, so we tend to post later, as does Clear ayes.I think I can hear Lois, Argyle, Barry and Dr Dad snoring already!

RichShif said...


Not all east coasters are snoring. I am still up but only for a little while.